Mom with Dementia.

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Mom is in her late 90's, physically healthy, mobile but with increasing dementia and driving us nuts. She lives in an independent living facility but desperately needs to be in assisted living. She is just lucid enough to refuse to move saying she will kill herself. She doesn't listen, doesn't do anything to help herself and gives us a hard time, lies and complains. Her decision making and behavior is often that of a 4 year old. We write notes to remind her of things - and she erases them or doesn't look at them. She can't remember five minutes ago, can't work the appliances, doesn't bathe at all now (and won't let us help her), she lies about everything, has paranoia and sometimes imagines things and keeps bringing up the same complaints and topics like a big loop, year after year after year. Other times, she acts normal, which is what complicates things and fools others. She won't let anyone in the apt to help her except me and my sister. Now she has become incontinent, wets and poos her pants on occasion. I have bought her pads and disposable adult pants but she still wears regular ones half the time - then throws them away. She simply doesn't listen any more. We have bought at least 20 pairs this year. Her toilet is disgusting and usually unflushed. We know there is nothing we can do except wait for something to happen so we can move her, but with her good physical health, it could be years. (if we live that long) I guess I'm not asking for advice, just for your prayers as she is unhappy, has no interests in anything except complaining, and we are unhappy and tired and frustrated. We will get through it, but this has prompted me to write up instructions for my children because I don't want to do to them what mother is doing to us.


Hugs to you. This is so hard!

If your mother got proper care she might live a few more years. But since she isn't getting proper care (through no fault of yours!) it seems unlikely to me that you have years left to deal with this.
Soozie, don't cover up her mistakes for her. Leave the mess, don't buy her more underwear. The management at IL will tell her she has to move if she smells bad enough and the room is a cleaner's nightmare. She isn't going to kill herself, but she's gonna wear you down to a nub.
SoozieD, vent away. Your mother sounds so much like mine. I've learned I can't do a thing with her except to wait. I know that something will happen eventually. I just don't know what or when.
Something will happen, let 911 get called by the facility. Let her be transported by ambulance. Hospital will evaluate and find her unable to return to IL. They will help develop a care plan. When they tell her (and you) that she can't be released to live on her own, make sure that you are there to tell them that YOU are not personally going to care for her.
i hope i live into my 90's quite deliberately to make my sons lives a living hell.
on a more serious note i read yesterday that a demented elder can lose about 1/2 of their actual brain mass so in that light all the crazy makes a little bit of sense. underware arent that expensive, i say your mother deserves to live her life as she sees fit . screw staff and bystanders, it aint their life that is fading.
What would happen if you and your sister didn't show up to help? At some point, I think at least some of us here have realized that what we are doing is enabling dysfunctional behavior on the part of a parent. They raised us to know better!
Soozie, I think that I would back off and do a lot less so others in her life there will see what is REALLY happening to your mom. I know it's hard, but for your sake and for the sake of your mother I would not participate in the mess anymore.
Thank you for all your advice and hugs. I have backed off and to let things happen sooner than later because this has been going on for years, getting worse every year. She definitely would have a better and longer life (and probably happier) in assisted living. Unfortunately my sister is buying the pants, and doesn't want Mom to blame her if we make the decision to move her. The doctor says "she's not there yet" and continues to fill out the yearly physical form ok-ing her to stay although she absolutely should not be there. Its awful to wait for her to fall or get sick so she will get the help she needs. Every week she goes to the hairdresser and walks up and down about 20 steep stairs and I hold my breath. If she falls down them, she will die, not just hurt herself. (she won't use the elevator, can't work it and refuses to try) Its so frustrating!

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