Jane in MA
Reply with quote #1
After 10 days in a psychiatric wing of a hospital where everyone was amused, perplexed, and clueless about my mother's imaginary boyfriend, Kevin, she was released back to her NH yesterday. All they did was put her on 5m of Aricept and said it sounds like Lewy Body Disease, which is another form of Alzh and cannot be cured. I saw her today and she told me that she and Kevin are thinking about taking a drive up the coast. Apparently Kevin can still drive. They want to get their own apartment and make a go of it. They love each other and Kevin will take good care of her. Then tonight she called me to give me the 'good news'. Kevin has been given an apartment with four rooms, that includes all the utilities and appliances. It even has a washing machine in the kitchen and meals are included in the rent (she is covering all the bases of protest). They are hoping to move in this weekend but they need me to help them move the TV. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THIS!?? I am like flabbergasted. This is an imaginary man!! She has not ebven met him but they have agreat time chit cahtting all day and making plans. He is two years younger than my mother, a heavy set guy like her, he even has a last name finally.. Jouyvillex. (I had her spell this twice for me and she did it the same both times). Out of curiosity, I looked up that name. Google doesn't even get a single hit on it. Oh yeah, she even has the address of this apartment.. 93 Main Street in Chelmsford, MA. I googled thatand got nothing. I don't think there is a 93 Main Street. I told her whatever makes her happy is fine with me. She said they will get married and live legally, of course. I asked her if I should be expecting any new brothers or sisters. She laughed with glee and seemed to get the joke! I just don't get it!!! And I'm not sure how long I can keep up this 'farce' of believing her too much longer. It's really really hard. She is so happy with him and cries all the time when she feels threatened that they/we will keep her from him. I asked her why I have not met this Kevin yet. She said "Oh, ..you will." Heaven, help me! ~Jane
Reply with quote #2
jane in ma, i am seldom speechless, as everyone here kows, but this one got my tongue! i have no idea what you should say to keep up the pretense. personally, i think i would prefer an imaginary boyfriend, so much easier to train, argue with and no mess to clean up! i'm sorry, i don't mean to be flippant on something that is clearly driving you nuts but i just don't know what else to say. hang in there, maybe they'll have a spat and break up.
Reply with quote #3
I know this is a serious problem, but I found the way you portrayed it so funny! Anyway, as long as she doesn't try to actually leave the NH, I think I would continue to play along. It sounds like the idea of Kevin brings her a lot of joy.
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I feel for you i went though 10 years of taking care of my father we kept him home I went though every thing from him getting out one nite and we live on the water i was so upset that i an out in front of a deputy it was raining and cold when the police stopped i told him that my father was missing there he was sitting in the back seat wet muddy and he said tell her I'm alright i went to my knees in the mud and i was in my night gown the next day we bought alarms and put on the doors .to him telling me not to tell mom that he had married Silva and she had 7 children we don't know a Silva but i told him to tell her to move in and help take care of him we never heard of her again i have chased critters out of his room so hang in there now i am taking care of my mom she 82 and blind with shadow vision has copd and on o2 24/7 and has breast cancer last year had her left breast removed so here i go one more time but she is easier to take care of
Jane in MA
Reply with quote #5
Oh no guys.. that wasn't the end of it. Not by a long shot. She called me again. (The first time when she told me the good news about Kevin's apartment was at 6:45PM).. Then she called me at 8:30 when she should have been in her bed and unable to reach her phone. This time she wants to know what I though about their having a wedding reception. She said she did not want a 'big to do". But "I suppose we should have something for everybody." I asked her, "Who do you think will be there, mom?' She said me and my family of course, but also Kevin's parents.
"Uh.. mom. How old is Kevin?" I ask "Well, he's two years younger than I am, so that would make him 79." "So then his parents would be over 100, right?" "No, they would maybe be in their 80's I think" "Ok mom. Let's say that we round up Kevin's age to 80, and figure that his parents had him when they were 20 years old.. Thed's have to be 100 years old!!! Right??" Long pause, Heavy breathing. "Oh, you're making my brain hurt." I then told her she needs to go to bed and stop making plans ands stop calling me. She asks me why. I say because it's late. "I'll call you in the morning then." She says. ""Please do not call too early." I plead. "Why?" "Because I may be sleeping!!" "Is quarter to 9 OK?" "No.. pleaase wait til after 9:30". Long Pause. Heavy breathing. "Why?" she asks. "Because I have a life, too. I amy be sleeping or I may be out someplace." Long Pause. Heavy Breathing. "well. I am going to decide what is best for me and I'll do this." "Ok- you do what you want. I 'll talk s to you later." (me) Click. YAAAAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!! I think I have to disconnect her phone somehow without hurting her feelings. But she is so darned smart.. she's smart. She's also dillusional.. which may be the worse combination. ...and yes this is kind of funny. We do have our giggles and winks. Its like watching one of those British sitcoms with the ditzy old lady. I have to find it amusing or I'd cry. But I can't deal with these phone calls. She even found a way to call me when she was in the hospital. She had the nurse call me and have me call her at a payphone in the hallway!
Reply with quote #6
Is there a way for Kevin to be "useful"? (As in, "Kevin needs you to stay off the phone. He might be calling and you don't want to miss him.")
Reply with quote #7
ask your mom for kevin's parent's phone number and you will talk to them to see what might be convenient for them for a reception. let mom know that since they are older you want to make it as easy for them as possible. then let her kknow you will talk to her about it after you talk to them.
Reply with quote #8
My goodness Jane, I hardly know what to say! The way you write about it is funny, but the situation isn't when you have to deal with it, I know. Dad gets delusional every time he has a UTI but not any other time. Your mom is sure detailed in her delusions! Is this boyfriend maybe somebody she has fixated on from her distant past? It is all so strange! I will sure keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you try to figure the whole thing out. Wow......
Reply with quote #9
You are handling this in such a sweet way, Jane. It must be hard to figure it out as you go along, though. It must be hard to see your mom like this. She seems so fixated on the details of all of this. Two of my children had imaginary friends. They had to come along on family car trips and at times I even set an extra place at the table. It seemed age appropriate and harmless. I can't even begin to imagine how to deal with this in an elderly parent. I'm kind of new here but am sending you hugs and good thoughts.
Reply with quote #10
Jane, you have a great sense of humor, and I think you are handling her situation just fine, although I'm sure it's driving you a little batty! I loved the comment about getting a new sibling!
As far as the phone calls, it may be hard to keep her from calling, but you can certainly find ways to screen your calls. Get an answering machine or use your voicemail. Turn off the ringer when you sleep. If it's really making you nuts, get a new cell phone and use it for most things and don't share the number with mom. Or tell mom you changed your phone number, and get a cell phone that is dedicated only to incoming mom calls.
Reply with quote #11
oh gosh Jane... ugh !!! She is truly worked up about this delusion. How awful. It is amazing how you have played along so far... I don't know if I could have done it. A wedding reception ?!!! I agree with Sheila, after a certain time in the evening - TURN OFF that ringer, let it go to voicemail/answering machine. She is in a NH. If she has issues, they should be able to handle them. I also wonder if, subconsciously, this is a way to be able to call you, ALL the time, because there are so many details to be worked out.... in her mind of course. Dementia is so bizarre. Hang in there. Try not to let it drive you crazy okay? Even if she calls in the morning, let it go. Just let it go. There is nothing DIRE that she needs... 'daughter'(beth)
Reply with quote #12
admittedly I don't know much about dementia but in reading your posts, I'd garner that your mom was always creative. It appears that all that creative nature has been swirling around in mom to create a world she desires. Maybe reliving her youth and 'writing' it to suit her dreams and desires, She is recapturing something women often long for; romance. This seems to give her hope and purpose and something to live for. So many times we hear the elders talk about things of their youth that they enjoy reminiscing about. Your mom seems to be doing that and recreating it the way she wants, much like a writer creating a storyline. I don't know how to handle it other than allowing her her dreamworld to the point you are able without allowing it to hurt her or place her in danger...just offering another explanation...kind of like escaping from reality to a better place where you can control the characters, scenes and plot.
Several months back I took the boys to Pizza Hut and at a nearby table sat an old woman and another woman, obviously the elder's daughter. At the end of their table, sat a high chair and in it a baby doll. As we ate, I watched the old woman reach over and take the baby doll from the high chair, pat it, talk to it and snuggle it on her lap and she continued eating. Obviously this woman, created another world where she again has a baby. Her daughter seemed to lovingly accept and help mom in her fantasy. Though this seems easier to control that your mother wanting to run off to a new apartment. Could Kevin move in with her? Perhaps well placed 'seeds' that gently move her mind to circumstances whereby she can have her fantasy and still operate within the bounds of reality. Not an argument or an exercise to make her believe, just the occassional drop the seed of thought to a certain direction and leave it be for awhile. Plan a little reception in the common room, complete with cake and just try to keep her within the bounds of what is realistic as far as logostics are concerned. JMHO. I wish you luck and moreso patience.
Reply with quote #13
Oh my, your mother is sure delusional. I do not think there is any point trying to disagree with her delusion, and it probably has a lot to do with the changes in her brain. Lewy bodies is a term to deposits in the brain. Here's a good informative site. Its long, but around page 6, they talk more about delusions. Maybe this will be of some help. http://www.realmentalhealth.com/alzheimers/caregivers_9_08.asp
Reply with quote #14
Jane I am sorry you are going through this ordeal with your Mother. If being creative in your younger years makes one nutty as a fruit cake in older years, I am doomed. I think I would tell your Mother that you must meet Kevin's parents to see if you approve of Kevin before they marry. Make it so she has to produce Kevin in the flesh or at least tell her that you must meet him and his parents before you can let her have her new life.
Reply with quote #15
I'd just add, that the more 'roadblocks' you throw in her way, the more agitated and determined she becomes to just work around you. Unless you want to medicate her beyond thinking and dreaming, I'd say the only recourse you have is to rein it in as much as possible without upsetting her and incorporate it into your dealings with mom. Acceptance, I guess. Of course I am not dealing with the issue, you are and I may just be another off the wall backseat driver.
This may seem irrelevant to you but I am reminded of it: I was taught, that when young children begin to come home from school with their artwork, never to ask, what is it? as some will get upset that you don't recognize their work. The more appropriate way to handle it is, tell me about it. You show interest without upsetting the little artist. Your mom obviously wants to share this with you. Let her talk, that may just be enough.