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My 89 year mom is in a nice AL facility that she actually chose from a tour of 3 that we researched. Shortly, after her move, she criticized every facet of it...staff, food, laundry services, beautician, residents, and more. She has congestive heart failure but has only had to be hospitalized twice in 2 years & goes to cardio every 6 months with a stable health report. She takes Eloquis which must be given correctly. She was unable to remember that while at home. She also uses a Walker.


I am the oldest daughter of 3 and am her POA. I'm also the only one who visits and brings her "needs" list, even though she is paying for many of these at her all-inclusive AL. My deceased father's pension money is being used to pay for her care and she is upset about that.


My mom is very unhappy, angry, accusatory, critical, negative, and manipulative. Many of these traits have followed her throughout life. Now, she is so disagreeable & mean that she makes up untruths about my upbringing & behaviors, hits me, & orders me to sit down, shut up, get out, and never come back! Now, she is telling me to hire an attorney to be her POA because no one else will do this besides me (per my father's request). If this is an option, I'm ready!


Lately, she is refusing some meds & is rude to the staff. She has always refused to follow their rules. She's allowed to eat breakfast in her room after manipulating the administrator. Now, she is refusing to go to dinner & gets mad if they question her. She thinks she should live alone but cannot. She cannot live with me & doesn't want to. Her money will be consumed in another 2 years but she's unaware of any financials. She threatened suicide off and on. NP has tried Buspar, but my mom claims she had a bad reaction on day 3. Xanax low dose is being given at night. Now, she's saying she doesn't want it, getting addicted. When I visit, I'm verbally abused and now physically abused. She calls my house the next day and tells my husband to straighten me out, orders me to get my @ss back over there to straighten out the staff who cannot give meds on time, and leaves messages telling me how disrespectful I am & she never wants to see me again. She has church friends who visit occasionally & probably think we are all crazy! Others call her & she tells horrible lies. Cousins visit & say she looks fine, why is she there, etc. She is well groomed, her room is beautiful, and she's on best behavior when they visit.


I am banned by her now (not the 1st time), so I'm trying again to get help from NP. The problem is my mom will know if any pill is changed or added. Her right to refuse another drug and her mental anxiety status kicks in & we have nothing to help a pitiful situation.


I'm desperately seeking advice. If I'm feeling such despair, imagine how my mom is feeling.

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Marylin, the AL is not a good source to determine if mom is ready to be moved. They are making money and they never want anyone to leave unless they are really disruptive or they can't pay.

If they are not a continuing care facility that will accept Medicaid then before she runs out of money a change should be implemented, this way she can stay put when she is broke.

You say dads pension is paying for her care, does that mean she has the proceeds from the sale of her house? This gives her more options if she does have a nest egg.

I read your response about correcting her and how you haven't set boundaries because she is your mom.

You will probably not like what I have to say but I am going to say it anyway. Boundaries are not about making anyone wrong, they are about YOU deciding how you wish to be treated or what you are willing to tolerate and walking away when someone treats you abusively or behaves in a manner that you are not willing to accept.

Boundaries are not a bad thing, we have them everywhere in our lives.

A speed limit is a boundary and we know that if we push past that boundary we are facing a ticket, that includes court, driving school and/or fines. Do people still do it? Yep, but when they get caught they pay the price for disregarding the boundary. It is no different with people, you set these boundaries in your head and heart and you can tell people beforehand or as they bump up against your boundaries.

Example for me, my dad and mom both want to talk crap about each other to me, I don't want to listen to it, so when it starts, I say, we are not going there, I know both of you and I don't want to hear it. When they won't stop, I will again say, we are not going there, if they are feeling special sporty and try again I say I am going to go now, talk to you later, love you bye. I do wait for them to say goodbye but if they try to get 1 last dig I hang up, boundary. Next time I talk to them it never comes up. They know that I will respond the same way every time, doesn't mean they don't want to test it occasionally.

Just because she has the title of mom, it doesn't give her free rein to be abusive. I'm a firm believer that love is what we do, not what we say. Some people beat the crap out of their "loved" one and are always saying sorry and how much they love them, until next time. This is what your mom is doing to you. That's not love, honor her wishes and get an attorney to take over. She will only stop because you aren't there to abuse.

I have a narsasist mom and dad, I understand the depths they go to, to control and manipulate and it is pretty disgusting. I choose not to be their whipping girl until they die, doesn't mean I don't love them and wish things were different, I just know if I didn't take care of me, no one would, especially not my parents. I help them but on my terms and within my boundaries, I would expect them to have boundaries if I was asking them for help.

Truly healthy relationships have boundaries, without them it is complete dysfunction.

I pray you can find a way to take care of you and turn her over to an attorney.
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Marylin Jan 30, 2019
Please elaborate on paragraph #2....a continuing care facility? I'm not familiar with this
Point taken about AL!
House was sold. Money & father's IRA is in bank. In less than 2 years all her money will be gone...used to pay AL, meds, & insurance.
I have "corrected" her wild stories about my life, growing up and now, that she twists to make me out to be a terrible person. She says I ran away, etc. Not true. She says WE don't get along because I have Tourette's (a family member has a mild case). Craziness!
I wasn't trying to prove her wrong; I'd just reached the end of my line and set the record straight on her repeatedly ridiculous stories that she's told others. They told me in private, knowing they were untrue. I let things slide many times but I have had to defend myself when she escalates convos to brow beatings and lies. This tactic is used to pick a fight when she doesn't get her way... to move out on her own, to have me bring bread when AL has it , etc.
I know you're spot on about boundaries. I need to re-read that book and the ones mentioned above.
Thanks for the prayers. I covet them! You're so kind to give me this advice and share your stories. God bless you.
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I am so sorry that you feel like you need to allow her abusive treatment of you.

She has always been this way, throughout her life, so I am sure you have been conditioned to ask how high when she says jump. This is what narsisistic people do to their children and spouses, if allowed.

Go to www.nefl.com and find a NELA CERTIFIED ELDER LAW ATTORNEY, they will be versed in all aspects of taking over POA and filing for Medicaid when the time comes. If you give DGPOA and HCPOA they will also request she be admitted to psychiatric ward to get her inappropriate behavior under control, however, you seem to be her hot button. She is friendly and loving with others, I was put in this situation with my dad. I told him that he wasn't going to be treating me like crap and if he went certain places with me I would walk away and never look back. This calmed him down enough that I didn't hate him when he left.

Parents seem to think they can do anything to their children and unfortunately children reinforce this behavior by not saying enough is enough. I just wanted to be given the same courtesy that they would give a stranger and if that's not possible, I choose NOT to be their scratching post.

Set boundaries and enforce them, ask your husband to not entertain her bs and seek out a good licensed fudiciary, our CELA attorney is also a licensed fudiciary. Then pass the torch as per her request.

You can't worry about what visitors think they know, you will wear yourself out worrying that they believe her lies. Tell any and all that they are welcome to take over, lock stock and barrel if they truly believe that you are not acting in your mother's best interest. Clarify that once you pass it, your done and will not accept it being passed back.

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries and enforcement of boundaries are the only way you can survive this nonsense. She can't possibly treat you any worse and you don't have to answer your phone. She is safe and well cared for, that is your obligation and it is fulfilled. Stop being her doormat!
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Marylin Jan 29, 2019
Thank you. You've given me lots to research. Is website www.nefl.com? Or nela.com?
I've read the book Boundaries twice. Guess I'll visit it again. You all seem to be saying the same thing, so I'm going to listen & chance. I have to.
Thanks so much!
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Got a mom like you.......oh my goodness it was such a stressful time when I started this process. I'm not joking about the mom part, that was even before health issues.
Just know , keep your visit time to your own comfort time, what you can deal with, not mom. When it gets stressful, you bow out. Guilt rides us, when we are children of an abusive parent , but remember your in charge now. On the phone issue, that a tough one.. I was onc told when my mom called , that I needed to stop driving get out of the car and then talk. On her temperament with the staff, same mom, I just kept telling her ,,, you know you treat the staff bad they will drop you in the shower and it will be all over....sounds harsh, but remember your in charge. They hate that ... that's why they are so mad. Ask if she can be tested for also being bipolar, mom had this along with the dementia.sure wish they had found that out when she was raising me versus now, but Once they got her Medes straightened she has a smile on her face, she may not hug me or say she loves me, but she never did.
Just a FYI , through my own experience the nicest of homes don't always have the best care. I went from high class to Medicaid eligible and she's clean, moving, involved and as happy as can be expected.
Fyi , I use to feel so bad for not bringing her home to take care of, but I had to protect my soul from more emotional abuse , I hate saying that but as soon as I realize and accepted that's what it was and why I couldn't bring her home , the more I began the healing process,
Take care , try not to stress too much .

Need to vent send me a email stephaniegoldstein1962@gmail.com
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Marylin Jan 29, 2019
Thanks, Stephanie.
Your bipolar suggestion is something I've thought of!
My problem is how I do I get her evaluated if she refuses. In many ways, she is smarter than all of us. She never wants to leave. Recently, says she isn't going back to cardio. It's challenging to get her to consent, be ready the day of her appointment, and cooperate. She's not going to take my suggestion so I guess I talk to her NP.
The drs and AL nurses are all about the RIGHT TO REFUSE. Mom throws this out to me all the time. No cooperation whatsoever. Thx, I may email you.
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My first take away, is that your mother is choosing not to be happy and will continue to be a nasty person to you.

Has your mother had a full pysch work up? You say she sees the cardiologist for CHF, but has she had a check up with a geriatric psychologist or psychiatrist? Her behaviour is not 'normal'

What boundaries do you have in place? It sounds like your mother is riding roughshod all over you. Do you leave as soon as she gets abusive? Do you tell her that if she hits you , you will not visit? When she threatens suicide is 911 called? Does your husband hang up on her when she called him to complain?

What would happen if you blocked her calls for a week and did not visit? How would you feel?

Being POA does not mean you have to be at her beck and call, and it never means you have to put up with abusive behaviours.

Your last line is telling, you are putting your mother's feelings ahead of your own.
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Marylin Jan 29, 2019
Thanks for all your helpful ideas & understanding.
I have gone a month per the NP's suggestion without seeing her as we thought it would wake her up! Then, it was Mother's Day, her birthday, and a cardio appointment. Thinking things might be better, my husband, myself, & our son wandered back over. Soon, the drama returned. She would call needing her Avon cream, Kleenex, etc. She is so unhappy, brings up loads of negativity, and evidently starts the anger & striking-back convos... why did you sell my house, I'm not going to the doctor, I want to just die, etc. On occasion, I'd take my youngest sister who has RA but seeing our mother usually meant RA flairs for her so she doesn't visit much at all.
I reported her suicide threats to AL nurse who sent a home health nurse out to talk with her, but she lashed out to me because I reported it. Her favorite line since is "I'm not crazy!"
I usually leave when I've had enough so yes, she is riding roughshod over me. Last week I got up to leave after rebuking all her bad putdowns & told her she was wrong about them. I wasn't going to hear any more of this. She grabbed the door from her recliner & with both hand wouldn't let me out. She was so strong in her angry tirade. Told me to sit down! I did not & eventually got to open door without touching her and she said if you leave, don't ever come back. I turned to shut door & she was slamming it but I buffered the slam. She's since called twice & left lengthy messages shaming me for disrespecting her & saying we just NEVER need to see one another ever! Get a lawyer to handle my business, don't come back over here because I'll refuse to see you!
I've not set boundaries because she's my mother, and I know she's not mentally well. After 2 years of waiting on her and putting up with the abuse, I'm ready to stop this nonsense.
Since she's refusing some of her meds and refusing to go to her cardio doctor, how can I get her evaluated? Do you think her NP (who she hates & who visits AL facility) could possibly get someone to come there?
Thanks so much. It means a lot to be told things I know to be true but have not faced.
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I can recommend two really good books to you also: "Toxic Parents" by Dr. Susan Forward, and "Divorcing a Parent," by Beverly Engel. It's been many years since I read these books, but they were absolutely life-changing and life-SAVING. Like you, I had an abusive mother. She played guilt games on me like they were her bread and butter.
Basically what has happened to us is something called "learned helplessness." We don't know how to escape the guilt cycle. We don't think we CAN escape. We don't think we deserve to. But we CAN. We don't have to let these parasites suck the joy out of our lives. If you read the Bible it says, "love your neighbor AS you love yourself." That means it is not only okay to love yourself, it is really necessary. You have to take care of you BEFORE you can take care of anybody else.
It's okay. Really! I wish you well.
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Marylin Jan 30, 2019
Love your comments and suggestions. I will get those books & share with family.
Thanks for the scripture. It truly is one I memorized as a child. It just seems so bad to NOT care for your mom, but I have to move on due to her nature & aging issues.
Thanks for your kindness.
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I think I would talk to the NP about getting her admitted to a geriatric psych facility.

Have you ever talked to an attorney about getting guardianship? Would you want to pursue that, or would rather she become, say, a ward of the State? Sometimes when elders are mentally ill and uncooperative, they will listen to others before they will listen to loved ones.

This must be heartbreaking for you, but there are many folks on this board who are in the same boat. ((((Hugs)))).
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Marylin Jan 29, 2019
Thanks, Barb.
I am guardianship of her Social Security. I think that's what it's called.
I do plan to ask NP for some type of psych evaluation. Not sure AL faculty or my siblings think she needs to be institutionalized yet as they don't see exactly what I'm seeing.
In less than 2 years, her finances will be depleted and a nursing home will have to care for her. I understand tho that she has to have a need & right now, AL says she's not that bad yet. I need to research this journey.
It is difficult because it's my mom.
Thanks again, Barb.
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Do yourself and your Mom a favor and stop visiting! Have a lawyer take over her entire care and estate and give yourself a break from this constant negative fiasco. It is a shame that elders cannot just take a pill to die when they no longer want to live - it’s also a shame for their caretakers Bc they end up taking the brunt of the unhappiness. At least be grateful that your Mother has given you an “out” by telling you to stop being her caretaker - there are many caretakers on this forum who would wish for the same. It’s not a bad thing to give up when the negativity is so horrendous - for you and your family - just LET IT GO.
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Marylin Jan 30, 2019
Is this lawyer a specialized lawyer? Eldercare? Any idea of cost?
It will consume her money. She has approximately 2 more years before AL will no longer be affordable for her. It may sound strange but we pray she'll be nursing home acceptable by then as she'll be on Medicaid. According to AL now, she must get worse than she is today to be accepted. Not being able to walk without a Walker and forgetting her meds are not reasons to go to a NH.
Thanks for your remarks. Pray for us.
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My mom went through a horribly nasty phase in her dementia. She wanted to complain about my sisters and me to anyone who would listen so I suggested that I find her someone to talk to and she surprisingly agreed. It was an opportunity for someone else to listen to this when nobody wanted to. I set her up with a geriatric psychiatrist. Got her the evaluation that she needed and help with some meds. Hope this helps.
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Marylin Jan 30, 2019
This scenario from my mom almost destroyed my relationship with my sister. Thankfully, we recently woke up and told her we're not discussing one another with you. It went on for decades and she still tries to do it again & again.
Thank you!
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There is so much good information here in the responses I've read! My mother is dealing with dementia and we went through a terribly mean, stressed, negative, and verbally unpleasant period of time. This was after moving her into a continuous care facility that she chose (e.g. the facility offers levels of Independent living, AL, memory care, and skilled nursing/nursing home. You move through the levels of care within the same facility as you need them). It's getting better (now 18 months later) in some part because I have learned how to manage her without sacrificing myself as much.

Two pieces of advise that helped me came from the facility Social Worker:
1. SW asked me to describe how our relationship/dynamic was before she needed any help or developed dementia. We spoke about how much time we spent together, how often we talked, etc. Really thinking about that was helpful because the SW response was classic. "Well, you two have been all up in each other's space lately haven't you? Do you think you could take a break, reduce that contact time? She's safe, we've got her". I listened, it helped!
2. Saying "sorry" can work wonders sometimes. Hang on, wait for it. "Sorry....." but don't finish the sentence, just I'm sorry. The rest of that sentence might be "sorry you are so crazy, sorry you can't see or appreciate how much I'm doing or sacrificing, sorry you can't understand how all this is negatively affecting me, sorry you are the harbinger of your own misery, sorry you wish you had your car to drive, your independence, your person that makes all things better, your youth, your health" whatever. Let her fill in the blank, it will be to her liking and she can believe whatever she wants. It's not lying because you are sorry. There's just no need to finish the sentence.

Best to you! This is all so hard!
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Marylin Jan 31, 2019
Thank You! Great advice. I love it.
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You could work through the NP to get someone to come to mom's AL to evaluate her, or you could independently try to find someone to make a "house call."

You are at Stage 1 of the "repair the parent-child relationship," and many will not get beyond that. Some won't need to. I think of Stage 1 as getting Mom or Dad to independent living, assisted living, or a continuing care retirement community (everything on one campus). So she's not dependent on you to meet her every physical need. BUT, you are still connected at the hip, because she expects and demands that you provide, or fix, EVERYTHING that she perceives is missing or wrong with her current situation. And not in a nice way.

Stage 2 is to get out from under that expectation. There were many good suggestions. My sister had to tell our (late) mother that she would visit once a week, and she would not drop everything to bring her something she wanted. "Fine, Mom, I'll add it to the list." Of course she had the ability to get something on her own if she REALLY wanted it urgently enough. They had a shopping service, trips to the stores in the AL's van, she could call someone else, etc. All places have to arrange for Personal Needs Accounts. If my mother-in-law needs something, she makes a list and gets it to the person at her ALF who purchases it for her and debits the amount from her PNA.

So you need to get to Stage 2. She has told you she doesn't want you to hold her POA, manage her finances, see to her personal needs in the AL. She can hire an elder law attorney to do that. Sure it will cost money, but evidently she no longer trusts you so her options are limited. When she complains that she needs money, you will have to say, "Mom, call your financial POA, s/he's in charge now." Practice saying this in front of a mirror. She will argue with you, say you don't care about her, you're cheap (won't spend your own money to buy her Kleenex). And repeat. This can take a long time.

Stage 3 ("nirvana" if you can get there) is when you are no longer responsible for any aspect of her care, either medical or financial. You are just her daughter. You now have a mother-daughter relationship unencumbered by her complaints. Every visit does not have to be about money. You're not there to check on what she needs. But, when you take away a senior's ability to complain about her situation(s), often there is not much left to talk about. You will have to take the lead. When you visit - not that often and not for that long - just give her an update on what you and your family have been doing. Keep it positive. Share photographs. Do most of the talking. Ask directed questions - what was the best thing you did last week? If/when she starts to go negative ("Nothing - and the food is terrible"), try re-directing the conversation. If she persists, get up to leave. DO NOT ENGAGE. Screen her calls. Decide how many times a week/day you can indulge her phone tirades. You need to do this for your own health.

Do check in from time to time.
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Isthisrealyreal Jan 31, 2019
Very good mumto3.
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