Our expert says:
I know what this is like, and people who have not been through it really don't appreciate the problem. It is harder than any of us imagine before we get there, and often more than we can handle, even if superhuman.
Where the main issue is handling / responding to her being difficult, a good frail care unit may indeed have useful advice. And they are at hand, so do ask them.
Where there is a degree of dementia, which tends to become increasingly severe, the problems steadily mount, accompanied by the tragedy there there is just less and less of the person you knew and loved actually present, each day. A dilemma can also arise, in that some medicines which can work wonders in helping the agitated and confused demented person ( like Risperdal ) to the point that for a considerable time it can return them to something very like their usual self from an angry, uncooperative and lost stranger, has the problem that some research shows that the use of such drugs may shorten the person's life by increasing the risk of heart attacks or stroke.
I know if I ever started getting into such a state, I'd want them to use the drugs, beause I'd far rather have a slightly shorter life at higher quality, than prolonged misery for myself and my loved ones.
As for getting help for your mom, the problem at this stage may be that she feels well enough still to reject any suggestion that she might need to see anyone or to accept any help. Then the problem No. 1 is to persuade her that she isn't as happ and content as she should be and could be, and that the advice of a suitable specialist could help improve the quality of life as she experiences it. A geriatrician may be a useful consultant, and though any good geriatrician should be very familiar with mental healt issues as well as physical problems in the elderly, it may be less upseting to her than a direct referral to a psychiatrist.
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