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My mother lives in an assisted living. She has a home health worker take her once a week to the grocery or go get what she needs. I visit on the weekends and bring her more stuff like a tablet, a laptop, a mouse, etc. Last night I finally got finished with work on time and she called me saying she wanted eye drops. They are special eye drops you put in for 4 nights and I guess everything is okay after that. She couldn't remember the name of them, but said the pharmacist would know what she meant. So I went to the drug store, the pharmacist had no idea what I was talking about, but suggested I get some lubricating eye drops. So I bought the lubricating eye drops and took them to her. They said "apply as needed". When I got to her she said they were not the right kind and "apply as needed" was wrong. I saw no such other eye drops in the store and I felt they had a very good selection.


Then she commented that I must of got a new bra because I looked "big busted". I did no such thing. I just said I wanted to go home and eat, because it was already 8 pm.


Now the long term care insurance company wants to send a nurse out to reassess her and she blames me for that. They sent us a letter that said they would reassess every 6 months or so.


She practically hung up on me on the phone right now and I call her every night. I am just frustrated and I know I have it good because I have the assisted living and the home health aide. Just needed to vent.

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Ok, so cut down on being so available. Mom is controlling you. Don’t be so quick to drop everything and do as she says. When she made the comment about the bra I would have laughed out loud and said “THANKS!” My mother was a pro at the snarky remark. Years ago, when my son sent her a beautiful flower arrangement for her birthday, she was so vocally ungrateful I felt like popping her one. I don’t know why some older people feel that when they reach a certain age, it’s ok to stop caring about people’s feelings.

Srop calling her every njght. When you call, if she gets accusatory or nasty, suddenly smell something burning on the stove and tell her you have to go, then hang up. When she orders you to get her something, tell her you’ll have it for her by the weekend. By the way, has she been evaluated for dementia?
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Sadly this is just how most of them act. Nothing is good enough, say things that can be hurtful because the filter is gone, blaming the child for their lot in life. You have to remind yourself that you have done your best and are looking after her needs. They no longer have the control they used to so "tag, you’re it" when it comes to the person who caused their misery. Just because you’re not a full time live in caregiver doesn’t mean it’s still not difficult. I know I’ve recommended this great little book often, but I feel it will benefit you. It’s called "Loving difficult to love Parents" by Paul Chafetz...he’s a psychologist who counsels adult children of difficult parents. It’s on Amazon. Pts of good info and tips.
My dad is the same way...you just repeat to yourself in your mind "I didn’t cause this...her brain is broken"
i would suggest you DO NOT call her every night. And if she calls you, put your phone on do not disturb or don’t answer. Unless your calls are pleasant and uplifting and loving...just don’t do it! You need a break and don’t need to be a sounding board for all that’s wrong in her life. You have our permission to have a break. You can vent anytime.
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LaBlueEyes Sep 23, 2018
I definitely recommend Loving Hard to Love Parents. Turned a light on for me!
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Don't allow someone with dementia to define who you are. People with dementia have tunnel vision. They see the world through a cracked lens, and the distortions they see are filtered through a damaged brain.

Don't call or visit your mother so much. Even once a week may be too much. You will never satisfy her. Period. She'll lash out at those who do the most for her. Why? You're available. You're convenient. It's satisfying to exert control over anything or anybody in her rapidly shrinking life. Don't be so available.

Every thing you say or do will be picked apart or rejected outright. Stop doing so much. You described your mom in an assisted living facility. Her needs are being met. You will never satisfy her wants. Learn to detach emotionally. Detaching doesn't mean you stop caring; it means placing some distance between yourself and your mother; refusing to react to her FOG (fear, obligation, and guilt). Establish and maintain healthy boundaries. It takes practice to learn this new way of thinking and responding, i.e. "Medium Chill." Google it. You'll be glad you did!
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caltink Sep 23, 2018
I love your concise and exact answer. Perfect!
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Try not being so available. I’d like to say she will appreciate u more...but she won’t. My mom has critiqued me all my life for my clothing, hairstyle, makeup, etc. choices. She thought I should dress pink pastel and frilly and wear my hair in a “gypsy” style. As CFO of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and meetings with Legislators and other state officials, my choice were dark suits and more conservative hair cuts to be taken seriously. I got grief for it for years. I recently heard a conversation between her and my brother talking about what a terrible caregiver I’ve been all these years for her and my aunt. So...I moved my aunt...who has always been there for me...into my home and left her with my brother to care for her. Her house and finances are now a horrible mess and she stays in bed 95% of the time...but she’s in heaven. Would like to say I’ve gotten some peace, but he’s so inept I still have to play an active part in her care...but I sleep in my own bed at night!! Hang in there...guessing u will have a HUGE mansion in heaven for ur service to ur mom on earth! Prayers....
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MargaretMcKen Sep 23, 2018
These posts rarely raise a smile, but you made me laugh out loud!
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I am the only local child, and my 92 y/o mother lives alone in a one-story condo. I have set very firm boundaries on what I do for her (I'm her Dummy Daughter Driver -- she gave me her car in exchange for transportation). I won't cook meals for her, won't clean for her, won't monitor her showers (so she only showers once a week now, because she's so wobbly), etc.

Why am I such a horrible daughter? Because I was emotionally abused while growing up. She repeatedly tells me I don't do much for her (that is because I limit her excursions to Mass, medical/dental appointments and one shopping trip/week). She likes to denigrate me.

She has sight in only one eye now, very bad balance, neuropathy in her feet, atrial fibrillation, a history of TIA, bad hearing. Her short-term memory is going, as well as her reasoning. She refuses to consider an Assisted Living facility.

So I understand the constant criticism your mother gives you. I can't stand being directed on how to do every little thing.
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pattiac Sep 23, 2018
CTTN55, we have very similar lives dealing with a narcissistic mother. Like you, I have firm boundaries and won't budge on what I already do for her each week. She's resistant to getting help in but is finally coming around to it because I've forced her hand by not bowing to her every need. Assisted Living is not even a topic I can broach without her having a complete meltdown. My mother has gone so far as to fabricate illness to "get out" and once we get to the doctor, gets a lecture from him for overreacting. He even told me privately one time that "it won't end well with her" because of her refusal to get help with all of the options available. I have no regrets because if truth be told, I would have gone no contact long ago after what I went through as a child and most of my life until I realized what she was and imposed the strict boundaries and coping skills to deal with her. She lived with my dear aunt and by the time she passed, my mother was 88. Now 91, each day is a challenge just calling to check on her and to hear what new complaint she has. I try to keep it light and sometimes it works, but other times not. I take her out two days a week and my neighbor another day to Bingo "if I'm up to it." To me, that's pretty good, and have no regrets and feel my life is just as important to live. I feel for all of us who are dealing with entitled, abusive parents nearing the end of their lives that they made miserable by their own design. We have to learn ways to manage so we have energy and peace of mind to live the lives we created outside of theirs.
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Gati1263. My 92 year old father is similar . Thinks he just demands what he wants. Need to have boundaries for your own well being and sanity. He s in care facility now and still not happy. When he starts now I just say not here to argue and walk away. I tell him if requests un reasonable and refuse to do them. He s tried the aggression and the poor me. None of them work with me now l let all the stories wash over me and don't react.Feel more in control now and no longer intimidated by him.
I took this line as I was a wreck and decided I was not going to be treated badly any more. So far it has worked. Much more pleasant to me now .Still go in prepared for anything though.He will likely try to push boundaries as time goes on. Sure hope all these experiences and stories help. Stay strong,
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It sounds a lot like my mom. She had a stroke 16 years ago and was left with her left side paralyzed, hence, wheelchair bound. I was there through it all, rehab, doing everything when she came home. It is your mom, there was no thought, I just did what I had to do, while working full time and I had my own family. Was it hard YES, but once I noticed the criticisms, I started to back off, she learned to do a lot of her old routine, because she had to. Yes, we had the house equipped for her needs, but I still worried... I had to use some tough live to get some of my life back. I know it was a HUGE adjustment for her, not being able to walk, drive, etc.... She got very depressed, but once she HAD to do certain things for herself, she gained some confidence back. I would try to take her whenever I went out for errands, just to get her out.

Jump ahead about 2 years ago, and she started getting very needy again, she would call and say crazy things, or she would call 10 minutes later and say she hadn't talked to me in so long... I would bring her dinner a few nights a week, we would sit and chat, and then she would call me and say she hadn't eaten all day . It is scary to see these things happen to your parent.

I skipped a few things, in the last 5 years, I had an aide in 5 days a week to get her up , cleared and dressed. I tried adult day care because she was lonely, but she hated it. I moved mom to a NH earlier this year, and she tells me she hates it, and I am terrible, but I know she is fed and safe. She goes to many of the activities offed, but never remembers. It is very sad to see this happen, but It was needed, her doctor said she needed 24 hour care, and it is best for both of us. Do not succom to guilt, you deserve a life.
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BlueRose Sep 26, 2018
Your comments really touched me. Ive been on the site now for about a year. But since my moms illnesses have been mostly mental i am never real sure i fit in. So i just read mostly and dont comment but i kinda need some advice. I used to be so strong! A real fixer my boys say but over the last couple of months i am feeling weak. You can look at my profile if you want to see my story. Its sorted but i started taking care of my mom on my own at 15..and i cared for her until i was 41. My mom is bipolar, diabetic, has heart issues and all that time no matter what i took good care of her. She would say and do terrible things but i still took care of her. Then 4 yrs ago out of no where her siblings that used to make fun of her and treat her badly came and got her out of a facility i had worked very hard to get her into. She revoked my power of attorney and aps let her go to live with them. They spent the next three yrs attacking my family and causing all kinds of problems. Then about a year ago my moms physical health got bad and they washed their hands of her. I couldnt let anything bad happen to her so we did the paperwork and along with home health and strict groundrules i take care of her. This time she is so appreciative and respectful and she has only said a couple of things that hurt my feelings but i dont think she ment it that way i think i just remember all that happened. Because of the bipolar alot of it she doesnt remember. But all the things her family said and did and the way they blamed me instead of knowing what really happened it hurt so bad. Now when something needs to be done i jump into fixer mode and do what needs to be done to help her but after or sometimes during i doubt myself and all those attacks come back and i almost feel like im having a panic attack. Like am i doing the right thing making the right choices. So much doubt and i never had that before. Alot of professionals in the healthcare field and mental health field used to compliment my care of my mom and my family but all the personal assaults and my husband running off to work and not supporting me cause he didnt want to deal with it left me feeling incapable i guess. How do you feel strong again after all that and like you are that person that did all those things and can do them again?
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With my wife, I know i can do NOTHING right. I do the best I can, see to it that she gets the best care available, and since she is in the 3rd nursing home in just 10 months, I tell her that there are no more available that will take her.
She is now in a Hospice facility until she is stable enough to return to the NH.
No mater where she is, NH, Hospital, Hospice, or even home, she has never nor will she ever be pleased. I have learned to live with it and try to take it all like water off a ducks back. Yesterday she call me stupid for the first time and I thanked her for the input.

Even if she were in a 5 star hotel or spa with room service available round the clock, she would find fault in the way things are going.

I wish I could tell you it would get easier or better, but that does not seem to be in the cards.
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Grandma1954 Sep 23, 2018
garylee...I can imagine how frustrating this is for you and I can also imagine how frustrating for your wife to have things taken out of your control. I suppose you could feel good that she knows that she can give you a difficult time and you will still be there for her, while the others that she gives a hard time to have to deal with is because they are paid to. (I hope hat made sense my morning cup of tea is steeping.....)
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Your feeling will change when you truly understand and digest the fact that your mom is not healthy mentally and emotionally. Then you’ll realize she is not on a mission to make you feel incompetent or to annoy you, she acts the only way she can because, again, she is ill.

How to handle it? That depends entirely on you. She wants specific eye drops? get her the ones you think might help, as you did, and tell her that is all they had and you hope they work, encourage her to give them a try, lovingly and with an smile. She is angry? Kiss her good night and hug her. There is no reason for you to be upset; you did what you could, you acted as a good and caring daughter and she reacted the only way she can, no surprises. As I told somebody else recently, the goal at this point is not to be right, but to be kind..and not to lose your mind in the process.

Try to get yourself to really comprehend that you are dealing with a broken and frustrated mind. Her illness is to be blamed, not her, not you.
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Harpcat Sep 24, 2018
I love that..."not to be right but to be kind and not to lose your mind in the process".
It is difficult not to want to be right, but it is essential to let that go in order to survive this.
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Vent away. We all need to get it out and be heard.
Everyone's emotional and psychological 'make-up' and TRIGGERS are different. For me, it was a learning process . . . over and over and OVER again.
And, I prided (spelling?) myself on decades of personal growth, losing-maintaining 70-75 wt loss on my own for 35+ years, re-made myself about 325 degrees from how I was brought up to think and be . . . to feel so challenged with an other's rage and anger hurled at ME, with MY kind, open heart wanting to support and help.
Knowing it is THEIR stuff 'SHOULD' help in the moment and realistically, sometimes the logic flies out the window (or already flew) and my heart ached and my head wanted to say - what? but . . . (be clear, logical and "see how supportive and nice I am to you ? ? ? - respect and appreciate me. I care about you.
What helped me most:
(1) leaving, giving time outs (actually for me, too -- from 2 minutes to 2 hours to the rest of the day); any immediate way to shift out of triggered feelings will help shift them again, soon . . .
(2) Reflective listening - if that works "I hear that you are very upset with me now." Period. End of discussion. She will fight with herself.
(3) Visualizing myself in an emotional and psychological protective bubble - of sparkly somethings or whatever imagery works -
(4) As a routine, as much as you can - take care of your physical self - exercise. Get it out. Eat healthy. Give yourself gifts - even if just observing or buying one beautiful flower or visiting a dog (or cat) shelter. Keep yourself as plugged in to YOU as much as you can.
(5) I'm giving you a GOLD star for reaching out and venting.
(6) p.s. And, meditate - even 5 minutes a day.

I will say . . . in all honesty, I changed my own reasoning and psychologically feel one strategy I used was: 'I give up,' telling myself "I react, I hurt, I admit it. I tried the best I could. This is not going away. I can't will the pain away. . . no matter how much of a personal challenge it presented to me for over three years. Time outs work - take them at the earliest sign. Doing this actually changed some behavior - although knowing it is dementia, we know it will continue.
And, we hurt the ones we love - the people closest to us. You are loved a lot. This is a cruel disease and yet, we can learn so much about our self and grow from what triggers us. I learned what I could put up with when I thought over and over again. I can't do this. I learned that I can forgive and that, with time, feelings change. Even after just an hour or and evening. Tomorrow is another day. The other person feels power-less. That is scary. I learned how deep my compassion is - and developed this ability, which was a life-long goal. To be compassionate is a huge achievement for me. I've come a long way and there is always inner work to do. Loving myself through it all. Gena
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Rosses003 Sep 25, 2018
Agree so much with you in that this journey as painful as it is, helps tremendously to learn about ourselves, and like you I am immensely grateful for having finally and truly put into action my ability to be compassionate and put others before me.
It took me 45 years (my entire life) and this very challenging journey to get there, and actually I haven’t gotten there, I’m simply a work in process, but by far much closer than I’d be if life hadn’t presented me with this priceless opportunity to become a better human being and to learn to be able to give love no matter how hard the circumstances.
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