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I am coping the best I can dealing with the sadness myself. Since Mom has been in long term care, her dementia has advanced quickly, But as her POA and daughter, I'm trying to keep my sadness and negative thoughts at bay just to keep my act together. I focus on the positive things and moments when Mom is still herself. However,the best friend (since high school) calls me venting how horribly upset and distraught she is to witness the dementia when she visits. I recognize her need to do this, as natural part of grieving, but it depresses me - especially after I've had a positive visit with Mom. I've tried hinting to her that I don't appreciate her doing this - but she doesn't hear. She only rambles on and on. She herself is 92, and I think she might be more worried about herself than Mom...afraid it will happen to her? She talks about the good old days, and how they all had 50 years of wonderful retirement, enjoying the Florida life style..when I'm newly retired and not rolling in money - and with the burden of Mom on my shoulders!
The last thing I want to do is disrespect this person, since there's so much history between our families. But, I feel like a door mat sometimes, letting her depress me with her sad thoughts. I may just have to abruptly end the conversation due to a fictitious distraction? This feels harsh, but I'm not able to stop her when she gets going.


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Man, so this lady is 92 and calls you a lot unassisted? That's pretty impressive. I'd still wonder if something is going on with her.

How does she monitor your mom's progression? Does she visit her a lot? Is what she saying true? If she is seeing your mom fade further each visit and becoming overwhelmed with it, perhaps, it's not in her best interest to keep visiting so often. I might see if she remains upset when talking to her daughter about it. Sharing her observations is healthy, but not with you. You have your own journey to deal with this and must conserve your emotional resources.

I'm all for compassion, but, I don't think I could take this nice lady calling me a lot and obsessing about my mom's deficiencies. I'd have to avoid her calls or interrupt her by saying, yes, mom is struggling, but she's being well cared for and that's what I focus on now. And change subject or end the call.
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irishspirit, many people don't understand the "circles of grief." The ill person and the family occupy the two inner circles. It is totally wrong for someone outside these circles to pour out grief on family. I know this is what you are sensing. It may be that this friend is older and her focus has narrowed to her own concerns -- It happens as we age. I don't know what you can do about it, except to realize that it isn't anything that you are doing wrong when you feel irritated.

This sounds like such a cold answer. It wasn't meant to sound that way. I don't think people know how to act when someone is sick or dying, and sometimes they do really inappropriate things. We have to look past it and deal with our own grief. Their grief about our loved one is not ours to deal with, since we are family.
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PS Sunnygirl - The daughter lives separately from the Mom (and Dad) so she may not be able to help filter any of the calls.
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Thanks sunnygirl - come to think of it, this old friend of Mom's has a daughter I can call, just to touch base. We've known each other a long time, but don't have much in common (except our Moms are best friends). I'll try to be as tactful as possible when mentioning the situation. She may give me some advice of her own as to the best way to deal with her mom:-)
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It's sad for your mom's old friend, but, I don't see why setting limits on her obsessing with your mom's decline is an issue. You say that she keeps talking about it, even when you try to shut it down.....that sounds familiar. My cousin would do that about certain things earlier in her dementia. Do you think that this friend has some cognitive decline?

Maybe, she's not processing how inappropriate her negative comments are and maybe, she forgets how much she is saying, so she keeps repeating it. She's just not aware and may have no idea it's inappropriate, so, I'd have to resolve the matter. I might see if there is someone on her end to act as a filter or buffer. Does she have family nearby or is their staff who is making these calls to you on her behalf? If not, I'd be blunt and come up with a nice and comforting catch phrase that you can just keep repeating and then end the phone call.
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Thanks for all the great ideas - I can see them coming in handy. That's why I love this site, so many people in the same "boat" freely offering help:-)
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Everyone makes good points. It's a difficult situation, one in which I've been in. It can be overwhelming to listen to someone else's complaints, even if the person is just trying to get support from a sympathetic person.

Keep a timer fairly close to the phone. When you see her number on caller ID, set the timer to however long you feel comfortable speaking with her. When it rings, politely excuse yourself as you (a) roast is done and needs to be taken out of the oven (and eaten) (b) your bread needs to be punched down (c) your cake is done baking, or a similarly polite excuse.

If you have a way of recording your doorbell, do that, and play it when you're ready to terminate the conversation.

You can also be very polite and tell her that you understand her position b'c you've been and are there, but it's becoming overwhelming and you're now turning your attention to more positive aspects of caregiving. Then ask her to share some.

She seems like a good friend; perhaps you can turn her perspective into a more positive one for the benefit of both of you.

Good luck!
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The old gal is probably lonely - one of he last links to her youth is disappearing - and she has chosen you to help fill the void. Try to redirect the conversation to the positive aspects about your mom, then segue the conversation to other interests... her family, local events, whatever. If she won't be distracted I don't see any harm in ending the conversation (oh sorry, I have an appointment - someone is at the door - the cat threw up on the carpet...). Screening her calls and picking up less often too.
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irishspirit25, you are the extension of your Mother, thus her best friend feels she can talk to you and you would understand. I know it isn't easy listening to someone who is sad and negative about what is happening to your Mom, but she needs a shoulder to cry one as she has basically lost her best friend who has been replace with this new person named Alzheimer.

It is great that this friend is visiting your Mom. So many just give up and stop going. Could the friend by Mom something small to give to Mom, then when she does call you can tell her that Mom smiles when she sees or wears this item. A positive spin.
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Rock and a hard place. Perhaps listening less and sharing your feelings about mom with her? (Maybe a little passive-aggressive?) But, share YOUR sadness to the extent the friend has to acknowledge your grief. Then insist the two of you focus on the good times and the occasional good day because the alternative is too painful and not healthy Agree that you are both saddened and that it goes without saying. If that doesn't work, and you find it too difficult to be more direct, then you can always screen your calls.
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