My cousin is driving me even crazier

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by TerryJ2, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    After all the tears and wailing and gnashing of teeth ... TWICE this week ... I went the therapist with-my 82-yr-old cousin, P, and waited outside while they got started. I finally knocked on the door, and when I went in, the therapist said, "P says she doesn't know anything about the apt being closed down in NY. She acted surprised."
  2. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Nothing you can do about progressive dementia. I'm sorry you are in this position, Terry. Life stinks sometimes.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am very sorry. Maybe if you record a conversation about it the therapist can work with her on the issue.

    The next may seem like "dirty pool" or like being mean. I am NOT suggesting it just to make your life easier. It really can make necessary things much easier for the elderly patient too. When my adopted gpa was really down the road into dementia he could get quite violent when upset. Not out of a desire to hurt anyone, really, but because he got so overwhelmed an upset and then angry about being overwhelmed and upset. I could get him to do a LOT of things with much less fuss than others did. I just said that he had asked to do it, or that we had already talked together and he wanted whatever it was.

    I hated lying to him, but saw no point and nothing remotely positive in having him get that upset about things. He hadn't agreed and we hadn't talked about it. If I had been truthful he would have been horribly upset and then not gotten things he truly needed to do or have done or we would have had to get orderlies to make him comply and/or medicate him into submission.

    Some of the staff at the nursing home really objected because "lying is wrong" and I was tricking him. On some levels they were right. But there way meant he had to take a LOT more medication and he got hurt a lot more - either by thrashing around and hitting things or by the staff having to force him to comply.

    He was at the point where he wasn't going to remember what I said in a few minutes or hours anyway and it meant he was happier and healthier and he didn't upset the staff as much - so they were nicer to him when we were not there.

    If this is something that might help you with P, I hope you can use it. If it would only upset her more, then of course something else should be done. I am not saying what I did was a great thing, but I know it wasn't wrong. Know what I mean??
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I understand.
    It{s just so hard because sometimes she{s so very lucid.
    And sometimes ... not.
    The doctor at assisted living signed a paper for Soc Sec saying she had dementia, and short' and long'term memory loss. So basically, this is it for the long haul.
    She booked dental surgery for the 9th of March because she wants dental implants. No way will she be out of pain in time for NY.
    This is the way it{s going to work.
    Talked to [renter+ last night and she may very well be sleeping in the apt w-me when I get up there. Arg.
    Sorry about the punctuation. I[m on easy child{s computer again and it isn{t compatible w-anything.
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I think a notebook - like a diary is in order here. Maybe like a "playwright" manual? Or a "script"? Could that help?

    I'm so sorry for you.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hmmm ... not a bad idea.Talked to her psychiatric yesterday. She said if I just to go to NY on my own, cousin will have so much resentment that it might ruin our relationship and send cousin reeling forever. I told psychiatric that cousin will NEVER be ready to close down the apt. psychiatric understood but wanted to make sure cousin was at least told she had a chance to go and if she turned it down for whatever reason, it's all in the clear.Sister reminded me about Dad calling the sheriff several yrs ago because she took Dad's car keys, but eventually he forgot, and of course, was totally dependent upon her. She told me to go head and just go to NY by myself, because cousin P will be upset no matter what.Arrgh. I hate having to make these decisions.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    P is not going to remember not being able to go because she had the dental surgery. Tell her it was her decision and you were doing it because she asked you to. If she doesn't remember anyway, make it easy on yourself and remind her that it was her idea. Yes, it is "underhanded" and "lying" but it also makes P's life easier and less upsetting.

    After it is closed she is going to think she still has it a good part of the time, most likely. She is not going to remember that you sold it or whatever. She won't even remember your conversations about it, regardless of if she agrees or not.

    Maybe I am morally missing a few genes, or my compass is all messed up, but I see NO reason to not convince P that it has been her choice for this to happen. It will make adjusting to it easier for her and it has to happen anyway.

    I am sorry that it has come to this. She is very blessed to have you willing to do all of this for her.
  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I have worked in nursing homes before and usually - we do our best NOT to lie to the residents. If it was a "tricky subject" we would always try to distract and re-direct instead.

    And then yes, after a few minutes, more often than not they forgot about it.

    There were , however, residents who had times when they were very clear - very lucid - and when they realized where they were, they often had many questions. Times like these, I felt the "re-direct" method was inappropriate....and I always did my best to answer simply and honestly...even though it might hurt. I think they appreciated someone being honest with them...
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Susie, LOL!

    Daisy, I have not yet out-and-out lied to my cousin. I do redirect, though. I have learned a lot these past few wks, painting the faux bookcases on doors in the dementia unit.
    After I go to NY, *I* am the one who is going to need therapy!
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    A lot of times the redirect is useful and fine. And I know that many people object to lying. If the person is lucid and clear and understands things it is one thing. It is another whole ball of wax, in my opinion, if the person isn't lucid, isn't going to understand for the most part, and isn't going to remember. I felt the way daisyface did for a long time.

    Until I faced the reality of the abuse some of the carers face. Esp the family members. My adopted gma had a husband who was an incredibly strong, 6'2" toddler. He didn't remember. He couldn't cope. And he hit just like a toddler in a tantrum. Only he was 2" taller than she was and she was the sole caregiver. Until they could afford help through medicare and insurance she didn't have a lot of options. We did all we could. I was the one who saw the bruises and didn't buy her lies. She always had a story - old, clumsy, thin skinned. My parents bought it because they couldn't face it I guess. I listened to the lies, told my parents and then called gma's younger bro. WE were really just neighbors and couldn't make them do anything. Her bro could. They still couldn't afford help, but things were worked out to make him more managable.

    Yes, this included lying. Lots of people didn't approve. One therapist thought it was horrible. She refused to look at the bruises. When gma showed her the lady ended the session saying we "just didn't know how to handle him and if all we thought about were bruises it was clear we were monsters and she couldn't waste her time on us".

    If P can understand what is going on and be reasonable, such as understanding that Terry cannot do exactly what she wants, and she cannot afford it anyway, that if Terry does what she wants then Terry is going to end up having to pay for P's care and that is not a reasonable expectation, then sure - be upfront and reasonable and go with the truth. Even if she won't be really reasonable, but won't keep abusing Terry with fits and guilt, go with the truth.

    But if Terry is going to have to face big scenes, major drama and problems over this situation, esp when the REALITY of the situation is such that the apt cannot be kept, Terry CANNOT keep managing it and manage all P's other needs, that P is not going to be physically able to go but not going is going to be a long upsetting saga of drama for BOTH Terry and P, well, the lie may be the most humane way to go.

    I am NOT saying to lie and say the apt is still open andwe are going next month/year/week/spring and all is great. I am saying to tell her that it was at partly her idea - that she agreed, even if you say the agreement was reluctant. It will give her some feeling of control over something that she has no choice in and may save Terry from some abuse. Maybe if the rest of Terry's life wasn't full of difficult child she would be more able to cope with P's drama, or if she had any real family help with P, but she had a difficult child-filled life outside of P and she is the only person taking care of all this stuff outside of paid staff.

    It is OK if you don't agree. I know my parents have both said that when they are old and unable to remember that they would rather be told that they agreed that something would happen if it had to happen and was in their best interest. Given, of course, dementia/alzheimers type mental state - mostly because it will help them be at peace and not spend all their time being angry with us for stuff we cannot help. We have spoken openly and frankly about htis and they brought it up and asked me to do this. Actually, mom first wanted a gun if she is getting to that mental state and too healthy for a DNR and no life support to finish her off. We will deal with that when the time comes - and she has been told I won't discuss it before. The living will is one thing, giving a demented person a gun is another, in my opinion.
  11. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    We actually agree - to a point:

    I don't think it's necessary to upset a person who is "not quite there" anymore...especially if they are likely to respond with dangerous behaviors. Re-directs and "little white lies" might be the most appropriate ways to handle issues that arise.

    on the other hand - making a habit of "little white lies" or re-directing a person while they are lucid can be cruel.


    I know you will do your best however you decide to handle your cousin...

    (((hugs))) it's never easy!
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Well, as we can all see, this life event has human interest written all over it for everyone. ;)

    I spoke to P today on the ph (if I can't get by there in person, I call). She started all over again with-the apt thing, saying she needed somewhere to go when she was good enough to go back there. OMG, I thought, she cannot, simply cannot live alone. And she cannot afford the level of care she needs.

    Some of this is dementia. Some of it is denial. Some of it is just plain B.X.

    I wanted to scream and throw the phone but I didn't want to rearend the car in front of me.

    I phoned three of P's best friends this wk. They all understood and agreed with-me. When I spoke to P, she indicated that at least one had brought up the subject of the tenant not paying and how the $ would help to keep the apt open.
    Hey folks, a day late and a dollar short. I know P, and she seized on that and is now working on making sure that the renter has a job.
    Right. And P can't even remember what day it is or if she's had lunch.

    Frankly, it's GOOD that I have difficult child, because it forces me to focus on what is necessary. If it weren't for him and other issues in my life, I could very well still be dancing around the issue until I am locked up for good.

    Wish me luck in counseling tomorrow. My little sister summed it up beautifully in a text msg: P's therapist needs a therapist. :)
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911

    ..........But we DID go to Disneyland......just last week remember (puts on Mickey Mouse ears she got from EBAY). Oh you silly - couldn't get you off Pirates of the Carribean ride....:pirate:. .
    It was Right after we got back from a Boston game.....:fan:

    I am SO not going to be fun to be around for elderly people.
  14. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    This is beginning to sound like a scene from "Fried Green Tomatoes"! I'm sorry. I know there are no easy answers.
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Aw, heck, I'll have to rent that. I hardly remember it!

    So, the therapist won. So far.
    I bought an AirTran ticket for P.

    Just shoot me.
  16. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Maybe when you talk to her about things like money, the apartment or other important things, you can get it on video. Use your cell phone if you have to. This way, when she claims not to remember having a conversation, you can show the video to her. Other things, you can write in your notebook and have her sign it, so you can show it to her later, if needed.

    Bringing P to NY is going to be challenging. Do you have someone else you can go with to keep an eye on her, when you can't?
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    My daughter will be there. She's 19 and dbl majoring in art and psychiatric.
    And the tenant who isn't paying rent is there, in the apt.
    I called several people to have them come over, too. At least, in the day time.
    We're only staying 4 days but it will seem like 400.