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So, this summer my Mom settled down after going off the deep end with an obsession over bowel movements and diet coke, and we got the official diagnosis of Alzheimer's and vascular as secondary dementia. She has stopped obsessing about Diet Coke, and we are regulating it by giving her one at lunch and one at dinner, but none in her room.


I continue to take her to work out once a week, and her outside caregiver takes her to work out the other day, and then to play cribbage at the senior center the other day. Additionally, I take her to the library and occasionally to the store or other errands. She seems fairly content, and asks about once or twice a week to come live with me, but she's not being nasty about it like she was before. (she's at the memory care home just up the street from my house)


Friday she got an infection in one of her earring holes, so they asked me to take her earrings and clean them, so she's been rather mean about wanting them back, but she couldn't remember to leave them out of her ears. I'm bringing them back to her today, hopefully she won't be too snarky with me.


We are travelling to see family (without her) for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I'm a bit worried that there will be some backlash from her. However, what I have found is that many times I do things with her FOR ME, because it makes me feel better, but most of the time it doesn't necessarily make her feel better. Travelling would not be good for her at this stage in her disease, she simply gets too confused and then grumpy etc. She won't remember it, and her enjoyment will be fleeting. Still, I feel bad. Guess we will see how it goes.

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Thank you for your feedback, I appreciate each comment. I have watched the Teepa Snow videos, but perhaps I need a refresh. Mom is continuing with her rages and weird changes in her mood. The Memory Care staff has my permission to give her Ativan, but they gave it to her before a workout and she was very dizzy at the gym. My caregiver company has been very on top of things, and requested they not give her Ativan on workout days. That's all we need is for her to fall and injure herself, she's already bored.
Yesterday on the phone she called me an A$$hole, she said, "listen here A$$hole." I calmly told her I was not an A$$hole and asked her to stop yelling at me, which she did stop yelling. She is very much moved to a stage where EVERYTHING is in the moment, so any answer that doesn't immediately make her happy will mostly likely put her into a rage. She now repeatedly asks to work out every day, so yesterday I told her I would look into it and see what I could do, which normally calms her down, but this time placed me in the A$$hole status.

I try really hard to only answer 1 or 2 of her phone calls each day, and I have kept my self imposed rule of not answering the first call of the day.

It is beyond frustrating to see her so unhappy, and while I am hopeful that the neurologist can tweak her meds and perhaps we can once again get Mom back to the content phase, there is a part of me convinced that perhaps her brain is damaged beyond that point, and that is what is upsetting her most.

She has also been harboring a secret from her younger days, apparently she had a baby out of wedlock in her early 20s and her parents made her give it up for adoption. My cousin had mentioned to me that as a child she overheard her parents talking about it. This might explain why my Mom went off the deep end after her brother visited, because he is one of the few people in the world who knows that secret.

I have asked everyone else in our family who might know if she had ever mentioned it, and nobody but the cousin can corroborate, until a month ago, when Mom told her caregiver. Her caregiver decided to tell me, and she was quite relieved that I had actually heard about it from my cousin before, because she thought she was dropping a bombshell on me.

My philosophy is that my Mom kept this secret for 50 years or more, who am I to go digging around in something that clearly is not meant for me? I see it as further signs her barriers are breaking down, her filters are leaving etc. I wonder if all this agitation she has now is somehow related to this secret of hers.

Anyway, I've rambled on enough for the moment. Thank you for your support.
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JJ, I hope this phase will pass quickly.
Lately, my mom tries to shoo me out as soon
as I arrive for a visit. She looks at me like I’m her enemy. She did the same thing to my sis. We visited together for New Year and left after only a few minutes
because she was mean to us. I used a great line I got from this site, “We’ll be back when you’re feeling better.” I love that one.
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JJ, this is SUCH a hard stage! Watch Teepa Snow videos! "Oh mom, I"m so sorry that I forgot about that, so stupid of me, I'll get that next time I'm out".

You have to be REALLY ego-less to deal with a parent with dementia. Be well, my dear!
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Thank you, Blannie. I appreciate your kind words. Mom and I had a nice lunch and when we got to Walgreen's she had forgotten all about the pink chap stick, I even picked some up and asked her if she needed any, and she said no. HA HA.

Barb, I will have to try some of that burts bee's. Happy New Year!
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Burt's Bees Pomegranate! Happy New Year, and yes, this will pass!
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I am just catching up on your posts. You are a wonderful daughter - I can feel your frustration at not being able to "fix" everything for your mom, even though you know that's not possible. You're doing a terrific job. I laughed at your post about your hubby's "helpful" suggestions about what to say to your mom when she was screaming at you on the phone.

My mom had a woman on her same floor in independent living who constantly walked all of the time. Whenever I saw her, she was walking up one hall and down another. That's probably how she burned off her excess energy. It's tough if you're still in good physical shape but your mind isn't. I hope you can get your mom's meds adjusted so you see less anger. And I hope you can find her some nice pink chapstick today. :)
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Yesterday, late morning around 11ish, we had a lovely chat on the phone, and I let all other calls go to voice mail. One of her voice mails says this, "Please give me a call or I will kill you."

The funny part, and yes, I must always try to find the humor, is that at least she said "please."

Supposed to see her today for lunch and a trip to Walgreens for pink chap stick. This would normally be a workout day, but the trainer is taking New Year's Day off, and I do not want to attempt to pace my Mom through a workout at the gym. I will let you know how it goes, hopefully it will be uneventful.
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The staff at Mom's memory home have taken away her 8lb weights and all her scissors, she has apparently threatened one or two of them, so they aren't taking any chances. Everyone has noticed how angry she gets, at the drop of a hat, over something really minor and normally not on her radar. I saw it happen today, it was like a switch went off and she was suddenly FURIOUS that her chap stick wasn't pink. And up to that point, we had been having a fun visit and I had gotten her to laugh several times. We see the neurologist late January, and they have increased some of her mood medicine's in the mean-time.
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Thank you Rovana and Sunflo for your ideas and words of support.

The obsession about the library books seems to be resolved and has moved on to other things. Mom is very angry a lot of the time, much like she was this summer for about a month, during which time we tested for UTI (negative) and adjusted her meds, a small increase in one of the mood/anxiety drugs.

We (caregivers, me, memory home staff) have all noticed her increased agitation and have discussed increasing or tweaking her medicine again. I think she's mostly bored. She has tons of energy and no physical impairments, and has never been good at sitting still. I don't want her stoned into a stupor, but I don't want her raging and angry all the time either.

Two days ago she was very angry about the new bathrobe we gave her for Christmas, that obsession continued to the next day and was promptly forgotten, only to be taken over by a new one: all her cash was "stolen" all $20 of it. Most likely it's tucked into a weird pocket of her purse, since her paranoia has increased.

She also didn't recognize the senior photo of my daughter in the frame and wants me to replace this person she doesn't know with a different photo. (to be honest, my daughter is 17, but looks about 12, but she was all done up with the make-up & hair for her portraits and looks much older in them.)

That and mom is mad as heck that the dining room at her memory care home is cold. It's cold because it has these big beautiful windows and tall ceilings, hard to keep warm when it's winter.

She's gotten into a habit of calling me after breakfast every day, which is some time after 8am. I have decided to quit answering the morning call in the hopes that she will quit calling me that early, since she has no idea what day of the week it is, there might be that one or two days a month I am actually capable of sleeping in and she'll be calling me to tell me the dining room is cold.

Oh well, hopefully this angry/venting phase will pass too.

I wish I could fix things for her, but I can't. That's the hardest thing to come to terms with.
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My mom is in memory care and I recognized many of these common behaviors. Go on your holiday and enjoy yourself and refresh.

Director explained to me and my experience is that each day is a reset for these folks. They don’t keep track of days or “think/obsess over what you are doing”; they won’t know how long you’ve been gone, haven’t visited or even remember it’s a holiday. Director tells me they keep everything routine for those folks because it’s comforting for them and the environment they are used do and find comfort. Travel in most cases raises their anxiety and confusion and exhausts them. So leave her knowing she’s safe, not obsessing over you and you and family have a good time.
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My library has sales of books they are de-accessioning - taking off the shelves Some of them are actually free. How about keeping an eye out for these cheap books and having a "supply" on hand she can dip into?
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Mom now seems more confused lately.

She put her library books under the bed, forgot, and told me someone stole them. I found them and solved the issue that day. However, yesterday we couldn't find any library books but the one she was currently reading. After talking to several staff and even other regular visitors to the Memory Home, come to find out, my Mom is giving her library books to people saying things like, "I've read all of these" or "these are not my library books."

Oh Joy.

Two days ago she thought she was out of toothpaste, called back 30 minutes later to say that was fine, she wasn't out of toothpaste, but nobody had taken her to cribbage in a long time. When I reminded her that she goes every Tuesday and hasn't missed one yet, she flew off the handle. She seems to save the screaming for the phone, which is good, in person she's pretty docile.

She's definitely keeping me on my toes!
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Rainmom, my sister in law suggested I write down some good replies and have them handy for when Mom calls. I told her this is how the phone call would go, "Hang on Mom, I'm flipping through my note cards for a good answer." LOL

Her phone calls continued yesterday, the voice mails alternating between yelling and asking nicely. Sometimes she has the right, polite words, but she's yelling them through gritted teeth. Poor thing, it's got to be so frustrating to wait till someone is able to take her to the Library to get "new" books, especially since every day feels like an eternity and she can't remember most any short-term stuff.

I spoke to her briefly this morning, explained that I was out of town but would take her as soon as I got back, but since that's not *right now* it still wasn't the right answer, at least she didn't scream at me.

Oh well. She's called me four times in the past 20 minutes, this is shaping up to be a good day! Her voice mails are now suggesting that anyone in my family can take her to the library, doesn't have to be me.
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JjGood - I use to call that “reply roulette”. Also “it’s like a box of chocolates- you never know what you’re gonna get”.
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Thanks Countrymouse, very true! She won't remember it at all. She never does, and I'm sure if she did she would feel pretty awful, at least for a minute. Ha ha.

And the truth is, nothing is very predictable when it comes to Mom, except that it's unpredictable.

Although I KNEW she would ask about the library after telling the caregiver that she had plenty of books.

Thanks for the chuckle! "Expletive-deleted Library" indeed
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Yes, well, it's a bit tricky to think of the deft riposte when your mother's yelling at you down the phone, isn't it? On account of your head swimming and all that.

Besides, husband's suggestion, while always worth a try, assumes that your mother will respond rationally to being reassured that she will be taken to the [expletive deleted] library as soon as it opens.

She won't, you know. But by all means, try it next time, it can't hurt. And if it doesn't work and you have had more than enough, then try "mother. BUGGER the library books!" and hang up on her.

Heavy sigh. My guess is that you will remember this a lot longer than she will. No harm done.
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Thanks for your support, I have been doing things for me and made many trips without Mom. I think these trips are bore noteworthy in my mind because it's the Holidays. Her Tuesday caregiver asked about taking Mom to the library on Tuesday. Mom said she still had three books, and Caregiver reminded her that it would be a week before they could get back to the library, Mom insisted she was fine.
The next morning (yesterday) at 9am Mom was calling me asking to go to the library. She called another five times, I let them all go to voice mail.
I answered her call this morning and told her that the library was closed today, and she was unhappy about that. Then I tried to mention that on Tuesday she still had three books to read, hoping she would go check the books and say, "oh, you are right" but instead she yelled and screamed at me that I was lying.
Clearly, my attempt was the wrong approach.
The minute we were off the phone, my husband started in. He's trying to be helpful by telling me things I should have said. I should have said, "mom, I will take you as soon as I can once the library opens back up"
Why didn't I think of that?
Anyway, his "helpfulness" just feels like further criticism right after listening to my Mom scream in frustration.
Sometimes my mind is blank and I don't say anything because I'm pretty sure nothing I say will have the desired outcome.
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My mil with dementia has no concept of time or day. Your mom may not know you were absent for a week if she is forgetful and doesn't know one day from the next. I know you need a break . Try to relax and enjoy it .
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Thank you for updating us about your Mom. I'm sorry to hear about the travelling though. My mom is also in a memory care unit and I went out of town for a concert and felt guilty. When I got back, I told her about the concert and she was thrilled that I had actually done something for myself! The next day she didn't even remember the conversation. You should not feel bad and go enjoy yourself. You are a good person to do so much for your mom!
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It is sad that your mom is no longer able to travel. It is sad that she is losing cognitive skills and memory. It would be very surprising if you didn't feel bad about those things. But I'm very glad you aren't feeling "guilty" about these things you have no control over.

Enjoy your holiday trips. If Mom does get upset, do your best to take it in stride and just move on with your usual visits.

And thanks for the update!
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Even though Mom is being cared for there is some stress on your part. You need a break. Mom will have a nice dinner at her facility. If they have it early and u can join her. do. Does she know what day it is? If not, then she won't know when TG and Christmas are. Do u visit everyday? Is she aware when you don't. My Mom wasn't so a few days away didn't effect her at all. If u have to exlain, just say u and hubby are going away alone. You don't have to elaberate.
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