I am the enemy...


I am the enemy. As far as my Mom with ALZ is concerned my siblings and I have have taken everything away from her. She calls my Aunts and tells them terrible things that we have supposedly done to her. All either completely untrue or misconstrued. Then I get really nasty emails from her sisters. Now Mom says she wants to move far away to be with her “family”, which doesn't include her 3 children or 7 grandchildren. I do not think this move would be in her best interest. But I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. As far as she is concerned I’m the enemy ... so I’ve lost her either way.

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Lolo - I agree with many previous posters. Don't move your mother, it'll just add more work and stress for you with no benefits to anyone including your mother. If a crazy person asked for something crazy, you wouldn't give it to her just to make her happy because it wouldn't make her happy and because it was crazy.

I would also recommend you not read anymore emails from the aunt or anyone else who complains. You should either delete or direct their emails to go to spam box automatically that way you don't even have to see them. If they call, don't take the calls. Protect your peace of mind and yourself from their verbal attacks.

Oh LoLo, hugs.

They've visited her once in 15 years? Well no wonder they're such experts on her care needs, then! So simple to know all the answers when you have absolutely no idea what the real questions are, isn't it?

A move would not benefit your mother. The change would disorient her. She would recognise none of the people around her. She is unlikely to accept that her distant family members are who they claim to be (her "real" sister will be at least twenty years younger than the "imposter" in front of her, for example). She will still believe that you have done this to her, stolen her house, locked her away. So moving her won't relieve any of her current fears, it will just add new ones.

Will it help you? Well, initially she won't be your day-to-day problem and that would be a relief. But will you stop worrying about her? Will you stop caring what's happening with her? Doubt it - you'll just be incredibly anxious but you won't be able to do anything about it.

You wouldn't be human if you didn't wonder why you bother, if this is all the thanks you get. Nor would you be if ignorant back-seat driving didn't irritate the f*** out of you. But when you focus strictly on what is best for your mother at this phase of her illness, it sure as heck isn't moving her; and making the best possible decisions is the whole point of what you've been trying to do all this time.

Can you put a bit more distance between yourself and your mother, literally or emotionally? Let other people do the visiting; go less often; keep the visits shorter?

I have the same situation with an aunt. Due to distance she visits maybe 4 times a year. Then she will complain to me that he was wearing the same pair of pants as the last visit. I have no control over that. He has plenty of clothing but he likes to wear the same thing over and over. The AL has told him he needs to change his clothing EVERYDAY (he was shocked at that one). He will tell my aunt that I haven't been there in months when it has been a week or two.

My cousin had this 'great' idea. I should put him in AL near my aunt so she can visit. Ok but that would make it near impossible for me to ever visit or take him for a holiday as it would be a half day of driving. I still work, aunt does not. Yet people see what they want. I was dumbfounded no one thought this was just not doable. If my father doesn't answer the phone my aunt calls me and actually expects me to drive 25 miles to see where he is. No matter how many times I explain that he is hard of hearing and she needs to call repeatedly, she doesn't listen. She things that means call at 9, then 10 , then 11, not 9, 9:02, 9:04.

My father wanted to go to this AL and now he doesn't like it and has been arguing with me about moving. He doesn't have a clue as to how much work that would be. And to add insult he acts like he is doing it for MY benefit. The thing is I know as soon as he gets to another place he will be unhappy again. My father likes constant attention and the only thing that works for him is laying in a hospital bed having nurses fuss over him. That is his happy place.

I suggest one blunt email to any aunt that sends you a nasty gram. Shut them down and tell them this is not up for discussion.

Lolo, when your mom declines further (It's when, not if) you are going to be nearby to supervise hospital visits, etc., so transferring her to be closer to aunts is probably a bad idea.

It sounds as though mom is agitated. Is someone looking at that as a symptom? A geriatric psychiatrist or behavioral neurologist?

Note to aunts..." as you know, mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and is having delusions about the actions of her loving children. The docs have asked us to advise mom's loved ones to be supportive ( oh that's such a shame), but not to believe on face value what she is telling people. As you might imagine, it is hard on mom to lose her life as she knew it, and hard on us, we have to do what we have to to keep her safe. We have sadly had to make a choice between keeping her safe as opposed to happy. We know that if you were here with us you would agree with the choices we've made.  We would be glad to have your support, going forward."

I like this thought. Caregiving is not a democracy. Absentee relatives do not get absentee votes!!

Do you have any cousins (from the aunts)? You might contact them, as they may be more up on things like dementia than their moms are and act as an ally(ies) for you. Or you may find out that they're dealing with some of the same issues that you are too - moms with dementia. I agree with everyone else- keep mom where she is and take care of yourself. {{{Hugs}}}

A lot of us have been where you are. Don't try to "win", you won't.

My mother accused me of stealing her medicines and money, lying to her, attacking her and throwing her on the floor and attempted incest!! She was in stage 5 Alzheimer's at the time. I know it hurts. I left her apartment a few times crying. How could she think that, even with the disease? We need to ignore this type of talk. It's the dementia talking.

Your mother is not thinking rationally. Don't move her anywhere. Your aunts are probably in denial or are completely unaware what her condition entails. Don't be in contact with them. Ignore the e-mails. They keep e-mailing you because you keep answering them. If you have to talk to them, don't argue-just state facts. Do NOT try to convince them. It makes you look guilty.

Yeah, I remember...I was trying to defend my reputation too. Who cares what they think? You know you are doing a good job. Have confidence in your judgement. Get thick skinned about that too. If they've only visited once, they don't deserve to have an opinion.

You're going to need to become a hard a** to deal with negative family. When talking with your mom, change the subject or have a short visit.

Don't worry about what mom wants. You won't make her happy. The sooner you accept that fact, the better your life will be. Been there, done that. It's just a sad fact.

See if the AL can limit her calls to her sisters. Even if not, you can't let other people's feelings get in the way of your better judgement for your mother. It's going to be a long road and the sooner you lessen the drama, the better.

Good luck Sweetie. This is one heck of an adventure.

Hugs to you.
If your mom seems much worse than usual don’t forget to get her tested for a UTI.

Listen to some Teepa Snow videos. Maybe suggest that to the aunts if you communicate. They may know the word Alzheimer’s but little else about the disease.

Even folks who have been dealing with the disease for awhile, up close and personal, such as yourself, can get sucked back into believing their loved ones know what they are saying.
If even YOU can get your emotions stirred up by what your mom says, then is it really so odd that the aunts could get confused?

After all your mom is NOT lying. She really believes what she is saying. She has a disease.

The spoken word is powerful regardless of its validity. That’s one of the reasons it’s so painful.

Get a therapist for yourself. Skip the meetings with mom and go to the therapist until you can beat the pain and frustration back and regain some reserve to deal with her condition.

Try to rely on the ALF to keep you informed of any issues needing your attention. Ask one of your siblings or one of the grands to step up for awhile. See if you can gain perspective. This job of taking care of demented loved ones is not easy. Take better care of yourself. Don’t let the disease take you both down.

lolo - (((((((hugs))))) BTDT if you have POA, and I am assuming that you have, then your job is to do what is best for your mum - not what she wants and thinks will make her happy, not what others want, and maybe not even what you want. All the rest is just flack. The aunts??? Maybe they are getting Alz too.

My mother has always been narcissistic, my sis too, so long ago I decided that I had to do what I thought was best. I didn't take it lightly. I thought things through after processing all the BS, chose a course of action, and stuck to it despite complaints, put downs etc, unless I saw a good reason to change it.

If your mother is best off where she is, the leave her there and reduce contact with the complainers. You can't change them. This is not a popularity contest. Many of us would fail hands down if it was. Do what is best for your mum, whether she likes it or not.

You need to understand that moving your mom closer to her siblings isn't what she really wants, it's just what she thinks she wants. Moving wouldn't make her happy because it wouldn't magically turn back the clock and return her former independence, nothing will. You would most likely be even more frustrated because you would have the added challenges of caregiving at a distance, and instead of berating you for controlling her she would probably switch gears and berate you for dumping her far away and never visiting. As Amber said, there is no winning in this, just managing. Sometimes that means setting some healthy boundaries between you and your mother or her sisters, you don't need to be in constant contact or jump every time they push your hot buttons.

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