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example......all of my life my mother has been unstable, violent behavior, very abusive physically and verbally. When she wants something she plays mind games to get want she wants. As an adult I pulled away from her. But the last year or so......see seems to display signs of dementia. When she wants you to do something and you don't have time.....she has these sudden trips to ER in ambulance and we run test after test, blood work and NOTHING is ever wrong, and the ER doc says dementia and starts talking to her about future care and when he leaves she is so mad and instantly her mind is perfect. We've had MRIs, under care of neurologist and family doctor, blood work. I am literally so confused. I want to help BUT if this is more manipulation I want to walk away from it for my own sanity. Advice/opinions?

As soon as the doctor leaves, she is so mad and in her right mind.

This is your answer.

Dementia doesn't usually make nasty, manipulative people nice, kind people. It makes what they are more obvious because they can't hide as well.

My mom tried to tell me that she was so happy that she lasted 2 years longer than her mom and grandmother before getting Alzheimer's. As soon as I said we need to find a facility that you will be happy about, she is totally fine. Yep, manipulation failure!

Don't question your knowledge in this situation, you know your mom. You know what she is capable of doing to get her way. Besides, dementia is called the long goodbye because these behaviors can last for several decades. So she is fine at this stage of things, it's only if she had a brain injury, like a stroke or a fall that things could literally change overnight.

You know that you need to protect yourself and I am saying that you need to continue to protect yourself, no matter what she is experiencing. She chose this path, don't get blindsided because she found your weakness.

My parents are always trying different tactics to find the button that will get me in line with their desires. They can't believe that I don't have one, I mean they instilled tons of them, I couldn't possibly be stronger and smarter than they were.

You have to decide what you will do for her in the worse case scenario and stick by your boundaries. She hasn't changed, beware!
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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I don't quite honestly know why you are so desperate to help her whether this is real or manipulation. This isn't a person I would want much to do with, myself, and dementia won't make her a sweetie; quite the opposite is likely the case. She should call the EMT as she likes, go to the ER as she likes, and get mad or not get mad at the doctor's opinions, as she chooses. Any attention she gets through this will make it happen more often, as I am sure you understand. If you have had a real evaluation by neurologist and family doctor, then they are the ones who can correctly diagnose her. An ER doctor doesn't have the time to form enough knowledge to do so. I myself would not be POA or Guardian for such a person, whether they happen to be my mother or not. She likely has decades of manipulation left in her, whether she is demented or not. It is up to you, but do recognize, that there is choice in this. Had she not had children then she would not have children to add into the mix she will continue to plague ongoing. As a nurse we had "frequent fliers" all the time; I know whereof I speak.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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So, it sounds like there are two different issues here; mental issues and dementia.

Has your mother ever been seen by a geriatric psychiatrist to assess her needs?

I think that I would step away and allow the State to take over her care. It's very difficult to take care of an elder with both mental health issues and dementia.

Probably better if she is being care for by folks who can compel her compliance.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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If it’s vascular dementia you can see it on a CT scan( the damaged areas) But I disagree, my mother was a master manipulator and literally was up until the week before she died from dementia. And they often lie about things so unless the doctor has a good long conversation or actually tests them, they can fake them out for a good while. My mother even passed her first test with flying colors. But not to be cruel but a diagnosis doesn’t really change much, meds might slow progression but not in all cases and if the person is in an ALF they go to memory care when it’s obvious. My mother never went to memory care since the Covid isolation made her Dementia worse then she got a UTI which pushed her from mild / moderate to death in about a month.
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Reply to Jannner
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If she can fake at will, she cannot have dementia. Ppl with dementia lack the ability to think straight and answer questions correctly.
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Reply to Worriedspouse
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disgustedtoo Jul 3, 2020
Not so much in the early stages... Show-Timing allows them to pull up their socks and appear "normal" for short periods of time - this is why some docs miss the early signs and why some family members who are only there for short periods don't see everything either.

If ANYONE hinted at my mother that she had dementia, she would fly off the handle! She maintained that she was "fine, independent and could cook." She lived alone, so some of the very early signs were missed (or not understood as I knew almost nothing about dementia until she started making financial errors and repeating herself all the time, which is when I started my research.) After knowing this was early stages of dementia, we NEVER mentioned that word to her. In her mind it meant you were "off your rocker", aka crazy. That's not what dementia is, but for her it was.

I wouldn't dismiss some of this woman's issues being related to early dementia.
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2 questions.
Is she safe? If yes, do nothing.
Is her lifestyle or living situation dangerous to her health? If no, do nothing.
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Reply to Taarna
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Unfortunately, your situation is shared by a large percentage of caregivers/family. I have a mother in law who is 92, and acts like a three year old if she doesn't get her way. She was ordered to use O2 at night IF she needed it, but now she uses it 24 hrs. A day. She walks without assistance but uses a cane or Walker when someone else is around. When I take her anywhere, I take her to the door and I park where I can, but she starts this feeble act and has people running to help her. It is embarrassing to watch her. I am used like an old dishrag to make her happy. I had a total hip replacement the same time she broke her hip, but she came to our house and took to her bed for 6 months and constantly rang her bell wanting something or just to get me up. Her sister visited her and she told her all I wanted to do was lay in the bed, which was so untrue, but remember I had a hip replacement and wanted to lay down sometimes too! I cooked three meals a day for her and she ate in bed, I cleaned her when she messed on herself and keep in mind my children and grandchildren never once came to see her or offer help with her so I could get out and go to the store,but now, she is giving them money!!! She plays me and her son like a fiddle to get what she wants, I get so tired of being treated like a cool, and I try to make sure she has whatever she wants, because I know when I get her age, my sorry two children will put me in a nursing home and forget I exist. Sorry for the rant but I feel better.
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Riley2166 Jul 3, 2020
If someone treated me as this woman does you, I'd tell her where to go and leave at once and never look back. You do NOT deserve this treatment. Let it go and get on with your life - it is now HER problem, not yours. Walk away and live your own life. Don't let her destroy you.
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Walk away no matter what faking and most assuredly if she is not faking. By that I mean do not move in with her or let her move in with you. You won’t have a life. No breaks no help just you. I have done that and my mom has sucked every bit of life you can get out of me. My sister , is paralyzed from the waist down, lives next door so what my mom doesn’t take my sister does. No time for myself or my husband. I am so worn out and burnt out I could scream. Don’t do it!
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Maryjann Jul 3, 2020
Please try to find some respite care or counseling to be able to find a way to get some boundaries in place. Your husband made vows to you, not to your mother or your sister. He may be a saint, but everyone has a breaking point. Please put your marriage higher on the list. I'm so sorry.
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I’m going through the same issues here. My dad suffers from an array of disorders, borderline personality and bipolar disorder and more. I go through hell every month. He manipulates everyone and he is litigious. I don’t know if it’s dementia because he’s been doing this for years. I think it’s for attention because he is lonely. His behavior has destroyed his relationships with everyone he has ever known. I’m the last one standing and I feel like his intentionally fighting with others so he can has a sense of control and recognition. He changes his behavior all the time and manipulates and tries to buy people so that they can work for him. He said that he loves making others work hand and foot and gets a kick out of it!
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Reply to StayingPositve
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helenb63 Jul 3, 2020
I'm worried about this sort of thing too. My mother (85) is much more confused and forgetful after three months in lockdown. She complained fiercely about being stuck in her apartment for so long but now says she 'can't face it' when we offer to take her to a local beauty spot for a cup of tea. When this contradiction was pointed out to her she threw a 'tantrum'. My mum displays narcissistic and sociophobic tendencies (has done all her life; worse since moving near us and giving up responsibility for herself). Her mother and brother had dementia. We don't know whether her behaviour is related to one or all of those things.
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This sounds like a toxic and unhealthy situation for you.

You stayed away before. Why intervene now?
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