Mom lives with me and hubby. My "official" diagnosis (as a lay person) is mild cognitive decline. Not yet in dementia territory but seeing signs of things to come. For now, just keeping an eye on the situation and addressing things on an as needed basis.

One of the biggest challenges for me if the boring conversations. It's kind of mind numbing and frustrating on a day-in, day-out basis.

She has triggers - I have learned (and shared with my sister) NOT to say certain words or it's just like you pushed a button and she is COMPELLED to tell that story. Again. It does not matter if you were there when it happened. It does not matter if you have heard the story a million times. I have also told my sister - just EXPECT the conversation to be boring.

There are also increasing examples of her using the wrong words, not understanding rather simple concepts, etc.

I often feel like I'm earning the bad daughter award for saying such blunt things but the truth of eldercare is really not always a lovely place to be.

SO, fellow caregivers, how do you keep your sanity in the face of this?

Some days I can handle it better than others. Good days, I just deal and try to remain pleasant. Other days, I just want to hide in my room so as to avoid conversation. Yup, bad daughter award.

Car rides can be brutal! What the heck is there to talk about when you live together??

When my husband is with us, he drives, and I sit in the back and play canasta on my phone or text my friends. Ahhh, it's such a nice break!

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AgainX100, my mother does not live with me.........she was placed in an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) in 2014 when my Dad fell, broke his hip, and could not be released back into independent living. So, I have a totally different situation than you, with yours being a whole lot harder than mine!!! I limit the time I spend with my mother, because it's just TOO toxic an environment to hang around in. Same with the phone calls, which I make every single day. She is a HUGE complainer when speaking with me, in addition to the sniping. Every word out of her mouth is negative.

You really have to set down some rules to preserve your own sanity, ie: I will sit and chat with Mom until she repeats herself X number of times, then I will leave to do a 'chore'. Develop a routine for yourself based on HER routine, so you can schedule some 'down time' in there for yourself. Also, how about signing her up for adult daycare of some kind? Since she's social, she'd probably love to talk the other residents (new and give you a break! If I were in your shoes, I'd search out ALL the senior activities I could find and sign her up for a bunch. Then, I'd see what volunteer opportunities I could sign up for to get ME out of the house.

Try not to beat yourself up for getting frustrated, or think you're 'mean' for wanting to spend less time with her. (I don't think any of us are 'graceful' ALL of the time, either)The bottom line is, you're doing the best you can and it IS good enough. Period. You are doing a helluva lot MORE for your mother by living with her than lots of the rest of us who do NOT have a live in arrangement and STILL complain! Right?
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Reply to lealonnie1
againx100 Jan 10, 2019
Thank you so much for your response. We are doing a little snowbirding soon and when we return, I think I'll march us (and maybe my MIL, who is seriously lacking in social time as well) down to the senior center. The biggest hitch is that it is a half hour drive from our house. We live in a very rural area which my husband and I love but it does provide some challenges for elder care. Mom still drives but when that ends, I will become a full-time chauffeur! I have thought about selling and moving closer to or into (gasp!) the big city to make access to things easier and can keep mom independent longer.
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My mother has progressive dementia and yes, it's progressed since her dx 2 yrs ago. She repeats herself incessantly. Even her doctor said to me, "my gosh, your mother repeats herself continuously." She said it with an annoyed voice, by the way. When she's not repeating something she said 2 minutes ago, she's bad-mouthing the staff at the ALF, her "Best friend", the family members but her nieces in particular, and my late father, the husband she couldn't stand for 68 yrs. Oftentimes I prefer the repeats than the sniping, but it's all bad. You are not winning the bad daughter're winning the I'm Human And Get Frustrated award, just like the rest of us wretched souls. I don't care HOW fabulous anyone's mother is, after years and years it's all too much. And that's the truth. Find some time for YOU, to decompress and just get away from it all.

Hugs to you and lots of luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1
againx100 Jan 9, 2019
lealonnie1 Thank you for your response and sharing your story. I feel like no one really understands how mind numbing it is. Or maybe most people just want to be nice and not admit that it's hard to deal with? Of course I feel mean and guilty saying that talking with my mom is boring, but it is true and I really need advice on how to gracefully deal with it.

Anyhow, how do you keep your frustration from bubbling over? How do you keep from being so BORED you could scream? I find myself wanting to spend less time with her but that just feels mean cuz I know she's lonely and has so little social life outside of our home. She does go to my sister's once a month-ish for a few nights and gets some good social time then. But she's very social and loves to talk! My hubby and I just can't give her all she needs.

I hear you about the sniping. It's REALLY hard to listen to so much negativity. I guess all you can do is try to let it in one ear and right out the other? Not easy, no doubt.

My mom is more of a complainer than a sniper. And the same darn complaints over and over. It's like, I KNOW. She's not even in the dementia range yet! My sister and I don't understand why she doesn't seem to care that she says the same things over and over. I guess she just doesn't (can't?) consider what comes out of her mouth and how it is for her audience.

I do get some time for me, thankfully. It does help. But it's kind of strange that as soon as she's back, it's like she never left. I wish the relaxed feeling could last longer but it just doesn't seem to overlap for very long.
“Judge ye not, lest you be judged”. No, I’m not bible thumping. All I’m saying is that when we reach a certain age, it’s difficult to remember what we told to whom, and when we last told it. Our lives do slow down, and sometimes when we look at our old, lumpy and wrinkled selves in the mirror, it’s a no-brainer to escape to the past when we were young and “interesting”. We don't keep retelling stories on purpose and sometimes we are just telling them to ourselves, really. We miss the past when we were younger, healthier and more “au courant”, just like you miss the past when we were that way.

We can only ask that you be more patient and tolerant of us. We are not exasperating you on purpose.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
againx100 Jan 9, 2019
I'm not judging her. I feel more like I am being judged and/or that you are being a tad defensive.

I am venting and asking for help in how to deal with this seemingly common problem from a caregiver's perspective.

Regardless of WHY she MIGHT do this, I still need coping strategies.
Againx100 This is very frustrating indeed. You can try to understand, from the other point of view. It may help you cope. On another group I am part of. There is a man who shared his thoughts very clearly. He was diagnosed with dementia and understood his diagnosis. He vented to the group... I will quote his words as I recall them.... "I can understand that I have dementia. I know I forget things that I do or say. My family knows I have dementia. What, I CAN'T UNDERSTAND, is, why?..
If I am the person who clearly is not able to remember, and my family knows about my memory issues. They get frustrated and angry at me, for getting frustrated and angry at them. They remind me, that, "I" can't remember. I am the one with dementia. Why? Can't they all remember that "I AM" the one with dementia, and stop getting mad at me?"
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Reply to Wuvsbears

againx100, I many of us have been down that story telling road many times over, I know I did. I had to laugh because my Dad use to complain about his Dad repeating the same old story over and over, and once my Dad reached the same age, he was doing the same thing.

Then I had to take notice that my parent's world was different compared to mine as I was still working, plus keeping up with the national and world news. My parents weren't, with fading eyesight and fading hearing, their world was limited when it came to new subjects to talk about. My Mom could no longer read the local newspaper which she loved, and hearing the news on TV was difficult.

Later on Dad was happy to get caregivers, ah new ears to hear his stories. Same when he sold his house and moved to senior living, ah more new ears :)

What did drive me crazy was whenever my parents said "Do you remember when you were 3 years old [yada, yada, yada]? Ah no. And they just couldn't understand why I didn't remember. Remember this? Remember that? I am lucky I can remember what I had for lunch :P
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Reply to freqflyer
Isthisrealyreal Jan 10, 2019
Oh no, you must be ready for NH if you can't remember what was for lunch!

Can you tell me what day it is?
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