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She was always easygoing and friendly. Now, all is changed. It has taken a long time to see it is not me that is settting her off (most of the time). Anyway, she misunderstands me, then gets angry at me, and I don't get to explain what I really meant. She does not say goodbye on the phone, just leaves it there or hangs up. I know, in my heart, that I did not say anything that should have hurt her. I am especially careful and I measure each and every word I say, and, still, she thinks I am uncaring or not understanding or trying to create a problem.

This is not the mother I have known all my life, so I am losing the Mom I have always known and loved and still love. Do I just agree with her and say she is right and that I have done and said something wrong, or do I do what I just did, right now, which is to say "No, I did not do anything wrong" and leave it at that.
She tells me "don't call me anymore. But then she will call me back.

Sorry for all the questions. I am new and things are getting really bad with my Mom. She has been ill for 7 years now, but the last year is the worst.

Note: I keep thinking each year, or episode, or hospitalization, or fall, is the worst and a crisis until the next one. We are living from crisis to crisis and my anxiety level is high, so I hope this post makes some sense.

thank you for reading and anything you can offer to me would be greatly appreciated.

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Thank you all for you kindness and for your suggestions. I know it is not easy to respond to someone else when you, yourself are going trhough so much. I appreciate it.
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Dementia is the gift that keeps on giving. My mother, 90, has 5 distinct personalities now that I recognize upon entering the room she is in. I can tell which one I am dealing with immediately. She has Dementia, Parkinson, and heart issues. I have learned from the wonderful people on this site that it is alright to walk out when she is being abusive. To not feel guilty because I didn't cause the problem, and she really doesn't have control of these personality changes. Do have the Doctor help you evaluate this new person you are dealing with. I have been accused more than once of plotting with the Doctor against her. This is an interesting journey we are all on. My mom doesn't even remember what each personality does or says. It is hard at times, but I wouldn't have her anywhere else as long as I can handle her care. I am also working on accepting that the day will come when I can't care for her at home with the help of others on here. This site is full of helping advice and caring individuals that are a wealth of information and will help you with your journey. I don't know what I would have done without this website to turn to for answers.
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Have her doctor check her thyroid, B-12, and make sure she is getting enough water. Her personality will change with dementia, the heart disease can bring on depression (which will present with crankiness), and a low thyroid (hypothyroidism) makes one cranky, skin dry, hair falling out - it is a very important gland that needs to be checked frequently. Best wishes!
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Even a UTI can cause signs of dementia. First step is a trip to her doctor. Good luck.
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PS-this is also available as an audiobook.
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I would HIGHLY recommend you read the book THE 36 HOUR DAY. I. believe it's in its 5th or 6th revision. It answers many, many questions regarding dementia and Alzheimer's in an easy to follow way. There are suggestions to ask of the patient's doctor and helps to understand why she acts as she does. After I read the book I realized, in hindsight, the signs were apparent in my grandmother's case. I wish I had known about this book much sooner. Best wishes.
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Diet can affect personality. My dad is a "bear" when he has caffeine. Also, lack of quality fat (no trans fats, hydrogenated oils, or deep frying) in the diet can affect mood. Good oils, such as coconut oil and butter, can improve moods. It's better to cut the carbs and up the fats. Look up the low-carb high-fat diet.
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Wow..we are going through the same thing with my aunt who will be 88 in July. She's always hurting her daughter's feelings. She complains because she's not being put first one minute....and the next minute she's telling them all NOT to come visit yet. She hurts all the time and she has meds for it that she claims doesn't do much. IT's only a matter of time before the FALL puts her in their care or a nursing home or assisted living. I keep an eye on her until her kids can make it back to this side of the states. You keep telling her you love her and hang in there.
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sometimes it is best to not argue or correct their perceptions...it only sets them off and makes things worse for both of you. this is a difficult stage, but is should pass. If it continues and you feel like she would benefit, perhaps her doctor can prescribe a low dose anti-depressant for her. good luck.
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Hi Kate. Many of us have walked in those shoes and still do. As this is new for you there will be some days when you have enough patience to say "okay
mom whatever you say;" however there will be other days when you have no energy nor patience for her personality change, particularly if she is just rude for no reason. As time goes on you will figure out which battles to fight.
Throughout this journey what you absolutely MUST do is save time for yourself and try to begin accepting
your new normal. Do not feel guilty when you have no more to give. The
balance of self preservation and being a caretaker is often difficult but
maintaining your sanity and mental health is your priority. Your mom still
knows you love her regardless of her actions. Continued Blessings.
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Definitely have your mom to see her doctor, make sure he/she knows of the personality changes you are seeing. Even if she has the beginnings of dementia it could change her personality. There could also be other medical issues that could cause problems. I find it doesn't do anyone good to argue with her, especially if the issue isn't major, however there will be times you need to speak the truth. Contact your local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, they offer training to help you understand dementia and how it progresses. I know it's difficult when she doesn't say good-bye on the phone, maybe she just forgets. Pick your battles regarding when to go along and when to speak up. Dementia behaviors can become complicated, it's difficult to see the changes in our loved ones when they become a different person. Contact your Area Agency on Aging or Bureau of Senior Services to find out what programs your mother could benefit from. Steer the conversation to pleasant topics, reminiscence, plan activities that you both can enjoy. Try to enjoy the time you have left, take a deep breath, take care of yourself and enlist all the in home & family help you can.
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One thing I feel should be added is that all of us can only do one thing at a time with our brain & if your running in circles, then you run in circles....I choose to be in the moment , it is all we have & use the time to be good to your self. I also choose to play the guitar, & sing & dance. I may be alone on this but I believe not. God's speed.....
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What I can speak from is experience only.
I am the " enemy ", a lot of the time to my husband. I sing, pray, smile a lot & most of all don't take it personally. Sometimes it is moment to moment. Sometimes it is day to day. Should add that I am an R.N. & Counselor who is well educated & trained to deal with all of this. MATTERS NOT....moment to moment I dance....I call it life.
All gifts come in different wrappings. Don't always like the wrappings but all are gifts. Guess it depends on how you see it.
I just choose to see it differently....
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Do you have access to a geriatric care doctor? They are specifically geared to handling general health issues of aging people and can give you a very unique, high level approach in directing you either to specialists for your mother or for caring for things that are just health concerns unique to being elderly. I would try to fine one and take her there.
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Yes I agree with countrymouse..definitely go with her to the doctor. I travelled 300 miles to go to the doctor with our dad. It is a must!
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1. Personality changes need to be reported to her doctor, who will probably want to investigate them.
2. One of the features of heart failure is physical exhaustion. It wouldn't explain a radical change in personality, but it would help to explain why she's lost all patience and a lot of good humour. You know how you feel when you're worn out and people argue with you? You're not interested in the right and wrongs of debate, you just want them to shut up and do as they're told.
3. I am sure you haven't said a single word that would, rationally speaking, upset or anger her. Irony alert! - Tiptoeing around a person can come across as patronising (poor old dear, I'll humour her) and that is, um, very annoying. Don't be afraid to speak the truth. Be yourself. Choose carefully which discussions matter (e.g. food, hygiene, anything that could touch on a genuine risk to her wellbeing) and which don't, or not in this context anyway (e.g. what her neighbour meant by something she said, voting intentions, global warming).

Overall, it sounds as though she needs a comprehensive review. Her symptoms are worsening and changing, and based on what you've said I'd be optimistic that quite a lot can be done to improve how she's feeling. If you possibly can, get her an appointment with her GP, go with her, and make sure everyone gives this their full attention. Best of luck, please keep us posted.
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I used to try the old time arguing when I knew I was right buy no more. I learned it is much easier to say you are absolutely right mom so sorry. Suddenly she is speechless and she chabges the subject. As far as the phone, my mom does that too. She is 85 and reality is she can't hear and denies it had won't have a hearing aid. She keeps the tv off now and I think it is because she just can't hear it. Won't admit it but that's the reason. My mom has no friends her own age they have all died so she is very depressed. Doctor put her on Zoloft and she seems to be sleeping more. Just be patient and agree you will be amazed
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I feel your pain and have walked in similar shoes. Hang in there...there can be help. You don't say if she lives in her own home or at a retirement community as that can make a difference. Also does she live near you or in another town. My dad too has early dementia and besides the symptoms of short term memory loss we noticed personality changes. We felt he always had untreated depression but it became worse. He lived in a town that was too far from any of us girls to visit him easily. The closest (me) was 6 hours away. When we talked on the phone the accusations would begin etc. eventually he knew he could no longer live alone in his home and wanted to move to Independent living at a place near him. We did this but that really increased his anxiety and depression because none of us were around. Like your mom, it was one crisis after another and my anxiety increased. We promised to move him to my town to another retirement community IF he agreed to go to his doctor with us and get on medication to help. Wow! What a difference that made. He was put on an antidepressant (Zoloft ) and an anti anxiety. It made a huge difference in his personality and anxiety level. We felt like we had our dad back again. It has gotten steadily better over time. The move here was stressful to him at first as change is never easy but after a few crisis he's over the hump and settled in. This all began one year ago and now my health is better too and I feel less stress. My life has changed and always will now until he departs but I'm learning how to deal with it. Please get your mother help and you too may want a mild anti anxiety med to help at times. There is no shame in that. I know it's hard to get the elderly to take these types of meds. But tell her it's her happy pill if she resists. There's too much to go into now, but I urge you to help her in this way. If she lives alone, see if you can get her into a facility if that's affordable. Do not move her in with you! Bless you for traveling this road with her. It takes lots of strength!
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Going from crisis to crisis is very difficult and must be very stressful for you.

It sounds like your mom may have dementia. That could be the reason for the complete personality change.

And if she does have dementia your interactions with her will change. Instead of contradicting her you go along with whatever she says and try to redirect her attention instead. Arguing with her will just agitate her. IF she has dementia.

And if her personality has changed so much that she's a completely different person you don't have to be her punching bag regardless of whether she has dementia or not. If she starts to become critical or otherwise difficult on the phone simply tell her that you won't listen to this, you'll talk to her later, and tell her goodbye. You don't have to hang on the phone while she treats you badly.

Now, about you: what can you do for yourself? You have to get out or get away, have some time for yourself. I understand the stress you're under, I've been there too. But you need some time away. An afternoon. Even just a few hours. This is not a luxury, this is a necessity. If your mom can't be left alone I hope you have someone who can step in so you can get away. And if you don't, please work on finding someone. You need taking care of too.
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What kind of doctor is managing her "very early dementia" ? And do you know if she's having the same sort of issue with other family neighbors and friends? I would have her checked by a geriatric psychiatrist or neurooogist tp see if some meds you be added for depression, anxiety anf agitation. But, yes, she may have gotten to the stage were her cognitive changes make it difficult to understand what's going on.
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Are you sure she hasn't got dementia? Could she be getting mad because she doesn't have the capacity to understand you anymore? That would make anyone angry, if when someone talks to you, you don't 'get it' like you should. I'd be thinking along those lines unfortunately. It's important that if she DOES have the beginning of Alzheimer's, she get put on some meds that will hopefully slow it down. Also changes in personality is a dead give away with dementia.
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