My parents live in my house. Both are in their 90s. I have caregivers come seven days a week. I attend to their needs in the evening. I know I should not engage with my mother because it just brings a torrent of accusations. Today she said a whole lot of cutting remarks. My husband was in the hall and heard what she said. She said she was sorry to ever come to live with me. She said that no daughter should talk that way to her mother. I didn't say anything to her I was just setting up her medicine box for the week. She said I should have the pain and suffering that she feels so I know what it feels like. She is very hard of hearing and she never seems to hear me or understand what I am saying even after I repeat a question. She replies to others when they ask a question. My husband says that I am her scapegoat. I believe that she has some dementia, and that in combination with her poor hearing, makes it impossible for me to have any conversation with her. Writing on a white board does not work unless it is only one word. Talking louder only makes her say I am yelling. It is not easy to deal with someone with dementia, and forget trying to explain things because you get nowhere. Not really asking anyone for solutions because I know this is a hard issue to solve. Just want to know from other caregivers how they have developed thick skins and how they carry on their duties under trying circumstances. Thank you!

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Narcissism, dementia or both? I've know young narcissists, who when in full
throes of their disorder, sounded like they had dementia. Narcissistic seniors have a get out of jail free card and some really know how to wield it. Seems like they can
slip in and out of focus. So sometimes its intentional, sometimes its not. Can
drive you batty if you let it. I'm still on the learning curve, so I dont' have any really
great advice other than find support--online, in person, in nature, with books, etc.
Whoever, whatever, where ever. Find support, because narcissistic scapegoating parents, coupled with demands of care giving can wear you down to nothing if you're not careful. Been there, done that.
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Demstress, I just wanted to give you a recent example in my household that came up. My MIL is a smoker, though she is banished from smoking indoors and has to do it in the backyard. I do not tolerate cigarette smoking at all. My own mom passed away at 65 from heart disease and lung cancer, though she had stopped smoking two decades earlier. My MIL's smoking hits a raw nerve for this reason, plus I simply cannot stand the odor, which lingers on her and in the trash bins. And i also smell fumes when MIL smokes because I often have to access the outside. And on top of that, she has accused family members of stealing her cigarettes, including myself and her grandson, who has not touched a cigarette in his life. She loses track and jumps to the conclusion that someone is stealing her stuff. I finally got the nerve up to say that it really hurts us that she thinks we take her cigarettes (or other personal items). I added that my own mother lost her life from smoking so I would never want to have a cigarette. She has backed off, but then says it's the housecleaners or some strange man she saw entering her room. There's no winning or reasoning really... you are dealing with a broken mind when an elderly parent has dementia. The vast majority of the time I just listen to her and try to validate her concerns, even if I know that they are not based in reality. At least I say, that must be so bothersome or scary for you, to emphasize the emotion she is feeling. I will never be happy or accepting though that she smokes, even outdoors I sense it. I avoid going near MIL during/after the cigarettes and though it is not exactly a parallel situation I actually think it's healthier for you to walk away or distance yourself when your mom is being so abusive. I wasn't trying to say that you have to accept it, but distancing yourself from the abusive behavior will keep you sane. Good luck, my friend!
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Someone once suggested to me to just pretend it's like background noise when she speaks, akin to a radio playing in the distance that you can just tune out at least to some degree. They are going to have their rants and ceaseless complaining, and be abusive at times too. I have to admit that's it's extra hard when the parent in question lives with you. Their unpleasant personality and the repetitive nature of their whining can get the better of us. My MIL with dementia moved in with us 3 years ago and it feels suffocating to have someone who is always making demands living under your roof... and is generally miserable. I think the best you can do for yourself is to get frequent breaks to clear your mind - meditate and create head space. At times, it seems okay to push back a little. If she says something hurtful, I believe it's okay to say "ouch!" or "that really hurts my feelings" or "hey, I'm really trying to do my best." Elderly folks with dementia seem to relate more to emotional responses than reasoning.
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Demstress, I wish I had some words of wisdom, but I don't. I can only commiserate with you. Just today, my mother fell two days ago and broke two fingers, told me she was going to move back to her house (she's in assisted living.) I told her that wasn't going to happen because she's not able. She told me my older brother "would have never talked to her that way." He was a special needs son who recently died of cancer. He could do no wrong in her eyes. Yet, I have moved heaven and earth to care for her and she chews me up and spits me out. She wasn't always this way, but it doesn't change the fact that she is now. My wife and I visit her several times a week, take large chunks of time to take her to her doctor appointments, yet all she does is complain. If we bring her to our house, she complains that the house is messy. The food is no good at her assisted living facility, the workers won't help her, and on and on ad nauseam. She tells me she loves me one moment, then makes me feel like a sorry excuse for a son the next. I can only say that you are not alone in this hell called caregiving for elderly parents.
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My mom, who suffers from mobility problems, dementia, CHF, generalized arthritis, has TIAs, and I know suffers every moment she is conscious, expressed sympathy to me because my mobility problems are about as bad as hers. She was having a lucid day and I’ll appreciate her sympathy forever, even if she never acknowledges my problems again.

My dad, who I know has spinal stenosis (I can tell by the way he walks) and logically is in pain, denies he’s in pain and yet is hateful and lashes out at whoever doesn’t do what he thinks they should be doing.

He’s a problem that I am unable to do anything about. He’s having dementia type problems but says he’s fine, he’s in control of the money and really shouldn’t be but will never give me POA or anything else. I worry that he’ll get scammed or forget to pay mom’s AL rent money every month. He hasn’t been diagnosed with dementia but at least his internist realizes that dad does have dementia. The day will come when dad gets in a jam and then hopefully I or my daughter can get permission to take over the money.

Dad is very hostile to me and my daughter. Nothing we do is enough...thankfully mom is sweet. She’s the one that is supposed to be a problem but she isn’t.
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Elderly that are being provided care for, especially by their children, have a hard time with this. Imagine if your child has to help you use the bathroom and has to help you bathe, or even eat, Has to help you walk, and so on. It doesn't make them feel good when they have to have this done.
So what happens to us when we don't feel good about ourselves? We either cry, apologize constantly to others, or we get mad, and start taking things out on others, even when we don't mean to.
I think if we could just put ourselves in their shoes, we would be able to know that the comments that are hurtful, are because they are hurting, in one way or another.
The Labor of love is difficult under the best circumstances. Just try and have patience and realize what they are saying is not a reflection of you, but a reflection of what they are feeling about themselves. 
It's like what you might tell a child about a bully.
Love suffers long. May God bless all caregivers.
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Sadly, I ended up focusing on Mom's care as being nothing more than an ongoing series of tasks to be completed & I tried to behave and think like a professional caregiver rather than a family member. Some of what I suffered:

Mom would accuse me of trying to put her in a facility - even though I was fighting harder than she was for her to remain independent.

I cooked for her according to her medical needs only to have her tell me: "This isn't what I eat. I want McDonald's."

If I brought her food to her before her water, she would demand the water. If I brought the water first, then it was "where's my meal??"

She accused me of causing "dehydration" because I refused to supply her with BOTTLED water. Seriously? Tap water is fine in our area, so that's what I gave her. There were NO signs of dehydration whatsoever.

She told me the coffee I'd bought for her while I did her shopping was causing diarrhea & now she "can't drink coffee anymore" until she got a certain brand she wanted. She's had periodic diarrhea for a decade - it wasn't because of the coffee I bought. Nevermind that she could take a minute to appreciate having someone shop for her or let me know in advance that there was a particular brand of coffee she required.

I arranged for a medical van to take her to all appointments - only to have her blame me for the fact that we needed the van at all (she was unable to physically get into a passenger car). She felt I should have been able to get her in/out of a car - even though that's physically impossible for me to do and it would be against her therapists' orders.

Instead of feeling happy someone (me) was able and willing to check in on her, she criticized me for not staying longer when I came over.

She was noncompliant with her exercise/rehab regimen & would then call her sister to complain that there was a "lack of progress" being made while under my care. The sister would then send a scathing email to me about my alleged role in her sister's decline.

These examples are only the tip of the iceberg. In general, nothing I did was ever quite right, but (LOL) she would allow me to improve if I'd just try harder!! I was like, "Wow, you're giving little 'ol me another chance? Gee, thanks!!" I'll try to do a better job waiting on you hand and foot for no pay, no thank yous, and constant criticism.

I gave up so much of my sanity for her and I'm still healing. My advice would be one task at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time. Try with all your might not to take anything personally. There were times when I secretly pretended that I didn't even know her. I just focused on the tasks at hand and I completed those tasks to the best of my ability.
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I can certainly sympathize with your situation. My mother-in-law is 96 years old and has middle stage dementia. We have been caring for her more and more for the past decade since she had to give up driving. For four years, it's been 24/7. The hardest part is that she has no understanding of her limitations. She still says, "I think I could still drive a car." Ha!

She is somewhat different in her approach to your mother. MIL just mutters to herself. "I'm glad I've got plenty of sense." "I can do for myself." "Nobody wants to deal with old people." etc......

These comments are very tough to hear when you realize that your entire life revolves around her needs. The only solace that I have found is getting out for some exercise each day. It helps me to have a bit of distance from her and also to keep from engaging in a pointless back and forth. My husband and I are trying to tag team so each of us has some time away. That's the only solution. You'll never get used to hearing all that is said by someone whose mind is deteriorating with dementia.
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hi, know this may be over simplifying
but when my mom was "hearing things" (she was hearing music/TV noise, when none was "on")
took her to hearing doctor. I guess she coulda got a hearing aid. but we didn't get her one.
also took her to primary dr. and she cleaned out my moms ears, there was big chunks of wax in there.
her "hearing" noises did stop, not sure if it was due to her getting her ears cleaned out or not.
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