My mother started declining at 90. Over these past 8 years her short term memory has declined. She has lost some cognitive abilities. But she’s incredibly compliant, less moody, kinder, says thank you more often. People say she has Dementia but she’s hasn’t had the bad personality change. I sometimes think it’s just old age memory loss and cognitive loss. Anyone experienced this? She has now got 24 hr caregiving at home. They make her meals, take her out for drives, help her bath. But she can walk around on her own, still use bathroom. Can go out to restaurants. She’s very sweet! Trust me I’m not complaining, it’s just that she was negative and so narcissistic before.

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My dad in his 90s had surgery a few months ago and I am the primary caregiver. He never used to say thank you or be grateful and now he does that a lot more and tries to help with little things, which is really great.
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Reply to Lisa42

It is the biggest blessing of my life.
I never had a close relationship with my mom and can only remember a handful of experiences/interactions with her - all negative. She was narcissistic and I could never get a word in. I limited my visits with her to holidays and a few 2-hour or less visits per year.
4 years ago she had a brain tumor removed and quickly spiraled into dementia requiring a memory care facility. I have visited her every week, driving 2 hours to do so. We finally had a good relationship! I looked forward to spending time with her and caring for her. She was a totally different person.
My life-long friends could not believe that I could ever have a relationship with her.
It was such a healing blessing for me to finally experience this.
However, she was and became increasingly resistant and combative to "cares". We finally agreed to put her on Seroquel for behaviors around cares. This makes one sleepy and fall risks are high. After 5 months of being on this med, my previously strong, agile 85-year-old mom, fell twice within a few weeks and passed in hospice a week later (one week ago).

I have heard this similar story from a few other women.
As a side note, my 93-year-old MIL, who was previously fairly sweet has become more self-centered. She is in a very nice memory care facility with dementia, and is much "higher functioning" than my mom. Lately she calls my husband all the time because she is lonely/bored. It is taking a huge toll on his health.
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Reply to honeybE

My mom was very controlling, rigid, nasty and obnoxious particularly when it came to me. She can be extremely unpleasant still with dad particularly when either of us wants her to do something in particular (like get dressed, which she can do IF and WHEN she wants) like go to get her hair washed and blown.

The flip side is she is less argumentative, notices things less. For instance she might have put up a stink about dad and I decided to recover the sofas...or notice that I plucked 30 year old dusty baby's breath from her silk flower the disease progresses and the usual tasks are taken over by others you see the changes.
Others may see her as sweet...but we know what lies beneath the surface as well!
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Reply to gdaughter

Yes! It's almost as if dementia shut off the nasty side of my mom- the one I knew pretty much my entire life- up until a few years ago. I feel blessed that mean mom doesn't exist anymore but struggle too- because our relationship was so strained because of her narcissism- life would have been so different had my nice mom existed. I like to think that nice mom is who she is :)
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Reply to Clarise1

My Sister in law had always been mean to her spouse. Then she got Alzheimer's. No one BUT one sister picked up on the fact that she had Alzheimer's - was tested for it and positive read. So the sick sister in law started being nice to her hubby - and only one person picked up on it. At soon as she went on the Alz med, back to being nasty to her hubby - the one person she needs to be nice to!
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Reply to Llamalover47

YES!!! I had to go no-contact with mom, & most family, over 7 yrs ago, for the health/wellbeing of me & spouse. We were nearly dead by the time Mom got moved out. It got ugly, involved whole family disconnect. Mom moved in with one of my sisters. Been living there since.
But, I had a trip to make, which took me closer to where she lives.
Decided that since it’s been over 7 years, maybe something’s changed.
Sister kept claiming Mom was fine, no blowups, stopped drinking, processed grief...IDK...maybe some of all those? Plus age.
And she knows she’s really messed some things up for her kids, so wants to make some kind of closure with each.
So, we surprised them.
Same as sis loves doing [finally, I got to surprise back!!!]. I really didn’t know what to expect, until I got face-2-face. Spouse was ready to instantly extract me from any hint of conflict by them.
But it went BETTER than well.
Nope, I didn’t get answers to some burning questions...everyone’s saving face by refusing to admit they all behaved badly for so long.
But Mom?
She sat there, REALLY listening/hearing, processing information, thinking about it, asking questions, accepting answers. Coherent conversation!
She was, in short, her true, smart, compassionate-hearted, loving self.
She did that ....for over 10 hrs... the 1st day, taking few small breaks, all while keeping calm, no anger, no Excuses, very little diversion into her world of watching TV talking heads.
Extremely remarkable!
I’m the eldest; she’s over 90.
I’d not seen her do that in my entire life, so calm, rational, etc., thinking human, for so many hours in a row...maybe since I was a toddler.
It was spiritual, too.
I cannot expect more, nor better.
It was a Blessed GIFT. It lifted me up for 2 weeks. I still feel lighter for it.
She actually heard me, and took in the fullness of all the subjects discussed.
She really heard me tell her I loved her, no matter what.,,,she’s never really done that, & believed it herself.
And she heard me recount how we all understood how hard that was for really take it in & believe it, when someone said they loved her, because we all understood her life. She understood, and got it, when I told her how much her own Mom loved her, too...but that she’d been unable to believe that, because of how G’ma had stayed with her abusive spouse...little kids perceive that “mom can’t protect me, because she keeps staying with the abuser”...she finally understood that. And more.
It was healing for all present.
Intuition, before the visit, told me she may not have much longer, once we visited. But, she may still need to do similar closure with a couple of her other kids.
Blessings! Keep the space open in one’s heart, to allow something like that to happen, and it might increase the odds.
It’s not guaranteed, though. I had to be prepared to never hear from any of them ever again, when they moved her out of our place, the way they behaved.
It had been critically important for me & spouse to keep all contact in print, for our protection and recuperation...because family has a deep behavior imprint of being manipulative, & playing games like gaslighting.
Having resolved to live with that decision, to save ourselves, meant this GIFT was much larger than I could have ever hoped for.
Worth keeping that space open in my heart, despite the hurt, just in case something changed for the better.
And it did.
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Reply to chimonger

My grandmother did a very similar thing. I t was gradual over maybe the last 8-10 years I guess but in looking back we all remarked on how much softer, more accepting she became as she got older. Makes for much fonder memories of her rather than what we are watching with my mom for instance, she isn't nasty and difficult all the time or anything but it's heartbreaking watching her fade and struggle, not being able to converse with her the way we once did.
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Reply to Lymie61

I think its one of those special incidences "by God's grace"...
Thankful for those on this site & others where it was pointed out that some forget they were angry.

Went through the same thing w/my Mom and wow was it a gift. Thats the person who I miss the most, the one who freaked me out w/her sudden acceptance of me after decades of, well what you experienced (w/the "scary" years leading up to her personality change).

A friend who offers spiritual care told me he's seen it so many times, he recognizes it as them returning to their true selves.

Before she forgot she was angry & usually with me, I don't believe those words would be of any amount of comfort, & I don't know if its true although it would be cool to believe that.

I do remember it was a challenge to plain accept she had grown in to a woman who was actually happy to see or hear from me. Took a long time to not expect the critical tones, sharp cutting remarks to be present or inferred, well you know the routine.

My heart goes out to all caregivers.
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Reply to SadiePi
Shell38314 May 8, 2019
I do believe that it is God's grace. I still wait to see if my mother is going to say something cutting or fight me on something because that was her norm, but what a blessing to have our mothers to do a complete change.
Count your’re in the minority.
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Reply to CaregiverL

Sometimes people get nicer.. My Mam
maw was always very kind and considerate and as she developed Alzheimer's..she continued to be the same.. Not all people have that experience.. So I'm really encouraged to read all the good experiences.
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Reply to Ann2710

My mother has always been selfless, but incredibly independent. I also believe that her short-term memory issues made her more cautious.....maybe even paranoid a little. But she reached a point where she let go of that caution and began to accept the help of others. Her last few years, she was especially sweet and so easy to work with. I hope that if I live that long, I can exhibit the kindness and grace that mom did:)
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Reply to lynina2

I've noticed the same happening with a family member (she's in her early 90's) who's declined a lot in the last couple of years, both physically and mentally. She used to be so very manipulative, bossy, and demeaning. Now, she is humble, thankful, and compliant. I'm thankful, too.
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Reply to Sherry5

My grandmother-in-law passed away 2007, she still lived alone in her house, drove and wore make-up. She still went to her hang- out "Between the Buns" in SouthBend, Indiana where she lived and was a regular! Even ordering a pint of beer! Lol
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Reply to Stephanie4181

"Who are you and what have you done with my mother..?"

It is so refreshing and cheering to read your account - long may your mother continue to enjoy life, and long may you and her family enjoy this new mellow version of her.
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Reply to Countrymouse

Yes I have notice that in the last 6 months my mother has been saying thank you to me more often. She also has been more compliant and will just go long with what I say. She has even been easier to get along with. But I can't help but feel this won't last long. She use to fight with me on everything and spit out the most mean and hateful commints, but now she tells me what a good job I am doing. Either h3ll has froze over or the disease has change something in her brain for the better. I am just waiting for her to go back the way she was. Good things don't last. Guess we will see.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Shell38314
SadiePi May 8, 2019
Hi Shell! So happy her brain changed for the better, & all good vibes she stays that way.
We never really do know how they're processing stuff & maybe there's just a point their brain gets tired of resisting everything.
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Reply to TaylorUK

My mom continually says thank you to me. She says please also.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

My 93 year old Mom has vascular dementia (extreme loss of memory, confusions, etc.) and she is a much nicer and sweeter person compared to when she was younger.  I think my Mom showed signs of dementia in her middle to late 80's and the dementia has been progressing which is sad to watch.

She always says "thank you" to me and tells me how much she loves me.   Naturally this makes caregiving for her easier for me.  

I consider myself lucky that she's been this way.

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Reply to JennaRose

My mom is nearing 90, and I have noticed her being waay nicer than what she used to be. She has Parkinson's dementia, but seems relatively with it. She used to be critical and mean spirited. Now she's thankful and kind. Sometimes I wonder if her nurses that come in once a week said something to her about being nicer.
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Reply to kbuser

How nice that your Mom is so peaceful. It’s a wonderful blessing. I hope for your sake and hers that she remains calm and content.
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Reply to Cinderella5001

I found something similar with my second MIL. She was quite unpleasant when DH and I married in our 50s, and she was also awful to FIL. Fast forward to the Nursing Home and FIL’s almost immediate death, and she became so much nicer it was quite disorientating. Nicer to everyone, but particularly to me. Our best guess was that she realised she was on her own in her 90s and needed to stop pushing people around. She also didn't have dementia, just old age. It seemed like an act to me, and she was a big time actress, but it was heaps better to cope with.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen

Molly, I also noticed when my Mom was in her 80's she was much more pleasant, and that she even had a sense of humor, which I had never noticed in her before. My Dad was always the one doing the jokes, so it was great seeing Mom laughing. And yes, saying thank you whenever I was helping out.

Unfortunately in my case, when my Mom was in her 90's, she wasn't a happy camper. She was not aging gracefully. And in part I could understand why as she was losing her hearing and eye sight, I would turn into a bear, too.

Let's hope, Molly, that your Mom continues with this easy going change in personality. Could be with some memory loss she doesn't feel like she has the world on her shoulders.
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Reply to freqflyer

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