My MIL who is in her 90's has her mind. She can talk to anyone about anything but cannot rationalize things well. Her common sense has diminished. She won't read a menu well because she does not have the attention span to read all the options which confuse her so she picks one of the first items she reads off the menu. She does not plan well anymore or have good judgment. She has CHF, diabetes, Stage 4 kidney failure.

I've heard that sometimes people with vascular dementia can be angry and hateful. She certainly is that! She does not like that she went into assisted living and cannot handle the word "no" which we have to tell her sometimes now that my husband and I are responsible for her. Is there an easy way to diagnose her. If it is determined she has vascular dementia, that would explain a lot of what we have recently been going through and we would be able to explain it to other family members who are not aware of all the realities we deal with.

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My mom was diagnosed with vascular dementia (from mini-strokes we didn’t even know she was having!) and evidence of Lewy Body Dementia. My mom is very nice, only gets agitated if she remembers/thinks about us getting rid of her stuff because she had to placed in a nursing home. However, she can barely speak so maybe that keeps her from really voicing her opinion.
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My Mom’s been ornery over the years, but now she does same as yours - if I express any type of opinion she FLIES off the handle and raises her voice, continuing to talk over me.

As an only child, I solicited help from my cousin, a geriatric nurse who Mom likes a lot, to speak to Mom about the dangers of no a/c and windows closed during this past summer (which I’ve been talking to her about for 3+ years). Terry said she NEVER heard Mom speak to her in that tone and Mom was NOT happy to be ‘told’ about the a/c by Terry.

This and many other oddities are now documented for Mom’s ‘new’ doc. Looking forward to his response after he receives fully executed Advance Directives allowing me to speak with him. Wondering if it’s vascular dementia, as well.

Keep us posted. I’ll do the same.
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My 92 year old mother has dementia of some kind and is SO incredibly argumentative that she contradicts herself in an effort to disagree. She says rotten tjings and puts everybody down left and right. Nobody can ever do Enough for her. Ever.
We've been through several telephones, and now it's the remote. She keeps getting the Spanish-speaking button to work somehow so she loses the voice on the channel she's watching. I keep getting calls about there is no voice on my TV. Back and forth we go like raving lunatics. Stop arguing with your mother-in-law and agree with everything she says. No matter how ridiculous a statement she makes, just agree with it. It doesn't matter what the diagnosis is, all you need to worry about is keeping the peace. If your other family members believe that your mother-in-law does not belong in assisted living, have them take her in. I guarantee you she will be out of their homes within a week and your family members will stop arguing with you. Nobody understands the misery of dementia until they're forced to see it and deal with it daily. Sigh.

I wish you the best of luck in this extremely frustrating situation
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Some unsolicited advice from me - unless your son and/or hubby's cousin are willing to give up their lives and take mean MIL in, you need to harden yourself against any criticism that comes from them. Bringing her home, IMHO would be a terrible mistake. Again, IMHO, the only family members who get to complain are the ones who are A) willing to take her on 24/7 or B) have already taken her on 24/7. Those on the outside don't get a vote no matter how often she calls them about being mistreated. If they are that concerned, they can go visit and talk to her care team.

Chances are she'll never be happy in assisted living. Unfortunately that's life. I've had my mom in and out of skilled nursing all year for a variety of ailments. My biggest regret was letting her leave early in January because "they aren't doing anything here". I did it because I was sick and tired of her calling and texting all day long about how the food was so horrible and she was starving. It was a huge mistake. She's now totally bedridden and had I made her stay in January, there is a slim chance she would have been able to at least stand and transfer again. She belongs in a nursing home and refuses to go, but that is another story. You've already got MIL in assisted living. Let the family know that unless someone other than you and hubby are willing to take her in full time OR live with her at her house full time, then she's not going anywhere.
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Sandra, my very laid back and easy-going father was like that the last few years of his life. He was never diagnosed but I suspected vascular dementia. He'd had three heart attacks in the span of 10 years and had congestive heart failure the last 8 years of his life. His heart functioned at about 40% capacity and he was always cold. My mother is very demanding and controlling and ragged on that poor man their entire marriage. It had to be a match made in heaven because any other man would have dumped her off the roof YEARS ago. But after they both turned 80 (he died last year at 87) he started mouthing off and talking back to her. It was totally out of character but I always assumed that after 55 years of marriage he'd finally had it! Then other odd behavior crept in. He was losing his otherwise impeccable sense of direction. When he got lost leaving a doctor's appointment 4 years ago, he voluntarily gave up driving. After a major illness kept my mom in the hospital for 4 months two years ago, he really went downhill. He couldn't remember how to use the telephone or the remote control and spent most of the day and night sleeping. He even lost interest in playing solitaire on the iPad. And his personality grew more and more contentious.

My mom never fully accepted it was dementia. However, I knew it had to be when he would carry his shorts and boxers with him to his chair after using the bathroom and then put them on. My father was obsessively modest around me from the day I was born and he never would have done that with me in the house if he'd had all of his faculties.

Although I knew that his behavior was being driven by a fading brain, it didn't make the situation any easier. When he finally passed, it was a huge relief.
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SandraDIL Sep 2019
Thank you! My MIL has always been contentious but not so mean. Now she is mean! If you do not agree with her, she raises her voice and continues to talk so you can't be heard. Now that she is in assisted living, she is unhappy about it I believe because she realizes at 95 that she is in the final stage of her life. So she takes it out on everyone who thinks she should be in assisted living. We hope that we can get a diagnosis so that my son and my husband's cousin (my MIL's niece) who think maybe she should not be in assisted living, can understand what is causing her to become frantic, lash out and place phone calls to them saying she is not being treated well. She just has not given it time. Regardless if it ever becomes a perfect spot for her, she needs to be there and in life, we sometimes have to accept that there are going to be times that we have to accept with the grace of God. Her bad behavior has caused friction between our family members. Thanks again for sharing. Your comments about the phone and remote especially hit home. Before she moved into assisted living, my husband would get about 3-5 calls a week saying her remote did not work. In the span of 2 years, she has changed phones 6 times because she claims the phone broke. I just have to remind myself to take 1 step at a time and work through this.
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