We're traveling a bumpy road with my mom today (she's lives with us & has dementia). Mom's cycling through a manic phase right now, so she's all over the place. The hardest part, honestly, is the conversations she keeps initiating with me. It's awful how much I dread those moments where she tries to engage me in conversation. Her comprehension skills are abysmal at this point. Today she cornered me in the kitchen as I was getting a Sunday roast going & started asking me questions on all sorts of topics.

As I'm sure many of you understand, I know these topics are beyond her comprehension at this point. I know that not only will she not understand my answer to her questions, but she will misinterpret them, get irritable (her misinterpretations are always perceived slights against her) and then attempt to start an argument with me.

It's exhausting, having to strategize constantly on how to simplify answers enough to converse with her in these moments. And with certain conversations, there's only so much you actually can simplify. Sometimes topics are just organically complex - no changing that. No matter my attempts, it never ends well. Today I took the tactic of redirecting her attention. It worked the first two times - once with pie (sweets always works), once by showing her our youngest daughter's new artwork. But eventually she caught on and made a snide comment that she's obviously bothering me and stormed off to her room - where she's now sulking.

This disease is one constant no win situation after another. There are moments when I look forward to not having to try to converse at all. But that's horrible, and it makes me feel horrible. I've honestly come to the conclusion that losing one's mind before they lose their body is the absolute worst case scenario in life.

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First let me say your strength and patience are amazing. I couldn't have mom in my home for an hour without succumbing to suicidal ideation!!! And yet you manage to deal every day!

You so perfectly encapsulated my feelings when I'm with Mom. (She has mid-stage dementia with narcissism). There are no good topics. None. She's a talker, for sure. You can give her the stage, but it's all negative. So my efforts to redirect usually backfire because the topic I choose is so loaded with hidden landmines.

She seizes on the negative aspect of everything. Never remembers anything positive, good or pleasant. Misunderstands everything. This isn't just dementia. It's a personality disorder for as long as I can remember.

Despite 2+ years of learning how to cope and protective measures I've taken (low contact, gray rock attitude as needed), I still get anxious prior to visits because they're such an ordeal. This is why my visits to her are infrequent and short.

Total agreement.

Mother is a pretty good listener, but talks only about the twin great grandkids (she has 40+ gg kids, only really 'enjoys' these 2) and her friend Wanda, whose health is so bad I don't know how she stays alive.

So I try to direct the conversations to the WHOLE family, since she never hears from anyone but me and the brother with whom she lives and she said she goes days and days and doesn't see anyone in their family. The other 3 sibs, they are MIA. Maybe a call every few months, but that's it.

She's lonely, she's bored, but she has hoarded her place to the point there is nowhere to sit and visit, so you just don't. I can't stand for hours on end, so I only stay a half hour. I've tried to get her to clean out some things so her couch is accessible, but she won't let me..then she complains she never has visitors.

A part of that is the smell. Her carpet has been peed on so many times. Her cath bag is not cleaned properly and her wet depends are left in an open garbage can. That, plus the filthiest birdcage you ever saw---I am sick to my stomach. She cannot smell it, but it's truly gag worthy. I am not allowed to clean, b/c I do throw away garbage and she wants ALL her things.

So her world in minute and getting smaller by the week. She has nothing to say, and so visits are short and unproductive. I don't know how people LIVE with this.

I fear the day when Wanda dies. She is mother's last friend, Literally. I guess that's the sad part of living to be old (89) and being kind of a pill. Nobody wants to hang out with you.

"I've honestly come to the conclusion that losing one's mind before they lose their body is the absolute worst case scenario in life."

I totally agree with you, Living with my Alz. mother was like living in a psy ward. On top of that, my mother has now turned into a bonafide kleptomaniac and a hoarder. She can't stop herself from shoplifting in any store we go to, and she likes to take things (a lot of times just trash and junk) and keeps them in her room.

I understand the guilt you feel when your mother gets upset. But she probably will forget the whole incident soon enough. So, at least take comfort in that.

It is tough. I recall the days when I could not figure my LO out. She made things difficult and snippy when they didn't have to be. So frustrating. And then there was the, it tried my patience.

She would get incredibly nervous and scared when she would be taken to the ER or doctor's office for various things from the MC facility. She and I would hang out in those little cubicles for hours...literally. Her way of dealing was to tell me that she loved me. (She is my cousin and almost old enough to be my mother.) She would say, "I love you" over and over every 30 seconds. I'm not kidding! Of course, I would respond with, "I love you, too." So, these comments went on for hours. lol Redirecting didn't usually help. Plus, you get exhausted! I would often wonder what people who overheard this dialogue must think! I guess they figured it out.

And, it's true about how the talking gradually stops. She progressed and now doesn't really talk at all. She said two words this month and we all were in total shock! Man, this disease is horrific and cruel.

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