My Mom is a stranger and I need help please. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

My Mom is a stranger and I need help please. Any advice?

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I'm at my wits end. I've been caring for my 88 year sold mother for the past 9 years, since my dad died. When he died, she decided she didn't want to live anymore and just stopped living. She is terrified of living alone, so my husband has spent every night for the past 9 years in her spare room across the hall. She and my dad built a house on our property during the last 6 months of his life. He passed from cancer.

I guess it was about 5 years ago, mom had to start seeing a pain specialist. One thing led to another, and before we realized how drugged up he had her, she was in a wheelchair. That lasted a year, and with lots of PT we got her back on her feet again, but with a walker, which she hates.. However, mentally, it was the start of a slow but steady decline that continues to this day. She has very little short term memory, and now her long term memory is starting to go. I had her tested for Alzheimers three years ago, but the doctor said it was dementia, as opposed to Alzheimers.

She turned hateful to me and it has continued for years. I bite my tongue for the most part, but yesterday I lost my temper and yelled at her. I told her how tired I was and then I told her she was turning into a bitch. I hate that I said it, but you can't unring the bell. Today she threatened to have me arrested for elder abuse. I sit here and shake my head, after all that I have given up for her, that she could even consider that. I've never hurt her, and wouldn't for anything in the world. I'm 62 years old now. My 50's are gone and I didn't get to live them, and she is going to accuse me of abuse? I'm speechless.

In the past 9 years, I was able to leave this property for two nights, and that was to bury my husbands brother.

I don't know this woman at all. She hates me, and I see this spiraling downhill quickly. This is a sad end to a relationship wherein we were the very best of friends.

How can I protect myself against false accusations? My mom will lie at the drop of a hat and lies to me without hesitation. I still work full time, but have to work from home. I'm fortunate that I'm able to do so, but something like this could also cost me my job. I feel so hopeless right now.

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I experienced a similar thing with my Mom (although I didn't move in). After I finally got her into a memory care facility, her nastiness hurt me so badly I would burst into tears. (And, I too, regret some things I said to my 97-year old bullying father before he passed). I have learned to accept her behavior as part of her illness. It gets easier over time, especially by sharing your pain with others who understand it.
By engaging (telling her that there is nothing wrong or that she shouldn't feel a certain way) in my Mom's temper tantrums, I actually deepened them. After a year and a half now, I often manage to change the subject to where she moves to a better frame of mind and she forgets what her beef was. It doesn't alway work, but it is worth a try.
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First have the MD medicate her depression. Then see about getting her to Assisted Living. Part of her problem is boredom and the social aspect of ALF will certainly help that.
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You must be feeling terrible right now. Exhausted, for one thing. Terribly hurt. Very anxious about the possibility of someone getting the wrong end of the stick, too; and not least in mourning for your 'real' mother. Please accept a heartfelt shoulder rub.

So yes, it is a good thing that you ask for help - not before time, I might add - but it's not so much advice you need as a good think about where you want to go from here.

The trouble with being such a very long-term caregiver is that you get in deeper and deeper without really noticing how difficult things are getting, or how much greater your mother's care needs have become. Nobody here, surely, is going to blame you for one moment for losing your temper - who wouldn't? - but here's the kicker: you really mustn't (as you clearly already know, I know). Your mother was diagnosed with dementia three years ago. That means a radical revision of your expectations of her, bearing in mind that non-Alzheimer's dementia can still involve the loss of all kinds of other inhibitions and cognitive functions. She's a sick old lady, not just your mother any more.

But there is plenty of wriggle room and there are lots of options when you look forward. The first that leaps out is that your never leaving the house is plain barking. Your mother may need continuous care, but it doesn't all have to come from you, and you really do need time off.

So in the short term, work on getting a break. Look for respite care in a reputable facility nearby, or consider asking family members, neighbours or professional service providers for help.

What you mustn't do is allow this trap to close any more tightly around the three of you. There are all kinds of boundary issues and perspective issues going on, and then there's the question of money (sigh). Don't allow your mother's threat of elder abuse reports to muddy the waters, and even try not to take it to heart - it isn't a plan of action, it's about your mother expressing her own hurt and fear and lashing out.

You could do worse than call your local social services and ask for advice. They may be able to put you in touch with others nearby in a similar situation, and they certainly should know what resources are available.

The being terrified of living alone… And your mother's apparently expecting you to be on hand continuously… There are hints here that all is not quite right with her. But that doesn't mean *you* can't change how *you* respond to her needs. How would you like things to move forward? Please come back and say a little more.
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I agree. Start looking into nursing homes for your mom. Not just for her sake but for yours and your husband's too.

If finances are an issue you can go to your local Medicaid office and begin the process of having your mom put on Medicaid in order to afford a nursing home.
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See if your Mom can qualify for Medicaid and check around for a continuing care facility. Or if she has retirement funds, then self-pay for the facility. It's either that, or you keep spending your days being verbally abused by your Mom. Even thought you know it is her dementia doing the talking, it can wear thin on anybody. This could go on for years.

Your hubby is a Saint to have been spending his evenings at your Mom's house because she is afraid to be alone. Imagine if your Mom starts false accusations regarding your husband.

Another thought, have your Mom tested for an urinary tract infection, that can mimic dementia. If she doesn't have that, then see if her doctor can give her something to calm her down.... there is nothing wrong with doing that.
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