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Moms still In the hospital but ech day I grab for the phone I dread what she will say. I know I have to learn to talk on her level but its like she puts me down and blames me for her condition. I sometimes dont even want to call, but guilt gets the best of me. Im trying to find a separate place for her to live cause from hearing stories on here theres no way Id put my kids or husband through this.
I need help on how to handle being with her cause shes not who she used to be and Im scared of her. Please help!!!

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You should listen and show that you are sympathetic -- that you are on their side. Don't argue. And then change the topic or redirect to some activity.

Patient complains constantly that he is not brought to meals on time. This happened once, when the center was short-handed. You reply, "Oh, isn't that uncomfortable when they bring you late? And you come in alone like you are making a grand entrance. That was a very uncomfortable day. I'm glad most days are not like that. ... What is your favorite dessert they serve here?" Repeat as necessary.

Patient who hallucinates is angry because there are men looking in her window and nobody does anything about it. You say, "That would really be upsetting! I'll put a note for evening shift to be sure your blinds are closed every night, and I'll alert security. That ought to take care of it. I see that you are working a crossword puzzle. Are you pretty good at that?"
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When the dementia patient is angry and complaining something to you, should you just listen or change the topic?
Thanks.
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When the dementia patient is angry and complaining something to you, should you just listen or change the topic?
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Having gone through being a caretaker of my mom who recently died from Alz...I've found the best way to talk to them is like a valued friend. My mom had no clue who I was for years, but at least I could be the 'nice lady' who came to visit and take care of her. :-) I found the hardest stage of all was the mid-stage of Alz. She was aggressive, paranoid and after just plain angry about everything. She blamed me for just about everything, stealing lying anything she could think of. You just need to try and not take them seriously (which can be hard while they are trying to hit you). This ONLY the disease talking, not them, they're gone and the disease has taken over. I send you my blessings and please realize that almost all of us here on this site have gone through the same or similar things with our loved ones. Lindaz
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Linny20, we don't know. In fact some behaviors are caused by or made worse by some of the medications. But the medications are being given for a reason. There was a symptom there to start with. A med was given to try to improve it. Sometimes it doesn't work; sometimes it makes matters worse; sometimes it works on the symptom it was prescribed for but causes another symptom.

Treating people with damaged brains is VERY complicated with our present state of knowledge. Working closely with a doctor who is committed to maintaining and improving quality of life is critical. Often it involved some try-and-try again experimentation with drugs.
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How do we know many of these symptoms aren't caused by all the medications that are being given????????
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I know I should not use the word remember, what is a good example, not that statement, do not say this or that, in plain English, Mom ?
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Is my mother able to accept the fact she is having trouble, or should I not try to help her understand what is happening to parts of her brain?
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My Mom now is not my Mom. I had to put her in assisted living after she had such a severe UTI, she was vomiting blood and I had to take her to the emergency room. I had just returned from a 2 wk vacation, my first in 10 years. This is not her first UTI, but each time, has taken a toll on her, and this time is by far the worse. She is on medication for Dementia, and she was doing well with it. That is until this UTI. She fights with the nurses, she throws fits with me, she tells me I'm trying to kill her by taking her to Dr.'s and having her in Assisted Living now. She says she hates me, etc. I have found that just not playing into her, she is better. I just let her rant like she's in her terrible 2's and talk softer to her which is how I handled my kids in that stage. Sometimes, I have told her that if she doesn't let the nurse or Dr. care for her, that she will have to go to a nursing home or sometimes back to the hospital. She is aware when she is out of control sometimes and when she calms down and thinks about it she comes back. She has told me at times that she can't help it when she is out of control and I tell her that I know, that it's scary and not fun to be sick and that I love her.
Realizing that she is not who she really is now, helps and thinking of the good times helps. I also remind myself that she did not abandon me when I went through the terrible 2's, nor during my dramatic teenage years!
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I have finally understand her condition. I have her her now and I have made my visits short. She talks to me nicely in the beginning of our visits but at times shes demanding for something she wants. Ive learned to comply with her and she seems to be ok with it. Our coversations seem to be mostly on her having a phone, which if she has she cancels things she needs, plus shes wanting all her bills. I tell her relax it all ok. She seems to at least be able to talk to me for now. I just pray it continues. If not Im learning its not her!!
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Dear Stephaniek, I go through the same thing with my 86 y/o Mom in mild dementia steadily getting worse. I am her only child (62 y/o).So far she still is able to live alone and do the basic things required to take care of herself and her apt and still does it quite well. I visit her on average 4 or more times a week, but I have learned to make my visits shorter because they are too stressful due to her mental confusion, ornrery attitude, repetitiveness and/or contradictions from one minute to the next. The longer I stay, the more likely she will start some kind of argument. It's so difficult to have a normal conversation with her. Sometimes she starts complaining and insulting me within minutes of my arrival - and I usually have just arrived from food shopping or bringing her laundry, medicine, etc. It even happens when I phone her. Lately I have taken to telling her that I refuse to listen to her berating me (for no valid reason) and then I say goodbye and hang up. When I visit, I try to focus on doing what I went there to do and not let her distract me (she usually has a number of other things for me to do or mail to look at) and do what I need to do first. When she gets very negative, she either tells me to get out, or I tell her I'm leaving at that point, but I always kiss her and tell her I love her even if she sometimes tries to push me away from doing so. Then I start to laugh and it's like dealing with a little child having a hissy fit. It is extremely hurtful to be treated mean when you do everything in your power to look after her needs and keep her healthy because you love her. I've learned to just do what I have to do and not expect much in the way of appreciation - I feel good when she does express it. Like many others have stated, this is not the parent you knew and loved prior to the dementia. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that they are not capable of behaving normally anymore and just continue working through their negativity and our own hurt feeings in order to continue doing our best for them.
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Mom seems to at least have a topic to talk about with out anger most the time. Seems Ive learned alot on our conversations. Its still hard to chat about fun times but I always tell her its great to hear her voice. She dont know how to respond to it. Almost like she tries but nothing comes out. Im taking good and bad but bad seems more often than not and down right ugly at times. i used to cry and dread calling but Ive learned shes in there just cant pull her out. Always a fight in our conversation but a moment of happiness last a long time for me. So Thank yall. Im still working on getting her to remember cooking my fudge on holidays. Just for conversation.
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My Father's dementia is galloping. He was once the center of any conversation in spite of the fact that he was deaf and his lip reading skills were questionable (I'm being kind) and he signed equally well. Now, he is often confused, time travels, disoriented...you know the drill. The fact is, talking to him has become frustrating at best. So many family members who speak of his "delightful" personality have become no-shows. Friends are not much better-it's pretty much me and my family. The point I am trying to make is the fact that this disgusting process has taught me a valuable lesson I'd like to share. Our elders are no longer who we remember. They change from day to day, moment to moment. They are frightned, confused and alternately thrilled and excited. Sometimes, even on point and insightful. I've learned to accept the Dad I get. I do this by not having any expectations other than somewhere in his failing brain is the man who loved us all, taught us to laugh at ourselves and forced us to learn our times tables. Maybe it's easier for me because as a result of his deafness; I can yell at him when he's driving me nuts and he doesn't know. I smile, nod and pray for the good days and chalk up the bad ones (lot of those!) to rotten luck. Enjoy the good days!
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First of all, try not to dread talking to your Mom. Be positive and optimistic when you call her and then respond to her as she is at the time. Reminiscing is a wonderful way to converse, even if it is very repetitive. Enjoy the good times and get over the bad ones. Take her as she is. Chances are, she will change from day to day as will her relationship to you. She will make you laugh, really hurt you with her words and make you feel like crying. Just try your best and try not to take everything she says personally. She really can't help it. After a bad conversation, do something that makes you feel better whether it be screaming, crying, praying, eating a piece of chocolate, hugging someone, petting a dog. Take care.
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Hi, Stephanie K-
I just read the two articles that Karie H. suggested, and they're very helpful. I have my 94 year old aunt at home with me - and it's a challenge, to say the least, and she's not abusive! It's just rough. One thing you may want to consider if you take your mom in, is to get as much outside support as you can. Adult day care is great if it's available - my aunt goes 3 times weekly for 8 hours a day. She gets field trips, lots of activities, exercise, and bingo. On Fridays, a deacon brings communion for the Catholics, and my aunt loves being part of that. There is also bible study and lots of singing. And once a month I put her in respite care for a weekend, so I can recharge. If these options are available for you where you live, they would help tremendously. Get all the support you can, all the information you can, and ask a lot of questions. A great resource, besides agingcare.com, are the resources they provide and also Alzheimer's Reading Room. Hope this helps!
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I'm so glad for you happier phone experience. Cherish those.

Do you have a more specific diagnosis, as to the type of dementia your mother has? Sometimes that can help you understand what is happening to her and what to expect.

The type of dementia my husband has (LBD) does not usually involve not recognizing familiar people, but he did go through a very brief period early on when he did not recognize our children, etc. One day he was sitting on the couch and as I walked through the living room, he asked politely if I had a moment to talk to him. I sat on the couch with him and he said in a quiet scared voice, "I know this is strange, but I don't know who I am. Do you know?" I don't know how I didn't burst out crying, but in a calm matter-of-fact way I told him that yes, I knew who he was. He was a kind, intelligent man. He had been a successful mechanical engineer before he retired. I was his wife of 30 years, and we had children who loved him. He had a very good mind but it wasn't working quite right at the moment. Even when he didn't know who he was, I knew, and I would always see that he was taken care of and that I wouldn't let anything bad happen to him.

OMG! Can you even imagine sitting on a couch in a place you didn't recognize, wondering who you were? And not knowing if you could trust the people surrounding you? That may be an extreme example, but I think our loved ones with dementia have many disorienting or terrifying lapses in their basic view of the world. The real wonder is that they are not all belligerent and aggressive all the time.

Ruth, the world is a little better place for a few of these hurting souls because of your kindness and understanding.
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My mom has diabetes, Parkinsons, and is Bi-polar. So when I talk to her I never know if what she tells me is accurate or true. I try not to believe everything she says. Especially when it comes to my sisters saying this about me or that. She told my sister things that I was suppose to do too. My sisters and I have a deal that whenever mom says something about the other one to go and talk to them about it. My sisters are not easy to get along with and believes that mom lies to them. Moms doctor said to her it is the truth. That's how she sees things. So I don't worry about what she says.
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You can use that good conversation and keep going back to the same subjects. She won't remember that you just had the same conversation, but the positive feeling you got before will usually come back. My mom and I have pretty much the same conversations now every time I see her, but she seems kind of happy most of the time and I feel good when I leave. I still dread going to see her because I was so used to never knowing what would happen, but for about four months now it's been pretty good. She's been in assisted living for about 1 1/2 years now, and it helps that I like the place and she seems to accept it now. It does get easier, but it's really hard when you're getting it all figured out.
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I know how you feel. This is a very difficult time for you and especially your Mom. I go through the same dread before I pick up the phone, but I realize I am the only person my Mom can truly open up to and feel comfortable venting to. My Mom's mood changes from from day to day just like you are experiencing. with your Mom. Just keep remembering that this is not your Mom like she used to be. This is a horrible disease that has taken over. I like the idea of having a picture of you and the family she can relate to. When I am talking about people I ask my Mom if she knows who I am speaking about. I try and refresh her memory as best I can. I live a long distance from Mom and have my whole adult life, so talking on the phone is how we have always kept in touch. My voice is familiar and somewhat comforting to her. Some days I just let her cry and try and empathize as best I can. I have tried calling at different times of the day when I thought she would be most alert. I space my calls. Currently we are on an every other day routine. She tells me each time I call, not to wait so long between calls.Her short term memory is all but gone. She also gets upset that she can't call me but that is another matter. I wish you luck and I wish I could say it gets better. My Mom has lived in a nursing home for almost a year and has hated every minute of it and blames me for putting her there. Just know you are not alone. Hugs to you and take care of yourself.
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I try to keep upbeat and maybe even not contact mom as much as it seems the closer i am or see her only makes her more agitated.
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I called mom yesterday and she was in good spirits. I was suprized she talked to me. We had a 15 minute conversation. Thats the first in a long time. I let her talk about her dream. Wanting her new place and all of us visiting. It was beautiful. Today was sad. Shes confused and sad. But I hold on to the conversation we had and hope for more soon. Thanks
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That is SO rough, and I am truly sorry that you have to endure this. Just know it IS the disease, and not the mom you love, talking. I have had a lot of success talking with Dementia clients about things which evoke physical good memories. The sight and smell of laundry drying in the wind, the feeling of dipping your toe into water, the smells in the kitchen growing up. If you have memories of her baking cookies, tell her that on the phone. Like "Mom, it smelled SO good in the house when you used to bake chocolate chip cookies." I swear those smell related memories calm them down. In person, my trick is wrapping their hands in very warm wet washcloths, and then doing a hand/forearm massage. I also practice dropping my tone to low, when speaking, and it brings calm. Not quiet, but lower pitch. You say it's frustrating to even know who she is... well - it's frustrating to her, too. Sometimes I tell my clients "I know you're frustrated." they seem to be grateful that somebody actually acknowledges this. Mostly, you just try things until you find that magic that works. I wish you the best. Please take a breath and take good care of YOU.
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I do try to change subject but when shes had enough she just hangs up. so I give her a day and try again. Guess Ill try and think of happier times. I think she blames me for her being in hospital, due to she says I put her there. She requested to go after attacking me. Its so frustrating to even know who she is at times. Im trying...
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Stephanie, is your mom actually saying to you' you're to blame for my condition?' or are you reading between the lines? If it's the latter, then stop reading between the lines. With dementia that is NOT the logical thing to do. The person who's brain has been compromised with Alz or dementia isn't being logical anymore, so you have to let many things go that they say. If she's being mean to you, change the subject and talk about things that used to interest her, gotta distract her. If all she has is a phone call from you and not an actual person to talk to, are you sure she even knows who's she talking to? If you're separated by distance, send her a picture of you that she will remember. Her long term memories are most likely still there, but the short term has gone AWOL so that's the way I'd talk to her. I'd talk about things that she remembers, forget the 'now' stuff. And if she gets really abusive on the phone, I'd tell her 'well mom seems like you're not wanting to talk right now, so we'll talk later' or something like that. No use being a martyr and putting yourself through abuse on a constant basis. That's not logical either. Sorry about your mom.
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Hi Stephaniek,

There are two great articles written by AgingCare.com Editor’s that were already posted in our community. We thought this might answer your caregiving question.

Caring for a Parent with Alzheimer's at Home
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/Alzheimers-disease-care-at-home-139990.htm

and

What To Do When a Parent Repeats the Same Things Over and Over
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/elders-repeating-the-same-story-146023.htm

We hope this helps. Please let us know if you need anything else and we look forward to seeing more questions and discussions from you.

Thank you,
Karie H.
The AgingCare.com Team
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