Mom (85) keeps calling sobbing then calls back and just fine like herself in the afternoon. What do I do?

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I got a call from my 85 year old Mom who said she was in the Hospital and had gotten sick from macaroni and cheese along with 10 other people from her Senior Home. I reached the head Nurse at her facility and she was IN HER ROOM!!!! Later that day she called and was herself then this morning she was sobbing uncontrollably again. They are testing her and her doctor is aware. She was diagnosed with Dementia 3 years ago yet just this past few weeks she seems to be fluctuating wildly with her emotions. No bladder infection - they are checking other things. Its hard to sort the 'aware manipulative' things she says for sympathy and attention versus what is really a valid concern - however - she has definitely gotten more immediately repetitive (up to 3 times asking the same thing) in a 7 minute phone call. The Nurse said, 'this is normal' meaning for this dementia - she said people say NO this is not my mother however I believe she was trying to tell me this IS the path of this brain disease. I took care of her my whole life since my father died and now I can't and shouldn't - I can do more harm than good because she will comply with 'strangers' and just show her worst unhappy side with me - plus - she tries to 'keep her pride position' with me - she doesn't want to seem wrong or needy with me so doesn't relax when I am visiting and she doesn't want me to see her upset also. It's truly a messy, disturbing, erratic, confusing, sadder than sad disease or aging. It is probably best we don't know about all of this - even though I've been trying to read everything I can now - I'm gradually seeing that unawareness and lack of knowledge of what 'could' be was probably a blessing up until now. I am going to live and enjoy the 'good' moments which I feel will show up again and just pray for courage and strength for the road yet to come.

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kamkim50: what is PBA? - it almost sounds like my mother. She feels terrible in the morning. When she answers the phone she sounds like she is dying. She moans and groans and makes a big act of it. Later in the morning she is fine. The doctor said she is very healthy.
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Maybe she has PBA (PseudoBulbar Affect). It can accompany dementia.
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Your mom can't help that she changes or flips from sobbing to her normal self. I have early dementia and there are times I am clear, which is most of the time, but a couple times a day I will cry over nothing in particular. There are times I don't know my own name or the day, date, or year. There are times I don't know the city I live in, which is a major reason I can't drive anymore.
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Does ur Mom dial the phone or a caregiver. One of the first things we saw was Mom having trouble with the phone and remote controll. She can turn the TV on and off but can't change channells. The phone she forgot what buttons to push to answer. When she gets a call and I hand her the phone I have to remind he not to push anything or she will disconnect the caller.
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Oh, my gosh. I'm so sorry. This is the same situation as with my mom. One day she is convinced "something is going on" in the memory care unit where she lives, and the next day it's a whole other story. She is not very nice to me anymore - I saw her one day before she saw me, and she was chatting happily with the other residents. The minute she saw me her face changed, and she became nasty. After several times of dealing with that I decided I would go to see her weekly and stay in touch with the home by phone. Sometimes you just have to draw the line to protect yourself. And remember your mom is gone, and the person you go to see is another person at the mercy of her dementia. It really is a sad state of affairs.
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This is a typical pattern of elders. Expect them to be very emotional, e.g. "they're like a 2 y.o. with a cut on their finger," because essentially they revert to child-like behaviour.
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cmor: Yes this is normal, at least judging by my mother's behavior which is so similar to yours. She is in AL because her dementia is so bad she gets confused and she can't work her appliances any more, can't cook, forgets to eat, etc. But she is PROUD! She refuses help, gets herself dressed, to the bathroom, etc. She dumps on me and my sister and puts on "nice lady" act for the staff. Maybe your mother doesn't feel well in the morning? Mine doesn't and she has honed her victim act to perfection (she thinks). Every morning when we call her, she knows its us and she answers the phone in a voice that sounds like she is dying! Groans, ragged, gasping, etc. then, all of a sudden she forgest she is supposed to be on death's door and starts talking normally, especially if we distract her. She was worse a few months ago until the doc put her on an antidepressant. She's 50% better than she was. Most of Mom's negativity and misery is from depression as are a lot of older seniors. Maybe your mother would be helped with med?
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Let the guilt go. You'll grind yourself into the dirt with that.

You MUST remember their brain is broken. Your job is to say whatever it takes to keep them calm. You are going to have to be creative and it takes practice.

I had to have the phone removed from my mom's room last year. She was calling me and all kinds of other people at all hours with profane names and demands. It was horrible. Somebody wrote my cell# on a whiteboard in her room and she started calling me at work with crazy stuff. Didn't care that I was at work and wouldn't get off the phone. I had to hang up on her several times, but she never remembered. I just stopped answering that number on my cell and at home. If it was a nurse or emergency, they'll leave a message.

This is part of the progression with dementia and you have to keep boundaries in place or you are in for a really loopy roller coaster ride.
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I feel like it was me who wrote this! You described my situation to a t! I see no relief in site. Just guilt, heartache, stress and more guilt as a daughter.
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cmor1954, another idea, to get off the phone...tell her a little white lie...say, "Gee Mom, how 'bout I call the ....staff....or whoever, supervisor, person assigned to her today etc.... and let them know how you are feeling and I'll call back later and tell you what they said. You don't have to make the call OR call her back...or call her back to 'check in' just as you know she would be going to an activity or to her meal time, so you don't have to be on the phone long and just have a 'sweet' reassure conversation where you say you love her and was thinking about her..... I do that with my Mom too.....and she never asks anymore if I made that call I promised to make, because she cannot remember for long enough...and sometimes, the 'check in' sweet call is reassuring by itself...but I call just as she's going to eat, or watch the news and say, "What are you doing? I am just checking in." She will say she's just going to do whatever, so I say I don't want to hold her up, but wanted to check in and let her know I love her and am thinking about her...etc.... That also works sometimes....not always, but if one thing doesn't work, try the next thing!
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