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This site has been so helpful to me since my mother came to live with us. I think I might question my sanity if I did not hear so many stories like my own. I read here over and over about elderly women in particular who are mean spirited, paranoid, manipulative, selfish & negative. I totally relate as that is what I am witnessing.


The only time my mother seems to be happy is in the rare instance that one of her paranoid predictions actually comes to fruition, or some terrible thing happens to someone. She has a look of total glee at those times. She loves to say "I told you so" and since she is always and I do mean always negative the only thing she can be right about is a negative prediction. Sometimes it is an atmosphere of pure evil around her.


My question is are there any full time caregivers who are caring for a loving sweet appreciative friend or relative? Or by the time an elderly woman reaches this stage are they all as "mean as a snake". Are there any stories where a sweet old lady had to come live with a relative and actually brought joy and happiness?


My mother has always had personality disorders, but now it is like every negative aspect is times 100 and the positive aspects have disappeared. She has done all of the right things physically, healthy diet, exercise, regular checkups, now at age eighty plus she only takes two pills a day for mild hypertension, has few physical ailments, just a mean nasty spirit........


It makes me physically ill to think of getting old and treating those trying to care for me with such ingratitude, or for that matter just being that miserable myself. Right now I have no desire to eat right, exercise and take care of myself, so that I can outlive my mind and hang around to make my family miserable.


Sorry to rant, I'm beginning to sound just like her..... Just wish I could see light at the end of the tunnel. Her Dr. will not listen to me and she will not go to another Dr. and refuses to take anti-depressants or anxiety meds.

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v, some of us are just too worn out and embarrassed to post much. I have a world of gripes. For some of us the guilt hold is so strong, that airing 'dirty laundry' makes us feel bad, like we're doing something wrong. Sorry, but true.

I'm thinking of calling in 'sick' tomorrow. I have been doing this for four years, seeing her every other day. I've never failed her, but I'm sick of her complaints. The negativity is awful and life crushing.
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its called selection bias - the folks for whom caregiving is working out great all around don't tend to need to post on here so much. my journey with my mom had its sweet moments but was mostly hard and sad; with my dad there was a lot more sweet and I didn't seek out help as much :-)
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Hi! My mom is sweet now even though it didn't start that way. When I moved in with her I was miserable, but I learned some wonderful solutions over the three years I lived with her as her Alzheimer's progressed. Now she is at a wonderful memory-care facility where she is thriving and happy. Here's what I say about my experience and how it might help you:

1. Let yourself be happy. It seems counterintuitive; but, the happier you are the better it turns out for everybody! Most people think it’s sad that Mama has Alzheimer’s and I decided I had to get over thinking I should agree and commiserate (especially with the websites with all the sad-stories). The best way I found to break free of anger and worry was to get alone for a few minutes and BREATHE (take a deep breath in and a slow exhale) and in that moment notice the feeling of relief and breathe again. Think about the solution you want, why you want it, and focus on the solution.

2. Remove yourself from the room (or the phone) if there is an argument starting. Say, “Excuse me, there’s something I’ve got to do.” And it’s true – the thing you’ve got to do is to stay calm. BIG DISCOVERY: Arguing, complaining, and blaming only spirals the situation downward.

3. Project thoughts of goodness onto them several times a day. Even when you don’t feel like doing it, say, “You’re great.” “You’re sweet.” We know that it is true in the depths of their hearts and saying good things brings those good things to the surface -- you might not think she deserves it, but I won't beat around the bush -- you're doing it for YOUR own good.. After several weeks of doing this, lo and behold, she might even say it back to you! J

I never had a great relationship with Mama until one year ago. I’m sorry to say that I always dwelled on past resentments and for the first two of the three years I lived with her I was miserable and hated living there with her.

During those first two years I kept trying different solutions because I did not want to keep feeling bad. Those steps 1 and 2 were discoveries in the first two years.

Then when I started doing step 3, everything began to alter. At the end of the day when I was saying goodnight, no matter what had transpired during the day, I looked Mama in the eyes, and said, “You’re sweet.” I remember her look of surprise that first night. And I remember having a feeling of relief. Then I started saying it several times a day. Sometimes I would put my hand on her shoulder. Over time I took her hand and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Then she started saying it to me!!

Now Mama and I have a sweet loving relationship that is so remarkable. I still make it a point to get her attention, look into her eyes, and say, "You're so sweet! I love you so much!" It's because of the transformation over the past three years that I can do that with such love in my heart. So I am thankful for the problems I had and for where I am today.

Maybe steps 1-3 can move faster for you by reading this. Maybe they don’t fit your situation at all. We all experience our own epiphanies in our own way. All the best to all of you reading this.
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Meohmy, you are fortunate to have a sweet Mom. As I posted on another thread: I often wonder if Mother "didn't mean it" or couldn't help it when she was 35, 45, 55, etc. At what age did the excuse for her behavior become dementia and not a nasty temperament? People don't change much. Their natures are pretty consistent. I'm sure I'll still be a cynic and a smart ass when I'm 95, if God makes me live that long. :) xo
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After reading DonnaCG's post I feel fortunate to have the mother I have. She is 91 and has lived with me since April 2011. Prior to that she lived with my sister for three years and prior to that she lived by herself. The reason she ended up living with my sister was because she lived in a mobile home park that was bought out by the forest service and she needed a new place to live. I had taken care of all her daily living needs such as grocery shopping for many years, but my husband had passed away the year my mother moved in with my sister. Anyway she came to live with me when my sister's husband was diagnosed with cancer. My mother never learned to drive and relied on my dad to do all the driving, etc. He passed away in 1987 and I made sure she had her groceries and doctor appts. etc. I will admit it has not been easy, but I have managed to figure out coping skills. I have Visiting Angels come in once a week for four hours so I can do grocery shopping or just get out of the house for a while. I do yard work and leave a walkie-talkie so my mother can ring it if she needs me. I check on her about every 20 minutes and this works for us. This past year she was hospitalized for a fractured leg and spent much time in the hospital and skilled nursing homes as she recovered. She has heart issues and has lost about 35 pounds over the past year so she is frail. I know she can't live forever and I am willing to do this as long as I have to for the little bit of happiness it gives her. For this I feel blessed, although I realize many would consider it the opposite. I don't know why some people are negative. When my mother dwells on negative thoughts I change the subject or just tell her I don't want to listen to it. I tell her it makes me feel depressed and then she feels bad and realizes she is being negative. I don't know if your mother will listen to you DonnaCG but you might try talking with her about your feelings. Sometimes the fact that you speak up might shock her into realizing how she sounds. Maybe her need to be right about something overshadows everything.
Or maybe she has dementia which sometimes seems to rob elderly people of their happiest memories. My mother can dwell on some pretty depressing thoughts at times and like I said I try and disract her from those thoughts. I don't know if my story helps, but I figured it can't hurt. Hugs to you and know that you are not alone.
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husband, Your post struck me that your wife could be suffering from Lewy Body Dementia. My mother in law passed from it in 2010. In the mid to late stages of the disease, she insisted my father in law was two different people. She called them the two Jim's. One Jim she thought was a stranger impersonating her husband. He could leave the room and come back and be the 'real' Jim. Animal faces morphed out of a pattern in the carpet or a reflection in the window. For the most part, it amused her, which was good but sometimes she was terrified by it. She was a classy, dear lady even when the disease took her away.
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That extreme high appetite some diabetics get, if there is any chance they will tolerate something besides jus more insulin it can help. There are side effect concerns, but it may be worth trying something. Januvia is the one that worked for my mom, and she stopped stashing sugar packets to eat when she felt a little "low" (without checking, of course) all the time.
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Donna So Sorry... Sometimes people can be worse to their own family, and I am sad that happens. We have a guy at our ALF who the Dr told us had anger issues and now knowing him and the dr I see why - this guys doesn't really care about his patient and says stuff like 'get a feeding tube' versus what we tend to do in the assisted living home, coax him, make his favorites, rub his back, treat him like family....
I've realized too much of the "industry" is about the money and writing Rx for everything - when it is better managed with diet and exercise. Many elderly do much better in an ALF if you can put them there. Even daycare would let you do more and have a life. Someone mentioned $8,500 a month for memory care unit but wow that is a LOT.
Our place gets $2500 to $3500 or so depending on care needs. The higher end tends to be those with needs like diabetes or dialysis etc transporting them, if they are sick a lot, and so forth. It's like getting your life back, is what my families tell me, and still knowing mom is in a good place with love, good food, and people she can relate to. Smaller places are more like home, not such a culture shock for the elderly people.
I wish you all the best, and am praying for you both. Don't let it get you down, and I mean that in the best way, knowing how hard it is. I have 6 people to be the manager in caring for, shop, come up with activities, meals, recipes, tell the caregivers / train them how to cook a soft boiled egg, lots of things people today don't know about, especially as many are Jamaican or something, and our seniors are mostly American. The pre-diabetic sneaks food sometimes we have to hide the bananas (ate 4 one night recently, non left for breakfast) He is so upset at me that I said No more cheating on diet - gained 12 lbs in 6 weeks.
And there is the lady who doesn't know my name but knows I love her. :-) And I love them all, I rub backs and hug them treat them like family....
But I have no life at all. Just when I'm fixing to take a day off, someone calls in or just doesn't show so I race over there, adopt a caregiver role for the day, get home exhausted and have to catch up on my "other job" that pays my bills at home for the next day or two. Wow, now I'm whining so I better stop but sometimes it's best left to the pros who do this or at least a few days a week.
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My mother was always a narcissist. Everything was always about her and not anyone else. She lived with me almost 7 years after bypass surgery at 80, at her request. And it got worse and worse even though her health was excellent. This last year she started having cognitive problems and short term memory loss. She got depressed and angry and talked awful about me behind my back playing the victim which is a role she played throughout her life. I tried everything to stop the madness but the biggest problem I had with her was communication. She would not talk to me about anything but she would bend anyone else's ear who would listen to tell them how mean I was to her. I finally had to put her in intermediate AL because she started running away another pre-dementia behavior. She has been in AL 6 months and liked it for a while but now they are the bad guy. She is 87 and agreeable when she gets what she wants which is an audience but no one can meet her un-relentless need for an audience. And she lies about everything and did so even before her memory problem started. I don't know how I'm going to handle her unhappiness somewhere else. I think once you commit to taking care of someone, you're stuck with it even when they're somewhere else. A facility at least gives you a break. But you can't change their personality no matter how hard you try to fix things. No matter which choice is right for your situation, I wish you the best. There are no easy answers to a problem that escalates with decline. Bottom line, you have to do what's best for you because you can't take care of someone else when you're not at your best. Good LUck & God Bless.
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I've been my mom's caregiver for 7 years. I'm sorry to hear stories of other caregiver's having such a hard time. The only time my mom acts up is if she is in pain or has a UTI or other medical issue. I give her lots of love and she's just as sweet as she can be. I've never been closer to her. I haven't resented having her with me for one day even though there have been many challenges. I don't look at the surface or take what mom may have said personally. I can't imagine what she is going through. My heart hurts seeing her now in pain from cancer and to make it worse she was in an auto accident with a neighbor and both legs were broken. I brought her home because the rehab was more than I could deal with. I shouldn't have to chase them down for pills and no one ever checked on her. I hope I can continue to take care of her to the end as my mom has always been a very nervous person and fearful. Keeping her at home so I can watch over her and give her comfort I think has kept her fears down. Who wouldn't be afraid to lose your abilities, it's terrible. I hope you can find a way so your mom and you have a more peaceful time together. I wish I had more time with my mom than I'm going to get. I feel so blessed to have had this time.
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There have been plenty of times I have been walking throuugh the clinic and see a man pushing a wheel chair with his wife in it and her mouth is constantly moving with complaints and whines, so I feel for you.
However, my wife Judy is 68 now and was diagnosed with cortical basal degeneration over 9 years ago. The doctor said it was like a mix between Parkinson's and Alzheimers. She lost the ability to speak about 5 years ago but she will answer yes/no questions by blinking her eyes for a yes answer.
She lost the ability to use her right arm shortly after she was diagnosed. Last year she lost the ability to use her left arm.
Last year I had to admit her to a hospital for a few days. The neurologist she saw at the time said there was no way she was walking the day before she entered the hospital according to the damage the catscan showed on her brain. To prove him wrong, she was walking up to 18,000 paces a day within 3 months after she got out of the hospital.
She knows I won't be able to care for her any longer if she loses the ability to walk and that makes her angry. Last year when she had cataracts removed from one eye I made her sit for several days to make sure she did not fall and damage the eye. I could definitely tell she was mad at me. Finally as I was getting her ready for bed one night I gave her a peck on the cheek and said a few nice words and she broke out into the biggest smile anybody could have ever seen.
Oh yes, when she was diagnosed, the neurologist said 4 - 8 years. As I mentioned when I started, it will be 10 years this coming December. We will also be married 48 years in May.
I certainly intend to keep her home with me as long as I possibly can. Some days I wonder why, but most of the time I don't know what I would do without her.
So, no, not all ill women are mean spirited. I think if I was in the same situation, I would be furious and want to strike out at everything and everybody.
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Donna,

Bless you for taking your responsibility for your aging parent seriously and caringly. You do have a responsibility to yourself, however, that you are neglecting. Easy to say; not so easy to do. You know that there are data that suggest that people do better in assisted-living facilities than they do at home. If reasonably well-run, these places provide a predictable structure to the day with meals and activities that keep people as engaged or involved as possible. It is not great, people don't seem all that happy, but it is better than keeping the person at home.

My only sister for whom I am the only living relative is 82 and in assisted-living. She has Alzheimer's disease. I manage all her affairs. She is 16 years older than I and has always had a great influence over my life... like a second mother. Although she has never been a particularly nice person, she is better behaved now. However, I don't see her all the time and only hear about her nastiness and aggressive behavior that erupts from time to time.

It is costing her $8,300/month in this Alzheimer's Memory Care unit. She will eventually run out of money in about 4 years and need Medicaid. I will cross that bridge....soon.

Sure I would like to inherit the money that is being spent on care that maintains
vital functions but can't enable her to do the Sunday Times crossword puzzle, read the newspaper or the New Yorker, enjoy the ballet or the opera or a Yankee game....the things she always loved to do alone or with me but can't do anymore. It breaks my heart to watch the decline of her life, her resources and, yes, any inheritance.

Get some help. Join a support group. Get a social worker who knows the elder care landscape to help you. It is not easy, but it is better with support. I go to an Alzheimer's support group...I also have a wonderful supportive husband.

Donna, you can't do this alone and maintain a decent quality of life. Good luck to you. Marianne
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Donna,
I agree with the 1st response, please beware of the wear and tear on your spirit.

I am 27 years old and I have 3 children under the age of 5. I offered to take care of my 77 year old grandmother who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I offered to take care of her about 6 months ago because the assisted living facility she was in was over medicating her. Every night I give her 25 mg of a medication because she has "sun-downers syndrome", which made her very difficult to take care of because she was mean, defiant and angry when nighttime rolled around, the assisted living facility had her on 3 TIMES AS MUCH! She has adjusted to the schedule I have my kids on- she is so happy, she is thriving here! When she came here she could barely speak clearly. She would mumble incoherent words and now she speaks in sentences! I have to read into things sometimes but I am so proud of her progress. My youngest daughter is about to be a year old and they have the most amazing bond. My grandmother feel useful when she thinks SHE is finally taking care of someone. It really is a beautiful thing. Every night I tuck Gramma in and she tells me how thankful she is. She has a disease- her memory and her health should be getting worse- not better. She is remembering to wash her hands every time she uses the washroom, remembering the order in which I have her do things when she showers, and asks to help me with house chores all the time. She said I'm so busy and running around to let her help me so I can sit down! How sweet is that...

You asked for good stories. Bet this sounds like a good story.... it's not. My 2 uncles and my father are her sons. 2 sons have to agree on a decision for her to make it happen. My 2 uncles met with a lawyer behind my back and my dad's back. They have arranged to put her in a nursing home. They used the time she has spent with me to hide money so the government can't take all of her money and so they can't continue to pay me for her care. They are keeping the money for themselves instead of continuing to keep her here. I already offered several times to do it for less money (whatever her estate can manage) but they want to keep the money for themselves and put her into a facility as soon as possible!!!! I am doing everything I can to stop this. It is the most cruel thing I have ever witnessed. I am so scared for her. She woke up in the middle of the night, frantic, and said "It just hit me. Bob took me to a place. We were walking through the rooms and he said 'Wouldn't this be a nice place to live?' but I didn't know he was talking about me!" When my father asked him if he took her to a nursing home he denied it and made it like she was acting "goofy." I knew she was telling the truth. I called the home they were considering myself and learned that she hadn't only been on a tour there but she had been evaluated, too!!!! The paperwork was in the process of being completed for a bed that was opening up! I have been so wrapped up in this mess and scared for her that my son has missed school twice. This is sucking the life out of me. She always says she wants to be with family not in a home, left to die. She said to just kill her then.

I wish you the best of luck- we all have our demons, I guess. It just doesn't make sense that we do such a selfless thing for another and it becomes this difficult. Pat yourself on the back, you deserve it.
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I think many of the negative things that enter the mind of the old come from thing from the past. Keep in mind we are all products of our upbringing, happy, sad or abusive. I have been taking care of my wife of 42 years. We had a relationship as husband and wife that many people envied. She had a stroke 3 years ago and the roller coaster of changes in thought was very upsetting at time. She will talk about people who I don't know and I have never known. She will tell me I am working for them and I can’t be trusted. I think the people she was talking about were from her school years. At times she seems to be talking and living in a dream world that is not real or true. One point she did not know who I was and would call out my name and I would answer. She would say “not you the other one”. This made it very difficult for me to take care of her incontinence issues. She would swing at me at times but I missed most of the punches. After a day of telling me I was not the right person and she wanted the other guy I left the bedroom to turn out the lights in the house. I was only gone 5 minutes. When I came back and was taking off my pants to go to bed she said “Oh there you are!” She then told me about how mean the other person was to her. Some of her negative thoughts came from an abusive first marriage. Growing up during the depression was a hard time for all. So many things in our brains leave lasting impressions that we move to the back of our thinking for protection. Later in life they seem to move to the front again. I will say I am glad I am taking care of my wife and I will continue to do so. We both had experiences with nursing home care with our loved ones. We made a promise to each other that we would never put each other into a nursing home. I am living up to my promise.
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My mom is almost 97. She is really in basic good health but has short term memory losses but other wise is alert, social and pleasant. She had lived by herself. Dad passed away almost 8 years ago. My husband and I took her home when we noticed a decline in her self care. She tires more easily, doesn't walk as well as she used to, prone to fall, , unable to shop, cook and clean like she used to.etc etc. ,Her biggest issues are her multiple skin cancers which we keep under control by taking her to the dermatologist.
I am the only daughter also an RN. I have 2 brothers and neither have the ability or desire to care for her. I did not want her to go to assisted living or a nursing home.
She thanks me daily for taking her in. Of course our lives have changed and we are not as free as we used to be. But my mother is a wonderful soul and we overlook her shortcomings ( poor personal habits etc. etc, very stubborn and thinks she can do more than she is able to , opinionated etc.). We have told her when we are unable to care for her if health deteriorates ( such a fracture from a fall etc ) she would have to reside in a nursing home. She fully understands that. So I have mostly positive experiences and no my mom is not mean.
I also have a wonderful supportive husband and my mom adores him.
Don't get me wrong, caring for someone 24/7 is hard work and commitment- but having a pleasant parent does make life easier!
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Well, you got your answer - yes, some people are actually nice and can make you enjoy helping them and keeping their company! Some moms actually *don't* belittle their children every day in every way in order to make themselves feel more perfect! You are NOT crazy or selfish or anything bad for expecting and thinking that things could be better!!

Now the other part of that question - can you be a different kind of person? Even when you get old and don't have all the insight and judgement you have now? Will you trust good people and not be too fearful, fretful, and egocentric to deal with? I have to say for myself, I do not know, but I will try to cultivate the best attitude in myself that I possibly can while I have my wits about me, and stay in the faith. I hope you feel the love and support on here and how it nourishes your spirit.

My upbringing was to never share your problems, to always pretend everything was perfect, and to just reject anyone who wasn't - who was having "issues" of any kind...and forgiveness was just never in the picture. My mom's way was to just cut people off for good - even my beloved cousins, aunts, uncles, grammas - if there was a perceived slight or unfair treatment. She had about 12 people total for her funeral, including family...I've been to my friends' parents' funerals that packed a church full to overflowing, because they were vibrant and part of their community for so many years. We make those decisions that will shape who we are and I do think we can make them better if we put our minds to it - at least I hope so!! I think that deciding to take good care of yourself, both body and spirit, rather than prioritize keeping up appearances and getting sucked into the same negativity as your parent lived in is very, very do-able, though often very, very hard while the negativity is right there all around you every minute of every day. Blessings and strength to you!
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Donna; just remember that you HAVE to take care of you first. I agree that calling your mom's doc to tell him what the limits are is a great idea. And remember that not all docs are created equal. My Uncle's GP told my cousin "nice people like your father don't get dementia". NOT TRUE. Push back. Hugs!
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What a great resource!
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Donna, although you have a tough history with your mom, maybe you can try to shift gears and somehow get into her world. There is a helpful blog that I follow, called The Alzheimer's Reading Room. Bob DeMarco writes a lot about his 9 years of caring for his mother with AD, and his advice about communicating with our elderly parents with dementia has helped me a lot. I've linked to one of his posts about rewiring his brain to communicate with his mom. It's not a lot, but maybe it will help. Not all old ladies are mean-spirited, but those who are can really make their families' lives hellish. Sending positive thoughts your way....
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Donna - My mother is a delightful person. She always has been. My husband and I live with her, and the 3 of us get along wonderfully. We have lived together for 2 years now. When I come on here and I see the problems that other families have, I feel so lucky. I also have a brother who lives in another state that will come stay with Mom whenever I want to get out of town. He is as involved in her care, though not on a day to day basis, obviously, as I am. We both want the best for her, and we get along great. My husband is also very supportive and tries to help out, although he has a full time job and works very long hours. When I hurt my back a couple weeks ago, though, he was able to shift things around so he could take Mom to her doctor appointments for me during the worst of it (no way was I going to be able to lift her walker in and out of the trunk).

Not everyone is awful when they get old. My MIL actually seems to be mellowing. She just concluded a 2 week visit here, and at 90 years old, this was the first time she and my husband didn't argue about something.
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Since people do not change unless a huge miracle transforms them--and the people have to be open to that sort of change--yes, it only gets worse with the passing years. However, once the irritable parent can no longer walk, talk, manipulate, or abuse in whatever form was their mo, the peace and forgiveness can materialize. Sad way to put it, but these are facts.
My belief is that if we, as neglected or abused adult children, know better and have the compassion to provide care, or at least administer care, then we do it.
We can feel resentment and anger at injustice, but I believe that if we accept the challenge and do "the right thing," our children will see a better example, and we will have no other regrets, except for the one we had about our uncaring parent.
To overcome obstacles with grace is a miracle in itself.
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I think you need to call her doctor; let him know that without some help with her attitude, she will be living alone. If the doctor thinks it's okay for her to live alone, then work that out. If he thinks she needs to stay with you, tell him how serious her mental state is. I made a similar call to my mother's doctor; I told her that my mother probably wouldn't take a drug just for mental issues but would if the doc could describe the underlying chemical problem in her brain. So the next doctor's visit, the doctor told my mother she had a severe serotonin deficiency and prescribed Prozac. No mention of depression just discussion of brain function. In short: my mother is much better, though still like a character in a Bergman movie. Darkly Norwegian but no longer complaining.
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Hi Donna. I have been blessed with a sweet considerate mother. She was always that woman with the rose colored glasses on... My dad was really mean and she lived under a lot of stress raising the 7 of us kids. We all hoped that she would outlive him so she could have a life of her own. She did outlive him. She hasn't done too much since he died, but she seems content, happy and much less stressed! This sounds wonderful-and it is. There is always a "but" though isn't there?
I have been caring for mom for-well, 13 years since dad died. Going on 9 years here in my home with my family. And going on 5 years since she has really gotten ill with emphysema, blood clots, congestive heart, diabetes and dementia. She has gone through the grumps-and we treat much of it with humor in this house which has helped enormously. But-no matter what the persons personality, caregiving takes its toll. My health isn't what it should be, I live in stress every day. It does help that she is sweet-that is one less stress that I have to live with Thank God. But my point is, caregiving is demanding under the best circumstances and when you end up doing all of it yourself-learning what siblings won't help out much if any, and your friends disappear, and altho sweet, mom doesn't like you to leave her for fear of whatever.... it is still hard. Yes, there is hope that you will not be like your mom and be negative. And I hope that for all of us. Have I been blessed to have mom with me? Yes, in some ways. Has she brought joy and happiness? Yes, there have been times and we have made some great memories over the years. But I will admit that it has gone on too long for all of us. That my kids are resentful in some ways. And so am I. It is just hard and a huge undertaking and you never know how long it will go on. And, even with a wonderful personality and sense of humor-it gets old. So, yes, there are positive and appreciative people out here. I love my mom and want to keep her happy and know someday I will miss her. I will NEVER tell anyone how lucky or blessed they are to have their parent, cause I think it just makes the caregiver feel more guilty about the feelings of wanting their freedom etc. Am I lucky and blessed to have mom be a happy go lucky personality? Absolutely. But it is still demanding and hard and lonly... I also have learned that I will not put my kids through this. I will put myself in a home-or make sure it is in the works before I lose my mind. My kids already know we do not want this for them.
So, try and stay positive, try and take care of yourself. Being around negative can make you more negative-so please get people in to care for mom so you can get out-it does make a huge difference in your own emotional well being. I find when I am tired or getting sick-it all REALLY gets to me and brings me down big time. So, get your rest.
Many of our mom's and dad's may not have any control on their emotions-or may be so sad and angry that they have lost so much physically and mentally that they just can't hold it together anymore...and some stay as sweet as they ever were (for now anyway!) Let the people around you know that you love them now. Let them know what you are learning from your mom and apologize now for what you may become and let them know you may have no control over it! Then let it go.
I am sorry you and so many others have to live with this constant negativity.I do wish it was easier for you. Mame
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gsw, I want to come live with you. That lake sounds lovely. Sometimes I think of all the things I wanted in life, like the rural home with a pond and a stream, and wonder how I ever ended up living at home with my mother.

Before I came to live here, my ex and I lived in a retirement community in TX. There was a mix of people and many older widows who delighted in mean gossip. Other than that, most of the elders were fun people who saw their children a few times a year. It was always an occasion when kids and grandkids came to visit. I've wondered if mentally healthy elders tend to choose this type of life. They are with people their own age, so they are no longer just little old ladies. There are a few men their own age around to dance with and maybe to date. It certainly keeps a lady interested in life.

I could be wrong, but I've often thought that a parent who would request too much assistance from an adult child over a long time may have a streak of narcissism -- either that or dementia. We see a lot of it here, because people in this situation need someone to talk to that understand what they're going through. I have the feeling that we are in the minority, that most people out there are doing just fine. They don't need to see counselors or get online to blow off steam. :)
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DonnaCG, I think you are my twin sister. I wish I could have a good relationship with my Mom while she is living here. It is like a heavy weight to me, but I am trying to let it roll off of me a little better these days. She is 91, now. I can only think, "How long can this go on?" But, then I see comments from people whose parents are in their mid to late 90's. There are people who are kind and gentle, but if a person has a narcissistic personality disorder like my Mom, they just intensify when they get dementia. My Mom has always been mean, in some ways. I can't seem to find her any alternative living arrangements - not enough money for long term care, but she has given way thousands of dollars in the last 4 years, so she can't qualify for Medicaid, either. If your Mom can afford it, and you are agreeable, I'd put her somewhere else. I am fortunate that I have a sister who will take her one week a month for respite. I try to keep in mind that Mom has dementia, has such a small life, now, etc., and then I think "Well, what about me??? When is someone going to be understanding about me and my trials????" So, I understand, I think, how you feel. I am trying desperately not to ruin my health, and I leave Mom for a little while every day, with the TV on, making sure she has eaten, has water next to her, has her phone, etc., and just go somewhere even it's just for a half hour. You might be amazed at how much better you will feel. I have abandoned my daily walks, but now that it is spring, I am going to force myself to start again. I live by a lake/reservoir where there is a park with a path around it, and it nourishes my soul to be outside in the sunshine and with a view of the water and nature.

Please don't think you are alone. I know exactly what you are talking about. I often wonder, if people who say, "Oh, you're so blessed to still have your mother" or "Oh, my mother is my best friend" are saying those things out of genuine honesty or just because they think that is the right to say. I don't feel either one of those things are true in my case. I never felt that way about my mother, so it is doubly hard to have in my home 24/7.

I also get up at 4:30 so I can some uninterrupted time to myself before she gets up. I love the quiet mornings. Good luck to you, DonnaCG. I know this is rambling, but this is how I roll these days. Lol.
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Donna; I feel so bad for you; know that we're all here for you. My mom is nearly 90 and still quite sweet and thoughtful. She does not live with me; she is in an independent living facility. Why does your mother have to live with you? She has personality disorders? I.e., she's mentally ill? And won't get help? And this is YOUR problem? I don't believe that we owe our parents our mental and physical health, even if they were the best parents ever. If you can, figure out how to get care for your mom outside your home, or at the least, get someone else to care for her while you go to work, do volunteer work, ANYTHING that will get you away from her. Hugs to you.
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Hi I am Liz, I live with my 97 year old mother. I believe my mother has sometimes disease. She sleeps a lot more than she did before this past September[2012]. At that time she had one toe ambutated, and they had to put an arterial shunt in her leg. She was in the hospital for about a week. After that she seems to loose bits of herself, mentally as well as physically. Put getting back to your question my mom has always played "mom manipulation card" [I have done so much for you and you can do this little[big] thing for me..]. I would have to say when my mom is up and around [mobility and other things [she does not want to do for herself] keep her down; she is very nice and like her old self, the other half she plays that card. And when someone comes to visit she mostly all sweetness and light. I have learned to indicate agreement with her with she talking, I only look for clues that she means what she says and/ or that she needs something; otherwise I just "nod my head' and continue what I was doing when she went off. Her little spasms only last around 90 minutes or so, and she back to the start [being sweet].
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Oh, DonnaCG, do you HAVE to have your mother live with you? That would wear down the spirit, I'm afraid.

I was fulltime caregiver for my husband, who died three months ago at age 86. He had dementia 9+ years. My son said the other day, "I'm sure glad Dad kept his personality to the end." And he more or less did. The words most often used in condolence cards where "kind" and "gentle." Oh, he had a period of paranoia. And he was grumpy once in a while but by and large he was the same positive upbeat guy he'd always been.

My sister is now our mother's fulltime caregiver. To give my sister respite and to visit with my mother I have her one weekend a month. This is all new so I can't say any time for sure until Mom settles in to routines and feels more comfortable with her surroundings. She has absolutely no sense of time, and that makes her sound quite demanding. "Jeanne, where is that tea you were bringing?" "I haven't even gotten into the kitchen yet, Mom." LoL. The dementia has also made her more self-centered. I don't think overall she has brought joy and happiness to my sister's house, but she hasn't made their life a misery, either. And my sister reported that she had periods of being her old self for several hours during the last few days. It would be nice if more of that comes through when she is fully settled in.

There is no doubt in my mind the dementia robs a person of many of their personality traits and what it leaves in their place is not an improvement! But some to retain their essential personality. If that was full of negativity and dementia adds its own dark view of things -- Yee-ikes!

I'm not sure I could take your mother even one weekend a month, DonnaCG! My heart goes out to you.
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