I am a caregiver to my 87-year-old mother in my home. She reported me for elder abuse. How do I deal with that?

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She wrote a letter to the daughter of her friend, telling her that food was being withheld (I monitor her diet for salt, sugar, starch & carbs as she is diabetic and has high blood pressure); there was no privacy (for us!! not her); that she never got out (unless you call four trips a week to the hairdresser, bank, grocery, WalMart being confined) and that people were opening her mail and listening to her phone conversations etc.
The letter was forwarded to the police which resulted in visits by them and the supervisor of her care agency. Needless to say, this was a shock and bad surprise for me.......I immediately called a meeting with my brother and of course, she went on the defensive and was angry to have been discovered.
When asked why she wrote the letter and didn't voice her complaints, she said "it wasn't meant for publication". I was angry and ashamed of her that she took this action especially after I had created a 3-bedroom apartment in my large home for her with every luxury!
I discovered she had been phoning all kinds of people to obtain sympathy for herself. The wake-up call came when she went to visit two care facilities and discovered just how the seniors there were treated - and especially when she found out what kind of food they were served!!

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I am just going to vent here - I am so tired of the self absorbed, narsicictic parent running over some of us with their constant demands, uncaring manner and self absorption. My mother is in a facility due to the fact that through her actions (and i won't explain) she put herself there. She will constantly taunt me with her grievences. her demands that make no sense, but are controlling none the less. I'm done with the excuses of dementia, etc. when this is on-going behavior forever sincee I was 12 years old. I have had to be the mother while my mother went on to have a decent life. It seems to be we have created a generation of self-indulgent elderly who demand just what they want and when they want it. I have three girls to still be a mother to they range in age 18 - 23. They are resentful of how my mother has always tried to manipulate me with "whatever" to get what she wants. The God I know and love and believe in wants me and my family to have a full life full of his graces. If my mother wants and tries to sabotage anything I have; I will protect it all with the fierceess of a lion protecting her cubs. My mother said when I had children that she was :DONE WITH BEING A GRANDPARENT - fine with me; I'm done with the drama, etc. Seems like there is a generation out there - post world war II vetereans and there families who feel entitled to demanding and ruining of the children's lives. Mfy mother through her actions has put herself in a nursing home. She blames everyone else for her problems. I refuse to ruin my family by stooping to her demands...She single handedly ruined my father's life and I loved him more than words could ever express. I feel we have to stop the controlling parent who makes there beds and should lay in it. I am done.
You go through the system, get "investigated" and learn that this is not uncommon. It's a (not useful, not practical) way for elders to seize some control over a dwindling universe and lack of autonomy in the ways they are used to: It must be someone's "fault." If they can be "rescued" they return to life as a 45 year old, or whatever.

Repeat this to yourself: it isn't personal. It's a oping mechanism. It isn't personal. And the APS people will see that when they come check things out. As for other family members, invite them in to see the situation.
For Libracat, what I think most people don't understand is that we have been hardwired since we were wee children to think that our worth comes from what we do - not who we are. Cattails is so right about the post war generation. They were raised to honor their parents, and raised us the same way, but they are living decades longer than their parents. I think we're struggling with what does "honor" mean? As kids in the fifties, it meant absolute respect for grown ups no matter what they said or did to you (many of us hid abuse) it meant the kids were responsible for most of the chores in the household (that was our extracurricular activities), it meant get good grades or you got beat (not a private tutor to help you find your way). We lived for our parent's approval and it was not given easily. So we're absolutely hard wired to this obligation to care for them. While sometimes I find the younger generation a little "entitled", they have a much better sense of self worth than we do. I think they will find a much better balance in caring for us when we are elderly and I say good for them. I don't want my daughter to go through what I have been through. So there's nothing wrong with you that you feel this overwhelming responsibility to care for her, there's nothing wrong with you that you feel like a little girl that has "failed" again to please your parent, there's nothing wrong with you that you have a hard time putting your finger on "why" you put up with it, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you, you're just doing what you have been programmed to do.
Now as far as the situation you are in...I am there too. I cared for my mother, in her own home, for 8 years. Did her laundry, cooked her meals, cleaned her house, took care of her financially, took her out on outings, sat with her for numerous hospitalizations, ER visits, dr. visits. Just doing what I was programmed to do. Then she told my siblings I was abusing her. Similar complaints - I did try to talk to her about not living on sweets, about the importance of doing her physical therapy, about unsanitary conditions in her home. I was just doing what I was programmed to do - which was to do a good job taking care of my elderly mother. My post war generation mother treats this as though I am a small child "talking back" to her - her programming is that I owe her undying compliance even though I'm the one that will have to sit with her for hours on end in the ER with a CHF event after she downs all the sodium rich food she can lay her hands on. Plus, I think she wanted my siblings' attention and this was a way, within her now limited powers, to get it. Now my siblings have disowned me and are sending hate emails to my pregnant daughter about her "toxic, volatile mother". My extended family is irretrievably lost to me.

Here is what I did. Find a therapist and let go with love. You can honor your mother without giving up your life. You are a special person with huge value and your value is not contingent on whether you or not everything you do pleases your mother. Let her make her own choices and let her have the consequences of her own choices. My mother now has in home help. I visit her only when her aide is present. No one will ever be able to accuse me of anything again because there is always a witness - and I am, and always have been, sweet as pie to my mother, even though she was not really a very good mother to me (alcoholic, abusive environment). I encourage you to work with a family therapist to sort this out. You have a right to take care of yourself and you can take care of yourself and protect yourself... and still honor your mother. You kind of have to reboot and reprogram all that hardwiring. Most of us couldn't live with a spouse who demanded blind obedience and treated us as a small child whose needs were subserviant to theirs. Why would anyone expect that we're obligated to live with an elderly parent that demands that of us? Its okay to assert your rights, it is not disrespectful, it is not a failure to honor your parent. I don't know what the right answers are for your situation - that lies within you - but please find a path where you can love your mom and honor your mom and still love and honor yourself.
Libracat, thank you for posting this. Is your Mom normal? Just ungrateful?

This is a wake up call for me. My 81 year old healthy Mother has told many lies to family and friends. She has always been narcissistic and selfish. She wants attention. Her lies have ruined my relationship with my brother. He chooses to believe her, sort of, depending on the lie.

My aunt 'outted' her. Told me how she says no one checks on her, she could be dead for days, what terrible children we are. We have done everything to try to engage her and include her in our lives. She is really not interested.

Mom is still healthy but I will not take her into my home. She will do the same thing to me that your mom has done. They are just ungratful, selfish people. Mom will go to a nursing home. Your Mom should be ashamed of herself.
It feels like a re-victimization when people say to us "why do you put up with it?" "why do you stay?" (You have to wonder why they don't ask "Why doesn't she stop abusing you when you do so much for her?) But as jeanniegibbs says above, it's an enlightenment issue, it's not that these site members are trying to hurt us. (And btw, jeanniegibbs, you provide wonderful, insightful, compassionate responses all the time, I love your responses). When your self esteem has been trampled to the ground since you were a toddler, when your omnipotent parent's approval (as all parents are omnipotent to their kids) is elusively withheld from you and then granted to you in small honeymoon periods, you survive your childhood by constantly trying to adapt your behavior to what you think your parent wants. You adopt a belief that it's your fault because surely you can make them love you if you just get the behavior right. You develop a belief that you can control how they feel about you and react to you with your behavior, with your good deeds. We do not develop a true "self"- a true capacity to make choices based on what we want, because our very survival as children is based on making choices of what we think the parent (and ultimately others) want. And that becomes your programming. You believe that the things that you do (not who you are) are the way to control your parent (and ultimately others) into loving you, into reacting to you the way you want. The truth is we can't control another person into liking us or loving us or responding to us the way we want them to respond. We just have to get to know our self, what our self is willing to do and not willing to do, we have to accept our "self" for who we are and accept others for who they are. We aren't children anymore. And I can tell you if I read this a year ago, even 6 to 8 months ago, I would think it was preachy, I would think that's ridiculous, of course I love myself, I am an extremely loving and giving person because I'm always doing for others, I'm always sacrificing for others. It has taken me a year in therapy (and I'm still working on it) to start acknowledging that I have needs and that now I'm the responsible adult that has to make sure those needs are met. You are truly a loving and giving person who has probably spent a lifetime loving and giving to others. It's time to give that love to yourself, without shame, without guilt, give yourself the unconditional love that was denied to you as a little girl.
This one is a no brainer for me. If my mother ever reported me to a government agency, I would make sure she no longer had to be exposed to such a terrible person as myself. It wouldn't matter if it was dementia. It would be time for me to move on with my life. I don't owe the risk of legal problems to anyone.
Wow. This kind of behavior is not at all unusual in persons with dementia. But I'm surprised to see how common it is in non-dementia cases. Who knew?

I was reported to APS-taking care of my disabled husband being his servant and actually he had a history of physical and verbal abuse to me-a case worker came to the house -the report was made by a home care nurse-she asked us loads of questions and said she was going to get me out of the picture and he would have 24/7 care-which he already had-ME after she left I called my daughter who worked in another county in social service and she said they had no power and her co-workers were embarrased by what had happened-I called her later that day and asked to to come over my husband was lifting large flagstones fixing our walk-she passed herself off as a sociaal worker but gave me a card that said case worker. A few weeks larer a man running for office came by and I told him the story and he happened to be in charge of social service in a few counties and he reported those involved.Lib it that was my Mom she would be on her way to a nursing home so fast.
Wow I know that is hard to take. My mother tries to gain sympathy and attention in the same manner. I was grilled by my brother and sister about why wouldn't I let mm mom in the kitchen and switching her medications. Well, my siblings never help take care of mom and sure don't want to start now. We all got together, including my mom, to discuss this. She tried to claim she never said anything like this. At least my sibs got to see first hand mom's game playing. Also in front of all, I explained to mom that if she really feels like she's not allowed in the kitchen etc. she can go to assisted living and if she keeps up with these stories they could back fire on her and she'll have no choice but to go someplace "safe". I think what she really wants is attention and we're trying to get her to socialize a little with the other church ladies. I don't know if this helps but please know you're not alone. If your mom continues, the outcome is her own doing and maybe there's a little peace in that. Good luck.
OMG, sounds so familiar - the "get me this or that" without even a little please before it or "if you don't mind." Demanding and a sense of entitlement. I agree with the post above. STOP DRIVING YOURSELF NUTS. Let her eat her stash of junk. When she feels sick enough from it all, she will realize you were right, but even at that, if she gets sick it will somehow be your fault for not taking good enough care of her. This is the manipulative treatment that I am talking about in my other post. You will be damned if you do and damned if you don't--so, go and enjoy lunch with your daughter, dinner with your husband, leave her the TV dinner and quit the guilt trip. It's a lousy trip anyway with no gratification at the end. Live your life, get her her banana muffin and when she is in a diabetic coma, call 911. Sound pretty callous, don't I? Sorry. It's just knowing how being a child of a parent like this makes your own physical and mental health go down the drain. I was on my way to getting another ulcer (already had them at 14 yrs. old, thanks to stressing about my mother, and I am not exaggerating) and I am applying the "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me" philosophy.

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