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I am an only child and I moved my mom up to be closer to us last year. She was 8 hours away. She says she hates the people in her new place and that they are all rude and snobby. She has lived there 14 months. When I'm with her at her place, I walk with her and see others look at her to say "hi" and she just scowls . I wouldn't ask her to sit by me either. This has torn me apart as I want her to find a friend. I partially want this so she will stop depending on my for all her happiness. But I cannot do it for her and I am afraid that her cognitive decline will not allow her to see how to make friends anymore. She is becoming more and more egocentric. It is very difficult to be with her as she is so hyper focused on winning the games, being first in line everywhere, answering all the questions (even if not directed at her). She can be exhausting. I tried to coach her on how to celebrate (graciously) if she wins bingo or other games at her place. She remembers for one round and then she's back to her former self. I guess what I'm asking is ..... does this seem normal? How can I talk to her about her behavior? She has always sort of been this way but it is over the top. I feel sorry for her and I get so frustrated with her all at the same time. I know everyone is dealing with situations like this. I appreciate the ability to vent.

Your profile says that your mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. Your post says that her being self centered has caused her to not make friends and not like her AL facility. I'm no expert, but, I'll just share what I have read and seen myself from my situation. As her Alzheimers, that is causing cognitive decline, progresses, she'll likely become more self centered. People with this condition often are not able to have empathy for others. Due to the mental impairment, their world is getting smaller, not bigger. Their moods can also fluctuate, as well as their abilities. On some days, my LO, who has Vascular Dementia, could perform certain things, but, other days, she could not. Her ability to relate to others changed too. When she first went to a regular AL, she could not remember names, keep up with conversations and she stayed confused. This kept her from being able to engage with the residents. She was embarrassed of her mental decline.

I'd try to keep in mind that as she progresses through various stages, the traits you notice could change. She could become quieter and seem to not notice others who are around her. She may lose interest in the activities or just not be able to participate. When my LO went into regular AL, she never was able to recall the name of anyone that she met there, including residents and staff. In fact, she never was able to recall the name of her doctor either. Her brain was just not able to retain names anymore.

I would keep observing how she functions in the AL and ask the staff how she is doing, to ensure that they are able to meet her needs. My LO had to be transferred to a secure MC from her AL, due to wandering and needing a higher level of care. This is something that often happens as a person with dementia progresses to need more and more help with their ADLs. Once in the MC, my LO seemed much happier and it was a huge improvement for her. I think she felt uncomfortable in the regular AL, because she was not able to relate to the other residents. Her memory was so poor that she couldn't keep up with the conversation, couldn't recall their names and was generally too confused to make friends there. In the MC, the other residents were more on her level and that seemed to comfort her and make her feel more at home. I learned to lower my expectations of her abilities.

I'd check out the book entitled The 36 Hour Day. It covers the behavior you might expect with dementia as the patient progresses.
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slugo44 Mar 12, 2019
Thank you. I will look at the book
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Even if it is part of her personality, the dementia prevents her from faking the civility that would help her make friends. This is very common. My mother was the same and I was her sole living child. I had a short mantra that I recited to myself. "I did not create this situation or cause this illness. I cannot fix it. I am not responsible for my mother's happiness. No one can make another happy. I can ensure her well being and I am doing this to the best of my ability. I did not create this situation. I cannot fix it." My mother's difficult personality combined with dementia killed what love I felt for her. I instead was able to develop compassion. You are doing the best you can. Be kind to yourself.
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slugo44 Mar 12, 2019
Thank you for these words. You are speaking exactly what I feel. It is a roller coaster and a mantra like this is what I need to push my car back up the hill. It’s hard when the negative emotions take over and I feel so responsible for helping her be happy. I know I cannot do it because of the sickness. I did start going to her facility instead of always “rescuing” her from there by taking her to my house. This seems to be working a bit for both of us. Thanks for your time.
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Stop feeling responsible for your mother's personality, manners and popularity with her peers. She's not your child, she's not at school, and if she doesn't make herself agreeable she won't have any friends. So?

The choice was to leave her where she was with no one nearby, or to bring her to live near you so that you could supervise her welfare. I think you might have to be satisfied with knowing that she's safe and well cared for.

Have you talked to any of the facility's staff about your concerns? Do they share them, or do they think she's doing well? She's been there long enough for them to have useful opinions.
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slugo44 Mar 12, 2019
I think I secretly fear turing into her myself as she is my mom. Haha don’t we all? My dad (gone for 29 years) was a dear, sweet person and I try to remember that I have 50% chance of being like him. I’m only being funny. But, yes I finally asked the activity director what she thought and she said “yes” she agreed that something was going on with my mom. I am gaining a respect for the whole situation and trying to roll with it.
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It sounds like you’re Mum May be on the B class personality spectrum & the dementia is unmasking the pretent civility she used to be socially acceptable & make friends. She may find a person their who can accept this behaviour but chances are slim. It won’t matter what you say to your Mum as she is unaware that her behaviour is upsetting for others & you. So protect yourself, don’t try to change something you can’t & how lucky she is to have you in her life. Grey rock ( look it up) when you need to while knowing you love her but not her attitude.
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slugo44 Mar 12, 2019
Thank you.
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I understand, but unfortunately have no answers for you. My dad is defintely the extrovert, but when he started his rounds in facilities (going to the hospital, rehab, then AL), we found him insisting on eating in his room and spending all of his time there with the door closed, then complaining that nobody see visits him! It's a mind-boggler!

I live long distance and do what I can, but try to keep telling myself it's his choice. Very slowly, he has begun to meet people because we stopped allowing meals to be delivered to his room.

My heart hurts for you trying to figure this out for your situation. It's tough to see our loved ones without friends, whether they are our kids or our parents.
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Is she in Assisted Living or Memory Care?
If in Assisted Living it might be more difficult for her to adapt to a less structured environment and she may be better with more structure that Memory Care provides.
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slugo44 Mar 12, 2019
She is in AL but does not need any assistance as of yet. She still gets herself up, dressed, downstairs for meals etc. the worst thing she deals with right now is just the discontent. So really I guess she’s doing fine.
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I have worked in various eldercare facilities as a nurse and as an activity director. There are several reasons why elders do not form relationships. It may be a fear of loss( why bother because the new friend my die soon?). In the case of dementia , other residents avoid confused people also due to fear( what if I get that confused?) , so avoid confused residents as if confusion contagious!
When dementia advances enough to require Memory Care Unit, the learned social skills are declining too. Found most unifying tool was music. Singing and dancing too, gave joyful times. So even those residents who were very confused, could join in a musical group. Music gave moments of happiness and lifted the veil of sorrowful confusion.( Just be careful to select the music of their youth especially)
You want to evoke happy memories!
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slugo44 Mar 13, 2019
I have seen the avoidance too.... my mom has mentioned the ones that are “spaced out” and how the others don’t like them. It’s a tough group of people for sure. I just wish the empathy was still there for my mom. She really has so much to offer others there.
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Is there a social worker at the facility?

Does she need a higher level of care or a different facility?

Has she been assessed by a geriatric psychiatrist?
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slugo44 Mar 12, 2019
Thank you for your thoughts. We are watching her ability to attend to her ADLs and she is still okay (although she is a bit disheveled). Her GP said we could go to a neurologist and have her tested but the “aging care” specialist at her place did not recommend as the duration is extensive and the frustration would outweigh the benefit. Mom’s older sister died of Alzheimer’s at age 75. My mom is 86. I may change docs to a geriatric specialist.
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Yes, it sounds 'normal' for this abnormal disorder.  My aunt outlived many of her friends, and suddenly she thought newer people at her senior center were cold, unfriendly.  I blamed it on her poor hearing, but it could be the vascular dementia.  Then I moved her 2 states away, and her 'companions' came to the house.  She's unable to initiate a conversation.  However, she's now in well-structured memory-care and doing better.  You will learn how to try ideas here, and how to let go.  And venting is fine!
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I am also an only child who has moved my mother closer to me. She lived with me for almost a year and then wanted to go to an AL to be more independent. She’s been in the same AL for seven years. Everyone she knew in the beginning has either moved to a SNF or died. So the past few years she hasn’t really connected with anyone in particular. She does participate in a few activities a week even though there are activities all day long. She likes to read, work puzzles and sometimes watch TV in her room. She does go to an assigned table in the dining room for all of her meals. I too feel responsible for her happiness most of the time but I’m weaning myself away. I have to remind myself that she’s well cared for and seems content. I have observed that most of the residents “fly solo,” and by that I mean that they sit together sometimes engaging in conversation but most of the time they aren’t. They just like to be around others but aren’t really interested in having a close friendship. I think it’s normal for those in this age group to have acquaintances, and socialize when and if they want to. In the long run this is probably better because it would be much worse to have a disagreement with someone and have it turn into an unpleasant situation. Maybe our mothers are wise!
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slugo44 Mar 12, 2019
I agree. They are wise in many ways.
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