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My mom 78, has dementia. She's in a home, a small group home with a few other ladies. For a while she was good, but lately she's very angry.

To get her out of her apartment, the woman who runs the home told my mom they needed to keep an eye on her for a few days, at least. It was the only way we could get my mom out. Any other way probably would have involved calling the police, etc.

Of course my mom doesn't understand what went on. She just thinks it's trickery to steal her money. Before she lost her right to live alone, nurses, an attorney, a doctor, social worker and more evaluated her, and then it went to court. In court she didn't understand what was going on. She always goes back to the trickery, that everyone did it to get her money. (Not that she had a lot.)

Now all she does is be bitter: I visit her, and she tells me she could have me thrown in jail for what I did. She says she's going to sue and get the state to pay her for selling her into slavery. She complains about everything from the food to her roommate and so on.

Question is: How do you cope with this? I try to visit her each week and call a couple times a week, and I loathe talking to her now. For a while it was OK. I know she's taken care of, which is good, but all she does is complain, which is draining. When I visit I try to do things she likes, taking her out to lunch at a place she likes, or playing games with her, or shopping a bit for/with her. I bring her things, too, that she may like or need.

But all she is nowadays is angry and bitter. How do you cope with that? I can't reason with her, obviously, but it's more a chore to see her now than a pleasure. Everything sparks a reason to complain or be bitter, it seems.

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I think my mom just uses me as someone to complain to. I asked the woman who runs the group home if she is griping constantly, and she said no, so I think it's just I'm the person she dumps on.

Last time I saw her she went on for ages about how much she hates her sister, who she cut off contact with more than 20 years ago. I kept trying to divert: Remember that spot we used to camp at when I was a kid? So-and-so went on vacation up north. I've love to visit that spot. Wouldn't you? Nothing would distract her. She just needed me to know how evil my aunt is. Who cares? This happened 50 years ago. That's a long time to hang onto hate.

I usually try and do something fun to offset the visits, yes. And I may take a break from visiting her. I bend over backwards trying to make visits a nice thing for her, because I feel bad that she is in a home, etc., and it doesn't seem to matter. She's miserable.
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Please read up about anticipatory grief. Expressing your grief on this forum around people who understand is a good thing. When anticipatory grief coincides with advanced dementia, it is doubly hard because spending time with the person whose brain is malfunctioning is a painful experience. Perhaps shorten your visits and tack on extra time for you to decompress afterward. Sending cards instead of calling her on the phone may also help replace the dread and loathing with something more positive.
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Heidi, this is sooooo tough when you're doing your best!!!!

Is she on any meds for depression or agitation? In dementia, the brain often stops making the chemicals needed to maintain a calm demeanor. If you can get her to a geriatric psychiatrist, it would be great.
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Back off on your visits and stay away for longer intervals before visiting.

Are you engaging in activities that counter her negativity? Activities that you enjoy and restore the balance of serenity in your life?
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