I am at my wit's end. Nonstop tantrums, accusations. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

I am at my wit's end. Nonstop tantrums, accusations. Any advice?

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Hi everyone,
I posted here back in May and appreciate everyone's responses on that one. To sum up, I'm 39 caring for my 75 year old mother with Alzheimer's and 80 year old father with mobility issues due to autoimmune disease. I live with them in their house. I have no job - they are my full time job. Which puts me in the worst position possible because I am dependent on them financially. My brother and I have tried repeatedly to convince them to go to assisted living but they won't go.

There are too many problems to even go into, but the one that is the biggest issue right now is my mother's nonstop tantrums and accusations. For the better part of the last year we fought over the paying of bills because she became unable to do it. The phone and cable almost got cut off, other bills were late, she'd write checks without remembering what they were for and then accuse me of taking the checks. She could never remember passwords to her accounts and numerous times a day would rope me into "helping her". It was an absolute nightmare. Then something happened about 2 months ago and she just kind of "forgot" about the bills and her computer. So I was able to intercept them and set them up to be paid online. For about 2 months, the arguments stopped and things were ok.

But something has happened in the last week and all of a sudden she "remembered" that she needed to be on her computer. So she'd get her laptop out and mess around with it and say things like, "I need things off my computer" but she didn't know what. Then she'd miraculously remember how to get on her email and bank account one day, but then not the next. And the questions started up with me again - "How do I get my email" and "I don't remember my password". Well I lost it because it's like we went backwards in time! We already went through this and she let go of the laptop for 2 months, and now all of a sudden she's back to obsessing about it! She printed off her bank statement which I knew was another sign of impending problems because she I knew she would not be able to make sense of it. But she never mentioned it to me so I let it go. Then 2 days ago she tells me she and my father went into the bank because they "had some questions" and the woman at the bank printed off the statement and she was "shocked" by x, y and z. Basically implying wrongdoing on my part (there was none). Well this provoked WWIII and it still hasn't let up. After explaining every deposit and deduction on the statement, my mother still didn't understand. She kept thinking deposits were withdrawals, and then launched into more accusations about me. She keeps saying I'm "keeping her account from her" when of course that's not true. The truth is she can't remember how to manage her account anymore and so she's accusing me of keeping it from her. Then she says, "Well if you had just shown me what you were doing"... well of course that doesn't help because a) she doesn't understand and b) she doesn't remember!

This past week she has been absolutely unmanageable. Cannot be reasoned with. She repeats the same arguments over and over again, makes the same accusations over and over again (which are untrue but clearly are very true to her). She sneaks around trying to get on computers but she doesn't know what she's doing. I set up her email on my ipad so all she has to do is tap the AOL app to get it (no need to remember password) but that's not good enough for her. First she didn't believe it was her email, so I had my dad send her an email to prove it would show up. Not good enough - she looks at them and says "those are all ads, I want the emails from my friends!" (stamping her feet like a child). Then a day later she doesn't remember anything about the ipad or the emails. All she knows is she's spent her whole life obsessing about her accounts and suddenly she is obsessed with trying to get back into them, even if she doesn't even really know what she is looking for.

I don't know what to do. Is it "normal" to have this kind of regression to past behavior? Should I call the neurologist and ask for meds? I honestly can't deal with this. I'm a wreck.

To make matters worse, my dad enables my mom and goes along with her antics. I told them yesterday that because of my mom's accusations and their unwillingness to go to assisted living, I refuse to become official power of attorney. They haven't finished their will, medical directives...nothing! I told them I would be moving out in 6 months (I need some time to figure out how to get enough money to leave) and after that they are on their own. But my days are occupied with incessant arguing and tantrums so once again I'm getting steered off track from my own goals.

Any advice?

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Up a creek some very good paddles ( posts) on here to help you out of that creek. Take time to consider what would happen if you weren't there. The courts would have to intervene - they would in all probability rule that while she still may be seen as competent she may no longer have capacity. That is to say she knows what she wants but doesn't know how to get there - pretty much like you are at the moment but yours is something that once armed with the skills YOU WILL be able to manage and that is not the same for your Mum.

You need to pick the right day (I say day but it will be days and many of them as the Alzheimers progresses) I imagine you feel as though there are 4 people living in the house at the moment and two of them are your Mum - her good days and her bad days. So pick a good day and have the discussion with her re the following

You sound as though you are keeping records - which you should do and MUST do just in case your behaviour is ever challenged. SO show her the records and explain each and every transaction.

What you need to do is be paid for the work you do and this is where it can get tricky. Either they pay you properly and you stay and taker it on as the job you deem it to be OR they don't pay you all and then you choose whether you are going to stay or not....don't be forced into it by guilt. If they agree to pay you get it in writing - if not then as it is not financially viable or sustainable for you to continue you then have two choice. Do you stay there for the evenings and weekends and get carers in - that they pay for (that will soon make them see your financial worth believe me) or do you leave them and inform APS or whoever of your decision.

There can only be one person for you to consider and that is you in terms of your capacity and willingness to take on the role of care-giver permanently with all it entails and will entail. From a personal perspective I would not feel able to care for 2 people especially when on is as demandingly difficult as your Mum - You however may be able to cope at the moment - that is not to say you will always feel that way and when that time comes don't be afraid to stand up and shout I CANT DO THIS ANY MORE - THAT my sweet is what a good care-giver should do.

If you do take on the role - make sure you are paid formally and make sure it is done correctly - the IRS will need to be involved (you can't care-give from inside a prison) AND make sure you have holidays built into that - respite is essential - it is not respite to have 2 hours to go to Walmart once every two weeks to do the shopping. Respite is you time - it is time when you sleep pamper yourself go for a walk go and groom next doors ponies if that is your preference but it is for you alone not with them. None of this taking them on holiday is a break for you all - NO IT ISNT - it is one of the most stressful things you can ever think of doing trust me been there done that have the teeshirt - if we had stayed longer I would have had a murder charge too (Joke people joke)
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Upacreek as baba said, get your mom checked for a urinary tract infection. They come on suddenly, agitation and anxiety will increase drastically and anger will follow. What a situation it is good to hear you are planning your exit.

Also keep in mind that your folks may get to the point of making concrete accusations against you related to the money they think you are taking. And if they have had these sorts of discussions at the bank, the bank is required by law to notify the authorities of possible exploitation. Is it worth remaining in the home if you stand the possibility of an investigation? I ask because I was accused, investigated, and it was determined by the authorities that I had not done what I was accused of doing. It was not my folks that requested the investigation, it was my darling twisted sisters. And when they were told nothing waas going on, they did not believe it. I chose to stay because the folks needed me and if I left, the twisted ones would have become convinced I was guilty.

So think carefully about how you want to handle this situation that is going to be the best for you in the long run. And ask yourself whether free room and board, when you are also providing care is worth it. They should be paying you for the assistance you provide, instead you seem to be paying with your own self worth.
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Upacreek, Sorry for this trouble you are having. I'm in a similar boat and last week was awful. We tried Resperdal, but the side effects were so bad, we tried Clonopin
as needed and believe me, it was needed! This helped on Thurs and Fri and dad seems calmer this week and didn't even need it. His agitation and troubling behavior is as unpredictable as the weather. My bubble bath calgon moment is what I live for and then bury myself in a good book or late night movie. Late nights and early morning are the only peace I get. I stopped working, broke up with boy friend, and rarely see a girl friend for lunch. I love Babalou's and the other's advice to you and wish you well.
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The neurologist or a gero-psychiatrist might be more comfortable with trying and monitoring the effects of appropriate meds for this. That happened with my mom. You can come up with a loosely related reason for her to take them, like "help your memory" or "lower your stress and blood pressure" or "adjust your balance of neurotransmitters."
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Upacreek, UTIS in older people can come on suddenly and wreak hsvoc, making long standing behaviors worse.

Your mom needs meds and a new caregiving situation. You will die before she does if you stay there. I'm not exaggerating. Call her neurologist and tell her that your mom needs psychiatric meds to stabilize her and describe her behavior.

If she won't take the meds, then you can't stay. I would think that a shelter or a YWCA would be better than living like this.
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Thank you vstefans and Babalou. She has had a few physical exams over the last 9 months, including blood work, brain MRI and x-rays. So I think it's safe to say it's not an infection. When she was assessed by the neuropsychologist about 4 months ago, I told him I was confused by some of her behavior because I couldn't disentangle it from her longstanding psychological issues. He put it perfectly when he said that what I'm seeing is "the same old behavior - only different". I didn't think she could get any worse, but now I'm getting the intersection of psychiatric issues and alzheimer's and it is truly beyond my capabilities to manage. I mean she spent all morning stomping her feet and yelling and accusing me of things, then she went up and got a shower and got dressed and came down all smug and happy, acting like nothing ever happened. She literally spent 2 months being really confused, sleeping a lot, not even thinking about bills. Then all of a sudden it's like she's manic. She doesn't sleep much (I know because she's making me so anxious that I don't either), she starts fights, snoops, complains. I just don't know what happened that her behavior changes so drastically. I never know what to expect from an interaction with her which isn't totally a new thing but it's much worse now.

Psychological treatment was brought up with the neuropsychologist, but my mom won't go. I also mentioned her "anxiety" to her primary care doc at her last appointment, but he was reluctant to put her on anything because of some of the side effects.

I do like my mom's neurologist. I have contemplated calling her, explaining the situation, and asking if she thinks meds will help. But if my mother knows what the meds are for, she won't take them.

I'm just so exhausted from a lifetime of dealing with my mother. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I cannot please her or fix her. And though I've been putting myself through this out of a sense of obligation to my parents, I'm all out of persuasive tactics to get them to prepare for the inevitable. I think my strategy right now is to try to lock myself away as much as possible and get myself financially set up to leave asap. My leaving is going to cause a series of other problems with the bills and their care, but perhaps it's what's necessary to get them to take action.
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It sounds as though your mother has a longstanding personality disorder/mental illness. Has she been seen by a psychiatrist? Her mood may be vastly improved by meds, or not. But you can't go on like this.

In your shoes, I would talk to her doctor about her behavior and as her/him to refer your mom for a psychiatric evaluation. I would not entertain mom's rants. If you didn't take the coffee filters, leave the room or the property when she starts in on you. Don't argue, just leave.
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your plan to get out and be independent is not bad

you might be able to stay on top of the finances with an online account or just a session once a week - can you enlist the help of the person at the bank, I know it would feel insulting that Mom might trust them and not you, but stranger things have happened.

will Mom get a medical checkup to make sure she is not going haywire due to an infection or other illness or deficiency that is not otherwise apparent?
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Thanks freqflyer. Despite these episodes of tantrums, poor short-term memory and her getting confused easily, she's not so far along in the disease that she's incompetent. As terrible as it sounds, that's why we're having all these problems - because she has lost functioning enough to have noticeable trouble with bills, driving, and household care, but she's still able to go about her daily activities (exercise classes, bridge groups, etc.) so she thinks she's "fine". What's complicating this is that my mother has longstanding personality and mood disorders. So some of this behavior is reminiscent of "my mother", and some of it is more like Alzheimers, and sometimes it's impossible to tell.

As for the will, etc. - I have tried EVERYTHING! I have taken them to a consultation with a lawyer, we've made numerous trips to the assisted living community, I've sat down with them to fill out their medical directives and will...and they just will not do it. They're fully aware of the consequences, I've had multiple doctors tell my mother the consequences if she doesn't get her affairs in order now, other family members have urged them...they just don't want to face reality.
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Your profile says your Mom has Alzheimer's/Dementia.... read all you can about this disease, the more you know the better you will understand it... will it make life better, probably not, but you will get a better view as to why it is happening.

Go to the blue bar at the top of this page.... click on SENIOR LIVING... now click on ALZHEIMER'S CARE.... now scroll down to the articles. Lot of good information.

By the way, chances are not good that your Mom will be able to sign her Will, medical directives or any other document. An Attorney will stop the process if he/she sees that your Mom isn't understanding what she is signing. But get your Dad in to sign for himself as soon as possible. It won't be easy. I told Dad if his Will is too out of date, the State could get half his net worth... that got his attention big time, so he went in with my Mom to get new updated documents.
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