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When she, in fact is the one who has forgotten/is confused? My mother is just starting to decline over the last couple of years. She's 70. Lately things seem worse, she is frequently telling me things and I'll say, "I remember, you told me Tuesday", and she will insist that I didn't know before that moment, that she JUST NOW told me and that's how I know. Or she will say I told her something that I never said. Like we were talking about an account she has for roadside assistance and she asked me the account number, then she insisted later that I told her the wrong address, when we never spoke of addresses, just account numbers.

It's causing problems. She thinks I'm lying to her or trying to make her feel crazy. I'm a single mom, I just graduated from nursing school and I'm getting ready to start an incredibly stressful career. I don't know how to deal with these situations. I know my arguing with her is making it worse, but I don't know how to respond when she's accusing me of making things up or accusing me of being crazy. If she just said, "Oh, I'm sorry, I don't remember that" or "I forgot about it". It would be fine, but it's not fine, it's creating a big divide between us, and she is getting angrier at every interaction because she thinks I'm doing something wrong, when nothing could be further from the truth. HELP ME. I want to diffuse the situation while helping her to understand that it's NOT ME, it's HER and it's ok and normal as she ages but the accusations are hurting us!

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It may seem to fly in the face of reason, but there is actually no value to your mom understanding that she is the one with the brain problem, and the worse her problem, the less vaulable and even feasible it will be. If she can pick on you and you can toughen up so you can stand being picked on, at some point with a little luck you will be the ditzy (in her eyes) daughter who at least loves her and helps her, or maybe she will claim she is helping you, but she will accept all the guidance she actually needs to get through the day. Jeanne hit it on the head. No use arguing or trying to set Mom straight - she can't fathom it but may become comfortable letting you shepherd her through this difficult and confusing time in her life without her having to lose face.
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Get her some anti-anxiety meds. She is at the phase where she knows she is losing it, but won't admit it. She will never admit it is her.
She is probably getting lost in her car, too. I'm going to assume that is why she asked about the roadside assistance. She is giving you little clues, don't let on that you see the decline. That creates backlash.
Check her bills without her knowing it. My hubby got online access to mom's accounts so he could see if she was paying bills. She wasn't paying taxes, because "they are too high". Nor would she pay the MD's co pays, or the water bills. Be alert and watchful.
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Arguing with her is making it worse. So stop arguing with her. Is it really important that you prove you are right or that she admit she is wrong? Isn't it enough that you understand she cannot help this decline and isn't doing it on purpose?

"You gave me the wrong address!"
"Oh. I don't remember that, but I am so sorry the numbers got mixed up."

Instead of "you told me last Tuesday" how about "Thanks for telling me."

Why get into conflicts with your mother, who is getting more forgetful and/or confused? What is the value of winning such a conflict?

Save your sanity and your efforts for your new career and your parenting. Mom is likely to get much worse. For now, don't sweat the small stuff.
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