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I miss my real Mom. She is a shadow of herself, with no personality.


Everyday I pray and say to myself I'm going to have more patience and be loving and kinder and touch my mom more. But I stay the same like a robot and bring her meals dress her and mostly leave her by herself . The guilt is awful. She's hard of hearing so I have to talk loud. Which makes my chest hurt. I cannot reason with her. She's says the craziest things I've ever heard. Don't understand something she is looking straight at. It's so upsetting every day. I miss my cool beautiful Mother. She was everything I aspire to be. Now she walks around half clothed smelly and hardly talks unless it's asking for food or drink. And I stay with a chip on my shoulder as my dad would say all the time. Any suggestions would help and thank you.

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The biggest step in being able to deal with "dementia mom" has to occur within your own mindset. If your mother had been in an auto accident and lost both her legs below the knees, would you be mad at her for not being able to easily walk anymore? Would you resent the active Mom wasn't around anymore? Be mad because she asked your help to get out of a chair? Dementia means your mother's brain is broken. In some ways it still works but it fails partially or completely in others. Personality changes are present in almost all dementia patients. Vascular dementia changed my father's personality so much he would scream about how much he hated me, wanted me gone, and even hoped I died before he did in very vulgar detail; absolutely nothing like the man who raised me. Eventually I was able to separate "my dad" from "dementia dad" in my mind and heart; they were two different people. Dementia dad was a shell with my dad's voice, but not his words, values, or personality. I didn't like dementia dad but sometimes when I spent time with dementia dad, my dad would make a brief appearance.

Grieve for real mom, because she is nearly as gone as if her physical body had already died. Don't feel guilty about disliking dementia mom, but realize real mom didn't choose to become dementia mom. I cannot explain how exactly, but I was able to tolerate dementia dad into the mid to advanced transition stages on a daily basis by concentrating on the "he didn't choose this" and "he needs my help". Later in the advanced stage, the emotional cost was higher than I could bear and I only visited for a couple of hours once a week after he was placed in MC.

You may be able to establish a new relationship with dementia mom, at least for a while. Maybe looking at old photographs and while Mom tells you about the people and places in them. Sing-a-longs with hymns or other songs you enjoyed together during your childhood? Having her back scratched or lotions applied? Combing her hair?

Leaving mom alone in her room too much may actually make her more aggressive tendencies worse. Consider an adult day care or bringing her into the kitchen or living room while you read or watch television (older shows watched during their adult-hoods seem to work best). Often you do not need to interact with your LO all that much just share the space.

You also need to find some methods of reducing or relieving your stress - quick ones and some with longer timeframes. Drinking a cup of coffee while you enjoy the view or peace of a deck or porch. Taking a walk around the house/yard or the block. Deep breathing or a soaking bath. Time off duty during adult day care, in home care hours or a relative giving you a break, even a respite week at a local MC. When you are less stressed, it is easier to tolerate dementia mom.

BTW: When she says the craziest thing ever, "That's nice" and "Really?" are completely appropriate responses!
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Thank you for this wise advice...
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Oh how I feel for you!

You lose your proper mother and you get this nutsoid mannequin instead, and she smells, and she constantly needs things from you, and every time she falls or she cries or she turns a peculiar colour it is ALL YOUR FAULT. You've got grief, loss, guilt, stress and resentment all rolled into one, and you didn't volunteer, and it isn't fair.

Two different perspectives to try:

1. If she weren't your mother, if she were some other equally helpless little old lady who you had to take responsibility for - never mind why - for, say, the next two years, how would you want to treat her?

2. If someone else were being you and taking care of your mother, how would you want that person to behave around her?

It was the falls risk that turned me into a screeching harridan. Mother had a call button. Every time you explained that she must press it before getting up from her chair, she would solemnly nod and agree and promise for next time. Then you'd turn your back and she'd be off on her travels, tottering along to the bathroom and bouncing off the walls. Cue self leaping up and down and tearing hair and shrieking "WHY - ?" and explaining all over again; and mother had one response "oh, I didn't want to bother you."

The penny half dropped when I realised that, no, she didn't want ME bothering HER.

And then fully dropped when I realised that she did not in fact use her call button because the mental process involved was beyond her. She didn't because she couldn't.

Anyway, that's quite enough from me - are you getting any respite at all? When did you last have a decent night's sleep and some time to yourself and an ordinary social conversation with a non-demented adult?
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Hi my mom will say alot oh I'm sorry I didn't want to bother you she constantly asked me if I want some of her food. AND she will save some for me anyway. It's true she has good and bad days. And sundowners at times. Im not resentful all the time. But when she's unreasonable and won't wash up or let me bathe her. I get very upset. Because it's embarrassing and the whole downstairs will smell when I open her door. Mostly the carpet. But she will come down and it's just awful and I tell her she will say it's me who smells or basically she ignores me. But she will follow me around downstairs. So I have to get help with the hygiene situation. It's alot of issues she's has. But I appreciate all the replys I received. It all helps..
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Accepting that a much-loved parent has become how you describe your mother as being is just about impossible. Please don’t punish yourself if you cannot do it. I never did and I am still resentful of what happened to my own mother and she’s been gone for 3 years. Every so often, a ray of sunshine will come through my dark thoughts about her and I will remember something wonderful or kind she did. It brings me some peace. But, like you, I tend to dwell on the times I visited her and she went on and on (graphically) about sex or was in a nasty mood or a space cadet. It helped a lot when people on this forum told me her “brain was broken” and she was not the person she was. She could not help the things she said or did. And if her former self could look at herself now, she’d be devastated and mortified by what she’d become. It helped me find some compassion. We are not prepared to handle this stuff and we shouldn’t punish ourselves because of that.

If there is any help available to you, take advantage of it, whether it’s help through her insurance, your church, your family, friends or community. Call your local Area Agency on Aging and ask about what’s offered to you. Good luck. I understand exactly how you feel.
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Hi I am looking for help. I have to have it. Unfortunately my niece who is very good at bathing her lives in the valley and hardly ever visits. And she mad because I won't give her my mom's car. Which I need.
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I pray every night that my poor Mother dies in her sleep. She was a high school math teacher who could do calculus in her head. Now she does not know even what 2+2 means, never mind knowing the answer. Dementia is a total thief of anything "normal". My mother falls on her face a lot because she does not know that she is supposed to put her hands out to stop the fall. Memory Care doctor got her one-on-one physical therapy to stop the falling and it has been six months since the last fall. I keep telling myself that is NOT my Mother, because Alzheimer's has robbed her of any common sense. My aunt called me and said my Mother will not talk to her on the phone anymore, but my Aunt does not realize my Mother does not know what she is supposed to do with the phone. Memory Care told me my Mother has to be prompted to eat. Basic life skills are gone. I really pray that she dies soon because she is just wasting away. I feel guilty about this and try to remember the good times. I like this forum because it makes me know there are other loving daughters in the same miserable boat. GOD BLESS and pray for peace.
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Praying for your Peace and Comfort. Yes, this is a tough one....Like you I hope God takes her home in her sleep. Every morning I wake up and throughout the night, I'm watching to make sure she's still breathing. Especially when she sleeps a long time. PRAYING FOR ALL OF US WHO ARE RETURNING LOVE AS A FAMILY CAREGIVER.
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I don't think there is any real way to deal with the resentment that goes hand in hand with caring for a mother with dementia, especially when you live with her. If you get her placed into a Memory Care community, you can get rid of the chip on your shoulder, but if you're like most who post here, it would be replaced with 'guilt' instead. My mother lives in Memory Care, where she's well cared for, well fed, has plenty of activities to participate in, and I suffer no guilt as a result. I visit her weekly & my husband and I take her out to dinner so she can eat to her hearts content, which makes her happy. I also take her lots of snacks and treats to keep in her room, because she loves to eat. The resentment is kept to a minimum this way as we each have our own lives.

Just something for you to consider; even if you don't wind up getting her into Memory Care, just knowing the OPTION exists can sometimes help with resentment.

Best of luck
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Hello and there is just a huge need to vent. I feel a hell a alot better after talking to this forum. I'm calmer and more reasonable and patience. And remarks good or bad I take what I can comprehend or relate to. I started a wall paper project in a powder room which is relaxing and I'm enjoying it.
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No real answers......I also hate that my mom has dementia and I have become her 24/7 help. I try to take breaks as often as possible, look for happiness and joy somewhere else and deal with mom. I find solace in humor, watch Seth Myers...Trevor Noah..etc. I try to exercise & work p/time (am terrified I have to stop working to care for mom..). Now winter is coming here in the northeast, I cannot even take mom out for walks.....

Take comfort that you are not alone and vent away here...
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Hi I started a project wall papering and making our powder room pretty. It's where I hang out. Yes I do vent and flip out. Then I post how I'm feeling. But I get over it pretty quick but some days are better than others. My GOD bless you. Blessings.
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Omg you are living my life except she stopped eating or drinking without constant reminders or feeding. She's an incontinent un speaking zombie who still walks. I'm invisible to her. Her only though is to get out. Will move or walk over anything in her way to try to open a door. Only other movement is to try to get back into bed. I have constant annoyance, resentment, anger, impatience. I don't cry I shout and I think I'm getting an ulcer from the stress of doing everything alone. My sister is putting her in a facility in 2 months and thinks it will all be fine. I'm the one who dealt with the awful financial situation due to my brother stealing everything and daily read up on the disease. My sister does not understand what I've been through nor does she know what's ahead for her. I've tried all the positive mind set but I still cannot justify/accept her behavior, how she got I to this situation or control my anger. Sorry for what you are going through. I think your reaction is completly normal and those care givers with more understanding and patience are way better people than I am.
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Horrified IS the word when your family is not helping. My brothers do absolutely nothing and are waiting for her to die. That's why I hope she hangs in there. She will be 87 this month..She still eats alot and will talk sometime. Totally unaware she smells horrible and needs to bathe and urinates everywhere. That's mainly what we argue about, And won't wear a pull up. I can see why your overwhelmed too. I wish I could afford to put my mom in a nice facility but I cannot. Our stairs is what bothers me alot. I lock my mom's door at nite when I got to bed. Gives me piece of mind !!! I'm a few feet down the hall. I pray everything works out for you and your mom. Many blessings.
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I think the hardest thing is to adjust to the switch of not being the adult child who looks to Mom for guidance and love, rather to become the one who knows and who is able and strong. I watched my sister-in-law with my mom and the other ladies at assisted living a while ago. I took some mental notes on how to contact them in their confused minds. She sang to them, danced for them, and got one of them up to dance with her while singing songs they all knew. Of course you can't do this sort of thing every day, but maybe once in a while see if your mom will respond to music or drawing if only to make it more fun for you. Also, it helps me to go right into the crazy things my mom says and add my own crazy to her stories. But I think being smelly would bother me as well. Can you get some help to keep her cleaner?
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Hello getting help to keep her body clean is my biggest problem. I have been looking. I hate to asked my auntie her sister she is old too . And I haven't been able to find someone like once a week to help me. I'm still looking.
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Dementia is horrific. Your mom is gone and some stranger is left behind.

I do not blame you one bit for feeling resentful. And for not being able to muster up the patience to deal with her. Oh, the being hard of hearing is mind numbing too! It's, IMHO, very boring dealing with a person like this. You can not have a conversation and have to deal with all kinds of bizarre situations. Who signs up for something like this??

You MUST get some help and some respite care! You're burnt out and that's really bad for both of you.

Unless you can get enough help at home, I would look into having her placed somewhere. She is not your mom anymore. She is a sad and broken shell of the person she used to be. Part of what you're feeling is probably grief for what you have lost.

Since your mom is so far gone, I guess it to be quite unlikely that she realizes how hard this is on you, etc. So as long as you are providing for her basic needs, I do not think you need to indulge in feeling guilty. What you're doing is impossible!

Be kind to yourself.
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Thank you and ""My GOD your right! My mom is gone and a stranger has replaced her. I have to try to cope. She barely talks and that is boring. But she's goes things She took our bowl of Halloween candy and mixed her left over food in it and covered it up. She loves candy! Why would she ruin it. Just another level of abnormal crazy stuff her mind tells her. And yes that annoyed me. But I didn't say much. She didn't even know what I was talking about . All I can do is Pray and take it day by day. Thank you again.
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I was feeling so overwhelmed for a while as my mom has advanced dementia, TIA's and frequent UTI's.  I then have reevaluted my life and instead of being in a bad mood, I try my best to think: this is my life now, taking care of my mother who was always here for me no matter what!  I am taking advantage of a program that will have a worker come over 2 times a week for a few hours each day and gives me a break for awhile and time to do necessary things like grocery shopping.
Don't try to reason with her if you don't think you can.  Just try to ignore it unless she makes a big deal of it. Try to change the subject. I too, miss my mom so much. She didn't want dementia just like we would never want it.  She doesn't want you to suffer.  If she ever could realize what was going on I'm sure she wouldn't want you to be suffering.  Try to take one day at a time and don't think about the next day.  Things can change very fast and if anything did happen, you would want to feel you did what you could to help your mom who i'm sure loves you very much.  Try to see if you can get any help at all with govermental assistance.  The one I have only needs to know what my mom gets from social security.  If you can get any help at all, try to take it so you can have a little time for yourself.  My mom has gotten worse lately and there have been previous times when she would want me to just sit with her and watch tv but I would mostly have something else to do.  Now while I have the time, I'm trying to sit with her and watch tv a little.  There are other things you can do together like make a puzzle with the big pieces.  Amazon has some things you can order for people with dementia for them to get involved with.  I'm trying to be able to look at the site.  Guilt is bad, I have had it.  But how much more would it be to have piece of mind and know you did your very best?  This is not going to last forever for you or for me.  Remember to take a day at a time and do your best.  Remember the beautiful mother you had.  She is still there.  She is still beautiful but in a different way.  She is suffering herself and she didn't want this!!  At least she can still enjoy some food and drink.  There may come a time soon when she won't want to eat.  Remember your mom loves you.  You are maybe beautiful to her. Don't try to reason with her as you can't reason with a child.  Change the subject, offer her something to eat, something to do with you, send her a card or write one out and leave it at the table where she sits and remind her of your love for her.  My mom loves cards I have given her and she keeps looking and looking at them. I usually throw it away as I can't stand to see her looking at it as it's the first time she's seeing it.  They can't  help it!  They are sick. They are hurting too but in a different way.  I'm going through much now and prayer is very important. Hold her hand at times if you can.  Remember you will not change overnight but with a little effort I think thinks can get better.  There are still times I wish things were not this way, I would guess every day!!  But as things are not in my control, I can only do what I can control.  My best to you and you Mom.
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Thank you so much everything u said makes sense. We are all so overwhelmed. And I sit and whine. But my GOD I love that old woman. I would miss her and probably some of her antics. Your right this is our lives. This is what it is right now and we will look back on it some day. I am going to do my best to be more loving and touch her more. The guilt consumes me sometime. I wouldn't want my son's to not want to touch me or leave me by myself. Lately my mom cannot remember she is in her own room. It blows my mind. I don't dare cry because I may not be able to stop. It's heart breaking. But she is still here so I'm going to do better. Thank you and May GOD bless you and give u strength to do all u need to do.
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