Awful day, Mom agitated & angry from moment she woke up, she acted like a toddler...

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My mom had a really crappy day today. It's like she woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I almost thought her Meds we're screwed up, she was so different today and it lasted most of the day. If you've seen my other posts, my stepdad passed away 2 weeks ago and I'm here with my Mom tying up loose ends and trying to pack her up. In between all the packing and phone calls and bank visits I have been taking her to see friends, workout, and to see her therapist. It's had its ups and downs but today she was very restless and aggravated. The one thing I did differently this morning was to make several work related phone calls. Normally I work in the mornings on my computer, but today was more phone calls. So I was basically ignoring mom, but she got mad at me for bossing her around. Go figure. Then when it was time to head out to run errands, she said, "I can drive" and I told her I didn't think it was a good idea because she had been so upset lately. Wow...she threw a fit, slammed the car door, so I got out to take a few deep breaths and then she stomped off. I eventually followed her and she cried, apologized, and then got all angry at me again. Her main beef is that everybody has been bossing her around and won't let her drive! She told me to leave the apartment so she could calm down, so I did. She eventually came and found me in the courtyard because her friend called saying it was time to meet for lunch. She sort of calmed down after that, but I had a real eye opener....how the heck am I going to drive for three days with her knowing she is going to insist on taking turns? I emailed the doctor who wrote a note on a prescription paper recommending that she not drive for a couple months due to her grief....but when we dropped by in person, doc didn't discuss it with Mom. My plan is to have her therapist show her the note and discuss it before we head out, but I'm not hopeful that this will make her agreeable. She is in complete denial about her cognitive decline and abilities most of the time, and then has brief moments of clarity in which she admits she's losing her mind. To be fair, 1 out of 13 days being this awful is still manageable in my mind, but what about moving forward....when she realizes living with me affords her no more freedom then living in the AL apartment.....ugh....I may be lining up the memory care place sooner rather then later, I mean, if she's going to hate me either way...and as far as extra Meds to help her calm down, the doc said a lot of times they work opposite, she said we could try Benadryl but to try it before we actually needed it in case it makes her worse, not better. I'm not sure I want to even try it.

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Thanks LovesUdad, I'm trying my best. She's moved in with us, after years of saying how she wanted to move in with us if something should happen to her husband, after 3 days here she wants to move back to her town! Her furniture hasn't even gotten here yet. I realize what she really wants is to go back in time, when she had independence, and her own place and could function on her own. I know she misses her familiar surrounding and friends. She had two faithful friends who continued to be friends through her dementia.
Wrongly, I argued with her that she couldn't move back because she had no place to go back to, and eventually she got really angry with me because it wasn't what she wanted to hear. Anyway, after she accused me of only doing this and saying this for the 20 thousand dollars money I would get, (no idea where the bribery idea came from) and after we both calmed down, I finally figured out a better response so that she wouldn't fly off the handle. Today the agency comes to do an evaluation, I can't wait! I need help, and they can set me up with resources, caregivers, doctors, and facilities for the contingency plan if this doesn't work.
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Dementia means that not only are our parents and loved ones losing memory function but they are behaving in 'demented' ways. My father had no idea he was 'losing it' mentally because he was trapped in his mind and coping as best he could. He did get angry when I spoke too fast or asked questions that he couldn't answer (memory). The assisted living facility (Brookdale) neglected his medical appointments saying "he didn't want to go" and they killed him as a result. Keep your mum home and do your best to keep her happy. Think of 50 First Dates (film) and just remind her she is safe and loved.
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Jinx, so recording the issue in writing makes them feel more listened to?? Taken more seriously? That's a good idea.
Thankfully that was her only awful moment today, but I went ahead and took 1/4 of a Valium--no need for both of us to be worked up, and I was shaking like a leaf after that, dreading that the whole day might be that way.
So glad that it wasn't.
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When she tells you about a problem, take out a notebook and write it down. That will calm her down for a minute. You may have to write it down 10 times, but you will get a little peace in between.
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JJGood, have you kidnapped my mother? It sure sounds like it. Even before the dementia, my mother could imagine a problem out of thin air. The dementia makes it worse. Reassurance that all is okay works sometimes. When it doesn't, the only way I've found to handle it is to tune her out or to walk away.
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oh for crying out loud....she started right away this morning, convinced the dog was out of his acid controller, and mad as h3ll because he's missed his acid controller for days (all of it NOT TRUE). She stomped her feet, cussed, etc. I then showed her the bottle, shook it, it rattled with pills still left in it....
It's like she wants to be angry, it came out of nowhere, I couldn't see any trigger.
At least yesterday she apologized to me, today she told the dog how much she loves it, and promptly ignored me --

it's going to be a long day if this keeps up
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Thanks jeannegibbs, I actually do say something similar to what you recommended when she has her moments of clarity, both acknowledging her memory decline and reassuring her that we will muddle through it together. Several times she has said that she's stupid, and I disagree with her every time. I tell her she's going through a lot and simply confused, but not stupid.

I will also try to keep her grief in perspective. She's never been one to express sadness and grief, she's very much a "stick your head in the sand type" so it must be double hard on her now.

Jessibelle, thanks for the tip on the UTI, I will keep that in mind as well.

Rainmom, I have valium with me, use it to get on airplanes, but I definitely can't take it while driving, I do however have a massage lined up towards the end of the month. My kids got me a mother's day gift card at this massage club two years ago and I finally went in April--WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG? The membership allows me 1 massage a month, I'm thinking, hmmmm the 2nd massage is discounted, I think I'll schedule 2 a month. ha ha
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JJGood19, you say "She is in complete denial about her cognitive decline and abilities most of the time, and then has brief moments of clarity in which she admits she's losing her mind."

Yikes! Wouldn't that be the absolute pits? My husband had that self-awareness, too, and my sister always felt bad about that for him. She said if she ever went gaga she hoped she just arrived there with no awareness of the journey!

You can take advantage of those moments of clarity, though. Agree with her. Confirm that she is losing some of her former abilities. ("You have a great memory. But sometimes these days it isn't working.") And reassure her that she will be safe. "You'll have to make some adjustments, but I'll be here to help you when your brain isn't working up to its usual high standards, and we'll get by fine."

Reinforce these concepts as often as you can.
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You know what else can cause sudden mood swings, untypical outbursts, and irrational behavior?

The death of a soulmate, life partner, long-time friend, lover, and spouse. Your poor mother lost her husband 2 weeks ago. Of course she is having "bad days." My goodness, this is perfectly normal. My husband died 3+ years ago. I remember those first months. My BFF's husband died two weeks ago. Is she having bad days? You better believe it!

The signs of mourning (black clothes, black armbands, etc) were a warning to others. They said, "I've recently lost a loved one. Please be patient if I'm a little unstable."

On top of "normal" mourning your mother is coping with "losing her mind" and sometimes knowing it and also with getting ready to move.

It really is amazing that she is still functional at all.

What you are seeing right now may or may not be what she settles into in a few month. Apply all of your patience and wait and see.

And I wouldn't necessarily start with looking for memory care if she does need more help than you can provide. Most memory care units are for people who wander (and therefore need a secure environment) or people whose behavior is very disturbing to other residents. Unless these things apply, an assisted living facility might be just fine.

And I join JessieBelle and Rainmom in congratulating you on doing a great job! I'd just advise factoring in the grief factor a little more heavily.
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Maybe consider some temporary stress medication for you. Although it's probably not a good idea to take them if you're going to be driving. But after you get where you going, perhaps. I know I went a couple of months needing to take a stress med prior to every visit with my mom. I've held back four doses that I hoard like gold, for "just in case". Just knowing they're there makes me feel better. And like JessieBelle said, give yourself a pat on the back - it sounds like you're doing a great job in a tough situation.
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