How to help Mom with her anger when you reminder her of something she forgot because of her dementia?

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My mom who is 84, has dementia and other medical problems, is starting to become upset when she askes for help with something or about a problem and I try and to help out. Example: We bought her a new camera for Christmas, we put batteries in it and a memory chip. At a dinner on Dec 31st we took pictures with the camera and tried to help her use it. We explainded to her that if she leave the camera on or keeps looking a the pictures she as taken, it uses up batteries life. Last night we were there and she was having problems with the camera. She was telling us that she had not taken any pictures and that it just didn't work. We tried to explain to her that we had used the camera and that she was taking pictures just the other night. She just became angery at us for saying that she was taking pictures and that no she had not used the camera. Well, we went and got new batteries for the camera and it started to work just find and we showed her the pictures that she had taken. Same kind of thing happend about a conversation about her phone. She has used a cell phone for the last 2 years and then last week we were talking about her cell phone and she said that this was news to her that she had a cell phone and became upset with me because I didn't tell her about the cell phone plan. She is on my family plan and I pay for the cell phone bill. I'm just not sure how to talk with her when she gets in one of these moods and lately it is becoming more frequent. I tell her that I am very sorry that she can't remember, when we have talked or when she has done something and then I think she just becomes more angrey or saddened. I would not say that my mom is depressed but maybe she is. Any suggestion on how to deal with these types of situations?

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don't tell her its because of her dementia. just keep it that YOU know it is, but you never gain anything by making her angry by telling her that, just say, "oh I forgot" blame it on 'your' forgetfulness. you don't mind that, do you?
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Alwayslearning, you hit the nail right on the head. I recently finally realized the distinction, too, and now do the same assessment and then "do the stuff in the first group." Sometimes, admittedly, I forget, but I'm getting better...
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Here's another way of saying the same thing others have suggested, which may help you (in all areas of life, actually!!!): keep track of the actual topic under discussion. Ask yourself, "Are we talking about the cell phone (where it is, does it work, etc), or are we talking about her and/or her memory (whether or not she knew she had one, whether or not we've shown it to her)?" Do the stuff in the first group. Don't do the stuff in the second.
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When my dad gets mad about how something isn't working right, or it is news to him that we have a doctor appointment that day, I have found it useless to remind him that I told him, or that the thing would work but you have to turn it on, just like I showed him before. It FEELS like this is a discussion about them blaming us for the thing they can't work/can't remember. On a certain level, maybe they are. But the baseline level is: I want to use this thing and it doesn't work. I want to be in charge of my day and I'm taken by surprise that my day is now different than I thought it would be.

So reply on the level of the real issue, and slide right past the blame you feel being directed at you. Telling them you already showed them that ("so I can't be wrong, Mom/Dad -- YOU are the one with the memory problem here") doesn't address the real need. Tell them you will take a look at the camera and see what odd thing it's doing. Then present it with the new batteries and know you'll be changing batteries every time you see her. With my Dad and the doctor appointments, I now just say, "That's odd! Well, anyway, today you get to see Dr. (whomever -- there are so many) and that's always a fun day for you!"

The dementia only gets worse. My learning curve has been to keep reminding myself that this isn't a case where their abilities improve. And it isn't a case where I can do anything to restore Dad to an earlier, more independent state. In THIS MOMENT, I can find ways to respond to the thing he is really worried about. The blame is just his way of saying, "my world is still in control. This isn't my fault, because if it were, my world would be spinning out and that would put me over the edge." That's on my good days, of course. LOL. I guess today must be one of them, which is why you are getting this advice today. ;-) Sending all good vibes.
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You know my folks couldn't understand even how to program their DVD, cordless phone, cell phone etc. and they didn't have dementia. They were just not used to using such things. My mother went to her grave HATING technology! My dad has gotten a new cordless phone now and as usual he had to have help programing the phone numbers into it, but by golly he's getting 'it'. We think it's funny how dad is getting stuff now that my mother would never let him have in the past. For her it was all nonsense and not worth the time, and he just didn't want to fight about it. But when you don't have dementia, it may be hard to get 'it' but eventually you do understand the how's, and you can also retain the memory of how you got there. That seems to be the difference.
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Yes, her dementia is getting worse. (It is what dementia does, you know.)

It is understandable why you would buy a camera. And perhaps at the time she started asking for one she might have been able to use it. At this point she apparently can't. That is sad for all of you. Now that you see how your mother reacts when you remind her and tell her she has forgotten it is probably time to adopt a different approach. This is one of the challenges of a progressive disease. We have to keep progressing with it. Perhaps it would work better now if you accept her reality. "Oh, I'm so sorry that dumb camera isn't working. Let me take it and try to get it fixed for you." Then get batteries for it and if she asks give it back to her, but don't expect better results. In general don't argue over who is "right" or whether something did or didn't happen in the recent past. Accept her, love her, comfort her. To best help her with her anger, try hard not to trigger the anger.

What you are doing now isn't working at this new level of memory loss. Make adjustments and by trial-and-error discover what works better. I suggest that instead of saying you are very sorry she doesn't remember, say you are very sorry that the camera doesn't work. Instead of arguing about how long she's had a cell phone, say, "Oh I thought I told you about that. I'm sorry. I guess I'm getting forgetful."

Best wishes to you as you struggle with this new level of reality in your mother's progressive disease.
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My mom had cameras before, the last one was an old one that just would not work any more. Every time I went over to see her, she ask about the camera and if my husband had fixed it. So for Christmas be bought her a cheap camera, as she really wanted one. As for the phone, can work the cell phone and now has trouble working a land line phone. The camera issues was just an example, there have been many other things that come up that she has angry when I try and reply to her. Could this be a sign that her dementia is getting worse?
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The fact that you're giving a person with dementia this new technology is funny to me. My mother-in-law also has dementia and can't remember ANYTHING. To give her such a thing (even if she could see better) would be an exercise in futility. If a person never used these things BEFORE they lost their memory, then there is no way they could use it now. You're beating your heads against a wall. It's a very nice idea though, if it were a perfect world.
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