Dementia is such a sad disease and it's so sad to watch my mom going through this.

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Ive been taking care of my mom since aug I just hope thanksgiving and christmas will be special!

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My Mom is 90 & lives in Asst. Living for about a year. She doesn't want me to come over( says she won't unlock the door & I can't reach her because she refuses to wear her hearing aids & doesn't hear the phone ..if she does call, it's because she needs something but won't leave a message & I call her cak when i see "restricted" on my phone..i'm frustrated, upset, emotional..how do I cope with this from a mom who was never"there" for me or MY daughter who I lost last year after a lifelong battle with Type 1 Diabetes / dialysis, etc..?
JoP- I have been struggling with that very thing. MIL lives with us. She can be mean and nasty. Lately, she has been getting upset when we go do things with our friends and children. She has cried a few times this week about how lonely she is and how she has no one. So, here's the deal. I have zero compassion for her. She has never been "there" for anyone but herself. I have never seen her give a single hug to any of her grandchildren. In fact, she determined by a very young age ( under 5) each grandchild's character flaws which caused her to regard them with complete disdain. We had a tragic accident a few years ago that left late teen/early 20s grandchildren without parents. She did not offer so much as an "I am sorry". All's she cared about was getting some crappy family mementos out of the house before "they" got them. So, now- when she is alone, I think she is lucky anyone at all would take her in. I do not feel the least bit sorry for her that none of her grandchildren want to spend time with her. You get out of a relationship what you put into it. When they were young, being a grandma was no interest to her. And she is very unpleasant. Constant complaining and telling you what you are doing is wrong. Extremely judgemental. So, we all excuse ourselves after dinner to minimize how much we have to interact with her. When she needs 24/7 care, we will move her. And I really do not feel bad about that. Why waste energy on someone who cannot be pleased and only cares about themselves?
Hardison3, you are so right ... dementia is sad, and cruel, and devastating, to the person who has it all who love her.

I hope that Thanksgiving and Christmas will be very special for her this year. You may have to modify some traditions and also to accept her limitations.

And excellent book that has a chapter about holidays and other family traditions is "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia," by Pauline Boss. I think you might find this book very helpful as you are still very early in the journey.

JoP and MyWitsEnd, here is something from that book that might apply in your situation:

"Taking care of someone who years before was abusive or neglectful of you is beyond what is expected of you. Caring for a family member who was or is physically or psychologically abusive is dangerous. Feeling as if you want to retaliate is also dangerous. These are justifiable reasons for NOT being a caregiver. ... I encourage some kind of continued management -- often through a social worker -- to make sure that the caregiving team or the nursing home professionals are treating your family member well. This may be the best you can do given your history together."
Jeanne ~ you make a good point here ... "There are justifiable reasons for NOT being a caregiver. ... I encourage some kind of continued management -- often through a social worker -- to make sure that the caregiving team or the nursing home professionals are treating your family member well. This may be the best you can do given your history together."

I think that is important in very difficult situaions. My DH has Alzheimers; some days are Ok, but some are so taxing. He is on meds now, and slowly seems to be getting some peace; he was very depressed with the diagnosis and devastated everytime he couldn't remember something simple like where the grocery store is. He was very angry at first; hard for me to deal with. It is frightening for him to realize what is happening to him. On the very confused days, I just go along with him on what he says; on those days, I am his caregiver (not his wife). Often I feel more like his mother or a caregiver anyways. I am a social worker myself and have worked in 4 nursing homes with Alzheimers & dementia patients, but it is even tougher taking care of someone on your own 24/7 for sure. I hope you all find some ways to resolve this for everyone's sake.

I have a Thanksgiving Story!!!!
My Mom's first Thanksgiving after her diagnosis of dementia, first stages, and my new life of caring for her (not realizing the entire ordeal in full yet). It was the first week of my/our new routine.
Thanksgiving Morning I took the Huge Tommy Turkey out to get it ready, I put it on the table. Mom got up for breakfast and sat right in front of the Turkey
~UNDER HER NOSE~ !!!!. The Parade was on TV~CLEARLY~ in Mom's view!!!!! As she was eating breakfast she asked "It feels like a Special Day is it a Holiday or something?" I said "Oh yes it is it's Thanksgiving Day." I giggled and said "I'll give you a hint, see the turkey? Look at the TV the parade is on!" She said "OH UM... Thanksgiving???" I said "yes... Happy Thanksgiving!" She commented on how big the Turkey was. So this same conversation went on like I hit the repeat button on a video tape. Oh let's say for about an hour..... Same scenery for her as I was preparing other things getting stuffing ready for the Turkey as it sat UNDER HER NOSE the entire time, parade still on TV. Then my Boyfriend walks into the kitchen ...I was just about to pull my hair out....and he says "good morning" she says "to him" (as if I wasn't telling her over and over for an hour)
"Happy Thanksgiving" "Did you know it was Thanksgiving, see the Big Turkey and the Parade?"
So now I am blessed with that Thanksgiving memory forever!!!
What I thought was going to be the end of my sanity became a way of looking at her condition. Instead of trying to make things fit perfect into my world I try to make things perfect in hers.

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