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In the last year everything in her health has deteriorated. I was taking on more than I could do and she demands more. She has COPD, heart failure, kidney failure among a host of other issues. She has "mild cognitive issues", but doc says she's fine. My husband and I are stressed beyond burn out. Doc told me "stay away from her". Tough to do in same house with parts shared. She's refused all help in house...putting me in position to stop interacting with her. We put a small kitchenette in our part of house, but it is so small, we don't eat properly. Kitchen is shared. She's very mad that we no longer do all she wants. This is taking a toll on me. The fighting has eased with no interaction. This person is NOT the mother who raised me. I'm at my wits end.

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I kept the written logs for my moms actions, falls, etc and typed it up before each doctor visit. I would sign mom in at the office and give the envelope to the staff to give the doctor BEFORE mom was called back. I also used my cell phone to tape the way she was living and it showed why she was falling so much and the doctor could hear her threats, rants, etc. I was lucky the doctor understood that mom was lying to her about her health after seeing everything. She told mom one more fall, one more threat to kill herself and she would have her placed in a home to protect her from herself. She fell again, pulled her shoulder out of joint and the doctor kept her in the hospital while we found a NH for her. Then she signed the papers to send her there for 24/7 care. She is now in a locked memory unit to keep her safe. I hope you get some help. Caregiver burnout is awful.
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I think that you'll have to consider placing your LO in different living arrangements, else you won't be able to go on like this.
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One thing I learned with my mom, is to keep a journal of sorts. I update it all the time with things that happen. When mom had a doctor appointment, I would bring an updated list of what has happened from the last doctor appt to the current one. If her doctor is not sympathetic and understanding of the full situation, perhaps a visit to a geriatric specialist is needed. Will keep you in prayers as I know how it is stressful to you. Know that you are not alone.
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Everything has been said but a few things I've learned in caregiver seminars. My mom is NOT actually trying to burn me out or push me around - I allow her disease to run my life.
Dementia DOES make it SEEM as though they're trying to drive us crazy. Mom is trying to be in control of her life (not yours, despite how it feels). You must remove the iron when she's not looking, and anything else she gets hurt with (childproof the place if she's to stay). Consider yourself the parent and she the child (this is the role reversal I am dealing with in my home with Mom). I am not trying to manage a marriage and family, but I STILL get exercise, go out to eat with a friend, all kinds of things you need to do for YOU before you can care for your Mom. There is a word you must use. No sentence. Just a word: no. Don't explain it. Just say it. Provide food when the family eats (one more plate to make and clean each day) at mealtimes. I would get an in-home care evaluation or 3. My Mom is also suffering with failing kidneys, lungs and she SMOKES outside, cutting the butts off to "save" the unsmoked part for later. The butt smolders in a plant pot. Scary hazard! I asked her to use water, at least on the burning end she discards (with scissors).
Mom will drive you nuts, and your Mom has already left the building, somewhat. I'm raising the woman in my Mom's body.
Finally, two last things. Don't talk about her and think she doesn't hear. It's the last sense to go, even in the hearing impaired. Also, YOUR body language is what she's responding to. Change it. Get some therapy and learn to be cordial and uplifting. Even when you say the word, "no".
These are the tools I've been given, since her Dr either doesn't care or is unethical (I can't be sure, she won't let me in with him). Mom tricks him and he sends her out to me with no concerns whatsoever. Mom even told me how difficult it was to hide her issues from him. I'm journaling ALL OF THIS for when it's needed. Who is her POA regarding medical? They are the ones to decide how to handle Mom without hating her (and regretting that your repressed rage kept you from talking to her). Rage is a big word, but allow yourself to release the rage (anger) or it could affect your health and ruin your marriage.
I attend caregiver support groups. They really help! You never know how long you've got to make a cohesive plan that you can ALL live with and thrive. Good luck! 🙏
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It sounds like her doctor is not fully appreciating the situation. What kind of doctor is he? Is he experienced? My experience with doctors has revealed that they may not really GET IT, when it comes to seniors with cognitive or functioning issues. Often the patient is quite different when they appear for their appointment, so the patient they see is not the real one that we contend with in the home who is impossible to accommodate.

Has she had a brain scan? Will she see a Geriatric psychiatrist? I know it seems overwhelming, but, maybe, with a different medical perspective, she can get more support.

You say that you own the house jointly. I might consult with an attorney about your options. A forced sale is possible in some states. Granted, it may not be the most convenient thing to do, but, it might be a way to part ways with her if no other options work out.
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I think u need a new doctor. A neurologist maybe one to call. If she happens to be hodpitalized and rehab is suggested you can have her evaluated there for longterm facility. She may need medication or with all her problems, shes on too much. Maybe u could call her present doctor and have a meeting. I find it hard to talk in front of my Mom. Ask him why he feels the way he does. Then tell him everything she does and you no longer can deal with it. Hopefully, you have POAs financially and medical. She is incompetant at this point to make informed decisions. If the doctor doesn't see it ur way, get a second opinion.
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Thank you all .... her hurting herself is doing all things she's not supposed to, bending over, lifting, using cleaning tools, ironing ( she fell and broke her left foot in iron cord in September), she's ripped tendons all off her right arm and continues to cause it to be so painful she can't use it. I am monitoring her, reporting to her doctor, getting her groceries for her, meds and filling her pill box and taking her to appointments. I also realize this is the dementia. Unfortunately, I've gotten tired of the fighting....she thrives on it. Daily being told I lie when reporting her dangerous indicators, I'm selfish for taking care of me, and that I don't care repeatedly about her even though I know it's not true have worn me down. I absolutely appreciate all your responses. Talking with you is very helpful.
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Dear Chris,

I'm so sorry to hear what is happening with your mom. And for all your pain. I know you are trying to do all you can. I wonder if your mom can be evaluated by another doctor. Is it her meds causing this change? Poor diet? Dehydration? Can a social worker help her? I feel this change is not normal. Is it depression?

I know its hard to know what exactly is going on sometimes. My dad was getting grumpier and grumpier. And I was like you and just distanced myself from him. I still provided the necessities of life, but just didn't talk at all. I feel so much regret since he passed. I didn't realize he was dying. He had heart failure. He was so miserable. I didn't know our time was coming to an end.

In hindsight, I wished so badly I had dug deeper into his issues instead of starting to turn away. I was burned out, but I wished I tried harder too.
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Wow, I think you need a lawyer asap since the MD said to stay away from her. I think the next step is that she will accuse you of abuse. PLEASE see an attorney before that happens. It gets very messy.
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How is she hurting herself? Is she hurting herself on purpose or having lots of accidents? Please tell us a bit more about what you mean by hurting herself.

It sucks to feel stuck because you and your mother own the house together.
Can you tell us how big the house is and how much space you have? It's great that you installed a kitchenette in your personal space. You can make lots of healthy meals in a slowcooker and also do a lot with a toaster oven.

Can you schedule time for yourself in the big kitchen so that you can cook ahead?

Do you have a garage where you can put a deep freezer or another refrigerator for you and your husband to use?

Can you and your husband go on a vacation and get some much needed respite from the burden of caregiving?

You sound like you are beyond fried and I hope you and your husband will come together to help each other get through this very difficult time.
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You know that bit in 'The War of the Roses' when Danny deVito looks from Kathleen Turner to Michael Douglas and back again and says anxiously: "...and this idea seems sane to both of you?"

Your mother was driving you nuts because she was excessively demanding, more than you could reasonably be expected to cope with, yes?

She has a number of highly debilitating health problems, at least 2 of which - the heart and kidney failure - to my certain knowledge will leave her both fatigued and mentally impaired. Her needs, her demands, are genuine. What's unreasonable is for you to be meeting them in the current circumstances, but they still need meeting.

The doctor, for reasons which I can only guess at, and I'm kind of out of ideas there, is championing the cause of the sweet little old lady who wants to run her own show in her own house, yes? Which I wouldn't disagree with, if the same little old lady weren't so ill.

Aside: I'm also reminded powerfully of the time when my mother was going round and round the house trying to find her bedroom (I hadn't hidden it, I promise you), and when I prevented her from exiting through the front door, this being about one in the morning on a cold dark January night, she rounded on me and snapped "you are maddening!" It was my fault she couldn't remember where she'd left her bedroom?

The point being, that your mother has ordered you out of 'her' kitchen and refuses your assistance, at the same time as she is also furious that you won't do as she asks.

She is furious. But not with you. You are just caught in the crossfire between her being furious and what she is really furious about, namely everything suddenly feeling out of control in her own mind, and it must be somebody's fault, and you'll do.

I owned the house jointly with my mother, too; and when the above incident happened I was new to the reality of dementia (vascular, same as your mother is likely to be developing), and my instinct too was to back off and hide.

But you can't. You can't, metaphorically speaking, let her walk through that door into the night.

Keep a log of exactly what is happening day by day. Go back to her doctor and give him factual details.

Meanwhile, how is your mother coping with normal life? Can she cook, clean, do the laundry? You say she's continually hurting herself: in what sort of ways?
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Doc will not support us in looking at alternative living situations for her. She and I own the house jointly. Another river to cross. Thank you very much for your answer. It is much appreciated.
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You are at your wits end, you're beyond burnout.....Have you considered placing your mom in a nursing home or assisted living facility? It's a difficult decision to make but it sounds as if you have tried everything to accommodate your mom and lead a peaceful life of your own. I agree with you that it's impossible to avoid your mom when she's living in the same house.
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