My Mom is sliding into the deeper grasp of dementia. It is surprising to many people (and often to me) how one moment she can be so lucid, and the next, totally disjointed. She continues to try and join in the activities of the Independent Living community she was a member of for over a decade. Now, she’s confrontational and many of the residents are complaining. It’s sad that the community can’t deal with her, but even those that are well-trained are having a hard time re-directing her when she gets aggressive.
In my Mom’s community, Assisted Living is a hallway away from Independent Living. Now that my Mom’s full-time companion, my Dad, has passed, she is alone and really having a hard time finding a footing. The dementia is making it impossible. She’s very lonely, but on top of her grief, she is unable to make new friends and her friends are finding it hard to engage her now too.
Mom founded many of the bridge games and loves to play, but she can’t remember, nor does she recognize that she is no longer running the games. She’s short-tempered and rude with most of the other bridge players — a concept that would horrify the woman who raised me. However, this is the woman most of the bridge players see and don’t know the caring woman that formerly inhabited my mother’s being.
The doctor changed her medication and added the Exelon Patch (to help cognition) and Risperdal (to minimize anxiety and paranoia). They also asked us to hire personal assistants from 1 to 9 PM daily. The first two weeks went well and then things fell apart. The doctor is increasing her dosage and we have replaced the assistant that worked on the days I noticed my Mom having the most trouble. Risperdal is an off-label prescription and when we first got the recommendations, we did our research and gulped as read the side-effects. We have to try something new, because now, she is not doing well.
The current options outside of increasing her medication:
- Move her to the section of Assisted Living and put on a Wander Guard. This prevents the doors from opening and the elevator from working. I can just visualize my Mom banging on the doors and confronting anyone that tries to use the doors if they don’t work. Both the AL staff and I don’t think this is the right solution.
- Check her into a psychiatric facility so they can treat and manage her dosage and find the right mix. This could be a 2 to 3 week visit. The change is living arrangements alone will confuse and frighten my Mom and my biggest fear is that they will medicate her into a submissive state and she will return to just be admitted into the lock-down memory community.
- Find a new facility that is dedicated to memory care and move her from the community she choose. This seems like the most logical next step for us to pursue.
Please let me know what your experience and suggestions maybe as we try to navigate this new transition in my Mom’s care. Pleaded.
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