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I have always tried to honor my mother, and I haven't always succeeded, but I think overall, I've been a decent daughter! But now my Mom is very ill, and she gets very very confused a lot of the times due to her illness. So I have to tell her things like, "No, Mom, don't eat that, that's a tissue!" Or, "Mom, drink the water" (to swallow a pill). The other day she actually wanted to drive, and while it was a day when she was doing amazingly well for her condition, she still should not drive at all. I told her she couldn't drive, and she got very upset with me, and said, "I can tell you one thing, you will NOT be the boss of me!" She and I don't usually have words like that, and I started to cry. I realized I sounded very bossy and I came across sounding like a stern parent to my own mother, and I hated that. I realize I can try to use a softer tone, but I still have to "boss" her in certain ways, and I am having a hard time with it.

She doesn't understand that she is confused, so she can't figure out why I'm telling her what to do all the time. How do you go about this? I want to honor and respect her now more than ever, since she is suffering and so ill, and yet I am finding it difficult when I've been thrown into this opposite role.

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Oh gosh can I relate to this one! I like Jinx4740's response. Treat like 3-year-old but with dignity. Being bossy usually only gets my 83-year-old father, who has moderate or worse dementia, ticked off at me but sometimes it's the only time he'll pay attention. First attempts are redirecting: "wouldn't you rather eat this toast than that awful-tasting stuff (dog food, potpourri, etc.)." Getting up and dressed in the a.m. has become really agonizing lately, so sometimes I can hand him a shirt or pants and he'll respond from rote memory. If that doesn't work, I feel like I'm up that old creek. It really depends how confused and/or in pain the person is. Often it seems he just plain doesn't want to do whatever it is I'm wanting him to do and the battle isn't going to end up with anyone winning. I've always thought I was a creative person, but the creative thinking needed to redirect, and get responses from Dad is really challenging me. Also, if I say too many things, he simply shuts down/shuts me out. I still try to give choices too. Do you want to wear this blue pair of pants or this pair of pants? No more than 2 choices. Even in moderate dementia, the person wants to have a sense of independence.
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I have this problem in spades with my husband. He's still in the early stages, and very healthy, but he can't remember whether or not he has taken his fiber, and then he starts to have a stomach ache and wants to go to the doctor and they tell him to take his fiber.

So we set up a checklist like he asked, and he doesn't use it and complains because it's in his way, where I put it so he would notice it and use it. Sigh.

I try to keep it light. He laughs when I call him a poopy-brain. I always accuse him of "making me forget" to do something that he didn't make me forget at all. I take the blame for telling him to do the wrong thing, or forgetting to tell him. Except when I get annoyed. Then I'm not quite so nice. That's the good thing about calling him a poopy brain. In my head, I'm saying "sh*th**d", but he only hears the funny version of the insult.

Try saying, "Oops, Mom, I forgot to put your shoe on." Or "Before we go out, let's do an inspection. Do I have everything? Do you have everything? Let's check the weather. Oh. 100 degrees. That's pretty hot. Do you think we should wear short sleeves, in case the AC breaks?"

In other words, if you treat her like a three year old, you will have more luck. You have to be careful of the ego of a three year old. If she says you're too bossy, admit it, apologize and tell her it's because she raised you up to be a smart, strong woman like she is. Agree that it's not fair that a grown woman has someone telling her what to do. "But I love you, Mom, and want to keep you safe." Compare her to a queen, who always has to follow the rules whether she wants to or not. Treat her as your partner, without whom you can't succeed.

It's a struggle every day. Laughter and love and LOTS of tact and LOTS of tongue biting.
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I am the meanie in our home, the one with the dart board on her forehead. I keep telling myself I am following his doctor's directions and try not to sound like his mother, but I always get a smart remark and an attitude to go with it. Dad doesn't act this way with my husband, but he will not follow his direction either. He was in bad pain this morning after "showing off," (dad's words,) to hubby all weekend that he is capable of anything. The task was body work on the truck, (he has Ankloysing Spondelitis, congestive heart failure and cellulitis.) Dad almost fell twice on top of it. I went out and asked if him to stop and take a rest, elevate his leg for awhile, I got a dirty look. Sometimes I feel like saying don't complain about your back, your leg and pressure sores because you don't listen. But I can't, I just swallow it. And it hurts after a while. My dad thinks he is entitled to act this way as he is 85. Does anybody else experience this entitlement attitude?
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I get frustrated with my mom, too, just because I get so tired of hearing the same stories over and over and over; but I keep telling myself that at least she is there for me to talk with and the time is coming when she won't be there anymore. I agree with kazzaa that telling yourself "it's the illness" helps. It's hard to be patient, but I know I will never be sorry later when I am able to be patient. I have more problems with my dad telling me how to drive when I am in their teeny tiny town! He'll say, "It's OK to the east, no one is coming" and I'm thinking....no one is ever coming!
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I struggle with this daily! I try to soften my suggestions, such as: 'mom, it's really warm outside - maybe we can find a better shirt.' She was actually going to wear a long-sleeved flannel shirt during the 100 degree Philadelphia weather we had last month.

Some days she is happy for the assistance; other days, she lashes out at me and says she doesn't need another mother, etc. I make it sound as if it is in her best interest if we do X instead of Y. It's just an ongoing process. I also pray a lot and ask for patience to do the right thing for her in the most helpful way.
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Hi my mum calls me a BULLY?? I know its not always easy to tell them things in a loving way as we are so stressed out but its true that the tables turn and we end up being like parents!
My mum although I love her has never appreciated all I do and just abuses me constantly im quite a tough person but its hurts even though its her illness.
Her doc told her the other day," has she any idea how lucky she is to have me here looking after her" she said yes but shes not always nice to me? the doc could see my frustration.
She lost her credit card the other day and I had no idea until the bank rang,her first response was "its all your fault!" I do everything for my mum except wash her so I am learning not to ever feel guilty as im doing all I can to help her if I give out to her for doing something dangerous then its needs to be done.
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I know exactly what you mean. I was at my mom's today to take her out to the farmers' market and she was getting ready. She got kind of distracted and I said, "Mom, tie your shoe" and I thought to myself, "Man, I sound like I'M the parent!" It happens to all of us. In my family, I tease my mom about me being the "Sergeant" now because my dad was in the Air Force and was a Chief Master Sergeant. I think you just have to direct them in a loving, positive way. Just talk to her like you would a friend as much as you can. But don't feel bad, a lot of us have taken over the "parental role" with our folks and have to tell them what to do for their own health and safety. And we do it out of love. They're lucky to have us watching out for their best interest, whether they always appreciate it or not.
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