Mom has Dementia: Another question

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This is my second post. Everyone answered my questions about personality changes and such and I appreciate it, but I am still confused.
She was always such a nice, good, kind and caring person all her life. Now she is nasty, indifferent, etc.
Question is this: Is it the dementia or was this the mother she always was,but held it inside?
Thank you.

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Isabella; I'm sure this is no help to you right this minute, but is your mom being seen by a geriatric psychiatrist? Meds can help. It may be a bit of trial and error to find the right combination, but give it a try. You can't leave your mom is this kind of pain, nor can you go through this night after night.
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Its 422am CST and my mom is at it crying hysterically because she thinks she lost her child she's speaking to God out loud pleading for help. She started at about 130am but I managed to calm her down. She slept and boom she started up again 2 hrs later. I already tried talking to her and tried calming her down to no avail, so I just let her play out her episode, as long as she is not in any danger or any obstacles are near her she is fine. But Im not Im up venting on this website feeling sorry for myself while my 37 yr old daughter is sleeping hm? I wish I could just walk out at times and get lost. I know it could be worst Im just venting. Thanks for listening
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Jeanne, the question is coming from the kind of scene you see on screen, where A says to B 'you're not the person I thought you were, our whole marriage has been a lie I'm such a fool...'

The question, then, is based on the false premise that people are of one make-up, good and ill, and you must ultimately reach a conclusion about their worth as a human being. It is nonsense. But it sells a lot of scripts, because we like to have puzzles explained and we find ambiguity troubling.

Anne, this is not a criticism of you, I emphasise. It is a grouse about the world's infectious fondness for labels and categories. Your mother is many-layered, I expect, as are we all. Mourn the loss of her sweeter layers, but don't imagine that they weren't real. They were.
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Personally, I think the damage the dementia does to the brain causes change.

But let's just speculate that the nice, good, kind and caring person she's always been was just a coverup of true nasty personality, and now she can't cover any more. (I don't believe that, but we are just supposing here.) Would it matter? You have a nice, good, kind and caring mother -- whether it came naturally to her or she had to work at it. Many people on these discussion boards did not have a caring mother (or father), many lived with a parent whose narcissism prevented them from caring about any one outside of themselves. It seems to me you had a very lucky situation.

I am curious to know where this question is coming from. Why does this matter?
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Dementia is brain damage. Akin to head trauma from a car/motorcycle accident, etc. Yet different. And harder to accept, because we caregivers don't get to cite on big incident that caused the change. Instead, we see weird behavior and preferences that we initially chalk up to old age or having too much time on their hands or self-centeredness.

By the time it's confirmed as dementia, we caregivers are already worn out from the second-guessing, the tiptoeing around and the Jekyll-and-Hyde routine. Endless cycles of us well-intentioned caregivers doing/saying the wrong thing -- simply because we are not brain-damaged and we live in the real world. And we are exhausted.

From there on in, it's all downhill. Maybe some plateaus, which are "nice" (if you like false hope). Do not be afraid to disappoint others -- including mom -- by doing what is right for you. No one will advocate for your sanity; that hard job is also all yours.

You will spend the next XX years trying to separate fact from fiction. You can't trust your mother's reality anymore. And a jaw-dropping number of people who "care" will express that by telling you, in so many words, that you are the designated fixer. Don't fall for it. You can't fix this.

You can care. You can visit. You can marshall resources so your mother has the professional assistance that she needs -- in whatever setting is appropriate for her limitations. Food, clothing, shelter and safety are tantamount. Mom will probably reach a point where you alone cannot reasonably supply that. Don't be afraid to switch gears and allow yourself to "just" be a daughter again.

Tough decisions ahead. And you cannot satisfy everyone. Take care of yourself and your household first. Sounds counter-intuitive. But it's crucial. ((((big hugs)))
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My sister's comments about my mom while she was caring for her were: she was polite, she never spoke unless spoken to, she was always clean and now she can't shut up, she interrupts, she does not want to take showers and she talks so much that this days she even talks to the tv. The disease is horrible and it robs them of do much. My sister walked away from caring for her, it is so hard but I am doing it 24/7. Not easy but you were lucky to have a kind mom while you were growing up.
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You wrote...She was "ALWAYS" such a nice, good, kind and caring person "ALL" her life. I don't think that she could have "faked it" over a lifetime. I'm sure she was genuine in her feelings/actions during your youth.
Dementia turns you into someone else. It physically destroys brain tissue and creates personality changes that otherwise would have never happened, literally creating a monster. This is not your mothet's fault nor is this something she's been hiding.
I'm wondering if you're asking because you have read about moms that HAVE been horrible during their childrens' childhood (just read the posts here!) and they seem to get even worse with dementia. But don't take that to mean that it is always EVERYONES' underlying personality.
Really, in the long run, what does it matter? Are you going to change your feelings for your mom depending on the answer? Just remember your good childhood and inform yourself of the different stages of dementia, so you'll have a clue for each phase and personality change. She probably won't stay mean and indifferent for the rest of her life. Don't take anything she says personally. She doesn't know what she's saying. She may even revert back to the sweet personality she had before. It's an awful disease that robs something from everyone. Good luck with your journey.
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Anne 22, My opinion is that she was a nice person but the dementia robbed her of that niceness. The nastiness was not an underlying condition. She was nice through and through and now the disease is talking.
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Anne22, Only you can answer that question. She was a good, kind, caring person all her life? Do you have lots of loving memories and good times spent with her?

If so, don't let the DISEASE rob you of those memories. Her brain is physically shrinking. She has NO control over that aspect. Cognitive thinking, emotions are all out the window. Nothing was pretend or 'fake' in the past, I'm sure. You are experiencing the little sorrow before our parents actually die and leave us. It's natural to question love in general when we are going through such a painful time. It hurts, big time. Our parents are not the people we relied on and respected and loved so much growing up.

It can blindside you. It did me. I was not emotionally prepared for all I have been through the past 5+ years. My mom drives me crazy on a daily basis. Her dementia is mid stage.

My mom is also a narcissist. That didn't become fully apparent until I had to take her under my wing. That was truly an eye opener. Did you have a dad that did everything for her in the past?
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I agree with Rainmom. Medications that treat anxiety/depression and pain can make an amazing difference. I suspect that mental anguish can cause much of the difficult behavior we see. My loved one changed for the better, though, I'm not sure if it was due to the stage she progressed through or the medication. I would discuss what you have observed with your mom and see what they say.
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