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I'm saddened by the fact that one year ago we had no conflict with my mother. I was frustrated by some of her behavior, and by the dementia, but we were not at odds with one another. Now less than a year later she is so angry with my siblings and I. We never used to fight. Now every other phone call or visit is a fight. I hate to see it come to this. This is not the role we want. Anything good we do is of no importance to her. Our dad is gone, our mother.....is nearly gone. Wish it could end different. She's been in the AL 2 months. The only thing that will make her happy is going home. Yet she wasnt really happy there either. How does a heart carry this burden? How do we watch her so unhappy. I feel as if there is an answer but I can't find it.

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Dear NightOwl,

You are not mean at all. You are trying to do the best for your mom. And of course it hurts you to see her so unhappy when you are trying to ensure her safety and well being. It sure isn't easy. I don't think aging into your 80s or 90s is easy for the person or the caregiver.

Like freqflyer suggested she probably needs more time to adjust.

After my father's stroke he just went downhill. I tried so hard to turn things around but my dad was so grumpy. It wasn't easy for him to lose his independence. But I tried to give him his coffee and newspapers and sweets....just anything that I thought would make him happy. I wanted him to be happy.

At least you are trying NightOwl. Be kind to yourself.
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Stand tough. It'll get better. My sample pool of 2 is small. But both have followed the same trajectory. They both went through a few years of being absolute nightmares. Yelling, screaming, door slamming and throwing things in a constant rage. But they've both settled down. Are they joys to be with? No. They were never happy people to begin with, but the outright constant rage has subsided.
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Probably I’ll occasionally be irritable, just like I am now. I work hard to be positive while living with a couple chronic diseases. I’m in considerable pain regularly and I don’t see the problems getting better. If it declines slowly I’ll be happy.

I usually go off by myself when I’m mean and cranky until I feel better.
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Thanks all. My moms meanness I understand and excuse. Its me, the things I have to do to her, change her life. That's the mean person I dont want to be. Not how I wanted to end this life.
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I asked moms neurologist if a person was nice do they get mean. He said if they were nice, they stay nice. Mean, they stay mean. Nice and then mean...they covered up their meaness well.
When Dementia gets to the part of the brain where the emitions are, there will be problems. If too bad, then maybe a med is needed.
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I'm a people pleaser and hate confrontation. Diplomacy is the way I handle almost everything. I do get cranky and irritated, so not telling if I'll be mean if I'm lucky enough to grow old. My paternal grandmother is alive still at 99, and my Mom is really healthy besides Alzheimer's at 78 years old....so living to an old age is a potential.

I agree, watching your Mom be angry and miserable is hard to do. My Mom is currently going through a phase where she gets really angry at the drop of a hat, and she will yell and curse. We are looking into adjusting her meds, I figure as much as it hurts us to be around the anger, it must be awful to feel that way and probably not have any idea how to control it.
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Hell, I’m a cranky old hag as it is. So yeah, I’m guessing I’ll probably get worse.

What I’m really hoping to avoid was the thing my mother did constantly- really when I think of it - it started fairly early into her old age but it advanced to the point of intolerable, mind-numbing irritation up until dementia really sunk it’s teeth into her and she stopped talking.

This was my mothers constant need for attention by way of cornering anyone and everyone - from family to total strangers and regale at great lengths and in excruciating detail every ache and pain, every medication side effect, every current illness or surgical procedure she was currently having, had experienced in the past five years and every possibility of what she expected to experience in the near and distant future. 

No malady was off limits - everything from diarrhea to earwax.  And she either never noticed or didn’t care when someone was trying to escape her grisly and morbid details. On and on she’d go...

God, how I hated it when she did that!
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I hope I won't come to the end of my life as a mean person. My mother was a sweetheart right up to the end, in spite of her dementia. My husband's dementia didn't turn him into a mean person. So I am hopeful. On the other hand I am not a patient patient and have a hard time being on my best behavior when I am sick. So, who knows?

Your mother is probably still adjusting to her new environment, so things could still improve for her. FF has some good insights into how scary having dementia must be.

I don't think that her meanness is her fault. I don't think she ever sat down and thought, "Well, being a nice person hasn't done me much good, so I might as well try out being mean."

If you had many years with a normal, pleasant relationship with your mom, remember and cherish them.
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NightOwl, once in awhile we need to slip into our parent's shoes to try to understand what is making them tick. Ok, your Mom is experiencing dementia, which can be scary to the person who has this.

The family also needs to realize your Mom lost the love of her life, imaging if our spouse passed on how we would feel. Mom probably wakes up in aches and pain. She can't see as well, and her hearing is becoming less. She can no longer hop in the car to drive herself to the mall to meet friends for lunch.... and the friends have either moved or passed on. Food doesn't taste as good because age does dull the senses. The list goes on and on.

With your Mom only being in Assisted Living for 2 months, it will still take awhile for her to adjust. Everything is new. She needs to learn a whole new floor plan which is different from her home. The Staff is new to her and it's not easy to remember names with faces. Then the residents are all new to her, and making friends isn't that easy.

Oh, when your Mom says she wants to go home, it is not her prior home.... she wants to go back to her childhood home, back when life was simpler and she was able to have fun.

What is the answer? Sadly we need to tell ourselves this is the path that Mom is forced to take along with her dementia. Try to feel positive that Mom is now in a skilled care environment and the family can bring a sigh of relief that each of them can now once again be Mom's child and not her exhausted caregiver.
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