My mom is in AL with AD. When she was diagnosed she went through a deep depression. After my dad passed she went to AL. Brought most of her clothes over. She pretty much wore the same thing at home. Now she complains about her clothes and wants more and more. I will take her shopping she will pick out stuff and not like it. I will just buy her stuff and she will not like it. But she complains everyone has nice clothes but her. Every visit. How do we stop being the daughter and become the parent?

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If you research dementia/Alzheimer’s, you will learn that these people do obsess about things. As MAC writes, learn to tell fibs. “We’ll go shopping next time. I near there’s a big sale coming up.” Mom is obsessing about clothes and just wants more and more. She can’t control it or her thoughts. Eventually, she will go on to another obsession. My mom did.

How do you reverse roles? That’s a good question. Sooner or later, you’ll realize you did at some point. For me, it just happened. I taught preschool, so on some level, I was used to dealing with whining and immature behaviors. I was kind but firm and didn’t let myself be manipulated by her. It’s not easy, because Mom was always the boss when I was growing up and we all deferred to her. The behavior and obsessions never get better, they just change.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

Defer her shopping requests with some sort of fib may help. Visit her for other reasons
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Reply to MACinCT

* I'd consider getting a couple of store boxes and tissue and re-wrap some of her clothes. If you want to go through that -
* You need to [learn how to] set boundaries and limits. Learn to say "NO" -
* She may (likely) continue to 'act out, wanting her way, and immediate gratification. You need to change how you respond and behave towards her for her to change. She won't do it on her own.
* I don't know if AD refers to Alzheimer's Disease or dementia.
* Realize that by your changing how you respond may feel very awkward, uncomfortable as it is a new role for you. Be aware of how you feel and what comes up (emotionally and otherwise) for you. Likely, deeply ingrained relationship behavior.
* * *
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Reply to TouchMatters
NYDaughterInLaw May 15, 2019
I was going to suggest the exact same thing.
My mother shops everyday, from catalogs. She has over 100 white blouses/shirts. Probably 40 pairs of pants, 40-50 dresses.

She goes to BINGO once a week for 3 hours. To the grocery store for 1 hr. That's it.

Yet almost everyday a package comes for her.

I've long since given up gently reminding her she is wasting all her money on stuff she does not need--she could be doing some good in the world, besides buying crap....I have cancelled a couple of more expensive catalogs. But mostly, it's just not worth the fight.
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Reply to Midkid58
DILKimba May 14, 2019
As a person a bit farther down the road, it may seem harmless but unless she has unlimited resources, I would shut that down for 2 reasons: Care is EXPENSIVE and you may wish you had all that wasted $$ soon. Going through all that and getting rid of it is going to be a PITA.
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We must have the same mother! My mom was the youngest of 7 and always had hand-me-downs as a child. She became a model and a clothes horse. Having a walk-in closet that was her "store" was a life-long goal. So I can understand her dynamic.
The hard part for me is that she buys thi gs then does not like them, so I have to return them. I know she gets bored wearing the same clothes, but I am afraid to buy for her because she won't like it.
Can you try to box up some stuff and then pull it out in a few months so it feels new? It can be a fun activity to discover what is in that box. Kind of a revolving closet.
But I agree, if she can afford it, let her have fun, because in a while, even that pleasure will be gone.
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Reply to Judysai422
LLedford May 14, 2019
I've known some people who have done that with their mothers and it worked well. It helped reduce general confusion too.
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I think the compulsion to collect clothes fills a void. And it is, after all, hoarding, which is characteristic of dementia, even though some are hoarders long before dementia sets in. Or never sets in.

At MC Mom has a surprisingly large closet filled with clothes. MC staff are meticulous about keeping her clothes laundered and pressed, so there's no need for more. I keep buttons sewed on, keep things mended and take anything out for dry cleaning as needed. Mom went through a phase of insisting she needed more. I took her to stores: everything from our local department store to Goodwill just to find things she liked. But she rarely bought anything, just complained that "they don't make things I like anymore." Which is true. Mom likes classic, preppy, age-appropriate clothing. The really nice stuff. If you find it, it's beyond affordable. But she's lost all sense of current costs. We found a pair of pants she liked for $25 and she wouldn't pay it.

I have picked up a few nice things retail (keeping the tags and receipts in case they were a bust) and brought them to Mom, fibbing that I found them at Goodwill. Some of them pleased her, some didn't. This seemed to placate her.
Turns out it was just a temporary obsession. Now she's moved on to something else.

As I look back, ever since Mom "got" vascular dementia and AD, it's been one obsession after another. I have worn myself out trying to placate her. Depending on where your mom is on her dementia journey, you might get away with saying, "Yes, Mom, I'll take you to Macy's on Tuesday," and of course Tuesday never comes.

I know this is hard. Therapeutic fibbing goes a long way in countering these obsessions.
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Reply to CantDance

My mom is 95 and dementia is not an issue, but similar thoughts with clothing. Our issue is bras. I have bought and returned hundreds. She sees one in a mail order catalog and wants to order, however they deduct shipping when you return so catalogs are just to costly.
It took about a month to go through her closet to move out things that don't fit anymore. Has nice current items, but cannot let go of the old things that don't fit. As I would get her to release something, I took it immediately to another room so she could not see it. She finally told me that letting them go was very overwhelming and I could see that it was. The next problem was getting them out of the house. She will not let me give them away or donate, so I finally had to agree to a garage sale (and she thinks they are worth a lot because of what she paid for them). I hate doing garage sale, but I think it is worth it. It is hot and humid where we are, so having her sit outside to 'help' makes her realize how much work is involved. I priced them a little higher than I thought so I could do half price - the buyers want a deal and makes it more fun for my mom.
As much as I hate doing the garage sale, it sure made it easier for me than if I had had to upset her by hauling it all off and having her mad/overwhelmed.
Now as soon as she puts something on and complains it doesn't fit right, it goes in a box in another room out of sight. Then I bring in a new top or pants and she seems happy with this.
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Reply to my2cents
sudalu May 25, 2019
OMG, my2cents, that's our problem exactly. The bras. I just took ten bras out of her room the other day. Whenever she says, I need a new bra, my blood runs cold. It's a freaking nightmare. At 97, she is a medium/small woman with a DD cup. Bras with elastic straps have no support. Bras without elastic straps are uncomfortable. I try to tell her to decide on comfort or style. She demands both. Her other problem is rings. Large knuckles and small fingers. All rings turn around on her. We've tried everything.
You are the grown up set the rules, they didn't have her size, you're busy , maybe another day, etc....change the subject.....been there, done that
They steal everything nice in nursing homes...don't bring good clothes and they'll never disappear!
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Reply to DiamondAngel14

I have seen this over and over again. They want this or that and insist they get it and the minute they have it, they don't like it and won't use it. This is normal for these people. Therefore, do NOT give in with all of the new items - you will spend money for nothing and it will all go to waste. As to what she does have, make sure it is pretty and clean, and make her wear that. She has no conception of common sense so just ignore her outbursts.
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Reply to Riley2166

Two topics - clothes and becoming the 'parent'
Others (and I) suggested taking 1/2 away and when you bring them back later, "dress" them up in store boxes/bags with tissue paper, on hangers, maybe even with fake tags and present them as "new." It might work. Even if she recognizes a few, you can always say great, your's was worn out and we got you another new one! The only other option that might work is deferring the shopping trip to later. If she has a catalog or sale flyer with items of interest, take it and say you'll order and/or pick it up. Typically once out of sight it tends to drop out of mind.

Thankfully mom's buy buy buy days were long ago. Unfortunately she kept most of those clothes and we weren't aware of it! She was one to have a different outfit for every day or occasion, with matching shoes, bags, jewelry, etc. So, when we had to monitor with a camera during the early stages (she lived alone, too far to check on her daily), I noted that she was wearing the same group of clothes over and over, even to the point where she wore outfits multiple days in a row, once it was 6 days in a row! I didn't care, I will wear clothes more than once unless stained or clearly dirty, but this was NOT usual for her. She would even put on food-stained items!

I had once tried to get her to go through stuff to get rid of what didn't fit (prompted by her choosing an outfit for my son's wedding but not trying it on until the day and it didn't fit!), but she basically waved me off. I keep my stuff nice. Sure mom, but what good is it if it doesn't fit? Wave, wave. I had NO inkling how bad it was until we had to move her to MC and then work on clearing out the place - AUGH! If I had known, I would have pushed harder or had brother take her out and work on some of it!

The items she wore most of the time were the ones my brothers packed up and took with her. When we were going through the remaining ones later, we tried to pick out the larger items (she gained 20# in the first year of MC!!!), but there weren't a lot to be found - most were too small.

Although she would probably order new stuff if she could, or would maybe like to shop, we don't go there. The area we live in now doesn't have a lot of clothing stores, so Walmart it is (I check the clearance rack there!) Not really "great" stuff, or even "fashionable", but at almost 96 and not losing any weight, our options are limited! The problem I have is she doesn't even really look at the clothes, but the SIZE tag! Oh, that's a large, I usually wear a medium. NOT anymore mom.... The last items I brought to her, I took a chance and cut the size tags out (likely non-returnable at that point.)

Taking on the parent role
Yeah, this one kinda sucks, but as I tell people, mom is almost 96 going on 3. At some point we just have to pull up our mommy socks and play parent. If you've had kids, you know how it works. Most of the time she is okay, but when I arrive to take her to an appointment, I get every 3 year old excuse in the book and then some! I don't need that. WHY do I have to go? I'm fine (even when she isn't), I don't need to go. And so forth. I finally would just say 'Put your coat on, we have to go.' She eventually capitulates and then has to go to the bathroom. Sigh. Then we start over because she'll come out and sit down!

The only other incident was preparing to leave the medical facility and we needed to get her coat on. When standing, it is okay to lower the coat and push your arm down into the sleeve. When sitting in a transport chair, that doesn't work. Trying to get her to bend her arm and put her hand up by her shoulder so we could raise the coat up and go UP and in, she loudly proclaimed in the presence of others 'You're going to break my arm!!!!' I stepped back and just said 'Fine, do it yourself.'

Playing mommy to a parent is NOT a fun thing!
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Reply to disgustedtoo

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