I have my dad, who is 90, living with me (his daughter) in an in-law suite attached to my kitchen. He has been diagnosed with dementia over 7 years ago and has lived with me all that time. I took care of my mom with other issues for part of the 7 years until she passed on peacefully. My struggle with my dad is he has a strong personality which apparently comes with his narcissistic issues and now with his dementia worsening it is difficult to provide help that he needs. He seems to want help so I humbly offer it and rather than moving on he instead figures out something in my helping him that was wrong and makes sure to point it out to me. Example: He was struggling with balancing his checkbook. I offered to review it and discovered some mistakes which I corrected. I returned everything to him sharing the mistake I found but adding that was an easy thing to miss. (I try to soften these things as he really believes he doesn't make mistakes) He returned to tell me hours later telling me that I made a mistake and pointed out some insignificant thing. It's the narcissism that makes him competitive and needing to come out on top. I try to soften my help and not be in his face which sometimes means I will provide help that he is unaware of. Currently I'm paying all his bills that come through the mail while explaining to him they are automatically being paid through his checking account (I am co-owner of his checking acct). He provides for me all the figures on his day to day spending at the end of each month and I put it in a spread sheet to help him feel "in charge" and also allow me to see what is going on with his spending. I speak with my brother often but he lives in Virginia while I am in Pennsylvania and the daily stuff is mine to deal with. Just wondering if anyone else is struggling with a parent with the two issues of dementia and narcissism and how you are dealing with it?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Thank you for starting this question thread! My struggle is similar to yours. My 78 year old mother with narcissistic issues was has Dementia (almost 1 ½ years) Now with her Dementia worsening it is difficult to provide help that she needs and that her doctors recommends.
My mother’s Dementia, narcissist personality and difficult and combative behavior are horrible to take. She is able to cook and bathes herself (not regularly but she does draw her bath when she does). She also does her laundry but not regularly. She is not able to manage her medications or drive.
Her friends no longer call her because they have told me she constantly talks negatively about me and says she doesn’t need help. They’ve tried to tell her she should be blessed to have a son and a daughter that care for her. This falls on deaf ears.

She lies and says things to make herself appear correct in her eyes I imagine. It’s really difficult for me because she constantly lies about me to her sister that also has Dementia. I’ve had to resort to blocking her sister’s number just to have a few days of peace. The both forget so it’s never an issue.
My mother wrote checks to the tune of 7k on a credit card account thinking it was her checking account. This happened before she was diagnosed with Dementia. She was also behind and forgot to pay her other bills on time (including her mortgage).
To this day she denies writing the checks. The credit card company sent copies of the checks etc., and each time this bill comes monthly it’s a huge argument. I had to set up a calendar reminder to pay this bill because when she get’s it she will hide it or make a big noise and accuse me of running up the bill.
I now live with her and am her full-time caregiver along with my brother that has his own apartment.
I have taken over her finances and my brother and I draw the line when it comes to her demanding that she pay her bills and drive.
I am co-owner of her bank account. I too have set up 90% of her accounts online with auto-pay and electronic delivery of the statements. There are a few that we are not able to set up electronically and unfortunately one of these bills is a major trigger.
We do not have POA, and, due to her Dementia and narcissist personality issues, we don’t see this ever happening unless we go to court down the road; or God willing, her personality changes (not likely according to an Altz specialist her primary doctor referred her to. The specialist spoke with my brother and I after a consultation). My mother now refuses to go back to this doctor.
As far as the bills, I am trying to find a way to get the last two credit card bills be delivered electronically. When she get’s the mail and brings a bill to me or says she can now write her bills not that she is better, I just say “all of the bills are being paid electronically” and then I try my best not to say anything else. She has tried to ransack my room looking for bills etc. Last year I invested in locking file cabinets and that solved that problem. Now when she starts looking for things in my room, she won’t find anything because everything is locked.
I constantly get feedback on the need to get POA but I don't think folks understand how difficult this is for a caregiver that is dealing with a parent that has Dementia and a narcissistic personality.

My brother and I both have to do things out of eyesight. We have to put her meds out for the next day while she is sleeping the night before and pray she takes them the next day.
If she does, she does, if she doesn’t we just pray that she will eventually. We know missing her meds will cause her to land in the hospital, my bother and I have already decided that we cannot endure this. We write letters to her doctors to document everything from her calling the police on use about driving to her not taking her meds and flushing them down the toilet.
Detaching and walking away and not reacting help.
Also, knowing that she will forget can be a good thing.
I will be following this thread for advice and tips.
Helpful Answer (8)

I have a little different take on this. My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder and is narcissistic. She has the "all about me" thing and has not been diagnosed with dementia, though she does show some, for example, short term memory loss that has come with aging. She has had narcissism all her life, so it has nothing to do with aging, I congratulate you for the care you have given your mum and are now also giving your dad. I know these personalities are not easy.
If I read you right it is your dad who makes the mistakes and you who corrected them. Narcissists do not take well to not being perfect nor being corrected, or even to being offered suggestions. Mother is the same. She lives in another city, by her choice and in an ALF. She will complain about things or ask me for help, and then find fault with anything I do or suggest, and go so far to say i am going being her back and such, which is nonsense. Then she blames me for not helping her, when, in fact, she won't allow me to. The exchange becomes nasty, and very stressful for me. So I have had to back off. There are other people in her city that can help her, and often her complaints are just "bitches" about stuff that is life. She does have a financial advisor who she turns to for financial things who is still in her good books.

Could you keep your own records separately? If everything is done online, it should be, And let him keep his -even if not completely accurate -cheque book balance, If he needs or wants your help with the cheque book, be prepared that he will criticize and fault find, It is part of the narcissism. It is not your fault, and nothing you can do will likely change him. You are doing a wonderful job. I am just wondering if some of this can be avoided by not sharing so much information with him. The other thing I could suggest is if he, for example, asks you for help with his cheque book, tell him in advance that if he wants your help you don't want criticism afterwards, as you are doing the best you can. That is drawing a boundary and they can respond to boundaries, especially if you enforce them.
I am POA for mother, yet she manages her own affairs still, which is great, other than a few times I have needed to become involved and then I didn't get thanks but criticism. This is the pattern of a lifetime. Could your brother take over any of these tasks by computer? He has the advantage of living at a distance.

And speaking about distance - you probably need to detach. Things will not get easier as the dementia progesses. Here are a few hints about detaching -

Accept that they are responsible for their own choices
Anger –deal with it in a healthy way
Blame –don’t blame and don’t accept blame
Consequences – face them and see that others experience them
Decide what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do
Detachment is not a feeling so much as a choice of behaviours, though the feelings should follow the behaviours. Detachment means you can maintain positive behaviours towards to others –kindness, compassion,
Don’t take on blame, guilt, manipulation, anger - don’t enable
Focus on yourself , Refuse to be manipulated e.g, emotional blackmail
Respond, don’t react
Separate - physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, socially from others behaviours/feelings
Set boundaries
Say “No”
Space –create it between you and them
Try not to take the behaviours personally

And my last thought is that it would help you if you could get someone else to give you a break, Another lady on here who is dealing with alz and narcissism cannot help her mum with her accounts, because her mum won't let her, but her mum does accept help from a nice lady from the senior center who has volunteered to help. Sometimes they will accept from others what they won't accept from the closest family.
Good luck and let us know how you are doing. (((((((hugs))))))) Joan
Helpful Answer (7)

Thank you all. I appreciate your responses.

I really try not to complain about my situation since I certainly understand my dad is doing very well for age 90. He knows that too.

What I really had hoped was to connect with others dealing with a similar situation. Someone who is narcissistic their whole life doesn't improve with an issue of dementia. My dad's doctor says narcissism comes out with dementia. So with already being narcissistic as his dementia gets worse all the issues with narcissism are worse; his competitiveness, wanting to be right at all cost, putting everyone down so he is on top, desiring to be gushed over constantly and told how important and special he is all are challenges I have when I help him because they are exhausting and I never seem to get it right or to his satisfaction.

I have POA and again have access to his financial records but the difficulty I have is he makes inappropriate decisions and makes choices that are hurtful to himself although due to his dementia and faulty reasoning he doesn't recognize they are hurtful to him. He needs help but is not always receptive. He is trusting when he shouldn't be. When he moved in with me I was able to move his investments to another investment advisor because the previous one was robbing him blind. To this day he believes that isn't true. We came close to filing charges but he seems to feel his decision was the right one when he chose that crook. (a cold call on the phone).

Certainly I do vent from time to time. But I desire to honor my dad and care for him to the best of my ability. I love him and had a great childhood growing up although I have always been challenged by his lack of empathy to me, another issue with narcissism and it is worse now.

I would love to have a break from him but my brother has some personal issues going on and he is not able to have him for any visits. I do try to find time away to get perspective which is certainly a good thing. Thanks everyone for responding. Hope to hear from some others in this situation.
Helpful Answer (7)

Thanks for these posts. They validate the experiences of my sister and me as we face off against a 92 year old controlling and obstinate narcissistic woman who has always gotten her own way. We live a few provinces away from our original family home and right now my mother wants to go home for a visit. I cannot face spending more than 10 days on the road with her, visiting relatives, managing her fatigue and dementia (let alone the personality traits). I feel beaten down when she tells me that I am her greatest disappointment - an old line but it hurts every time I hear it. Some days I think I will just cave and take her back to New Brunswick. And then we have an argument and I don't think I would be safe with her on the road. I appreciate that there are others who wrestle with unkind and ungrateful parents. A special hell for caregivers for sure. Thanks to all who have written in. I realize that this thread has been going for more than a year but I only came upon it this afternoon as I searched for answers.
Helpful Answer (6)

I originally posted this question and although it was a while ago when I posted I'm glad to see others can identify with this struggle in caring for a parent. Things have progressed with my dad's dementia and he no longer is able to make his own decisions. He still believes he can and should be in control of everything but he is unable to reason and make sense of situations so I have had to step in with my POA and Advanced Health Directive. Thankfully my dad set these in place a long time ago. I moved my dad into an assisted living / memory care facility after he left our home twice, fell and injured himself badly. All the professionals tell me I have made an appropriate decision and that he fits right in with other residents. However, he tells me over and over again how "those people" have problems but he does not. I know that dementia can sometimes change someones personality but I also have seen that a "perfect storm" can develop when you mix a narcissistic personality, a lifetime of issues never dealt with, and then throw in dementia. Denial remains strong for my dad. He is in a transition period as he has only been at this facility for a short while but each visit has moments when he is angry and upset with me. I recognize these moments as him trying to get control over a situation he simply is unable to control. I have to remind myself often that it is important for my dad to be safe and there is in fact some relief that I have a team of professions helping me to provide for my dad's needs. The staff tells me that he is doing well and certainly we are still early in this transition period. I often turn to this web site for encouragement and hope I've been able to encourage some of you.
Helpful Answer (6)

I am dealing with a narcissist mother who will be 84 in a few months and has increasing dementia. It's a very difficult situation to be in. I feel compassion toward her as I would another human being, but there is no warm, affectionate 'mother/daughter' bond whatsoever. Although thankfully, before she started to go downhill, she completed some important paperwork (living will/advance directive, etc.), the only way I managed to secure her POA was when she had me handle a financial task that required it, and I don't think she completely understood what it was (but she'd never admit to not knowing anything, so it worked out). I have to do everything out of eyesight as well. She resents my 'interference' and claims I'm 'trying to take her life away', but her 1 neighbor who is kind enough to check in with her knows I'm doing the best I can, and that my intentions are good. It shouldn't matter what others think, but honestly, having just ONE sane realize that you're not evil means so much! It is true that one's personality traits can become magnified with dementia. My mother is 100% obstinate, uncooperative, and defiant. She has always been very self-absorbed and contemptuous of others, and it's much more pronounced now. I don't know if it's 'worse', but the mask of courtesy and civility has completely slipped. (or she misplaced it and now she can't find it, lol--sorry, slightly twisted joke there). I don't like having to make more time, energy, and room in my life for her needs, but the upside of her memory loss is that I can have less of an interpersonal relationship with her. I no longer need to project false affection or fondness, and that's a relief.
Helpful Answer (5)

Taking care of an elderly parent in your home is never an easy task, and you've been doing it a long time. I might suggest that if your father is able to travel, going and spending a month with the brother might give you a bit of relief and a fresh perspective.

That aside: Your father is 90 and able to largely take care of himself, at least compared to many others you'll find people talking about around here. He has his mind in good enough condition that he can make his way through a checkbook and discover an insignificant error that you made (pretty good for 90 regardless of any diagnosed dementia). You have a big enough place and adequate resources that he can have an attached apartment of some sort. Your biggest complaint is that he points out your mistakes. Your brother is supportive as best as he can be.

I know that every situation has its downsides and nothing can be explained completely in an online post. But by and large, it sounds like you have things relatively good and easy. Nobody's perfect and character flaws do present themselves more acutely as we grow older and our inhibitors diminish.

So while I'm having a rough time seeing that you have much to complain about, I recognize that every situation can become frustrating from time to time. Maybe a bit of time apart would be the time you could re-energize and find a perspective that is based on the fact that you're pretty lucky to have a relatively healthy dad so long into your life. Live well, be happy! Have a good day.
Helpful Answer (3)

I have a mother with a narcissistic personality that has now at 85 started to decline into dementia...and has a very bad case of tinnitus who insists its her next door neighbour and has taken to shouting at them through the wall and playing music loud through the there is no way its her ear's/ brothers and myself are at our wits end....and fear for the future and what it may hold...has anyone gone through this ,please ...
Helpful Answer (3)

My mother has borderline personality disorder and developed vascular dementia a few year ago. For a couple of years it was truly awful. There are others on this site who have similar experiences. Problems are always someone else's fault. What helped me was getting proper professionals involved - geriatric psychiatrists and a thorough evaluation. Some crazy things had to happen first but eventually she was evaluated and gotten on an antipsychotic which helped a lot. I am afraid you are in for a tough time. You may get more responses if you start a new thread - question or discussion - describing more of what is happening and your concerns/frustrations. My mother is now on comfort care only so there is more peace.
Helpful Answer (3)

Golden is right Mum has vascular and alzheimer's so mixed dementia coupled with a dependency personlaity disorder of which I am the focal point. So I have to do everything because none else can do it like I can yet when I do do it I don't do it right either. It is a lose lose every which way you look at it but the meds help - without them I WOULD BE THE ONE IN A HOME OR A PRISON!

5 years down the line and I am still coping - not as well as I once did but hey I am still here and she's still getting brilliant care (according to the specialists) from me. So I take heart in that. Small small wins but they all count.
Helpful Answer (3)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter