When relatives were pushed to their limits in caring for her

When relatives were pushed to their limits in caring for her

Every 4 seconds, a person worldwide develops dementia. In germany, about 1.5 million people are currently affected by the disease. 3 million diseases expected by 2050. As part of dementia week, we look at the topic from different angles. We accompany caregivers in old people's homes, talk to people who provide outpatient care and take a look at current research.

They have tested it. They put the clothes on the dresser in the bedroom – underwear, socks, pants and sweater. Then they said goodbye. We're going to church, they said. When they came back later the mother was dressed. Look at that, thought andrea meister, it's possible on your own after all.

Andrea meister is 47 years old, lives in the district of kronach, together with her father she takes care of her mother at home, she tells her story under the condition to remain anonymous, she really lives differently, all other facts are true.

The doubts of a daughter

Andrea meister's mother is 83 years old when she is diagnosed with stage one dementia. Today, four years later, her mother is in phase three and andrea meister is at the end of her rope.

It started with depressions, at some point the old lady just cursed about everything, then came the word-finding difficulties. The family doctor sent her to a neurologist, who diagnosed dementia.

Since then, there have been days when andrea meister has doubts. In herself, whether she can cope with it all, and in her mother, whether she is really as ill as she appears to be. "When she goes for a walk, she finds her way back, but when she has to get dressed alone, she supposedly can't manage it." Therefore the test.

The "survival instinct, calls it christine pfadenhauer, 46 years old, active in the management team of the social station in steinwiesen. "When the going gets tough, many patients can still draw on their last reserves." Or they pretend. If you can't think of a name, look for synonyms, say "the rough", "the little one". That's why strangers often don't even notice the illness when they talk to them for a short time.

The first time andrea meister thought her mother had given up was when she came home from work and her mother asked her, "what are you going to do now?? Also nothing?" Master replied: "i now have two baskets of washing to bucket, you could actually help with bucketing once." Their mother said: "i don't have to do any more booing, i've done enough booing in my life already."

She doubts whether they might not have taken too much from her mother, whether they should have been more consistent. "It's a vicious circle. We want to help, and in the end we may make things worse."

A gratuity hike

When meister comes home from her part-time job, she does the laundry for her parents, cleans, tidies up, takes her mother to the doctor, goes shopping – it will probably be 16 hours a week. Her father cooks, and since her mother was once admitted to the hospital dehydrated because she had forgotten to drink, he controls her. Once a week, the outpatient care service comes to take a shower. For some time now, the mother has been going to day care three times a week. The father was initially against it, then he himself became ill for a short time, there was no other way. At first it was two days. At some point he came and said, "maybe three wasn't bad.

The relatives, says pfadenhauer, often go beyond their limits. The inhibition threshold to accept help from others is often rough. "But experience shows that once the help is admitted, the wall falls quite quickly."

In nordhalben there is a circle of relatives, once a month people affected by dementia can exchange their experiences. Pfadenhauer would like to see more such offers for employees. Caritas offers one-time counseling sessions for those affected by the disease, and if they provide outpatient care, they try to pay attention to what can be taken away from their relatives. Often that's not enough.

Three times a week, the mother is now picked up at nine in the morning for day care, where she gets breakfast. Her husband still makes her something to eat and a cup of coffee every morning. Even if the time from eight, when she gets up, to nine, often brings him to the edge of despair. She asks: "when is the bus coming??", then: "the bus is coming?" And then again: "when is the bus coming??" And "the bus really does come?" It goes on for an hour. Then she is gone and her husband is bored. Until five o'clock, when the bus brings his wife back.

Sometimes he yells at his wife: "I've already told you ten times that it's saturday today," she says quietly." His wife then looks at him and says: "you'll see, you'll become like me too." Andrea meister never cries. When it becomes too much for her, she goes out and closes the door. Then, for example, when the mother asks again every three minutes what she can do now. When andrea meister says, "do the dishes," her mother shakes her head: "no, I can't do that. I don't know anything anymore", she says. And meister thinks: "when someone is demented, he doesn't know that he doesn't know anything."

When more is simply not possible

It's the twitchy thing about the disease, says pfadenhauer, the condition can change almost half-hourly. What you knew a minute ago is gone a few minutes later. You witness your own disappearance.
You notice something is wrong and yet you can't do anything about it. Fear of one's own helplessness often turns into aggression. You need security. Something to hold on to. Something that happens every day. She asks three times a minute if the bus is really coming.

When more and more of a person disappears, the last thing to remain are the characteristics that have always been dominant. Andrea meister's mother always wanted everything to dance to her tune.
Slowly she is reaching her limits, says the master. Not physically – she doesn't mind the work – it's the mental, the constant repetition, the restlessness, the jittery. "If you were quiet, it wouldn't be so bad." And then there's that fear that sometimes comes when she's closed the door behind her again. The fear that she could think later, she had to do more. "But I can't do any more than I can", she says softly. Then the tears come to her.
The names of the people concerned have been changed by the editors.


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