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My husband and I gave up our Master Suite as she can't climb stairs, We have taken her shopping several times and out to dinner countless times and not once "Thank You"

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Take a deep breath, maybe two,  and forget about it.  There are worse things and potentially more stressful things to come.  Pick your battles.  I grew up with my mother NEVER saying please  or thank you.  But my grandmother raised me differently, plus being around other families provided insight to the manners to which we all should use.   At a certain age, a person just can't change.  Entitlement living, walking, shopping, driving....  just hang in there and - let it go.
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Here's my experience. You can get someone to say "Please" and "Thank you" but you can't make them mean it. I worked on this with my Mom for ages until I finally gave up. For example, I would walk in and Mom would say "You need to move my chair. It's sliding off the rug." I would say "I'll do it if you ask me nicely." She would say, in a testy, aggrieved tone of voice "PLEASE move my chair."

She failed to understand the basic concept, that I was not her servant, that I was helping her out of the goodness of my heart, that her every wish and whim was not my command. She could speak the words but couldn't really grasp the concept. So I gave up. If she had had dementia (she didn't) I probably would have given up a lot sooner.

Surprisingly, she became immensely grateful and loving in the final weeks of her life, when her own situation was the most dire. She was grateful that I brought her home to die and stayed with her the whole time. So the end of my time with her, although harrowing and painful, gave me the acknowledgment and the closure that I needed to move on. Who would have thought?
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Geaton777 Nov 12, 2019
Haha! Very similar strategy with my mom (who does not have dementia but is very "cut and dry" and short on social charms and awareness. She lives next door to me and if she's in my kitchen when I come home from work (very common) she won't even say "hi" to me before she points out some chore left undone or a broken this or that which needs attention. So I stop, look her in the eye and with a big smile and much exaggerated expression say, "Well HELLO! Did YOU have a nice day? How was it? It's GOOD to SEE you!" And then she'd realize her faux paux and reluctantly and quickly re-greet me in like manner. But eventually she would preempt my doing this and did begin to actually greet me. When she fails to say please or thank you, I respond to her by first saying, exaggeratedly but with a smile, "Why, YOU'RE welcomed!" And then she'd correct herself. Now it is sort of a funny (and well meaning) game we play but she has changed for the better. Again, she doesn't have dementia and I would never expect someone with it to be able to change. It wouldn't be realistic or fair. Thanks for your story, Carla!
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This is why it's so so SO hard to take care of a loved one suffering from dementia inside of your home. And your mother is only 79 years old, so she can easily live another 15 years, worsening with each passing year. I'm not saying this for any reason except to get you thinking about placing her in a Memory Care community at some point when it all gets to be TOO much to bear.

I work as a receptionist in a Memory Care community, and the management allows 2 residents to come into the lobby area when they knock on the door. One woman does so continuously and drives me batty every day. I've witnessed her decline over the past few months to the point where she repeats herself incessantly, saying the exact same thing over and over and OVER again until I'm ready to scream. She has no idea that I have work to do, and that I'm not there for her entertainment! Dealing with a person who suffers from dementia can be frustrating, thankless, and the hardest thing anyone can ever do.

My own mother is almost 93 years old, lives in Memory Care herself, and suffers from moderate dementia & is incontinent, similar to your mother. While she does thank me profusely for everything I do for her, she irritates the living hell out of me in many other ways, making it impossible for me to ever consider living with her. I love her, but co-habitating would not benefit either of us. I've always known that, but nowadays, with the dementia, it would REALLY be unmanageable, especially as it progresses.

Don't expect anything out of your mother, that is my advice to you. Expect nothing and you'll never be disappointed. Dementia makes no sense, so don't try to apply your logic to it........you will never win. They can't learn anything, so don't try to teach, it's a losing game. Tour some Memory Care communities in your area so you'll have your ducks lined up for the future, if and when the time comes that you can no longer manage your mother inside of your home, if she starts to wander, becomes too aggressive, starts cooking or creating other dangerous situations for you and your hubby. Go online & read everything you can on the subject of dementia so you can arm yourself with information. Knowledge is power, or at least a good tool for your toolbox. Read the book The 36 Hour Day which is a great guide for caring for people with dementia.

Best of luck; I feel for you. This is such a difficult situation.
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My outlook on dementia.

First things to go, besides short term memory, is reasoning, being able to process what is being said, comprehending and empathy. The brain does nor work anymore. Dementia tends to hit certain parts of the brain at a different times killing it. Its not so much she doesn't care is she no longer has the ability to care. Think of her as a small child. They have no empathy. Because...the brain is broken. I tried to make Mom understand but my RN daughter said, lost cause.

We had a shower put in a powder room for my Mom. Family friend did it who had done a lot in her house. He did a beautiful job, over and above what I wanted. He took her in to show hervwhat "he" did for her. She showed no emotion. It was like "oh, nice". She was not aware he did it for her special.

You can no longer "expect" out of Mom. She is in a world of her own and there is no coming back.
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I agree with all that’s been said BUT you know all this. To me, You are showing signs of burnout.
Have mom hire an aide to take her out or sit with her while you and your husband go out. She probably won’t say anything nice about that either. It’s very hard to do what you are doing. Believe me a thank you will only go so far. Find a good therapist.

My mom, without dementia, would start complaining the minute I walked into her house. I was coming once a week from three hours away to clean her house, bring her food, check on her etc. I told her that when I came to see her to please say something nice before she started complaining. The next week when I came in she said “Nice to see you.... (long pause)...I guess”. It was so unexpected. I burst out laughing and gave her a hug. Elders are extremely focused on themselves. Set boundaries. Decide just how much you are willing to do and try not to go beyond that. Get away often. Remember the changes are hard for her too.
My aunt who does have dementia (93) was rude to me the other day. I said to her,”you have never been mean to me before in all the years I’ve known you”. She apologized immediately but I doubt she remembers any of it today. I took it as a sign her dementia was progressing. I know she speaks rudely to others sometimes but it was true, she hadn’t to me. I wasn’t upset with her, just surprised. But I don’t live with her. I would expect her to use her manners and remind her but not really expect her to change. If she was accustomed to saying thank you, she probably will continue. Do you say thank you to your husband in front of her? That might be the prompt she needs to remember.
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At the beginning of my mom needing care she totally resented it and did not thank me or the home care people, but she eventually became aware of her need for help and now she is very verbal about her gratitude - most of the time. Other times she reminds us that we are not her mother. Just dealing with confusion about what is happening to her is maybe all she can handle right now. And maybe she's angry, not at you, but at the situation she finds herself in.
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I can see how that would be a bit hard to swallow.

But, seeing from your profile that mom has dementia, I'm afraid that you are just going to have to get over it. You won't be able to teach her her manners at this stage in the game.

I think it's safe to say that your pre-dementia mom IS very thankful to you for all you're doing for her. Let it go and let that be enough.

You are doing a good thing for her and need to feel good about without her verbalizing it to you.
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