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My boyfriend of 15 yrs & I live with my mother who has dementia (not formally dx). My boyfriend has a cat named Sam. Sam is 16yrs old & is my boyfriend's buddy. However, my mother keeps telling us that she will miss Sam when he goes, or I will find Sam dead somewhere in the house, or that Sam is dying.


But here is the thing, we forgot to tell Sam that he is old. (LOL) Sam runs throughout the house like a mad man runnning up and down two flights of stairs chasing another cat, he is still getting into everything he can. Sam still chase his tail for crying out loud. Sam is very mischievous! Yes, Sam has bad days usually on cold wet days which is common for old cats and dogs. Sam has lost a lot of weight, which my mother is happy to point out to us as if we don't notice it.


These things my mother says hurts my boyfriend & makes him upset.


Yes, my mother has become negative about everything & I believe has depression. But she never say things like that about Mose who is my cat & is about 12 yrs old. And no my mother doesn't like me.


We know that a cat living passed 16 yrs is rare. Therefore, Sam's days are numbered.


My mother has always liked my boyfriend. And no we do not react to her comments! She is the one who gave Sam to my boyfriend. She always liked Sam in the past.


And yes, my mother is in bad health something to do with her heart. She won't give me details, but I think CHF. She has all the symptoms of it.


Here is my question, is my mother saying this things talking about herself, just to be mean, or is it something else?


I know this is a strange question & probably not very important one, just wanted some options.

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Hi—well. I want to weigh in because we have cats and my mom has cats. My mom lives with us off and on and brings her two with her and yet she likes to focus on my cats and how they are going to disappoint me one day. I take this as a metaphor for me somehow. One of my cats passed away while she was living with us (actually two over the course of the time she has stayed with us) and as the second one was worsening in condition a new cat came into our garden who I eventually adopted. All my mother could focus on when she saw this cat or talked about him was that he was going to leave me one day (very similar to a discussion she had with me 20 some years ago about a boyfriend she disliked— my take away is she dislikes that my husband now takes attention away from her so I should not invest in my relationship with him or others just now, but stick with her, for in her brain, as a mother, she has proven herself—okay, whatever.) As the new boy cat came into our fold I think she just disliked the attention I gave him and it took the love of attention that she desires off of her. It also allowed her to be an expert on something. She kept letting the cat out into the garden when I asked her not to and when he wouldn’t come home for he had lived a year and a half outside, she would say, “see, I told you so”. In a strange way I think your mom is trying to passively hurt your boyfriend who is probably your pillar of strength to bolster her position as someone who still knows something (and she may well indeed love the cat and also understands as his life comes to an end she will miss him and these may well be feelings she hopes you are having for her.) I don’t want to say she is against your boyfriend, that is not it, but she has definitely chosen something that is dear to you (him) and to him and you (the cat) and it is her odd way of asserting herself when she probably feels in a position of weakness and in a backward way she may well be trying to communicate I think a message about her end-of-life ideas. The cat speaks to your bond of many decades with your bf and not her and you two have an invested interest in the cat and the cat’s wellbeing (good for you!) Let’s face it when people say things about our fur babies whom we love, it sticks and she has found that this is your kryptonite! Take care of YOU and tell the cat and your good boyfriend to shut it out! You are doing a good job taking care of your mom and it is so odd that we all seem to have to go through this experience, because it is so frustrating and if you are like me you often end up saying things you shouldn’t. I easily dispense these words to you about how to see this situation, but I cannot tell you I am so understanding when these bizarre conversations are going on in my household and I often end up saying something I should not in frustration and anger when I should instead take myself out of the conversation. God bless and may Sam, your cat, live long!
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Shell38314 Oct 18, 2018
I have to ask do you know me? LOL! Thank you for your point of view. You are right, my fur babies are my kryptonite, and my BF is my piller of strength. My mother knows how to get under my skin. And like you I get frustrated and say things I shouldn't. I don't feel like I am doing a good job at all!

Thank you for your response. It is so helpful to know other people are going through the samething.
God bless you as well.
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I think she is projecting the "impending demise" of Sam on herself.
We all know that we are not going to live forever.
Maybe when you talk to your Mom tell her that there will be plenty of time to prepare for Sams death before it happens. There will be signs that he will be close to the end of his life. And if it happens that he dies in his sleep at least his death will be peaceful and he will not have suffered. But then remind her that there will be plenty of warning before he dies. Also tell her that you will do your best to make sure he is not in any pain and that he is well loved and comfortable.
These are things that you would do for anything or anyone that you loved.
I think she just want reassurance that you will keep her comfortable, that there will be signs that she is near the end of her life.
Talking about death can be upsetting but it is reality. Even though it is expected it is still heart breaking. No matter how much we prepare it never seems enough.
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Shell38314 Oct 18, 2018
Thank you! I have been wondering about this. I will do what you said. I don't know why I didn't think of it myself.
I do think my mother might be coming to her end.

Thank you again.
God bless you.
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Some people have an odd way of helping, she may be trying to prepare you both, as well as herself, for the time that Sam does pass.

One thing though, if your boyfriend and you plan on taking care of your mom as she ages, you will have to grow thick skin.

Dementia makes people say the darndest things and they are usually hurtful and mean sounding. They tend to loose their filters.

I learned that my dad, sounding like a brut, just could no longer articulate his thoughts. He says things the wrong way but can not help it. If I say anything, he is like that's not what I said, whaaat?

Took a long time to realize that things get mixed up from his brain to his mouth. I wish I could have understood this sooner, it would have saved a river of tears.

Listen to Countrymouse, good advise to help you help her.

Does your mom have her paperwork in order, in case something happens?

Like a Durable general and Healthcare Power of Attorney? Living will? Do not resuscitate or Full Code wishes? Will?

I ask because if something happens to her, you will be in a bear of a situation trying to help her get what she wants, pay bills and everything else about living.

My dad was worried about giving up control and I had to make him understand that none of this gives me power unless he becomes incapacitated. Being in a hospital bed unconscious is a terrible time to think about it. Reassure her that nothing changes, you have no authority and can't control her or her money, it just will allow you, if ever needed, to make sure her wishes are carried out. It is a legal document and has consequences for those that abuse their position as a POA. I say all of this because you said she won't tell you about her health and that makes me think she is concerned about giving up power over herself and that is not what POAs are all about.

ps: my neighbor had a cat that lived to be 24 years old, so it does happen. Maybe you all will be blessed and Sam will surprise you all.
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Shell38314 Oct 17, 2018
Yes, my mother's paper work is in order. I do have thick skin except when it comes to her. She has a way of getting under my skin. I have to remind myself that she is not herself. It is hard!

Thank you for replying back to me.
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Shell, as usual, one of our forum experts, Countrymouse gives spot on advice. But, I’d like to address issues with Sam. By the way, I have two goofball “old men” kitties and my house at night sounds like a bowling alley when they run back and forth!

Losing our precious fur babies is something none of us wants to dwell on. Unfortunately, people with dementia do just that, obsess about things. With my mother it was being stalked by men who wanted to have sex with her 90+ year old self. (Good grief) Also unfortunately, you can’t change her behavior. Every time she sees your Sam, she dwells on his impending demise. And when he does sadly pass, she’s going to ask where he is. Maybe watch what you say about Sam’s age when she’s within earshot. Gently explain to your boyfriend that Mom’s brain is broken. She is not saying these things to be hurtful or mean. Maybe she thinks of her own impending demise when she sees Sam. Do some research on Alzheimer’s/dementia with your boyfriend so you have a better understanding. It helps to be armed with knowledge of things to come—the when, how and why.

Ear skritchies to Sam! ❤️
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Shell38314 Oct 17, 2018
That is funny how you say your mother thought guys wanted to have sex with her because my grandmother on my mother side was the same way. She thought every guy wanted to have sex with her 70 yr old.

I have read everything that I can about Alz/dementia. And I have read a lot of the threads on this site. The term "broken brain" does the best way to describe it. I understand physiology on what is happening to my mother's brain, but because she was cunning and passive-aggressive when I was growing up I have a hard time knowing what is her or the dementia when it comes to her meanness. Other things she does I know it is the disease. Example of her telling me someone was knocking on her bedroom door at night. I just tell her it is God. Than she will tell me that God can come in her room. She seems satisfy with that.
She has about 2 to 3 days were she is all there it may not be a full day. It is just weird one minute she can hold a conversation and the next she is out in left field.
I thought maybe she was talking about Sam dying, she was really talking about herself dying. She has a bad heart. Prehaps I put to much thought in it!

Thank you for replying to me. And for your understanding. Everybody here are so helpful. And Countrymouse does have some very good points.

Thank you everybody. Take care of yourselves.
From a very 😞 Shell.
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It may well be something else; and as you mention your suspicions of CHF I'd suggest a quick heads-up about vascular dementia. In any case, if your instincts are telling you that your mother's behaviour is changing, pay attention to them.

There is a much more important point to be made, though, which is this. You are living with your mother as her primary caregiver, and even if she has always been independent and fully in charge of her own decisions, you need to be ready to support her more and more as time goes on.

You can't do that job if she won't allow you access to proper information. This is tricky, I note that you say she won't give you details, but it's something you need to have a serious talk with her about.

It's all the more difficult if her mood and thinking have already altered so that she is becoming negative and - perhaps? - secretive, anxious, defensive. Would she let you accompany her to her next doctor's appointment? Could you swing it by saying that you'd like to see her doctor, maybe cross your fingers behind your back and say that it's for you? (It kind of IS for you!)

If you can't see that happening, you can still report your concerns to her doctor without her permission. Her doctor can't tell you anything without her consent, but s/he can take account of any information that you provide about her/his patient.

Meanwhile, no she isn't setting out to be mean. But you may find that once her brain has got hold of a theme she runs with it endlessly, and as her mood is low (depression fits the picture) the output is pretty miserable to have to listen to.

I truly sympathise. Most of all - your question is not strange and it is extremely important. You have done very well indeed to jump on this problem early on.
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Shell38314 Oct 17, 2018
My mother has fired her last 3 doctors. She is not seeing a Dr at this time and refuse to see a Dr and/or discuss anything with me. She was never independent, she used my dad and me for what ever she needed. She see me as a threat and always has. I can not talk to her about anything that is going on with her. Now that I say this, I have gone around with her about her finances which lasted a year and a half. Yes the talk, her screaming at me, her threats, her telling me to go F-myself. I am still working that mess out.
So no I don't push her to tell me what is going on with her health.
Here is the thing, my mother is navie american and is more stubborn than a mule. I can't make someone talk to me if she doen't want to. That being said, my mother will attack me at some point, which inturn I can call the police and she will be put in the hospital for a week to be evaluate and she can be dx. Or she may get to point where I can take over her health decisions. Yes, I know the laws in my city, and this idea of calling the cops was recommendated to me. I am her FPOA & HPOA however, she has hid them. I have been looking for them. My mother does not or has ever trusted me or anyone else.
I am trained for emergency services along with other medical services.
I know this all sounds crazy, but I have to chose how to handle her and when to push and when not to. I really think she is giving up on life. She has been in and out of hospitals all my life. She fought 2 different cancers, one of them twice and won. And so many other illness.
I myself is dealing with PTSD & GAD. So, I have to manage my stress level.
I do keep track of all her symptoms and her usual behavior.
I thank you for your concerns & replying back to me.
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