Mom has dementia in nursing home. Now throwing lies about me to my wife. Very hurtful. I refuse to visit at this point. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

Mom has dementia in nursing home. Now throwing lies about me to my wife. Very hurtful. I refuse to visit at this point. Any advice?

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We have guardianship over my mother. Of course, she constantly tries to say lies about me now to my wife. These statements hurt. I told you folks earlier that my mother had amassed $55,000 in debt - which I was able to settle btw. It's cleared up. She calls my wife in various stages of hostility, contriteness, friendliness. This time, she was friendly and wants my wife to take her shopping. She got my wife to agree, but then said that she (my mother) wracked up $55,000 in debt to purchase a house in my name - which is a lie. I'm trying very hard to let this stuff "roll off " and "detatch", but this time, it just sat wrong. I have asked my wife to remind my mother that if she hears lies about me or her finances, she (my wife) won't help her or interact with her. I said to my wife that I don't want to tell her what to do, but I really needed some defense here, and I don't think I got it. Any input?

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Hugedoof; I'm sorry that your mom has this terrible disease. The sad truth is that her brain is very broken. I saw a CT scan of my mom's brain this summer; there's more hole than brain at this point, and it gave me a great visual for why she can't reason anymore. Think of it this way; your mom, back in the day, was savy about her money, kept track of it, got careless due to the dementia and amassed $55,000 in debt. She remembers that figure and nothing else. What few "reasoning" brain cells she has left are trying to make sense of that number. You are there; it must be because of YOU! Sad to say, but the caregiver who is in the line of fire is often the person who is accused of all sorts of things. Your mother is not lying; your mom needs your love. I assume that you wife knows that there is no truth to these accusations, so don't stress about them. The reasoning part of Mom's brain is no longer there. Re-direct her when she gets like this, agree with her, don't challenge her.
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Countrymouse - we need to be sensitive to the point that those posting carry much that we are not aware of. It takes some a lifetime to sort through the challenges of family dynamics. It appears as though his wife has her own will and you telling him to stop it may not be as easy as you are making it sound.
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We can't put any faith in anything that anyone with dementia says. Is your mom lying? Is it the dementia? Who knows? But anything your mom says about you or your wife or your siblings or anyone for that matter should be taken with a grain of salt. Someone who has dementia is not a reliable source of information. Discussing pertinent information with someone who has dementia is useless as well. That person may take a tiny little kernel of what you said and weave an entire false story around it and then everyone gets upset, feelings get hurt, and it turns into a mess. The only defense is to chalk it up to the dementia and not pay any attention to it. It's part of the illness. You know what the truth is. Your wife knows what the truth is. Your mom's unreliable two cents shouldn't be a consideration.
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Hi Hugedoof!

Ugh, Alzheimer's -- my Mom's got it, too, and she tries my last nerve.

I understand why you'd want to withdraw from your Mom. (It has nothing to do with teaching her a lesson, but everything to do with saving your sanity/your marriage.) Whether it's for a short time or longer, it's up to YOU to decide how long to be away from her. And nobody should guilt you into seeing your Mom more often than you can bear.

Okay, so here's the thing: the one thing I'd do differently is NOT stand on the sidelines and tell my spouse what to say. It's really not fair to your wife. If you've got something to say to your Mom, then YOU need to say it. (I know, I know: It won't do any good, of course, because your Mom's brain is a sieve.) Or don't say anything at all. Just don't get upset with your wife for saying/not saying things to your Mom (especially if your wife's the one who seems to spend more time with your Mom on the phone and in person).

I hate Alzheimer's.
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Just out of curiosity, why is your wife subjecting herself to being in the middle? I, too, have a FIL and MIL in various stages of dementia. For the longest time I felt so challenged by not helping more. However, when the lies began, I realized that being a major player, other than supporting my husband (which hasn't gone well either) was the best posturing for all.

Here is the lie that blasted me. I walked in from church to where my husband was with his mother at her home. My husband said to me "we need you to clear up something that mom told me. Did my brother make a pass at you at dinner the other night?" It was the first time that we had seen his brother and wife in years. Personalities kept amicable family gatherings from happening. And MIL's saying that could have done permanent damage to the relationship. I merely could respond "not to my knowledge". I asked why she thought that. Apparently, FIL and MIL saw the brother talking to me and got that impression. She did apologize.

You and your wife need to keep your relationship solid and not let your mother's condition come between you.
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You are holding your mother responsible for what she says, and you are doing so in spite of your understanding that your mother has dementia. You are being utterly unreasonable, and you are trying to insist that your wife follows suit. Stop it.
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Olivia, I certainly agree that we do not know what feelings may be stirred up by the incidents people report; and I probably should have explained better.

I do NOT blame H for feeling hurt by his mother's false accusations. Of course he does, it is natural to feel hurt if we are slandered or misjudged. What is unreasonable is to blame her for her failure to understand, and to punish her for false accusations. What next? If she forgets her DIL's name, should the DIL refuse to talk to her until she makes the effort to remember it? If she becomes incontinent, should she be made to take cold baths until she learns to control her bowel movements?

H's mother has got it wrong, in a way that feels insulting and hurtful; but she has got it wrong because she has dementia. The truth of the financial situation should be explained to her patiently and repeatedly; and if that doesn't work then she needs to be diverted to a different subject. But to refuse to visit her, to ask his wife to stay away, will not correct his mother's misunderstanding. It is cruel and unreasonable to punish her for something she cannot help.
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Physical issues you can deal with but there's no reasoning with someone whose mind is blowing in the wind.
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All: Massachusetts requires a "co-guardian" in these cases; and normally it is a spouse. @countrymouse: we've already dealt with my mother's stroke, congestive heart failure, a multitude of other health problems, forgetfulness, inability to process simple logic, incontinence, financial disaster, medication (pills) all over the house, poopy tissues in the bed, poop in bed, peeing in vases and suitcases, defacating in clothes and the shower, open cans of wet catfood in her clothes and furniture drawers, mixing poop with make-up and eye-liner - conjunctivitis; elopement plots to jump the nursing home - shall I go on? The belligerency has been difficult to take. My mother seems to have enough faculties left to hurl slander and hateful statements. It appears you've added things to my question that were not there to begin with. The slanderous statement from my mother really hurt. And my wife did not say, "if you continue to hurl slander and hateful statements at my husband, your son, I will not be able to interact with you right now." My wife and I talked about this. I don't know where we're at, but this is what happened. That's all. I'm not holding anybody to account, as I am well aware of my mother's condition. I'm in the middle of creating a MassHealth account to pay for her care, which has been very difficult. The slanderous statements were utterly insane and there was no need for them and they added un-needed stress to an already stressful situation. I am still processing this. Thank you all for your input.
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Hugedoof from your description of your mother's shenanigans it sounds like her mind is almost completely gone. I think, even at that stage, they can have flashes that enable them to be cunning and manipulate - like getting your wife to take her shopping. Your wife should absolutely not take her shopping and it sounds like she's not well enough anyway. Make any excuse like the car's in the shop, you have the flu, anything to get her off your back.

I'm in Canada as well so I don't know what to suggest except making sure you have legal and social services backing and stay away from her.
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