My mom has Alzheimer’s. We moved her back in with us about 2.5 years ago so we could care for her. She has a miniature dachshund that came with her (Dotty). Dotty is my mom’s little baby. She carries her around, sleeps with her, walks her twice a day, slips her extra food and treats. You name it. Or at least she did. My mom’s Alzheimer’s has progressed and we have seen some dramatic changes in the last month. The most alarming change is her anger towards Dotty. She has become down right mean towards Dotty. Some behavior is just confusing to Dotty – being shut out of her bedroom, not being walked twice a day, etc. But I’m catching my mom doing things that I think will eventually hurt Dotty physically. We have been keeping Dotty separate from my mom (during the day, keeping her in another locked room, crating her at night) but my mom goes and gets her – presumably because she misses her. And then her mood changes and she’s mean again. We are trying to get my mom into a care facility but have been working on that for 4 months and still don’t have a facility that can take her. I don’t know what to do to make sure Dotty isn’t hurt. And I think I the issue is getting somewhat urgent. Any suggestions?
This is certainly a very sensitive and tricky situation. You must be losing sleep trying to figure out the right way to handle this. There really isn’t an easy answer. Obviously, the safety of both your Mom and Dotty are extremely important. If your Mom is unable to care for Dotty or is abusive, it is time to remove Dotty from the home. Is it feasible for another family member to take are of Dotty and possibly bring her by for short visits? If the visits cause your Mother to get agitated and/or insist Dotty stay and then the abusive cycle begins again, you may have to refrain from bringing Dotty around.
It is possible that your Mom moves past this phase of anger and can once again be the sweet caregiver for Dotty she always has been. It is widely accepted that pets can be great therapy for dementia patients. Once you are able to secure a place for her in a home, you may be able to bring Dotty for visits there as well. Good luck and please let us know how this goes!