Mother lived with me for many years and recently moved to an assisted living facility and hates it.

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She hated living with me and now hates it there. We have tried several different things and she is always unhappy. Either she is lonely (at my house) or swamped with people always pushing her and telling her what to do at the assisted living place Nothing I do is right, though she seems to modify her angry behavior around my sister. She is on both meds for depression and anxiety but nothing seems to help. I know her mind is slipping because she is terribly forgetful and repeats questions over and over. I really try not to get hurt when she zings me but its hard not to. We used to have a decent relationship but that began to crumble when she moved in around 15 years ago. She is now 87 and I'm really sad to see her spend her last years full of anger, anxiety, stress, mistrust and worst of all- unloved. She is not unloved-- I would invite her back here again but I know it won't help. I can't think of anything else to try to turn this around.

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It is indeed sad to see Mom so miserable. Can't say that I blame her much -- I don't deal well with pain, and if she is in pain most of the pain, that is really rough. I imagine that all medical attempts at controlling the pain have been tried.

And to have a son commit suicide! Any death of child before the parent is heat-wrenching, but that one must also be filled with guilt (however unearned it is.)

And now, perhaps, the beginning of dementia.

This is all very sad, but all of it is Not Your Fault. Try to make that your mantra as you let her zings roll off your back.

I don't know how you can turn this around, either. You are not a pain specialist. You are not a grief counselor or a therapist. You are doing the best you can, and that counts a lot!

You've already given having her live with you a good long run. At this point I think that would be even less of a solution than it was earlier.

You experience pain. You lost your brother to suicide. And somehow you apparently manage to go through your days not filled with anger or anxiety or misery. How is it that some people manage and others apparently cannot? It is a mystery that we are not likely to solve.

Continue to love her. You can see that she is getting good care. If she has dementia and it progresses you can see that she moves to an appropriate level of care. You can make sure her physical needs are being met. But you cannot make her happy.

You know how older folks always say "I want to go home" even when they know their home is sold, or something so that going home is impossible? It may be that your mother is unhappy for the same reason, but she has more understanding than those who say they want to go home. Perhaps she wants things to be the way they were (in her mind, at least), and in a happier state.

When my mother says she wants to go home, I say we are working on it and go to another subject. In your case, you could try saying that you are "so sorry that she has to put up with this behavior, but to remember that it is just temporary!" Nothing on earth is permanent, so you won't be lying. Maybe it would be comforting to her as well.
Lynn - You have been and are a wonderful and loving daughter. Having her live with you for 15 years is so thoughtful and caring. Life teaches us that we cannot create happiness for another person - no matter what the situation. You cannot be the maker of her happiness nor did you make her unhappy.

Everyone has a choice - pain should not be an excuse for bitterness. A lot of people don't deal well with pain - it is a choice - I have lived with chronic debilitating pain for 17 years while raising a family, and being the caregiver for mother, father and MIL - either living in our home - hospital - rehab - nursing home. I've made a choice not to bring my family down with my problems - I try to the best of my ability to find happiness and bring happiness. It can be done. No one else is responsible for it.

Some people don't deal well with pain - well, no one "likes" pain of course; it is all in how you choose to deal with it. You cannot change how your mother feels as it appears she is not happy living with you, living in a facility, etc. It is sad to witness this, but uncontrolable. She has had a lot of heartache in her life; so the depression is understandable. All you can do is visit her, try to cheer her up in whatever ways you think might help. You also mentioned she modifies her behaviour when your sister visits - I always found this interesting as my mother use to do the same thing. I believe it was because my mother knew I would never desert her no matter how she treated me, whereas, my sister didn't care if she were placed in the worse nursing home - I cared enough to see that she was living in one of the best in the area. Your mother is not unloved - she has you but is so troubled she will never realize it - that is what is so sad. Bless you for all you have done for her and continue to do. Take care.

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