My mom is getting worse and it is hard taking care of her now. I don't know what to do. - AgingCare.com

My mom is getting worse and it is hard taking care of her now. I don't know what to do.

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I come over everyday and care for my mother who has dementia and real bad short term memory. I do have caregivers that relieve me during the afternoon and graveyard. But this particular past week has been real hard because everyone has been getting sick and I have been covering their shifts. I have been spending over 12 hr days with her and yesterday it came to a head. She has been verbally abusive to me for no reason in the past but last night at about 7 pm I was locking the patio door and I turned around and she appeared behind me saying that I was going to be very sorry and that she was going to tell my older brother about me. I said nothing. She went to bed and when she gets this way she really scares me so I kenneled her dog and shut off TV and sat at kitchen table in dark til graveyard person arrived at 8 pm. I was too scared to make any sound that would set her off again. I'm scared and alone and don't know what to do.

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Of course you don't know what to do! There are well-trained and experienced professionals who don't always know what to do with dementia behaviors. But at this point they may be in a better situation than you are to provide the level of care your mother needs.

I'd start with a medical exam. My husband's dementia symptoms always got worse with any kind of illness. He never had a uti, but a cough or constipation -- any change in his health -- could trigger new behaviors. And a uti can cause scary symptoms even in people who don't have dementia. So, a medical exam is first.

But if this is a progression of her dementia and getting an infection cleared up isn't going to improve things, then considering a different level of care for her might be best for her, and for you.
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I think if you think it’s time for placement, then it’s time for placement.

I am so sorry you get that uncomfortable, fearful feeling around your Mom. I did too a few times. It wasn’t really anything she said. It was the look in her eyes. I have never voiced that to anyone. Ever. It makes me feel better that others have felt they same way.
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Carema, oh my gosh, I couldn't imagine being a caregiver for a parent who would verbally scare the living daylights out of me.

One thing I was thinking, maybe your Mother has an Urinary Tract Infection as that can cause an elder to act out. Let's hope it is something as simple as that.

Otherwise, Mom might need to be moved to Memory Care. Would she have enough to budget Assisted Living/Memory Care? Such places average around $7k per month.

If not, then Mom would need to go the Medicaid [which is different from Medicare] route, where Medicaid will help pay for all of your Mom's care in a nursing home. But please note, that Medicaid can plan a lien on Mom's house [if she owns it] to help pay for reimbursement of Medicaid's costs.
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Definitely check her for UTI. You can buy the azo test strips at the drug store just to see how she tests before calling her doctor for an appointment and telling them about her new behavior. You mentioned your brother...can you ask him to help out while the normal aides are sick? And if she’s having that much care, it may be time to look into memory care.
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Thank you for all your thoughtful, kind, and sweet responses. I really do appreciate it.
I have gone thru this with my deceased father who had vascular dementia and whenever he had an UTI he would act strange, including punching me in the stomach. My mother is against going to doc appts. I make them and then I have to cancel them.
I have two brothers. The younger one is highly bipolar who sends me strange threatening letters to me since my father passed away a few yrs ago. He is a multiple felon and is not scared of the law and the police cannot help me so forget about him.
My older brother is the financial POA and comes once a wk for 2-3 hrs for bills, plays cards and music with her. I tell him how abusive she gets with me but he told me to laugh it off.
This morning when I went in to be with her I sent him a text telling him that it was time to discuss placement.
Haven't heard from him and it is near 10 pm now.
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You can't control whether your mother is placed or not, but you certainly can control how much time you spend alone with her. Give Brother a deadline, and then leave.
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(((((hugs))))) In the progression of her vascular dementia my mother went through a period like that and it was very stressful, even though I am a distance caregiver. Is it time to consider placing her in a facility? Would your bro be helpful in this? You have to take care of yourself.
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Carema, can you tell your brother you are finished with this? You're right to be scared; your mom is not in her right mind, and could actually hurt you, just as you sense she could. A dementia patient my mom was caring for threatened to push her out an upstairs window once; mom locked herself in the bedroom, called for a replacement, and left when they got there - never went back. Not stuff to fool around with. If your brother pooh poohs what you say or ignores you (don't give him more than a day or two to replace you), just stop going; you are a valuable person and this is too risky, sweetie.
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You poor thing... just reading that gave me chills.

My mom with dementia had bronchitis last year and was staying at my house and she turned into this scary zombie.. and I hate to say this but I also was uncomfortable being alone with her.

Both my parents have dementia and have seen any illness... especially an infection really change their behavior for the worse. So far once the infection or illness improves, their behavior has improved as well.

Nobody should have to be scared and alone like that.

((hugs))
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Of course leaving is going to be hard. If it were easy you'd have done it by now.

I don't think anyone here is suggesting you do anything APS would object to. No one says just stop going there without telling anyone. Give notice. Give a reasonable time to find a replacement (reasonable for someone who is actually looking) or arrange placement.

I would also call APS and tell them about the scissors and threatening behavior and explain that you have to leave for your own safety and sanity. You don't want bad things for your mother, but you cannot handle this level of mental illness. See what they suggest.
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