What do I do when my 83 year-old mother with dementia needs help, but doesn't want my help?

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My mother has lots of health problems and her dementia is getting worse and that makes everything else worse. She is so rude and irritable to me that I just can hardly stand it anymore. She has very bad eyesight due to 55 year of diabetes, she has seizures about every two weeks (fainting type), bad balance which she using a lot a w alker, falls more often now, always dizzy and feels bad, bad back, etc.

She constantly complains about her health, but she complains all the time about how dark it is. We burn all the lights with 100 wt. bulbs.

So, she makes all these comments about it is so dark in my room I can't see to get my clothes on. I offer to get her clothes out and she always says no she'll do it. I'll offer 2-3 times in different ways and she gets rude and then, I just leave and go on. I'll check back with her in a few minutes to see if she needs me to help her and more times than not, I have to help her do something.

But, what makes it so bad and makes me just leave her room is her attitude toward me. Just down right rude to me about it. I get tired of being treated so awful when I'm trying to be helpful.

So, what do I do when I'm trying to be helpful and she is rude about not wanting my help? She needs help, but won't admit it. I feel bad leaving her, but what else do I do...stand there and let her continue to be rude to me?

I need help!! LOL (but it isn't really funny!!) Thank you for your help.

Answers 1 to 10 of 16
Top Answer
I am really sorry that this is happening to you... I would have an honest open discussin with your Mom. Does she live with you? It is possible that she does not realize how she is treating you. I would explain that you are trying to help her! It might be a good idea to point out to her that she could go somewhere else. If her dementia is progressing rapidly it might be time to think of placing her in a facility. Are you caring for her alone maybe you should consider some respite care. I know this is hard and I hope I have helped some... take care
HI, her anger is her disease, not her. She is confused , frustrated , and afraid but cant express it any other way. she has a lot of brain changes going on. She still has feelings and can sense your feelings all thruout her illness even thou you wouldnt think so. She can be medicated in time when she really needs it. Does she have cataracts which she can have done maybe? My Moms sight is really bad too so we do a lot of Music and touching, very sad. They are SO stubborn, been there, but It unfortunately will come to a head and she will have to get help, usually a fall causes them to finally come to their senses but its devastating so I hope thats not the case. Talk Talk Talk, thats all you can do , and try and convince her with love...Good luck.
When you figure this out, please let me know what to do. I am living the same thing. Except, be thankful that your Mom is still bathing and wanting to put on CLEAN clothes. Mine is convinced that anything I suggest she do to help herself is to "kill her".
PS. so true, usualy they think they are clean when they are not and wont shower, etc. As the Alz support group told me, "treat them as the customer, they are always right" and it works. Let her do whatever she wants and agree, yes you have to let her be rude, she doesnt mean it and the more you agree and tell her she is right, the better off you will be. lol Its amazing how our family has learned, better to let her spill something than try and stop it and get her upset.
if she lay her cloths out? lay them out for her . my mother is also blind now and complains about the dark.i try to make her remember things that she once saw. like flowers, kids, colors, and to remember where everything is in her apartment. we walk around her apartment twice a day. i let her know about the weather,if it's green outside tell her about the flowers, what color clothes people have on. ithink that she picture it in her head.
My heart goes out to you - My family was in a similar situation with my mother-in-law, except we didn't live with her. The first thing I would tell you is that this is not the same person who loved and raised you. The woman you are caring for is fighting to hold onto "her life". Try as much as possible to ignore the mean and rude words being said. Don't take them personally. She would be lashing out at anyone who was trying to help her. She sees you as the person taking away her independence instead of helping her to maintain it. When she became agitated or anxious we just treated her like a 3 year old having a tantrum. We didn't address her bad behavior - we just tried to stick to the program and let her do as much of it herself as she was able, and we were always nearby ready to help. BUT - if that didn't work, we did what you are doing and left the room giving her a chance to calm down. If she didn't call us first, we went back after 15 minutes. Invariably she would have forgotten all about the previous altercation. This is a very frightening time for them. At some level my mother-in-law always knew her mind was slipping away. There's no right answer and it seems like every day is a new challenge. Just do what's best for you and your family. Good luck
YOu need a professional to assist and be "the bad guy"! I find the elderly much more receptive when the information and concern are coming from a professional nurse verses family. My clients have been greatly appreciative for the support and encouragement.
Thank you for all of your helpful comments. We did move in with my parents three and a half years ago when my step-father's alzheimer's got worse and mother had to have care for him and herself. He passed away a year after we moved here. I am glad you reminded me that this is not "my mother" anymore. She does think I am taking her independence away because she told her sitter that I bossed her around. I don't consider myself to be bossy, but to her I am. My husband and I try to ignore her rudeness, but there are those times when it gets to us and we tell her how we feel. I doesn't do any good at all to tell her. It is like she never heard it, so we'll continue try to ignore her rudeness. Thanks for offering to help and all your suggestions. Being a caregiver is a pretty tough job, more than I ever thought.
My father died in December. He had been in the hospital since September. My mother lives at home. Refuses to leave. She was in the hospital for a week now in a rehab center to get her strength back. When my father was on a ventilator for 3 months she could not believe that he didn't have a living will. She has one. But when she had a problem and had to go to hospital she won't give them the living will. She is 86 I just look at it as she doesn't want to die. Who does. Also, I think she is scared. She hasn't lived alone for over 40 years. That is why I thought she would come with me. But to leave her home is too much for her. That is the only thing she has left. She has been very rude at times (downright nasty). I just try to overlook that. She has had pain and confusion in her life lately. I am starting to panic because I think in 22 yrs that could be me. (I am 64). But there are a few times that she regresses back to when I was little and wants me to sit next to her and she will stroke my hair. Sorry, rambling on. I tell myself that I have to just help her get through one day at a time. It is too stressful for her and me right now. Wish you well. Take care of yourself
Forgot to mention that the roles are reversed now . You are the authority figure now and she is like a teen. How many kids like to do what they are told and to do what is best. Hang in there

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