My 70 year old mother, with vascular dementia and Alzheimer's, keeps threatening to overdose on her medication.

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I am an only child and I am the only caregiver for my mother. We have not had a good relationship due to her being a very sharp and unloving mother during my 52 years. She got pregnant with me when she was a teenager and has always told me that I messed up her life because she never wanted children. My father passed away 7 years ago and then 4 years ago, when my mother was 65, I started noticing signs of dementia.

One of the blessing I have accepted regarding her Alzheimer's Disease is that it seemed her personality changed and she was loving and kind and pleasant. I was 51 years old before she ever told me that she loved me or became physically affectionate with me. I have totally forgiven my mother for her treatment all these years. I even gave up my job last April to care for her so she could stay in her home and remain as independent as possible.

Recently, she has stopped taking her medication on a regular basis. I'm with her but she "pretends" to take it and then I find it in a drawer, or a tissue, or on the bathroom floor where she is flushing it down the toilet. She becomes very aggressive and verbally abusive without the meds. Lately she has started saying that she will know when "the time comes" to end it all. I don't know if this is just more verbal abuse because she sees how it upsets me or if she is capable at this point to really care out such a plan. I've spoken with her neurologist and geriatric psychiatrist but they are limited in their advice. I'm doing all I can to make sure she has a good quality of life, i.e., traveling, visiting friends, etc., but I'm just not sure how much more I can keep this up, especially now that she's has started being suspicious of me. She tried to kick me out of her house yesterday and told me to go get a life. So hurtful since I feel like I've given up my life for her care.

2 Comments

Bless you heart.... I know what you're going through, and how you're feeling. My mom also has issues when it comes to taking her meds. As for the threats, most likely that's just what they are....threats. At least that's what mom's doc tells me. He said that at this point in the disease process, they are still aware enough to know how to play the guilt game. If they think they can scare us into thinking they'll do something awful, it gives them a sense of control, when even if they won't admit it to us, they actually realize on some level that they're loosing control. They can't help it. Your mom may be in denial about her diagnosis (my mom is), because if she admits she's sick, she thinks we, as care givers will "put them away". My mom has threatened to run away so "no one will find her, and she can live her own life". She even threatened to kill herself. I don't have to tell you how upset I was. Her doc determined that in addition to the ALZ she is also has pretty significant symptoms of anxiety and depression. He prescribed Depakote twice a day. It's helped some, but her outbursts and paranoid behavior are still there.
Try to stay strong, and take care of YOU!!! I'm learning that if I'm not OK, I'm not as good with her.
debbierogers09, I am so glad you at least got to hear your mother say she loves you! That is a small silver lining in this dark cloud.

Does your mother have both Vascular Dementia and also Alzheimer's? I guess it doesn't matter ... with either one or both most patients reach a point fairly quickly where they cannot live alone, even with frequent help. Even if she is not at that point yet, I think you should assume that she will be, and start looking for a suitable placement for her. Discuss this with her doctors. Will she be able to afford her care, or will she need help applying for Medicaid?

You have given up your life for her care. You have certainly done all you could. It may soon be time to turn the day-to-day care over to professionals, while you continue to advocate for her, work with her doctors, visit often, and continue to love her. I am not advocating abandoning her! But you need to give careful thought to what will be best for her and for you.

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