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My dear old Mum is 95, blind, basically immobile, has moderate though quickly advancing dementia, lives in her unit in a nearby Retirement Village and refuses (surprise surprise) to move anywhere such as a Nursing Home because she is "so independent" plus she has a twelve year old dog she will not leave (I can understand that bit) and of course she cannot take the mutt to a Nursing Home so that is the primary resistance to her moving on .................... she has a legion of Blue Care people three to four times every day, a close friend acting as a "helper" once a week and dummy me (male son 70) 24/7 on call every minute of every day to cop all the abuse, accusations, problems, sickness and resolve every issue she cannot handle like using the two TV's, Radios (6 of them), cordless phones (3) and she no concept of her finances and on and on and on .......................... and I'll bet every reader has experienced the same saga or is presently in the middle of one!

She is now a lying (yep - true), devious, accusatory and viscous old lady who attacks me via the phone up to six times a day telling me what a failure I am as a son, how her long absent "other son" a resident in Canada for fifty years is soooooooooo much better that me, how I am worse than her late Hubbie (14 years passed who actually was a pretty dreadful guy to her) and how I will be the death of her because of the lack of help, love, understanding and most everything else imaginable, and I could fill many more pages with the dramas that go with this sort of situation.

Of late, she has started talking about buying a caravan (no money) and moving to the "seaside" or living in a tent under a friends home or going to the bank manager for a loan so she can move to the seaside. She is living on the full pension but I have to make up for anything other than the basics for living, rent etc.

Now she tells me I have been tampering with her Will, taking money from her savings account (mine anyway), falsifying Dad's Death Certificate (not sure why?), stealing her mail, money from her purse, hiding her debit card (lost five times in one year now) and stealing all her remote controls ........................... oh Boy, what a great life.

She is also talking about changing her Will and giving all the money to the RSPCA, building a dog proof fence "somewhere" to put her pooch in plus a full air conditioned kennel as well and pay someone to look after her (the dog!)

It is painfully and also sadly obvious from the above that Mum has or is rapidly succumbing to dementia but I would like to be prepared to forestall any of her craziness BEFORE it starts!

Any suggestions?

Oh yeah, in case you think I am an uncaring son, I am on FOUR (4) anti depressant and anti anxiety pills every day, have a marriage falling apart due Mum's demands on me and would love to exit this world BEFORE Mum, no hesitation whatsoever in saying that at all!

So, I'm beaten folks, ready to pull the pin as I have NO ONE to go to for help, guidance or what to do. Cannot force her into a home, brother wants nothing to with her as he is "on holidays", wife hates her as much as Mum hates her, have been to the local Priest, Head of Blue Care, Nursing Homes, you name it, I have tried it and nothing I can do!

Can't wait for the day I fall off my perch .................. except I have this dog who is my whole life! Gotta stay around for him!

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When she starts crying and begging is exactly when you should stay strong She is manipulating you and you are falling for it. Manipulators use FOG amongst other things - fear, obligation and guilt. You chose whether or not to "fall for them" You say you are a soft touch. Think about that and where it has gotten you. You are enabling her unhealthy behaviour.
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Took the words out of my mouth, pst.

havegivenup -you have to draw a line in the sand and refuse to take abuse .I stopped answering most calls the last few months. My mother is101 and still going strong with the accusations etc. I am 76 and need to have some peace in my life. Your marriage is falling apart not because of your mother but because of how you respond to your mother. Quote "on call every minute of every day to cop all the abuse, accusations, problems, sickness and resolve every issue she cannot handle". I would imagine that leaves your wife out of the picture a lot of the time. Spend the time and energy you spend on your mother, on your wife, and your marriage will pick up.

As long as you remain on call and available to take the abuse etc., it will continue. You will not change her, but you can change you. She will, as pst said, up the ante, and you have to keep your boundaries. It sounds like she has lots of care anyway. Simply hang up or walk away if she gets abusive. Limit the calls you answer to one a day or whatever is more reasonable. My mother would call 3 x a day. In the past few months, I left most of them go to voice mail, and because most of the were accusations, I ignored them.

The latest stats according to Carol, one Aging Care expert is "For Alzheimer's and dementia patients, caregiving responsibilities can last between 10 and 15 years. During that time, caregivers often experience mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse, along with physical health problems. Researchers have discovered that Alzheimer's caregivers have a 63 percent higher mortality rate than non-caregivers. In fact, 40 percent of Alzheimer's caregivers die from stress-related disorders before the patient dies."
http://med.stanford.edu/news_releases/2002/may/caregiver.html"

Regarding the financial matters you say she uses up her pension for basics and you supply the rest, so why are you worried about her doing these crazy things? It sounds like she doesn't have the money to do them. You say she is talking about changing her will. Does she have much? If so, that should be being used for her needs, not your money. As far as EPA is concerned, you can talk to her bank and ask about the options available to you. I have EPA for my mother and she can still write checks and so can I and sign them as EPA. She still has her credit card. If it was transferred to me, she would lose the use of it. I can take any of her bills to her bank and have them paid and so on.

Mother was getting more and more paranoid in the past few months and finally expressed thoughts of suicide, so was certified and is now in a psychiatric facility. She was being monitored by a community mental health team. I can highly recommend getting professionals involved any way you can. I don't know what the situation is in Australia, but you might check with local social services and or her doctor about the suitability of her present arrangement and whatever else might be available.

Good luck

However, I feel the main thing is for you to establish and keep firm boundaries and not be at her beck and call, and start rebuilding your life with your spouse.
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Thanks pstegman and dogabone (what a nic!)

To the former, you are spot on and I have actually done that (today is the non talkies day) but tomorrow it will be on for young and old (no pun intended) I just have to take your advice as I am ready for a mental home if this keeps up!

I'll let the forum know how I either succeed or fail!

I have told her I will not be making or taking phone calls if she persist in this bullying and emotional blackmail but regrettably I am a soft touch and doubt if I can see it through when she starts crying and begging me for help!
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Sorry to hear about your many issues.Dementia causes so many problems that neither of you has any control over.There's many different types of dementia.Regardless the types, no matter what we all seem to find the darkside of dementia.As accusing,name calling and hatefulness is what I call the darkside.Dealing with a elderly person with dementia isn't so bad until you learn their darkside.Normally the darkside doesn't show until you get closer to the elderly person.After time goes bye,dementia becomes a arrow pointing into your direction.I understand what your going thru.I'm dealing with a 88 yr old Aunt going thru the same thing.We help them without any thankfulness in return.Helping as doing the right things isn't a easy task.Nurcing home is the key you hold.Until your ready to use that key more problems will arrise.I also,understand how a marage can fall apart while attempting to help another loveone.You must step back and help your self before you lose it all.Your number one!...Remember that!...You come first before all others.Work on your problems before others.Step back and take a break.Work on your issues before you attempt to help others.Your Mother is 95.She lived her life.After she's gone you will still have your life and hope your marrage.Another tip,Be nice.Kindness kills.Your Mother knows what pushes your buttons.Change your tactics.Sounds harsh but,tell her what she wants to hear.That makes your visit much easier for the both of you.95 yrs old is old.Be blessed to have your Mother for that long.Understanding that everyone needs to vent once in awhile but,don't let your mouth talk before thinking.Because,you don't know what you have till it's gone.
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We hear you loud and clear. So my husband went through this, and he finally stopped taking the abuse. When she got nasty, he ended the phone call. And he would not answer the subsequent calls for the day. He made her realize that number one, she had no right to abuse him. The second thing he did was pull back on visits and not run for every emergency. She upped the ante, said she was in agony. He called 911 and sent them to the house. He did not rush to the ER, so she called him with her cell phone. He said to let him know when she was in a room. It sounds cruel, but it ended the theatrics. You have to protect your own sanity. Sure you feel you owe it to mom to look after her. The line in the sand is where it becomes nasty. You don't owe anyone the right to abuse and belittle you. When it does, pull back, take the phone off the hook and go fishing.
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