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Moms health has steadily declined and although she has not been diagnosed she clearly has dementia issues. She is capable of doing things around the house and I want her to continue as this keeps her active. Problem is she overdoes things, will not pace herself, overworks her body to the point of exhaustion, and complains all the time about how much she hurts. I try to get her to take breaks. The only way I can get her to slow down or stop is to entice her with food. I've tried getting her to talk about the old days, tried music, tv, shopping (she doesn't like using her riding cart). She has diabetes, neuropathy, bronchiestasis, severe hearing loss, joint issues, overall lack of strength and other conditions. She is on oxygen full time. I get that she doesn't want to give in to her issues, but she drives Dad and I nuts with her energizer bunny routine complete with non-stop complaining. She treats me like I'm 12 and doesn't like the way I cook, clean, wash, do finances, take general care of things. How do I get her to accept the help she needs? I do everything I can as I see it, but I still work full-time and sometimes I cannot get to it when she wants it done.

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Things will not get better. I agree that you need to find an AL that ur parents are able to stay together. I don't know how you work and be a caregiver to two people.
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If your mom's dementia is causing issues, it's likely it will continue and actually progress to effect things more. It's understandable that family members want to help the effected person change, think more rationally, use better judgment, be more cooperative, be more reasonable, etc. But, those are goals, that generally are not attainable with people whose brain is damaged. The only real strategy that has hope is changing the way you cope and manage their behavior.

Sometimes, it's just too stressful and you can't continue dealing with it. In those cases, it might help to bring in outside help, but, that may be met with resistance too. They normally cannot operate on their own, due to their inability to plan, focus, over exert or reason. So, I'd explore placement and/or outside support coming in. Her complaints may just be something that is tolerated, until they fade away. She may just not get on board with things that are good for her or the household. I know that keeping things at a tolerable level of the rest of the family can be challenging. Good luck.
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First, Cin, I applaud you for what you are doing with and for your parents. You won't regret it down the road. Take what ideas others have shared here and use what works for you. I took care of my mother for the past 4 years. She passed two weeks ago. It wasn't enough time. Veronica91 please don't tell people "it rarely works." That's not true. Living with a parent takes time & adjustment for all parties involved. It was by far the most rewarding thing I've ever done.
Cin, My only advice would be to redefine what needs to be done? Maybe schedule 1 thing per day and piece that out for your Mom: "we need to get that sink cleaned in your bathroom today." Stay strong. You are doing an amazing thing for your parents.
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Good answer JessieBelle! Spot on! 👍
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CinDee, it sounds like your mother still wants to be the matriarch. It is a role that she is used to. The trouble is that this is your home. I know you want to come home to peace, instead of feeling pressured to work or to stop your mother from working. The only things I can think of is either letting her be the matriarch in their own apartment, hire her a housekeeper to supervise, or to figure out a reasonable and useful list of chores for her to accomplish on a given day. Maybe the last one would be a good one to begin with. If she has a goal to accomplish a reasonable number of things, then quit, maybe she will feel productive without getting exhausted. The trick would be to work with her on it so she'll feel in charge.

It sounds like other than the energizer bunny thing that you all have a good relationship. I hope you can make it work. That way you wouldn't get on each other's nerves. It wouldn't surprise me if your mother has some dementia. It often goes along with diabetes and breathing problems. I am surprised that she has enough energy to do so much.

Sometimes the complaints are actually a way of pointing out how much they've done. I wouldn't compliment, though, if she is complaining. That would be reinforcing the complaints. Maybe you can just say, "Mom, you do so much. Maybe we can make a list of things to do each day so you don't wear yourself out."
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The Energizer bunny will eventually run out of juice but unfortuneately the continual complaining will not. When you get to the stage where you can no longer stand it or if you become exhausted then is the time to find them alternative acomodation. Living with parents rarely seems to be an ideal situation.
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The cleaning I could handle, the nonstop complaining--no way.
Dementia robs a person of so much. How is your father? Is he healthy mentally to intervene on your behalf, or is this a dynamic that is years in the making?
Maybe time to think of having mom and dad move into an ALF--an apartment and she can fuss the day away. Sounds like dad is used to this and maybe if she had her own place again, she wouldn't bother you.
If this is a permanent situation, I think you may just have to get used to it. Sadly, people rarely change for the better when they age, instead just becoming more intensely what they already were. My mother will fixate on one thing and drive me crazy with the talking about it--(and I sadly see myself do the exact same thing to my kids. I have to be so careful not to mirror her behaviors!)
She's probably not going to change, or accept "misdirection" as she gets older. You're going to have to be the one who changes, I think.
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CinDee, I feel for you. I moved in with my 77 year old mother after she had some mini strokes...now I am wishing I had just continued with the back and forth between houses. My mother also is a hard worker and knows no limitations. She wants her yard maintained to a standard that really puts pressure on me as I work and still have to maintain my own house and yard. I yearn for the peace and privacy that I had in my own home. About the only thing I have found that helps is to do everything before she has a chance to do it...yes, you will be tired, but it sure beats listening to every ache and ailment after your mother does it. I have to ask, what was your mother like before? My mother was always sweet and my best friend...and in many ways she still is, but I find that age tends to make people very short sighted and selfish. It is very depressing.
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Dementia interfere with all the cognitive functions including perception, and reasoning. Her perception may be that she is not over doing. She may not be making the link between what she does and physical discomfort. What her body muscles and lungs and heart report to her brain may not be understood by her brain. Dementia robs a person of sound logical rational reasoning. And if it does make sense in one moment that does not mean it will be retained or make sense in the next moment. Abstract ideas are just to much to handle at some point in the dementia progression. That's just the nature of Dementia. A broken brain can not retain the logic or even make sense of the logic you and your Dad present. Caregivers must Replace Reasoning with Redirection. It sounds like you know that to some degree so keep pursuing it. So cake will redirect her. Use that but also explore other redirection triggers. Can you get her to sing. Forming words for singing prevents forming words to complain. Maybe books on tape would keep her mind busy and mouth shut as most people don't talk if someone else is already talking. Maybe an old photograph book would entice her to sit and look. Maybe a new picture of the grand baby. Maybe making a phone call to a life long friend. My experience and training has caused me to adopt the mantra of Replace Reasoning with Redirection.

The other part is to remember you can change your world and a demented brain can't change their world. You can change your mind about living with an energizer bunny . You can decide this is just the way it is and train yourself to accept it. We don't have to like or even approve of something to give up and accept it and not let it interfere with our peace of mind. We do it in traffic jambs all the time. You can do that with mom. This is just mom and I won't fight it or criticize it. I will just accept it as the way it is and let it be. Dementia will prevent you from changing her so changing you is the only hope you have for changing the situation. Now some day in the future she may sit down and refuse to get up even though you know it would be good for her to move around some and you may know her body is perfectly capable of moving. These situation change but we almost never change a person with dementia. You can reframe how you think about her behavior she can't. Also remember that behavior in Dementia people can be informative. Is she busy because she feels things are whirling out of control and she is trying to get them under control? Is she energized because she is afraid? Is she keeping herself busy so she does not stop and feel the chaos that is going on in her brain? Lots to think about. The best bet you have for your mental health is to give up trying to change her, accept it, let it roll off your back and when possible help her through redirection. Well that's my two cents. Hope it helps.
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Also a geriatric doctor might be wise for her.
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Cin, the best advice I can give you is to get your mom to a geriatric psychiatrist.

Dementia means that mom's brain is broken. Things that were filtered or tamped down in the past suddenly run rampant. Meds can sometimes help.

Write down your concerns. Make an appointment. Send list of concerns (bulleted, not a long narrative) to the doc. Hope you can get her some relief.
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CinDee, I noticed with myself now that I am 70 years old, it sometimes takes me twice a long to do a chore that was easy in the past. It is all just part of getting older. Sounds like your Mom wants to keep doing these things around the house as that was "her job" back when she was home with your Dad.

And it is difficult getting on in years. So many things she just can't do any more, so try to understand how she feels. I see from your profile your Dad also has dementia issues. This isn't the retirement your parents had looked forward to.

And as you found the family dynamic is back to what it was in your youth, she's the adult and you are once again the child, and heck, what do we know :P

Would there be enough money in the budget to bring in a cleaning lady once every couple of weeks? Or would your Mom clean none stop before the cleaning lady showed up?
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