My Mom is in the beginning stages of dementia. She is still able to live at her home alone but only does so 4 nights a week. The rest of the time she spends at my home. I really enjoy my Mom and although we had typical issues during my adolescence but then became close friends and often spent long periods of time traveling together.

My main struggle is me and my reaction to her. With her memory issues she has become more passive aggressive then she ever was before. Because she struggles with processing information she now process everything verbally.

For example she has always loved fresh french bread, not toasted, with butter. I set her up with a pot of coffee, fruit, and some of her favorite bread. I was then busy completing another task.

She first made mention " how it's such a shame I don't have a toaster. Then went on to wonder why don't I have a toaster. Did I think I was better than the other people who had toasters? This bread would be so delicious if only it was toasted. I broke into her soliloquy to remind her I did indeed have a toaster and she was welcome to use it.

She then changed her verbal musing to wondering why I would give her untoasted bread. Didn't I think she was worth of taking the extra time perhaps? Never mind for 77 years she has never eaten her bread toasted as long as I can remember.

My mother is not a mean person. She was never any more passive aggressive than the average human. Now it seems to become a constant theme of her personality.

However what really bothers me is my reaction to her. I manage to let 90% of her needling pass by me without even a blink. It is the other 10% that concerns me. I was in the middle of a task her constant stream of consciousness made me angry so I could not focus. I finally threw it down stomped over to her picked up her bread. Slammed it into the toaster and stood there fuming why I waited it to toast.

In the meanwhile Mom attention has moved on to other things. So in the few minutes it took me toast and butter the bread she has lost the thread of the conversation. When I bring the toast back to the table. She looks up at me confused and says "Oh honey you know I don't like toast. What were you thinking? "

I seriously contemplated throwing the toast right at her. Instead I walked away hearing her talk to my cat asking. " Now why do you think she is such a grouch today?"

I guess that is the biggest struggle. Because she doesn't remember interactions from 30 minutes ago I am always the wrong one. I am always the grump that is just not willing to be a good sport. It is so frustrating not having a shared reality. I am so sick of always, always being wrong.

It also is so hard because I know she can't help it. Why can't I let these things go? Why do I give a damn about toast?

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Cheri I just want to reach through the screen and hug you and laugh and laugh and cry at the same time.

C'mon, you KNOW she doesn't like her bread toasted for heaven's sake - !!!

Her merry-go-round about the wouldn't it be luvverly if only you had a toaster...

Now that is just vocal chaff. It is indeed a stream of demented consciousness. It's literally words without thought, or with only white noise thought, pouring out of her. My mother "never liked daffodils, very loud, daffodils." ??? She asked me to put on DVDs for her - Bugsy Malone you'd have thought I'd given her hard core porn to watch; West Side Story - that SHE took ME to see in the theatre - she wailed her head off ten minutes in and said "I don't like it! Turn it off!"

Oh God and talking to the cat! - YOUR cat, yet! (though trust me. The cat is on your side. Ish).

I don't know what you do to make this better, I just want you to know that my heart rate is through the roof even thinking about it and I am so with you in spirit right there in the room.
Helpful Answer (12)

Cats are on their own side. They don't have much loyalty to anyone other than themselves. I'm not putting them down. I like cats, but they are what they are. They can be sweet and loving, but basically they are looking out for number 1.

I'm sorry you're having such a hard time with your mom. It sounds terribly frustrating. All I can suggest is that you try to ignore it, which you are able to do 90% of the time. For the other 10%, forgive yourself and come here to vent.
Helpful Answer (11)

You had so many good answers, but here is one more... write all of these down! When mom has passed, you will get quite a giggle from them and bring a smile to your face. Honestly, you could probably do a stand-up routine when you are finished. Now they are annoying, but later you will appreciate the humor. Hugs to you.
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This is what I've learned over the years.

Alzheimer's Rule #1;
EVERYONE else is wrong. (example-"I didn't misplace my glasses, YOU put them somewhere."
"WHY did you put mayonnaise on this sandwich? I don't like mayo." [But she has eaten it on every sandwich for the last 75 years!]

Things that once were-are no more. It can be exhausting and frustrating to keep up with these new changes.
Best Advise- Just go along with it. Refer to Rule #2.

Alzheimer's Rule #2;
DO NOT argue. It will not work.
Most of us have to learn this the hard way (by arguing and getting nowhere). They have their thoughts cemented in their brains and you're not going to un-cement them. Learn this quickly.
Best Advice; Let it go. Whatever it is, it really ISN'T that

Alzheimer's Rule #3;
Use DISTRACTION whenever you can. Especially if they're in a dangerous situation.
Say, "Mom, can you help me fold the clothes?", as she's walking out the door to "go home".
Or, "Mom, I want to pamper you by making you a special lunch. Can you set the table?", as you turn off 2 burners on the stove and carefully take your biggest carving knife out of her hand.
Best Advice; Try to be genuine, looking her in the eye, smiling with patience, using "therapeutic fibs", while maneuvering her to a safer situation. Never say she "can't" do a chore any longer. You will then need to go back to Rule #1 and 2!

There are more rules but they come as the condition progresses.
Hang in there, it's a wild ride.

Now to focus on us.
Caregivers Rule #1;
Don't beat yourself up about getting frustrated, angry, resentful. It's normal to feel these things. We all do. Have healthy outlets (exercise, trips out, etc.) and do them at least once a week. If the emotions start to get out of control, maybe a change in living situation should be considered. Keep this option open.

Caregiver Rule #2;
Come back here to cry, scream, vent or share your feelings. 😱 😡 😢
This is the only way I've made it through this far (Mom has end stage 6 Alzheimer's).

This battle will need fierce warriors. We must stay strong, united and healthy.
Helpful Answer (10)

You feel free to rant all you want. We all go through it (carer and one being cared for, alike)

If you had done half toasted and half untoasted, there would still have been something not right.

Keep you chin up. Love gets you through, even though sometimes you may not like them. Hugs
Helpful Answer (9)

cherilinehan, we all have our mini breaking points, and for you this time it was Mom and toast.

I know I get annoyed if I am concentrating on a task and if I am interrupted for a minor thing I tend to blow. It's like, don't bother me unless your hair is on fire !!

Try to humor Mom, agree with her, and say you are sorry about the toast. We need to remember that our parent's brain is broken. After the fact, what Mom had said "This bread would be so delicious if only it was toasted" got to admit it did bring a smile to my face.

And remember, not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver. I know I wasn't, but I was good with the logistics side of caregiving.
Helpful Answer (8)

Same thing here, I listen but mentally always analyzing where she is coming from before I respond to her, sometimes i just agree and say yes it would be better, want to try it? Other times I just ignore her rambling but am still listening to her.
There are days she helps me put away groceries and I cant find where she put things till I find them a week later. Or you open up the bakeware cabinet and find drinking glasses and tupperware. I just put them away where they belong quietly. There are also days I could spit bullets I am so mad, but I have to remind myself, its not Mom doing this,...its the disease. Take a break from Mom when you feel this happening more and more, stress level is going up. I hope you have someone to take her for lunch or shopping while you give yourself a break. 3 hrs a week really helps. Hugs.
Helpful Answer (8)

Way back in my childcare days I discovered lovely soft foam earplugs. They don't totally block everything, they just turn down the volume so it is easier to ignore the unimportant "noise".
Helpful Answer (8)

Hugs to you! I hope you don't let the 10% of the time you are only human make you feel guilty because 10% is angelic. I think I'm at 20. However, as Freqflyer so eloquently said: "We need to remember our parent's brain is broken." That is going to be my mantra going forward when I have days like the one you described. Happy Valentine's Day!
Helpful Answer (7)

I have the same struggle except my mother is now in Assisted Living. One thing I recognize in your post is that you are trying to accommodate her dementia "requests" (my mother also does the passive aggressive requests couched as comments). I am learning to deflect and delay. Learning, mind you, because I can't always do it. You could say, "toast IS nice mom. Next time I will toast." If you know she won't really want it, forget it. She has. My mother keeps telling me she needs new clothes. Once that was true, but now she has lots. I now say, let's look at some of your tops and you tell me what else you'd like. Or I give her a catalog and we "shop". I don't follow through though. I've learned she won't remember she wanted anything. It's just something to do in the moment. You, like me, probably have years of trying to please your mother. Right now it's a different scenario.
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