How do I handle my mother with dementia, who's been very emotional and verbally abusive to me?


My mother's dementia began 5 yrs ago but was only dx this year, bc she refused to see a doctor. She's still in denial. We were always close but she suddenly turned on me. She accused me of all the things she was doing, said I was a liar. I lost my only sibling, my brother to suicide 2 years ago. I live 550 miles away from her. She's in assisted living. Since my brother's death, she's left with no family to take care of her, so my sister inlaw went behind my back and made arrangements to put my mother in assisted living, then got her to sign a POA naming my sister inlaw to make all decisions for her, even financial. My mother hat repeatedly said she will never give my sister inlaw that kind of control, however she has. Look I've called and asked mother what she had for lunch or dinner within 30min to an hour after and she doesn't remember. She gets extremely confused and couldn't remember her address and phone # last year!
I and my daughter surprised mother before Mother's Day to bring her home with us for a visit. After we arrived, my sister inlaw showed up angry that we were there because she was taking my mother to an attorney to get her to sign a POA! Mother had no idea where she was going and had no knowledge of what she was going to sign. I explained what the POA meant and she was very upset. She kept saying she wanted me to take care of those important matters because I was her daughter. She adamantly expressed this to my sister inlaw.
We we got to my home, my daughters and I were very concerned that my sister inlaw was trying to take advantage of mother. I called an attorney and told him what had happened and he met with me and said I needed to file for guardianship to protect mother. You must notify any next of kin, she had a bro and niece, both who lived in the same state, both in bad health and neither able or willing to take care of mother. I had been trying for 2 years to persuade mother to come live with me or just look at facilities near me, which are much nicer, have more people and entertainment for her plus memory care. She refused to leave her hometown. I did file for guardianship while she was at my home, not knowing if I needed to keep her with me because I had seen that her condition had deteriorated. I did everything legally, she would have her chance to talk to a judge and he would determine her competency. Whether she remained with me or not, no one would have been able to take advantage of her. When her bro and niece were notified by court of my filing fir guardianship, they called her, upset her, but they weren't willing to help me. She insisted on going home immediately and we would need to make arrangements. She called several people, I know she talked to my sister inlaw in addition to her bro and niece. Someone was so mean and vindictive that they told my mother I had abducted her and was not going to let her go home! Before I could get into court she had my sister inlaw, if all people coming to get her. Legally I couldn't stop her and anyway, I didn't want her upset any more. The next thing I know, my sister inlaw is arranging an estate sale of everything left in my mother's home, all had been left to me, and my daughter's and I were to move this fall. I was never called or consulted about anything. I learned that my mother had signed a contract, I explained that she shouldn't be signing anything, then I was told it didn't matter bc my sister inlaw was handling everything and she had POA! I knew if other things that my sister inlaw had done, one was keeping my mothers house bc we put it in my brother's name to remove my mother's name from the deed, never suspecting my bro would commit suicide and die. My sister inlaw was aware that my bro and I agreed to sell the house to use the money to take care of mother and anything left we would split. After my bro died, my sister inlaw brought my mother the property taxes and insurance bill and told her that the bills were HERS and they were for HER HOUSE. So my mother has paid those bills all the time thinking that her house still belonged to her. I have cried and pleaded with mother trying to make her understand that it isn't her house. Mother keeps insisting that my sister inlaw has been good to her. I have even reported this to Elder Abuse in the state, they investigated and informed me that my mother said she knew everything she had signed and it was all her decisions. My mother refuses to admit there is anything wrong with her. Anyone but me can talk her into anything, she's very gullible now. I spent all my $ trying to get the guardianship and now I have no funds to hire an attorney. Anytime I try to discuss this with mother, im yelled at and called a liar. She's even called just to be mean to me, then hangs up on me. I have already had an emotional breakdown and have been hospitalized twice because I can't handle it anymore. Yet I miss her and am unable now to even talk to her bc of the abuse. She isn't aware of what she did.

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The judge postponed the court date, my mother wanted to leave, I had no legal right to keep her, so I wasn't able to get the guardianship due to her leaving. She returned to her hometown. That's when my SIL took advantage of her and got the POA. Anyone can get a POA for an elderly person even if they aren't related to the elder, even without any family being notified, I mean anyone, as long as they can convince the elder that they need to sign so they can take care of them. Very easy too if you have an attorney involved who not very trustworthy. He may not know the elder well enough to determine competency, but hey, he's getting paid! After it's been signed and notarized, the only way to prove it was obtained illegally is to get an attorney and file an injunction, then proceed in court. I checked into all this, just to file the injunction was going to cost $3000, then who knows how much more to get it revoked. I had already spent $1550 to file the guardianship. So I tried to get the state involved and called Elder Abuse. They sent Adult Protective Services to investigate. My mother actually believes there is nothing wrong with her except old age, totally unaware she has dementia. If you don't know her, aren't aware of her life, don't ask the right questions, like where were you born, how old is your daughter, what year did your son die, etc, they might not realize that she's impaired. She will say whatever, agree, go along with anything to ensure she on top of everything! The investigator believed mother when she told them that she paid all the taxes because she wanted to. No, the first time my SIL brought the bills to her, mother was livid, because she was knew they weren't hers to pay. She paid them because she was afraid she might make mother move out.
Look, go to court and get a guardianship for your parent, while they are mentally competent...the guardianship can be stated that it does not go
into effect until that patent becomes incompetent. You c
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Thank you all for your responses. My mother HAD been diagnosed with dementia before my SIL took her to an attorney. I think she likely told my mother that IF she wanted to stay in her hometown that she had to sign it. Also that it would keep me, her daughter from ever taking her to live with me or in a facility near me. I did file for guardianship when my mother was visiting me, you must notify immediate family, which was mother's bro and niece (neither is in good health, willing or able to care for her), you must go before a judge and he determines whether mother is competent an
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Hi GagirlNTn, regarding the law and situation with your mothers house, whats done is done and there is no turning back or changing the law. However, you must learn to walk away when your Mum is verbally abusive, for your own sanity and for your health. Don't argue with your Mum, although what she is saying, she believes to be true. Just ignore her and walk away. Protect your health at all costs, All the best, Arlene Hutcheon, New Zealand
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GagirlNtn: Take her to see her doctor stat! Btw, no one should tolerate abusive behavior!
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Hope you get it straightened out soon!
1. The person can be in a care facility, or living at their own house with help, and someone else has guardianship; not necessary to live in house with guardian, but easier, for paperwork. IF you have a valid, legal guardianship, it's not a problem to have the elder under your roof, if you want...BUT if SIL holds POA for all Mom's affairs, it could be a _huge and complicated liability_ for you to have Mom live under your roof!
2. APS needed to see the Doctor's records stating Mom incompetent, the date, and the Diagnosis....if they'd seen that before they talked with your Mom, they'd have had a heads-up, and probably would not have said that.
Doctors and lawyers failing to record/acknowledge incompetency, have caused billions of dollars of estate messes!
3. County records should show who pays the taxes. Mom paying tax on Brother's property, could open more can of worms.
===IF someone tries to get a POA or guardianship, AFTER the elder has been pronounced incompetent, it requires some legal proceedings to change those.
IF they try to usurp a standing guardianship or POA, _after_ someone already has a valid one of those, it requires legal proceedings to do it, unless they pull shady dealings with new lawyer.
A lawyer KNOWINGLY re-doing someone's estate plans _after_ the person is declared incompetent, has done something illegal...but plenty do it anyway. Countless elders have been led to a new lawyer, by relative or friend wanting control of the elder's estate, to new, "unsuspecting" lawyers, and made out entirely different wills...then legally registered the new documents....which supersede old ones....even though the person is incompetent. That requires much costly work to fix.
Families drag their feet at getting the elder declared incompetent, saying "Mom refuses to see a Doctor", or, "don't want to upset her", etc. excuses. Usually bad when those caring for an elder, fail to get that declaration--because it invariably screws things up!
===IF Mom signed someone to be guardian, _before_ diagnoses incompetent, that guardianship or POA is legal, unless other issues cloud it.
Anyone trying to take that away from the designated person, would have to go through legal proceedings to prove the named person unfit; it must be darn good reasons [not simply that you are her daughter, and the person holding the guardianship or POA isn't].
===IF SIL got POA _after_ a Doc diagnosed incompetence, that POA is most probably illegal/invalid....because no one can say she's competent for signing legal documents, once she'd already been diagnosed incompetent.
The lawyer who writes the new POA or guardianship, might try to say he didn't know she'd been declared..and might get away with it.
At that point, it's a matter of spending money and time to overturn the invalid POA/guardianship...but since she's already been declared incompetent, it takes more legal proceedings to fix it, as far as I know. Can take years, and lots of money.
Sometimes, families just end up shafted by the new documents/usurpers.
One G'ma had set her legal paperwork up, far ahead of her incompetency.
However, her jealous law, led her by the hand, before she got diagnosed [but should have been, because she was clearly incompetent!], did an entirely new will giving everything to him, and the crook lawyer as her Executor.
Her BIL [himself dying of cancer] had crook lawyer insert a codicil threatening to gift the entire estate to the Boy Scouts of America, if anyone hinted anything was wrong with the documents he'd set up.
Gma, at the time he took her to the new lawyer, was CLEARLY unable to reason, much less communicate well [blind, deaf, incoherent by then to all observing].
Got away with it, because Gma had Not been diagnosed as "incompetent" by any of her Docs at the time.
They clearly STOLE her substantial estate. BIL magnanimously set up a monthly small stipend for Dad; after he died, Mom got bit larger amount [but not much]
...then arbitrarily set a cut-off date, after which stipend stopped.
Remaining balance went to BIL's heirs, or Boy Scouts!
Her home and contents were auctioned off.
NOTHING allowed to family, despite G'ma having written labels and stuck them to backs of furniture, designating who was supposed to get each piece.
NOTHING in new set-up, resembled what Gma had often stated as her desires, and set up herself.
That new crooked lawyer collected "plum" estates to manage, like G'ma's, because that was a steady income for him. When the old crook died, he left all the plum estates to his lawyer son, who continued that tradition.
Best Mom could do, after _YEARS_ of trying to get back control of the estate, got Executorship changed from that crook, to herself.
But there was no way for her to change the new will; it was lost.
Be careful.
Hope things go well for you!
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Anytime someone gets bossy, abusive, and argumentative, sometimes you just have to drop everything and leave. I've had to do this multiple times because I just couldn't take what was dished out. As an abuse survivor of childhood abuse, I knew deep down I couldn't take it and I knew my triggers enough to know when to fold and go. Sometimes you just have to leave the situation and let someone else take care of it
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The best way to handle verbally abusive people is to walk out as soon as it starts and keep on walking. I've had to do this many times because this is what helps save your sanity so that you don't snap later. I also found that sometimes staying away for the rest of the day also helps. Sometimes you just have to let people fend for themselves and face the music by experiencing the consequences of their choices. Sometimes you just have to save your sanity by leaving and see if you don't feel better right away, and if you feel better staying away you might also find you really like it there, meaning you prefer distance. Your should never stay around where you're being abused in any way, doing so speaks volumes of your self-esteem and well-being. You really don't have to take the abuse, you can leave even if it means leaving the person alone. I've had to do this multiple times to save my own sanity and to keep from snapping, sometimes this is absolutely necessary
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I have a different viewpoint - you attempted to "surprise" your mom by an unplanned visit to take her away 550 miles from where she was living & then you are surprised her brother and your niece did not support you. It sounds like assisted living is where she should be - and it is expensive - someone is paying. Perhaps the SIL with proceeds from the house? If her dementia started 5 years ago, then your B & SIL have been dealing with this closely for a long time. Heal yourself, repair your relationship with your mom, sister in law, and uncle.
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Sorry you are going through this. There was a time my mom hated me also. There really was nothing I could do about it; and you cannot reason or argue with someone with dementia. My mom also lives in memory care and does not think anything is wrong with her.

Is you mom still in assisted living - this may be the best place for her. Believe me if you are stressed out now, you will be incredibly stressed taking care of someone with dementia. Its not an easy job.

POA can be revoked at any time. I would suggest to trying to rebuild you relationship with your mom. Make your visits pleasant, don't argue with her. Stop trying to prove a point - your mom doesn't have the logic or reasoning skills any more. Maybe eventually you can get POA or maybe a court appointed guardian would be best.
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Dear GaGirlnTN, I have done for my Mom so many of the things your SIL has done for yours. I hope you appreciate the never ending work involved when you are the closest relative and have to step in and do what has to be done. I would give anything to have a SIL who could takeover because, as others have mentioned, your health is at risk. I'm so sorry you are in this heartbreaking mess. I feel rage and sadness most of the time and try to remember that it's this most horrible disease of dementia that I'm mad as hell at. Family dynamics are so tough. I know you want the best for your Mom. I say the AA serenity prayer as I drive to my Mom's each am. Also the Al-Anon Do's and Don'ts help. I am so sorry you are in this difficult position.
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