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My friend from church , needed a home, so about 6 months after my husband passed away, I invited her to live with me. Rhonda has MS and dementia. Her condition deteriorated very quickly. After a year and a half, she had been in hospital 7 times. I knew it was more than I could manage at my home. After lots of good advice from this site, I was able to get her into a nursing home. The problem is , she is furious with me. I get calls from her demanding to come back to my home. She is also hard to manage at the NH. She is in a Behavioral Rehab now , as she is suicidal. I am torn -- every time I talk to her , I am an emotional wreck. She does not have any family that will help out. Would it be cruel to limit contact and conversations ? There is absolutely no way , I will take her out of the NH.

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It's really too much to handle and you are not even a family member. God bless you for trying to be so generous and helpful. She's not doing this to me mean. It's just a part of the illness. You can't reason with her or convince her it's for the best. She may or many not be able to comprehend that, but normally the concept leaves them at some point.

I experience panicked calls from my LO too, who's in assisted living. I will speak calmly and explain that I can't come to see her immediately, but I will come within the next day or two. I assure her the people ware there to help her get better and that they say good things about her. Sometimes that helps. Sometimes I have left and arrived to see her within the hour, only to have her completely forget that she ever called me. And she's sitting there as happy and content as can be. You have to learn to not let them push your buttons. It's very difficult, but I'm trying to learn it too. There mood and state of mind will go up and down. It's a scary ride, that's for sure.

Since you are not her responsible party, you might have the staff not provide her with your phone number. See if you can call her when you feel like it. That way, you might be more relaxed and have more control of the times you have those conversations.
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Don't take any calls at all until they settle her down. Elderly parents are mad as heck about being old and often focus the anger on the person who gives them the most care. Why? because they can't yell at Infirmity itself. You did all the right things for her, obviously, because she gets mad at you for not fixing the impossible. Pray for her, accept God's Plan for her, and place her in His hands.
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One call per day would be my limit. And when the call got nasty I'd say, "I can tell you are upset now. I hope tomorrow you will be feeling calmer," and I'd hang up. Repeat each day as necessary. This probably won't "teach" her anything -- her dementia prevents her from learning -- but it limits your exposure to the toxic behavior.

I feel sorry for her. I really do. But I think it is time for you to look after your own health.
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You were a true friend to her to take her in the way you did. She doesn't have a right to live in your home. And if she's like my mom, an hour (or even 10 minutes) after she's called you all worked up, she's forgotten all about it.

You've gotten good advice about limiting your exposure to her. That should help both of you. You've done more than 99% of the people out there would do for a friend, so start taking care of yourself now.
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Carol, why not send her cards while she's in rehab, then go and visit her once she's settled in a permanent place? Don't take calls at all for now: if she has cards she can see all the time she'll know you're thinking of her, and that somebody cares, but she won't be able to be abusive to you.

I'm interested in that phrase "any family that will help out." May I infer that she does have family, but they've washed their hands of her? Or does she not have any family, period?

Either way, you've already gone several extra miles to help your friend. You're entitled to get your breath back before you go any further. I second Jeanne's hugs vote!
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Change you phone number and you be the one to call her. But i think the usual advice is no contact for the first two weeks to let the patient settle in. This behaviour won't change because it can't. so do what you feel you are able. You have already done more than most people. MS without the dementia is one of those diseases that makes a patient more difficult to please. Blessings
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I am probably going to be in the minority, but you don't have to take any tongue lashings if you don't want to. As caregivers, we forget that OUR health and well being is important, too. If you do decide you want to speak to her because you think that will make her life more pleasant, set a limit on how often you will call, and cut the call off if she becomes abusive. If she actually has dementia, she most likely won't know if it was two minutes or two days ago she spoke with you last. Change your number or get an answering machine and or caller ID, screen your calls. If it is her, don't listen, move away. Delete the message without listening to it, then call when you have the wherewithal to deal with her. If it is an emergency and you are the contact, the NH will contact you. The kind of emotional abuse elders can unleash on caregivers is health threatening, mental AND physical. I no longer believe people should give up their lives or health for someone else unless they truly want to, not because they think they "should".
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Thanks Jeanne. That makes perfect sense. I appreciate your input. Carol
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Uh, zero.
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palmtrees1, I think I would agree with you if the person didn't have dementia. Being one friendly voice in the outside world can be a compassionate gesture, needed by both friends. Limiting it and protecting herself is better (in my opinion) than total abandonment. Although stopping contact until she has done through her treatment to settle her down might not be a bad idea.

When someone we love has dementia, there are no "good" answers -- only "less bad" answers. It is sooooo tough! Hugs to Carol1948 for all she has done already!
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