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My 79 year old mother is sometimes mean towards me. She doesn't trust me. Why do I feel guilty when I get angry towards her for treating me this way. I have out my life in hold to care for her and to keep her in her home. She's not an invalid but the verbal and emotional things I'm allowing her to put me through is killing me. I keep hearing don't internalize her behavior and I'm working on detaching but it's hard to keep up that practice. Any tips?

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Thanks JeanneGibbs.
You are right.
walking away is the only thing I can do right now to save myself, even if that means leaving her in her home alone since she doesn't want outside help.
I've done all I can and it's only causing me emotional and physical stress.
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Thank you Jessie Belle. Your reply is in target with what I'm experiencing.
Nice to know that there are others out here dealing with a difficult mother and that it's not easy trying to be a caregiver when they don't want help.
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I re-read what I wrote and realized I didn't make good sense about the second paragraph -- my mind skips a lot of logical steps. What I was saying is that there is something that brought you home to care for your mother. It was something you felt you needed to do. There was probably good reason, but sometimes we don't understand the reason until on down the road.
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I understand what you're going through. We can want our parents to do the things that would be good for them, but they aren't going to do them unless they want to. Since your mother can still care for herself, my main concern is making sure she doesn't drive. I know you've already worked through that, so I won't belabor it.

I am going to swim against the stream here, because I feel you are doing the right thing. Sometimes we feel that we need to do things, even if they are not appreciated... and sometimes even when they don't make sense to us. I have a feeling that somewhere on down the line we'll understand.

My mother used to be very difficult. What I found worked best for me was to pull back, almost like I was someone hired to do a task. Most of the time that worked. And when it didn't, I would walk away and bump my head on the wall or shoot myself with my finger pistol. I know that long term dealing with the stress is not good, but I usually just aim for dealing with situations short term.

The good news for me is that my mother is not so difficult anymore. She feels bad and isn't happy, but at least she stopped her verbal barbs. Maybe that will happen for you, too.

I do think we need to learn ways to deal with our stress. I thought I was dealing with mine, but my body is telling the true tale. That happens sometimes to caregivers from what I'm seeing, particularly those where family bonds are broken and jagged. I think if we could somehow manage to not take things personally, let things slide, and take care of our mental/physical health, we would have this caregiving thing down pat.
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Here is how it looks to me, New2Dementia:

You set yourself a task that you can never succeed at.
You fail.
You feel guilty.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. You keep doing it over and over.

You have had a dysfunctional relationship with your mother all your life. You hope that by doing The Right Thing and putting your life on hold you can redeem this relationship. Sorry. That is not how it works.

I am sorry to be so blunt, but in my view you are not doing The Right Thing. It isn't bringing peace or joy or thankfulness to your mother, and it is making your life miserable. How can that be Right?

Nothing much is going to change unless you take steps to make changes. The dementia is going to get worse and it is anyone's guess what that will do to an already dysfunctional relationship.

Why do you continue with your life on hold without seeing benefits to your mother or yourself? Why keep doing what doesn't work?
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New, just read the rest of your thread. Clearly, you've found a way to communicate the facts to her docs (good for you!) What may need to happen now is for someone else to take over next time she goes to the hospital. You indicate to the discharge staff that she's non compliant with any sensible directives and that you will not be providing ongoing supervision and/or care.
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Thank you for your reply. You're correct in your assessment of my situation. Nothing much has changed and j know things are going to get worse. All of this is just so stressful. Thank you again for your reply.
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New2Dementia, I've been reading over your questions/answers from the past year or so and it seems like not much has changed. As you know dementia only gets worse. Your situation is very stressful. Just recently one of our writers here on the forums had a heart attack.

You will need to start planning Plan B which would be interviewing continuing care facilities that would be a good match for your Mom... the sooner the better so that she can learn her way around the facility, learn the Staff, and develop a lot of new friendships with the other residents.
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This is very hard as my mother is a tough case. Even her friends from college try to reason with her and talk to her about her situation. She doesn't like what they have to say and that's that. Most are frustrated with her and only talk to her when she calls them.
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Thanks again for your reply. No POA as she doesn't trust us. It's like pulling teeth suggesting anything as she says she'd be doing what she wanted to if we didn't tell her Drs she's sick or that she couldn't drive.
I lived with her for over a year after moving to her city but recently got my own place because I was getting caregiver burn out.
Telling her "this is what you're going to do" would start WW3.
She is tough as nails. Not a passive Dementia patient.
Even her Drs (she's switched them multiple times after they tell her what she doesn't want to hear) are frustrated.
II'm feeling guilty when I stand up and try to tell her about herself when she acts irrational.
The Altz Assoc and folks on this forum say it's the disease and you can't rationalize with a person with Dementia. I know this, but it's hard and I get frustrated and feel guilty after I get upset with her.
Also, she's always been a it's my way or the highway" person before the Dementia.. I'm just feeling guilty for walking away from what could have been a heated argument last night. Hoping she won't remember it today. The guilt is what I am having a hard time with.
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I'm so sorry, mis-read this as being your mother in law. Do you have POA? Is it possible for you to live nearby and not live with her? What is your response when she says hurtful things? Do you leave the room?

You say she does not want to leave her home; apparently your being there is enabling her to stay there. YOU know that, but presumably with dementia, she doesn't think that you're necessary. Is there adult day care in her area? Don't make it a "do you want to". "Mom, there's a Senior center nearby, I've arranged for you to go this morning". Church? Volunteer opportunities? What is the senior transportation situation in your area?
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She says she does not want to leave her home. She has a pension but no social security benefits. Health care paid from her pension and she has partial Medicare from my father (they are divorced).
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Thanks for your reply. I didn't want to be too lengthy in my post. You can click on my profile to see my history.
I did not have a close relationship with my mother (historically speaking very dysfunctional).
My mother has no family outside of myself and my brother.
I thought I was doing the "right thing" by moving to her city to care for her after she was diagnosed.
She's not an invalid and can bathe and cook for herself. Her memory is declining and we have to make sure she takes her meds and stays hydrated. To big factors we've learned than can avoid medical issues (I.e. UTI's and dehydration).
It's not rewarding because she says she doesn't need help and shows no appreciation. She wants to go out and be social but she cannot drive and won't accept thus (Drs orders). She won't ask for help because she was highly independent until 2-3 years ago.
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A little more information would be helpful. Why have you put your life on hold to care for her? Is your own career and retirement secure? Are you finding this a rewarding thing to do, this caregiving? Did you previously have a loving, trusting relationship? If the answer to those three questions is no, then perhaps HER family needs to rethink this setup. Does she have funds to pay for her care? Would it make a difference to you if you were being fairly compensated for your time and effort? Think about all that and let us know.
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