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My 96 yr old mom has lived for 8 months in an ALF that is a small group home. Mom's still got most of her wits and can communicate and for the past few months she's started more and more complaining to me about the food, staff, other residents. The other day I got a desperate phone call that she was starving, not getting enough food and the food was always cold. She begged me to bring her food, which I reluctantly did. The problem is she doesn't tell anyone else how she's feeling. Neither the staff, any of her visiting friends, nor the Hospice personnel see any of her negativity. Only me. When I question the staff, whom I trust, they say she never complains at all, she says "everything is fine...the food is good...I feel fine". I am increasingly upset and anxious that she is only telling me her problems and not the people who could help her, like the staff. I've told her to be honest with the staff but she won't do it. She wants to present this perfect image of herself to others, as she always has, but I feel it's negatively affecting her life at the ALF and there's no need for it. I've just about given up trying to change her "showtiming" ways.

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Way2much - yep quite typical behaviour for some - the manifestations of dementia are a nightmare. Its the peter cried wolf syndrome. If do something it costs a fortune and if you do nothing and it turn out to be real the guilt will be unbearable. Catch 22 sweetheart xxx my heart goes out to you.
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Faced with the same bad acting skills, and manipulation tactics on a daily basis. A week ago I took her in for a UTI, while the doctor was examining her, she pretended that she couldn't breath, gasping for air with each breath, then complained of her neck, saying she didn't know if she had fallen recently, no falls reported by staff at the facility, continued to complain about her legs, how she just looses all use of them, and began holding her legs above the bed and shaking them like she was freezing to death, complains about her mild diabetes, type II, one pill a day, but she is at the threshold of death, and the list goes on, and my idiot sister in laws and wife play along with her, smother her in sympathy, pamper her constantly, and wait on her hand and foot, he'll my wife says she don't have the time to make anything for me, it really sucks, so what should have been a basic doctors appointment and cost around $15.00 copay, instead cost almost $7,000 so far, with more to come, and the idiot inlaws wonder what her money is being spent on
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Way2much - apt name by the way. While your MIL has to be able to get out of the house I think you will find a loophole that says she doesn't have to be able to get out the garden. If she so chooses could be your saviour here. She is deemed mentally incapacitated which actually means she is incapable of making decisions based on choices. let me explain. She may want to go outside in -45C for example. If someone was to ask her what the consequences of doing so would be she wouldn't be able to answer.

In the latest WI legislature info 46.90 para 1 clause f "Neglect" means the failure of a caregiver, as evidenced by an act, omission, or course of conduct, to endeavor to secure or maintain adequate care, services, or supervision for an individual, including food, clothing, shelter, or physical or mental health care, and creating significant risk or danger to the individual's physical or mental health. "Neglect" does not include a decision that is made to not seek medical care for an individual, if that decision is consistent with the individual's previously executed declaration or do-not-resuscitate order under ch. 154, a power of attorney for health care under ch. 155, or as otherwise authorized by law.

Therefore you could argue that Under Wisconsin law you were seeking to avoid neglect by ensuring her safety

In its definition of restraint in the same para
(i) "Unreasonable confinement or restraint" includes the intentional and unreasonable confinement of an individual in a locked room, involuntary separation of an individual from his or her living area, use on an individual of physical restraining devices, or the provision of unnecessary or excessive medication to an individual, but does not include the use of these methods or devices in entities regulated by the department if the methods or devices are employed in conformance with state and federal standards governing confinement and restraint.

So previous poster was right you could lock the door at night because that is reasonable
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I am faced with it daily, I'm POA for my mother in law, and to date has had to deal with all her affairs myself, she has four daughters, one of which I am married to, she is always show timing, and when she isn't, the sun downers takes over, the daughters insist on treating her as a child, jumping at every desire, and complaint, smothering her with attention, they don't understand how important it is for an AZ patient to function with a routine, to adjust to there surroundings, two of the daughters keep trying to convince her that she can still live on her own. Really makes it hard to deal with her, now she has become a wandering risk, she wears not only an alarm bracket at the facility, but a GPS tracking band as well, but because of the topography of the area, national forest cover in swamps, and winter temps of 45° below zero, not to mention the wolves and coyotes, I was even forced to put up Cain link fence to prevent her wandering when she visits, I'm at my wits ends, and the laws in this country are ridiculous, my mother in law has been declared 100% mentally incappacitated, she is not able to make decisions for her own health and welfare, but according to WI. Law, she is required to have continuous care, but she is also able to leave the facility if she so chooses regardless of risk to her, or buy a car, gun, or anything else she chooses, if you do t provide her requests, as unsafe, and redicukous as they are, your guilty of elder abuse by neglect, she is also being taking advantage of by a 63 year old male friend of hers, but the law still considers her a consenting adult in that area, and my hands are tied again, I would love to know which politicians decide that these laws protect those incapable of protecting themselves, and choke the life out of caregivers with restrictions
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Thanks guys now I am worried that people are only being nice because those that would condemn me sense I might rip the heads off anyone who isn't nice! grins oh well!
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OhJude I'm on your side!
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OhJude enjoy your hour!
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If my mother was my child I would know she was pressing my buttons and even now I am not sure she isn't. I am so angry right now that I am writing on here rather than hitting a wall which is what I would like to do but the pen is mightier than the sword so I write instead, For the last 5 years my mother has had for breakfast cereal with milk and without sugar; fruit juice (up until about 2 years ago since when she decided she didn't like fruit juice) a cup of tea: her meds: and either toast or toasted fruit loaf two slices.

Now I know I pissed her off yesterday because (a) lordy me I dared to suggest that people who had never known who their parents were for whatever reason and who are then reunited with them have , for the first time fitted in the last piece of the jigsaw to their lives thus far ( I am adopted, Mum refuses to discuss it and has burned all the papers relating to it transfer cert, birth cert - the lot) and (b) I refused to write 200 Christmas Cards to people on her address list who haven't called or visited in the last year.

So today she has refused the toasted tea loaf, only eaten half the breakfast cereal and tipped the tea into a wicker basket (and hence all over the carpet). I don't want to eat, I might as well be dead, oh woe is me. Sorry guys after being up 5 times last night for my third night of sleep deprivation, after constant criticism for 5 years I snapped.

While writing this we have had a full on argument:: her playing the martyr:- You know I can't go to the toilet on my own; you know I need you to do a b c d e f g h as she ticks them off on her fingers; all the while the glint in her eye tells me, and it does tell me, she knows exactly what she is doing. This is dependency personality disorder at its premium and I am having none of it today. Today I am fighting back. I have told her I will put on her maximum incontinence pad, put her back to bed since she had such a restless night and is too tired to do anything, then I am going out for an hour. Where am I going, who am I going to see, What am I going for? Cant I come too. None of your business and no.

I think I can say if I don't get this hour then I will lose it altogether so if you want to say I am wrong bad or other please know that this time I am being narcissistic and I don't care what anyone thinks of me.
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My husband does kind of the opposite. Whenever we're at one of his doctor's appointments (he has 3 doctors) a primary doctor-a neurologist and a geriatric doctor, he plays poor me. He has Frontal Temporal Dementia. I really get upset because I run myself stupid taking him out and about as much as I can! I am responsible for everything at home and also for my 41 year old son with William's syndrome. I am putting off a lot of my own stuff to take care of both of them. Both of them seem to think I can make everything perfect for them. This morning I broke down crying (haven't done that in a long time) and figured I'd "apologize" for failing them both thinking maybe they'd back off a bit, but they responded with "We forgive you" WHAT?? I couldn't believe it!
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Another example: Mom often gets annoyed when the grandkids don't visit enough, so when they do sometimes she puts on the act. I had plans one evening and had the oldest graddaughter come by and stay with her for a few hours, ten minutes after I left I'm getting messages about how "Grandma says she's in awful pain" and etc. even though she was FINE for the entire day. She's even admitted that she does it out of spite, the problem being it makes the grandkids wary of staying with her going forward.
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I don't know if it will help but my mother-ini-law has been living with us for 5 and 1/2 years now and her memory is getting really bad. When she acts out she starts kicking and pinching my wife to the point of bruising her. PT and OT staff and the doctors wouldn't believe what was going on because she was always the nicest person when they would come around. Finally, when she started acting up, we video taped the episode on our phones to have a record of what was going on. Then we could show the doctor or PA or whoever we were dealing with and they could make a better diagnosis because they could see things first hand. Turn the record on your phone and set it on the counter when you visit.
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Yes, we experience it in a big way, with my FIL. He will complain something fierce about an ailment at home, and then never even mention it in the Dr's office, and when I bring it up, he completely downplays it, that is, until the Dr reviews or examines him. For instance, he told me that he had a "little irritation" over his coccyx bone, but due to his embarrassment, didn't want to be examined for it, but when I insisted, it turned out to be a bed sore, the size of a quarter, and he had been scratching at it, seeing the visible scratch marks all around it. And as this sort of thing can quickly get increasingly worse, over a very short amount of time, it needed aggressive attention, as in twice daily washing medications and bandaging, plus initially 3 X a week Wound Care visits, which lasted about 3 months. So he will complain about things to us, but doesn't want to "bother" his Drs about it, and he does this with pain in his back and feet too, and also a hernia, which he ended up in an ER visit, reluctantly. This could have been a real crisis situation, with strangulation and nesasary surgery, if he can't keep a close eye on it, and follow a careful dietary and BM schedule. So now I have to ask him regularly, if there is anything going on that he needs to be honest with me about things, but I never really know with him. Another time he tells me that he has a little scrotal rash, and do I have anything for it? It turns out, that he had a full blown yeast infection, requiring a Rx. So,sometimes he over inflates situations, and other times completely down plays symptoms. So it makes things very difficult to get a good read on him. Now, I yell or bark at him for this, as his bed sore issue could have been handled much easier and simpler if he had only discussed it with me. I do understand that he is a man, and I his DIL, which makes it harder to discuss the "lower half", but he is getting more comfortable discussing these things with me, especially since I was the one doing twice daily wound dressings on his back side! But besides medical stuff, he has always been a big SHOWTIMER! A braggert, to the point of embarrassment on my part, and there is nothing, I feel, that will ever change that part of his personality, unfortunately!
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Mother issue my mum does this ALL the time. To the doctor she is angelic sweet natured not ill not in any pain at all. He walks out of the door and it starts. My knees hurt, my feet are cold, my mouths sore, Im constipated (or the other way) I have a headache - had it for weeks, the list goes on. Will she mention it to the doctor - absolutely not.

If she has any issues at all I am expected to deal with them - like yeah of course Mum I will just write you a prescription for that!!!!! To be fair she has always been a bit that way but she wouldn't dream of telling a doctor - I have to. Then when I do she says - oh its not that bad....last time she said it I lost my cool a little and said well it was half an hour ago so what has changed in the last 30 minutes. One of us is not telling the truth and it isn't me!

Well of course the doctor then thoroughly examined her and there was absolutely nothing wrong - this time. However this is not the time for Peter and the Wolf - one day it might be for real and I would hate to think I had ignored her so we have to go on the way we are, taking the best steps we can to ensure that all is well in the world. Good luck with that! I would just speak to the staff ask them for the reality tell them what has been said - confirm it with an email - so you have a trail if you need it and then let it go sweetheart. oh and breathe!
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Yes, Babalou, I think everyone who's in a hospital could probably benefit from some anxiety meds since no one wants to be there! I would agree with you about a psych evaluation, but since I only have the hospice nurse to deal with, I'm stuck with her perceptions of my mother's behavior when she's around her. And, yes, the nurse says the same thing to me, she doesn't seem anxious. I did get the nurse the other day to agree to have ativan available for my mother at her residential home, but I'm not sure if anyone there is qualified to know when to give it to her, although personally I think she needs it now.
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A good geriatric psychiatrist can see the underlying anxiety even when no behavioral symptoms exist. I got into it with an hospitalist when my mom was admitted for the third time in a month for unexplained high blood pressure. Told the doctor I thought that in part it must be driven by anxiety. " but your mom doesn't seem anxious" (no, she's in the hospital, you great idiot, where everything is fine). Trust, be mom is anxious about EVERYTHING. I asked if she had a better explanation for what was going on, and she didn't , so we got mom meds. Things got much calmer.
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Yeah, its pretty bad when the hospice nurse doesn't seem to believe it when I tell her that my mom is acting anxious, upset and in pain because whenever the hospice nurse is around her mom says everything is okay. So it makes me look like I'm trying to get my mom drugged up for no reason. Just within the last few days, however, mom has really taken a downturn and now she seems to be complaining to everyone about everything and not just to me. So maybe that's what happens when things are in the final downward slide. I feel for you, I really do. This is like a nightmare that none of us caregivers can seem to wake up from and none of us knows how long we will be experiencing this horrible no win situation.
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Wow, this could be my own Mother you are talking about. She also always makes me out to be the bad guy, even though I visit regularly and go with her to doctor appointments. Tells the staff I'm picking on her when I encourage her to get out of her bed more or join more activities
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Great comments. Thanks to all. I feel like the alf staff and hospice staff think I'm making this stuff up when I mention mom's issues to them because she always presents herself as having no problems when they are around!
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With my mother it's always showtime when the doctor or nurse visits. All of a sudden, completely out of nowhere, she'll tell them about some ache or pain she allegedly has that she NEVER mentioned to me or anyone else before. Or alternately, she'll deny something she's been complaining to me about for days.
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When mom did this, we would say " talk to the staff mom". " no, mom, I can't fix thst, you have to call the desk". Now, this is when she had Mild Cognitive Decline, not dementia . But we wanted her to get used to speaking up for herself, rather that have is fix things. My dad enabled her this way, so it was a tough habit to break. Just cluck when she complains " that's a shame mom. What did you do about that?"
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Motherissues, you should take this up with the administration at the ALF - ask them to give you a food diary showing what she was offered and what she ate, if you don't believe what they're telling you. My mother is much the same way - won't tell the staff there's a problem - she tells me instead. Then I go to the staff or the administration and find out that it may only be partly true - Mom can't remember from one meal to the next what she ate - or even IF she ate - so I can't rely on her to tell me the facts.
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just manipulation. you cannot change her, just tell her to eat what is put in front of her. if she doesn't, there is always the next meal
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