My mother has Alzheimer's and lives in a Memory Care facility. When I try to visit her she refuses to see me because she thinks I kill people (specifically, babies). I do not know WHO she thinks I am, but the love she used to have for me is completely gone. It has been replaced by hate and contempt (and probably fear). I am her only family member in the immediate area, and therefore the only one who has the ability to visit on a regular basis. I feel as if my attempts to see her do more harm than good. Her otherwise "good day" is interrupted, and I am thrust into a state of sadness and depression that can last for days. So my question is.
As long as I am in regular contact with the staff at her facility and feel confident she's being properly cared for, should I continue to visit?
If you take a selfie and one of the nurses presents the picture to her, how does she react to the picture?
Does she recognize you? Could you be someone else like a fellow church member or a dear old, old friend? When you say she refused to see you, how is the person who is asking her, identifying you? Are they calling you, her daughter? If so, change the relationship to "friend"? or does she recognize you by face? if she recognizes your face, then say "that is nice", or "what a coincidence". I find that my mother is unable to process relationships anymore.
If you don't want to visit, don't visit. However, if you feel compelled to see her, find out how they are asking her for permission and change the "introduction" to be someone else. If you are visiting only once a month, chances are she doesn't remember you from visit to visit. On the other hand, I cannot accurately predict what my mother will remember and what she won't.
Either way, stay on top of her care to ensure she is properly cared for.
My heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry you are going through this.
I wouldn’t visit if it is upsetting to her. I would ask the staff how she is doing.
If I wanted to see how she is for myself, I would stay out of sight and look at her from a distance.
This is so tough. I would wonder if she has forgotten that she had a daughter permanently or if one day that she will remember.
Has the staff spoken to her about you? If so, what does she say?
I hope this will be the case with your mom.
Perhaps in time, this phase will pass over and mom will see you for the loving child you truly ARE. My mother died of dementia too, and said some of THE most foul things to me as she progressed. Things no child should ever hear come out of a mother's mouth. We all lose with AD/dementia; you lose, I lose, our mom's lose, it's a terrible disease that wreaks havoc & destroys everything in its path. It's easy for me to say 'oh let all that hateful vitriol she shows you roll off your back' but in reality, it cuts to the bone. I often wondered if mom's TRUE feelings were finally coming out towards me once her dementia removed that mask she wore her whole life.
I'm sorry you're going through such a gruesome experience. You have my compassion and empathy, for sure. Wishing you the best of luck 'visiting' your mom w/o her knowledge. At least that will save you *hopefully* from being thrust into a state of sadness and depression that lasts for days. Maybe just a good cry after you leave? That's what I did.
If she is doing well and if seeing you upsets her this might be as good as it gets for you at this point. Keep in mind that phases and "quirks" or obsessions can wane as the person declines so this may pass.
If I went to see her, she always and I mean, ALWAYS would ask if I have seen or talked to the 3 sibs who were on the periphery but not really in the 'mix' It hurt to know that she cared so much more for a visit from them than from me.
When she would get really foggy and forgetful, I would usually cut my visits short and cry on the way home. There was literally nothing else to do. My sibs all wondered why I cared so much, and I think that it was due to the fact I was kind of starved for affection, the kind only a mom would have. I didn't get that from her. Ever.
She passed in late August and it's been, what 5 months? I don't feel so raw, but I also don't feel complete. I know it will take a long time.
Oh, how I hope and pray God takes me before I forget who I am.
One thing I have always done and will always do is to never part on bad terms with any of my kids. It's a super challenge, b/c sometimes I really DON'T feel a lot of love for them--but of course I DO adore them to pieces. Mom never did that. You were always only as good at your last 'at bat' and we were like oil and water.
I know peace is possible and I strive for that.
And I agree: Dementia is from Satan himself.
Interesting and horrific fact about dementia the demented person can sometimes relive traumatic memories from the past so she may be reliving an incident from her past and you represent whatever this thing is in her mind and when she sees you it triggers this memory from something that could have happened when she was a child. Not necessarily to her but someone she knew or knew of.
I think you may like to visit her facility if you are her only child and her POA. That you would like to see her care. But I would avoid her directly.
Dementia is a disease straight from the pit of h*ll!!!!
Stealing the mind, but leaving the body! It's simply tragic.
I'm so sorry you are dealing with this. No doubt you leave in a state of sadness and depression!! Can you possibly get your hands on an old photograph of her and you together and have it put up in her room. A photo she would potentially recall from somewhere back in time? Even if it has other family in it. Then you could possibly say, no mom, this is me, see here in this picture. Here's you, here's me...I'm your son/daughter. I really don't have experience with an advanced dementia sufferer so perhaps this wouldn't work. I'm just grasping at straws for some way you can overcome this situation. I wouldnt just give up and walk away. Have you engaged the staff or management at the facility on this matter? They may have some suggestions or be able to help overcome this. I do agree with Funkygrandma about things changing with dementia and we read all the time how it can change overnight. By entirely staying away, it may be harder to ever meaningfully connect with her again. Or, it could go the other way. I'd work on ways to overcome her belief that you are a murderous killer of babies. I really understand how difficult this has to be for you. Hoping you can work this out.
I've tried the "No, mom - I'm your daughter and I haven't killed anyone" approach, but that only makes her angry, and then I'm not only a killer, but a liar as well. Pictures of us don't mean anything to her either. And the advice to not argue with a dementia patient is solid - there's just no reasoning with them. I'm honestly not sure she still understands the mother/child relationship as it pertains to her own children. She recognizes HER parents in pictures and understands she's THEIR daughter, but that's as far as the connection seems to go.
The last pleasant visit I had with her was on my birthday in July (it was almost like a gift from God). I've been able to stay a few times, when my son, who is the one person she seems to actually remember, went with me. But she more tolerated me than anything.
I'll continue to try (sporadically?), but the staff is also at a loss and simply feels bad for me.
You must remember that with Alzheimer's things change on a regular basis, so though she may be this way now, in time that will change and she may welcome your visit.
And even if she doesn't remember who you are she will hopefully come to the point of knowing that you are at least someone who loves her and cares about her.
Dementia sucks, no ifs ands or buts, BUT our loved ones still deserve to know that they are loved.
So I would hang tight as this too shall pass. Here's to hoping the next phase will be easier for you to deal with.