Mom insists she tells us things she doesn't; then gets super angry when we don't 'remember'. What to do?

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She's also quite verbally abusive. She is way worse with my dad, who is still very viable, but to an extent does this to us all. She never was an easy person to like or get along with but its getting so much worse. She is in a significant amount of pain due to a back problem. But she acts like a petulant child that was never taught any manners in addition to getting outrageously angry if she thinks she has told us things that we know she hasn't. If anyone tries to help her, i.e. attempt to reason with her or encourage medical intervention, she thinks we are ganging up on her, telling lies about her and generally wanting others to think she is 'crazy'. She complains all the time and is never happy; although when gently confronted she is shocked- says she NEVER complains and is the happiest person around and how dare us try to make her look like she isn't?! Its driving us crazy. Are there any books or material to help? I am oldest daughter and primary caregiver, outside her home. Any help is so much appreciated.

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First of all, Mother's neurologist says she doesn't have dementia. She is very helpless now days and is in a wheel chair and requires assistance to bathe and potty. We put her meals on the table for her. She becomes quite oppositional under certain situations and today she was very ugly with me. It's becoming more and more frequent as she becomes more helpless. If I don't understand her - she frequently garbles her words, she lambastes me. Today she told me to go away and leave her alone. Mother was always active and loved yard work and gardening. She worked until age 99 in her hair salon. She if frustrated and angry with life. I suspect you have that same situation with your father. She accuses us of moving her things, of other people living in her room etc. but the "specialist" says she is not demented.
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First, the doctor and a good evaluation. IF it's dementia or Alzheimer's you need to know and consider getting meds on board to help her. In any case, some meds may make her better. Even with her bad back and pain....there should be further considerations as to how to decrease pain for her. Pain makes people act bad too. If it's a dementia showing up, arguing never works. When my Dad was in this stage, I would just say, as others above have suggested.... " I am so sorry. What I can do right now to make it better?" or " OK Dad, so this is the situation. What do YOU want to see happen now?" Most of the time, he just wanted to know that he was HEARD and that someone was willing to 'get it done the right way' or 'find it' or promise to change things another way. And as soon as it was diffused that way, it was all forgotten. With my Mom now sometimes in that state, I just " Mom, I am so sorry this has happened to you....(whatever 'this' was that she was upset about...) and ask how we could fix it. With ANY promise that it would get taken care of...me make a phone call, or pay the bill, or her caregiver to look for it...any way she could perceive that it was off her shoulders, it's immediately diffused, and frequently immediately forgotten about. But this with both is dementia....so if not dementia with your Mom, these ideas may not work. Also, seems at their ages, YES, try to get the POAs in place for both. You don't fully act on a POA until there is incompetence determined, BUT if you wait til then, the parent cannot sign and your only recourse is to go to court for guardianship which is much more involved and costly. A POA can be done with a visit to an elder care attorney and all elderly should have it done. My husband and I are in early 70s and doing just fine, but we did ours in conjunction with a living trust....so our daughters are all set up to step in for either of us when it is time. Without this, you really cannot get any info from their doctors....only GIVE your input to the doctor...unless you actually go with them to the appointment and they tell the doctor it's ok to talk to you EACH time. So should one or the other go suddenly into the hospital, you will be stuck as far as being involved.
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Accept that this is how it is - you can't change her disease. Swallow all pride, and apologize when you don't remember something. Offer to help her and sometimes when she is upset say, "tell me about it."
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We went through something similar with my MIL. She was a good drama queen and liked to be noticed and "center stage". She had been a dancer and performed in Vaudville when she was young and that shaped much of the way she viewed the world - be the center of attention or you will be forgotten.

The advice to not argue, do not remind, don't say "But you said you wanted/needed/liked _________________", or anything else along that line is good. If she tell you that she wanted you to get something from the store and you didn't and why didn't you and why does she need to ask you over and over to do something, just smile and say "well, are you ready? we can go to the store right now". No she won't be ready, and she won't want to go, so you can say, "let's put it on the shopping list". Then keep a shopping/to do list in a visible place. Of course you will be responsible for not writing things down, but it is some place where you can go and write it down when she says something. The next day she may ask you why that item is on the list and you can cross it out.

You are playing a game and she makes the rules as she goes along. You will not win if you try to compete, but you will get frustrated, angry, and overwhelmed. Find a good friend, or a therapist, you can unload on on a regular basis. If you don't mind writing, buy a spiral notebook and write it all down in a journal. Just let the emotions go and "tell it like it is". It does help.
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One good reference book on dementia and Alzheimer's is "The 36 Hour Day". Barns and Noble sometimes has copies.
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I feel you!! My grandma got like that quite a bit towards the end of her life. It really did feel like dealing with a child! My advice is to play along. Do not try to reason with her. Don't argue. Don't tell her she's wrong. Just nod your head, agree, and go along with it. If she accuses you of not remembering something, just apologize for forgetting, and then move forward from there. There's really no reason to argue with her at this stage of her life. Sure, YOU know (and everyone else) that you're right and she's the one in the wrong, but what good does it do to tell her that? It just makes her upset, and therefore adds more stress to you. :)

It's tough. Hang in there!
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Sorry, I meant his step-children.
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My dad was angry, but passively so. He would lie too. He was forced to move out of his own home when his children took advantage and became abusive toward him, after his wife passed. He developed early onset dementia, but progressing to a stage where he only remembers me and my sister, his only daughters. He doesn't remember our children and asks who those people are.
He was very difficult at first when he came to live and passive in his demands, but he is now in a NH and coping better it appears. He is on Alzam, an anti-anxiety tablet, as well as Zoxadon. Perhaps you could ask your doctor for advice on meds that would calm your mom.
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Sunny is right, read about dementia but also check out all the info on difficult parents. Tons of ink around here about mommy dearest nightmares. I suspect she has dementia and doesn't realise what a pain she is. It's very hard to not get mad but it's the illness. You won't be able to reason with her. If she was a difficult person when she was of sound mind dementia can make her bad traits harder to deal with.
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I would read the threads on this site, read as much as dementia as possible. Has she been diagnosed with dementia? Does she have some other physical or mental health problem that could cause such behavior?

I would try to get her a complete physical exam and see what the doctor says. They can do a test in the doctor office that can give them some idea of what is going on. But, you need to provide the doctor info on what is happening so they know what to look for.

It would be great if she has already signed healthcare power of attorney and durable power of attorney so that if she needs you or your dad to help act on her behalf, you are able to do so. Without those documents and it will be difficult.
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