No offense, but why are old people so stupid?

gataJune 25, 2006

I'm sorry. I am venting of course. After 100 years of life I guess we can expect the grey matter to be diminished. I just get so frustrated dealing with the immediate non-recall and the fact that 5 years of the same routine she acts like she is a newbie in all of this.

In all respects I am actually really lucky because my mother-in-law is very easy to get along with, very sweet, tries really hard, etc etc. I just get weary of all the stuff that goes along with it, cleaning up messy diapers, reminding her what to do next, it never stops.

And the fact that "She is so stupid" has become almost a mantra to me. Even knowing all of the above, it is hard for me to not think of her as stupid, and I feel that I shouldn't feel this way.

Thanks for listening.

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Gatita...."Feeling" and acting on the feeling are 2 entirely different things. I don't know your situation, but if you are caring for an elderly family member 24/7 I can understand your feelings. Forgetfulness and the inability to care for oneself can be really hard for the caregiver. If you haven't done it, I doubt that a person can imagine what it is like. BUT, if you mean, by saying it is a "mantra", that you are telling her that she is stupid...that falls under "acting on the feelings"..and that leads to nowhere good....probably makes your MIL feel bad, and you feel guilty.
Of course we all know that forgetfulness, confusion, delusions and other manifestations of dementia DO NOT indicate that the person is stupid.
It would be good to find an outlet for the frustration that does not include verbal or other abuses. Your relationship will suffer now, and, when it is all over, the guilt will likely stay with you.
Come here and vent anytime...and look for another outlet.
It is hard....but there are other ways.
I am sorry that you are having such a tough time. Derry

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 9:57PM
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While Aricept isn't showing the improvements it had hoped for with Alzheimer patients, it does help improve cognitive thoughts with elderly, non-Alzheimer patients. If mom-in-law isn't imbibing some ask your physician about it. Be careful, there have been competitors released to Aricept with some nasty side-effects as well as price tags (that Aricept doesn't have). Generic Aricept or donezepil should be available by now..I don't if it is.

Make sure mon-in-law's RBC is AOK. No red blood cells ... No oxygen to the brain, it happens alot. Mom-in-law should be on an iron supplement that's easy on the tummy.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 10:29PM
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But if she's on an iron supplement, make sure she gets a stool softener, one or two Colace (with her doctor's approval, of course). My dad's doctor put him on Feosol to combat low hemoglobin (without telling us about its side effect of extreme constipation) and my dad really suffered before a nurse told us what was wrong.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 8:22AM
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I hate the word "stupid" it implies that with a little training, the person could get "smarter"

A better question would be "Why do old people have dementia?" The answer to that would be "because parts of their brain are becoming non-functioning."

You have a big load on your shoulders. We understand what you are going through. But if you change the way you think about it might help you a little. For someone of her age, it's as normal as not being able to jump high or climb trees. It would be a very unusual thing if she could remember recent things. The mental abilities for the elderly usually is like that.

And now that you have had a taste of how it can be, make sure that your family understands how YOU want to be treated if you get like her. It could very well happen.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 8:58AM
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It's not that they are not so stupid, it's that we are not so patient. I'm sure she senses your frustration and impatience, it must be hard for her too.

It's not so bad when your child learns and remembers, and you don't have to do everything for them all the time. It's awful when the parent unlearns and unremembers, and you have to do more and more. It's only going to get harder.

Good luck and give her a hug from us, and give yourself a break.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 11:33AM
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DH's favorite saying is "They cannot help it, and it's not their fault". This helps me keep some of that repetitious stuff in perspective. My folks keep me on my toes. About the time I don't think they can do certain things, then they do. Other times, they wait for me to help.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 4:30PM
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My grandson is quick to say "Oh, that's a bad word" when someone says stupid. He just turned 5. With your attitude, it's sad you are a caregiver. Sounds like you need to tell your husband how you feel and let him make arrangements for someone else with more patience to care for her.
It never has nor ever will be easy to care for someone with a condition that effects the mind.
I sincerely hope you have not expressed to her how you feel. Even with mind altering conditions, feelings can be hurt. You can say I'm sorry to her but the damage is already done. How sad.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 8:06PM
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I want to remind everyone that you said that you are venting, and please vent away. It's one of the small ways we can smile and practice patience, and then come home and throw a show against the wall to let out frustration.

Everyone else, we all know what it means to be tired and frustrated and tested to the limit. By venting here, among friends, we manage to get up tomorrow morning and smile again.

I was at wits end when I found a support group, someone to vent with, others who would listen to me and nod and agree, and then I could gather my strength and go on.

I know what you mean about the *stupid* part, but just realize that she didn't ever intend to be in this place, either.

Vent, look around in your community for counseling or relief, take care of yourself with a movie or lunch with a friend.

Our charges really are the most trying when we don't take care of ourselves and get a little rest and diversion and support.

Hugs to you, and keep on doing your good job... you are doing a great job!


    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 12:25AM
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Thank you all for your really did help. My MIL really is a great lady, as I said, and very special to the whole family.
About a year and a half ago I took up the practice of yoga. My MIL inspired me in that because I'd hate to have her limited range of motion. The practice and the weekly classes help to keep me centered and grounded.
Yearly vacations and bi-weekly "day-out"s give me respite too.
And of course, as weather permits, gardening.
Again, thank you all.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 10:13AM
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Hello All:
It's been a while since I have posted. Reading this post, I felt I needed to add my two cents too.
My mom has Alzheimer's and I cared for her in my home for a year. She is now living with my sister. I know the frustrations that go along with caregiving. I believe what helped me was what someone else posted earlier. It was truly my mantra "she cannot help it, it is the disease"
Even though dementia robs them of their memories, one of the last things to be affected are their emotions. My mom cannot remember what was said one minute before yet, if I sigh a deep sigh, she immediately asks me "what is wrong?" and if I try to say nothing, she will say "I know something is wrong because of the way you just sighed." Knowing this, I hope that anyone caring for an aging person with dementia will remember that it is not their fault, it is the disease and...their emotions are still intact.
Warm regards,

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 10:29PM
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My husband is always saying he is stupid and I keep saying, no you're not. It is the disease, you are not stupid. I have been caring for my husband 24/7 for 4 years with no help from anyone. I am patient and kind working with him, but I am afraid I would resent having to put out that kind of energy and emotions for anyone except him or my mom. It's just not my job to care for anyone else. It's like the son in law coming to us for a loan, where's his folks when he needs them.

I am placing my husband in a home Monday, it's got to the point I can no longer give him the kind of care he needs. I am beginning to have stress related health problems. If any of you have a problem finding a home you are comfortable leaving your love one in, check out the small towns near you. I spoke with the residents in this home and got very encouraging replies to my questions.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 3:48PM
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Mum greets every day with the very same question when she sees the tube that connects her urostomy appliance to the drainage jug... "I've never seen that before!". Doesn't matter that she's been hooking up and unhooking herself every day for over 2 years now, lol.

I maintain that it's the MONOTONY of caregiving that wears people down, not the list of daily chores! Before I go to wake her up and get her rolling I make sure I have a cut of coffee, ALONE and UNINTERRUPTED. I take a deep breath before going into her room and "begin the day". "It's time to get up, Mum... it's going to be a beautiful day, I think." "I've never had to do THIS before!" "Sure you have, Mum! you hooked yourself up last night. The directions for unhooking yourself are in the drawer. Take them out and do it step by step. You can do this, I won't let you do anything wrong. Follow the directions.". And then I sit patiently, wondering why the hell it's so hard to follow the steps, one by one... . But it's hard for her! and harder for me to sit quietly by and simply watch her tediously follow the directions. But I make her do it! and she DOES it. Every single day.

Every single day it's the same thing, Gata, there is no "let up". I know how you feel. I understand the frustration, the impatience, and the resentment. In truth, every single person who participates here does, too! It's a grind, and the love we feel for those for whom we care can't temper the intrusion into our lives.

It's OK... vent away. That's why we're here... to help each other out and allow ourselves the unbridled privilege of being "ugly" when we need to be.

It's OK!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 11:14AM
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Remember Me
by Kenneth Chafin

When you forget your own address
and find yourself on strange streets, we'll sell your car,
and I'll drive you to all the places you need to go,
like you did for me when I was a child.

When you forget how to dress
and end up with three sweaters, two sets of panty hose, and a slip on over your dress,
I'll help you to look proper when you go out,
like you did for me when I was a child.

When the words on the menu don't match the pictures in your mind,
and you keep ordering things you won't eat,
then I'll order the food that I know you'll enjoy,
like you did for me when I was a child.

When finding your way at church is frightening,
I'll take you to your class and pick you up and let you sit with me in big church.
If the sermon seems long and you get sleepy,
I'll let you put your head on my shoulder,
like you did for me when I was a child.

When hot and cold faucets confuse you,
I'll put you in a tub of warm water and give you a bath,
like you did for me when I was a child.

When you forget who people are
and can't tell your family from total strangers,
I'll be your memory and tell you their names
like you did for me when I was a child.

When they're having a party for all the residents,
and you want to go but don't know what to wear,
I'll make you a costume that everyone will envy
like you did for me when I was a child.

When you forget who I am,
not just my name or my birthday, but that you ever had children,
then there isn't much I can do but go somewhere and cry,
like I sometimes did when I was a child.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 1:00AM
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It's not easy to care for the elderly parent let alone an in law. I am caring for my dad, have been for the past 6 months and have had my moments when it's tough to get up early in the morning to take him breakfast and do his daily errands. We get run down ourselves and need a break but for some this is not possible.
Is is possible to hire someone's help? Check on visiting angels.
I don't know what I'd do if I had to care for my MIL God help me there if I ever do. I pray I don't for her sake and mine. She is mean and nasty.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 10:08PM
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