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Last night, shortly before her bedtime, Mom had me turn off the music and come sit by her, and she proceeded to tell me that the night before, sometime between 3:30 and 4:30 AM, she was certain that I had "a man in the house" because she HEARD me close the front door when he left, and also the dog barked when he left.


Uhh ... I'm happily married, and although my husband lives at our place 85 miles away and we don't get to see each other as often as we'd like, there's no way I would let anyone take his place. Plus, I'm almost 67 years old, if that counts, LOL! The fact is, there WAS and IS no such man coming to the house as Mom is claiming. I told her that whatever she heard, she was wrong about the interpretation, and then she told me not to argue with her.


This morning, I contacted both my sisters about this, and they told me that about a month ago when they last were here to look after Mom so I could get a weekend to go spend with my husband, Mom told them the same thing about me. They apparently told her that it was very unlikely, but if she had a question she should ask me. Well, now she has but she's not accepting my answer.


The larger issue here is that I'm her only Caregiver 24/7, and my concern is that a belief on her part of this type will lead to her not trusting me in other ways. My Mom is occasionally forgetful, but she's of sound mind, and I don't know whether something like this is an example of age-related dementia starting up, or is just a product of her imagination at night. Up until the last 3 months or so, she slept well at night but no longer does ... she will sleep for an hour or two, then sit up on the side of her bed for long periods of time. The house is quiet although I'm sure there are noises of this or that type, and her hearing is not good so quite likely she is misinterpreting at least some of those sounds.


Any ideas? She is on an anti-anxiety medication that worked well for her last spring, and her doctor put her back on it last week. She has stopped the fidgeting and picking at her skin, but it's also supposed to help her sleep and so far is not doing that for her at night.

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two things, document EVERYTHING that has been said and done for the last few months, and get her to a qualified geriatrician, a doctor who actually SPECIALIZES in testing for dementia related issues. The right doctor is key!
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Az, I'm glad that your sister is around, and that mom still responds at times to logic. It seems to me that the mourning is endless in this disease.
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God bless you for doing what you do. Hopefully your sisters can give you a break and rotate time with her. It is hard being a caregiver and watching the decline. It is easier when you are away from it because it is not in your face 24/7.
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I don't blame you a bit for getting out of the caregiving role. Yes, let the sisters take a turn. But a word of caution. Dementia can come on very gradually. When I think back about my Dads case I now realize that he wasn't being a d.....head 5 years ago, he was developing dementia which is now clearly evident. I had a couple huge, get up in your face fights with him over my Moms care. As I saw him decline and learned about dementia I felt terrible about the fights. He was losing his ability to reason and I didn't realize it.
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I wanted to update: I am still here, looking after Mom. One of my sisters jumped in to lend a hand and called Mom on the phone. This sister used to be a police officer, and I could tell by hearing Mom's end of the conversation that my sister was using some of her police training to question Mom about the claim that I'd had a "man in the house". It took over an hour for my sister to finally convince Mom that she was accusing me based only on an assumption and without actual evidence. At that point, Mom was willing to apologize to me sincerely, and I accepted it. My sister and I then talked together about this type of issue (wrong ideas, thinking) being more likely to come up as time goes along, and my sister pointed out to me that my need to have Mom be "okay" and doing well is probably contributing to my anger and frustration when something like this crops up -- it's evidence of our pending loss of Mom, and it hits me harder because I'm the one caring for her. So I'm trying to work on that. There have been no further accusations or mental-type issues since this one, other than ordinary forgetfulness. Thanks so much for all the support.
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Guesthop and JessiBelle---Regarding kidney failure contributing to dementia, that is one of my mother's comorbid conditions along with chf, diabetes, & asthma. ------Thanks for pointing it out.-------
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Some years ago now and years before I moved my mother into assisted living she had, shall we say, "auditory hallucinations". She would hear the phone ringing at night, she would hear someone pounding on her windows and doors. I was concerned but Mom's apartment was in a safe neighborhood with good neighbors. I questioned her if perhaps someone was calling the wrong number? Wrong address? I spoke with neighbors to see if they had seen or heard noises at night and no one had. Once, I went to stay with Mom for a week following a minor surgery she had had. During my week-long stay, I twice overheard her in the wee hours speaking into her phone saying "hello, hello". The phone's extension was right by my bed and the phone had not rung, no one had called.

I live in another state from the state where Mom resides but I was concerned so I arranged for her to have her cognitive function tested. At that time she passed the test. In the ensuing months, as I noticed a continuing decline in her "executive function", I hired a part time caregiver for Mom to help her out and to be a companion. This woman was truly a "visiting angel" to Mom and to me. Mom's caregiver too heard the stories about the late night phone calls, callers at the door and the pounding on the windows. With the help and recommendation of Mom's caregiver we found a new geriatric Dr. for Mom. This Dr. did a more thorough testing for dementia and found that she does indeed suffer from dementia. This Dr. also said, though not common, that sometimes dementia sufferers will have these sorts of auditory hallucinations most frequently at night.

Now Mom lives in ALF and she sometimes, in the wee hours of the morning, will hear the phone ring or she goes to the door of her apartment because she thinks she hears someone knocking at her door. She is very comfortable where she lives and she is not fearful but the sounds she hears are real to her. I try to reassure her that it was just a dream and, for the most part, she has learned to accept that.

Hope this helps...hope this can shed some light...
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AZ - mom has dementia, or at least mild cognitive impairment, not Alzheimer's but probably vascular in origin. Her judgement and reasoning are faulty, and her empathy is slipping. And, you are taking it deeply to heart, because you think if she can be rational and logical at some times she can be rational and logical all the time therefore it seems like deliberate cruelty. But you needed to be back with hubby in any event. Jessie Belle has the right take on it.
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guestshopadmin, thank you for posting that. People with failing kidneys are very prone to metabolic dementia, because toxic byproducts can build in the blood. AZLife, if her kidneys continue to fail and her memory and behavior continue to get more bizarre, it would be good to just let it slide off your back and pay no attention. You will all know that it is a product of your mother's altered mental state.

My mother has come up with all kind of stories. If I challenge them, she sticks to them as gospel truth. Her mind takes little pieces of fact and fills in the gaps she doesn't remember with all kinds of things. History is rewritten. Her new version remains true until she changes it again. I don't say anything unless someone would be harmed.

I had to chuckle a bit when I thought what I would do if my mother said I had a man sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night. I know I would burst out laughing and say "We wish!" Of course, I'm divorced, so it makes a big difference.

Personally, I am glad you're back home with your husband. He sounds like a good one.
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Ask the doctor that if mother did have a course of dialysis, would her delusions clear up?
So sorry she is ill.
Not many could continue caring under those circumstances. That would really hurt, deeply. My sympathies for what you are going through.
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Just found this on kidney.org. You mentioned kidney failure with your mother. If she didn't have dementia before, she may have developed it.

"The chances of losing one's mental faculties with age are increased in older adults with chronic kidney disease, according to two research reports in the August issue of American Journal of Kidney Diseases, the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation."
So the symptoms need to be reported to the doctor, and you really need to have your sisters take the lead on this while you get some respite care so you can have some ongoing relationship later. Take care of yourself too, caregiver:)
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I think it's commendable that you all wanted to keep your mom at home as long as possible, but as you have discovered even when family works together the burden of care tends to fall to one person. It's OK that you have reached your breaking point, with some caregivers it's when they have to deal with incontinence or when they become bed ridden or when they wander and won't sleep. As I stated, how long did you expect to be able to keep this up anyway, if she avoids complete kidney failure she may have years left, who knows?
I hope your family is able to amicably come up with a new plan, and that removing yourself from the daily stress of caring will allow you to come to terms with your mother's paranoia and cognitive decline and forgive her.
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I wanted to go back and address cwillie -- Mom doesn't have dementia (that we know of, kind of uncertain what to think right now). However, she's 95-1/2, does not see or hear well enough to care for herself, plus her knees are bad so she is a fall risk. She has failing kidneys and has decided to not have dialysis, so at most we are looking at probably another year with her, which makes this all the more heartbreaking for me. We girls (3 of us) have always felt strongly about wanting to keep our parents in their own home to the best of our ability, and when the need arose I was in the best position to come and live in ... and fortunately my husband has been supportive of that. But this is just not something I can deal with.
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20 years ago my MIL was convinced that her hubs was fooling around.. with EVERYONE!! She constanly called my BIL and hubs wanting them to "go get him".. most of the time he was getting coffee at the 7=11 or gas. Finally she decided he was fooling around with SIL and me!! That got shut down fast. Looking back now I wonder if this was the start of her decline.. she had lots of stories to tell everyone.. we were slipping her mickies when she would wreck the car.. her hubs was trying to mess with her meds ( she would take her food to the bathroom if she had to go during a meal).. you name it. But she was not really diagnosed until a year or so ago. Always very paranoid. Take a break and go spend some time with your hubs... you need a break.
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Your mom is not being rational. Is this something she would have done years ago? If so, then it's probably not her brain. But if this is something new, then it probably is her brain playing tricks on her. My mom will often think I've brought over new clothes for her or new shoes, because she can't remember old shoes she has. Like I would bring over used house slippers. My example isn't hurtful like yours is, but the irrationality is the same. My mom definitely has cognitive decline.

But I also agree that you need to consider going back to your own life and letting your two sisters pick up the slack - and get her checked out for some cognitive impairment.
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We've always had a good relationship. She's been a wonderful Mother, I have no complaints about that. We butted heads a few times when I was a child/teenager, but nothing out of the ordinary and probably a lot less than many daughters do with their mothers, I've always thought.

I keep up with any contraindications regarding her meds. Any new med, I check it against the others right away, and so far there have not been any drug interactions.

I'm hurt beyond belief. Right now, Mom is on the phone with my next oldest sister, and my sister is trying to get Mom to re-think her position: could she have mis-interpreted what she heard? could she have dreamed it (sitting on the side of her bed at 3:30 AM half asleep), etc. Mom refuses to be shaken from her conviction, and is even swearing on the name of God to my sister. Just said that she bets that if my sister would come and take a look, she'd find the man's footprints in the dirt on the driveway. Good grief.
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AZlife, I get that you are angry, offended, let down, perplexed, and sad too. As you detach with love, will it help if you think about this: "It is not her, it is the illness".
These symptoms are not those of someone faking, and you are right, that doesn't make sense when you see her almost normal at times.
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My mom has been on a pediatric dose of klonopin for several years. She's 92 and in NH.
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Klonopin is not recommended for elderly over 50. Check the Beers List of contraindicated meds for your mom.
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Once you have been chosen to be the one talked about in this way, there may be no cure, apology, medication, or taking it back.
When this happened to our friend, it happened sadly to her family so that they could no longer visit because of the mother's delusional focus on only one family member. She was placed in AL, then a NH. It all started like you said.
The theme: There was a man who came into my house.
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AZ, have you slways had a fraught relationship with your mom? I recall that you thought she was "faking" what sounded to several of us like a tia or a seizure.

It sounds as though your relationship with your mom is not one of love and trust. I think for tour own sake, you need to let others care for her rather than trying to do it mostly on your own. Trying to care for a loved one when you've had the best possible mother/child relationship is hard enough. When there are issues of trust involved, it becomes well nigh impossible. I speak from experience of the second sort.
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I think the bigger issue here is that you are living apart from your husband to care for a woman that apparently has no dementia or serious physical problems that you have mentioned. Why? How long did you expect to have this continue?
Even if your mom wasn't exhibiting impaired judgment I think you have every right to want your life back. Time for the family to sit down and make a new plan.
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She's not taking Ambien.

Funny how none of her other thinking processes are affected.
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There's another possibility - is she taking Ambien? My sister, one of her nursing co-workers and my nurse niece all had hallucinations on Ambien and D'C'ed it as soon as they recognized the power to cause them to hallucinate.

My sister made a similar accusation about entertaining men in her house.
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It's not something to do with age. It's everything to do with the dysfunction of her thinking processes.

I'm not thinking I'm going to convince you, however.
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AZ, I suggest that you encourage your sisters to have her worked up for dementia. You need to disconnect from her right now.
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Bullhockey that "her brain in broken". She pulled this out of her head a month a go to my sisters, and no one bothered to even let me know. A few months ago, she thought that the household silverware was not hers -- for about a day. Those are the only 2 "broken brain" moments she has had. I refuse to excuse her behavior based on her age. She's certainly old enough to know better.
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I'm so sorry to hear this, AZ. It sounds like dementia, or a UTI.

If it's dementia, her brain is broken. It's heartbreaking, and she can't be blamed for not being able to reason any longer. From all you've written over the past few months, someone needs to get her to a geriatric neurologist, perhaps one who works with a geriatric neuropsychologist. It's not mom's memory that is going so much as it's her reasoning ability.

You've given up so much for your mom until now. Go home to your husband, get reoriented in your life and help your sisters figure out where mom will do best, most likely a facility that can care for her over the course of her illness.
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It's a moot point now. Mom won't back down, she apparently prefers to think that her daughter is a tramp than that she misinterpreted some sound she heard in the night, my husband backs me 110% and is livid with her. I'm apparently good enough to wipe her ass but not be believed when I've done nothing wrong. I'm outta here and her other 2 daughters can take over. I'm done.
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Good idea, MaggieMarshall -- I can tell her to just call me and wake me up when she thinks she hears the front door closing and what-not, and hopefully that would relieve her concern.

Also, I agree with you too, Babalou, that she may need a full workup for dementia. A couple of months ago, she thought that I was giving her silverware that was not hers, and this misconception just came up "out of the blue". I assured her that all her silverware is still here, she was using the same spoon she used the day before, etc., and she has not brought it up again. So it's just these occasional "things" that she comes up with that make me wonder.

Who would do a full dementia workup, a geriatric doctor?
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