My mother is turning 90 next week, but I'm so discouraged I don't feel like doing anything for her. Can someone help?

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This would be a joyous celebration for many families but my mother has been mentally and verbally abusing me for years. She is constantly misplacing things and then accuses me of stealing them. When I look for her things and find them she says that I took them in the first place. I am not allowed to get anyone to come in to help out a bit. My husband says I need a day away to get away from her but if we go overnight she will make my life miserable when I come home. Back to the birthday I am so discouraged I don't feel like doing anything for her. She refers to me as the devil. I have a brother in Chicago but it is like being alone. Can someone help?

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Dear Koko,
Please understand and accept the fact your mother is your mother and she will NOT change. She has been abusing you mentally and verbally for years. You must find the strength to recognize this unacceptable behavior and stop the enabling. Don't let her do this to you! Please Koko, for your own sanity, seek help. Take mom to an adult day care center. These folks are wonderful, the cost is minimal providing snacks, hot lunches and activities. Drop her off at 7am and pick her up around 5pm. Enjoy the day; go shopping, meet a friend for lunch, clean your house, dance in the rain...whatever. You will feel refreshed, emotionally stronger and much better to cope. Also, check in your area regarding respite care. Most places require a minimum of 2 or 3 weeks stay. Wouldn't that be nice? Perhaps your husband and you could go on a vacation, visit your brother in Chicago, ride the waves on Maui; enjoy time together away from responsibilities and accusations. Also, realize Koko, part of dementia is lying and blaming others. It is quite common as this terrible disease progresses. In my case, I am the sole caregiver of my husband suffering from Alzheimer's for the past 10 years. He is as stubborn as a mule, blames me, or our cat for everything...even when he pees on the floor! Don't argue with a dementia patient. It doesn't do any good and could exasperate the situation and lead them to violence. Walk away and let them rant and rave. Remove yourself from the situation. Another suggestion would be to talk to your mother's doctor. Most health facilities have mental health counselors available that PCP's recommend. The sooner you accept the fact that your mother cannot help the way she acts, you must help yourself keep your sanity. Do NOT feel guilty. And, don't let anyone else make you feel guilty. I worry about you. This is all to common a pattern with caregivers. They slip into a world of acceptance and false acquiescence hoping and praying every day that their situation will go away. Unfortunately, it doesn't Koko unless you are strong enough to make changes. Please keep in touch, but please act. Don't wait until tomorrow. Sometimes tomorrow's never come. Be grateful that you can walk, talk, and make decisions---there are those who cannot. God bless you.
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Dear Koko,
You know what? Sometimes it's just ALL TOO MUCH. A mother who has been nasty and mean for many years is a mother who has been nasty and mean for many years. It's not just 'dementia', it's mean and nasty. Mental & verbal abuse for a whole lifetime does not mean she's had dementia her whole life!! A mother who has never been satisfied her whole life, no matter HOW much is done for her, is a mother who is never satisfied and cannot be pleased. She is a mother who loves to complain and gripe. Sometimes it's just ALL TOO MUCH, and I can sympathize with what you're going through. Sometimes old hurts can never heal, no matter what we do, no matter how hard we try. Try to step back and allow yourself to feel aggravated and overwhelmed. Do what you feel you WANT to do with regard to her 90th birthday (mine just celebrated her 90th on 1/20 and yesterday said she wished she had a gun so she could shoot herself). Figure out how to preserve YOUR sanity. I used to call mine twice a day, once on my way to work and again around 8:00 PM. The AM calls were bad enough, but the PM calls were insanity. So I stopped calling twice a day (at the advice of the nursing staff at the ALF), and managed to preserve what's left of my sanity in the process.
I just wanted to say that I feel your pain, dear woman. All the best to you as you try to navigate through the mess you're going through.
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My difficult hubby turns 65 on Valentine's day. Every year I try to do something really lovely for him....and he could NOT care less. This year, I'm not even going to get him a card. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the hallmark of "crazy".
If your mom is this far gone, I'd just make an nice meal, get a cake and encourage friends and family to "remember her". That's about it. I wouldn't stress it one iota. If I live to 95, I'm sure the last thing I'd care about was the fact I was 95. And just smile through the gritted teeth :)
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Koko, I noticed that you posted about the same kind of behavior 11 months ago and you got some really good suggestions on seeking medical care and help and information on dementia. Were you able to do any of that? I would think that it would be the best help to get her medical care and learn how to validate that she has dementia, if that is the case, and to learn some empathy for her condition. Blaming a person with dementia for their behavior is not really appropriate, as they have brain damage and can't help it.

If you can't manage the care, then tell your family and then explore getting outside help to come in and care for her or find placement for her in a nursing home or assisted living facility. It's a huge job to care for someone with dementia. Maybe, you are overly tired and need a break.
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You said it, lealonnie1 - my friend has a narcissistic 94 year old mother, in assisted living, sharp as a razor, and still calling the shots. That F.O.G. thing. Running the poor woman ragged, still! The mother was living on her own just fine till the last couple years and luckily there was a slot open at an AL, and things are ... well, better! It's not all on my friend's head now. Mother likes the place, but she's as mean, self-centered,nasty as ever, lol. (sweet as can be when she wants to be, though!) Some things don't change.
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Koko, your Mother has either Alzheimer's or Dementia.   Study up on everything you can about this memory issue so you will understand what is happening.   Go to the bottom of this page to the blue section, on your left you will see ALZHEIMER'S CARE, click on that to find excellent articles with a lot of suggestions on how to deal with the accusations.   You need to realize that Mom's brain is broken, she can't help what she is saying.

As for your Mom's birthday, have a simple dinner at home with just the 3 of you. Chances are your Mom may not realize it is her birthday.   If relatives want to do something, have them send her cards.
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All good suggestions. My mother turns 95 tomorrow and has worsening dementia. She lived alone then with us for almost 3 years. My health isn't the best and it was getting difficult. I did have someone coming in twice a week to shower her. If I felt up to going out, we couldn't as we could not leave her alone. I made the difficult decision to place her in a small, residential care home. Luckily, she has the funds to cover this cost. She has adjusted pretty well and I go there to visit at least every other day. She didn't realize tomorrow was her BD. There is really nothing she needs or wants. I got her a nice card and will get her the box of candy she loves. We will take her out to dinner. If your Mom can't go out, have a nice dinner at home or even take her out fir an ice cream. My Mom loves that!!
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You don't HAVE to make a BFD over this birthday (or anyone over the age of 12's birthday, IMO) . Get a cake at the grocery store, put a candle in it, and a big gaudy card. Have the cake at the end of the meal (your mom's favorite foods), present the card. Done! You've done your part, marked the occasion. That's all I have for the big birthday celebration, others here have given you good advice for other aspects of your life, good luck!
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Hi Koko,

I could be wrong but it sounds to me that you have not accepted that your Mom has dementia and that you are holding onto old hurts. None of our Mom's were perfect and I believe they did the best they could when they brought us up. My Mom raised 4 kids and it was tough for her as my Dad owned his own business and worked very long hours.

I was the kid that challenged my Mom constantly and in return my Mom abused me verbally (maybe I deserved it, maybe not). The point I am trying to make is there came a time in my life when I decided to forgive my Mom and that gave me peace.

My goodness your Mom is 90 years old, make peace first with yourself and then with your Mom if you are able to. Your Mom is sick and needs your help and she doesn't do the things you described on purpose.

Also, no one can make your life miserable unless you allow it. You are in control of how you react to others. By first accepting that your Mom is sick and can't help herself then maybe, just maybe you can find peace within yourself.

Wishing you and your Mom the best.
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Dear Koko,

I'm so sorry to hear what is happening with your mom. And you are trying to be a good daughter by remembering her milestone birthday. I know its not easy as our parents get older. If you honestly don't feel like doing anything, I would just leave it. Sometimes its just too emotionally draining. And we all need a break.
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