S-o-o glad I found this site

goldenbuckeyeJune 14, 2005

I really need this so here goes to all you good people who understand.

I've been caring for my Mom for 2 1/2 years and I'm so thankful that I can but as you all know it can be real trying sometimes.

Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if she wasn't retarded. She's lived all her life in the backwoods of Alabama and people ignored her retardation. She tells me she's my Mom and she's suppose to tell me what do do. She doesn't even know the difference between a commercial and the TV program but she wants to watch certain programs. The worst part is she's controling and manipulative. She had a toe taken off over 25 years ago due to diabetese and took to a walker and a chair and stayed that way all these years. She sat in that chair and gave Daddy orders and has tried to do that with me but it doesn't work. I tell her to get her own water ect. because she needs the exercise and she really does.

She was taking 45 units of insulin a day, was severly constipated all the time and was suppose to take 6 water pills a day which she didn't when she came to stay with us. What with eating right and getting some exercise by waiting on herself in a month she was having normal bowel movements and after about 2 months she hasn't had to take anything for her sugar since. She's lost 50 to 55 pounds since she's been here but has more variety and better food than she ever thought of having. At home her legs were severly swollen and almost black. Now she's down to one water pill a day and her legs have their normal coloring again and very little swelling.

She's had several falls in the last year and to be honest I'm not sure it wasn't on purpose because she doesn't want to do for herself, she wants someone to do for her. After the last fall my husband told her if she got to where she couldn't walk she would have to go into a nursing home because I'm not able to take care of her like that anymore (I have a bad back) there hasn't been anymore. Of course I'll take care of her as long as I can but even after losing all that weight she still weighs 180 pounds. Sometimes I can barely get myself up much less pick her up.

Since the falls I'm afraid to leave her alone for more than an hour while she's in bed.

She wants to stay on the phone all the time and can't understand why she can't. I can check her calls because they''re all long distance (which isn't a problem because we have a flat rate) and one day she made 20 calls. A man tried to call my husband for a week before he finally got him. I told her this had to stop because we can't get any calls not even important calls! I have to be firm with her like a small child! She ask the same questions most of the time like how's your dog or cat and how's the weather ect. ect.

I could go on and on but I've bent ya'lls hear long enough for now.

Need a break!

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Hi Rosies and welcome! You've sure got your hands full. Is there a Council on Aging or senior services in your town/area? I would suggest you call them to see what services your mother could qualify for. You need respite care and she needs some socialization. Is her retardation mild or severe? Has she been evaluated for other things, such as dementia, which could compound the issue? In many areas there are adult day care centers and some specialize in dealing with different issues. The Council on Aging will have all kinds of information on that.

Is she under regular doctors' care, with regular visits? If she is a diabetic, this is especially important. Also, she might qualify for other things such as home health aides, visiting nurses, etc., but those are only things that can be initiated through a doctor's referral (usually).

There are volunteers who will come out to spend time with seniors -- again, the Council on Aging will have info on that.

Come back and talk to us often; we are all one big family here. I wish you peace.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 10:38PM
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Yes she sees a doctor regularly. She refuses to go to senior citizens center probably because she feels she wouldn't fit in and she probably wouldn't. The first year I did everything myself including her baths then I got home health started which was a real blessing. As for respite; it's available but I don't think I can subject her to that because I think it would be too trumatic for her. If she has dementia what can be done for it?
When I signed her up for home health I asked for daycare a couple times a week mostly so she could be around other people her age but they say they don't have anything available for her and of course she didn't want to do that either.
I didn't know there were volunteers for seniors but I will sure check into it real soon. I have a lady coming out Thursday to spend an hour with her so she can get to know her and hopefully she will come back next week for a few hours so hubby and I can go to a bee keepers meeting for a few hours. I don't feel comfortable having a total stranger coming in and leaving right away. I hope this works out and it will help this lady out and us too.
I'd say her retardation is severe when she doesn't know the difference between a commercial and a TV program. She has no idea what's going on on the TV programs.
I always felt I would take care of Mom someday but I didn't know it was going to be so hard. I didn't realize the extent of her retardation until I started taking care of her because sometimes she's pretty good at covering it up. She has good medical care and excellent care at home and I'm particular about the aids that come out. I know I've vented here but I love her dearly and want only the best for her.
I'm learning more and more how to deal with her but if she had her way I would spend all my waking moments with her and heaven forbid in the past I should take a nap during the day and she hates for me to be on the computer. The first year I ordered some quilt tops off the internet for her because she likes to quilt so now the computer to her is just a place to buy something. Well she says she likes to quilt but I wonder about that because it sure takes her a long time to get one done. I'm talking about months and she has nothing else to do. There's only 4 things that make her feel good; spending money, food, talking on the phone and giving orders.
I'm as kind to her as she will let me be but I do have to be firm with her just like a little child.
Thanks for responding to my post and God bless you too. I know you must be taking care of someone yourself to be on this forum.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 11:40PM
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Dear Rosie:
Welcome to our little corner of the world! You will find many people here very willing to listen (read) and offer help.
I care for my mom too. She is 83 and has Alzheimer's/Dementia. I really don't know a lot about mental retardation, but gosh, the way you describe your mom, she sounds very much like mine. Now, I am NOT telling you that your mom has Alzheimer's or dementia. I guess what I am saying is you may want to talk to her doctor and see if there is any correlation between diseases and if so, maybe that would help you to better understand how to care for your mom.
What really struck a chord with me was that you said she loves to quilt, yet it takes her months to do it. My mom crocheted and knitted her entire life, until about 9 months ago. Now, she won't even look at it. I've tried and tried to get her interested in it, but she tells me she's either too tired, or her arms are tired, or her eyes are tired. I finally realized that she's forgotten how. By her telling me she's too tired, etc is just her way of trying to cover up what she can no longer do...something she does a lot...just too proud to admit what is happening to her. Proud probably isn't the right term here and I'm not sure what really is. She's always been a very independent, very stubborn, very opinionated woman. Now, she says very little...yes, it is very sad to watch her slip away. On the other hand, she can be very difficult, fighting to hang onto whatever independence she has left. She's becoming incontinent and I try to get her on a bathroom schedule which she flat out refuses to do...."no one is going to tell her when she has to go" is what I hear...so, she is in disposables and I hope for the best.
In any case, Rosie, welcome once again...feel free to vent away and again, any time you have questions, there are many many wonderful people here very willing to help you out...be well, Mimi

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 8:54AM
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Hi Rosie and welcome too! It's great to see some new faces, i know you'll love it here! the only experience i have is my hubby Al being a diabetic. do you think your mom is also depressed, i too am a quilter and lost interest for about 1 1/2 months and i also love to knit and crochet and have the makings for a sweater but i couldn't even be bothered (because of al being in the hospital i did make a very small quilt top and half of another not bad for 3 days). my al is like Mimi's mom in disposables. i will say at this last stay at the hospital, he was not a happy camper, i got 3 calls from the nursing station to make some food and bring it, hopefully right away, because he wouldn't eat the food he was given. he can't see well - the cateracs, so he watchess tv mostly all day. because of the nice weather, we MAKE him go outside to get fresh air! i have learnt here from my friends to start taking time for myself and not feel guilty. enjoy your day! debbie

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 10:56AM
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