I'm totally burnt out and need help!


My 90 year old mother-in-law has mild dementia in a manipulative and controlling way. She was moved from her townhome to a lovely assisted living facility in April after several hospitalizations from a fall and misc. medical issues. Her townhome neighbors were becoming resentful and mentioned assisted living to us on numerous occasions She of course imagined they didn't mind helping her which is contrary to the vibes we got. She has always "called the shots" and wants to be in charge even though she couldn't fight her way out of a wet paper bag. I single handed found the assisted living facility, moved her in, packed up her townhome, pacelled out the contents, hired realtors, sold the home and manged all the business that comes with the transactions of this magnitude. I pay all her bills and take care of all her business and hold Power of Attorney. My husband and her only child has Parkinsons and I am of course with loyalty and love his primary care giver. (I quit a job I loved in June this year to manage all this business and care for my husband). Back to the MIL, she has fought me the whole way on everything.
1. " the help are not even nurses" (she is a retired RN)
2. Why can't I give my own drugs (she tried this and over and under medicated herself for years)
3. Begs for frying pans (nursing home told us she should not use a stove under any circumstances and recently turned the oven on 500 degrees to warm up her apartment) - we had stove/oven unplugged.
4. Lies contanstantly
5. Refuses her biweekly bath and will allow a hair wash maybe once a month.
6. Refuses to eat in the resident dining facility and has trays delivered at an added expense
7. Stays in her night gown all day in a darkened apartment
8. Refuses participation in any and all activities
9. Demands I take her to get her hair done to her old hair dresser 15 miles away (I refuse)
10. Complains about the pastor at the facility. (he does a wonderful job and is a delightful person)
11. Demands we take her to church and continuously badgers us about attending church ourselves
12. Won't get out of bed so they can change her sheets (apartment actually stinks)
13. Refuses to wear her hearing aids even though she is close to deaf - tells us to talk louder. When we do she accuses us of yelling at her.
14. Makes constant remarks that we never come and see her. (once every 7-10 days is all I can handle)
15. Hoardes her mail and fights with us every week to go through the heaps just to pull the bills out so i can pay them.
I could go on and on. Whatever you do it is never enough. The wierd thing is she comes across all sweet and Christian like when in fact she makes manipulative, mean statements under her breath.
I can't take it anymore. My husband is at a loss on how to handle her and is not physically or mentally able to do so. Obviously, it's all falling to me and I am becoming so resentfull I can't be around her.
Please help me before I lose it and really tell her off.

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I hope you think of your selves first because if you don't things get serious believe me right now I am slowly in the process of getting help for my Mom but her and my step dad are manipulative big time I am having chest pains and lots of anxiety not sleeping but I know soon has someone comes in and helps if they like it or not I will be back to normal but can someone please reassure me!

OMG Sandy...venting or not, somehow someone needs to move heaven and earth to get you some kind of help or respite! If it is to the point where you see death as the only release from hell on earth, there has to be a less drastic solution. It would be better for YOU to abandon your mom than to die - either way its bad for mom as her best caregiver will be out of the picture. Think of that!! I know you likely would not ever want to abandon your mother, and then try to live with yourself, but that is the reality of that situation, and that has actually happened to any number of caregivers. Mom's dementia is not "mild" either - if she is agitated and has no care for you being in pain and at risk to be totally unable to help her in any event, she has lost her judgement and empathy. Some kinds of dementia those things are worse than memory or superficial social skills early on and it can be deceiving. If Mom has no assets to be used for her care, there should be Medicaid supported service of one kind or another. A possible resource would be wherever your hubby is getting treated for cancer, they will have a social worker with whom you can discuss you situation and the dire need for help and funding.

Praying, hoping, wishing I could send you strength and energy to help you decide you are worthy of help and to make that one contact or call that would get a ball rolling for some alternative to you just continuing to burn up to a crisp to where there is nothing left of you even if you do survive your Mom!!

YES IM GLAD I HAVE A PLACE TO VENT BECAUSE after eleven years im so disgusted with myself for quitting my job to take care of my Mom when they told me three years ago she was going to pass away pludntalk about anger hatered wondering why why why Im here on earth i have no family or friends what so ever to help any help I have I have to pay money money money which Im running out of and no one will help me my mother is 100 perent bedridden guess milld dementia idk oarkinsons and trust me i cannot do enough for her alot of times she is so nice to others but not me she cant move supposdly but I have cameras set up and when she is aggiated she can just move herself AALL OVER THE BED AND TEAR IT UP AND DOES NOT TH9NK NOTHING OF ME IN PAIN MANAGEMENT WITH BACK ISSUESPULLING HER UP TURNING HER AND SO IN DONT EVEN HAVE 8HRS BEFORE I HAVE TO TEND TO HER AGAINIM SICK OF BEING A HAMSTER IN A CAGE ON A WHEEL GOING NOWHERE AND RECENTLY HUSBANDS DIAGNOSED WITH CAncer so trust me i know how it feels with things all pinned up in you and want to scream i ahve no answers of what to do only thing that willhelpme is death even if its me so worn ojut i will be ready thanks for reading

I first believe she had a problem w ypu from the beginning. Now I think she feel like you are taking completely control over her and you are as pos but loosen up on her alittle. I would only take her to her hairdresser when it is convenient for you and maybe right now for alittle hirer someone she knows or outside of the facility to be w her. Mayb she can put trust in them, right now in her mind she can not trust family and you. I hear this all the time, elderly pp w trust outside the family first, because they think family want to take everything when they die. Or when you decide things for her let her have some say so let her feel she is involve w her decisions. This will cost but less stress off of you or you will continue to be run down. Right now your relationship w her is a problem so let some else help you call local agencies. Next she will start not trusting the ppl in the facility. Now to get her out the bed you have to start slow try just letting her agree to just stay in her room in a chair at her pace not yours. If you let her be in some control she will respect you more. But you do need to get her evaluated and maybe she has medication interaction. You need to be in control in big things and let her control the small ones, its hard for to pp to be on control. Spend time w your husband and let the agency give her someone to be with maybe 2-3 times aweek at least its free time for you. Mybe they can build a trusting relationship w her and she won't have time to focus on what you are doing. Good Luck I work w the elderly and families everyday. The other caregiver can help you put alot.

Thank you everyone for your wise and experienced comments. This has helped me put some things in perspective and I will continue to do the best I can without losing myself in the process. For now I am going to keep my distance and turn her immediate care over the the AL facility. When I am feeling less resentful, I will see her on a limited basis. If my husband wants to visit out of a sense of duty, I can drop him off at the door and pick him up when he is ready. I am hopeful we can move on in 2014 and forget about the last 27 years of manipulation and guilting. She is safe and cared for at AL and I am grateful for this and the fact she can afford it. Hence my silver lining...

I'm quoting vstefans comment above, because this is so important:

"NO ONE is a bad person for not responding positively to be abused verbally, emotionally, or physically. At some point detaching is something you absolutely have to do to save yourself if you can't start to set limits and delegate care; expectations have to be lowered, lowered again, and lowered some more. Depressing, but hopefully you can realize that you are not causing the problem and not deserving of guilt and blame for trying your best to help and to understand."

P.S. I can't remember if I said this earlier, but historically, my mom has been dysfunctional. She is a narcissist and emotionally abused and manipulated me growing up and it's now amplified by her Dementia. I stayed away for 30 years because of our bad relationship and her manipulative my way or the highway continuing to use guilt and other manipulative behavior to emotionally control me.
I could go on but I say this to say, her personality traits also play in to the Dementia.

I've heard stores from folks that say their mother was nice until developing Dementia. So one never knows how this strange and HORRIBLE disease works. There is so much that doctors and researchers don't know. As family caregivers, and family members that are directly impacted by this disease, we just have to do the best we can.
Detach with love. Don't feel guilty about not going to see your mom, do as much as you can tolerate. Your life has to go on. Take care of you. Taking care of you does not make you a bad person or a selfish person.
Hope this helps.

vstefans comment rings home with me. When I stopped (I'm STILL working on this and have my days) expecting my mother who suffers from Dementia that is progressing--expecting my mom to be reasonable, t's a lot easier to handle. It's the disease of Dementia/Altz it's not you. Please remember that.

My mother is a narcissist (her entire life) and now that she has Dementia it's amplified. Knowing this helped me understand why she emotionally took advantage of me and manipulated me growing up and it also helps me understand how this plays into her Dementia.
My mom is still at home and I moved in her home to be her full time caregiver. She is not an invalid and still bathes and sometimes (when she's up to it) will cook. Her friends take her to bridge once a month and she goes to the salon with another friend every two weeks for her hair (she's very vain...care's more about her appearance than taking her medications...knowing she could have a heart attack or another TMA/TMI with her high blood pressure and kidney issues).
My brother and I notice when she takes her Dementia meds (Aricept and Lexpro in the AM and .25mg every other night) helps. And we put the meds out as when she said she could take them on her own and tried to let her (we could tell by her combative behavior) that she was not taking the medications. If she takes the meds we put out in the AM great, if she doesn't, depending on her mood we will say did you take your medication? And if she does, great, if she puts up a fuss, we let it go. We do the same with the PM meds. We have a paper on that says "Morning Medication" and another that says "Evening Medication" and they are on her dresser. We put the pills out every morning (I try to do it while she's still sleep in the morning because it's less stressful).
My brother has learned that taking her out for drives helps with her combativeness, however, he says she she sometimes brings up her driving when they are out and starts on her getting her license etc.
I'm saying all of this to say, your mom being in an AL apartment/facility (although it's not perfect) it's taking some stress off of you. I know it must be hard hearing all of the negative feed back from the facility, but at least you are not dealing with it 24/7 at her home or your home. And from what I've heard AL facilities/apartments are better that nursing homes.
Perhaps you can have a talk with her doctors and have her meds administered via a patch (this will not work with my mother because she will rip it off) or in a liquid form that can be put into juice.

What I am trying to say and said badly, is that once I stopped expecting my mom to be reasonable, I found I could emotionally handle it a lot better. It was still hard.

Marialake et al,
They feel horrible and make in a confused state or mind think it is someone's fault, and need to feel it is not their fault. It doesn't have to be ANYONE's fault, but that's too much logic to expect of them. And the usual someone is the caregiver who is closest to them and whose support they can more or less take for granted. They are venting their frustration, albeit it a very maladaptive way. NO ONE is a bad person for not responding positively to be abused verbally, emotionally, or physically. At some point detaching is something you absolutely have to do to save yourself if you can't start to set limits and delegate care; expectations have to be lowered, lowered again, and lowered some more. Depressing, but hopefully you can realize that you are not causing the problem and not deserving of guilt and blame for trying your best to help and to understand.

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