How can I make my Mom see that she's being mean?

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Whatever solution you give her for her problems, she says "no". My mom is now blind due to macular degeneration & just moved into an assisted living facility because my brother cannot be with her 24/7. I live out of town & call frequently & have made monthly trips home the past 4 months because of her health. She is extremely mean to my brother who has always been available to her for dr. appointments, grocery shopping, companionship etc. including her in his family's activities. She hates the facility; won't try to do anything for herself like she did at home; and complains to me about my brother. He is a warm, loving, caring man and it hurts me to hear her trash him. How can I make her see that she's being mean and whatever solution you give her for her problems, she says "no".

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k4rose, you might want to mention that letting your mom berate him in front of his kids can have unintended consequences. My daughter and niece have heard/seen my mom unload both barrels on their mothers and gradually pulled away from her. Currently one is no contact and the other is very little. It wasn't fair for them to have to listen to the rubbish, and sad that she now has lost touch with them.
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I agree with Pam and another poster - your brother needs to set limits. When she starts in on him, he needs to either see her less often, cut a phone call short or tell her he's not going to listen to her complain.

In the overall scheme of things (look around at the world), she's one VERY LUCKY lady to have two children bending over backwards to address her every need. She's in a facility set up to care for her and she's just not appreciating her blessings. Maybe start to talk to her about that a bit when she starts in. She has money, she has people to help her, she has loving children who are trying to make her life as happy as possible. To put it bluntly, she needs to get a grip. And maybe some anti-depressants to even her out as well. :) She's very lucky to have you and your brother. Too bad she doesn't appreciate you.
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Maybe see if they would try her on a little antidepressant medication, when you are depressed everything looks even more negative than it has to be, even if things were great you can be sad and cranky about it.
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When they get mean, you walk out. Mom started yelling and throwing things when she got to Rehab. So I said " Having a tantrum?" and " I think I will let the nurses settle you in" and I kissed her forehead and off I went. The nurse said I did the right thing. Later mom was sobbing and apologetic to the nurse. I stayed away for 48 hours. When I came back she was much nicer. It kills you, but you have to do that sometimes.
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Oh dear, sigh. She is in a proper grump, isn't she? Poor thing - but all the more poor you and brother that she's unloading on you. Maybe it will gradually settle down as she gets her bearings (and if she's normally been the buoyant type maybe she'll get bored with being in a bad mood?). I'd be patient-with-a-limit, I think. I'm sorry for her woes, but that doesn't mean you have to approve of the not very constructive approach she's taking.

As well as visiting her, will you have time to throw in a few treats for yourself during your stay? A nice meal, a hair-do, a movie or something? That might help to 'leaven the lump' as my mother used to put it.
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Sunnygirl1, according to my brother, the staff is fine (there is 1 exception, my brother was even there when this person was somewhat rude). My husband & I met some of the staff before my mom moved in & I didn't get the impression that they were being nice just to impress us. My mom is nice to the staff; wants to please them. She has spoken up once or twice that an attendant needs to realize that she can't see. I am sometimes on the phone with her when a staff person comes in & my mom's tone is pleasant. Then she gets back on the phone with me & complains how the staff is always in her room; she never has time to do anything. "What do you want to do, Mom?" This either doesn't get an answer, or she says "What can I do with all these people coming in & out all day long." My mom has lost all sense of time because of her blindness. My brother got her 2 small talking clocks-press the button & you know what time it is. She used them at her home, but refuses to use them at AL. So, when she rings for an attendant, she always says that they don't come for "hours". Pressing her clock to know what time she called for them & then pressing it again when they arrive is not a solution as far as she's concerned. "Why should I have to monitor the time. They're suppose to come when I ring." I'll be going up this coming week to visit for 4 days. Obviously, not staying at the facility, but will visit over a lunch & then dinner time so I get a feel for things. Will probably take her out for a ride or whatever too.
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You said your mom has been argumentative since your dad died and that she's really difficult now. It could be that she's been thrown by the major changes in her life, having to start relying on other people and not having her life as it was. Now she's having to adjust to relying on staff, being in a new place with a new routine, and moving to AL signifies a sad step in this chapter of her life. I'm not excusing her meanness and it sounds like your brother will need to establish boundaries. He needs to settle into a schedule of visits and calls that allow him to tend to his family and work. She may be experiencing what my mom has - she wants things as they were and no solutions short of turning back time 30 years will make her happy. Right now, I wouldn't try to solve problems. Once she starts settling in, she may make some friends.
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How is your mom to the staff at the AL? Is she cooperative or does she give them a hard time? I'm curious how they handle that? Have you talked to anyone there about her?

My LO hasn't been nasty to anyone at her AL, but when any issues do arise, I have found the staff generally know how to handle the matter. They have lots of experience in deflating problems, avoiding conflicts and encouraging the resident at the same time. I wonder if they might inspire your mom.
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Countrymouse, she's is refusing to do any of the things she did for herself (blind as she is) when she was in her home. She won't even make herself a cup of coffee - "I don't know how to do that; this isn't my home." Yet, my brother has her kitchen area set up exactly as it was in her home. She even calls an attendant when she wants to go to the bathroom & it's fewer steps than at her home. I agree, that some things should just be done. Which my brother has bought certain aids for her. Then she complains to me via phone calls that "What am I suppose to do with this? Why is he spending money?" Yes, she argues with him in the car when he's taking her to a doctor's appointment; at his house; in front of his teens. He says he tries to tune it out, but he's confided in me that the tension is giving him some health concerns. It just feels good to be able to "talk" with other people-outside people who can be objective. Thank you!
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K4rose, I'm struck that you say twice in your post that whatever solution you propose for her problems, your mother turns it down flat.

I wonder: that might be because there isn't a solution to her problems, which mainly are that she is old, frail, losing her sight and very, very fed up about it.

I sympathise with how wearing it is to have every suggestion pooh-poohed, but honestly? Stop making them. You are wasting your breath. If there really are things that could be done that would help her - I don't know, perhaps like talking books if she used to enjoy reading, that kind of thing - just go ahead and arrange them. Don't bother consulting her, just don't expect any thanks either, and especially don't spend more money than you're content to waste because whatever you introduce may be rejected out of hand. You're doing it for your mother's benefit, not her gratitude; and more in hope than expectation.

Does any of what she says get back to your brother? If not so far, you could try calling her out on it. You could give her the home truths: that she's lucky to have his support and she'd better cut out the negativity because she'd be right up a gum tree without him. Blunt, yes; but BE blunt. She needs to know. If she persists, and you're tired of hearing it, then tell her so, in so many words. In a similar situation with my BIL and his frankly slanderous mother I used literally to say "D___, I'm not listening to this, it's outrageous." And she'd stop. Of course you don't have to argue with her if you're not happy to, but you certainly don't have to listen.

So, I suppose, it's a matter of speaking to her adult to adult and insisting on the same standards of truth and fairness (not to mention good manners) that you'd expect from anyone else. But bear in mind that she could be 'talking for effect' - just mouthing off without really meaning anything; and the good part about that is, you can just let it be and do your best to help your brother shrug it off if it's bothering him.

I'm sorry that you're in this sad situation. It is disheartening, and yes ingratitude is a hurtful thing even when it's not aimed at you. Well done you for supporting your brother, and look at next week as a chance to thrash a few things out maybe? How long will you be around her for?
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