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Is dementia causing Mom's behavior or is she being manipulative?

I'm a 60 yr old "only child" caring for my 84 yr old Mom who is in a senior apartment with a part time caregiver. She has been diagnosed with dementia and is diabetic. She is very pleasant to the caregiver and other visits but absolutely nasty to me. After explaining all of my shortcoming she then says that I can make it up to her by letting her move in with me. Part of me wonders if her behavior would change if I do as I ask but if it doesn't it's hard enough dealing with her behavior when I visit almost every afternoon, I cannot even imagine dealing with it 24/7.
Status: Open    Feb 06, 2016 - 05:52 AM

Relationships, Dementia

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Feb 13, 2016 - 08:50 AM

I am 61, and my husband and I moved my 82 yr. old mother into our home last summer after her heart surgery. She has recovered and her heart is doing well, but dementia has accelerated. With an average of three medical appointments a week (she has eye disease and is losing sight in one eye) it is a full time job just transporting her, managing medications, and going to appointments with her to make sure she understands what her doctors are doing. I am dealing with chronic illness myself, and most days I fall into bed by 9:00 exhausted. My health is deteriorating as a result, and my doctors keep advising me to lower my stress or else!
The hardest part of caregiving for me at this point is what you expressed...her ability to be pleasant with most (but not all) others, and her ease at turning rude and difficult with me. Many days I have felt emotionally manipulated, and I do sometimes refuse to take part in her unhappiness. I'm trying desperately to understand the characteristics of dementia and Ahlzheimers and to learn coping strategies to reduce the episodes of our "locking horns." I have only my husband to support me, my sister lives 600 miles away and is not involved at all. My adult children see the struggle and are becoming less fond of her as they see her treatment of me becoming worse. Walking the fine line of "honoring my mother" and protecting myself is an hour by hour challenge.
My advice, from my perspective, is if you have the ability to keep her in managed care, continue. She is likely not going to get better nor change once she is in your home. I only wish I had the option to simply visit her daily and make sure she had what she needs. I thought being in the home with family coming and going would bring about positive change in her outlook. She enjoys my grandchildren on a limited basis, but then retreats to her room. In fact, lately she is demonstrably jealous of my close relationship with my daughters.
At 60 years old, we still have lives to live and our own health to consider. I pray you can make this hard decision well.
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By mexicoturtle on Jul 08, 2016 - 09:25 AM | Like (0)  |  Report

yes I see this in nursing homes all the time. I worked in skilled care for 27 yrs , yet when my father-in-law got alz my MIL cannot seem to handle or except the facts of his illness. First we got all of my FIL's confusion by his accusations of my husband stealing all of his tools. Then everything we said or did was wrong or silly. and they got into fights, word battles. So my husband couldn't handle seeing his father like this and hardly went over any more. His mother got angry with him and we got the guilt ever since. But now Dad needs to go to a home of some kind and mom is resisting. Not sure if it is money issues ,because she always handled the money and always made as much and more than he did. She doesn't want to spend it on a nursing home and change her lifestyle of living. I do go over at times to help, offer tips and show her how to care for him. She doesn't follow my advice. not sure if it is on purpose or some dementia or stress from caregiving. But 1: she leaves him at home in the am when she goes for 2 1/2 hrs or more to exercise mon - fri. 2: She leaves him in the car when she goes in the store because he doesn't want to walk. This is in 35 -80 weather !!!! I keep telling her she shouldn't do this. He has a set of car keys in his pocket and a wallet with money in it. She says he never tries to drive or get out of the car. He also has copd and feeds him high salt prepacked foods because she doesn't really cook. 3: I have told the doctor about the car and the exercising. He said I have to call in a social worker.

I have to be the bad guy? why not the doctor? She will hate me if I do this and force her hand. But I have seen her not able to handle a smart phone or her new tablet. She messes up her computer at least 2x's a yr. she is 79.

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Jun 12, 2016 - 08:50 PM

First and foremost this is your decision and I counsel you to really ponder it, to try to avoid those guilt feelings we often have. That being said, if things are working now, let it be, as things change, or get worse, and I hope not, you can change course. You sound like a caring and loving daughter, your mom's dementia and health concerns are the probable cause of her anger, this probably won't change, may even worsen. I am sure she loves you as well, but she's frightened of all of the unknown, even without dementia who wouldn't be? I am a caregiver to my brother with ALZ, with me 5 years, him residing far away and alone wasn't an option anymore. I can't believe how fast that time has passed, how much I have learned, taken on. A caregiver is always a full time job, even with help, which he needs and has, I am usually "it." Things happen and have to be addressed, there's not much down time. You learn to relish it and cherish it. Dementia and ALZ is progressive and it's hard, sad, to watch changes, something new happening isn't always good. Mental and physical "just tired," becomes your excuse but it's not. You learn you must take care of you as well and without guilt, which is hard for "us normals." I know it's hard to disregard nastiness, negativity, can you imagine it 24/7? This may continue even if she is with you, your relationship may deteriorate, this you don't want. If you decide to keep things the way they are possibly seek support in how to cope with her changes, communicating with her, your own feelings as well. I am sure this is a difficult and sad time for you. Love, family and memories matter to me. Hang in there! God Bless
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By rickadine on Dec 01, 2016 - 03:39 PM | Like (0)  |  Report

I truly share the pain of caregiving a parent. What has been of great help to me is a sense of humor. I do not subscribe to the "once a man twice a child" concept in its entirety because they feel their independence and respect they used to enjoy slipping away,and its quite frightening for them. Their experience in life also comes to bear on the situations sometimes. But I make light of most things so that they may not feel so self conscious or like they have become a burden. There are times that a timeout strategy is employed too. I give mom a five minutes thought period and most of the time she becomes reasonable again. But so as not to take on so much of the stress, and not to give up and put them in a home let humor and calm come to your rescue. They are not eggs and won't break if you take it easy. But please don't make it look too burdensome to care for them, they will be depressed and not know why. In spite of their difficulties they still love you.

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