Helping Mom Accept the Help She Doesn’t Want

hold handThe Assisted Living community asked that we provide additional support to help my Mom while they work on finding the right medications for her. She has perceived the assistants at different times as a new resident and even a roommate. We asked them to hang back and give her space. When she leaves the Assisted Living community and walks into the Independent Living community, the fact that someone is following her is frightening to her.

Last week, a family friend called who lives in the Independent Living community, and confirmed my Mom’s fears. She was surprised when I shared what was happening and that the community asked us to put the extra assistance into place between 1 and 9 PM daily. The extra assistance isn’t really a choice, but a requirement. My Mom is having episodes of unbecoming behavior and we need to try this or start looking for a new community for my Mom.  Almost two years ago, I blogged about it “taking a village to age them as well as raise them” and realize that this process is a marathon, not a sprint.

We have switched out one of the two women helping my Mom. I initially increased my daily phone calls so I could gauge my Mom’s anxiety. I have also left my Mom’s laundry with the aides in hopes of having my Mom experience that people other than me can help her. I hope it will build some trust, if that is possible anymore.

I initially told my Mom the truth. The Assisted Living community is requiring that we add the personal assistants as well as was working to find medicines that helped her memory and minimize her paranoia. This was a difficult conversation and my Mom argued with me and was very angry that I would “believe” what other people were saying. I let her know I have also experienced her behavior and that was even more unpopular to share than the reports from others.

Now, I tell my Mom the doctor is working to help her memory with some new medications and that the personal assistants are assigned to help ensure she doesn’t faint or collapse with the new medications.

Then, the staff shared my Mom was refusing to take the medication. I reinforced that the pills are brain food and put a note on her kitchen cabinet encouraging her to take the pills.

I know many of us struggle with truth, but as the dementia progresses, constant pursuit to tell the truth and only the truth, in my Mom’s case, is harmful to her well-being.

I’m frustrated that we are paying for Assisted Living, and required to hire personal aides from 1 to 9 PM every day of the week. However, I’m learning from many others that this is common during some of the stages of dementia. My Mom’s not quite ready for the secure memory care unit, but also needs more help than the staff can provide.

I visit on days where I can met up with her personal aides to ask how Mom is doing. They are telling me how they are creating bridge games and share that she inviting them in or allowing them to sit with her at meal time. I’m hoping that my Mom is benefiting from the companionship. Resigned.

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