I need help regarding my Mom/feel hurt and stressed.

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I'm new here. Did anyone here ever have a parent say to you “what is wrong with YOU”? I get this “are you okay?” because I will (and I do this without thinking, I admit) say “well, you said such and such”. This could be in reference to something from months or years ago. i dont do it deliberately. To which she will say “I never said that”. What is wrong with you?” So my response is something like “oh I must have made a mistake”. But it does not end there. She seems so angry so much and says that I am angry at her or that I make her angry. I am there with my mouth half open trying to figure out how the conversation got so out of hand that I am the bad guy. I don’t know how to stop things from going viral. Then she will say she never wants to talk to me again.
The most recent thing was this: She accused me of wanting her money. What? She doesn’t have much and doesn’t own her own home, so I don’t get it. The other day this all came about because she has a carer who she said she is giving things to. I thought about the jewelry she owns and keeps in her closet so I asked her if she is giving this jewelry to the carer and she started screaming at me that I want her money and her jewelry and it was awful. Then she said "give me your money so I can go to Assisted Living. I cant do this because she would lose her Medicaid if she got aid. Not only don’t I want anything from her, but I am partially supporting her for years. She doesn't have much and none of this makes sense to me. I felt guilty for not saying, yes, you can have my money. Trying to explain to her that she cannot go into Assisted Living never works because she doesn't understand why. She hates where she lives (too long a story to go into but it is legitimate complaints). She cant reason it through and thinks I am against her.
I know it’s the disease, but she can act so nice in front of other people. My brother is an example. If she is with him and she “starts”, he rudely shuts her up with “don’t talk negative”. And she listens. I cant be that heartless.
She was never this way all her life and now she is someone I don’t like much and cant deal with, but I love her. Please help me to know how to handle this. Feel bad to have to come to a site and write this.
Thank you.

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Anne; so sorry that you are experiencing this and that your brother is not on board. Something to be considered is getting mom to a geriatric psychiatrist. Over the past several years, mom has seen a couple. Once during a hospitalization, on an ongoing basis while in independent living and now while that she's in a NH.

to me, the psychiatrist is the last MD who "gets" the whole patient. S/he's the person who is not just looking at the heart or the legs or the spine: they are looking at the brain, the mind the body and the personality. And there are meds that can ameliorate some of the symptoms that you are describing.

My mom was in the hospital a couple of years ago. She'd had a couple of episodes of really high blood pressure, but no stroke diagnosed. Some of her symptoms were suggestive of a seizure disorder, so neurology ordered a three day EEG. They put you in a private room, lovely view, rig you up with all the electrodes on your head and attach you so that the team in the EEG lab down the hall can read the waves. The other patients having this done were sitting contentedly reading, knitting, watching TV.

A couple of hours into the test, I got a call from the hospital, saying that my mother was trying to leave the room and the hospital, saying that she was being held against her will. I asked them to put her one the phone.

"hi mom".

(in a whisper) "It's all a scam"

what?

"It's a scam; they say I'm in a hospital, but it's not. I can tell. It's a parking garage"

(what!!1??)

Then she says "How do I know it's you I'm talking to?"

OMG, where is my mother?

I got in my car and drove from Brooklyn to the hospital in Westchester in record time. To make a really long story short, my mother was re-living an episode of "Monk" in which he's held incommunicado in a parking garage.

We got geriatric psychiatry involved. Nice doc came and talked to mom. Talked about Hospital delirium/psychosis. Talked about her need for support and socialization. Need for a facility that would provide distraction, reassurance and good nutrition. Talked to us for at least an hour. Best advice we ever, ever got.
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Anne, my 93 yr. old mom went through the same thing last year. After the mild confusion and forgetfulness, she became aggressive, verbally and physically abusive, accusing me of stealing everything, plotting against her, etc. (She already had a diagnosis of Alzheimer's from her MD and a neurologist). I thought this "phase" would never end!!!! I argued with her at length, both trying to set her straight (impossible) and trying to clear my good name of any wrongdoing in her eyes. Now, 7 months later and a move to a memory facility, she's calmed down but has become more depressed.

My opinion is that my mom KNOWS she is "loosing it". They are angry at THEMSELVES and/or their situation for their shortcomings. They take that anger out on us. They have been in charge of their lives for many years and they're not about to relinquish control to anyone. Denial is in full swing at this stage. I backed off for awhile (for my own sanity) until her behavior became too irrational and confused. I had to trick her into the memory care facility, her worst fear.
She has progressed into Stage 6 and now doesn't know who I am about half the time. But she knows that "something is wrong with my brain". "I can't remember anything. I'm so mixed up . Who are you again?" And she's very upset about it. I thought everyone with dementia was in La-La Land, in a peaceful, confused oblivion. Apparently, not so. What a living hell to KNOW you aren't "right", can't think straight or function normally, can't seem to get it together, forget what was just asked and answered (after asking 10+ times), aimlessly arranging, then rearranging things and not know why, forgetting to bathe, have huge chunks of time "disappear", remembering a name but having no idea who it belonged to, having to rely on the word of others because you have no clue of what went on, etc. She is watching her own decline. She asks if there is medication for this. I tell her she's taking it but I don't mention that it no longer does any good. That's heartbreaking.

She now is saying she wants to die. I tell her God will take her when He's ready. For her own sanity, I hope that she progresses to "La-La Land" or that the Lord is merciful and takes her home. This is just agonizing for everyone.

Anne, inform yourself about dementia. Alzheimer's. Org might be a good start. Remember to take care of yourself and don't go through anything you can't tolerate mentally. We're all suffering with you. ((Hugs))
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Thank you all, again. Yes, family is dysfunction. My mother was not narcissitic, but really very loving.
And yes, the doctor was referring to delirum/delusion? she has when hospitalized when she mentioned the dementia. In as much as my brother is not forthcoming, that is all the information I can get at this point. You are all so kind to take the time to give me links, information, look up things ... wow. What affirmation. I just wish none of this were true :(.
So glad I found this site. So many good people who understand. You are right, people who have not experienced this just don't "get it".
thanks again. I will probably be back.
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I have experienced sundowning symptoms when I had some TIA's.
(Transient ischemic attack, or mini-stroke).
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Jessebelle, I did a cursory search re: sundowners syndrome is dementia?
Any cognitive decline (memory, confusion) should be diagnosed it says.
There are some "dementia" that can improve? It says.
Terms used were used as same: Sundowners, dementia, alzheimers.
Do not have the actual reference.
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Anne - as the others have said, this site can be a sanity saver. Personally, it's done wonders for me and the education from "front line" soldiers has been invaluable! On a lighter note - there is a long standing thread with hundreds of posts - I can't recall the exact title but its something like "What's the funniest thing your parents has said lately". Do a search here for it. I'm off to lunch but if I don't see it up when I get home, I'll search for it and get it current. It's laugh out loud funny, wise and touching. I highly recommend it for lightening the moment, letting you know you are not alone and putting things into perspective. Welcome.
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Keep coming back to this forum, and keep sharing. So many wise and kind and perceptive (and witty!) people here. People who "get it." And in return, they give a consistent level of understanding.

A refreshing contrast from the static and frustration you get in the so-called real world.

These threads are sanity-savers. The kindred spirits of AC Forum will make you feel validated. Which is crucial for mental health!

You will also learn practical and tactical ways to get through the moment – and the future. Welcome aboard.
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I checked and the only other instance I found of sundowning was in hospital delirium. Generally it is thought of as a symptom of some type of dementia. So if the doctor mentions sundowning, he is saying she has a symptom of dementia without using the D word. Since your mother has heart failure, he may not want to add the additional label onto it. With heart problems, medications used for dementia wouldn't be helpful. So it is probably fine to let the diagnosis slide. I just wish your brother was more on board with it. It sounds like he is tired, too. It has been a long road for the three of you.
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Anne, There is no shame asking for help, no need to be embarrassed.
People here, including me, may not have it right, but the dynamics sound very familiar.
Keep talking.
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Anne, if the doctors mention sundowning, they are really saying dementia. The two go together. I don't know if you could have sundowning without dementia... except maybe with a UTI. Does anyone know if there are cases where people without dementia have sundowning?
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