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over 5 years ago
Ranae1221 said...

I'm not sure where you live, but maybe your mom could use a Fiduciary; a neutral person to help monitor her finances, pay bills, etc. This way your mom can't accuse you of doing anything inappropriate because you have nothing to do with it, and that stress is off of you. With that no longer being an underlying issue, the tension may decrease.

It sounds like your mom already had some issues, and with the dementia, it is very common for people to become paranoid or accuse others of stealing their money, items, etc.

I read a book once called "The 36 hour day". It was a great help in explaining why a person with dementia does or says some of the things they say. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it!

While not easy, maybe start small. A quick phone call. Say you want to see how she is doing. If she says she can't talk, don't question it. Just say you will call back at a better time. Call the next day or 2 days after. Same thing. When/if she says she can't talk, again don't question her about it. Make sense? Hopefully after a few times, she will see that you aren't going to take her bait and she will start to put her defenses down.

Hopefully others will be here soon and have some tips to share as well :)

over 5 years ago
ra_23_Sept2014 said...

Hi SusanMcD,

Unfortunately it sounds as though your mother is in that lovable stage of dementia where accusations and paranoia rule. You must remember this is a disease - though I did read recently the theories of one Doctor claiming that dementia isn't a disease, it's the logical outcome of a selfish society. OUCH! Remind me not to go to him.

Anyway...I know how hard it is, I do it myself, not to take these things to heart. What simplistic babble, isn't it? Many of us try most of our lives trying to gain approval from our parents...and many of us learn too late that it can't be done and that's their problem, not ours. We should stand tall and succeed in spite of that. Sounds so simple, and sounds like such bullhockey at the same time. But, it true.

Now compound that with something like dementia and the result can be demoralizing. I know...I struggle with it daily. I tell myself it's the disease. I cook, I clean, I launder, I do yard work, I clean up after episodes of incontinence and there is no 'Thank you'...sometimes there is simply no acknowlegement. I am a disappointment.

Then I have to tell myself, I do the best I can and start another day. It's the disease. I saw a post from another caregiver that went something like this (pardon my license if the writer reads this):

When they are angry - it's the disease. When they are paranoid - it's the disease. If they were critical years ago - that was then. That was something different.

Anyway, that helps me. Whatever her issues were, were her's. The disease is what exists now. I can't cure her, fix her, or change any of that. It just is. It is not fair...but, oh well. Walk away, do not initiate arguments, do not expect apologies or promises. It is the disease and we did not cause it.

Do what YOUR heart tells you is right...and forgive yourself. You are not responsible for your mother's behavior.

Big hug!

over 5 years ago
SusieJ said...

Hi SMD! Are you sure we aren't twins separated at birth? That mom you're describing sounds suspiciously like mine! Only I have a brother too. Mom says she's glad my brother doesn't treat her like I do. She also says she can't figure out what's wrong with him, that she raised him right and she thinks he must have been raised by wolves. And she said recently that maybe she should have drowned him when he was young! He's the good one in her mind! It seems to me that whatever personality traits a person has are magnified as they age. My mom was always missing some filters. I believe she's now having so much small vessel disease (little mini srokes that go unnoticed physically) that her ability to reason (what there was to begin with) is missing.

It sometimes helps me to think that while she can be nice to some people but not me, maybe her tirades are simply her attempt to voice the fear of her declining health with me. Hmmm, or maybe she's just a little meaner than before. Who knows. My brilliant husband gets along great with her. He just smiles and nods at whatever she says and agrees with her and basically ignores whatever she says.

You sound like a wonderful, caring daughter and I'll bet that at least some of those people she tells mean stuff to don't believe her anyway. I agree with finding an independent 3rd party to help with the finances. There is an organization of volunteers called Ombudsmen that work with nursing homes in most states. The group might be able to suggest someone to help with some of those financial tasks or at least recommend someone to do it. It's hard even though I have my brother and husband take part of the burden. My best suggestion is to tell yourself she doesn't have the ability to self-regulate her hostility (which is likely part of her illness) so don't take it to heart if you can help it. Get together with people who care about you-- like us! It's hard knowing that you're losing your mom to old age and illness, and it's especially hard for those of us who never had one of those loving, caring moms that had endearing things to say to you. A double loss. May peace be with you!

over 5 years ago
SharonAnn said...

Oh dear. What a challenge it is to deal with these things. My solution may not work for you but it certainly worked for me. My dad had been critical and demanding all my life. After my mother's death, he got worse about it, particularly with me. As the oldest of a large family, he saw me as "replacing" my mother and, of course, I couldn'tlive up to that.

After a finally intolerable episodes of accusations and blame, I realized that he would never be the father I wanted him to be and that this relationship was hurting me, so I "divorced" him. I broke that link where one expects connectedness, understanding, love and sympathy with a family member. And it worked. For the first time in my life I felt free.

To me he became an elder person whom I treated with respect and even affection at times. As if he were the crusty old neighbor next door. It was an incredible change and I can't explain it in any other way than saying that I "divorced" him. He was not longer part of my intimate family life but was rather and acquaintance, a neighbor whom i treated with respect but didn't expect anything from.

It was intensely freeing and allowed me to participate in the care decision for his last days without being torn apart by unresolved emotional issues.

over 5 years ago
gala62 said...

My sympathies for the loss of your father and now this stress. My advice would be to contact every agency possible that might be of help: local Office of the Aging, Ombudsman, and also the facility where she is staying. Ask for referrals and advice, that's what they are there for. Definitely get one (or more) third parties involved to take the load away from you. As an only child of an only child, you don't have the family support that large families might - so use outside sources to help.

And please don't feel at all guilty for giving yourself the gift of peace. I love the idea above of "divorcing" a difficult relative. I didn't phrase it that way to myself, but essentially that is what I've done to my mostly absent, emotionally lazy father.

Once a third party is involved, you may find occasional contact with your mother is acceptable and then again, you may not. You will have a choice - and that is the critical point. All my best wishes for you.

over 5 years ago

Wow, what you've been through!! I'm glad, for your sake, that you DID blow; from what you've told us, I'm afraid that you would've had a nervous breakdown or worse if you finally hadn't let off the volcano that's been building in you all your life. Please, listen to the others here who've been in similar situations; it sounds like they have good advice. What I'd have to say is, it sounds to me like you're no longer a "doormat"; you've taken control of your interactions with your mother and are no longer being her "punching bag"; GOOD FOR YOU!!!!! Your mother sounds like she's always been a mean, manipulative, selfish, vicious, violent person; any problems she's had in the past with you were HER PROBLEMS AND NOT YOURS--YOU DID NOTHING WRONG--SHE HAD NO RIGHT TO TREAT YOU THAT WAY!!!!! Now that she has dementia, her behavior is worse, and I know about that; my mom has Alzheimer's, and although she was a good, loving mother, now all kinds of weird stuff comes out of her mouth. She, too, is sometimes convinced that we're stealing her stuff, taking her money, trying to take advantage of her. She even was convinced at one time that my brother was in a Mexican drug gang, smuggling stuff into the country!!!! (We laugh at that one, now.). You cannot take any of that to heart, it is indeed the disease, but made worse by her normal self.

If people she talks to are relating what she says about you to you, then I think I would assume that they don't believe her, and are trying to let you know what's going on and what to expect. As for needing therapy, you said a nurse gave you a tranquilizer; check at that hospital for programs that you may qualify for to get the help you need. They may be able to refer you to someone or a group who work for free. Now is the time for you to take care of yourself, and give yourself the validation you sought from your parents and never got. You've been "there" for her all your life and she's just taken advantage of you and abused you; you owe her nothing except the basic things you must do. I think she's probably past the stage of needing to live in a care facility, and she definitely SHOULDN'T ever drive again; she's a danger to herself and others. I think SharonAnn's idea is an excellent one, and it might work for you. It certainly sounds like an ingenious way of saving your sanity! Talk to your husband, let him know (if he doesn't already) how much this is tearing you apart. You need support and help from him; you haven't mentioned him much, so I hope he's being there for you. A fiduciary sounds like an excellent idea, someone needs to take care of her finances and make sure the help she needs now is taken care of, especially the high costs of dementia and end-of-life care that will come in time. YOU ARE NOT A HATEFUL DAUGHTER FOR WANTING SOME PEACE!! You NEED and, most importantly, DESERVE SOME PEACE!! You have been loving, caring and helpful all your life, hurting yourself to preserve the peace in the house. You need to care for yourself now as you need and deserve to be. It seems your mother never knew how to care for others, married someone like herself (you said they were both manipulative and controlling), and tried to always have her way. Maybe she treated you like she did to give herself some validation and to make herself feel better. That's what bullies do, and maybe she'd never been treated with love and caring. You'll never know one way or the other, but you mustn't let her cruel treatment of you all your life continue to torment you. You've broken yourself free and must continue to stay free. Don't visit or call for awhile; when you do contact her, I'd call first, and at the first sign of hurtful words or attitudes, tell her "I'm not putting up with that anymore. Goodbye." and hang up. Keep doing that everytime you have contact with her, and maybe it'll help. However, since she has dementia and short-term memory is probably nonexistent now, don't be surprised if it doesn't. However, it will help you, because you'll be in charge of the situation and she will no longer be able to hurt you however she wants; YOU won't be letting her do it!

God bless you and keep you safe. Please keep coming back here; we care and will be here for you. Good luck and treat yourself with the love, care and consideration you deserve as a good-hearted person.

over 5 years ago
a Redneck Angel said...

Forget the phone calls; send cards :)
My situation with my Mom is similar, though not as extreme as (luckily) I had the help of an investment counsulor who, with my Mom helped us make a plan for the distribution of her money several years ago, while her mind was clearer.
However, concerning her attitude towards me: who I am & how I live--is & always has been, much like yours. Needless to say we are not emotionally close & as her mind has worstened it deteriorated to the point that she was not able to live by herself. So I moved her to my place where she lives semi-independantly (in her own little apartment) and, with her income, I am able to hire someone to look after her so I can get on with my own life. I still go to see her everyday that I am home to bring her meals, mail, laundry, etc., but depending on the tenor of the conversation, sometimes they are very short visits! I don't feel particularly good about our relationship--there is sadness for the mother/daughtor relationship that never will be--but I do feel like I am doing the "right thing" regardless of how she treats me. Before she moved to my place, she lived several states away & what I did to "keep in touch" was to send at least a card a week. There are so many pretty cards on the market the supply is endless. That way she will have something in-hand to show you are thinking of her.

over 5 years ago

If your mother has dememtia then I would think that she could be appointed a guardian. This does not have to be you. Let someone else take over the burden. That will not stop her from accusing you but it will protect her from herself and other people that might try to use her. I agree with SharonAnn. Sometimes you have to divorce people. Maybe treat her as someone you have never met, not abandon her just introduce yourself as a loving person. I did that with my dad sometimes. I just said "I know that I am a good person and nothing you say will change that." The problem probably is that you believe her and she is wrong. When I did that it kind of shut him up and made his realize what he was saying and it also convinced me that I was doing the best I could. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. The people in the rehab center could walk away when she said things and I think that is what you have to do. Do what you can and then walk away and try again another time. That takes the control out of her hands and puts it in yours. You are the one that can dictate the course of the conversation. She might change and she might not. Dont forget that there are phases of dementia and this might be just one that ends sometime. Always look for the end of the phase.

over 5 years ago
emoji said...

Been there done that. I feel your pain. I always had a great relationship with my loving, caring father. But my relationship with my mother was strained. My father passed away from cancer in October of 1992. My plan was to walk away from the funeral and never look back. I had no intention of continuing any sort of relationship with my mother. However, one of my Father's last requests was for me to take care of Mom. I begged...please anything but that. Now, 18 years has passed and Mother is 95 years old. She can't stand, walk, dress herself, feed herself and doesn't even know who I am. She calls me a name of someone who isn't even in our family. She was in assisted living three years then in a nursing home a year and a half. We've run out of money so she is now living with me. She always wanted to keep control of her finances but was making a mess of it. With a POA, my sister and I have managed her money. She believed I was mismanaging it and was cheating her. I have been trying to reason with myself explaining her mistrust to be a byproduct of the dementia. It seems the closer they get to death, the more precious they consider their "things." I threatened to build a tome where I could bury all her things with her as if she was an egyptian pharoh. Dementia is an ugly thing and it makes people do and say ugly things. Just know in your own mind that you are doing the best you can for her because in the long run you have to live with the decisions you make. It's not her fault nor is it yours, it is just the nature of the disease. Do what you must and if she doesn't like it, wait a minute and she'll be on to the next drama. Good luck.

over 5 years ago
Eldercoach said...

Dear Susan, My heart goes out to you. After years of a difficult relationship, now the accusations and abuse continue just when your mother needs more help. Certainly all the replies to your message lets you know that many other adult children face the same problem.

I'm a coach who supports and advises families on eldercare issues and the relationship that you have is all too common. I advise my clients to work on establishing reasonable boundaries when dealing with their parent. It includes many of the ideas that you already have heard, hire professionals to buffer you, a fiduciary and possibly a geriatric care manager who would manage your mother's care. Limit your visits and calls or limit the amount of time that you spend on the phone and visiting. When she becomes abusive, end the call or visit. Since she has dementia I wouldn't bother with explaining the consequences of her actions to her because she is likely unable to learn and grow in that way. Not that given her past behavior she seemed able or willing to change before.

Someone else gave you the advise of counseling for yourself. I think this is an excellent idea because this has to be all about you. It's time for you to build and heal from your poor relationship with your mother. You might say that the dam bursting in the hospital was the sign that you are ready to live differently.

Based on what you have described I'm guessing that you will never have the acknowledgment and connection that you seek from your mother. You will have to find your peace from inside yourself. Good luck on your journey.

over 5 years ago
SusanMcD said...

Dear EVERYOHE ~ I am overwhelmed with your kind, caring, and thoughtful responses. THANK YOU.

My mother has had a bookkeeper, of her choice (a good one, I know her) handling all her financial affairs for well over a month, and for a while prior to her accident. Once she had her accident, I took the bookkeeping back over as I had all the accident/insurance information and really, it was much easier to simply do it than explain it to someone else. I had been handling everything and was happy to do it, but Mother told me one time too many "every time you look at me you have dollar signs in your eyes". That was it. Now she pays someone $400 a month to do what I did for free. sigh

My mother is still in the assisted living facility. I have not spoken with her since July 4th. From what I hear, she will not be going home anytime soon, if ever. In the meantime, she is paying for her main home, a vacation home, and THREE vehicles; not to mention all the insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc. If anything, I was trying to SAVE her money, but she'll never be convinced of that. SOMEONE needs to see "dollar signs" ~ I can see her checking account has decreased over $20K since late June. That's a huge outflow. My concern does not = greed.

My mother isn't nearly "bad" enough to warrant a guardian, and she'd never permit it so long as she has one brain cell remaining. It's going to be a fine pickle when she loses that last cell, as she has appointed no one to manage her estate and no one can convince her to do so. God knows what I'll be up against then.

I think things will just need to run their natural course for now. I am seeking help, but cannot afford much.

Mother's birthday is Sept. 3rd. I've decided to send flowers and a card. She'll practically be forced to thank me; if she doesn't, that will speak volumes. She isn't far enough gone to forgot to thank people. She is now paying her friends $200 a month to care for her main home and plants. For pete's sake!!!! (I can access her checking account online and view it. I would never DREAM of taking anything out of it)

I know at this moment it sounds as if all I am concerned about is the money. YES, I'm concerned about it ~ she's now throwing it around like it's candy. She was much more cautious of it when I was involved. YES, I do have concern for her as a person, too.

This situation is so confusing and complex. I simply cannot explain it all here. Hope you understand.

Meanwhile, I very much appreciate the support and advice offered, I truly, truly do. (((((HUGS))))) and HUGE THANK YOU to everyone.

over 5 years ago
Sobeitfornow said...

I wish I had the answers for us all. We, my sister and I, are dealing with a deadbeat brother, but he lives in my parents garage apartment and "sees after them". He has lived as a leech off them most of his life. He did work, but never had any money. My parents have raised his kids and done everything for him. He has been in State Jail (not his fault of course) once and jail numerous times and is perhaps on his way once again. "It's the damn cops fault" of course. My brother is 100% Con artist and has spent every dime my parents have with their approval. I get all the services, resources etc for them and at one time was preparing meals every day for them. I've been cussed out by my dad over my brother's behaviour and his kids do not speak to me. I dare not expect anyone to make a living for themselves since they are grown.

The last time I was there my brother offered to kill me because I turned "the eye" off downstairs while my sister and I were there visiting. He has the little monitor upstairs to see what mom and dad are doing, but he knew we were there and he called downstairs on mom and dad's 3rd phone extention and said we were talking about him was the reason we turned on the monitor. He said I was a Ct, B*h, Fking wished I was dead and he was going to come down there and cut my fking head off. Lovely words from a brother who is 19 years younger than me. I told him we simply wanted to visit and he was welcome to come down and visit too. We just didn't want to be viewed by "the eye" everytime we go over. He never comes down to visit when we are there. Dad and mom are in their middle 80's and need care. A nurse comes 3 times a day to monitor their health issues. Mom has dementia but she ALWAYS REMEMBERS our 48 year old brother was a preemie and their only son and they worry themselves to pieces if he is not there. Wondering where their baby is.

I had to step away and let him take are of them. I finally started seeing a therapist to help me deal with the family dynamics. There is so much pain, where there should be so much love and we should all (the children) be the sheltering trees for our parents, but if they come at us like a crocodile we need a 3rd party intervention. Perhaps a chaplain could meet with the two of you. I'm thinking on that line myself. My therapist asked me how it felt to be the only sane person in a sea of insanity. I told her "lonely". My sister trys to stay "middle of the road" and won't back me on anything, therefore our parents are broke and our brother is still there. I gave up trying to do anything about it. It hurts, but I can't handle biting my tonque all of the time.

Try the chaplin and get a therapist for yourself. You need to talk it out. I feel better talking and I work out my own issues in doing this plus my therapist as ideas that help me know I need to get control of my own life.

Hugs to you and we all know were you are coming from. I still see my parents though not as much now.


over 5 years ago
Memmie said...

Susan, As others have suggested, it is important that you seek out all available assistance. The assisted living facility should have a social worker, and certainly an ombudsman. Please contact your local Area agency on Aging as well. They can refer you to so many resources for support.
I am currently a live-in caregiver for a 94 year old with dementia and heart disease, but was a Director of Nursing in a long term care facility for several years. The paranoia you are experiencing is so often a symptom of this horrible disease. As someone else posted, it truly has no relationship to her past behaviors and negativity. Will keep you in my prayers. Mem

over 5 years ago
DolphinsCry said...


My heart goes out to you.

I live with my grandmother (30 days til I am gone, baby, gone). While she doesn't have dementia...well, she's just plain a bitch. Sorry, there is no nicer way to describe her.

She's always reminded Mom and I how she never wanted children, only having Mom to make Gramps happy.

Me....we have not gotten along in years, though I have tried to do the right thing, sticking around, giving up my life, to take care of her.

What do I get for it? Insults (I'm a burden to her, I'm always in the way, I'm a slut/whore (37 and been with 2 people - wait, I forget - I have slept with every platonic friend, and cheated on every boyfriend). Accusations of trying to poison her. "I know you want me dead". Accusations of stealing money. Last week, she accused me of stealing her medication (Does Dilantin even have a street value????)

Lack of trust - I can tell her the sky is blue, she'll insist I'm wrong. A stranger could tell her the sky is purple and pink plaid - she'd believe it.

The grand finale: "I'm afraid of you.". That was the straw that broke the camels back. I no longer even feel bad about leaving. She's in mom's hands totally now.

30 more days and I can eat breakfast like a normal person...(I'd be leaving next Sunday, but I need money and landed 11 days as a movie extra)

over 5 years ago
Fraz said...

My reply may or may not help but I'm hoping it will. First of all you'll need to reprogram yourself so you don't take what she says seriously and especially personally. That's not easy to do but you can learn to do that, I was a cop for 8 years and we had to learn not to take insulting comments serously or personally and from my experiences in life in all relationships of any kind we as human beings do say things that are hurtful and most of the time they're completely untrue also. Some things seem to come from the past also, forget the bad things in the past and only remember the good things.

My mom is 86 and has dementia, just last week the Doc said she had Alzheimers and I've been dealing with that everyday also. She had me added on her checking account many years ago and my sister as the Power of Attorney but she now thinks we're both keeping her money and not letting her have any. When she does have cash on hand she forgets where she put it. My Dad is 90 and is showing some signs of dementia now too, he also feels we're both trying to control all his business. They cannot help it, their mind is slowly malfunctioning more and more so you'll need to look at it that way. The mind is the most elaborate computer ever made and at times it'll have a few bugs in the software. I was told once that the Bible says "once an adult & twice the child", and if you look at our parents as they age you'll see the child emerge once again. It took me awhile to learn how to deal with mom & dad but now I find it much easier if I humor them by agreeing with them all the time (even though I do not), our lives are much easier now and they're both more comfortable in their life now too. One thing you need to know also, everyone wants to maintain some independence in thier elderly years and that includes the feeling of control in their lives, we let mom & dad feel that control and independence even though we oversee everything (behind their back)and make sure they don't make any mistakes.

As for her finances I'd suggest what we had to do for my mom, we had her checking account set up so it requires 2 signatures on all the checks written and at the bank for any withdrawals too (a few months ago mom cleaned out her account and hid the money here but can't remember any of it).

I cannot teach you how to let those hurtful things said just go in one ear and out the other but you do need to learn to do that, just remember she's acting like a child and as with a child we need to show some understanding and compassion because they know no better. Once you're able to do that you'll feel much more at ease and happier too, you're side of the conversations with her will be more positive and less negative, that will eventually have her being more positive also. Our actions in life is on a wheel...what goes around comes around also.

Don't expect it all to change overnight, it all takes time and with her dementia there may not be any improvements seen from her. All we can do is try to make their last years as comfortable as we can, my mom and dad are both homebound and the only life they have is all in their mind now, and I try to help them keep that life alive as best as I can.

Best wishes for you and your mom.

over 5 years ago
Taura_Krise said...

Hello, Susan.

I feel your frustration and pain, as my mom behaves much the same way on a daily basis. It's been tough to reprogram myself to respond to her differently!

I've printed the below rules out. I'm working on getting them blown up a bit larger, so that I can post them on the walls in our house! grin


*Tips on communication with dementia patients from Jo Huey's book, Alzheimer's disease Help and Hope: Ten Simple Solutions for Caregivers:

Never argue, instead agree.

Never reason, instead divert.

Never shame, instead distract.

Never lecture, instead reassure.

Never say "remember", instead reminisce.

Never say "I told you", instead repeat what you previously said.

Never say "You can't do that", instead say "do what you can".

Never command or demand, instead ask or model.

Never condescend, instead praise and encourage.

Never force, instead reinforce.


In my mom's current stage of AD - unreasonable, agitated, etc. - I found that the below bullets help remind me to not take it personally!


Don't reason.

Don't argue.

Don't confront.

Don't remind them they forget.

Don't question recent memory.

Don't take it personally!


Give short, one sentence explanations.

Allow plenty of time for comprehension, then triple it.

Repeat instructions or sentences exactly the same way.

Eliminate 'but' from your vocabulary; substitute 'nevertheless.'

Avoid insistence. Try again later.

Agree with them or distract them to a different subject or activity.

Accept blame when something's wrong (even if it's fantasy).

Leave the room, if necessary, to avoid confrontations.

Respond to feelings rather than words.

Be patient and cheerful and reassuring. Do go with the flow.

Practice 100% forgiveness. Memory loss progresses daily.


My appeal to you: Please. Elevate your level of generosity and graciousness!

Best of luck to you, and remember: You are not alone! Come by for a read when you feel like you're on the edge and ready to jump! =o)

over 5 years ago

Susan: You are experiencing much of the unhappy things I have in life, with an unloving, mean, cruel mother.

I had to free myself from her and feel 100% better in my life. The toxic events were holding me down and destroying my life.

Just because someone give birth, does not qualify them to parent. You cannot change Mom, but you can change your life for the better.

God bless you and know that there are many of us out here and I will keep you in my heart.

over 5 years ago
PromiseKept said...

WOW. Why didn't I join sooner. I too have had bouts of irritation and accusations etc with my mother. I am sure there are reasons for each one of us that are just a little different than the other. Without going through everything I will condense the best I can.

Parents 84 and 85. Both still living and being cared for by me and my daughter. Occasional help from one niece and sister.

Siblings - Oldest Brother died at 50 (2004), Middle brother Died at 50 (2005), Sister 6 years older, Me the youngest.

Spent most of my time with my parents since I was the ooopsie baby when my mother was 42. My mother was from a family of 14 children. I tend to look at it as a generation that produced their own workforce for the livelihood of the farm. As well as being catholic and not believing in birth control. So therefore think that 'one on one' time with any of those 14 children was ever given. Hence, my mother seemed to grow up to be a self sufficient woman but very suspicious of anyone helping or really loving her.

We recently went through a rough time where she had lashed out at everyone especially the ones taking care of her. After my two brothers died I took the reins and became the POA for both parents at my fathers request. I have been through rehab twice for my father (brain shunt, emergency brain surgery for clot, heart attack, dementia, macular degeneration. But doing good). My mother has dysphasia, cannot talk and has a feeding tube now, extreme arthritis,and is dependent on us for everything now). She lashed out with many of the same accusations. I was the last one that she started on. She had been through everyone else and when it got to me, the one that can finish her sentences because we had always been so close. I knew that even the typical disposition of my mother all these years toppled with what she has lost as a person by the deaths of two of her children, what she has lost as a woman due to age, that something else was wrong.(yes this IS the condensed version, laugh)

End result: She had many small strokes for a period of time but they cannot determine when, her MRI verified that. She is experiencing dementia and had always had mental issues that should have been addressed. Of course, back then you were committed and that was it. People didn't do that so freely. She was treated for mild bi-polar and was given medicine that has changed all our lives. it does not make her dopey, she is a different person. Appreciative, supportive, caring. The mother I knew was in there and remember growing up. Her mind is pretty sharp as she still plays cards with us and still does her word find puzzles and writes everything. Thats how she communicates with us. Along with hand gestures and of course I can read her lips because after being the one who always "got" my mother, I know her next move. We still have the typical issues as we all do with dementia related parents but it has been a learning experience. It is nice to have her back.

I hope you find some solace and common ground in your situation. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. And as far as your "only child" thing. I may not be, however my daughter is. And I wouldn't ever in a million years trade it for anything. We are very close (still trying to cut that last piece of cord, hahaha). I tried to give her a sense of reality as well as just darn good common sense. She now is the live in care giver for the parents, because I was working. Now that I am in the ranks of the unemployed I spend a lot more time there without the worries of two hours travel time to work and back. And hubby is awesome! Things do get better, it is the times in between that really try ones soul. I get it. Huge Huge hugs to you, I know that feeling in your heart. It tugs and tugs. You will do the right thing. Just don't wait to long to ask a doctor about other mental possibilities.

Ok, I think I am done. :)

over 5 years ago
PromiseKept said...

BRAVO Fraz! EXACTLY. Totally agreed. :) I feel so much better knowing this is all so very normal. I knew it was, but it makes my heart feel better that I am not alone. Hugs to you all...

over 5 years ago
Sobeitfornow said...

There are several real adults on here and I do appreciate your feedback. I, however, had to cut one cord yesterday with my parents and get off their bank account. I got on their account in 2006 to help them after my dad was ill and could not pay his bills with a check because he was too sick to do that. Dad was well for 2 years and then got sick again in 2008, and it has been touch and go since then. I took over the bill paying once again along with my sister each month.

In November my dad demanded his checkbook back to pay the bail bond on my brother. Since then my brother is running rampant with the checkbook. I found out by checking the account. My account is at the same ban; when my brother finishes off mom and dad's account and it goes into arrears he can then go straight into my account. I had my name taken off yesterday. It was hell. The bank wanted me to bring my parents to sign the papers. Mom with dementia and dad ill and nearly bedfast on oxygen, barely walkig, it was an impossible ordeal. I threatened to end my account of 47 years at that bank and they cooperated at that point. They let me get the signatures and bring the paperwork back to the bank. Mom couldn't remember how to spell her name and her beautiful handwriting is gone. She did the best she could, broke my heart, but the banker knew she had dementia and it would be difficult for her to sign; however she did. I feel guilty today for not being able to keep my name on there, but I know my brother and he has no business sense and he doesn't care if they have no money. He never gives us a receipt but the bank statments show he is writing checks for food, bills and pharmacies. When I was keeping their books they didn't have $1500 extra dollars going out each month other than their social security checks which they used for their bills. I am kind to my parents and love them, but don't know what to do about my brother who says he is not abusing the account.

over 5 years ago
ra_23_Sept2014 said...

I believe most states have a hotline to report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of vulnerable adults...and if your folks aren't vunerable, I don't know whose would be. You can report anonymously, but be very specific in the report.

Generally, this is what will happen when financial exploitation is reported:

First the report will go to the police and almost immediately a report will be made to your local office of Adult Protection. The Police will make a report. This is necessary in order to follow up and get legal injunction against the person doing the exploiting, make charges if necessary and process other legal aspects. Social Services folks experienced with vulnerable adults will handle your parents emotional needs at this time and assign a worker to start an investigation, act as their Representative, make sure they are being cared for, etc...providing there is just cause to move ahead on any outcomes of an investigation.

Now remember, this can all be done anonymously so that neither your parents or your brother will be able to prove where the allegation came from. I believe the reporter's name is protected by Federal Statute. If they don't find anything, no harm, no foul. But if they do, you will have the legal system and Social Service to act with you to protect them.

Don't feel guilty.

Protect the vulnerable!

My thoughts are with you in this really frightening time.

over 5 years ago
ra_23_Sept2014 said...

btw...google 'reporting vulnerable adult yourstate' to find the number near you.

over 5 years ago

Fantastic, Frazzled!! Excellent advice, Sasebone; please take it to help your parents AND yourself. Please post back, just to vent or whatever. We're here for you.

over 5 years ago
Daddys-girl said...

Hello to you,

WOW!!! I'm praying for you and your mother. I know it hurts you (especially being the only child) but your Mother is angry at herself. I think you should continue to go visit your Mom, write letters and call. You're now the adult and Mom is converting back to a child like state. When she starts with the insults just simply say OK. Don't give her any addtional reason to start pouncing on you. Now is the time to put your big girl panties on and deal with Mother. In the end you will be okay. I'm praying immediate peace and love between you and your Mom.

over 5 years ago
SusanMcD said...

Hello Everyone ~ It's been a while since I've been here to visit as we have faced more sadness in our lives ~ after 2 years of unemployment, my husband finally secured a new job only to suffer 2 heart attacks in 2 weeks just 10 days after his first day .... we are facing financial ruin in addition to everything else.

I am very grateful to everyone who took the time to write and share their stories and experiences ~ thank you. At this point I deal with my mother when necessary as my husband has required a good deal of care. I am only one person who can handle only so many things at a time.

As much as I appreciate everyone's kindness and comments, I do take exception to the latest comment re: "put on your big girl panties." Darling, my Big Girl Panties have been pulled up so far I have a permanent wedgie. Until you've walked a mile (or a couple feet) in my shoes (or panties, as the case may be) please do not tell me I need to grow up. I am not only grown up, I'm *this close * to being "old." We all have different burdens. Please do not insinuate I'm not carrying my fair share of the load.

over 5 years ago
ra_23_Sept2014 said...

Oh, Susan...I don't even know what to say. What a terrible time, even a hug seems insufficient. I sit here and look at the keyboard and think how lame my post is, but I need to acknowledge you somehow. My thoughts are with you.

And a personal aside, the phrase about the BGP makes me rankle...I've never heard anyone tell a man to put on his big boy panties...but I won't go there.

over 5 years ago
Daddys-girl said...

Hello Susan,

I just read your latest posting and want to apologize for saying "put your big girl panties on" I didn't mean to offend you and just so you know, I'm 40+, the sole care take of my father who has Parkinson's diease and Dementia for the past 6 years. My Mother recently passed away. I DO understand everything and then some of what you're going through. My Father is able to live at his own home and between his household, my own household, plus holding down a full time job plus being a good wife to my husband and I'm in college trying to finish my Masters Degree I truly understand. Susan I'll say a prayer for you and your family. God Speed and take care.

over 5 years ago
Margaretha said...

First of all, you cannot rationalize with an irrational person. You need to realize your mother is not responsible for her actions and not take them personally. When you visit her try to be cheerful and ignore her hurtful remarks. Her remarks will not change. I went through this for 10 years, 5 in my home and 5 in a nursing home. Mother threw her food and was very hurtful to me. I asked God every day for help and he supplied it. I wish you well. Love, Margaret

over 5 years ago

WELL SPOKEN MARGARET. In a previous post someone said the 'BGP' made them rankle. WOW!!! How overly sensitive. Looks like that statement has been taken overboard. I thought all opinions count but I guess when they are not what you want to hear then we are rankled. Anywhooo Good luck & God Bless to everyone taking care of a love one.

over 5 years ago
ra_23_Sept2014 said...

You're so special, oh anonymous one! Yes, all opinions count, and that was mine. Have a great day! :-)

over 5 years ago

Frazzled, it's an opinion and yes we all are special. Take care

over 5 years ago
pinkcrow said...

Susan, the people here have all given sound practical advice. One thing that helped me, early on, is that I realized that my lifelong quest to resolve ongoing conflicts/personality differences/misunderstandings/different points of view etc. with my mother was officially over. What could have been resolved was resolved, and what couldn't be resolved won't be now. That's that.

I also realized that while there might be moments when my needs for affection, approval, etc. would be met by my mother, that it was time to stop looking to my mother to meet those needs, and instead to try to get those needs met elsewhere, and/or realize that not all of our needs are met, and that that is okay.

Another thing that helped me a LOT was when I read that while certain parts of the brain diminish, the emotional centers do not. That means that emotions come to the top and are expressed, and then they are gone. That also means that we can encourage and "play into" emotions that we find more pleasing, such as laughter, love, etc.

And finally, it helped me a lot when I read that the suspicion of being cheated is very common with this disease. I don't have the same situation you do, but I do downplay money when I talk with my mother, and take the point of view that it doesn't matter, that it's not what is important, because that is true.

You have the advantage that you can prepare yourself for the next time she says the things that are upsetting to you, and respond in a different way. I strive to honor all emotions. For example, if my mother were to say that we were waiting for her to die, I might say something like "I've felt that way before" (because I have) or "I can see how you might feel like that sometimes, but the truth is we love you more than ever and want to be with you as much as possible." She will feel the emotion of love (or sadness or whatever) more than she will understand the words. Try communicating more with the emotions, more from the heart, than from the head.

The upside of this situation is that it gives us all an opportunity to practice unconditional love. It frequently amazes me how beautiful my mother looks to me--like an angel. She seems like the most beautiful woman in the world to me. I know that is the transformative power of unconditional love at work.

Best to you and yours.

over 5 years ago

Susan Protect yourself first of all by not expecting anything. You said you were going to send your mother flowers for her birthday. Great. But don't set yourself up for disappointment by expecting her to thank you. Send them because she is your mother and it is nice to do. As long as you expect her to thank you, you will be disappointed. If she by chance does, you will be surprised. When I give a gift and people tell me "You didn't have to do that", I always respond, "I didn't do it because I had to, I did it because I wanted to." That way I am not expecting anything in return.

I too like the idea of divorcing a difficult relative. I am going through such a decision with my brother and had decided that once we get the deed to my mother's home straightened out (hopefully within the next two weeks) I would have no further contact with him. I am going to call it a divorce.

over 5 years ago
bonez said...

I am an only child. My Mother's siblings have contested my guardianship which they forced me to file by threatening me with lawyers etc. I have to have my Mother declared incompetent. (the worst two days of my life were last week during the trials) The guardianship is still up in the air, the judge didnt make the decision due to the raw emotions in the courtroom. I have a heath care and durable poa but they (the siblings) wanted to ignore that.

My Mother tells me i dont love her, she hopes my son treats me like i have treated her. (i removed her from her bug infested home where she was eating spoiled food) oddly it was a car wreck that brought all this to a head. She simply refuses to accept she needs help making it hard to help her. My Mother has physically attacked me on several occasion in the assisted living facilty. I take her to lunch and she begins to tell me to f* myself rather loudly and wants to hit me.

How do I deal with it? I cry like a baby the whole car trip home. I have about 40 minutes to cry and then I try to put it behind me. It is not you. Its the disease. I know that is not a bit of help when someone you love is putting you down. Yes, you still love her. If you didnt you would not feel guilty about walking away or not seeing her. Riddle me this, which is worse...seeing her and being berated or not seeing her? I opted for seeing her. I have a good visit Monday. We went out and got junk food and she let me hug her. Granted it was not a big old bear hug but she allowed me to touch her without yelling at me....you take what you can get.

Remember this is a disease you wouldnt wish on your worst enemy. they call it the long goodbye for a reason....my Mother may not remember loving me...but i remember when she did...I guess I just take comfort in that.

The first emotion they lose seems to be empathy....the last seems to be anger. but yea, one day its get out and never come back..then its...you never come to see me. i try to go every 3 days but if she starts in on me...i get up and leave. she will normally kick me a couple of times on the way out the door.

you have to realize....its not her ..its not you...it the disease....

i read something where a doctor said...."the child will always think it is about them" its not....its just a horrible disease.

good luck, i have lurked here since may and never posted. i just wanted you to know you are not alone...i think only people who are only children understand the pressure....good luck to ya.

over 5 years ago
workerpriest said...

Well Susan and all, It was a workout reading through this string on the same theme this a.m. but it couldn't have come at a better time for me. One of the things I like about this discussion list is that we do not promote polyanna judgments, followed by exhortations to impossible sainthood in the caregiver role. For the most part people really listen and their is absolutely nothing to lose and everything to be gained when we speak of our woes in entering the phase where we are caught with our person we care for in the rat trap of the deteriorating mind.

How could one ever be prepared for this kind of caregiving or know how not to take things personally until wearing out and bottoming out in absolute life history exhaustion where another noble step cannot be taken just right away. No, not immediately in the wake of these crashouts that must come if we are to retain our humanity. But it is dangerous business being pushed to these extremes. Even so, just as the person will enter another phase in their dementia, so it is apparent that we will enter another phase in letting go of the personhood we shared (even with an abusive parent) now that it is entirely going and behaviours are intensifing perhaps in the worst aspects that were always there...manipulation and control to degree Nth. There is just no beyond left.

It is like finally looking into the darkest parts, even the hell holes of the other one and ourselves as though having a mirror held up and it is a horror. The good thing for us as caregivers is that there's wisdom to be gained here if we can ride through it all including the divorce which is very healthy. It is not a real divorce in the sense of going to court and legalizing a break. In this divorce, we have the opportunity to release ourselves from the damaging behaviours we experience with the person in favor of retrieving wholeness in ourselves, possible precisely because we are coming out on the other side of this rat trap mess.

Then the impersonality, the distance one needs for survival can come as it must or we won't make it through. But we can't expect it to come all at once. It is a learning process of a very unique kind a caregiver must undertake in a culture of so few supports for this. In the future this time we are in with the aging populations and the lack of preparation for it will be seen historically as one of the worst of times in human history. Graudally, there will be defined legal human rights for both parties, the caregivers and the cared for. Some days I say to myself...I need to unionize this environment in this private world of caregiving!! It has all the characteristics of the most exploitative of all service work. But how can I unionize it if I am the only one doing most of the work in it aprat from some minimal home support???

And there are other big systemic cultural issues that drive what we are experiencing and that have nothing to do with us personally but the effects are deeply personal in terms of loss of financial security and the exhaustion of personal energy and resources we may experience while the one we care for exerts the worst of financial abuse upon us in their dementia. Every day I pray that I do not lose all of my personal money resources as well as my most valued resource, my mind and spirit, even as this is what is happening with the one I care for who projects it all on me.

Yes Susan, at the worst edges of ourselves, My Mom and me here, she is exactly the same with me about the money and the accusations and paranoia while I am trying to keep a sense of the figures for her money and mine. I should have more money than her while the reverse is becoming more true by the month. While she has twice her normal pension, I am in overdraft at the conclusion of every month but we cannot set things straight because of her refusals, almost exactly the same as you describe Susan on every life issue where the person will not problem solve with you. We are considered abusive if we donot allow them their way and we do have to be careful about it if we do not allow as much independence as possible with the person even with POA. My Mom gave it most reluctantly and finally it had to be me because I am the one who has to manage all the affairs locally. We can't wait for someone else to come up from another city and she would never permit a stranger. Nor would she pay one. She has the role all mixed up with executor and resolution of the will and refuses to recognize that all of us while sane need to have someone who can take care of the bills and life death decisions if the mind goes. The mind goes????

Well I said to her...you do have to have a POA before your mind is completely gone at which point she says mine will go first. But , we have done it despite all her reluctance and it is the same now...she thinks I am out to get everything and always was and the minute she dies I will not be able to afford to stay here without her and I will have someone in right away to live with me. I do manage to remind her that she does not have the power after death to determine my whole future, nor does she really have it now though she thinks she does...that is in my daily life now, so yes, I am emptied of all affection and capacity for emotional response though I have been led to be forceful in what I say. She is such an unfair fighter that it is impossosible that I should not have had to raise my voice and talk back in resistance to this out of control power mania of hers.

But yes, once we surrender to the divorce...that is a good thing. I have already emptied out emotionally so now I only have to acknowledge that it is truly emotional and psychological divorce time and in that one half if not more of the grief process may just be completed. In fact I am doing it today, I am doing it right now with you Susan and all the rest of you as my witnesses.I am acknowledging the divorce we went through this week.

Who knows then where we are going next? At least with the emotional and psychological distancing we can come to terms with the disease and the inevitable failure of the life being taken by complexities of physical conditions and the mind going with it.Then we can do what the best of the advice givers here advize.

Nevertheless, I appreciate the real story telling and not pretending things are otherwise than they are becauce this is the only place we have to be able to learn what to do and that we are actually OK ourselves in the best of our intentions and then, how to stay OK. Reality becomes so distorted in the captivity of caregiving even with respite which is sparse at best. And it takes as much effort to get it and have things go along in one's absence as it does doing the caregiving but it is still better than no respite whatsover. Without that I really don't see how one could emerge alive in all aspects of the self at the end.

Some people have said that we make the situation more about us than the one we are caring for when we vent. I say, bring the stories on. It doesn't matter if in the end they are all the same. In their intricacies for each of us they are ours and we have a dire need to understand what we are experiencing. Otherwise, we just can't do it. Understanding then leads to knowledge and with knowledge we do better.

Love to you all and thankyou for your honesty every one and hugs and prayers for you and all in similar situations Susan, Workerpriest

over 5 years ago
ra_23_Sept2014 said...

I'll join that union with you.

over 5 years ago
workerpriest said...

Oh good frazzled. it Is very empowering to organize unions.But this would be a huge undertaking in USA and Canada. Right now though, it helps to even think it because then we recognize just what working conditions ( and it is work) most of us are in. It is good to name things.

All the best to you, Workerpriest

over 5 years ago
pinkcrow said...

Bonez thank you very much for your post. Please don't hesitate to post when it strikes you, as your insights and observations are very helpful.

over 5 years ago
Fiona said...

Long, heavy sigh. Been there, done that, cried buckets. It's been almost 4 years since I had to take over Mom's life, when Dad was dying from colon cancer. In that time I had to take her to her first doctor apt in over 30 years, get her to sign a POA form that she refused to do unless I added a paragraph stating that it was only good once she was declared incompetent. Then I took her to be examined by a psychologist and got POA. I had to become a "designated payee" for social security when they cut off her payments and wouldn't tell me why(they don't recognize POA!) I sold her car, her house, and consolidated her money, including the over $60,000 cash that she had hidden in her house, "just in case". We pulled up the carpets, looked in the heating vents, and examined every page in thousands of books for money before we donated them. Mom is now WAY past her paranoid stage. She doesn't remember she was married for over 50 years, or to whom. She doesn't remember she had children--my only sibling is a younger brother who only goes to see her every couple of months, as long as I allow him to bill 2 meals (for him and gf) to Mom's room. It was very difficult to know that I was innocent, and was only trying to get a handle on her finances to be sure she gets the benefit of every dollar, and yet have her accuse me of stealing her money. She now wears diapers and cannot eat by herself. She refuses to wear her bottom dentures, and spits whatever is put into her mouth that is not sweet, all over herself. A month ago while I was on my one yearly camping vacation, she wandered in the middle of the night, fell and needed 8 staples in her head to stop the bleeding...the ER bills are still flying around, from medical folks to Medicare and her supplemental insurance.
I guess what I am trying to say is that it will get better for you, when she gets worse. Mom used to be irritable, anxious, and angry at everyone. Now she is in a kind of "zen" state, because for her there is no yesterday and no tomorrow...there is only right now, and as long as she is clean and dry, fed and comfortable, she is mellow. She smiles often and tells everyone they are beautiful and she loves them. I cry still sometimes, because my only remaining parent, my Mom who used to be my best friend, is inexorably "broken", and no amount of money or wishing can ever "fix" her. I miss her terribly, though I go to see her 3 times a week.
Vent when you need to. See her when you are strong enough, but know your limitations. This terrible disease is worse than any cancer, because it makes your loved one linger so long like a zombie, dead, but not yet dead. Do what you can to grieve, because that is what you need to do. And know that you are loved. By me. We fight this together.

over 5 years ago
wrs said...

Gosh how I know your pain. I'm an only child too. I have dealt with the same issues. I alone have cared for my parents for seven years now at home. My dad passed a year ago. Both have Dementia and Alzheimer's. Both my dad and mom have become difficult. I could go on and on about how and what they called me (how stupid and hateful I am and not their son). Then just turn around and tell me how much they love me. All this would and does break my heart over and over..

I just took everything over being the only child. I had to.

I involved them at first but then had to just handle it all on my own despite the name calling and anger from my parents.

I know, even though it's hard to believe at times, that my mother still loves me with everything she's got and my dad did too.

I love my mom and dad, some of the stuff I have to do hurts. AS I have experienced just about everything you talk about.

Best of luck, WRS

over 5 years ago
workerpriest said...

So beautifully spoken from the wisdom of your learning, so calm and serene now after the struggle yet remembering the chaos of the struggle when your Mom was in the anxious, paranoid and aggressive fiesty stage of chaos and confusion letting go of what she once knew of life and seeing it slip away and then entering what you describe as a kind of surrender that seems quite permanet.

Just curious. Can you tell us what it was like slipping from that difficulties phase into another one. What happened to precipitate it or did it develop gradually. What did it look like , sound like when you were finally there, achieving your ease at last as she worsened.

What did you see in the way of worsening that was easing you just at the edge of that stage of aggression,etc.?

Thanks for any further information and reflection you could offer us, Workerpriest

over 5 years ago

Hi I will put this on your blog as well because I don't know where you will look first, but what I learned, finally, about my mother was that "She loved me as much as SHE could. That statement is addressing the past feeling you had. The behaviors she is showing now are from the dementia, too many of us have the same sort of problem for you not to recognize that.

My husband even says that my friend helps us so much because she want me to leave our house to her. He is fully aware that our house, (I put a great deal of money into its purchase) is in the name of my daughter and her husband.

For those who know more of your mother's early life and upbringing, it might be very clear, that she is loving you....so much as she is capable of doing. If she was love deprived, then she does not know how to love in a more normal way......unless she learned it from someone else. Don't blame you, it is not your fault and her problem probably existed before you were born....and now? Who else will she leave her money to? You need to get an assessment as to her ability to make her own decisions now...if she is not capable then you will be able to get a power of attorney for everything... good luck ps My mother let me grow up with my aunt, instead of with her and my 2 brothers.. I was an only child there, but loved and spoiled...in a good way. I did experience being loved at least.

over 5 years ago
Kate712 said...

You are trying to deal with someone whom you cannot ... There is no law that you have to take any more abuse from your mother... I am sure you can have someone assigned to take care of her bills, etc., p.o.a., etc. - If you upset her by seeing or calling her -- dont! These are all stages of Alzheimers and if you insist, you could go to "look" at her - she doesn't need to see you unless you see she is in a receptive mood. You need an intervention and a lawyer. I went through much of this with my husband and the paranoia, etc. goes with the territory. My daughter recently dies of early onset Alzheimers (age 50) but she was always sweet unti the very last days when she lost it and didn't want diapers put on her, etc. My husband on the other hand, who was always hard to get along with (to put it mildly) was even worse than his normal self. Try not to take it personally... I hope this helps.

over 5 years ago
Fiona said...

How did her peacefulness develop? I can't really pinpoint a time. Part of it is that I stopped expecting her to be my Mom. I wanted so much for her to still be Emily, but when she unexpectedly announced last December that she had no need to go outside, because she wasn't a smoker, I knew there was almost nothing left of her anymore. She had smoked multiple packs of cigarettes for over 60 years, and used to defend herself, telling me that "without smoking, life wouldn't be worth living." So part of it was my acceptance of the inevitable. I stopped arguing with her, stopped expecting her to be Emily anymore. I took over giving her showers for a while, and put up with her hitting me and telling me I was trying to kill her. Afterwards when I wrapped her in her warm robe, and put an afghan over her lap, and she had cookies and chocolate milk, she was supremely happy. I guess that's when I realized that she was now a child again, and as long as her needs were met, she would be okay. After a short time, she didn't even fight the caregivers on that anymore. When she started getting "lost", not being able to find her apartment anymore in the place she had lived in for over 3 years, I knew I had to get her on the waiting list for the Alzheimers wing out back. When the other residents told me she was unable to use the elevator anymore, because she didn't know how to call it, or how to get it to go to the floor she wanted, and that they would find her wandering around aimlessly on the wrong floor, accompany her back to her apt, only to see her immediately wander back out because she was unable to "self-entertain" anymore, I got anxious. When I was able to move her into the self-contained unit in the back over Easter weekend, I told her it was because she wouldn't have to deal with the hated elevator anymore. She was pleased. She calmly accepted the down-sizing to an efficiency, only once telling my brother (while I was getting furniture onto a cart) that she "hated this, she didn't understand why anything was happening anymore." Since then she truly enjoys living with other people who are in her same situation. She has bonded with a few fellow residents, and smiles at everyone. Sometimes I still cry because I miss her so much. My oldest son tells me not to go see her so often because she doesn't even know she's my Mom anymore. I told him that as long as I remember she is my Mom, I will go see her as often as I can, which for me is 3 times a week, for about a half-hour each time...she gets bored easily and asks me to leave. I go.

over 5 years ago
Tootsie @ 60 said...

Wow! All who have responded in support are such a blessing and comfort. I also have a parent with dementia. Yes they can be difficult at times. (We have learned when the extremely agitated state occurs - to have Mom checked for a bladder infection or infected stomach ulcer.) She really doesn't mean to be so nasty - but it is the nature of the disease. Put yourself in your loved ones position...they are losing their health and memory and independence; but the one thing they can still control is their money. I have found that agreeing with everything Mom says, then doing what must be done - is the best course of action for us. God Bless You All!

over 5 years ago
SusanMcD said...

First, I wish to thank everyone again for sharing their painful, heartfelt stories and for trying to assist me. I'm sorry you each are dealing with such sad issues.

I see I must not have made clear that my mother is NOT completely mentally incapable. She has short-term memory loss and often has great difficulty finding the correct word .... but she is not anywhere close to bad enough to require a guardian. She has hired the bookkeeper, as I stated earlier; and she needs someone to drive her places, but none of this precludes her from being sweet as pie to some and nasty as hell to others. I do not believe it is entirely "her disease" as she is perfectly capable of making many decisions on her own. It is difficult to describe to outsiders. I sense many respondents are thinking her condition is much more advanced than it is. There is absolutely NO WAY she would abide me obtaining a POA or any other legal document. She is not in poor enough condition to require a guardian. I will continue to muddle through on my own ~~ and I have taken to heart the idea re: "emotional divorce". That is my current status. There simply is no other way for me to deal with her effectively and save myself. In fact, in the book "Toxic Parents" the author indicates emotional divorce is often the best way to deal with such people. (If not in that book, then it was in "When I Will I Be Good Enough" ~ one of those books!)

I DO appreciate everyone's advice and concern, and I DO accept the BGP apology, thank you, Daddy'sgirl.

I am soon going to cease receiving email updates concerning my mother as I have so many other issues to grapple with, my husband's heart condition and our impending bankruptcy among them.

I wish you all the best of luck in dealing with your current and future issues. Please know I will hold you all in my heart and pray for the best.


over 5 years ago
workerpriest said...

Well said again, thanks. Wise and sound encouragment I will follow some of your suggestions as it is the only way through. Have loved this long discussion with so many sensitive people.

Regarding big girl pants. I would rankle at this too because though we are free to have our views respect for others asks for several things. One is that we try not to be patronizing and this is a patronizing sort of response.

I did get it about being grown up a bit better when nyou deescribed more thoroughly what we simmply have to let go of. Persons not engaged in caregiving have to do that after the death and it may take longer because they will not have had the opportunity to do this pre-death work by being involved in the realities of its processes. It certainly does illuminate the whole life and relationships in a way that one could never know otherwise.

In the end, you are correct. Unconconditional love and compassion are asked but these are not possible when we are boiling in embroilement. Yet we come to this only by a human route as you have demonstrated and it has come to you through lived experience as indeed it has for everyone else who has contirbuted to this discussion today.

Blessings of growth in next steps to us all, Workerpriest

over 5 years ago
suzych said...

We had a similar, though not so drastic, situation with my husband's mother, who was widowed early and who always cutting, personally critical remarks for my husband from the first time I met her, almost 50 yrs ago. This pattern continued into her retirement community living, where we visited as little as we could to escape her relentless nastiness. When she was moved onto the assisted living floor, she was so furious at losing the apartment-living style that she was used to that she would not speak to anyone, and the staff told us that she might die early if something wasn't done.

Their suggestion was very simple: to prescribe Zoloft for her to use on a regular basis, since that would alleviate some of her depression and anxiety and anger. We agreed.

The change was fast and dramatic: now when we came to visit, she greeted us with a smile, asked how we were, was pleased to get presents, and behaved like a very nice woman glad to see her relatives. By the time she died, about seven years later, she was 100 yrs old, had just had a birthday party with the whole family and grankids, and had so charmed the staff that a dozen of them stood around her bed and they cried when she finally passed away (she had fallen into a coma and didn't wake).

I think that with the drug lifting her tendency to brood about past disappointments and her fears and anger about the present, the woman she had been as a youngster -- a charmer, pretty and sweet and funny -- came out again. I got to meet that woman for the first time (she had always been cutting and cool with me, too). People who hadn't known her earlier found her as her delightful younger self, and, warming to her personality, gave her more friendly, attentive care than she would have otherwise received.

It's true that some of her mental sharpness may have been blurred by the Zoloft, but there's no way to know how much of that was due to the effects of Zoloft, and much was the progression of her dementia. In any case, believe me, it was worth it to ALL of us to spend that good, warm time with her late in her life!

I've noticed the same effect on my husband, who is 76 and in the early-to-moderate stages of dementia. He was very angry, irritable, and paranoid after the diagnosis. The doctor prescribed zoloft, explaining that since it relieves anxiety, it makes remembering easier (which I think it does). On a very low dose of this medicine, he has returned to being the lovely guy I've lived with for 40+ years.

I'm no fan of drugs in general, but believe me, I think you may get some at least some helpful results if you can find a tranquilizer or anti-depressant that works for your mother. In any case, good luck!

over 5 years ago
workerpriest said...

she was unable to "self-entertain" .

I get it. It is becoming as serious as I think it is. Thankyou for the account because with little symptoms coming at odd times and not all of them at once it is just too easy to minimize again and go into all kinds of self-doubt regarding what is happening especially because she is playing that nothing is happening so hard.

Also, my Mom recently said "I hate my life." That was a very lucid moment but entirely telling. I told her that I was sorry and I I could not do anything to fix that.

It felt blunt but so was the statement in its raw truth and it is as deeply painful for me to realize that as it must be for her to know it.

It all seems in slow motion and yet when you think back over things, nothing stays in place long and I find that just as soon as I have accepted something, her memory of it is gone and some new manifestation of the dementia is coming towards us.

Again thanks for sharing. It is so helpful to receive these little flag messages that help light the way forward, workerpriest

over 5 years ago

I also am an only child. I went through some of what you have experienced. You need to remember your mother is sick. Make her doctor your best friend. Talk to the doctor about her paranoia and get her help through medication. My mother was a new person with the right pill!

You also need to get a lawyer and get legally in charge of her finances before someone or some institution connives it away from her. A lawyer with adult at risk experience or expertise is essential. Your Mom's physician may have a recommendation, but follow your gut. If the person doesn't feel right, get someone else.

Her outbursts are her illness. You must not, however I know at times can not help, take it personally. These are horrible times. This is your family's money. Be a good steward of your Mom and Dad's money.

My prayers are with you!!