It's been cloudy and cold the last few days (for FL) and my mom has been extra miserable. God forbid the weather not be perfect! She's in that "I'm not happy" mood and basically wants me to sit around listening while she complains non-stop. Nope. Not gonna happen. I've been trying to avoid her with excuses, but I can tell it's only making her more angry.

The other day she started asking me questions about the expense sheet I kept when we purchased and renovated her condo. She wanted to know if she got "credit" for the money she gave us at the start of the renovations. It was $20K out of the 70K+ spent. I told her yes, and then went to get my ledger to show her where the 20K was listed and couldn't immediately find it so I asked her why she was wondering. I knew her money was listed and my mom has a photocopy of the ledger, something she requested last year. At that point she dropped it and moved on to some other "concern".

My take away- she is miserable here. Living by me has not been the experience she thought it would be. Never mind that it's been my worse nightmare come true. For her -- she is miserable too. I believe that she wants to move, but the problem is twofold. She really has no place to go (this is the biggest problem), and she can't afford it, not a place to her standards. The way the equity in her condo stands right now, we would both lose money. I also made it clear to her last summer when she threatened to move over me trying to stop her driving that I would not be signing anything unless I had a guarantee protected by a lawyer that I get every cent we put in FIRST and she can have what's left. I refuse to take a loss on this when I took money out of our retirement account to fund this FOR HER. But like I said, the biggest issue is she has nowhere to go. I could rent her condo for easy 2K a month or more, so if it came down to it, the finances could probably be worked out, and that would be FINE by me!! But there is no place for her to go.

She's dealing with her own issues, or rather NOT dealing with them and her increased digs at me, from everything to what I wear to "your hair looks dirty". It wasn't. She was just in a mood. That's code for she needs attention. I'm tired of the digs about how we "never" go out to eat. We "never" do this, or that... it just goes on and on. I want to scream I AM NOT YOUR PARTNER IN LIFE!

She has NO friends here. She refuses to even consider the senior center or anything related. There are snow bird activities going on, I've offered to go with her to start... nope. Wants nothing to do with it.

I'm at my wits end, again. I keep hoping the Wellbutrin will kick in but it hasn't yet. I told my husband last night that I'm thinking of lying to her and saying I got a job somewhere, just to be unavailable without having to explain what I'm doing.

To make matters worse, I can't talk to my mom about ANY of this. I have already been ORDERED to NEVER say the word dementia to her again, ever. (I dared to say it twice in the last 18 months while wanting to talk about the future) So any and all conversations about her future care needs are somehow forbidden. She wants business as usual which means she runs the show, she decides all the rules, and if she isn't happy, nobody is going to be happy.

Is there any way I can make this better?

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You know something? The problem with mother moving to a new location is that she will take HERSELF along with her. That means she can't escape the problem, which is HER. The misery comes with her because she is the source OF it. The complaining will happen no matter where she lives. People like this are always looking for a "Geographical Cure", but there isn't one, for the reason mentioned above.

You are trying to 'fix' an 'unfixable' situation. The trouble is the word 'want' ....... your mother wants A through Z and even God Himself would be unable and unwilling to grant all of those wishes because life on Earth comes with some pain. Some sacrifice. Lots of imperfection, even for HER! And the demands she issues are unrealistic, unwarranted, and unachievable. Until you realize that, you will continue jumping thru the fiery hoops and burning your poor body over & over again.

Stop jumping. It's okay to say no. It's okay to relax. It's okay to let the phone calls go to voicemail. It's okay to go out and have a nice day with your friends or with DH. It's okay if mother's every need goes unmet. It's okay to realize it's not your responsibility to see to it that such a thing happens. It's okay to tell her that you can no longer be her slave or her scratching post or her Girl Friday. It's okay to let yourself off of this hook you've been put on to.

It's time for your mother to realize that the earth does not revolve around her, at least for YOU. If she'd like to move, you will help her to the best of your ability. But if all she'd like to do is to continue to complain into your ear, you're not available for such a thing any longer. You, my dear, are busy living your LIFE and have no more time for such nonsense.

Enough is enough.
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gemmab123 Jan 2020
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Tall about her dementia to your heart's content to her.

Why does tour mother get to make the rules Piper? You're reasoning from a false premise.

Mom HAS dementia. That's the elephant in the room.

It's not your job to make her happy.
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NeedHelpWithMom Jan 2020
I agree that it isn’t her job and the fact is that no one can make anyone happy. It simply isn’t possible to make anyone else happy, even if Piper does try to take on the task of trying to coerce her mom to be happy.

Sometimes, we become delusional because we want something for them so badly. I did this far too long with my mom and had to learn this the hard way. We fall into the, “What if? and If only? Or Should I?” trap. Vicious circle.
Piper, I had somewhat the same situation in a MIL .. only social outlet was us . .her son and me (his wife) and our kids.

Not because we moved her to a new location .. she was where she always lived, but she was in denial of aging .. and faltering in health .. and so forth.

I explained many many times that she can go to the senior center, . . transport will come for her .. and/or I would go with her, to start .. her daughter (who comes to town periodically, lives 1K miles away) even went with her, one time, . to try to acclimate her to that environment in the hopes she'd strike an interest.

Her refusal to do so . was always cloaked in a mantra of "those are all old people, I don't want to go be around old people".

She was an "old people" . but failure to recognize that and deal with it.

She lived that way isolated for far too long.

She now lives in a SNF . and is surrounded by those "old people" she didn't ever want to be around. I wish I could report that she is now acclimated. Far from it.

I think what that isolation created .. was a setting whereby she was allowed/enabled to deny the reality that "IS". You too are old, .. and .. guess what .. so are others, . doesn't mean life comes to a complete halt . and the only social outlet is what your kids, g'kids can summon to the front for you.

My only advice, . you don't play that game. Life is what she makes it .. and you need to stick to that, for your own good .. you matter too.

Remind her when she begins to balk/complain that there are means to get her to a senior center to make some friends, . and change the subject . and move along. Don't get trapped into some setting whereby you are her only outlet, and she uses that time to vent/complain incessantly. It's not fair to you .. and in the end, .. it's not good for her.
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TaylorUK Jan 2020
That sounds so very familiar - and is absolutely the truth of the matter.
Yes, you can make this better. Acknowledge you cannot make your mother happy. You may be able to provide _her_ opportunities to experience happiness, but if she is unwilling to embrace those opportunities then she will not be happy.

Some of your mother's dementia behaviors could be anxiety issues, is she taking anti-anxiety medication?

Next step is to just start being unavailable to hear her complaints. Use a fall detector so she can summons help if she truly needs it then set the do not disturb function on your phone to ignore her number for a period of time. You may put a camera in a hallway or living room so you can confirm Mom is doing okay. If there's a senior care or adult day care available, I would be completely unavailable during those hours. Don't make excuses, simply state you are an adult and you have a life to live that doesn't include your parent. If she's lonely during those hours, then she can attend senior/adult activities.

You have no obligation to be her entire social world just because she chooses not to socialize with others similar in age and health. With dementia, this is not going to get easier, so make your stand now. Schedule some time in the morning and again in the late afternoon or evening to check on and/or help mother as needed. Schedule a weekly night you go out for dinner and visit with her afterwards at her condo. Lunches out should be at the senior/adult care center with her new friends.
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BlackHole Jan 2020
yes !!
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When my mother lived "independently" in a condo 7 minutes from me, she also had no social life. Before she stopped driving, she would drive to the nearby mall to walk, and socialized with the other mallwalkers, drive to the stores nearby, to Mass, etc. But once she stopped driving, I wasn't about to take the hours it would take to take her somewhere every day. She didn't like the boundaries I set about my driving her (to Mass once a week, to medical/dental appointments, and for shopping once a week).

She could have used the public transportation for disabled/elders, but she was too good for that.

She would call people on the phone, but I think that was a lot of her just prattling on and on. She didn't hear very well. But I guess it counted as socialization?

She eventually had an infected gallbladder, was hospitalized for 17 days, then to rehab, then to a SNF. She didn't try to engage with the other residents much, but did engage with the staff (when she wasn't experiencing paranoia, that is).

I did not want to be her social support, and thought it was inappropriate for her doctor to suggest as much to me. ("She needs social support. She needs someone to check in with her every day to see what she needs.") I just looked at the doctor.
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My mother could be your mother's sister!
Same situation here...I am totally burnt out. Have been doing this for too long!
Ive found that at times you have to lie.
She is a controller & manipulator even in her dementia state...unbelievable.
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NeedHelpWithMom Jan 2020
Not a bad idea about telling her you are busy. It doesn’t have to be a ‘fake’ job. It can be anything at all. Tell her that you you have decided to volunteer somewhere or take a class, at the library, anything to get away. Or don’t say anything other than that you are going out.

You know by now that her behavior will not change but you can change yours. Don’t waste any more time or energy on a futile attempt to make her conform. She is a nonconformist.

So sorry, piper. Hugs. 💗
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Zdarov Jan 2020
Good stuff - and not only say it, do it. Pick an activity, a class or somesuch and get booked up and get your mind in a new space.

Others are also talking about the social/emotional boundaries, you’ll need to set those! I started late :) but did a lot of work and practice on how often I answered the phone, offered/agreed to see her, etc. I personally worked on it with a counselor.

Then when she made a few big mistakes with the stove, microwave, thermostat - after I had already been doing her bills, taxes, etc. for a while - I essentially manipulated her into moving to a senior apt., she has since moved to AL/MC. You’re likely going to have to commandeer things more and more over time, it’s not a comfortable role but get your feet wet in small ways now. Good luck. 💐
Sounds like my dad. He refuses to try anything new but complains hes bored and miserable. Why did she move there in the first place? Where did she move from? Could you possibly sell condo and put her in assisted living where she wants to go? The only other option seems to be unavailable and if she asks why youre giving her less time tell her the truth, if she throws a fit, go back to avoiding her. Eventually she may get the point that you wont stand for the negativity. Being family doesnt mean youre allowed to be a whipping boy.
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Thanks again ladies for sharing your experiences and the wise advice. I always read the answers I get here several times so I can try and integrate sane and logical truths into what I can only conclude is brainwashing from childhood. It's hard, but I'm determined not to let this kill me. You all are right, I am not responsible for her happiness. It's sick that I was raised to feel it was my responsibility.

Some of the things I've gotten from this thread: The use of the words "Her peers". The next time she complains about being bored and/or lonely I am going to suggest the senior center (again) but this time before she can say she doesn't want to be around old people, I'm going to say "So you can socialize with YOUR PEERS". In fact, that's also how I'm going to bring up a senior living community, by saying "You need to live among your peers". Oh yeah, the words PEERS is going into my mental tool box immediately.

As has been one of my problems all along I need to continue to work on being assertive, and not letting FOG keep me from setting boundaries. Yesterday afternoon I knew she would text wanting to get together. Sure enough she did. I started stressing because I was definitely not up for it yesterday and trying to think of an excuse and my husband said "You don't need an excuse! Just tell her we want to lay low and you will see her tomorrow, if you want to". So I texted her "We're going to lay low this evening but tomorrow I'm making Reuben chowder if you want to come over then". She ignored my text, LOL. So typical of her. I know she is sitting there looking at my text and was mad, because when she wants something, she wants it NOW. Oh well, we had a peaceful night.

BTW Gemma I'm the one who recently started Wellbutrin. It's only been five days so I'm going to give it a couple weeks. So far I just feel a little nausea. I also wondered yesterday if I was feeling the "anger" side effect I read about some having, and that worried me. If that happens it will be a deal breaker because Lord knows I can't afford that side effect, but today seems better. Crossing my fingers it helps soon with the depression.

Kimber, my dad was a buffer too, like Lea said her's was, only mine died about 20 years ago. My solution then was to live long distance (oh how I long for those days) but now I do what Lea does and have my husband with me unless he absolutely can't be there for some reason. You will find another buffer, and maybe your mom will feel different if/when dad passes first. I too feel ill when I think about the drama that will come with placement, but all we can do is one step at a time, right?

I had to laugh when CTT said she didn't want to be her mom's social support (I don't either) but the looking at the doctor part Lol. I have already decided that when the doctor talks shift to my mom not being safe to live alone, I will make it clear I am not available. Any doctor to suggest it, I will resist and ask them if they are ready to write that letter yet that she needs an ALF.

Thank you all again. I don't even want to think about where my mental state would be without this forum. Hugs to all of you.
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Loris15 Jan 2020
I’ve also have learned a lot from this forum. I’ve learned about narcissistic Moms and Codependent daughters (guilty!).
its a long road with a dementia/Alzheimer’s parent, as you become the Parent. You have to set strong boundaries. It’s difficult at first, start slow like you are now.
it gets easier to stand your ground as you go along.
assisted living is the way to go, no matter how much they complain.
they know how to better care for there condition.
whether or not she chooses to participate in activities is her choice.
you cannot be her “entertainment delivery service”.
fit your own needs in. It feels selfish at first, because you probably have never done anything for yourself.
you were taught to seek Moms approval at all times, whether she was worthy or not.
You can’t help anyone if you are too broken and sick from Someone sucking your energy out of you constantly.
i wonder if you would need the Wellbutrin if you didn’t have Mom pulling on you all the time?
take care of yourself, you are worth it!
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It's a lot of pressure to be our parent's social life! Personally, I hate it and have backed waaaaay back. I have offered senior center to her. Nah. She needs to exercise so she brought up going to the Y. Nah. Invite someone to go to a movie. Over for dominoes. etc etc. All suggestions get ignored. Claims not to be bored or lonely but I don't believe it. But, my mom IS still capable of doing these things (in a limited fashion) and I've decided not to feel guilty about it (as much as possible anyhow). I go to the gym and am gone hours every day. Go visit my kids, friend, etc. My mom is choosing to stay home alone instead of seeking out her peers. Poor choice but there it is.

At least my mom still goes to see my sister who lives 2 hours away and gets some socialization in with some of her old friends. Although that is quite limited as well.

It's just sad and frustrating. I don't think it's healthy but what can we do about it??
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