Unbelievable episode. Mom just snapped.


My 91 year old mother and I recently relocated 200 miles North of home due to my job relocating there. I tried for over six months to find a job where we lived, did not so I had to relocate. She's handled it quite well and this past weekend we went home for the holidays and returned Saturday. Sunday morning we went out, bought a Christmas tree, came home, I made lunch, we ate and I spent all afternoon putting up the tree while she sat on the couch watching me. then she snapped. Out of the blue demanded I find her cellphone because her daughter (I'm the only daughter she's ever had!) was about to call her. I tried (MISTAKE #1) to make her realize that I'm her daughter which launched her into a frenzied state, calling me every name in the book, least of which was "You, my daughter??? You're too mean and evil to be my daughter!!!!". This lasted four hours....until I called the paremedics, she saw the gurney and immediately calmed down. Gave her the meds the doctor prescribed (she had refused to take anything from me claiming I would poison her) and finally she went to sleep. I don't know how to handle this. I'm terrified of this happening again. Any help/feedback would be most welcome, please. I'm feeling rather suicidal myself today....

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We used to be told to shed the hurt and harm that others directed towards us like water off a duck's back. It is difficult to be sure that anyone completely understands the troubles or sorrows that another person is going through but I also have a mother who has exhibited much meaness and is considered by many to be difficult or intolerable.
My mother adopted 6 children and that is very much to her credit. Unfortunately she always had favorites and neglected and abused some of us and probably especially me. During my psychology studies we were asked to remember our earliest childhood memories and my memory involved being severely injured at age three with wounds to my face, nose, and one eye. My mother drove me to the Emergency Room and just left me there for three days in the care of strangers and never even visited. When asking my mother about this event 50+ years later, my mother informed me she was too worried about caring for my sister who is and was her favorite child. My mother's sister (my aunt) has confirmed this and indicated she often wanted to take me from my mother because she felt so very sorry for me and the abuse and neglect she saw.

Today I am caring for a 95 year old uncle from the other side of my family. My mother will sometimes make comments such as that I am foolish to do so especially since he is penniless and will not leave me any inheritance. It is a burden to care for him 24/7 in my home but he does really need the help and hope. I find that there are ways to lift some some of the burdens from my self and reading and surfing on the Internet. Here is part of the Desiderata by Max Ehrmann for you if you have not had the chance to be comforted by it:

"You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy."

Many of the parents who are mean have their personality and psychological problems now that they are old just like some of these issues were present when they were younger...try to limit as much is practical and possible from making them your problems as well

My mother has been using ativan for over ten years, and also Prozac. Her personality has changed to being a normally difficult person to an absolutely intolerable person. Her mind is sharp as a tack, yet she insults people and accuses them of stealing. She accused me of wanting her out of the way so that I can "run thru her money IF anything was even left"....
When she said this statement in front of 1/2 dozen personnel at the skilled nursing home (from a fall), I was floored. Embarrassed, hurt and mad. What she said is outrageous.
After years of abuse , I have stopped caring. I am indifferent to the point of feeling depressed. She has drained me emotionally and I have spent thousands of dollars and hours driving long distances through the years to visit her.
I have no brothers or sisters and know that if I did, that she would have done everything to turn us against one another.
She is so mean and I read on these posts about other mean parents. What is the deal with these mean parents?

Our 95 year old uncle now suffers from severe dementia and may have had a psychotic episode while in the hospital for pneumonia. The hospital staff often left him in soiled sheets or diapers for hours at a time but truthfully we do not what the needs of the other patients were when he needed hygiene assistance. He ripped out an IV, his foley catheter, and the cardiac monitoring strips. Supposedly he was so agitated that he threatened the staff. We had recently removed him from an Assisted Memory facility because he was suffering falls and other serious injuries at least once per week. It has been 30 days at home with us without any falls or injuries at all and we are providing physical therapy for him to improve his walking.
It does not seem possible that a man who had always been so generous, kind, and patient could have exhibited any aggression towards others. The physicians said we needed to place him on anti-psychotic medicines. but sometimes it may take more than an hour to convince him that his pills are for him and that he needs to take them. For now we will try the Seroquel that was recommended but if he continues to improve with the loving care we are providing him, we anticipate discontinuing this medicine.
Others mentioned Ativan which is a benzodiazepine or anti-anxiety medicine with possible substantial side effects that can exacerbate dementia and include problems related to falls, somnolence, and mood. Many of the pharmacological and therapeutic suggestions made to caregivers need to be taken with a grain of salt because some proposed solutions may not work to the benefit of every patient. It may be necessary for many caregivers to try different therapeutic approaches just like it is necessary to try on different shoes to obtain the best fit.

May I add...patient support gives her the ativan....she is unable to handle medications herself...her meals are also delivered....I bring her all her essentials like incontinence supplies and fresh fruit, boiled eggs and cookies, toiletries, and fresh flowers every week (she loves them) when she wakes :)

My 95 year old aunt in AL suffers from dementia...she sleeps almost all the time....and when she wakes is disoriented....if me or my mom refuse to answer the phone (she calls both of us the whole time she is awake every two to five minutes only taking a break to eat and use the bathroom....when we don't answer she assumes one of us or both are dead....she takes one .25 mg ativan every night.....she called our phones all night last night saying they were trying to take her bird away.....she can barely hear so its better to talk with her in person which I do at least twice a week..I talk with her on the phone at least once a day and so foes my mom but she forgets and calls back minutes later...we can't answer every time or that's all we would be doing :)....two days I stopped in and she was dressed shoes and all and was pretty alert and with it......I am wondering at what point do we move her into a nursing home with a memory care unit.......

Thank you everyone for your comments and hugs. It is comforting to know that I'm not the only one going through this...I've learned a lot from your comments and I thank you all with all my heart.

Its very frightening. I've experienced same; I've stopped correcting my mother or bringing her back to reality and just let her live in her reality for that moment including participating in delusions (having imaginary phone conversations for example without using a phone). Above poster is correct too; you can't tell if they are thinking they are 40 yrs old (in the moment); etc. My mom is 89; diagnosed with dementia and her episodes are escalating and getting longer. You are in for a bumpy road and more episodes. Just make sure she is safe and if you can; maybe have a friend or neighbor come to the house to help you or keep you company during these episodes while she rides them out. It is terribly frightening for them and when my mom comes out of one; she is frantic and scared "Whats happening? I'm losing my mind" -- it breaks my heart.

The good news and bad news is the same: what you describe is not uncommon in dementia. That means you are not alone, her doctor should be aware of this kind of behavior and perhaps have suggestions for you but also that it may occur again.

The delusion that a loved one is an impostor is frustrating, to say the least. Generally no amount of explaining or arguing will change the dementia patient's mind. Sometimes it can help to go along with the delusion, leave the room, and come back in. "Let me see if I can find your daughter to give you your pills." And then, "Hi Mom, sorry I'm late with your pills, but I'm here now." Sometimes the problem may be where the patient is in her own memory. If she is thinking of herself as 40 years old, then of course she can't have a daughter as old as you! In that case it MIGHT work to say "I'm sorry that your daughter can't be here right now, but she asked me to help out for a little while." Or nothing you can think of might work for a given episode. If it is safe to leave her alone briefly to calm down (and to calm down yourself!) that is worth a try.

Msdaizy is right in that this is disease calling you names ... it is certainly not your real mother who loves you. Keeping that firmly in mind can help.

You did fine with this episode. If there is another one it won't come as quite the shock to you and you'll take it in stride a little better.

Dementia is a terrible, terrible disease, for the patient and for the caregivers. Here4her makes a very important point about the necessity for getting help and for having respite.

I'm sorry about your episode. It's really a hard thing to realize that its really not her..it's totally the disease. Dementia is affecting her brain and the way it functions. It also might be that she was over stimulated for a full day. I have a 91 year old mom with dementia also, she had an episode of her own on Thanksgiving after all the activity. Don't beat yourself up over it. It's just too much for their minds to handle at this point in their life. I have gone back and forth with dealing with mom's dementia. And I have finally come to terms that this is not mom, the disease is controlling her aggitations. It's a rough road to travel...but just know you being there for her is comforting to her, even if she doesn't say it. She will get more confused and frustrated if you weren't. This will probably not be the end of the episodes..it's probably only the beginning. But remember it's the disease and if meds work to calm her...its better for her and you in the long run. Hang in there..it's going to be a bumpy ride...but in the end you will feel good about being there for her.

I'm so sorry to hear this sad but so familiar story. My mom did the same thing...just snapped.
And you are wondering what is going on. Has she been diagnosed with any dementia? I'm pretty sure my mom was having mini strokes. Doc said nothing can be done.
I hope you have a better outcome. Mom is now inAL memory care, I'm getting some respite. It got worse and more frequent to almost 24/7. she was up all night talking to who knows who.
If this keeps happening you won't be able to work and care for her, make sure you get some help. I had no one for 8 years. I now suffer from several chronic illnesses and burnout. I also know the suicide feelings. You need to NOTsacrifice yourself. I pray this will be the only episode, but history says it won't. Hugs and prayers to you.

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