Follow
Share

My mom is 88 and she is giving me the silent treatment! She has been diagnosed with dementia. Prior to that she had said that I was having an affair with my best friend's son! She also said I better stay healthy or my gf will put her hands on my husband!! How do I not take this personally? She is angry that I don’t spend all my free time with her!!

Find Care & Housing
The caretaker always gets the brunt. I think because the tables have turned and the elderly don't like someone telling them what to do. They get like children.
I know where you are coming from and I did not spend my whole day with my Mom. I live in a 4 level split. Mom had the previous family room in the bottom with easy excess to the outside and a bathroom. I got up in the morning and fed her breakfast, bathed or sponge bathed her and dressed her. In the beginning she could sort of read the paper. So she would do that. I couldn't let her out alone. Eventually, it was sit and watch TV which I don't do. So I would leave her in her room and go to my den 2 stories up but I had a monitor. I would feed her lunch and she would nap shortly. Dinner we went out. It gave her and me some socialization, we ran into people we knew. Back home to sit with us in the living room then ready for bed at 9. My husband didn't feel I spent enough time with her. He felt she should be with me 2 flights of stairs up to my Den. She didn't do steps well. I told him all she can do is watch TV. She could no longer read a book, which was her favorite pasttime. She never liked games and either do I. She couldn't be taught anything new. I was 65 and just didn't want to babysit. (Actually, had been watching my grandson just before Mom came to live here) Daycare helped, but she was home by 2:30. When the house didn't sell, I used what money she had and placed her in an AL where she would at least be with other people. The staff was very good to her.

Maybe I was wrong. I know if hubbys Mom lived with us he would have been with her when he was just sitting around. If I was to be honest, I just didn't know how to handle this Dementia. I am not good at finding the right words just like that. Never knew how to handle her outbursts when she got paranoid and everything was my fault. And basically, my Mom was easy.
Oh, I can't do needy with anyone.  I don't mind helping someone but don't expect it out of me.  I had a friend who was calling me all the time, even at 9pm.  Sometimes at dinner.  I finally got caller ID so I knew it was her and called back when I could.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

like someone said. they say nutty things.
I usually think in my head "crazy". but I hate saying crazy.

sometimes I can hardly look at my mom when she starts in on being NUTTY.

its like theres another person inside speaking for her. that's not the "old" mother I know.

and about not spending free time with her. I understand too. my mom in assisted living, but no matter how long ive been there. she acts like im hurrying off.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to wally003
Report

Here are a few basic things to try.
Have her checked for a UTI (urinary tract infection). A simple pee test for an infection that can be toxic if left untreated.
Frequently the cause of escalated acting out is from a UTI.
Also read the book “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande. It can help shift your caretaking mindset in a positive way. Google this author and you’ll find some articles.
Be sure to watch Teepa Snow YouTube videos as she can help you understand more about how your mom’s brain works and how to respond in situations like the ones you’ve mentioned with a goal of moving her along to more pleasant conversation.  
Come back to this website for support. The more information you share the better tailored the answers will be for your situation.
And yes, she will hurt your feelings, she’s your mom, her opinion matters. As the disease progresses you will be able to detach to a degree from necessity, to protect yourself. You will build up a tolerance. You have to take care of yourself. To value yourself. To know that you are doing a good job. To build yourself up. Don’t stay in a toxic environment. That’s not good for either one of you. 
Hugs to you and your mom. It’s a tough spot you are both in. 
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to 97yroldmom
Report

I'm so sorry dementia has invaded your relationship with your mother. Better coping is going to take a change in your thinking and an emotional acceptance of what dementia is doing to your mother's thinking and personality. First is accepting your mother has no control over how the dementia is effecting her. She isn't choosing to get give you a hard time with accusations or probably even the silent treatment.

I view the uncharacteristic accusations/warnings, combative language and silent treatments as THE DISEASE. I try to hold a mental imagine of my father as he was before the dementia started - that's the person I love and who he choose to be. The person dementia has made him, the words that come from what used to be his mouth, are not my father. It took a while to get there, but most times when he says something outrageous, I can recognize that's the dementia and it takes the personal sting out of it. Sometimes it still gets to me and I need to walk away for a few minutes to get back into the right mindset. For me, this has been the hardest part of the dementia journey.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to TNtechie
Report

Dee, your profile is a blank. Is Mom living with you or you with her? Are you her 24/7 caregiver? It’s very difficult to disassociate yourself from someone like this if you are with them around the clock.

When a person has dementia/Alzheimer’s, we say their “brain is broken”, as your mother’s is.  I’ve learned these people who tend toward meanness seem to single one person out for it, usually the person who takes care of them. If they were nasty all their lives, when they suffer from dementia, it can turn to downright viciousness. Where they come up with such hurtful things to say to us no one knows. It takes a lot of knowledge and understanding of this disease on our parts to cope with their rantings and ravings. Arguing does no good. It just escalates the situation.

Our first reaction is to think “how could she SAY that to me!” And get very hurt and upset. But if we do our research and come to understand that it’s the disease talking, it still hurts but not as much.

If Mom says your hubby is going to be in cahoots with your girlfriend, just tell her you’ll have to keep an eye on him then. Deflect her comments as best you can, and when if becomes too much, leave the room.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Ahmijoy
Report

I agree with what the above poster said. While your mom can't really be held liable for what she says because of her dementia it can still hurt. People with dementia say and do all kinds of nutty things but it's because of the disease. She doesn't have the ability to reason so what she says and what she does is unreasonable.

When she begins behaving in a way that is hurtful try to distract her or divert her attention to something else. A show on TV she might like or a humorous article in the newspaper. Try bringing her a light snack she'll enjoy or just simply excuse yourself politely and go in another room for a few minutes.

Dementia is not easy to deal with but see if you can come up with some tactics....tools....to deal with it.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Eyerishlass
Report

I'm very sorry you are going through this. I know it's hard.

Assuming she didn't have it before, or an underlying mental disorder, her paranoia and delusional thinking is most likely a symptom of her worsening dementia.

I know that doesn't make it any easier to deal with though. When my mom is paranoid or delusional, I've found I can't really reason with her. She truly does believe what she is thinking to be true, because of her broken brain.

You might say something like, "Wow, I'm sorry you are thinking that." Then maybe change the subject, sometimes I'll talk about the weather or a TV show or something to try and distract mom. I have mixed success with that, some days better than others. Her doctor prescribed anxiety medicine in a small dose that seems to help some.

It sounds like she is very needy and clingy too. It helps me to look at mine kind of like a patient that I'm taking care of. She is very needy, and would have me waiting on her around the clock if I would. Been there, done that, no thank you. Set a limit as to how much time you are able to devote per day/week and stick to it. Just reassure her that you love her and will see her at the next agreed upon time, whether it's in an hour or two, or a few days from now, next week, etc. depending on your living arrangements. She won't like it, I'm sure, but you need to take care of you too to avoid getting sick and totally burned out.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to FrazzledMama
Report