I need an attitude adjustment.

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When my father died in 2003 I moved my mother across the country to live with me because he left her with nothing but her Social Security. I loved having her here but she and my narcissistic husband didn't get along so she moved into a senior apartment. I helped her financially and was her chauffer. I had to move her back in with me about 3 years ago because she developed dementia and she could no longer live alone. Fortunately, she and my husband, who had mild dementia at the time, had forgotten about their animosity towards each other. I had no idea what I was getting into. I was shocked at the things she did. When I found this site and read other people's stories and the advice they were given it was like someone threw me a lifeline. Now I understood this insidious disease a little better. A few months ago my husband's neurologist said she thinks he may have Alzheimer's. She based that on the area of his brain that has shrunk the most.

I know my mother has no control over her actions. She has advanced dementia. Most of the time she doesn't know who I am and she is not able to have any kind of meaningful conversation. If it's Alzheimer's then she is in state 6. Fortunately, she is sweet until I have to force her to do something she doesn't want to do like take a shower.

My problem is I haven't been able to adjust my attitude. I always seem to be agitated and I know my mother can tell that from the tone of my voice. Even my small dog has picked up my attitude. She started growling at my mother. Don't worry. Mom is in no danger from the dog. For the last few weeks my mother has been pacing. She will walk around the kitchen cart for over an hour. Rest a little and then do it again. At times she follows me. It really gets on my nerves when she just stares at me. I don't want to hurt her feelings but I can't handle that. I've tried redirecting her but that only works for a couple of minutes and then she is back to pacing or following. Perhaps I should ask if anyone has any suggestions on how I can change back into the patient person I thought I was. For those who find caregiving an honor and joy how do you keep that attitude? I feel that if I had a better attitude this job wouldn't be so emotionally hard.

I've thought about putting her in a nursing home but I live in a state with filial responsibility laws and that scares me. When my father died the state where she used to live demanded that she pay back 100,000 dollars. A few months later they wrote and told her they found insurance that covered it. I have no idea what that was about since she didn't have any insurance that she knew about.

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Lataza, my husband had Lewy Body Dementia. I cared for him at home the entire 10 years. My mother, now age 94, has dementia.

I cannot begin to imagine being fully responsible for the care for both of them at the same time! Wow! It boggles my mind that you are able to do this. And your husband is narcissistic? Oh my goodness, lady, and you are worried you don't have enough patience? Is there enough patience in your county or in your state to sail serenely through this responsibility?

So first, forgive yourself for being human.

Then, try to find a caregiver support group. It is extremely helpful to know you are not alone with your issues and your shortcomings (as you see it).

Next, how about some counseling for yourself? You deserve any kind of support you can get, and often getting it from an objective outsiders is extremely valuable.

As you are putting these things in place, find out what your options really are. For example, if mother is qualified for Medicaid, the fact that your state has filial laws is irrelevant. Please see an attorney who specializes in ELDER LAW. This is not the time to see your friend's cousin who is a tax specialist. You don't need a criminal lawyer or an intellectual property specialist. Find a good fit for your needs!

Take two gold stars out of petty cash ... you are doing great, and you are working toward doing even better!
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Lataza, knowledge is power. Many folks come to this message board saying " I heard on the radio"; " a lady in church told me"; " I know that the Government will...". Many of us went into this caregiving gig totally unprepared, and with false assumptions, bolstered by our parents' false assumptions or misinformation.Or our misinterpretation of what they are telling us.

I'll
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JessieBelle....I do try to do calming things. I had to get out of the house the other day so I went outside and spent the afternoon picking up sticks in my yard. There was a storm last week so there were many many sticks. The neighbors must have thought I was nuts because it was very cold but I was dressed for it. The cold felt so much better than the 80 something degree sauna like temperature in my house.

Babalou......You are right. I need to see an attorney. My husband may also need a nursing home later.
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In terms of filing responsibility laws, you might want to consult an elder care attorney. My understanding is that these states generally go after children who have benefitted directly from parents' gifts in an attempt to impoverished parents to qualify for aid.
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Oh, I hear what you are saying, lataza. I have the same trouble keeping my own agitation and anger in check. I can't think of any advice other than to do things that calm ourselves, e.g. petting the dog, going for a brisk walk, talking to a friend. When my attitude gets too bad, I usually go outside and sit for a while, looking at the stars or watching the squirrels.

I think we have to forgive ourselves. We are only human and it can be like someone is poking us with a stick over and over. We would have to be a saint not to get irritated. And believe me, I will not qualify for sainthood in this lifetime. So I try to forgive myself and try to do better the next morning.
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Oops. I mean stage 6
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