When my mom doesn’t get her way, she pouts and sticks her lower lip out like a little kid who just got her lollipop taken away. She’ll even stomp her feet on the floor and cross her arms like a stubborn little brat. The worst thing she does, though, is to dramatize how “unfair” she is being treated. When she had an accident, and we finally took her car keys away, she sat down, crossed her arms, and wailed, “Fine! I’ll just sit here and wither away on the vine like an old woman put out to pasture - a poor old woman that nobody wants or loves!” I mean, could she be anymore like a child who’s been put in Time-Out?

We tell mom we love her - of course we do. That we are only taking her keys to protect her and other drivers ... what if she were to injure or kill someone in an accident? But she remains undaunted, and sticks that sucker of a bottom lip out and pouts to beat the band. How do you say, “Go to your room right now” to your own mother? Especially one who never had anything and sacrificed what little she had for her children? Who held me and rocked me while I screamed with tonsillitis when I was four? Who defended us like a lioness when someone accused us of something we didn’t do? Who had to move us back and forth between our maternal and fraternal grandparents, year after year, because our father couldn’t hold down a job to save his life?

So, think about that - about how much we have loved and laughed and adored our mother, and how she suddenly isn’t the same mother we knew ...

When my brother had to put a lock on my sister’s door to keep mom from stealing my sister’s new sheets off the bed, mom put a huge note on my sister’s door that said, YOUR DAY WILL COME! She also put that same note all over the house - on the refrigerator door, the toilet seat, the basement door, the front door and the screen door outside the front door.

My my sister is on a diet, but mom will take her special foods and hide them in the back of the freezer - and has even been known to throw them into the garbage.

How is do you deal with a parent who acts this way - who does her best to make you feel mean and guilty - how do you become the parent to your parent, with all those memories you hold so dear?


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This is how they become. To be honest, I had a hard time laughing at my Moms antics. I felt disrespectful. My RN daughter says its laugh or cry, so laugh. I did smile at ur Moms notes. Its so hard us becoming the parent and the parent is now the child. And u have to think of them that way. I just wrote this on another post.

Its sad, but caring for someone, especially with a Dementia, does change the daughter/Mom relationship. My Mom fault this Monster for about 7 yrs. Looking back before than, there were signs I just didn't realize what they were. TG my nephew was able to live with her 6 yrs of that journey. It was someone there. He was able to give her her pills which we had to hide. Just before she came to live with me, she was still doing for herself. After a hospital/rehab stay, it all went down hill. Living with me changed the mother/daughter dynamic. I was now the mother and her the child. And I think to be able to deal with the role reversal, I had to harden myself. My husband said he thought my Mom was afraid of me. Not sure of that, but I think at that point she was a child and just went along with what I said. Not that she didn't bulk at times but children do that.

When she passed, it really was a blessing. She was 89 and had gone from beginning to end in her journey. Besides the Dementia, she was healthy. It was hard to watch her decline. I saw her go back in time, no husband, no children. She became frailer and frailer. There was no "Mom" anymore. I am not a patient person. Its the one thing I regret with my Mom, that at times I didn't have it with her. I have always thought that we go thru things in our lives because we r to learn something from it. Could not figure out what Mom was suppose to learn from this awful desease. Or maybe I was suppose to learn something? But if so, please don't keep her alive like this till I learn it. Because if it was patience, we have a long road to go. 

Its hard to remember the good times and there were lots. My Moms family was it. Everything she did was for her husband and kids. Our friends hung out at our house and Mom treated them as her own. Even to the point she hollered at them too. We did a lot together when I started driving. She helped to raise my oldest. She was liked by all who knew her. My Mom was 89 when she passed. She knew where she was going and I know she is there. So grieve, not really. We all will leave this world. She lived a good life that she was happy in. What more could a person ask for.
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Shell38314 Jun 2019
What a insightful and heart felt post! Thank you for sharing.
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If your mother has been diagnosed with dementia, she acts like someone whose brains is broken.
She cannot respond appropriately to your logic or lectures because her brain is incapable of processing them.
She is not “doing her best” to manipulate your feelings or to express her own.
The mom that you loved when you were all younger is no longer here. That is the tragedy of dementia, and all of us as caregivers have faced it or will face it.
”New Mom” acts on impulse, says things that are not related to the emotional or logical circumstance of the present, and responds to whatever you attempt to do in whatever way occurs to her in the moment it occurs.
New mom needs firm, calm interaction, immediate and wholehearted forgiveness, and objective unemotional support. Those of you who are presently part of her life have to provide this.
You all are presumably adults. Lover in a new way, and care for her with objectivity and compassion.
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Not least because children respond to reason (eventually) and one knows the situation will improve, whereas with a parent their behaviour can only get worse and will and that is an incredibly depressing bit of knowledge to deal with. Add to this that you are the child and children are looked after by parents not the other way round and the whole thing becomes a mental battle and a nightmare. I think we try and look after parents for too long hoping to see the person we knew instead of accepting the loss of them and getting them into facilities which can provide the care they need and leaving us to visit rather than get into a downward spiral of dislike, frustration and guilt.
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Life challenges all of us daily with new difficult, unpredictable situations. When caring for a declining loved one, the struggles are thousandfold. We can’t pick our problems (or slow them), just how we respond to them.

I didn’t understand why my parents had to go through so much at the end of their lives. They were incredible, kind, fantastic people. I used to think if they ever lost their memory that it would be hard for me, but peaceful for them because they would forget what they were forgetting. I wasn’t prepared for the terror that they felt. I didn’t feel strong enough to give them strength they needed when they were horrified by the enemy taking them down. After all, it was taking me down too.

I had to suit up for the battle and protect them from bad medicine, heartbreak and illness - to support them emotionally when they needed courage. We were on a tough journey, but they definitely were never alone.

I wasn’t prepared for the fact that my siblings figuratively stood far away from me, did not come to help when desperately needed-as I would have expected and hoped, —and as it turns out, several of them were “licking their chops” over the estate. Sick and sad. Like some other people who write on this forum. It’s easy to read through the lines and see who they really are.

I had to make the most of what I felt at times was very little. I had to make decisions alone. I had to learn on-the-job about in-home nursing, bathing, counseling, consoling, cleaning, hygiene, overmedication, falls, controlling outbursts, strokes, seizures, heart disease, kidney disease, multiple system failure, geriatric depression, hospice, loss of memory, loss of independence, funeral planning, grief counseling, Often times I cried myself to sleep because I felt just like you do. In fact, I cried when I read what you wrote because I understand your pain. I guess it was hard to get used to— to losing someone little by little is torturous and incomprehensible.

When they were gone I had to learn other terrible lessons: about being executor, which quickly morphed into my becoming a defendant in multiple lawsuits— just hanging on to protect the only last shred left of them: their wishes. (Which I proudly and successfully did!)

So what is the point of this soliloquy? Through these hard times, I’ve had much opportunity for reflection. I’m proud to say that I’m now incredibly and significantly stronger, and much more capable. Financially poorer, physically a bit heavier, and a little grayer, but much wiser (from the lawsuits). Next stop: the gym!

I enjoy life and everything in it more. It’s not that my life is better, I’m just living it better. I have more perspective about what is important -clearly not money- but time well spent. Memories cherished.

Please look for the silver lining. Sometimes you have to look hard, but it is always there. In my case, miraculous friends filled in the empty spaces vacated by my siblings. They literally completely saved me. I now always look for friends in need and vow to be (and am) that friend for others. I realize that I was that friend to my parents.

I am most grateful that I made the decision to care for my parents in their home. It was a choice that they wanted, and I promised. I gave my everything to see that their wishes were met. I now put my head on my pillow every night and rest well, knowing that I did the right thing.

I am grateful for everything that has happened on this journey. Along the way, I experienced much love and many miracles. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

If you you need a break, watch the Wizard of Oz. I long ago felt that movie was some ridiculous fantasy. Going through my parents’ last ten years and the aftermath has changed my perspective. Even the witch and the flying monkeys are around us. But, ... so is Glinda.

I wish you the best. You can do this. Face the challenges bravely. You will find in the end that you had the brain, the heart and the courage t
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dlpandjep Jun 2019
Did I mention that I think you're an amazing person?  I've been at this for 4 years now and reading your post made me realize just how much I have to learn (maybe I should say "need" to learn).
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That was then, this is now, circumstances change, roles can become reversed, it is about her well-being and that of your family today and going forward. We all have unpleasant things we have to deal with, it is not so much what you are involved with, it is how you handle it.
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When we have strong willed parents, it is difficult to separate their strong willed personality from the disease
And that creeps up on you before you know it. My mom died this week of complications of mixed dementia... Late Alzheimer's and vascular. She hid it for as long as she could,and then could not.

I was not good as nurture person. But on the business transactional end, I did very well. Selling real estate, settling debt, clearing it.
I took away her agency. She resented me for it. I had to.put that aside and do what what best for her. I acted honorably. My older sister fell in line on my advice. Finally.

Towards the end, my mom failed to recognize me. But my sister got from her the affirmation she has sought for years. I was witness to. And I am ok with. Yes it adds to,my grief. And that grief is substantial. But I know I did right thing. I got my moral compass from my mom. I know well where my north Star is.

You have some rocky roads ahead, but you can triumph. You can.

Peace to you and your family.
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I used to tell my dad that if he was 3 his behavior would have him standing in a corner.

Not reacting to the tantrums is the best way to stop them. She is trying to find a way to manipulate the situation to get her way, ignoring it and not giving her what she wants will eventually teach her she is wasting energy. Be prepared for the next plan to get her way. If it weren't soooooo sad it would be comical to watch them trying to work us to have their own way. It is like dealing with a child.
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She is not your child and you are not treating her like a child. She is your parent and she has dementia. And no, she isn't the parent you remember and the person she was. While she may look and sound like a two year old in the middle of a tantrum she honestly is not, and she is somewhere aware of what her life is become. It is all very sad, provokes feelings of helplessness and guilt. There is really no way to avoid the feelings you have, but they can be combed through with a licensed social worker who deals with caregivers/end of life issues. It may help. If it is too hard, know it is for many of us. Many here are either caring for elders and at the end of their personal ropes, or thinking now of giving that care up to professionals. I never took it on, personally, and my brother, with Lewy's Bodies Dementia is in assisted living with me handling his financial and health power of attorney, but not his care. I know I could never do it. As the person at the Assisted Living said to me "Our job here is 80% dealing with the guilt families suffer when they simply cannot care for those they love at home". You will still have your memories, don't worry, when this is all over, but this hurts. And sometimes it is almost easier to be angry than to recognize the complete grief of the loss of a human whose heart is still ticking along as they lose who they were.
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its so hard Anne R. I agree with you,,but it’s so hard to deal with a mother that was so vibrant, smart, pretty, become a fraction of her past. And so naive to assume it wouldn’t. None the less, I feel trapped 24/7 and it’s very very hard. You are correct, The care giver has to somehow become the mother to his/ her mother and do so in a respectful way. Without losing their sanity
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You answered your own question: "she suddenly isn’t the same mother we knew". The best way to treat the person she is now is different. 'Best' is still what you want to do, but it's certainly different.
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