she is really mean and screams at me and her son, accuses us of stealing from her, of wanting her in a nursing home, and even accused me of attacking her (this after she has attacked me 3 times - once in front of a nurse. I know it isn't true, but I am very tired of spending 20 hours a week over there helping her and having her turn on me. there is no one else to help her... literally. No one.
And is there such a thing as the dementia patient abusing the caretaker?

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I was married to her son and we divorced in 2005 - he was abusive. We also have five children together - teenagers and one is 20. Yes, she was always mean, hateful, selfish and rather odd. She stuck to herself but made it a point to go to church, while telling me and other daughter in laws to get abortions. She even shoved me to the ground when I was 9 months pregnant with our first child - after years of infertility treatments. So, I think she has had a mental illness. She even told my children when they were in grade school that I -their mother - was going to kill them and bathe in their blood!!!!! I have raised my children to recognize addiction, mental illness, etc and the older they have gotten, they seem to be able to separate her (and their dad's) behavior from WHO they are. When we divorced, I stayed as far away from that family as possible, but when her second son died a year ago I was kind of thrown into the position of caretaker. My ex isn't capable mentally or physically, and I needed a place to stay after surgery - long story - left me homeless, jobless and carless. I take care of her and live in one of her rent houses, paying her all utilities and buying about half of her food. Truthfully, I don't mind at all taking care of her - I consider it a ministry. BUT it is really getting difficult. There is no one else that knows her that would take care of her - she gets too mean. I seem to be able to calm her and just help her to deal with daily life. I do have home health coming in for a couple of more months to help with speech and P.T. One of the nurses observed her trying to attack me and her son. She said that there is mental illness and she needs to be taken to the hospital to be evaluated. I agree. But the difficult part is getting her son to HELP me do it. She throws a huge fit, verbally and physically (as much as she can from a wheelchair - she has one leg amputated) and flat out refuses to go to a doctor. So we have to trick her. My problem is that after she attacked me on Thanksgiving and accused me of stealing and attacking her, I just really got my heart broken. I have to get the strength back up to get her to the doctor for an evaluation. Some people say a geriatric doctor, some say a neurologist. I'm not sure which would be better. I guess I could ask her regular doctor. I also have 2 teens that want to live with their addict father because he lets them do whatever they want. They have a mood disorder (like their dad and grandmother) and were prescribed meds, and their dad told them not to take it. So I am having to deal with all that too. One good point is that I called the Alzheimers assoc. and am going into a 'REACH' program which will help me to learn about this and to set boundaries and deal with it all. Thanks so much for listening... I really feel so alone because I have no support system. oh, and when I divorced my physically abusive spouse in 2005, my parents disowned my (counselor said that is because they don't want to face the abuse they inflicted on me), and today I found out that my father died on November 13 after a month of being hospitalized. No one called me until today. So this is a bit of a tough day for me. I had tried to talk with them for a couple of years after the divorce but they refused, so I had resigned myself to the fact that I need to focus on raising my children right. I pray that I have done so. Thanks so much for listening to me! Sorry to be so longwinded. :)
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Of course a dementia patient can abuse a caregiver or an aide or a stranger. Certainly not all dementia patients are abusive, but some are. Was she mean before she developed dementia, or is this new?

I'm curious why you are spending 20 hours a week with your "ex MIL" -- do you mean you are divorced from her son? If there is no one else to help her, couldn't there be hired caregivers?
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