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I need some help here! My mom has dementia and lately, she has been depressed & lots of mood & behavior issuses. What do I do to make her feel like all hope isnt lost? She gets mad at me all the time because she feels I should be able to go where ever she needs to when she needs to. It is frustrating because I'm also trying to live my own life as well & she doesn't seem to hold any regard for what I have going on or plans/appointments I may have. Any advice would be great. Thanks everyone & god bless.

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My Mom wants me to be with her. She is 99 and 3/4 years old. I have been with her since since January 2015. Their was so much conflict with her previous Senior Facility and a dysfunctional family from a brother, his wife, and a cousin who wanted me out and the facility to take over her care. Brother lives out of town and calls infrequently, visits even less, cousin is in his late 80's and is not in touch with Mother and reality. It was nothing but stress on me and it was injurious to Mother as they (The facility, brother and cousin) forced separation of Mother and myself. The facility was incapable and negligent caring for her in Personal Care. I could not get any agencies to advocate for Mother and myself. It was very political. We were fortunate to get Mother out alive and with her eyesight although she is greatly damaged..... My son came to the rescue and got Mother out of there after my hours were cut back to 4 hours a day 5 days a week. It is nice to see this article and be able to respond to something other than total family dysfunction which can kill the LO. Mother and I are both very happy in her new facility. It is official, I stay with her 24 x 7. Everyone here are nice, every loving. Mother is on a good diet, she gets exercise and is well enough that my son and his wife no longer have to be here when I go to an appointment as Mom likes to go to the Dr. with me for my appointments and also for her cat's vet appointments or to drop Kitty off at the groomers. Everything is within 5 minutes. Mother and Kitty cuddle all day. Mother is in a wheelchair outside the apartment. We go the dining room for all meals, we dress in coordinated outfits, Mother takes her purse whenever we go and she wears her pearls. She loves a new outfit or item of clothing. She loves visits from my son and his wife + we are 5 generations, she loves the ladies who sit with us at meal times and an activity every day or every other day. I am her full time caretaker and have had a lifetime having a life of my own. This is welcome relief. We say thanks and prayers together every night and Mother went to Church with me on Sunday. God willing we will have many happy years to enjoy our new found peace. Mother keeps on improving in her socializing, eating, personal hygiene, walking and memory in day to day living since we moved to the new Senior Living Facility. My son and his wife like having our house mostly to themselves. Our Bible Study Group was a great help in this transition. Praise God. Think about the good times with your LO's and build on that.
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Yes, yes, you are so right about this jeannegibbs. Thanks for the clairification. There are so many facets to this disease.
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newtonjoyce, I think the real mother inside would want her children to each have their own lives -- but Kelly's mom has dementia and depression. I was making a distinction between the disease and the real person Kelly grew up with. My mantra for many months was "That's not my husband saying those things. It is the disease." Yes, there are many things that have to be done to deal with the disease. For me it is important not to lose sight of the "real" person within the disease.
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ACtually, the message about your Mom wanting you to have your own life I don't really agree on. They are like little children in that you are their security. We are my dad's life, his security, his rock. Just like a child they need to know what is going on and don't assume they remember that you have run little Johnny to football practice. Leave a note reminding them where you are.
If they can still remember how to answer a phone (my dad does not) call and let them know you are on the way. etc etc. My dad is becoming more and more dependent and his security is laying in bed all day unless I take him for a ride. That's his stable security...not good in that he losses muscle tone...but he doesn't know how to be social anymore, doesn't read or write, play games etc. I am now arranging for a sitter to be with him while I am gone so that he feels safe and secure. Just one of those things that has to be done.
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Kelly, the other posters are correct ... depression often does accompany dementia. Depression is also treatable. The other behavioral issues such as mood swings, and inappropriate anger may also be treatable.

If your mother developed a severe persistent cough, you would probably take her to a professional to have it evaluated and treated. This is the same deal. She has developed signs of depression. I hope that you can take her to a geriatric psychiatrist or a neurologist who specializes in dementia, and get a treatment plan in place. Be aware that prescribing for conditions of the brain involves some experimentation, because no two brains are identical. If the first drug does not help, there are several others that might.

Meanwhile, know that the "real" mother is still in there. She can't help her bad moods. Keep reminding yourself that it is the disease, not your real mother, that is demanding and needy. Certainly it is frustrating. But you need to go about your own life in a way that the "real" mother would approve, not be cowed by the disease. Surely your mother wants you to have a life. She can't help what the disease is doing to her.

There is no cure for dementia; it gets worse. But there are treatments for many of the accompaning symptoms. I hope that consulting with the right kind of professional will allow more of your real mother to come forward.

Hugs, smiles, little surprises, treats, and patience are all very appropriate, too!
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I love the ideas here! Thanks so much! I found the meds for Depression did not work for my Dad. They only made things worse. The hardest thing I found with Dad is he is hard of hearing so misunderstands and gets his feelings hurt very often. Hearing aids work part of the time but he thinks he doesn't need them and then losses them too. Hugs, smiles, "I love you's" go a long way to beat depression.
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I just read previous responses & all of them are correct. Depression & dementia do go hand in hand. It is very difficult to re-train yourself to not react to the extreme mood swings. I find that laughter is truly the best medicine when & if you are capable of redirecting your mother's mind set at the time. Before I truly realized the nature of the disease I would also try to contradict my mother's thinking & actions to no avail & would beat myself up after because of the conflict we had. My advice is to take the advice from the other respondants as far as medication to help alleviaye some of these issues. Watching your parent's frustration first hand is not easy but being creative with redirection of their thoughts helps tremendously. Don't debate or try to battle the issue because it is a futile effort & too wearing on yourself.
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We had this problem with FIL. Got him on an anti-depressant after his physcian assessed him. Two weeks later - happy man. (AS long as I have known him he has NEVER been happy. Evidently, he was depressed for a long long time).
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I am going through a similar situation and I find that the best approach for me is just to be steady and calm in my response. In other words, I am trying to no react. My mother is in a retirement home so I go and see her and if she's depressed, then I have a bad visit but I can leave and carry on. I just don't get into any conflict with her. I just nod and listen and don't say very much. This is easier said than done but it works for me. Also, we have seen a geriatric psychologist and I am hoping he will prescribe an anti-depressant but that hasn't happened yet. Hope this helps and good luck.
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Hopefully she is receiving some meds to help her with her depression or at least some natural remedies for depression, teas etc. . Then here are a few fun suggestions...that I used with my own mother. Hug her often and tell her how much you love her...how happy you are that she is your mother. ...Be playful... Sit down beside her...hold her close and sway back and forth together. Give her little surprises...a little trinket or something that she can take care of...perhaps a little plant. My mother loved to receive gum. Tell her something good about how she looks or what makes her special. Make a plan so she has something to look forward to.. Another good thing that is calming is to syncronize your breath with hers and just hold her. Look into her face and smile with your eyes as well as your mouth. and say I love you. Smiles are catching! These things all feel wonderful even when not suffering from depression. It is so nice to share love and hugs with all those special people in our lives. You hang in there....You are a good daughter to be concerned about your mother...I am sure that you are doing everything right...it is just that it is really h--l to be old and have all these ailments. God bless you and your mother....hugs for you. ~ Bobbi
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I would encourage you to get your Mom on some medication that will help her. Many Many medications are available. If she does not want to take the medication, maybe you can get her some counseling. This is not easy I know... take care God Bless!
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I have given my mother a kitten so that she feels that she is needed by "someone". Mom is used to being a caregiver, so this is the perfect solution for her.

Also, she has a part time caregiver who acts as her friend/companion which helps enormously. I no longer need to provide a psychologist to deal with her depression.

Keeping her physically active with yoga, dance or sound input (a Bose radio) is not only stimulating, but well appreciated. The radio station is kept on a classical station to keep her from being anxious.

She also has lunch/dinner with residents that are active and talkative. They know that she has dementia and help her along in conversation.

These are some things that I have done for her. Let me know the response you get from your Mother/Father.
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There are many anti-depressants which help someone suffering from dementia - depression and mood swings. A geriatric psychiatrist is a good avenue to pursue.
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Kelly, you don't indicate if you live with your mom. The aggravation and mood swings likely symptoms of the disease. The depression is also a part of the disease. Consider how it must be: in lucid moments she knows she is not functioning as she once did. She doesn't want to face that and there is no way to escape it.

You can't feel responsible for "making her feel all hope isn't lost". You can only keep a positive, reassuring attitude with her. I

It's okay to set boundries! You have to take care of yourself, too. If you can do so kindly you will feel good about the interactions. If she doesn't allow that, accept responsibility for your own behavior and reactions and blame her attitudes/outbursts on the disease - over which neither one of you has any control.

As I said earlier today, we can't keep beating ourselves up. Protect your heart and your own life. After all, our parents had their lives and we are still entitled to ours. So we need to take care of them with love and kindness but remain true to ourselves. (I need to listen to my own words here!) God Bless!!
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