Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Saturday, August 15, 2009 Worlds best mom, Community Member, asks

Q: Vascular dementia

its been two years since my mom was diagnosed with dementia, she thinks strange things,

durning the summer she thought the people next door to her killed some man and buried him in the back yard. You cant convince her any different.  She thinks up really serious things and want us to believe them, now she thinks I"m cheating on my husband and I have told her as nice as I can that it isnt true, I dont bring it up but everytime I go her house she wants to talk about it,  today she said she was gonna tell my husband if I didnt admit to it.

I kissed her and told her I was leaving and would see her tomorrow, she called my husband and he went over to the house to talk to her (he understands) she started crying and as she got up she passed out, she told him to get the hell out and to never come back.. We calmed her down.. shes very angry with me, I dont know how to deal with this... I'm her caregiver..Yes it hurts but I love my mom very much and I can deal with this..I worry about her dealing with it.. she 83 any suggestions?  She doesnt act like the average person with this disease..

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Answers (3)
Carol Bradley Bursack, Health Guide
8/16/09 7:56am

I'm wondering if she has been misdiagnosed. She could have vascular dementia and another mental illness or perhaps vascular and Alzheimer's, or something entirely different. I'd also see if she is on an anti-psychotic drug. If the wrong one is give, it can have this type of side effect.

 

I would have her examined for a second opinion. Write down these episodes and mail a letter to the doctor before the exam. It will be hard to bring these up in front of your mother.

 

Good luck This is really tough stuff.

Blessings,

Carol

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Worlds best mom, Community Member
8/16/09 9:53am

Carol,

           Lastnight we had to take mom to the hospital from her fall, nothing was broke.

We took her to the Center for Healthy aging where they diagnosed her with vascular dementia and first stages of alzheimers, that was two years ago.. she was put on namenda two times a day, this is the drug of choice because of mild heart problems and she is on oxygen.  Mom has always had some forgetfulness, but about two years ago she fell and hurt her back, she was admitted to the hospital and developed pnemonia, they told us she may never go home.. her oxygen levels were so low that the oxygen was turned up as high as they could get it.. 10..at this time is when the seeing things and getting weird ideas started, she had television mixed into reality and thought the doctors had an insurance policy out to kill her, she said the woman in the bed next to her was a prostitute, all sorts of things were said.., she did continue to get better but she has never been the same person since, mom is suspicious of everyone now, hides her money, jewerly, candy.. ect, the doctors say its the vascular dementia and altzheimers, I think something happened to her brain from the oxygen. Is this two different things were dealing with or is it the diseases? No matter what I dont know how to help her, I was told to just change the subject when she talks weird things, but I cant let her get to where she doesnt trust me.. is this going to happen?

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Carol Bradley Bursack, Health Guide
8/16/09 10:09am

Your mention of oxygen reminded me of a study I recently read. I didn't find the exact thing, but this article is close: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/health-science/health/Administering-oxygen-precipitates-Alzheimers/articleshow/4884884.cms

 

It could have beeen the high oxygen that tipped her over. That's little comfort with what you hare now handling, however. She will probably go in and out of trusting you and not trusting you.

 

It's nothing you did or that you can control. It's something you all will have to work with doctors on and control the best you can, and then let go. This reminds me so much of my dad's failed brain surgery that I'm struggling with tears as I write. I wish I could say, "No, this will get better," but unless the doctors can find medications that help, the best you can all do is reassure her of your love, go with her delusions when you can, and counter the accusations which you obviously can't agree with.


Telling her you love her but won't be abused, and then leaving her in the care of others, may help on occasion. My heart is breaking for you. Please don't accept guilt and detach with love when you must.

 

Blessings,

Carol

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Worlds best mom, Community Member
8/16/09 10:37am

Carol,

               Thanks so much for the insight...It really helped me understand the question of is it the disease or the oxygen, I understand that the oxygen contributed to the disease now..I could never get a straight answer from her family doctor. Im not pointing fingers here, they saved her life...things happen, I"m so blessed to have her with me..some of the time.. any is good for me...thanks again, p/s  I also cried when I read your resonse..Im praying for us both

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Carol Bradley Bursack, Health Guide
8/16/09 3:39pm

It's so unfortunate that doctors are afraid to say "this is not the result we hoped for." I live in North Dakota, and finally a "compassion" law passed, where a doctor can say that something went wrong and not be afraid of being sued.

 

When my dad's surgery backfired, no one was blaming the doctors. But the pain of having them look me in the eye and say Dad was just as he was before the surgery, when he came out totally demented and they were giving him anti-psychotics, was nearly unbearable. With the new law that protects the doctors, they could admit without fear that sometimes these things happen. It would have been much better for all.

 

You have the right attitude. Thanks for the prayers. We can all use them. We need each other.

Carol

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Worlds best mom, Community Member
8/16/09 10:18pm

When the scans came back lastnight from her back,  I was told mom has a legion on her left lung that could be cancer. I ask the doctor "what else could it be" a nobe? and he left!  Whats a nobe? leaving me standing there by myself.. I was crushed, I was asked to take her to her family doctor the next day(which is closed today) to discuss the scan.. I have called and left a message for him to call me, my mom has seen him for over 45 years..Ifs it cancer I"m not going to tell her, she want be able to do chemo or anything because she is so fragile. At this time I think its the right decision but I also feel as if I"m cheating her, but if I tell her she will worry herself sick. I  have more tears today than I have since mom was diagnosed two years ago,I realized today I"M facing the fact I"m gonna lose my mom, and the strange thing is it feels good to cry about it. I guess all this tension has built up over the last two years and someone took the time to answer me direct, broke my wall..thanks agin

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Carol Bradley Bursack, Health Guide
8/17/09 8:24am

 

Communicating with those of us who have "been there" does help. We can't fix things but we all need to be understood. I'm glad that helps, some.

 

My mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and was far too frail for chemo and other treatments. She was able, at the time, to make her own decision, which was to let it alone. She lived another 8 years.

 

There are times when treatments are worse than the disease. These are very personal decisions, and very difficult. Talk it over with her regular doctor. My guess is he or she will agree with you and you won't find yourself alone in the decision. At the very least, the doctor will give you some answers. I've been treated as you were above, and that is horrible.

Take care of yourself,

Carol

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AFA Social Services, Health Guide
8/17/09 11:30am

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Although your mother’s behaviors are concerning, it may be possible that she is exhibiting delusions, or false beliefs, as a result of the disease process. Some individuals with dementia will begin to experience hallucinations and/or delusions with time. Although this can be normal for the illness, it is advisable to seek out a professional opinion just to be sure. When you start seeing any changes in your mother’s behavior, it is always a good idea to consult with her physician to help rule out any medical issues that could be contributing to them and to discuss possible treatment and behavioral interventions.

 

In the meanwhile, your best bet is to try using validation and redirection techniques. In other words, you need to confirm her feelings (even if they are entirely untrue and bizarre) and then change the subject onto something more positive. For example, when she begins to carry on about cheating, simply say “Mom, I know you’re upset but I just want you to know that I love my husband very much, just like I love you, and I would never do anything to hurt either of you. By the way, it’s really hot out this morning. Wouldn’t you just love some iced tea? Why don’t you join me in the kitchen?” By using such techniques, you are not confirming the actions of which you are being accused, but simply confirming that your mother is upset by her belief of them. By redirecting her onto something more positive, you are changing the tone of the conversation, and helping her move onto the next best thing. If you find success using this technique, don’t be afraid to get creative and use it as often as you can whenever you suspect she may become emotional.

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AFA Social Services, Health Guide
8/17/09 11:34am

Although your mother’s behaviors are concerning, it may be possible that she is exhibiting delusions, or false beliefs, as a result of the disease process. Some individuals with dementia will begin to experience hallucinations and/or delusions with time. Although this can be normal for the illness, it is advisable to seek out a professional opinion just to be sure. When you start seeing any changes in your mother’s behavior, it is always a good idea to consult with her physician to help rule out any medical issues that could be contributing to them and to discuss possible treatment and behavioral interventions.

 

In the meanwhile, your best bet is to try using validation and redirection techniques. In other words, you need to confirm her feelings (even if they are entirely untrue and bizarre) and then change the subject onto something more positive. For example, when she begins to carry on about cheating, simply say “Mom, I know you’re upset but I just want you to know that I love my husband very much, just like I love you, and I would never do anything to hurt either of you. By the way, it’s really hot out this morning. Wouldn’t you just love some iced tea? Why don’t you join me in the kitchen?” By using such techniques, you are not confirming the actions of which you are being accused, but simply confirming that your mother is upset by her belief of them. By redirecting her onto something more positive, you are changing the tone of the conversation, and helping her move onto the next best thing. If you find success using this technique, don’t be afraid to get creative and use it as often as you can whenever you suspect she may become emotional.

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Worlds best mom, Community Member
8/17/09 7:06pm

I tried the redirecting this morning when mom tried to get on the subject of my cheating on my husband, she mentioned the fact of all the truthbrushes in the house that I"m keeping there (I guess they are there so I can keep my mouth clean for my boyfriend?)

I told her we would just throw them away if it was ok with her, and then I asked her how her kittens were doing(she has took it upon herself to adopt 2 kittens that were found in the yard) it worked great! I have tried to  change the subject many other times but I quess I just wasnt doing something right, I think I got the hang of it now!

The family doctor knows mom well, we go to see him often, mom always thinks something is wrong with her.. this is a part of her illness, he's very patient with her..I'm taking her to see him in the morning because of the scan that showed the lesion on her left lung, I ask him not to mention it. she will think we are there for her back, which is giving her a lot of pain from the fall..I think something is broken even though the scan show nothing, her osteo arthritis is so bad it's really hard to tell.  We did discuss the lesion on the phone, he thinks mom is to weak also to undergo any chemo.. but he also said there is other options. his decision wether to tell mom if it was cancer was up to the children.  What would you do?

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By Worlds best mom, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/26/11, First Published: 08/15/09