My mother is 97 years old, lives 15 miles out in the country by herself, which is how she prefers it. She has Home Health and my brother takes care of all her other needs the best he can. My problem with her is she dwells on everything from the past, even as far back as 50 years ago, but only the bad things that she thinks us kids either said, or did, true or not. A lot of the time that is all she talks about, never about any good memories. She says terrible things about us and calls us liars. For her age, she is healthy other than arthritis. She has no hobbies, not many friends, and nothing to keep her mind occupied, so I just think she has nothing better to do, but sit all day and think up this stuff. I feel she should be on anti-depressants, but would not take them, if she knew what they were. Any advice?

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Dh decided not to get hearing aids. He thinks he's 'not that bad' so we just don't talk about it. Someday, something will happen to make him get them, his mom has the same kind of deafness and has had for years, so being with the 2 of them is like sitting in a surround sound theatre---LOUD.
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Oh Mid! I guess with the hearing aids, he can actually hear what she's saying......
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Oh, and she plans to live to be 100. I imagine she will, out of sheer cussedness.
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This post hit too close to home for me. Yesterday, my DH went to take his 88 yo mom to lunch since he had been out of town on Sunday and didn't get to call her.

He goes with fear in his heart, every visit, b/c my MIL, like your mother, has very selective memory. She can only remember the bad stuff, the ignorant poor trashy family she married into, the abuse she suffered at my FIL's hands. She divorced him 30 years ago, but talks about him incessantly, trying to rewrite history to make herself look good. (He died 14 years ago and I NEVER heard a bad word about her cross his lips.)
The truth has always been out there. Everyone KNOWS she was pregnant with my hubs' older brother and had to get married. She doesn't know everyone knows--she'd flip her lid. Basically, she's been mad at the world for about 70 years.

She has no friends at all. Maybe one neighbor she's known for 60 years, but nobody else. She's never happy, nothing can make her happy, she gripes and fusses things until you want to rip your hair out.

I guess yesterday she really let her filter go-- (It's been slipping a lot lately) and my DH finally had had it. He called her out on her lies and actually told her how she had caused so much unnecessary drama and heartache in everyone's lives--and he was sick of tiptoeing around her tender feelings. She blew up and told him to go away and never come back. He said "Happily. Have it your way. I'm sick to death of being told I'm a useless, worthless person."


This isn't cognitive decline, This is a nasty, nasty woman who hates almost everybody and everything. I have not spoken to her in any meaningful way in 12 years and have no intention of trying to "mend" this.

I felt so bad for my DH. I have lived this for 42 years and I can just ignore her. He can't. She made my life so miserable and was so mean to me--little asides like "how can you get up the stairs at your house you're so fat?" (2 weeks after having a 10 lb baby!!)
Or, "You know your kids could have more than one bath per week". "I think "S" (my youngest) is mentally retarded. You need to have her tested". (she's actually got an IQ of 145, so I think she's OK). I could on forever--but my point is--some people are simply nasty people who have zero insight to other's feelings.

Your mom won't change. Meds won't help a disorder discovered this late in life.

Spend as little time as possible with her. I'm curious as to what my hubby will do. I DO hope he brings this up in therapy next week.
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It's called rumination. There are specific antidepressants that target this. Talk to her doctor or take her to a geriatric psychiatrist.
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It sounds like your mom may have some cognitive decline. My mom had that and as she got to her 90s, she spent a lot of time dwelling on the past, when she was young and lived on the farm. She totally forgot a lot of the bad stuff, which was a blessing. Unfortunately, your mom is stuck on the bad stuff. Is there any way to redirect her to remember something fun or positive about the past? "Remember that giant garden we used to have and how good the tomatoes were when they came in fresh from the garden?" Or "You made the best creamed corn I've ever eaten!" Or any memories you have that might be neutral or positive? Can she talk about her parents (my mom talked about her mom a lot) or siblings or aunts/uncles/cousins? Or when they got their first car or TV or whatever. Try to get her to remember some of those things instead of the bad stuff that she doesn't remember correctly. It's not easy. Elders' brains can get stuck in a loop and it's just about impossible to get them out of that loop.
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If she is like my mother was, she would read all the literature to make sure about the new med and then refuse it. As is her right.
My aunt (91) takes an antidepressant and I think it does help and would have helped my mom also.

At your mom’s age most of what made life interesting and fun is gone. And she probably has a tad of dementia. As our bodies wear out, our brains are not magically protected.
Hard to accept that sometimes. Not only for mom but for her children as well.

After cooking for my mom, packing up all her food and supplies and driving for three hours to deliver it, then clean her house and do whatever else was needed, I was often greeted with complaints about how I brought too much food or questioned about my recipes in case of forbidden ingredients due to her diet or some other stressful comment.

I once told her she had to say something nice before negatives when I came on my weekly visits.
The next week when I came in with my coolers and bags she said.
“It’s good to see you....I guess”. To which I burst out laughing. As they say you have to laugh to keep from crying. She didn’t understand why I laughed. I gave her a hug and got busy. I knew she had thought about what I said and had tried to be nicer. That was as good as it was going to get.

She could have benefited from anxiety meds. She had them but refused to take them except for certain events and then only a half.
My sister once told her that one of them was going to take the anxiety meds and sister thought my mother should take them due to mother being the reason anyone had anxiety.

My advise to you Quilter is to be happy you have a helpful brother, that your mom has HH, and that she is so healthy.

I would contact her HH and ask them about having your mom evaluated for physical therapy. This could really help her arthritis and improve her mood. You could drive out and be there when she gets the evaluation to make you and her more comfortable. The HH can send a request for the doctors order for the therapy. My mothers therapist was a good friend to her and made her laugh as well as keeping her strong. She had CHF so not as lucky as your mom on the health issues. Her arthritis had deformed her hands and feet but didn’t hurt her any longer at 97. She also lived alone in the country which was her choice. 

I know it’s difficult to hear the ugly things your mom says. Look up the word confabulation. She probably really believes the things she is saying. It does no good to try to reason with her. Not that she’s being stubborn but her brain is broken in that regard. If it is dementia this phase will pass and another will emerge. 

Drugs might be helpful but don’t allow her behavior to ruin your day or your own joy in life. I hope you are helping your brother if possible. A little help goes a long way. 

One last thought, ask HH to test mom for a UTI. It can really create havoc in the brain and body of an elder and is good to check for one periodically. It might explain her behavior if it’s new or has escalated. 

My mom has been gone over two years now and slowly she is reemerging in my memories as my vibrant mother and not the person she was the last few years of her life. It’s hard on this last stretch. Hang in there. Many more live to 100 now but not many to 110. I have one aunt who is 104. Her daughter can’t stand her. But my goodness her daughter is in her 80s. 
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Sorry for my answer. I am a little cynical.

Others here will give you better advice.
Good luck
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Quilter42, when you think about it, what is there for your Mom to talk about in the present? Her life sounds pretty lonely, not being around people from her own generation. It's not like she can hop in her car and drive to the mall to meet friends. Most of her friends have probably moved or have passed away. She wakes up with aches and pain. ....

Your Mom's eyesight might be fading and so is her hearing. And food no longer taste as good as when she was younger. She pretty much just has housework to keep her busy, the same 4 walls day after day, not very exciting. Yep, I would be grumpy, too.

Think back, when did Mom started to only talk about the past? Or has she always done this? If this is a newer thing, then I wouldn't be surprised if some dementia is beginning to show.

Mom needs a change of scenery to enjoy her final years. Do you think she would consider Independent Living? She would have her own apartment which has a full size kitchen, and be around people from her generation to talk, social activities if she wants to attend. Just wonder if there is enough equity in her house to help pay for this type of living. I bet your brother is exhausted being her caregiver, Mom could out-live him.
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Personally, I would let well alone.

As you said she has no hobbies and not many friends. Not suprising is it? She sounds like a nasty, twisted, old woman.

He health is good, considering her age. She is cared for, and tended.

Ignore her nastiness (you and all your family know the truth) That is what matters.

Take care of yourself. Hugs

PS My OH says nasty things about other people ALL THE TIME, but only to me, he is as nice as pie to their faces. They think the sun shines out of his ***.
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