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She has been living in a facility for the last three months. She is quite pleasant and easy to get along with, so the staff treat her very well, and I feel go above and beyond to satisfy her requests. The problem is, that a number of the other residents have varying degrees of dementia, which Mom refers to as "crazy". I am so offended by her comments, and I have explained to Mom that they cannot help the way they are, and to have more compassion for them, but the rudeness continues. Mom is also showing signs of dementia, but she does not recognize that in herself, and feels she is "normal", especially compared to the other residents.
The other complaint she voices is about the menu. She is provided a healthy, well balanced diet, and has lost a considerable amount of weight, which was greatly needed. How do I fend off these conversation regarding her meals?
I am tired of having these same conversations. Does anyone have similar situations, and what advice can you provide?

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I think elderly and those with dementia just say what they feel and what is on their mind at that moment. Almost the same as a young child, want an honest answer ask a kid. Those who work with dementia patients know this is part of the disease and have heard it before. Loved ones embarrassed, try to hush them probably making it worse. Maybe getting her attention and changing the subject or leave the room.
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I can understand hounddog53 why you would be upset. I don't understand why your husband didn't tell you but I do understand why he did send the money. It doesn't matter how she manipulated and treated your family, when there is a bond between a mother and son, the son will do anything. It is just unfortunate that your mother in law didn't ask for you help sooner. When her assets are completely gone, she could qualify for medicaid. Also, my mother in law qualified for Veterans Benefits because my father in law served during war time. These benefits are significant. I know we took care of my mother in law and everyday visited her or was working on something for her....and my husband and I both still felt guilty.Their relationship was also rocky at times and she wasn't always very nice to me. But in the end, she always knew we would not turn our backs on her.
As I said, I don't know why he didn't tell you but I do understand why he did send the money. But you will have to look into other things to really take care of her needs. My mother in law had to spend over 250,000 in 5 years for nursing home, medical expenses, meds.etc. This didn't include clothes, spending money, pop and snacks and the little things that she personally needed which we took care of. We also took her out on holidays and family events, doctor appointments and she stayed over night on several holidays. She always ate with us and we took care of whatever she needed. She did leave us her house. We were planning on selling the house and one point to help recoup some of the money that we had been using to help her. We were able to bring her home in the very end and she died here. She only lasted 12 days but it was wonderful.
Make sure that whoever is handling this money that your husband sent is keeping accurate records of where the money is going. Who knows, maybe an asset will pop up and you could recoup some of your money. If she is out of money now and the haven't spent your money yet, she would qualify for help from medicaid. Good Luck and email me if you need anymore help.
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My mom once said "I can't stand being around people who are confused...I'm trying to stay unconfused myself!" That was the closest she ever came to insight that she had any problem at all...they actually had to move some roomates out of her room because she yelled at them too much. No answers for you really, just commiserating and letting you know its pretty common and could be worse.
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My mother in law is 93. She gave her home to her daughter 8 years ago leaving her a boyfriend she thought would take care of her---shock- he died and left all to his children-she now has nothing and manipulated a friend to call us 2000 miles away for help. we have not heard from the mil for 6 years. my husband felt sorry and unknown to me mailed $40000 to this friend to care for the mil.mil has about $12000 so she says ---she has lied and manipulated her entire life-my husband does not understand my anger. please please help
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Please be patient. Try to refocus her attention. My mother in law was in nursing facilities for 5 years but we took her out for church, holidays and all family events. We would sit in church and people would be walking back from communion and she would make comments about how "fat" people are. Then she would go on about "how do they even get around?". She also made comments about the food but she didn't think they were feeding her and that she was missing meals. She gained alot of weight. She went from a size 8 to a 24 in less than 4 years.
I wouldn't fight with her, I just always refocused her attention. She didn't feel that she belonged in the home in the beginning. She thought everyone was crazy also but after a while she realized she had problems. I had to repeat everything over and over and this is part of this. My mother in law went through different stages and now that she is gone I would do it all over again just to have her here again with us.
Just a little note here, mom would tell us that people were stealing at one nursing home. We dismissed it because she has always had things missing. She also gave alot of things away. She would give her clothes away because she, in her mind, was a size 8 and she didn't think the clothes fit her. We had to cut all the tags out before we gave them to her. She would tell us things about her neighbors that we just dismissed...later we found out she was correct in her alligations. When your loved one says something, please check into it. Taking care of your family member is just like raising your children but just in reverse. We had to repeat ourselves over and over again to our kids and they still didn't always listen. We had to help our kids when they made comments to people and we had to keep them quiet in church. It took years to teach our kids. Our parents or loved ones have this same mind set. It isn't something they are doing intentionally. They are seeing the world in the eyes of a young child and it is very, very scary. Please remember this and God Bless!
PS My mother in law would also take things...she would go through peoples cabinets when visiting. She would pick up watches and umbrellas. She knew she owned them and she figured they were hers. She would also use all my makeup perfume and deodorant in the bathroom. All my lipsticks were broken in half or the lids were put on without the lipstick being turned down. I just kept that makeup in there and had my own stash. Whenever I would take her to visit I would go to the bathroom with her so I was sure she didn't pick anything up. But I really miss those days. People understand more than you thing. Many people are taking care of loved ones. I would let Mom walk ahead of me and I would tell the person that she has Alzhiemers. People are wonderful if you give them the benefit of the doubt.
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Oh, I know that its the dementia talking when she does this,...but it does not make it any easier either! I have been on the outside looking in, as far as my inlaws go, for 33+ yrs!! I was never treated like part of the family, yet I was expected to treat them with respect!!! Thank GOD that my mother and father taught me respect and tolerance, or this situation would be far different! None of the latter were ever given to me by any of the in-laws!!! Now since I love my husband and want to have him happy, I am doing my best in this situation, far more than I received by his clan!!! So,.... yes this is the progression of the illness, and it will get worse I know. But her own daughter says things to her and others like, "moms crazy, or "She's lost her mind"!! What kind of person would talk that way about her own 94yr old mother ??!! I certainly would have NEVER said that about my mom....EVER! Just goes to show you how selfish my SIL really is!!! I know the day will come that she,(the SIL) will "get whats comming to her" but it can't be soon enough for me! Till then I"ll be the daughter my parents raised, and do what I can to help my husband take care of his mother! With gods help too, we'll struggle through....together!
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It has alot to do with the disease. My 91 year old mom wouldn't say anything bad about anyone, or cuss, or show any dislike of a meal I would make for her. Now I get it all. She is constantly talking about my sister (her daughter) as the one she doesnt' like. And that her husband is only waiting for her to die, so he can marry her (my 91 year old mom). My brother inlaw is 55, mind you. He has always called her mom. But he is a gentle man and mom has a bit of a crush on him now.
She will comment out loud when the people are in the same room with her, about them being so big and fat. She used to cringe when my dad (who she cared for after a stroke) would say things like that. Mom used to be a sweet shy woman and now cusses randomly. She never spoke a cuss word in her life. I have learned that ignoring her and apologizing when people stare is the best thing. If you comment to them they only get more aggitated and will cause more of a scene. Just remember that the dementia is what is doing this to them...they have no control of how their brains work anymore. I have been really tested lately with all of this. It's best to just ignore them.
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Yes, we are in the same situation. My MIL is in a dementia care facility and she to is making rude comments about other residences there, and thinks nothing about doing it! Sometimes, I think,... she knows what she is saying, but most of the time not! She refuses to admit that she has this illness. It's easier to put the blame on others. This is what will wear you down! The constant repetition, rudeness & forgetfulness....! That...... and you will always wakeup to a different person....always! Just saying my prayers and asking for Gods help to make it through here....its all I can do right now. But you aren't alone in this either, this will be a good outlet for your frustations and questions if you have more!! Take care and Godbless
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Wow - I thought my mother was the only one like this...this is so helpful. My mother has aphasia from a stroke - and she complains about everyone, the staff stealing, or someone being a fat pig, and all the residents at her assisted living is crazy etc - etc. Since I too am new at this - what I did do when she was abusive towards me is leave the room. And since I live 3 hours away - not able to be there everyday - so I missed 8 days and she was remarkably nicer. So maybe that is the key. Also - I noticed when she does get a meal while I am there (she refuses to eat with everyone - eats alone in her room) she will say - well - this doesn't look too bad - but the rest is crap... One thing I have to say - I know that the staff in these assisted living homes just do not make enough money for some of the residents they have to deal with! Thank you everyone for being here - this is an awesome site :-) So helpful.
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Part of dementia is the loss of social inhibitions - we all might have similar thoughts, but we understand that it's impolite to voice them aloud. You can't stop her, and it may get worse... or better! I managed a dementia care unit, and often such behavior was how the stress of moving would come out sidways for a new resident. But within weeks, as they adjusted to their new routine, the comments would stop. Some would be actually shocking - I once had a resident who was very concerned with femininity. I had another who always wore slacks. The one resident would follow the other and repeated ask her "why are you dressed like a man?" Once, I said to her that perhaps some ladies enjoy wearing slacks, the resident turned to me and exclaimed, "she's no lady! She's a b*tch in man-pants and the lipstick doesn't fool anyone!" I was actually speechless for a moment. But in about a week, all the comments ceased, and they would even eat together occasionally without any trouble.

On the issue of food - regardless of her need to lose weight, a sudden or drastic drop in weight should still be a concern. If she's refusing to eat the food at all, then she is at risk for malnutrition. Being a few pounds too heavy is not as dangerous as being nutritionally compromised. Watch her, ask the staff to weigh her weekly if that's possible - or check the fit of the same pair of pants on a regular basis to assess her size. Any weight loss should be gradual. And please - eat the food yourself. It's easy to say it's fine, but really - check it out. Have a meal there every week or two, and ask yourself if you would enjoy that cooking three times a day.
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I agree with Rackem. It only make you more upset, trust me I'm there with my grandmother. She usually complains about how her food is cut up into smaller pieces because she can't chew her food all the way. I just tend not to mention it or say oh I'll tell the nurse and walk away and come back saying maybe they will serve it to you whole et al...so she won't get aggressive about it. She calls the roommate by someone she used to work with name and my neighbor tried to correct her and it only made her irritated saying she knew the lady all her life. I know its hard my grandmother used to be very sweet polite and would listen to you but now she is the opposite sometimes and you just have to be patient. If your mom gets irritated walk away and come back give her a piece of candy it works for me. Or talk about a tv show she used to enjoy usually the mood changes when you switch gears off of something that is creating her anger, sadness or confusion. I hope that helps.
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I think most of the comments above, have missed the point. If your mother has dementia, nothing you SAY to her, will change anything. It will only aggravate you, because you still believe she should remember what you said and that she can rationalize. You should assume she CAN'T even remember saying whatever it was that offended you, much less that you pointed out her "bad" behavior. There are meds that can help to make her less aggressive/negative towards others. You are offended by this behavior because your mother raised you to be compassionate to others. Do you think if she was able to recognize her behavior as "bad", that she would continue to do it? Probably not. In the beginning (before realization set in) I would try to point out to my mom that she had said or done something offensive, she would tell me I was lying. Before dementia onset, my mom was considered by most who met her to be a smart, polite, classy, well dressed, southern lady. I'm sure she would be appalled by her own behavior today. You need to CONTINUOUSLY work on acceptance of the situation. If there are others with dementia, in the facility, the caregivers there should be able to help you understand. If not seek out counseling. Learning how to deal with these issues and more serious to come, on your own will surely frustrate you. Education is the key to gaining the ability to deal with this traitorous disease.
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I agree with above, and think that the elderly exhibit their fear that they will get worse is what makes them say, things like: " Well, I can try this new situation, I'll help those Old people keep their heads out of their soup." I'm not as bad as they are. It's makes me think their dignity prevents them from admitting they are digressing. So it's important to praise the braveness of trying new things, as I did last week with my Mother at a community center that had bingo, and lunch, and a contest for best Halloween costume. Mom truly enjoyed it, and met some who were higher functioning than she is. Good luck. It is hard to see a loved one change from their usual gracious self to lose their filter for compassion toward others. They do it out of fear. Not intention.
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Some elderly do exhibit the behaviors you mentioned. I can not really help on this situation because my elderly father never made such comments. He was always very kind and appreciated seeing people of all ages. He liked to talk to kids and young adults and oddly they liked speaking with him.
I think some elderly just maintain their earlier in life personality and some do not.

I wish you luck with your mom. Perhaps you could bring her some of the foods
she likes (healthy but tasty treats might take the edge off her complaints regarding the food served). Just an idea.

Elizabeth
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I think this is just a part of getting old for some people. My mother sits in a chair with binoculars complaining about the school girls that walk up the street with spaghetti strap tops that their nipples show through (distance enough I don't know how she could determine that, but.......) and shorts, and often voices her opinions loudly - her latest obsession is "fat" - - and will loudly make statements about "fat" people around people who are overweight. She also let a health care worker go that I put in place to help her because she was "ugly" - - - - she is obssessed with the medicines people take and tries to control their medications and is non-compliant with her own. On and On. I suspect brain changes as one ages. In public I try to hush her, but if she keeps on I keep my head down and deal with it the best I can. I noticed later in life my grandma got that way as well as trying to pocket produce at the grocery store.
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My mother, who is 96, and moved into independent living about 10 months ago, makes similar remarks about how bad the food is and that the portions are small. She also calls people "nutty" who have dementia, although she has some herself (she repeats herself alot). She also tells me that "everyone" is complaining about that food but that management does nothing about it (hard to believe because they do have a Food Committee there composed of residents). They did have a change in chefs several months ago, and my mother attributes it to that. However, I have eaten there several times and I didn't find the food objectionable.
I did tell her to become part of the Food Committee, i.e., be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Sometimes, I think with the elderly there is "solidarity" in complaining......if you have had the food there yourself, and, as you say, it is healthy and nutritious, just let her vent.
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My mother never had anything good to say about anybody female. She only had good things to say about men. Took me a long time to 'catch on' to that odd part of her personality.
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Complaining about the food is typical for women moving into a facility. The kitchen was the woman's domain. She had complete control of what was prepared and how it was cooked. Giving up the freedom to prepare your own meals is very challenging. While she may no longer be able to prepare her own meals, perhaps the facility has a food committee on which she could participate? Could they add or increase the number of cooking activities?
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My mom makes rude comments to and about the staff whom work at the assisted living facility. They are used to it and realize that she can't be held responsible for what she says - most of the time. I treat her like a child sometimes, asking her like she used to ask me, "Now Mama, do you think it's alright to talk about those other people like that"? As for the food (and the medicines she forgets that she has taken so accuses them of not being given by staff, or being lied to) I just tell her "Mama, I know you're not crazy about the food sometimes. But, I've been here to eath with you (which I have) sometimes, and the food they give y'all is really good".
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The food thing can be a real game changer. When my MIL died a couple of years ago, my 92 year old FIL decided to sell their home and move to an assisted living place here in town. Actually it's independent living, but he has someone with him most of the time because he has some mobility problems. He has no dementia.

He complained daily about the food. He really hated it. It was a good balanced diet, but it was really prepared poorly. He grew more and more angry and unhappy at the facility, almost entirely due to how bad he felt the food was.

So he decided to move to another facility nearby. The food is just great. My wife and I usually eat with him there most Sundays. As a result of the change in the food, he is much, much more happy and satisfied. It seems to have made a real difference to the quality of his life. The move turned out to be a really smart decision.
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My mother is very two-faced. She will visit with someone outside for a while, then come back in and say how she wishes they wouldn't come over. She talks about what their shortcomings are, and how she just wanted to go outside without being bothered. Of course, I've caught her talking about me, too. I don't pay any attention to her anymore. I think she would explode if she had to say something nice about someone... Strange... I just thought about it, and I can't recall her ever saying anything nice about anyone or anything. She probably has, but I wasn't within earshot that day.
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This sounds almost identical to my Mother's comments a couple of years ago in independent living. I finally decided that it's part of her dementia--i.e., losing her inhibitions so that she would just say anything! As she has grown older, she has become much quieter (some aphasia) so it's not as much of a problem as it used to be.

I love Jeanne's answer--just don't listen to it. In my Mother's case, I tried to emphasize that the "crazy people" need friendship and kindness. I also tried redirecting her attention to some other topic/interest. That usually worked.
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Thank you for the suggestions. As to her rudeness, this is exactly what my next plan was going to be, but I wanted to be sure I wasn't over-reacting. I love your other answer about the food! Mom has always been overweight, and due to living in an environment where her diet has been controlled for the last six months, she has lost a considerable amount of weight.
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"Mom, dementia can happen to anyone. It could happen to someone in our family. I don't want to listen to these comments any more." If she persists, leave the room.

"Well, you really look good eating the food they serve! I'm sorry you don't enjoy it, but there is nothing I can do about it. Let's talk about something else."
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