Mom with dementia is angry and upset about not being released from assisted living to go home.

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Mom just called me at work to tell me that she had been discharged from the Assisted Living Center and was going home. I told her that I would need to talk to the Nurse Practitioner. Mom became angry with me and told me to stay out of her business then hung up the phone. I talked to NP and she said that Mom asked to be released to go home and when she wouldn't release her, Mom became angry and told her that she would no longer need her services. I called Mom back and told her that I had spoken with the NP and she hadn't been discharged. She argued with me and became more angry and upset. I told her that she couldn't go home until the doctor felt that she was okay to live alone. She said she never wanted to speak to me again and for me to stay out of her business and then hung up the phone. I have DPOA and she's not going anywhere. But how do I deal with the guilt and stress of this coming up over and over again? Just yesterday, she was planning to come to my house for Christmas and seemed to know that she would not be at home. Now, she's wanting to go home immediately. Please talk me through this.


Since she has dementia these calls will continue probably for a long time until she gets to a more advanced level-in time she will not remember what is happening currently-you might try saying thank you for calling and not explain any furture and just do as you did this time and take action.
Thanks! I really do have to stop letting it stress me out. She has been doing so good, so I'm not sure what happened today. Oh well...I guess I'll just accept being the bad guy if it means that she stays safe. BTW...she is still very angry with me. She wants me to come and get everything that belongs to me because she doesn't want any of my stuff around her. She told me to have a good life because I would burn in hell when I died. Lovely!
Abby, are you sure that you have to be the bad guy? Do you have to discuss this at all? She calls and says that the doctor is releasing her today. You say. "Oh. OK. ... You'll never guess who I got a Christmas card from today! Remember that family who lived down a block, behind the drug store ..." Acknowledge that you heard her, don't discuss it, and change the subject.. As you say, she is not going anywhere. It makes no sense to try to explain or convince or argue with a person with dementia. I know that the good days can lull us into a sense of "normal" and then a bad day can really throw us for a loop. Mom could have a rational conversation on Monday and here it is Tuesday and we think we can talk to her and we find out we are wrong! It is a stressful blow.

Or ...she says the Nurse Practitioner is releasing her. You tell her that is not true. But arguing with a dementia victim is not productive and generally makes matters worse. How about, "Oh. That's good. Would you ask her to call me so we can make arrangements?"

My heart goes out to you, Abby. This is very, very hard. Try to figure out how you can avoid arguing with her and that may reduce the stress a little.

For now perhaps you can simply detach for a few days and let her anger cool down.
It might be worth planning a meeting with the nurse and you and mom and a social worker at the facility. Though her judgement is obviously not good, it may still be possible to convey caring plus a firm commitment that people are working together for her benefit and won't be played against one another, without really even saying it that way. She probably has some sense of embarassment over her trick not working, and could grasp an idea that she is genuinely understood and sincerely forgiven for trying to find a way to go back home even though it is not possible. And she may be able to grasp that what she said to you was hurtful and that maybe she really does not want to rid her life and her room of all traces of you because of this. The social worker at my mom's facility once helped me with something like this by talking to her a little; (she'd yelled and called me stupid when I brought her new shoes to the therapy room, and I was not in a good place to handle that at the moment) she did manage to admit that she was just "very worried about everything."
I do avoid arguments with her and most of the time I can change the subject. Today, after I told her that I spoke with the NP, I said to her that she must have misunderstood what the NP said. That's when she blew her top. I decided not to stop by tonight so that she would have time to settle down. She called a few minutes ago and said she didn't want me to be mad at her. I assured her I wasn't. She said "I just get lost sometimes and say things that I shouldn't say". I kept my conversation short so as not to upset her again. You are so right about thinking that at times I am dealing with the person that she was before dementia. I have to stop trying to fix everything and just be there for her. Thank you all for allowing me to vent and giving me great advice.
Abby, I'd like to suggest a book to you. I found "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia" by Pauline Boss to be extremely helpful in helping me recognize my own feelings and expectations and reactions.

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