How do I handle it when my 83-year-old mother tells people lies about me? She does have dementia and does get confused a lot.

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My husband and I live with my mother who has lots of health problems and she is irritable and rude mainly to me.

It's hard to hear her say things that aren't true at all. Makes you wonder what the other person is thinking...elder abuse or what? The other day when the home health nurse came, I told the home health nurse to ask her about taking a shower because this is a new problem popping up...mother hates to shower and wash her hair. So, the HHN asked her if she showered yesterday and mother said yes, which she didn't. And, then she asked mother is she would take a shower the next day, and mother gave her this smart answer...If I feel like it, I will. Then the HHN asked her why she didn't want to take a shower and mother said because she was afraid she would fall. That's probably true. She has her chair, long nozzle, and bars to help her and me. Then, the lie...and mother said when I help her get all riled up at her!! And, that is NOT true!! I immediately said that is not true at all.

There I sat wondering what the HHN thought...believe me or mother? Being a caregiver is a hard job in this situation, but then to have my mother lie about me makes it even tougher.

What do you say when this happens? Thank you very much.

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There is a 42 year age difference between me and my Mother and no matter how old I get, I am still a dumb child in her eyes. She lived in a small town with a small town mentality. When my Mother was in her late 80's she had a (Home Health Nurse) HHN that visited her home regularly and, as my Mother put it, "came to boss her around". My Mother has always been a recluse, a loner type. A person with an anti-social personality disorder who despises being around friends, family. She resents being told what, when or how to do anything. When the HHA stopped by to check on my Mom she noticed that my Mother hadn't showered or changed her clothes and looked scruffy. The HHN asked Mom to shower so she could notate it in her report but my Mother refused. The HHN advised Mom that if she refused to comply, the HHN would recommend in her report that my Mother be moved out of her home and placed in a care facility many miles from her small town. My Mother took that as a direct threat! After the HHN left my Mom's home, my Mother began pounding on herself. Her arms and legs were frail and her skin was very thin so it didn't take much effort to cause bruising to herself. When she was satisfied with the harm she had brought to herself, she called HRS and reported the incident as elder abuse against the HHN! When they came to investigate the incident, my Mother began crying and carrying on saying that the HHN had done this to her. That HHN was released from her duty and replaced with another HHN. My Mother found fault with every single HHN after that. Several years and several HHN's later, my Mother, now 95 years old, is living in an assisted living facility where she continues causing a ruckus. Good news is, she is still alive.
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Any health care professional should know that when an elderly person is suffering with dementia she will say things that aren't true and even become very nasty. My father said some very hurtful things to me and I had to come to the realization that it wasn't him talking, it was the disease. I would just let others know that it is the dementia talking. If people already know you, they will not judge you.
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Dj, you speak for so many of us about the way it feels to us when our elderly parent says something to others that "makes us look bad", as you say. I sympathize with you, and I want to underscore what the others here are saying.....that your HHN and others know right away that what your mother is saying is not true at all, and instantly in their minds they are sympathizing with you. ( and if they don't, then "oh well", so what...) This kind of thing has happened to me too, where my father will say something unflattering about me to another friend or relative, with me standing there. It hurts in the moment, but then I recover, as I try to gather my strength from knowing I am fulfilling my duty to look after my father's care, and that's what matters. My son helped to strengthen me one day too, when he said to me, "You're not doing this for recognition." What you and all of us need to forge ahead is support. When we don't get support from the elders we are caring for ( in the form of "thank you's" and the like) then we have to find and get it somewhere else----like on this forum. It is critical that we get support for ourselves so we can function well as caregivers. I say to you and the others here: "Good job!"
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My mom died 2 months ago, dad was her only caregiver. We thought he'd come back to life and be better after he didn't have to take care of her. Boy were we wrong. We knew he had a little ALZ but it's really taken over now. He's worse every single day. I try to make the conversations early in the morning so sundowners isn't an issue and most days he's fine. Other family members call and ask why I did this or that and upset him..........ahhh I didn't. Now they think I'm awful and a liar.

If someone gets a solution to this they should get a gold star.
It's hard to sift the truth from fiction when I am the one who knows what's going on, but it's impossible for a neighbor or relative who doesn't know of a day with Mr. Crazy.

You can't pick and choose what's true and what's not and you have to err on the side of caution every time.

Yesterday he said that his oldest brother had been over and gone thru the drawers and taken stuff. His oldest brother has been dead 15 years. My right brian knows that no one was there but I'm scared to death that he either did or will let someone in and he'll get hurt. Top that off with his story about the little boy that stays there ( a teddy bear) who got down off his chair and changed the tv station, and I'm as bad as him for an hour or two.

Good luck and remember you can leave the room and sort this out, they are stuck in that fantasy world.
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Hi DJ_Unfortunately there is not much you can do about your Mom's behavior-as it is her disease or her meds-or a combination of both-that you are seeing--it is NOT your Mom-As difficult as it may be-you have to tell yourself this when she exhibits this behavor-if you cannot calmly handle matters-just excuse yourself and walk away. The people she tells these lies to-most likely know that they are not the truth.
If you think the situation can get better-contact her neuroligust-about a possible med change. I also would be in contact with your local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association-for their opinion as well as these great people in this forum.
The caregiving journey is not all that easy at times-I have been there-But with support-it is doable.
Best,
Hap
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It makes you feel horrible doesn't it?? You just watch that you are with the nurse when information is given. Being gentle but firm, saying...Mom, you know that isn't true....and, yes, you must protect yourself against her words, have you thought about putting nanny cams or the like in her room? Nothing about dementia is easy....stop worrying yourself tho, most of the nurses and hospice have seen sooo much of this behavior...they know the signs...Good luck, bless you
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Get used to it and know that you are doing absolutely the best that you or anyone else could do. They always hurt the one they love, I believe this is normal behavior, my 96 year old mother-in-law did that the entire 14 years that we took care of her and now my father (95) thinks that things are happening when they really are not. I know that it hurts, mostly because they are your parents, but now they have reverted to childhood. This is easy for me to say, even though it happens to me, too. Hang in there, you are blessed.
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I agree also, if your health care provider is aware that she has dementia they will take what she says with a grain of salt. It is difficult to deal with sometimes, but like with a child, often the best reaction is no reaction.

Take care!
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Simply, if people know YOU and your character, and know HER and her dementia-related behavior, they will know what the truth IS. Hugs, Christina
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Thank you, everyone for your help to my question about mother lying about things I say or do. It is good to know others understand this. I realize it won't end and may get worse...the things she says to other people. I'm working on not letting it bother me...too much. I had to practice counting to ten today when the home health nurse came. Mother told her I let her blood pressure pills run out and she didn't have anymore. Total lie!!! Made me look bad. I showed the HHN her medicine box and bottles to let her know that was not true. Mother just sat there as though nothing at all was going on. So, I did count to ten and let it pass...after I showed her the medicine. Thanks so much for being here for me and all of us. We really do need each other to get through caregiving. God bless you all. :)
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