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I feel guilty even though I am truly taking care of my mom....whether thru caregiver (aide) and/or myself.


She's kind of ok cognitively. Her personality though has become mean.


Any advice? I just joined this community today.


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Welcome! Your profile is blank, so it’s kind of difficult to answer. Has Mom been diagnosed with dementia? Or, is she physically impaired? She has a caregiver and you? Has she always been like this or is her anger something new? We always suggest that when there is a sudden personality change for the worse, the person needs to be checked for a urinary tract infection (UTI). This is a simple “pee” test. However, dementia can cause a lot of personality changes too. If Mom is in the early stages, she knows what’s happening to her and that can make her “mean”.

You can surf this site and read what others have posted about their parents and the dementia journey. It’s a difficult journey, but if you know what to expect, it’s not as scary.
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I speak from years of experience. First of all, I know how hard it is to have someone you loved suddenly change in terms of personality and become mean, especially when you are caring for them. This is what I found works but do know that each caregiver has to know the other person, experiment what option works best, and then decide on next course of action. There simply is not one good answer. But remember this, YOU must look after yourself first, the other person has lived their life and now it is YOUR turn. Take care of yourself first so you stay o.k. and do whatever you need to do to retain your sanity and some sense of peace. Try in the beginning to be kind, gentle, steer conversation to a positive issue, etc. And this may not work and then you have to tell them in firm language they cannot get mean or nasty and make sure they hear you and understand. If still nothing gets better, then when you are ready to explode, then do so as it will ultimately save you. If you keep it inside and be nice, nice and nothing works, their behavior will destroy you. And if still nothing works and it is affecting your life and sanity, maybe it is time to distance yourself by removal to a facility or getting someone else to care for them. You owe yourself that much.
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Shelly2222 Aug 20, 2018
Thank you. Your advice & words are really great for me to read. I agree with you.
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Hi Shelley, my dad has done the same thing. Although I've tried to put all the choices out there and not look like I'm "taking over" he resents losing control I think. If he starts a manipulative or mean/sarcastic behavior I just say "I'll be back in just a little while." If he is in a good safe spot I just walk out and take or walk or get some space from him. We finally got to where I just do cut and dried care. He does not see all the behind the scenes care or the cleaning, med management, laundry etc nor does he have any concept our lives REVOLVE around him so sometimes just taking an emotional break is good. I realize I can't be his best buddy and daughter and maid and mother all in one. If you are in it for the long haul try to set some limits for yourself or you'll get to a point of despair.
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Hi! My 80 year old mother was just diagnosed with frontotemperal dementia, a CT scan was done. She spent a week in a mental hospital and came back home. I have witnessed a rapid decline in the last 6 months, in mental health, as well as, physical mobility. She is very combative, constantly berating me, name calling, refuses to take any of her medications, just all around difficult to deal with. I am an only child and we have been close, most of my life. She now says she hates me. She is paranoid about everything, says her Nest thermostat was emitting toxic fumes bc it was made in China. There is no rationalization to any of her rants. I have filed and received temporary guardianship and conservatorship of her and proceeding with making that permanent. That was a tough decision because I have always respected her independence. This is going to be one of the most difficult times, in my adult life. I’m not sure that i am going to be able to be a caregiver, for her. I don’t want to spend the last months and years of her life being verbally abused and hated. I sometimes think that a nursing home would be the best place for her. At least then when we visit, she will be glad to see us. This is like hell on earth. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Definitely get things in order legally and have a plan. This decline happened fast and totally caught me off guard!
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wakankasha Aug 20, 2018
It sounds like you have the answer to your struggle already. You state in your answer to sixpacbabe that, "I don't want to spend the last months...being verbally abused...a nursing home would be the best place for her." There is NO SHAME in putting your LO in a place where she can get professional care from a staff who "go home at the end of the day" and don't have to live with the insanity 24/7 like you currently are. Not everyone can or should deal with around the clock care-giving. Consider your options and allow yourself to make a guilt-free decision.
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Without you giving details I can guess she has dementia & you are the one she counts on - people with dementia can see their closest as a barrier to what they want to do & it doesn't matter that they is not able to fulfill that wish/want

Look at it from her perspective & would you want to be in her shoes right now - the frustration builds & they become mean to the one that cares for them - now is the time to educate yourself on what it all means - there are many threads on this site - look up 'TEEPA'S GEMS' & watch the videos Teepa Snow has on dementia - you'll find that knowledge will help you see beyond what is happening on the surface
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Yeah that's normal fir this stuff. Her short term memory is weak. So you have to do things to reduce the anger. First shift away from politics and stressfull tv. Watch pleasant shows. You need to do things together you can build on. Like nice t.v a ride sometime to visits a family member. At night it's important to get 8 hours of sleep. This is accomplished by making the room dark. And putting a timer on your remote so there's no noise while she sleeps. Your visits should be as stress free as possible. No politics no legacy topics. Meaning crap you've been arguing about for decades. Quiet also helps at night after 8 pm decrease conversation. Also taking her to see people she likes. I have basically for my mom have created a dynamic of no stress. I avoid any subject that can cause a argument. And just casually mention financial functional obligations. Like a passing subject. There can't be any lingering subjects with this disease. Example, if the bathroom light does not work and no one has fixed it for 3 years. That's a lingering subject. Avoid any subjects that can cause arguments. Also don't dump. Meaning if there's a problem with something don't drop it at her feet. Cause they will keep talking about it. Also if you have money. Buy those locators. Little things you can put on keys that will send a signal to your phone where the keys are. Also if you have money. Buy a lamp that has a timer. So that it will shut off. And she can get 8 hours sleep. Those are the major ones. Also assuring your mother visually everything is ok. That can be done best. By having a very clean house. Everything exactly where it's suppose to be.
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Welcome, Shelly! Good advice here. I agree with talking to her doctor about the symptoms to see if he might want to have her further evaluated.
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My Mum became “not nice” too. Occasionally she would say, “whatever would I have done without you” but those words didn’t take away the stress she caused me, and especially my beloved husband of 44 years. She never liked him because my sister got a divorce from his brother a million years earlier....Now she has died...and I don’t miss her. I’m glad for what I did for her, but the 14 years of high blood pressure she caused ME has left me with heart disease. The caregiver ends up much worse off.
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Just keep reminding yourself that it's not personal. I know it feels like it is, but it's not.Don't argue, don't scream, and don't try to make her see the logic/ reasoning of what you're trying to get across to her, it's not going to happen! Try to diffuse any altercations before they become combative. Try to get a schedule in place for everything. It's going to take patients and plenty of it. I'm still in the process of mapping my way through my mother's maze of emotions( which changes daily). I know it's not much advice, but I hope you get something from my advice. Hang in there.
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congratulations on being her person.... I find that my Mom treats me much differently than everybody else on the planet. I've come to learn (or choosing to believe) that I get the good and the bad because I am her person. She trusts me more than anybody else. I initially fought back and it did nothing but upset us both - now I let her continue so she can get it out. I can't imagine having any inclination of your physical and mental deterioration and absolutely no control over it. She has to be so scared and confused - so she can yell at me as much as she needs to. Once she is done, she has always been remorseful and apologetic and I just give her a hug and we move on.
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disgustedtoo Aug 22, 2018
Your mom is lucky to have you. Although I would not like to be yelled at so much and it would be a deal breaker for me, the key is being able to let it "roll off your back." Not everyone can do this - sometimes it hurts too much and could possibly be linked to similar behavior while growing up.
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