What are my brothers and sisters to do with my angry and paranoid Mom who calls all hours of the day and night?

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She calls us accusing my father of having an affair with the whore across the street (her words). My father has prostate cancer, so he is up a lot using the bathroom. So she says he is getting up to go see the woman across the street. When we don't agree with her or try to reassure her. She gets hurtful and down right cruel, She says things like: I hope you die and I won't be sorry, I hate you kids. We have tried to get her to see a doctor she won't go. My sisters are nurses and have even tried talking to her doctor with a list of things. The doctor says things like we should do an MRI for your memory. Of course she goes ballistic. That doctor is a quack there is nothing wrong with my memory. My question is how are we supposed to respond when she calls and says I want you to die. If you calmly say please don't say that she yells even more and than hangs up. Do we not answer the phone? Do we just listen to the hurtful things and hope they bounce off later. I know that she has an illness and she doesn't mean what she says. I know that she is 89 and has dementia. But it still doesn't make it easier. This is our mother who we love. Please don't tell us to get her to a doctor. Unless she is forced and chemically restrained it isn't going to happen. My dad is too afraid and won't do anything.

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Pom, Looking back, my original answer got mangled by spellcheck. Who has POA? If it's Dad, then you really have no control over mom's behavior, meds or placement. You CAN decline to answer her phone calls. You can say to Dad, look, this isn't good for your long term health, and look how unhappy mom is? Hen some elders thing of medication, they assume that we're talking about overdoses of powerful psychiatric drugs. You'd be amazed at what a low dose of antidepressants can do for some dementia patients. But in the end, you and your siblings can only control your responses to her outbursts of paranoia. And you can figure out ways to protect your father's health, physical and emotional.
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Peace of mind is right. Snarky, condescending comments aren't helpful. I can shrug it off as someone having a bad day, but it has happened several times, to my knowledge, to several different questioners, all of whom expressed hurt at the tone of the response from that particular commenter.
It's not a case of being oversensitive, or as misinterpreting someone's style of writing. It's a case of gratuitous meanness by someone who, time and again, refuses to apologize when she's made insulting comments, even when it's pointed out to her. I have no time for people like that. Let them stew in their own spiteful juices.
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Peaceofmind, I too have been offended by comments from time to time. But when I read the comments when I am in a better frame of mind, they often are not as offensive as I originally believed. You are under a great deal of stress and many of the suggestions here are good ones. It sounds as if you have a very competent group,working with your parents but a very difficult situation. Sooner or later it will all come to a head and something will be resolved. Your parents can not continue on the path they are choosing. But as long as your father is competent and he supports your mother, I would think,there is little you can do except block her calls. What a very sad scenario for the parents you love.
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Peaceofmind, is your mom still making phone calls to you and your siblings? Have you come up with a way of handling them? And how is your dad doing?
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Peaceofmind, as I'm sure you gathered from my second post, my mom has dementia. She is not angry, however. She's a happy little camper. At the rehab facility where she spent 2-1/2 months, she was termed "pleasantly confused." In that, I am blessed.

If she were living as your mom is, angry 24/7, paranoid, lashing out at people, wishing the very people she loves would die, I would be heartbroken. Because that's not my mom. And it's not yours either.

It would break my heart to think she would live her last days in that miserable state. And I would do everything possible to improve her quality of life. I would be heartbroken for my dad as well. Whereas your brothers and sisters get phone calls, he has to live each and every day with her. And, apparently, fight a battle with prostate cancer besides. It's tragic. It's not how we picture our parents growing old.

So I saw a very different problem than the one you posted. You don't need an answer to that. That answer is easy and obvious. Your siblings can hang up as soon as she starts her rants, or they can get caller I.D. and not answer in the first place, or they can screen calls from your parents' phone number thru an answering machine so they don't miss an urgent call.

Your mom and dad are the ones with the real problem. Mom is stuck in a mindset that's keeping her absolutely miserable. And no doubt keeping your dad the very same way. And, in my opinion, if nothing is done to reboot mom's thinking process with medication, it may be just a matter of time until she begins acting out on her angry thoughts.

I'm sorry if semantics got in the way of my well-meaning thoughts about your mom and dad. It was certainly not my intention to insult you. It isn't lost on me, however, that you've gone quite out of your way to do that to me.

Maybe it gives both of us something else to think about other than the ravages of old age and watching our beloved parents decline into dementia and more. *shrug*

Be blessed, Peaceofmind.
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MaggieMarshall I am sorry for your losses and struggles but you are not the only one on this site who can claim that. We could go back and forth and play pain poker. I am only a few years younger. I too have survived ovarian cancer. I buried my awesome husband many years ago at 38 years old after a long battle with Leukemia. You have made it clear you don't care who you hurt, that you have a right because of all you have been through. So I will bow out let you keep busy. I am truly sorry I asked for help because of people like you, and feel kicked by you when I was down.
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Really! So if someone said your mother is a miserable human being, rather than your mom sounds unhappy. You would be ok with that. If I were going to answer a post I would make sure that I had experience with that problem. No where in her reply did she say I have the same issue or I have been through that. Which was the reason I asked Maggie if her mother had dementia? Or if she had the experience working with someone with dementia? Not everyone who has a stroke or heart condition has that. I have also received some supportive feedback to my second post from others on this sight. I am sorry but I think we all need to be careful how we say things on this sight. And what we are commenting on. We are talking about serious issues here. Her answer made me sad and regretful that I asked for help. If you reread my post it was a question of what we should do about the calls? How should we handle the calls? etc... Which she didn't even answer. No where did I ask what do you think of my mother. I have some dear friends that can come across sarcastic. So I always have to remind them let people know who you are first. Which is why I said maybe you have a dry sense of humor. Again there is a certain responsibility with the words we send out. No where did I say blatantly cruel or inappropriate those are your words.
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Thank you Dejavuagain. You nailed exactly what I meant. I appreciate your post very much.

I don't understand the misinterpretations that happen on this forum, frankly. I am amazed to see two posters criticize my attempt to be helpful. And this is not the first time. I don't feel sorry for people. I try to help them. I don't try to massage them. I try to give them the benefit of my 67 years on this earth; having suffered the loss of my husband after a long illness; having been diagnosed with two separate cancers in the last eight years; having taken care of my mom for 3 or 4 years as she descended into dementia and then, finally, the year I've spent care-giving for her in my home...managing her congestive heart failure, bringing her back from death's door several times, tending her open wounds...

I'm sorry. I see absolutely NOTHING wrong with my post. Perhaps my having "come in" and spent a great deal of time on this board rather quickly is disconcerting to some. Like "the new kid in class" not letting people get to know her first. I'm sorry for that. But I've spent a great deal of time on another public forum -- like five years. So I'm very comfortable with the process. And know what? I'm even appreciated there.

As I sit here 7 feet away from mom and tend to her 24/7, I need something to keep my brain busy. The very people who've gone out of their way to slam ME for a post or two that was, in my opinion taken wrong . . . the number of people who piled on . . . ? I think some of you should look to yourselves before you start accusing others of lacking compassion.

If this gets me a warning from moderators, I would like to apologize in advance. If you want me to leave, I will do so.
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Although I am not aware of Maggie's other posts, I honestly did not find anything offensive in what she said on this thread. Trying to express one's self effectively to strangers on a public message board without being misunderstood is nearly impossible. Even adding a smiley face can be misinterpreted.

You are right in saying that we don't know what you have gone through or are going through, just as you can't know anyone else's unique experience. We learned a lot more about yours in your reply to Maggie and in spite of that we still don't have the whole picture. Gleaning the extent of a person's situation from their online profile is useless, but that is what you tried to do with Maggie. We can only select one area of concern in a drop-down list. Most of our aging parents and/or spouses (and ourselves, for that matter) have multiple issues.

Here is my personal assessment---not claiming to be right, just my interpretation: Maggie's comment about your mom being miserable echoes what you yourself said about her. I don't think it was meant as an attack or an accusation. As for the comment about your father, I think what she meant was that when a man behaves in an abusive manner people take it more seriously. You and your siblings might have more concern about your mother's safety in that case than you currently do about you father, even though you say he is "too afraid" to do anything. You don't say what it is he fears will happen.

I try my best to be helpful, but if someone ever accused me of being flippant and lacking compassion I would wonder what I said that was so offensive and I would be VERY leery of ever speaking up again. The problems we share on this board are too profound to make judgements based on a person's style of writing, so let's be a little more tolerant of the comments. I would hope that anything that was blatantly cruel or inappropriate would be taken down by the moderator.

Perhaps I overstated my case in this long post, but I was concerned lest any of my comments be taken as an affront. I hope not. I only wish for the best for each of us and our families.
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Maggie according to your profile you are taking care of a mother with a stoke/heart condition. Does your mom have dementia? Do you know what it feels like to take care of someone with dementia? Because I have seen a few of your comments to other people. Your remarks have been flippant and have shown very little compassion. It feels like you are taking out what you are going through on others. You make a comment that my mother is a miserable human being and then you follow it up with some passive aggressive remark ..."I mean she must be very unhappy." Why didn't you just say that. This is my mother, and this isn't some frustration. This is pain and grief to my families very core. Your other comment about if it were my dad it would be different. WRONG! You don't even know my family or what we have been through with my aging parents. I don't want either one of them to act this way. I am reacting the same way I did when my father had a temporary illness that caused this same behavior. By the way you can't just medicate a person. (Unless you slip them a mickey) Her Doctor will not give anyone meds for her because she won't agree to tests. My dad is still competent so he is in charge. My sisters have been nurses for over 30 years at one of the best hospitals in this state. We have talked to the right people and social services will not get involved with dementia patients. My father has called the cops a few times they come out they warn her they leave. The last conversation my dad had with us kids a few days ago he said, "Stay out of it. I am not putting your mom in a home". So we are. We have blocked her calls on our cell phones and home phones. Only my dad's cell can reach us and that is all we can do. But I suggest Maggie before you push submit, you think about something. Are you trying to help or just be funny and clever. People are hurting on this sight and are desperate for compassion and assistance. I have a feeling you are a person with a dry sense of humor but you can't be that way until people know who you are. Words can be encouraging and build some up or counterproductive and tear someone down.
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