Every time I try to find an answer to my mother’s problems she just complains. How do I get her to listen to me and not get frustrated with me anymore?

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My mom still lives at home alone right now. I check on her daily, set out her meds, buy her groceries, take her to appointments etc. As I stated in another thread I don't know if she is just dementia or alzheimers but her memory is getting worse even though she is taking meds for alzheimers.
The problem with mom is that she still is pretty physically fit but she just forgets everything and has very little sense of direction. Therefore she can't drive and she is bored.
Another problem mom has is that even though she has some options she won't really help herself. Like there is a senior organization where she could take a bus and go for lunch or an activity but she won't.
When mom complains I try to find an answer or fix the problem but it seems that no matter what I do she is UNHAPPY. My mom is a huge pessimist and if you give her what she wants, she no longer wants it anymore!
Example: She lived in her house (1800 Sq ft) but stayed in a bedroom of about 100 ft and really only used that room and the bathroom. She constantly complained of how bored and lonely she was and complained it was to hot to go outdoors etc. She complained that she had no friends and no close neighbors. Her utilities were out of sight!
Soooo I asked her 20 times if she wanted to go to a small efficiency appt in a senior community, she would have less house to care for, less utilities, close to possible friends etc, and that we could sell her house for her future upkeep.
She said yes several times and that she was looking forward to it.
Now that I worked my butt to death making this happen, she has complained since the 2nd week with the exact same complaints and WISHES she could just go home!

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Top Answer
Lord give me patience ... right now!!

Your mother is like this because she has dementia. (Alzhiemer's is a type of dementia. Whether she has other types as well doesn't really matter to this answer.) Her mind is not working at full efficiency. She knows that she is terribly unhappy (who on earth would not be unhappy as their mind slowly stops working for them?) but she may not remember what she is unhappy about. If she was always hard to please, you'll see that in spades now. Even if she used to be quite agreeable, it is not uncommon to become a complainer. It is hard on you. It is harder on her.

Congratulations on helping her make a sensisble decision about her housing, that will conserve her resources for her care, which is likely to become more and more demanding and expensive. You are doing a fine job. You may not hear her gratitude, but be aware that you are doing the right things.

There isn't any point in trying to get your mother to change. Even if you convince her she should stop complaining, she will forget that the next time you talk. I suggest you find places to vent, like this site, and get on with caring for her and with your own life.

Why is your mother like this? Because she has dementia. She did not ask for it. And you know what is really scary? You could develop dementia. I could develop dementia. If we do, I hope we will have someone with strength and patience to help us through to the end.
Thanks Jeanne, I appreciate the response and agree that I may also be bad tempered if the same dementia is in my future. I sometimes worry about that because my memory is a lot different than it use to be!
My mom was always a pessimist and always a depressed person so it stands to reason that it would be amplified with this disease.

One thing I have already found is that in the last 2 1/2 years is that I am oddly closer to my mother today than I have ever been in my life. I am seeing her in a different light and with more understanding. I guess part of that comes with my age as well, but it is a nice little bonus of these trying times.

Anyway thanks for the support and thanks to this place for giving me a place to vent.
Complaining and pessimism is not confined to those who have Alz. I find that "redirecting" the conversation helps (and saves your sanity.) When my Mom calls in tears there is no way to solve anything. So I say, "sounds like you are upset. Why don't you get a glass of water and call me back." Then, at least we can work on the problem at hand. I do not have the time or energy to talk with someone who is in no mood to listen. Also, I have scaled back on being the "fixer-upper." good luck
I have to warn my husband when I start complaining about something/someone. "I just want to complain, I don't want you to fix it". That has saved him a multitude of headaches. ha.
Can someone explain to me why this question appeared here and the heading is not written the way I wrote it? Yet is says it was posted by Tigerlily and the body of the question is what I wrote under a different title?
Tigerly, you are not alone. For a moment, I thought it was one of my post, re-posted. LOL. Great advice has already been given, I know it's hard it sounds like you are a "fixer" I know I am but when you come across someone who doesn't accept the "fix" it's a no win situation.

Know that you have done the right things, and are willing to make reasonable attempts to comfort her...I'm coming to terms that my Mom may not know what "happiness" is at least in my terms. I remember my Dad saying to my Mom, you are never satisfied! And now I see what he means, no matter what, one complaint is replaced with another and another and well you get the picture.

I do the redirecting but my Mom is quick! Gosh darn it, she can remember where the comma or period was placed in the conversation, remove and march right on! As far a memory is concerned, I've seen the Excelon Patch work wonders for my Mom. Ask her Dr. if it's for her but just be ready, my Mom seems to remember everything...except what SHE did or said, but she's got everyone else pegged.

Come here, vent, kick and scream just know we welcome you with wide open arms and a pat on the back. Take care of yourself, mom sounds like shes better than she was wheater she admits it, knows it or not.
tigerlily, I've had post titles changed, too. I think the web masters must edit titles to make them more concise or to get to the subject matter sooner or ... ?? Who knows? But I'm sure they are just doing their job (even if it confuses us sometimes) and it is nothing personal
tigerlily, it may be hard to do, but you don't always have to offer your mother a solution. Sometimes it is just ok to listen and say, "I'm sorry you feel that way, Mom. What would you like to do about it?" Then, just listen. It may throw your mother for a loop, but you don't have to solve her unhappiness problem. That is her issue, not yours. You are being a good daughter by looking after her daily needs. That's a tall order. I know, it's not easy.
I like tigerlily's answer or question. "I'm sorry you feel that way, Mom. What would you like to do about it?" This makes her feel in control of decisions and takes some of the burden off of you. I think I'll use this line the next time my Mom starts in on a rant and rave...probably in the next few days!

My Mom is an un-happy camper I think by nature. What a weight this can be for others who try to carry this weight. Put it down, it's not yours. I know it's hard but you'll feel a whole lot better after a while.
Opps! I meant I like CaraMia's answer for tigerlily.

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