My mother keeps starting arguments, how can I stop them before we have another fight?

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Detachment. It's hard, I know. But she can't fight if you don't take the bait. Try mentioning that you aren't discussing this, then walk away from the issue if she won't let you change the subject. Repeat as necessary. Eventually, she'll see you won't let her push your buttons and she should get easier to get along with. In most cases, arguing only gets more arguing. It rare solves anything.

Good luck - it's hard.
Carol
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I don't know if you live with your mother or not, but it is certainly easier to avoid taking the bait for arguments if you can leave her house for a time. So I would say if you don't live with her, use your ability to remove yourself physically from her presence, in order to help you to detach. This doesn't mean you can't visit her and help her regularly, it just means you are setting the limits necessary to preserve your health and sanity. Good luck.
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I know the situation with my mother is not the norm, we've never gotten along and trying to care for her proved a huge challenge. Those arguements got so old and so mentally draining. One evening I stopped by after work and she threw the bait. I was tired and told her I was leaving and for her to think about what she was trying to do and prove. Two days later, I got a call from her medical alert company telling me mom needed help. So I drove like a maniac to get to her,found the oxygen tube unplugged from the machine. Don't know if it was deliberate or not. Asked her why she didn't call me,said she didn't think I'd talk to her since I left the other day(throwing the blame on me). I reminded her of my job projects (we'd discussed). I said while I'm here let me have the checkbook so I can pay your bills. She hemmed and hawed, then told me she'd asked the paid caregiver to take her to the bank.She removed me from the joint account. That was my punishment for not taking the bait that night. I know this probably doesn't happen often, at least I hope not because it didn't feel too good to get hit with the news that my help was no longer wanted. I guess all I'm trying to say is do not take the bait but watch out if your mom leans towards the vindictive side.
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Yes indeed my mom does the same thing. Like the other folks who've responded, I also remove myself from her presence (we live in my home) and tell her I'm not playing this game and go do something else. She'll stomp around, give me dirty looks and pout but soon recovers and everything pretty much goes back to normal (well, MY normal is no slamming stuff around and quietness!). The "36-hour day" book about alzheimer's and other dementing illnesses really helped me out with why folks with Alzheimer's and dementia do what they do regarding behavior.
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Alwaysmyduty, I'm sorry your mother reacted the way she did when you removed yourself from a potential argument with her. It sounds like you are taking good care of yourself and have a realistic attitude about the situation. Both my mother and my father have behaved in irrational ways toward me, in certain cases painting me out to be the villain. That hurts a lot, I know, when you're doing all you can to help them. So I try not to take it personally. This is one reason why I think this website is helpful to caregivers....we can talk to others who "get it" and understand.
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Thank you everyone for all of your great suggestion...I will try all of them...lol
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