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Mom is 91 yrs old and she usually is a very sweet and mellow person. Lately she has become very depressed because she does not think that her parents and siblings are dead. She keeps asking to go back home to see them. She said I am holding her here in our home and won't let her see them. She starts crying and yelling also. This is so new to me because she has never raised her voice to me before. I love her dearly but I need to know how to handle these situations.

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This is my guess: Your mom (I'm assuming she has dementia and is being treated, if possible) is going back in years. She feels younger, maybe even like a child. She is frightened and wants her family and you are less (sorry, this hurts) her family as she couldn't possibly have a daughter YOUR age!

What to do? See if she needs a med change for the anxiety she is experiencing. Distract her by taking her to another room - some people even drive around the block and say, "were home now." Whatever works.

Tell her she will soon see her parents, siblings, etc. They are excited to see her, too, but it will be a little wait. Agree whenever you can, as you know arguing is counterproductive. This is a time to put yourself in her place. She doesn't know herself. She's frightened and wants Mommy and Daddy. She doesn’t know the old lady in the mirror as herself, and may even think it's someone following her.

This is a horribly frightening place for her to be, and dreadful for you. There are meds that can help some of these issues, but a lot of it is play acting. Talk to her a lot about what you and she are doing so she understands.

And please, please get a break for yourself. Is there an adult day care nearby? She would get diversion by going to the "club" or "circle" or whatever you want to call it, and you'd get a break.

Please keep checking in.
Carol
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I find it very tiring to do the play acting. I feel so depleted and worn out from setting boundaries with my mother. I'm not dealing with dementia so much as insanity which has delusions as well. My mother is always trolling for a piece of my life to chew up and spit back at me in the form of humiliation. I try to keep a wall around what I do and think in order to protect myself. I am always on my guard and inventing stories that will satisfy her.

I know others from my caregiver support group who deal with the delusions from Alzheimer's. They have to "fool" the cared for one by creating a situation that she can comprehend. Driving around seems to be a popular method. One man gets in the car and drives around the block at the end of the day so his wife thinks he is coming home from work as he did in pre-retirement times. She recognizes him when he comes in the door where before she thought he was a stranger in the house.

Dealing with the lack of congruence between realities is exhausting. I constantly work on shoring up my own ego status to so I can maintain my identity which is assaulted by all this play acting. I'm getting very old and tired from it all. Sometimes I just want to lie down and die.
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Thanks Carol,

Sunday is my day to spend time with my mother. I was in dread mode when I wrote my post. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are tougher days than most as I have to be with her on Sunday and attend to her household needs such as taking her shopping for groceries, paying her bills, spraying for ants, and changing her bed. She has a list ready for me when I come in.

I was still in a depressed mood yesterday and she got near a rage when I talked to her last night. She was probing my private life looking for items for gossip. I wouldn't give up information. Finally she hung up in disgust and frustration. I only talk to her in the evenings to see if she is still conscious and mobile. I don't try to be her friend. I try to keep her from getting to the rage mode because that can last a long time once she gets going. Thank goodness she had the sense to hang up. It only fuels her rage if I try to take an assertive action like hanging up.

I'm much better today. Yes, I see my doctors regularly and I'm on an anti- depressant. I have had a lot of counseling in the past to try to sort out the family dysfunction. My dad was an alcoholic. I tried a counselor a couple of years ago but she wasn't very good. She wanted to tell me stories about caring for her mother and mother-in-law. I had to let her go because I wasn't getting the support I needed.

I read a lot of books and try to find my way through my unique situation. I'd like to get my mother into some sort of care but I'll have to wait until she either gives up her home or her physical condition deteriorates and I can exercise my medical POA. She's still calling the shots about how she wants to live which isn't all that bad for the elderly. She'd like more of my time, but I am firm on what I'll give her.

Thanks for your concern. I need the support.
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