My mother has dementia that is worsening as my parents move to assisted living. What can we do if my father and I are the targets for her anger?


He will NOT seek assistance for her dementia including medication or an outlet for himself. How can I get the assistance we so desperately need. My father has been diagnosed with stress seizures as a result of this yet still will not step up and get help nor will he let me get assistance. If I go directly to the medical assistance team at the retirement home I could further alienate them both and I am the only child close to assist them.

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How very sad for all concerned, not the least of which is MIL. Clearly something medical has happened to her, and knowing what and having a treatment plan would be to her advantage.

Doctors may avoid the dementia issue for many reasons. (I'm not a doctor. I've only read about this.)
+If they are not dementia specialists and haven't kept up with the research they may feel that nothing can be done, so why upset the patient with a diagnosis?
+Most dementia patients can and do pull off "showtime" in a doctor's office. If she hasn't raved about her daughter-in-law killing her own father in the doctor's presence, how is he or she to know?
+Perhaps the doctor is uncomfortable about delivering bad news, but this seems the least likely explanation to me.

What to do? This is just opinion, but I think I might start with having your husband (her son) contact the doctor with the signs the family has noticed, and request that a referral be given her to see a specialist. Unless MIL has given permission, the doctor won't be able to reply with any information about MIL, but he or she will be better informed in treating MIL and may perhaps give a referral.

If that doesn't produce results, I would suggest that a family member get her to see a specialist, but I'm not sure that is realistic. Are there any family members she still trusts?

Getting a diagnosis would be very helpful. For one thing, there are treatments that can help with some of the symptoms. For another, it gives family a better basis to plan for her continued care. If it is dementia, it will progress. Her husband's condition will progress. It would be best if everyone knew what they were dealing with.

If a diagnosis isn't forthcoming, I think you still need to deal with her as if she has a mental disorder that she cannot help, and that her irrational behavior is the disease acting, not your MIL.

Contact the Agency on Aging or Elder Services or even Social Services in your area, lay out the situation, and get their input. (As her son, this may be a job for your husband.)

My heart goes out to you. This is truly a frustrating and disheartening situation. Try not to take MIL's illness personally. Try to continue to respect, love, and be patient with her. You did not ask to be in this awful situation. Chances are very good that neither did she.
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I'm experiencing issues with my mother in-law very much like you Soverytired. We have never been close. But, she had 5 bypasses done about 5 years ago and has slowly but surely become angry and bitter at me, my husband, and my brother in-law's wife. In the last year she has started accusing me of things I've never done, the worst of which is that I murdered my father. Just today we were all at lunch for mother's day and she introduced me to the waiter as her no good daughter in-law. My father in-law does nothing and his mind isn't all there anymore either. Her doctor won't get involved because he doesn't want to look like the bad guy so she's not been officially diagnosed with dementia but has all the signs of it. I'm at a loss what to do. It's very frustrating and disheartening.
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LostinMn12, I just wanted to say that this has happened with my mom as well. She and I were close but after an illness and long rehab stay, it was like she turned on me and I could do nothing right. Then she started making things up and accusing me. It has been so very hurtful. What I have done was get a little distance, just talking with her on the phone only for awhile and then slowly starting short visits with someone else there. In my case, my sisters have not been supportive, they have chosen to believe the accusations even though I have always been the reliable, dependable one helping our mother for decades and they are both on the other side of the country. Because of this, I will not be alone with my mom, I will always have a witness with me. It takes some time to accept that this is what it is. Some people watch their aging parents suffer with cancer or heart disease. In our case, what fate has brought is a loss in the relationship that once was so strong because our mothers do not have the same mental/emotional capacity that they had before. It's unfortunate, but it's very real to them. So go slow, do what you can to keep the relationship, be strong and know that it's not about you. You are okay. She is just elderly and ill and this is the form her illness has taken. You are not alone.
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My mother seems to be showing signs of early dementia and is very hostile towards me and my sister, accusing me of things that never happened or were never even said. We were very close until recently and I am not sure how to respond to her anger.
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Yeas ago, before my sweet, sweet father passed, went through similar situation with parents, but they were living in their own place. I sought help through elder services, and even though it angered my mother - I found it the best solution. Yours is different situation since they live in assisted living. But, maybe approaching the medical assistance team at the retirement home might work. They are professionals who are experienced in so many varied situations and might be able to help. My parents didn't like when I intervened; and it did alienate me from my mother for a while - but it worked out. My father lived through hell with my mother and she did target my father and I with her anger.

Talking to the professionals was the only solution that worked for our situation.
They had ideas I never thought of and give you the support you need. Even though the alientation took place, it was not for long as they realized they were not comfortable being aliented my me. Hope this makes sense. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
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