I was mean today, but I think I was in the right.

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My mother was sick again today. She is always sick. Today she was sitting in her pajamas with her feet on a heating pad, watching a religious station. Her head was wrapped in multiple layers of hat and scrarf. She had a thermometer sticking out of her mouth. She was so sick and needed to go to the doctor.

My mother is a hypochondriac. We've gone through stretches of visiting doctors almost every day and not finding anything wrong. For this last two weeks, we've cycled through various ailments she thought she had. The truth is that she has been sick every day all day long since 2005. Today I told her that there was nothing wrong with her except that she had made an occupation of being sick, and she was driving me crazy. I never paid attention anymore because she cried wolf all the time. I told her to stop and to get that silly thing off her head.

No, I didn't crack. My mother's dementia is not bad enough to excuse this behavior. It is a really silly game she is playing to avoid having to do anything. If she is sick she doesn't have to clean house, socialize, or move from her chair in front of the TV. I told her to get up and start living. My way of thinking is that if she wants to spend each day dying for many years, she can do it in a nursing facility. I am tired of scheduling appointments and running to the drugstore to get her drug of the day.


If she was sitting on a heating pad and taking her temp, was she trying to boost the reading to show a fever, or was she genuinely chilled? Her withdrawal could be depression or it could be the dementia advancing. Or she could just be sick and tired of Winter. We did buy Mom a BP wrist cuff, a pulse oximeter and a thermometer so she can write down her vitals twice a day. She is obsessed with these "toys" and keeps it all on a notepad. Sometimes she gets the numbers wrong, but it keeps her amused. You are right about the medication game, she likes to make you jump and run after things, it puts her in a position of control. And you have to be careful what they see on TV, mom wanted to buy the cake pops kit. It's still in the box. So is the flex hose. Now she wants me to cut and color my hair to look like hers. LOL my husband flipped his lid "What!? no @$#%# way! Tell her to cut that %$^#$^ out!"
Jessie, can you pull the plug on the TV (when she isn't in the room, of course!) Play some music from her era. give her some towels/laundry to fold. Without a purpose, she may not know what to do with herself. Give her a deck of cards and ask her to sort them for you (colors or suits). Give her busy work to keep her busy. Sort the orphan socks, working from non working writing instruments, etc. Anything to keep her mind off of her.
I can't make excuses for her, because I know it is something she has been doing for years. It will drive people crazy. She has all the toys and takes her vitals a lot. What gratification she could get from occupying the niche of sick person I don't know. The other day she knew she had a UTI and needed to go to the doctor right away. I did a UTI test on them and the results came back negative. So then she switched over to sinus infection. Today it was earache. I just started thinking about how long I've been here -- 1500 days now! playing a game of disease of the day, always wanting some drug and to see a doctor. I really went through it last year and the year before. I have my foot down this year, if not for myself then to save Medicare dollars that are being wasted.
Jessie, I went through something similar with my retarded sister. When she said she was sick, I put her to bed, and checked on her periodically. She didn't like being "sent to her room" because she couldn't be the center of attention. She would recover rapidly and finally stopped the complaining altogether. Give it a try.
i think the term " retard " has been fluffed up to read intellectually challenged. i think half wit is a better description but unfortunately nobody cares what i think.
hell jesse, when two adults are in a close proximity as in carer and care recipient there are going to be a few brisk words at times. in fact sometimes pissing off a depressed person is the best therapy in the world for them..
You are in a difficult situation but I always feel it is best to err on the side of compassion. Most people with dementia are not purposely manipulative. There are truly problems with the processing of the mind. The true measure of a society is how they care for the sick and the elderly.I have a relative with dementia who asks the same questions again and again. It is difficult to answer the same thing kindly over and over but I am determined to give it my best shot.
May we all be blessed for our patience and compassion.
Leo, this is true to a certain extent. We have to use our best judgment based on our own situations. Dementia is not the same from person to person, and it changes over time. A person in earlier stages is still able to function at a high level. If they had a difficult personality before going into dementia, they will not suddenly grow angel's wings if it happens. If we are to care for someone with dementia, we have to do things to preserve our own sanity. This may include calling them on behaviors we know are not appropriate when we know them well enough to understand what is going on. This is not harsh -- actually it is more compassionate than letting them do things that will ultimately not be good for them. In this case, if caregiver goes crazy, then there is no one there to take care of Mom. So it is in the best interest of everyone to make sure the caregiver doesn't go crazy. Hope that makes sense.

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