Thank you all so much in advance for reading- I haven't had a place to discuss what I've been experiencing and found this board. I'm 37 with an 11 year old son, and we moved in with my parents when I filed for divorce. Shortly after, my Mom (65 yrs old) was diagnosed with colon then lung cancer (currently in remission for both) and I've been able to help out around the house and with general care taking (my Mom required around the clock care following a lobectomy for her lung cancer). Within the last year and a half, I've noticed an extreme change in her memory and behavior. My grandfather was diagnosed with dementia at her age, and she's been attributing her memory loss to stress and the effects of her recent surgery, but her symptoms began prior to that. Some days she's somewhat normal. Other days the incessant questioning, paranoia, accusations, general forgetfulness, and dangerous incidents (mostly involving her driving) is overwhelming. She's always been very anxious, and sees a psychiatrist for medication. I'm a former mental health practitioner, and know that one of the medications she's on (Klonopin) is prescribed to her at a very high dose, and is generally not recommended for long term use, particularly if you have a family history of dementia or Alzheimer's. She also drinks wine every night (at least two glasses) which is not recommended at all for people on the medication she takes. After a particularly bad incident (she becomes very aggressive and confrontational at night), we got into an argument and she called me several names in front of my kid. I tried diffusing the situation, which only seemed to make it worse. I'd discussed my concerns about her memory loss with my Dad a few times before this, but he always seemed to brush it off. After this happened, I tried again, brought up my concern over her alcohol use combined with her prescription meds, and we all had a talk together. My Dad got very angry at me, insinuating I was terrible for bringing it up "considering what she'd been going through" so that made me feel terrible. I even explained that my son didn't feel comfortable eating dinner together anymore, that he was questioning why she was acting so different, and even asked me if the reason I didn't drink was because of "how she acts". I'm at a loss for what to do now. My Dad's job was such that he was gone for most of the day and several nights a week, but now works from home more frequently. I can tell he's noticing her behavior, and gets very frustrated with her almost daily. He becomes more withdrawn as to not interact with her, and my son continues to feel uncomfortable. I feel like I'm walking on eggshells everyday, and after what happened when I finally spoke up about my concerns, am reluctant to say anything else at this point. But I find myself beginning to feel very resentful in general, more anxious, way less patient, and don't feel comfortable in my home. Any feedback or advice would be so appreciated, and thank you all again for reading!!

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This is a very unhealthy situation for your son. As the grandma of a 10 year old boy, I know they see everything and understand more than we give them credit for.

If you are financially able, it’s time to leave the nest. Leave Mom to Dad. It’s also time for him to step up. Your son is the future and you need to give him the best and most stress-free upbringing you can. Check in when you can, but divest yourself of any responsibility for anything but raising your son.
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From my experience with a few close people in my life, the combination of psych meds and alcohol makes people absolutely loopy! So it could be dementia or it could be the combination.

Either way, if you don't feel safe for yourself or your child, the most important step you can take is moving out, I think. I know, from having a mother with alcohol and valium addictions, that this kind of "crazy" steals your childhood away. Your son has a right to a childhood.

Once you get yourself and your son safe, then maybe you can begin to address your mom's care needs.
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I'd place the child's welfare first and take any measures to avoid him feeling uncomfortable or confused. It can be quite disconcerting to be around a person who is displaying dementia like behavior. I'd explore ways to remedy that. Are you able to make other living arrangements?

Do you think your mother is still competent? Does she have an appointed Durable POA or Healthcare POA? If that is your father, he should make arrangements for her care. It's not uncommon that spouses don't want to see the truth, but, it could be some other explanation, like a UTI or medication reaction. Can her doctor check for those things, to rule them out and get a diagnosis?

If dad is away at work, he'd have to make arrangements for you mom's care. I'd stress that it is imperative that he do this and if not, followup to ensure that he does it. He has a duty to protect her if she is not able to stay alone.

It's a tough situation, that's for sure. Is there any other family who can help discuss this frankly with your father? Also, you might consult with an Elder Law attorney to see what your rights and responsibilities are. 
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