I didn't know that life could get more challenging, but it has.

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I've been taking care of my mother with vascular dementia (VaD) for over six years now. We live in her home. Life has always been a challenge with her. She is messy and obsessive, getting stuck on certain problems that go through her mind again and again. She may forget what day it is, but she remembers the things that are bothering her. Unfortunately, all the things are delusional.

She has had an obsession since 2012 about the floors of the house. They are on stilts and let air blow through the cracks. They sink under her when she walks (common with VaD). Last year a new obsession with her hands came in. She touched something in the back room that made her fingers turn red and get numb on the end. Her palms are red and her fingers work fine, so I don't know. The latest obsession is that the neighbors are sending their water into our yard and flooding it -- not happening. Each day I go in the room and she starts. She is so mad at the neighbors for doing what they're doing. She wants me to get someone out to fix it. And she has a good mind to go tell the neighbors what she thinks. (Pause to look at hands) She goes on to tell me that she got hold of something in the back room and what it did to her hands, and that she need to go to the doctor. (Pause again) And when am I going to call my "friends" to do something about the floor. She tells me how she feels. (Stops to reflect) But what she is most mad about is the neighbors for doing what they're doing... and it loops about. Her mind is stuck in the loop.

What I do is to tell her to think positive thoughts and not fill her mind with so many bad things. Doesn't work. She listens then goes back to being really mad at what the neighbors are doing. Sigh. It is like watching rumination done out loud. She can work herself into a real snit.

I know most people here won't have an answer. I just needed to tell someone. I did tell her doctor that she had a lot of anger now. I let my mother tell her the story about the neighbors, then pointed to my head. I think the doctor understood, but didn't know what to do. Antidepressants and anxiolytics haven't worked. It's just something we have to go through.


I have to mention that my mother could work herself into a snit when she was young. When I was a teenager, I would stand at the kitchen door and talk to her while she got dinner ready. She didn't want anyone in the kitchen with her. She would start talking about my older brother who was always trouble, getting madder and madder the longer she talked. Then the anger would generalize to us other kids and turn to rage. It was when I first learned to walk away from parental rage. I remember being angry myself and thinking she was a nut. This loop I see her in now reminds me so much of the way she generated rage when she was younger. She had an anxiety disorder.
Jessie, has your mom EVER been to a geriatric psychiatrist? I should remember this from your previous posts, but I'm sorry, i don't. I know that ruminations can sometimes be ameliorated by certain antidepressants.

This must be so hard. Last night, my mom told my sist6in law that she, mom, has something "like leprosy" and that she's exposed my pregnant niece to it! Gotta hate vascular dementia!
Hugs to you, Jessie dear. Dementia on top of a long-term anxiety disorder is very, very challenging. So many behaviors and obsessions in dementia seem to come and go and change. You mother's seem to endure! You've been posting some of these same concerns for years. How awful!

I remember a long list of things you tried about the floor. There is probably not much you can do about any of her delusions.

Babalou, she did see a geriatric psychiatric nurse practitioner for a while. Through the years she tried 4 different antidepressants. Two had no noticeable effects. Two put her into hypomania -- those were terrible times. I decided that antidepressants weren't the way to go.

My mother have always been able to worry the whiskers off a cat. Maybe some people have a ruminating brain structure that gets caught in loops. I can do things to try to "fix" something, but there's always one more thing that needs to be done, because what I did didn't work. The problem is that there was no problem to start with except in her mind. Wish I could fix her mind.

I know my mother's time on earth is growing shorter. She lost 13 lbs these last few months. She sleeps a lot. I think her body is wearing out. I wish that her mind could be at peace, but I think she'll fight until the end. She won't go quietly into that dark night.
I am beginning to notice memory loss with my Dad [94], it is just so strange how it works. Last week we were going over a house contract for him to sell [selling his house] and he seemed to understand everything, was able to talk about how he thought the Buyers getting 100% loan won't have much money to use to update the house, etc. His mind was alert. And sure enough the Buyer backed out of the contract.

On Friday he was in a tizzy over the telephones being out of order at the facility where he lives, he rarely calls anyone, but he has 24-hour news on and knows about the Verizon strike. Now he is wondering how people are going to get to work, won't they be confused, etc. I just couldn't follow his logic.

This is going to be an interesting journey.
JessieBelle - one thing our moms have in common is this ability to keep on going - against mounting odds. In the seven months I've been here I've seen many regular posters say their parent had passed on - yet mine, and yours keep on keeping on.
I have to say, I don't know how you continue to do it day after day. My mom doesn't live with me and just visiting her a few times a week requires all my patience AND mood medication! If you haven't resorted to "mood medication" for yourself by now it doesn't seem likely that you'll start now - but it does help me. As for the sleeping and weight loss - that's mainly what's going on with my mom - she's lost over 40lbs in the past seven months and she was only slightly over weight to start - at about 5' 2". I look at the sleeping as a blessing - my favorite visits are the ones she sleeps through, lol! Also, at least with the exception of bad dreams - which my mom doesn't have - she is at peace during her sleep. Maybe as your mom starts to sleep more and more the two of you can both get a break from the constant obsessing during this time.
It is trying and I have to admit I don't spend a lot of time with her. I work in my room and stay in my room most of the time when I'm home. It is very isolating, but it is hard to spend more than five minutes with my mother. If she isn't obsessing on the things, she argues with things I say. It's really kind of dumb. I can say something like the mail hasn't come yet, and she'll say it always comes before a certain time, so it is out there. I'll say I'm cooking pork chops and she'll say she hates my baked pork chops. These things sound trivial, but when everything you say is answered in the negative, it gets tiring. Anytime I'm around her I end up feeling bad about myself, so it's best to stay clear for my own sake.
Rainmom, I consider parents like ours as Energizer Bunnies on low batteries.
JessieBelle- isn't that the truth - low battery bunnies! My mom was the same with the constant opposing statement or opinion. Me: "it's warm outside today". Mom: "it's not really warm do much as its humid". Sounds benign enough, right? But when it's EVERY, SINGLE REPLY, it can wear you down to the nub and/or literally drive you out of your mind. My father use to complain about her doing that and at the time I didn't notice it so much. Let me tell you - I sure as hell notice it now! It's beyond exhausting! Just once why can't the reply be "yes, it is warm"?
Yes it can get worse in a variety of ways. Jessie I am glad you are not spending much time in your mother's presence. I know what that has done to me - the constant negativism drains you. Sometimes validating their feelings helps - "I can see you are angry about... " It tends to stop arguments because you are agreeing with her. It all gets very tiring. I know it well.

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