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My MIL is in good physical health. She takes some maintenance meds. Low level diabetic and can control sugar with diet. Had a pacemaker put in last year . She refuses to do any exercise to help her balance, strength and endurance. She will eat poorly if I do not monitor her slightly. The be in a fret because her blood sugar is slightly elevated. I have taken over the finances because she has made several hundreds of dollars in mistakes as well have almost have some utilities cut off due to lack of payment. She lost some bills, etc. I suppose the hardest thing is her depression and self involvement. Last week my husband (her son) broke his ankle severely to require surgery. He will be off his feet for 3 months. One Christmas Eve we usually have 6-8 guests over for heavy hors'dourves and a big roast beef dinner with all the trimmings. Yesterday I suggested maybe we scale back the event to maybe just the hors'dourves or just the dinner. You would have thought I committed a crime.She is pouting, making statements like "do whatever you want" , maybe it will be better that I am just gone sooner than later. All the while asking what can I do, I am so grateful you are here, I am sorry you have to take care of everything. I am so confused and I have no idea which part of what she says is real. I would never have believed it but I am beginning to think maybe her diminished mental capacity is more manipulation than the beginning stages of dementia.

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It's hard, I think the same thing with my moms comments. Remember, it's not easy to distinguish their state. Dementia isn't "all on or all off" -- the confusion, lack of understanding can come and go....as the disease progresses the filters, comprehension of a situation or issue decreases.

I try to be patient, hold my tongue and ignore as much as possible by hanging up or removing myself from the room. Sometimes my mom hounds me over something or is hateful on and on...I stay calm and calmly tell her I love her but am hurt by her words, accusations, or whatever. If she keeps it up, I just calmly tell her I'm not discussing it further and hang up or leave.

I think many times she is lucid when she hurts me and knows what she is doing. I can pretty much tell when she is confused and out of it or is agitated from her dementia at the time. That is what makes it hard. You can't always tell, you second guess and excuse the bad behavior.

All you can do is set your boundaries and not let them guilt you.
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I forgot to say, and thank the appreciative person!

When my mother says goodnight and coyly adds "and thank you for looking after me so nicely," I have caught myself thinking "Tchah! You needn't think you're getting round me that easily…" Very, very wrong of me - what am I expecting her to say that will make a lousy day better?
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… and what part is disappointment? She'd like Christmas to be as big a deal as normal, and I expect you would too. Sadly, not possible this year; that's the fact of it; and she can like it or lump it just as you are having to. Why are you worrying so much about her sulking?

How do a pacemaker and diabetes add up to a person in good physical health, by the way?

Be kind to the demented person, ignore the manipulative person and sympathise with the disappointed person. You're managing everything as well as you can.
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I know how you feel. Was she always in charge of the Christmas dinner? If so, playing the guilt card was probably an expression of her feeling a lack of control over something she always did. Some older people start seeing their caregivers as their legs and arms -- their way to keep doing the things they used to. When the caregiver doesn't do what they want them to, it is like losing control of those body parts. It can be the foundation of a very uneasy relationship between the parent and caregiving child. The parent needs to control and the child needs to have his/her own life.

I've heard "I just want to die" for so long now. I know how it feels -- guilt provoking and irritating at the same time. In my mother's case, it is just temper because I'm going against her wishes. I don't think it is manipulation or dementia, just a control issue. It can be very disheartening, so I know how you feel. Big hugs to carry you through Christmas. I hope your hubby's ankle heals well.
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