Thursday, September 9, 2010

The neighbour says I'm imagining it

I feel so annoyed and frustrated with people who've never dealt with dementia. This week has been a nightmare. Due to a badly leaking tap washer that had to be ordered and takes five days to get here from Melbourne, I've had to go and turn on the water in the mornings for Mum to have a shower, then turn it right off again, or all the hot water would run down the drain and the cost would be terrible.

I found someone to fix the washer, but the neighbour doesn't approve of the man. He spoke to my mother while I was at work and convinced her not to let him into the house. My mother agreed because she'll agree to anything someone else suggests. This neighbour plans to ring a plumber for Mum. That will cost around $200. I'm trying to sort the matter out.

I said to the neighbour, "My daughter has Power of Attorney and she makes all decisions on maintenance and money, and I have Guardianship so I make the decisions on Mum's care."

The neighbour replied, "There's nothing wrong with your mother. She comes up here to visit us and talks to us perfectly normally. She knows why the water is off at her house, she understands it's the tap washer. You and your daughter don't have the right to make her decisions. She can make her own decisions."

What can you say to someone like that! Every day, I get dozens of calls from Mum. "I haven't got any water." "I need to ring the Water Board, my taps are not working." "Everything is broken in my house, the toilet is broken, the taps in the laundry and the kitchen are all broken." "I need to call a plumber and get all my taps fixed."

The information, "The tap washer is broken. It's a special one that's been ordered and will soon be fixed" does not stay in her head for more than 30 seconds.

When the neighbour spoke to Mum, he would have said, "Your tap washer is broken" and she would have replied "Yes, I know that's why the water has to be turned off", because the neighbour had reminded her of what was wrong. If he'd asked her 2 minutes later, "Why is the water off at your house?" she would not have had a clue. She can only respond sensibly to such questions if the questioner has either given her the correct answer or given her enough hints so she can respond with the correct answer.

Those who have had to deal with someone who has Alzheimers will know exactly what I mean. They can present such a good front to others, they can have good conversations and not get confused depending on what subject is being discussed, they are experts at avoiding subjects they know will trip them up.

And they make it look as if you, the carer, are just trying to get a perfectly well elderly person into a nursing home for your own advantage.

Outsiders have NO idea what is going on.


  1. I had my husband tell me to fire that plumber! I can identify. So frustrating to have a neighbor interfere.

  2. Yes! They can seem to fool people they dont see often or speak to for long periods. then they make YOU feel like the crazy one!

    That is quite a nosey neighbor sticking his nose in someone else's business too.

  3. The neighbor should mind their own business! Yes, a person with Alzheimer's can fool people (not on purpose of course), but they just do....if you aren't around them a lot and don't ask questions, you can be fooled.

    People in my Sunday school class comment to me frequently that David is doing so good...., for one hour he is.
    Thinking of you with sympathetic thoughts....


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