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Hello,


so glad to have found this forum. My mom is 71. Lives in a different state on her own. She’s no longer married. My dad and her divorced when I was 17 (I’m 47 now). Her second husband died after 2 yrs of marriage. She got remarried about 17 years after the divorce. She has two kids but my sister is incredibly selfish rude and uncaring. I don’t even have a relationship with her anymore so therefore my mom relies on ME for everything.


What I notice is my mom has major expectations for me and my kids to be her source of fulfillment. We don’t live in the same state but she is constantly suggesting one of us visit. All of my children are either in college or getting master degrees. No one has the time or desire to spend their little free time with her. She often suggests we go on a cruise. I don’t want to take a week vacation and go on a cruise with my mom. My PTO is so very precious and two of my kids play college sports. I use many of my vacation days to watch them play but she often expects us to have her at the center of our lives the way when we did when were all much younger. I find her expectations to be assuming and very uncaring. I’m also somewhat bitter because I saw this going to happen 10 years ago and encouraged her to get a stronger friend network. I do visit my mom here and there or she will come here 2 or 3x a year and stay much longer but even when she comes to visit she is expecting everyone to take time and be here when she’s here. In college, kids play their sports over Thanksgiving break as they have bowls and tournaments. Her last comment was why did I let them play this damn sport when a ball isn’t as important as a grandparent.


In addition, she seems to be SUPER self-focused lately. I don’t know what it is but she talks about herself ALL THE TIME. I can mention something about my kids and she will speak over me to talk about a story re me when I was a kid and her as the mom in the story. She does this often. I hate to even talk about things because she finds a way to insert herself as the main character.


Also, she repeats herself. ALL THE TIME. It is the most annoying thing for her to tell me something she already told me...again!!! I have even cut her off and said yes you told me this but she’ll continue and share the same exact miniscule details. That’s another thing. She has to tell everything in extreme detail. She can’t just say “oh I went to the doctor everything is progressing” I have to hear the nurse who checked her on and her history with said nurse and then the conversations with the doctor word for word. It turns a 2 minute topic into a 20 min topic. It’s staggering and I’m wondering if she’s taking to hear herself talk!!


I feel like my mom is declining and prob lonely but I’m so aggravated she let her life get to this point where she has no one to lean on but me. Are these behaviors anything I need to be worried about like dementia? I love my mom but I find her so annoying the last couple of years and I don’t appreciate the emotional manipulation.

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OhBoy.........the independent senior apartment complexes (not assisted living) are NOT for the very old but for very active people who are looking for more connection with others & activities, etc. They are popping up everywhere & cater to the 55 year old and up crowd. The residents still drive, and cook/shop on their own, as there are no 'assistance' services available in such places. The one that just opened around here is more like a resort than an apartment complex, lol. Just a thought. Good luck!!
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OhBoy999 Jan 7, 2019
Oh that’s very helpful haha thank you :)
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Maybe you can tell her about Ourtime.com, the senior dating service online!! She's still young at 71 and needs some companionship, so why not a date? Is she computer literate or is that something totally out of the question?

My step daughter is 27 years old and can chew the ear off a goat with the details she provides during a phone conversation. I don't think that's a sign of dementia, necessarily, but the constant repeating oneself definitely CAN be. My mother is 92 and has progressive dementia, diagnosed during a hospital stay. She will tell me the EXACT same thing 4 or 5 times during ONE 10 minute conversation. For example: Barbara called me today, did I tell you? And she will say that line another 4 times during the convo. The only way to know for sure if your mom is on the dementia path is to have her tested. You've gotten some great suggestions here re: how to go about doing that.

Some people, like my own mother, don't really want 'friends'.........they want family as friends, and nothing else. It's a co-dependent type of behavior for them to expect us to be their entertainment committee. I've stopped apologizing for my grown son & daughter in that they 'don't care' about grandma, or 'don't visit enough' or 'don't call enough'. It's up to THEM to cultivate the relationship with grandma, not me. I have ENOUGH on my plate being the 'only child' and in charge of mother's ALF care, finances, and about one million other things. I do the best I can; my children do the best they can, and the message is always the same: it's NOT ENOUGH. Which makes a person feel like doing NOTHING, you know?

In any event, it's sad that our mother's are lonely, I know. The question is, how much of our lives should be given up in order to keep them happy? And 'happy' is a relative word.........my mother is NEVER happy, really, no matter WHAT!!! Putting her in an Assisted Living Facility in 2014 was the best thing I could've done, in that she now has lots of activities to participate in, and other people to *complain about* associate with. Can you perhaps look into an independent senior apartment building for your mom? It may wind up making a HUGE difference in her quality of life.

Best of luck!!
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OhBoy999 Jan 6, 2019
I think you hit the nail on the head about not wanting friends but only family. She has friends but it’s like she limits what she does with them. She’s have a much more fulfilling life if she pursued more things with them.

I agree. Not my job to make other adults respond to her the way she wants. I often find she buys things for them or sends them money then tells me about it to direct them to respond to her or at he very least to direct them to check up on her as a result.

My mom definitely isn’t ready for a senior living facility. She’s still very independent and functioning well. She drives and is on a committee so she still does a lot of social stuff for “work” that takes her all over the state she lives in. I just need her to lower her expectations about how we are to cater to her.

Will monitor the repetitiveness. I think she has so little to talk about combined with the need to insert herself that she shares the same stuff over and over.

With everyone. 😩😩
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OhBoy999, Sorry that it took me so long to get back with.

I have to say, it was a very long, slow, and a frustrated process! When I first notice my mother's behavior I didn't live with her. Whlie one day we were talking, I told her that she didn't seem like herself and that I was worried about her. That it could be dementia than I said quickly "wait mom" before you start going off their are medications, infections and not eatting right that can cause dementia, which can easily fix the problem. Her respone was "maybe, but I am find!" Than she hung up on me! That went well! Ugh!
About a year later, yes a year...she was not having it! My mother is Native American and her stubbornness is down to her bonemarror.
My dad died in between this time! Well, my BF & I moved in with her because I came to realize that she was not paying the house taxes dispite that she was telling me she was.
Before I moved in, she wouldn't let me into her house, which is my childhood home. She ended up in the hospital for a different reason, so while she was in the hospital my BF and I went to her house and what I found was "shocking." My mother was a very clean woman. But that was not what I found! The dirty dishes were piled up everywhere in the kitchen and in the sink in the basement. She has a dishwasher that was empty. The refrigerator was full to the max with molding food. The house was full of things that was bought from stores like St. Vincent, and things that you see must have been found off the side of the street. My dad made a good living and they always bought new furniture and what nots, so this was not normal. The worst part was her house smelled so bad because she took in feral cats that pee all over the carpet. (Again not normal) So, my BF and I went to town and cleaned the house, and because we have always had cats we knew what to use to clean the carpet to cut the smell down. When she came home from the hospital she was so happy about her house was clean, but when I said something about the smell she said, "I couldn't smell anything," which I knew she was lying!
When I told her she wasn't paying the taxes, she started crying and claim that "they" took her money but she could not come up with proof that she paid them. She lied!

After moving in we had a neighbor who did have Alz so I took my shot again. Started talking about our neighbor and told her that we should get her checked out because I notice that she was not remembering very well and repeating herself. She came back with...wait for it...my Dr said that I will never get dementia and he promised me! Being that at one time I was in the medical field I knew that was a lie. And once again she wasn't having it.

So, I got in touch with Alz.org which gave me someone to talk to and gave me information.

All awhile she was just right down uwful and nasty to me! I didn't know if it was because my dad wasn't here to protect me, or if it really was dementia!

I finally told her, "you know just because you are my mom doesn't give you a free pass to treat me like crap; I can't live this way anymore!" This statement I kept repeating over & over. Furthermore, she got herself into a financial situation that if I moved out she would lose the house & have to live in a section 8 apartment! I preyed a lot!

Then I found this forum and with the help of the people here, a therapist and by the grace of God. She finally agree to get tested!

The people here taught me to be persistent & not to give up! I had to be willing to let her be angry with me. But I was not going to let her self-destruct.

Feel free to ask me any questions that you might have!

I hope this is helpful!
Wish you the best of luck!

Hugs!!!
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I have problem telling the same thing but...I can never remember which daughter I told. So now I ask, did I tell, you? Or my girls will say, u already told me. 😊 I am 69.

Our world is not like it was even 50 yrs ago. I grew up with lots of cousins, my Dad was one of 8. These same cousins now live all over the country. Why, because that is where they could find jobs. The industry in my area has gone by the wayside. Cousins my daughters' age live in GA or NC. (I am in NJ) There's a 17 yr difference between my oldest and my brother's oldest. Nothing in common there. Like you said, your kids are off to College doing their own thing and you want to be there. One day they will be getting jobs, marrying and having kids. Most families live on two salaries now unlike your Moms time. Work and kids don't leave much time in a day. Then there's having to move away from family for a job. There no longer is that family support. There's not that Bond. My Mom babysat for my kids as I do for my grands. Bonding time. My girls miss my Mom but not so much for my MIL who chose to move to Fla when my youngest was 4 and then complained when she visited that daughter didn't seem to want to be around her. Really MIL never bonded with daughter when she lived here. (MIL was passive agressive and my girls saw it early on)

Mom moved away. Did she have a relationship with your kids before she moved? If not, what makes her think she will now? Kids have lives of their own, sad but, if she was not involved in the last 14 yrs or before what makes her think they would be close now.

Out of 4 children, it was me who took care of Mom. I am not angry about it, the other two are boys and didn't handle Moms decline well. (My sister passed) Me either, but I was here. I hope my girls are there for me, but I don't expect it. I really have never expected anything out of them now they are adults on their own.

I have always felt that if an adult wants a relationship with a child, it is up to the adult to make the first move. Maybe the next time Mom brings up not seeing anyone enough, you say she chose to move to another state. That there can't be bonding between grandchildren and grandparents if the grandparent doesn't make the effort. That your children have lives of there own and you need to be a part of that as long as possible. That you told her 10 yrs ago she needed to get a support system in place. That if she had, she'd have new stories to tell. She is still healthy she needs to find a life. You cannot be her all.
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OhBoy999 Jan 6, 2019
Thank you JoAnn29 for your reply. Really great to hear from someone who is closer to my moms age. You have a great attitude and I feel the same about epectactions and hope I still do when I am 20 yers older and relieve my children of them.

My my mom actually has a great relationship with all my children. She def did her investing in them and still does. I had my first at 20 and she was right there from day one. She has always been a very present grandmother. My mom has never had a big personal life and my life and my kids fulfilled that for her. She has done the summer tips the cruises the trips to Disney with my kids in tow but she has been without companionship or a full life of her own outside of work for so long she latched onto us. She did her part though in creating a life-long bond. My oldest flew to see her after a recent surgery for 10 days. At the time I told him 10 days was prob too long but he used to spend 3 weeks with her every summer so he assumed 10 days was nothing. Not at 27 lol he realized 3 days into the trip this was going to be long but he wanted to be there, check on her, spend time with her.

My 22 year old spent a week with her last summer. Bought his own ticket and everything. My kids call her every two weeks, text her, etc etc. It’s not by obligation it’s truly because of love, care and concern. They’re very bonded to her and she is heavily involved in their lives. Too much sometimes if you ask me but I think that’s the loneliness. Her expectations stem from a lot of what you said about how things operated in the past. Now things don’t work that way but she looks at it as being forgotten and really gets upset when she’s not catered to. I think part of my annoyance as I process this more and more is I used to think my mom was really independent and now I realize how she was actually really dependent ON US.
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OhBoy, here I go again.

Challenging everything we said was among the first signs of mom' dementia, before it was diagnosed. She would tell some B.S. story, expecting us to nod our heads and agree. We learned not to challenge her stories; doing so resulted in meltdowns. With one exception; when she says awful, untrue things about family, friends, or loved ones. She doesn't get away with that, meltdown or not.

I'm not saying your mom has dementia, only that the behavior you describe sounds like my mom's.
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OhBoy999 Jan 6, 2019
I keep replying to this and it never shows up. Here I go again:

thank you for this. I will keep an eye on it. I agree about being nasty. Will not stand for it. We haven’t gotten to that point... yet.
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OhBoy, Regarding possible neurologic testing, here's how my family handled it, keeping in mind of course that mom at that time was already in early stage dementia and had difficulty connecting the dots: We took her to her primary physician for a "routine checkup" because it had been awhile. Just prior to the appointment, I discreetly handed a note to the receptionist (addressed to the doctor) requesting either a mini-mental exam and/or a neurology referral. The general practitioner didn't administer a mini-mental exam but referred her, and the rest is history. Mom didn't seem to question the referral. She asked me on the way, "Now, why are we going to see this doctor?" And I answered very casually, "Oh, Dr. Smith just wanted to have all your neurologic functions checked out," which Mom comfortably accepted. The neurologist did some reflex tests, asked Mom a few questions, ordered an MRI plus some other tests, and 4 weeks later at a followup appt. we got the vascular dementia diagnosis. Then a PET scan was ordered that confirmed Alzheimer's as well. Mom took the diagnoses in stride. Now, 2 years later, she totally denies these diagnoses and thinks she just has "a little memory problem."
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OhBoy999 Jan 5, 2019
Thank you again. My mom lives alone. Drives. Is very independent. Isn’t doing anything alarming so I don’t know how to get her tested without WWIII. I mentioned to her one day she is repeating stuff quite a bit lately and I was told “just keep living” which is code for “you’re going to get old too and you’ll see what it’s like” which obviously isn’t up for debate. I know that’s going to happen but I throw things out to get a gauge on if she’s aware or clueless she’s doing those things which to me is a sign of where she is mentally. Never goes well.

Are you a FT caregiver to your mom?
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I don't think there's any effective remedy for what you describe, OhBoy. Mom hijacked conversations for as long as I can remember, turning the focus on to herself. Or, she'd begin an oft-told story like she was telling it for the first time, and we (family) would think, "Oh, no, here she goes again." And like one other poster mentioned, the story usually concluded with Mom being put upon in someway, used, or taken advantage of. When Mom would tell these stories, I had to suppress the urge to move my lips as she spoke. I knew them verbatim.

I use past tense because now, in mid-stage dementia, Mom can't remember her stories, which is something of a relief, but of course the dementia brought with it a whole new set of problems. One thing I did notice is the redundancy reached its zenith at the earliest stage of her dementia, some ten years ago. The self-absorption can be a personality issue; on the other hand, as people age, whether by design or accident, their world tends to grow smaller and their lives more insulated, thus the focus on themselves.

In the case of conversational hijacking, I think Mom was trying to relate to the speaker by sharing her experience, not realizing she was actually taking over and sometimes not giving the speaker the chance to relate their own experience. Then she'd say later, "No one told me that!" And I'd say "Yes, Mom, they did!" In retrospect, it may be I thought she'd been in on a conversation when in fact she'd cut in and the speaker never got the chance to finish. Ha!

Again, our family never found a good way to get around this persistent aspect of Mom's personality. Year by year, the focus became more and more about her, until that's all there was. At 93 with dementia, she can't tell you one thing about another family member that isn't confabulation. She doesn't tell her old stories any more because she can't remember them. So she just complains about everything and everybody. As years march on, I'm trying my best to challenge my brain, expand my interests and never stop learning; keeping in mind not everybody is fascinated by my anecdotes. I don't mean this in an unsympathetic way. As my dear dad used to say, aging ain't for sissies.

As someone else suggested you may consider having your Mom checked by a neurologist to rule out dementia. An early diagnosis can be helpful in terms of planning.
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OhBoy999 Jan 5, 2019
The stories are insane because she often shares stories that put herself in a good light or sometimes they’re highly exaggerated. She expects you to go along with it and gets visibly irritated if you challenge the facts. She recently told a story to someone when I was there visiting about how we never ate cereal as a kid and we always had hot breakfasts. That’s not true at all. So I said yes we did, we had cereal and she doubled down and slammed her fiat on her leg and said “no you did not!” I don’t like to be told I’m lying when I’m not so I doubled down with her and said, “yes, we did. You did not cook hit breakfasts every day of our childhood and that’s OK.” She did not like that but I don’t like the constant changing of facts to prop herself up either. I suspect she expects me to go along with it and I can’t for the life of me understand why.

I like the the idea of challenging myself and not getting stuck on her behavior depicting my attitude. I will work and strive to change that. Thank you.
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Wow. You just described my mother to a T. And it started when she was about your mother's age--when my father died of lung cancer. The bad news is that she is now 89 and still telling the same stories!
Over the years I've become pretty good at avoiding the triggers that get her started on one story or another. For example, I never say any combination of the words "homemade" and "chicken salad," because that would trigger the story about how many years ago she made chicken salad for the 4H and how she shredded the chicken by hand, and it took all day to make, and everyone said it was the best chicken salad they every tasted, and then they had the nerve to ask her to make more for the next day. (Mom's stories always end with her being put-upon, or insulted, or disrespected.)

I've tried redirecting her when she gets started, but that doesn't always work, because she'll go right back to where she left off. 
At some point you will get used to it and just tune it out.  Good luck!
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OhBoy999 Jan 5, 2019
Hahaha this made me laugh because I also am aware of triggers. I never talk about my dad because it opens up all kinds of repetitive complaints and redirects to past stuff that has been told umpteen times.

Sometimes though there is no trigger and she will just randomly float from topic to topic about herself. In every story she is funny and adored or she is putting someone in her place and everything is exaggerated.

I agree! Redirection does NOT work! LOL
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I am trying very, very hard not ever to get myself into your mother's situation. But I can tell you one thing - it's all very well knowing that the trap is ahead, but that doesn't mean it's easy to avoid.

You encouraged her to develop a stronger social network. Absolutely! I agree! That's what I'm doing, too (though God knows preferably not by acquiring another husband). But, so, in what way did you encourage her? Did you do anything beyond saying that it was a good idea?

From your mother's perspective: it's one of the mixed blessings of motherhood that nothing and nobody is ever again as interesting or as important as your children. You want them to grow and fly away, of course you do: that's the whole point of the exercise, it's how you know you've done your job. But then... what do you do with your empty nest? And how do you stay connected not too much and not too little but just right..? It isn't easy, you know.

Anyway. Your mother is 71. She shouldn't be declining, unless there are other factors you haven't mentioned (what's all this about the appointments? - or weren't you listening?! - ho ho only joking). But she may well be extremely depressed, especially if she has become isolated.

Btw - the early death of her second husband was very bad luck. How would you say she dealt with that experience?

Are you in touch with anybody else who knows your mother reasonably well?
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OhBoy999 Jan 5, 2019
Thank you so much for your reply. To answer your questions, my mom has an extremely strong network where she lives. She moved where she is 14 years ago. She’s extremely generous to a fault and I used to worry people would take advantage of her because of it but I watch all of her accounts. She does give “gifts” but it all honesty what people give to her in time and deed, exceeds it. I talk to several of these people and get updates and no one seems concerned about any of the behavior I described. They think she’s funny and witty and a hoot but we judge and gauge people who aren’t family so differently don’t we? What they find witty I sometimes find off-putting because she’s my mom.

The death of her second husband was unfortunate. She handled it well. This was 14 years ago.

Years ago I suggested she beef up her friend network. I suggested she start a travel group, invite friends to create a calendar with monthly activities they could take turns planning, to invite her siblings to a trip once a year (she has six!). Those ideas were all nixed and I was given excuses as to why it wouldn’t work so she has stayed in this place of expectation from me and my kids. My mom and all her siblings were extremely doting of my grasndmother. I believe this is where her expectations come from. They also all lived in the same city for decades.

i think my mom compares too and sees friends who have kids that love with them or live nearby. She’s constantly telling me what someone else’s kids or grandkids do for them such as telling me one of her friends has grandkids who call her every Friday at five and I have to tell her of course they do, they’re 10 and 11 years old. *sigh*
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From my experience I notice years ago my mother started to make the conversation about her no matter what I said and she was repeating herself telling me the same old stories. Furthermore, my dad was telling me just little things that my mother did or didn't do. At the time, I just thought my parents were growing apart so I didn't put much thought into it. And when my mother was calling me telling on my dad again I just thought they were having problems, and this was nothing new for my mother to say, "your dad did this or that." Yes, she drove me nuts and I would get annoyed with her.

Now hind sight being 20/20 it was the start of dementia. I am not saying this is the case with your mom, however, I would get her check out just to be safe. I know for myself, I wish I knew than what I know now I could of handle thing much better for her, my dad, and myself.

Just my 2 cents!
I wish you the best of luck.
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OhBoy999 Jan 5, 2019
Question for you and thank you for sharing - how did you go about doing this? My mom would flip her lid if I suggested such testing.
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This is a hard thing, taking care of our elderly parents, especially for those of us who have moved them in our homes.
We too will be aged one day. With all those feelings that they have of insecurity, loneliness, despair, and so much we don't even know.Some handle it better than others, but the feelings are all there.
We are not always going to have our parents. The loss of my Dad was and is a horrible experience. I know it will be even more terrible when I lose my Mom.
What I am trying to say is that these things that aggravate you now, they are so unimportant and one day won't matter unless to cause you regrets.
The aggravations we feel, show us a weakness in ourselves. Something we lack or need to work on.
I truly understand how hard this is. But, as much as you are involved in your own children's lives now, one day they will feel this towards you. So remember that when you are getting frustrated with your Mom.
I don't in any way mean to be harsh. I just want you to see things that your frustrations may blind you from.
May God bless you and help you.
I know I cannot get through each second without Him.
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OhBoy999 Jan 5, 2019
This is a very good reminder, thank you. I find myself saying to my husband “please don’t let mr do this or that” because I get so annoyed and irritated af what I take to be a lack of seld-awareness. Very good reminder indeed. Thank you.
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