Who'd have thought?

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For a quick refresher--Mother is 85, had hip surgery last April (?) did 8 weeks in a rehab facility then came "home" to her apt at my brother's house. She refused initially to use her walker and was falling a lot. Like, everyday. We're not terribly cohesive as a family, 3 of 5 living sibs are all within 15 miles of her, but she "uses" my brother and me. We got her a "fall pendant"--which was going off all the time. Every time she "fell" every one of us kids got a phone call, although by the time they'd call us,(middle of the night) my brother had dealt with her. It was terrible. Finally I asked him to take my name off the call list completely. He called the co and set it up so they call him and his family (his 5 kids all still live at home) and then it calls 911. As soon as he set the calls up that way, mother's falls stopped. Period. She has not fallen once since then. Ah HA! Just as I thought! Every time she'd "fall" and we all got called, I would go see her, my sisters and brother would call her and she was belle of the ball. Now we're wondering if in fact she EVER truly fell, except for the time she was trying to get by with a cane and fell horribly. Too big a coincidence for me to think it's anything other than mother being manipulative, as always. 'sigh' what we went through to figure that out.


I bet your Mom was thinking "Dang, they caught me". She's probably thinking of something new to try. Got to give her credit for thinking this project thought and carrying it out :)
Give her credit for ingenuity!!
I sure do give her credit for this one. She's getting old, but she's also getting wilier, ANYTHING to be center of attention. Like leaving all her meds lined up on her kitchen counter and keeping her diabetes stuff out there too..so EVERYONE who comes to her place can see immediately just how "sick" she is. Nothing more off putting than trying to carry on a conversation with her and seeing the bloody pad she uses for when she tests her blood sugar sitting on the placemat on the table where she has visitors sit. Or the clear plastic jar she keeps her "sharps" in. I bought her a medically approved red one and told her to use it instead of a plastic juice container....she was pouty about it until she realized everyone REALLY noticed that.
Doesn't surprise me. When mother was in her last (high end) ALF she swore up and down that the food gave her stomach troubles, though no medical basis for this was found. She stopped eating in the dining room, hired someone to shop for her, had home care aids cook her meals and complained continuously about the shopping and the cooking, and had various crises (undercooked oatmeal is senior abuse). Actually, I figured that she wanted to be waited on personally and didn't like the "atmosphere" of the dining room, as there was enough on the menu to accommodate her supposed food issues. Her choice. She has BPD and with that comes elitism. She is now in a geriatric psychiatric hospital with probably a worse menu, but is on a antipsychotic. She eats in the dining room, goes out and eats Chinese and steak, with no stomach problems, and no complaints, but now complains about her clothing. She doesn't have enough, she has too much, the "black" sweaters aren't the right colour of black, she is freezing all the time, (though I have never seen her wearing her heaviest sweaters) and so on. It looks like she has exchanged her food complaints for clothing complaints. I know as long as she is complaining she is fine. It is her "normal". Only once in the past years that I can remember has she called me and convinced me she actually was not well, but that was of her own doing too. She went to the ER and complained about constipation, so they gave her some pretty heavy laxatives. The hospitals often called me when she went in, as I am in the system as her family contact and I have redirected them a few times. This time they didn't. Mother did not have constipation, but decided that she wanted a good cleaning out. She took this stuff for a month and near the end of that was feeling weak n tired and like not doing much. No surprise, however this is not typical of mother. She called me and it was not the usual complaints, so I went down (I am a distance caregiver) and went with her to her doctor. By this time she had finished the meds, so there wasn't much to do except tell the Dr. that this was too much for her and that constipation was not one of her problems. I could go on ... the feigned illnesses when I go on holidays ...

She is 102 and still playing games. It is her MO (Modus operandi - way of doing things). I don't think she knows how to live any other way. I have had to learn to deal with it and her, and the manipulation and narcissism which drives her to get attention at any cost. Yes, what we go through! Look after yourself.
Whoa---Emo, I'll take my mother over yours any day! Yes, Mother is totally self absorbed--that I know from childhood on. She's just gotten older and cannot spread that "look at me" many places now. She is the replica of her own mother (who drove HER nuts) and lived to 96. But Gigi was at least OK to live alone and actually never bothered any of us. She loved her independence. Every one does it their own way, I guess.
More common than you might think. It amazes me how clever dementia can be at times. So now that you know, where will you draw your boundaries??
midkid - they will do anything for attention. A couple of years ago when I was on holiday, she, at 100 yrs. old, took several 1000$ out of her bank and tried to fly across the country without proper ID. My sis or niece told her I was away. as I don't tell her any more because of these hi jinks. I got frantic calls from my daughter who had been contacted by my niece, that mother was being detained at the airport. Eventually they took her to the hospital where she was when arrived there. The drs. told me she had a Personality Disorder, which I knew already, and they couldn't do anything about that, but she also was borderline in terms of competency.

I guess!!!

However, despite that and some pretty severe paranoia, a few psychotic episodes and being suicidal they still consider her competent. Go figure!

You are fortunate to have one sib that is helpful. My sis (only sib) has accused me of having a vested interest in mother's demise.(her words). Oh, yeah. That is why I travel back and forth, have moved her 4 times in 5 years, and do what has to be done etc.at my own expense, while sis does nothing but cause trouble. Oh well, you do what you have to do, and let the rest fall where it may. I am POA, financial and health and executor. My mother knew better than to appoint my sis who has $ signs in her eyes. When mother dies, if I am still alive, I will hire a professional to look after her will etc. to keep my sis off my back. There is a story there too, but another time. Mother loves her independence, but has outlived it unfortunately. If she had gone at 95, life would have been a lot easier on all of us. Since she turned 100, she talks about assisted suicide - not available here. Even if it was you know she would go right to the last minute getting as many people involved as possible, then, with seconds to spare, change her mind, as the whole thing would simply be more attention getting. :P
That is pretty clever manipulation! Give Mom an A+. You can see that life with a narcissistic personality could be a lot worse, so maybe you should laugh it off and make a game out of outwitting her. (Well played, Brother!)

This has gone on all her life, and it is not likely to stop. Don't abandon your poor brother, but do try for a little more distance from Mom.
Looking back, with all this in the "background" now, I realize she has been this way my entire life, and why all the sibs stay away: they are self protecting and either by choice or out of frustration, are able to pick their battles. Mother had a doting, adoring father who fussed her to no end. I remember how hard his unexpected death hit her. That was 51 years ago this month. She changed at that time from being a fairly happy, functioning individual into a depressed and moody one, who often couldn't get out of bed. Poor daddy. He never did figure her out. She worked us kids against each other....letting those of us she "loved" best know it, and letting those of us who were "also rans" that we were disappointing to her. I lived my whole life trying to kowtow to her--and never getting it right.
I'm going to see my own therapist ASAP and work some of this out with her. She's been helpful in the past, guiding me through a lot of issues, and I think it's time for a tune-up. I will not leave my brother in the lurch. But I also will keep my eyes wide open for any more shenanigans. She thinks we're are lined up for her huge "inheritance" but my brother who has POA says we have enough to bury her and that's about it. She's pulled that "You're going to be out of my will" thing on all of us, and we don't fall for it. Personally, if there IS anything to inherit, it should all go to brother with whom she lives. I'M VERY aware she isn't going to change. She could go on for years and years. One thing I know: I will NOT do this to my kids. I will put myself in an assisted living facility and stay out of their lives unless they want me around. My grandmothers both lived alone until they died and were never like this. They were joyful and fun to be with to the end. Hopefully, I will take after them!

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