Dealing with guilt or 'what ifs'.

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My mother has had signs of dementia for several years, it's gradually gotten worse and we just got a diagnosis of Alzheimer's this week. I have been telling my siblings all along that something was very wrong but they didn't pay any attention to me. I moved my mother in with me last year, telling her that I 'could use help paying the rent' and she hated where she was living. I don't NEED her money to live on my own...in fact, having her live here costs me money, she eats a far different diet and insists on the heater running all the time.

I have three brothers and one sister. One brother has not visited at all since she's been here, rarely calls. One brother has been by twice, rarely calls. Final brother has been here three times, never calls. (the three times were at her request to fix her car). My sister has been over about a dozen times, never for very long and has taken my mother out once.

My mother has taken a huge downturn in the past few weeks....my sister is shocked and upset, claiming she had no idea and how could this have happened. Brothers are coming to visit tomorrow..

I am being blamed for her sudden decline because we've had some family drama this past couple weeks. We had some family come by and try to steal from my mother and I stopped them...they threw a fit, my mother was very upset.

How do you deal with people trying to put guilt or blame on you? how do you keep from putting guilt or blame on yourself?

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Unless you're around a person most of the time you're an "outsider", even if you are family, and can't really see how that person is doing. Until alzheimers or dementia progresses to a point when they can no longer do it, the elder will pull it together and "show time" for a short period of time for a visitor.

My mother, in a nursing home the past 18 months, has been able to show time for visitors though that is fading as she declines. The most frequent visitor, who's visited a whopping 3 times in the past 18 months, always looked at my like I was lying about my mother's condition. Two other people have visited once apiece, never to be seen or heard from again. No-one has ever offered help or support in my journey. Although one was a mutual friend, the others were only acquaintances of mine and I've cut them all out of my life. There comes a time when you must stop trying to jump oceans for people who wouldn't jump a puddle for you.
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I think my sister is trying to find some logic, something she can point to and say 'this is why this happened' but I dont' think dementia works like that...at least I am telling myself that. Sis has been telling me that having my mother here and away from other people caused her 'momentary memory loss' and if she had more visits with other people, she'd be better....of course she hasn't offered to do anything about it herself..

which brings me to a different place I don't want to go..where we start trading accusations and blame around. That's not going to help anyone. I can only tell/warn my siblings that the clock is running and if they want to see her while she can still talk to THEM, then they better get it in gear. What they choose to do is on them. I am not their caretaker, judge or priest...I can't give absolution later.
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Recognition of the situation is the most difficult stage. It sounds like your siblings are just beginning to understand the extent of your mother's dementia issues. I have been caring for my dad and have found his short term memory to sometimes be sporadic but his reasoning to always be 'off.' I am fortunate to have very good support from my brother but I have had to deal with friends and acquaintances of my dad that were unable to recognize his situation. This led to a very difficult situation with a new 'girlfriend' but that's a long story.

What I want you to know is you are doing what is best by keeping your mother close. I found it helpful to keep a diary each day to document what was going on. Just a few lines that could be shared with your siblings when needed and also I could refer to it when I was questioning myself, which sometimes happened. Also I found support and encouragement through this site and through others who knew me well and understood my heart and my intentions. Support is huge.

There are many of us dealing with the same issues, even if at different levels. You are not alone!
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