< Back to article

Dementia Behavior Can Seem Like Manipulation


I caregive part time for my parents who both suffer with dementia. I work a full time job as well. In the past year my dad has run off 3 caregivers. I am at my wits end. I know it’s the disease, but why do I feel like he’s doing that on purpose so I will have no choice but to become their full time caregiver.

Why does a dementia patient be nice to family members and as soon as they leave have a superior and sometimes agitation behaviors toward the caregiver.

I see the current moments of others and have lived caring for an extremely manipulative family member who has developed dementia and been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder. I think the BPD and dementia go hand in hand. As a nurse, working with the elderly and those with dementia for the majority of my 45 years nursing, this has been seen as an all too common occurrence - BPD and dementia. People with BPD are master manipulators or string pullers.

My mom is in a assisted living facility every time we pick her up she says nobody likes her that everyone that works there is against her there all talking about her. When she's the one that's aggressive to everyone there it drives us crazy what can we do. We ask every time she says it and they don't know what she's talking about.

My mother is 90 and Im positive she has dementia. She has not been diagnosed but she has been blaming me of theft and other terrible accusations for about three years now. We have never had a really great relationship though. She has always been so critical of me. I asked her a few years ago if she could say anything good about me. She thought for a few seconds and said: you dress well and you go to work every day. That was all she could possibly say about her daughter that has so many other qualities that others have always complimented me for. Anyway, the dementia is bad but no one else notices because she's just "a peach" to everyone else. She has become extremely hurtful to the point of telling me she hopes she dies so I can feel awful for the rest of my life. Im an only child and this situation has my blood pressure soaring almost daily.

My mum is refusing food she's 86yrs what can I do?

As a care Giver and personal experience they do not understand Manipulation at all .They can hardly remember certain things for 5 mins

Thank you, sunnygirl1. Yes, the loss of a child is like no other in its pain.

2 of my 3 brothers understand that I will not put up with unlimited demands by our mother (the other one wouldn't care and just about never comes to see his mother). One brother was going to make a special trip here to look at Assisted Living facilities, but that never panned out. Mom has announced she won't be willing to look at any AL places "for at least two years."

I am so glad that there is someone else here who believes that adult children are not bound to provide care in the home for elders. I have also told my brothers that our mother is not coming to live with me. (It helps that she clearly told me that she didn't want to live with me several years ago.) I stayed with her for 8 days and nights 1.5 years ago when she somehow hurt her back and she was nearly helpless. That time with her was unbearable, as she ordered me around. Yet now she says I did NOT do that -- that at the most I was with her for 2 days, and that she could have stayed by herself. Ummm...NO. She was prescribed powerful painkillers and was not to be left alone, according to the dr. My brothers knew full well what I did for her, as I informed them. I will not be doing THAT again.

I promised my dad as he was dying that we would take of her. That was 5.5 years ago (just months before my son died). I'm trying to work out with myself just exactly what that means. But I know it doesn't mean I am to sacrifice my own mental and physical health (particularly mental health).

I'm so sorry for the loss of your son. That must be incredibly painful. I can't imagine such pain.

It it good that your mom has long term care insurance coverage. Have you discussed your concerns with your siblings. It sounds like they aren't aware what you are dealing with. Would it help to give them the heads up, so they know what you will not be doing?

I'm of the opinion that adult children are not bound to provide care in the home for parents. I don't think it's selfish, but realistic and practical. That's just me. I would not want my adult children caring for me and not living their own lives. Others have a different view on this.

I think that dementia patients offer particularly harsh challenges for most family members caring in the home. That's why we need a lot of help. I took solace in that fact when placing my loved one into Memory Care.


Sunnygirl1, you write:

"...I think it's so important to have a very long fuse and be of a very special temperament who can tolerate a lot."

And that is the gist of why I am NOT looking forward to increased caregiving responsibilities for my mother, which was starting to happen (until she got mad at me and now hardly calls at all -- not complaining! but it will end when she stops driving and I have to be her taxi service).

I do not want to be her caregiver, but as the only local sibling (and the only daughter), I am expected to be the one. It is what she expects. When I mentioned the dirty "c" word (compensation), she got furious. She thinks I am trying to take advantage of her. Short-term memory lapses aside, she doesn't forget THAT!

I do not have the patience to deal with her controlling ways. I have never had a good relationship with her. I love her, but do not like her. I resent that my 3 brothers are all out of state. When the demands on my time increase, I will expect compensation, as that is the only way I can do this (we could use the money).

I have had enough to deal with in my life by losing my young adult son 5 years ago suddenly and unexpectedly. I will NOT give up my life and health (as so often seems to happen) to be the Daughter-Slave to my mother. She has excellent LTC insurance, and once she qualifies I will expect her to use it. I don't even want to hire/supervise the in-home help, if she ever agrees to even that.

I have informed my brothers that I will just walk away if things get to be too much for me and there is not adequate compensation.