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Difficult mother

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Old 10-21-2008, 05:45 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Jackson, MI, USA
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jannar HB User
Difficult mother

I am having a very difficult time adjusting to being around my 91 year old mother who has Alzheimers and is in a nursing home two hours away from me. She is becoming very difficult to be around. The RN at the nursing home told me yesterday that it must have been difficult being my mother's daughter. She wanted to know if she ever paid attention to anyone else but herself. She said that no matter what anyone says, my mother is always right (in her own mind). She will not listen to directions nor follow orders. Her doctor wants her to wear her hearing aid but my mother claims that she doesn't need one and can hear perfectly fine. How dare we force her to do anything she doesn't want to do. If the nurses ask her to slow down, my mother moves quicker. If she is involved in any type of activity, she knows the best way for something to be done. She had some of this behavior forever but not to this degree. When people see my mother coming, they tend to go the other way. She says she is fine and wants to leave this "prison" that I placed her in. I find myself not wanting to visit her because it is very difficult dealing with her.
Thanks for letting me vent.

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Old 10-21-2008, 06:26 PM   #2
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Re: Difficult mother

Dear Jannar,
I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. Your mother sounds just like mine! If I said something was white, she'd say, "well, it's actually off-white." If I said something was sweet, she'd say, "well, it's not THAT sweet." If I said something was funny, she'd say it depends on your sense of humor. Etc., etc. You know how it goes! You can hold the facts from the encyclopedia in front of her, but they're wrong and she's right. I wish I could tell you how to deal with it. I've never figured it out. My dad just laughs it off and gives her her way. It's driven me crazy forever! It's very hard to live with someone who is never, ever wrong! In 50 years, I can honestly say I've never once heard her admit she was wrong about anything! I remember one time when I was very little that she spanked me for something I didn't do. My sisters stood up for me and told her I really hadn't done it. Her response was to tell me in a harsh voice, "well, that'll hold you for next time you're bad!" She also knew better than the doctors how to care for me. When I told her I was having horrible back pain and wanted to see a doctor at age 15, she told me I didn't need a doctor, I just needed to do my father's back exercises. If I had gotten medical help when I asked for it, I wouldn't have the back issues I have now. I would probably be completely pain-free, but instead, I'm disabled. Needless to say, I'm not close to her at all. I'm closer to my MIL, who I'm taking care of now.

I would suggest keeping your visits short and taking something in with you to keep the focus on. Maybe some old photos, or a magazine of something she's interested in, or a book she'd enjoy that you could read out loud to her. Ask her advice about something she would actually know about, gardening if she knew about that, or cooking, or whatever. Ask something genuine, but know that whatever she answers, you're just going to smile and say, "oh thank you, that's a wonderful suggestion," and once you leave you can forget all about it. You can't change her, so you're going to have to do the best you can to spend time with her without making yourself ill over it. Short and sweet, that's the golden rule! Take her some special food that will be a treat for her. Take her flowers. Do little things for her. Then be done and leave. There is no reason for guilt on your part. You control your own actions, not hers. You behave like a good daughter, but don't expect her to behave like she should. Even though she's your mom, you can't take it personally when she doesn't act like you think a mom should. It's not you! It's her! Let yourself have a good conscience and don't take responsibility for her actions onto yourself.

I wish you the best! I know how hard it can be!


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Old 10-21-2008, 06:28 PM   #3
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sunnydaze1 HB User
Re: Difficult mother

I can understand, somewhat, what you are going through. Your mom is 91 and from what you've told me she's pretty feisty.

All I can advise you is to make the best of the time that you have with her. I know she will say things that don't make sense; that will upset you; etc.

I basically live in the same neighborhood as my mom's nursing home and deal with the obstacles that confront me at the time. I know it is very difficult, but I can only hope that my mom will live to be 91 and still know me. I don't think that's going to happen. Yes, I feel as though I've put my mom in a prison...but it's a prison that frees me to be able to live the life that I know she would want me to.

Sometimes you have to think of your own quality of life and your own prison you are experiencing. Keep that in mind and I think you'll find your answer.

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Old 10-21-2008, 07:10 PM   #4
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rdyrmsg HB User
Re: Difficult mother

BlueAtlas - - did you know my mother??? Egad! You left NOTHING out :-)

And Jannar the nursing home staff said the same to me - - so help me, word for word :-) Hmmm, they must have known her too :-)

Here's what I did. First I have to say that I did not 'worry' about her basic feelings. I did just as BlueAtlas describes in her second paragraph. Kept everything short and sweet. Visited only every second day even though she was only a 30 minute drive away.

Always walked in with some bit of news even if I had to, shall we say, adjust the facts so that she could rant & vent & judge. Then I promptly forgot whatever was said as soon as I said goodby.

Oh yes, and made special efforts to be gracious and pleasant to every staff member from the Doc on to the custodial folk. Candy IS appreciated as are good words; put the good words in writing.

My mother was a successful person who led an extremely interesting life but who unfortunately, made alot of folks around her avoid/ignore a great deal of her (self-made) behavior just to survive and enjoy the good parts.

So it goes - - I know you will find your way. Be strong. A
lot of what is directed at you is personal, a lot is not. Hopefully your sisters and yourself are on good terms.

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Old 10-21-2008, 07:38 PM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Rixeyville VA USA
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quetzalmom HB User
Re: Difficult mother

Jannar, I feel ya. My mom has always been difficult, and her illness has accentuated this. A recent's car (a 1985) failed. She wanted a new car. We found a 1-year old Toyota Corolla at a fair price. She said she wanted it so I helped her buy it. It never left her garage, she called the salesman, me, my son, my husband, the neighbors, on a daily basis because she could not figure out how to start the freaking car. It finally had to be returned, after much negotiation by my son. It is still all my fault because I would not let her buy a " cute little brown car." She has always told me I was an idiot, now it's my fault she can't drive. After much soul searching, I finally told her last week after her umpteenth request that I take her to buy another car that I did not feel she was well enough to drive. She proceeded to tell me what a terrible driver I am (I'm not). Why do they think making us less will somehow restore them to what they were? Hang in there dear, vent away, the good ladies here will understand.
All the best,

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Old 10-21-2008, 10:28 PM   #6
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Re: Difficult mother

Janner... you described my mother perfectly except for one fact..... she was NEVER that way until Alzheimer's took over her brain. Mom was selfless, caring, and rarely said a cross word. Now she's self centered, uncaring, and will chew out a bug on the rug because it's there. Just Monday she was taken to the dentist because she had something between her teeth that hurt. The dentist checked and only found a slight abrasion, probably from chewing something hard that scraped the gum. She pitched a fit making him come back repeatedly to recheck it. When she finally left the dentist office she pitched a first class southern hissy fit about the incompatent dentist that charged her for doing nothing. I called a few hours later and she was fine.

I can also relate to the hearing aid. Mom refuses to wear hers. She says she hears all she wants to hear. Every request of her to wear it is met with that same statement but then she flips out when she doesn't understand what is being said.

When I deal with Mom I usually start by asking her a question that I know she will have an opinion on rather than telling her something. Whatever she says I agree with her. That sets a positive tone to start with. Then I tell her something and wait for her response to tell her how I feel about it. Of course I agree with whatever she said. Rather than leading the conversation I let her lead and I just nod like a bobble head.

But there are those times when I get disowned, thrown out of the will, and am the worst daughter she has. It is usually related to keeping her prisoner in the horrible place and not letting her and Dad go home. If I would just take her home and leave her she would be fine. I let those roll right off my back because I know in my heart that in her right mind she would NEVER EVER say those things. I also know she and Dad are exactly where they need to be. So don't take the nasty things Mom says to heart. It is not you she is angry with. She is angry with whatever has turned her world upside down. She just doesn't know that it is her mind that has done this to her.

I do understand the frustration. So many of us are or have been where you are. Just know there are all these ladies that understand and we are behind you supporting the good job you are doing with your Mom.

Love, deb

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