Every time I visit my mom, she wants to argue with everything I say.

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I have reached a point that it will be less stress on me if I just don't go visit. I am tired of the dirty looks she gives me as well as the minute she sees me she gets an attitude. If my brother visits occasionally she is all smiles. She blames me for her being in NH when my brother is the one who admitted her when I was out of town. She tells me that she is deeply depressed but never shares anything with him. All I hear is negativity. She has had two TIAs and diagnoses of frailty and dementia. I need to disconnect from her and the guilt for awhile but I don't want to have regrets as she is 92 and we don't have much time left. We used to be really close but the constant arguing is not worth it. Changing the subject just leads to another argument.


It's part of the illness. The daughter has always been considered the one who will be the caregiver so this is how u look to her. Arguing with her gets you nowhere. They got something in their mind and don't let go. When she disagrees just go with it. If it gets bad, leave. You don't have to work everyday.
javagirl, one thing we need to do for a few minutes is to step into your Mom's shoes. Here she is 92 years old. She can't hop into the car and drive to the mall. She can't go out and see her friends because they have probably moved or had passed away. Her hearing might be fading, so with her eyesight, and walking isn't easy. And her mind isn't as sharp. Plus food doesn't taste as good because as we age we tend to lose our sense of taste. And what about all those aches and pains. Oh, and the love of her life is no longer around. It's not easy getting old, I would be grumpy, too.

So using that as your guide, you can see how your Mom is viewing life.

But I can understand your frustration when visiting Mom. You want it to be pleasant. Does she tend to be argumentative when she is in her room? What about when she is in the common area? Or outside? Bring her some flowers, the grocery stores have some very nice ones, and bring along a vase. Mom might be snippy with the flowers but I bet later on she will enjoy them, especially if other women on floor notice them in her room :)
In addition to the above suggestions, get her seen by the geriatric Psychiatrist who visits the facility.
It sounds like (from your post on a previous thread) that this is a long-term pattern of your mom's. You've tried everything you know to cheer her up. I think it's time to cut yourself some slack and visit only as often as you feel like you can emotionally handle it. In some ways, your mom trusts you more than your brother, since she shares with you and not with him. My mom was the same way with me and my brother. It's frustrating that you get to be the "dumpee" of all of her negative emotions about her situation. I got to hear and deal with all of mom's day-to-day life situations. She never shared those with my brother. But in the end, I knew I did what I could for my mom (just like you're doing). So just honor the work and care that you've put into your mom, whether she can appreciate it or not.

Hugs to you...
My mother often sat in the nh dining room midafternoon, with 2 or 3 other women. It was a bright cheerful room, and the facility didn't really have a lot of common areas. Sometimes when I visited I'd take her outside for a wheelchair walk, but sometimes I'd sit and visit with all the women. I discovered they loved it when I brought a stack of cookbooks. They'd each take a few and look through them. Someone would say, "Oh this looks just like what my mother made!" and someone else would say they used to make that, too. And we'd have a conversation about cooking, or working in restaurants, or working and coming home to cook ... all kinds of things these dear old ladies hadn't thought about for a long time.

If you could visit your mom outside of her room, and possibly involve a few other residents, do you think that might calm her down a bit?
Thank you so much for the responses. My mom does not like to be around anyone or share in the activities at the NH. She is very suspicious if you try to be nice (like bringing flowers); she will complain that she doesn't want to water them or keep them alive and she would even ask "Why did you bring those?" There are several other residents at the NH that I enjoy and they love to talk to me. I go nearly every day and if I miss a day, those residents inquire about where I have been. She seems to get very jealous if I talk to others and not to her. Her roommate broke her hip a week ago and has been getting a lot of attention. I cannot believe my mom would be jealous of someone with a broken hip, but she commented that they have been bringing her food late because of her roommate. She never liked other people, cooking or traveling (which I love) and because she was an only child, it is all about her. Every thing she says is negative. No one can please her and she does not want a remedy for any of her complaints. It is exhausting on top of handling all of her financial issues which were not properly planned for even though I tried to get her to plan. I am the bad guy no matter what I do. I realize I am in a no win situation but I appreciate the comments and will keep moving forward. If she chooses not to enjoy my company then I will leave when the time is right to avoid arguing.
It sounds like you have the best plan, Java. There is only so much we can do. Mothers do tend to treat daughters with less favor, particularly women of our mothers' age. I think you should just be yourself and be content that you are caring for her the best way anyone can. We can't change the way they feel about life and we can't engage them if they don't want to be engaged. The best we can do is let them know we care, and that we are there for them.
I just read your initial post and commenting: first things first. Stop arguing period. She is 92. No offense, but it takes one day to figure that out and a great epiphany: that you are not going to do that again. Once you get past that, you can focus on the remaining challenges. I only say that because the idea that anyone argues with anyone over 80 is probably a giant mistake, regardless of medical issues: idealism, I know. Looking for a reason not to go visit your parent is easy. Anyone can come up with a 100 reasons as to why it doesn't work this weekend or because of another reason. The key is: what kind of contribution do you want to provide. First, no more arguments. Period. Second: go see her, give her a hug when your first get there, no words, and tell her you love her. Do the same before you leave.

Stop getting caught up in what other siblings may provide or provided. They filled in gaps you were not able to provide on a given day. Navigate through the minutia and find common ground. I understand much of this can be remote, but what matters is in-person visit equals in-person memory. Don't go in to solve problems per se. Engage to continue the relationship you still have. Good luck!
lavagirl, under the circumstances I am really surprised that you see her every day. Would you consider decreasing that, and keeping visits short?
Javagirl, your mother has acute depression as a result of her vascular dementia. I thought you were talking about mine, there, for a minute - which is probably why I felt so hollowed out about your description.

Medications do help, but they take a while to work and they're not transformative. Still worth trying, though, if they can take the edge off her misery.

Her lighting up for your brother is merely the novelty. So she would if a new kitten jumped onto the bed.

You, and believe it or not this is good, get the truth. She feels safe to tell you the reality and she knows that you are the one with the working connection to her.

Things that helped.

My mother liked nice fragrances and arm massages. An aromatherapy volunteer came to the rehab centre one day, I'd never have guessed this. My mother was not a touchy-feely lady by any means.

Music helped. Nothing you have to concentrate on, just something for brain massage. Bach is good, and goes on a long time too.

When she starts up and you can't take it, sit and hold her hand and tell her honestly that her being so unhappy makes you unhappy. Then give her a big hug, check if there's anything she needs first, tell her you love her and go home.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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