A relative has Alzheimer's, and is in a nice AL at present, though will soon require more care than AL. I'm far away and try to phone her every week or so. Other family members visit regularly, take her out, manage things, hold her POA, etc., so she is safe, which is a blessing. It's getting difficult to motivate myself to call because she constantly complains and recounts old grudges and grievances (real and imagined), questions everything, won't accept that she cannot handle her own money, repeats the same things over and over, and so on. The move to AL was sudden and traumatic for her. It was precipitated by a bad fall (she was living alone), after her children had been trying to years to get her to plan for this kind of thing. But she wouldn't, even when it was clear to everyone else she was in cognitive decline. Her children had to handle the transition including clearing out the house, selling her car and so on. I also hear all her notions about things that "would help her get her memory back" (even though they WON'T). She is always asking for things like old photos, documents, and calendars - some that just don't exist any more (some never did), though family members bring what they can. I try to divert the conversations to happier things, but she always goes back to the same old, same old. Any advice? Or do I just pour myself a stiff drink, and just listen to her rant next time I call? She used to be quite independent, so the transition has been especially difficult for her and her family.

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Hi Sulis
is this person your mom? Just reading your profile and couldn’t tell from your post.
I have a hard time with phone conversations in general. I’m either all in or it’s a huge chore.
When it’s a difficult call for me I try to have my “agenda” ready. Things I want to know that possibly only they know.
Depending on the level of dementia you may not find out anything but then you might.
If I have a problem I’ll discuss it. Often people with short term memory loss still have their common sense. They won’t repeat it. They can’t remember it.
I sometimes read the questions from this forum to my aunt (92 vascular). She has right on answers. Judging from her answers she would be in a SNF now instead of at home.
My mom liked politics so there was always that.
Sometimes I play spider solitaire.
I like the idea of setting a time limit. Multiple calls are probably better than long calls.
I wish I had called more often.
But make it count for you too. Life is made up of small moments.
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Yeah, I'd try to stay calm and give yourself a deadline to finish the call. Her sense of time is likely very impaired, so, it's not rude to just nicely end the call at a certain point. It sounds like you are doing the best you can. Sadly, there aren't many options to avoid what you experiencing. What, I will add is that most of the people that I have known with a similar situation do progress on in their dementia and they change the way they process information, converse, respond, etc. With my LO, she started talking less and less. Eventually, she was so confused that she didn't recognize my voice and even didn't have anything to say.

When my LO would ask for items that didn't exist or could not be located, I would tell her that I was working on it. That would make her happy and I'd just repeat it if she'd ask again, because, she would have forgotten about it by later that day. My goal was to make our conversation as happy for her as it could be. So, no matter what she said, it was wonderful and I was so pleased to hear it. I would praise her and remind her of every great thing she did. So, it was 10-15 minutes of pure praise, love and agreements. That's all I could give her really.
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97yroldmom Mar 2019
you are one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of following on posts. You always write something empathetic, helpful and inspirational. Such a gift.
I vote for the stiff drink. Then brace yourself and call her.

I have an extended family member. She's the oldest person in our family. I don't like her but I make the obligatory call and she holds me hostage talking about herself and how wildly successful and amazing her grandkids are. This goes on for an hour which is when I begin to extricate myself from the call. This family member loved my deceased mom very much which is the only reason I call her. Actually, I don't call her. A certain amount of time will go by and I'll get a call from her. I brace myself and give myself a pep talk and call her back within 24 hours. Once the call is over I'm good for another month or two.
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