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Mom Thinks I am Mean to Her


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Old 01-19-2014, 06:35 AM   #1
oscarsmom3
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Question Mom Thinks I am Mean to Her

M Mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's about two years ago. She can still take care of herself she only needs help bathing. She has lived with my husband and I for 15 years.
Back in April she went to stay with my Brother while my husband recovered from a heart attack but came back home in November because she said my Brother was verbalky mean to her. Now she says she thinks I hate her, she told me today I never have a kind word to say to her. I love my Mom and would not ever be mean to her so I do not understand why she thinks my Brother and I are mean to her. Is this persecution delusions? How do I deal with this?

I tried to explain to her that she is misinterpreting what I am saying but she just cries pitifully.
At the end of this month she plans to move in with my Sister but I am sure she will believe my Sister is mean to her too after she has been there a while.

Thank you for any info.
Lisa

Last edited by oscarsmom3; 01-19-2014 at 06:37 AM. Reason: forgot to leave my name

 
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Old 01-19-2014, 08:53 PM   #2
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Re: Mom Thinks I am Mean to Her

Lisa, know that this is part of the disease. I will repeat that... This is part of the disease!!! The first part of the brain that is affected is the hippocampus. This is where we form our new memories but it is also has much to do with our behavior. Irrational reactions and actions result from this damage. Alzheimer's is not just a memory problem... it's brain damage that affects everything a person is and does. As the disease spreads, other parts of our being are affected. Our ability to communicate, understanding of speech, ability to focus, visual perception, auditory perception, spacial concepts,... and the list goes on and on to include everything that is.

Beyond these facts, what the brain perceives is our reality... and that goes for the diseased brain as well. No amount of arguing with her or explanation to the contrary is going to convince her that what she perceives is not reality. She believes what her brain tells her. If you do try to tell her differently then you are saying that she is crazy.... and why she cries. What you get back is that you are mean and crazy while she is upset and crying!

Add into that her inability to express herself. She may not like what you are saying to her so she tells you that you are mean. She may be hungry and tell you that you are mean. She is unhappy and you are mean. Then you have her inability to understand what you are saying to her. She misunderstands but thinks she is right.... and you are mean Tell her she is wrong and she cries. Not to mention that she knows she has a purse but can't find it so she is sure somebody stole it! Who would do that, well you are the only one she knows is there Had to be you. Yep, you are mean, your brother is mean, and your sister is going to be mean as well.

Best thing you can do is to just tell her you are sorry she feels that way and will try to do better. You know you have not, nor would you ever, be mean. But her brain is telling her differently. By saying you are sorry she feels that way, you validate her feelings... and telling her you will try to do better gives her a reason to think you are with her not against her. Then share a great big bowl of her favorite ice cream or other treat. Be positive and understand that it is the disease talking. The first thing you need to learn in dementia care is that the patient is always right and don't argue with them. Make it ok, make it right for them, and unless it is a matter of safety, just agree.

They do not think like we do. She may know that there is something going on.. but has the inability to understand that her brain is the problem. If something is amiss, and she is fine (which her brain tells her that she is) then it has to be you that is the problem. You just have to find ways to validate her emotions and help her feel content in her world.

One thing I did learn with Mom was rather than answering her questions or answering her back, I just said "Tell me about it!" That way she is given the opportunity to vocalize, to the best of her ability. It might not make sense to you but it is the best she can do. Pick up on her feelings. This will give you a hint to what is going on with her. Reflect back to her what you see. She will pick up more from your nonverbal cues than what you say. If she is angry then be contrite and helpful rather than getting angry back and reprimanding her for what her brain is telling her.

Yep, it is like you are navigating a mine field that can blow up at any time. It will blow up. But once it does try to distract her or just leave her alone for a while to let it pass. Take advantage of the short term memory. Go away and ask her to come take a walk with you or have a bowl of ice cream.. or anything else she might enjoy. Hugs and "I love you" go a long way... with no other explanation needed. Keep it short and sweet because the longer you ramble the less she will comprehend.

PS... I mention ice cream a lot because that always worked with my Dad. No matter how agitated he became I could cure anything with a smile and a big bowl of ice cream after a few minutes of isolation. Small moments, a bowl would do. Big blow ups I might give him the tub and a spoon!

And... my mom disowned me, threw me out of the will, told me how horrible I was repeatedly I still have a voice mail that threatened and harassed. It happens and it is the disease. It is a phase that they go through and know that eventually it will end and something will take it's place.

If she is doing a lot of crying and is constantly agitated then you might want to talk to her doctor. Depression is common in Alzheimer's patients and can be treated. The effects of the brain damage can also cause other psychological problem such as paranoia which can be treated. Not to mention the agitation itself can be treated. What you want most of all is for Mom to be content. Her brain is causing the agitation, not you, so if it progresses please talk to her doctor about it.

Sorry you needed to find us but glad you did and welcome Hope you hang around. All of us here have been through or going through exactly what you are going through. Hope to hear more from you

Love, deb

 
Old 01-19-2014, 09:06 PM   #3
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Re: Mom Thinks I am Mean to Her

It is part of the disease. It is Alzheimer's. The changes confused her. You had lived with her 15 years normally and then she got sick with dementia. Brother took her in not understanding her dementia and probably was frustrated as well with her. Now she moved back and got confused. She could not figure out why and she forgot the good stuff long time ago. So she blamed you for the changes. Now she will get worse as she feels worse. Nothing you can do. Trying to tell her it is not true may help at some point, but don't expect her to remember or understand what happened. Whatever you explained is not what she is thinking. She is in another reality now. The more confused, the more delusional. She cannot understand why she was moved around.
Honestly she should not be moved around often. Now your sister will feel the pain too. Is there any way to make sure she is not moved a lot? How about a dementia unit? It is not helpful to move her around because you and your siblings are taking turns. Mom's living place should not be changed. The bathing issue is important. Routine and familiarity is important to her. By rotating her around 3 kids' houses is bound to make her feel miserable and that is why she is upset and thinks you guys are mean.
Try to set up a stable place for her. You guys can rotate the visits. Mom cannot be moved around like that. She needs to get used to the bathroom and daily routines. She may wander and get lost. So make her stay in a familiar place.

Hugs,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 01-19-2014 at 09:08 PM.

 
Old 01-20-2014, 12:15 AM   #4
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Re: Mom Thinks I am Mean to Her

Hello...I agree with so much of what the previous posters expressed. JMO but 15 years is too long to have a parent live with your family. It's not fair to anyone, even if she were perfectly happy. As this disease progresses, things are going to become more hostile and chaotic. My suggestion is to find a long term care facility for her to move into. She needs to be taken care of by professionals who can handle the challenges of the disease. They can take care of her bathing/hygiene issues daily and make sure she eats 3 times per day. They can offer her stimulation and socialization to enrich her life. You and your siblings can visit her as regular as you like, while she remains for the rest of her life in a familiar, stable environment.

There are "horror" stories out there about adult care facilities. There are some bad apples, but there are GREAT ones too. I placed my mom in 2005. She is now 87 years old. Her Dementia is progressing. She has major mood swings and on occasion, threatens to swing at me=( As G said, ice cream is a miracle. I spent years taking my mom dinners that I prepared. I would later find things "hidden" that looked like petri dishes. When I take in the pint of Ben & Jerry's with a REAL stainless spoon (that I tell her is her special spoon that I keep in my Jeep) she grins from ear to ear and starts to dig in. She eats the whole thing while telling me she can't eat the whole thing.

You have to do the best you can. She deserves quality care in a facility. You deserve to have your home back so that you can live your life. I'm sorry. I have lived this situation and continue to do so. There are no easy answers. It only gets HARDER=(

 
Old 01-20-2014, 02:18 PM   #5
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Re: Mom Thinks I am Mean to Her

Long Term Care is great, but it is expensive and most people don't have that kind of insurance. Medicare does NOT cover long term custodial care. She may be able to get Medicaid once she exhausts all of her assets, but she will need a good attorney to handle that, and that isn't cheap either.

 
Old 01-20-2014, 09:55 PM   #6
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Re: Mom Thinks I am Mean to Her

Lots of valid points here but I will say that the decision to use long term care vs home care is a personal choice. Just know that it is not easy to keep your loved one at home for the duration. Some have the ability to do so and some do not. I know many that have successfully but you need to know what you are getting into.

Yes, many go through periods of hostility, anxiety, paranoia, and even aggression. Other are mild mannered and content. You will eventually have to take care of every personal need. Toileting, incontinence, bathing, feeding, dressing and the like. They will go from ambulatory, to the risk of wandering, to non ambulatory, and eventually bed bound. You will have to have somebody with them 24/7/365. That means you stay with them, have family relieve you, or hire help when you are away. Going to work and leaving them home alone will not work for long.

Wandering is a huge concern. Even the frail that have trouble walking can disappear in a moment. Just yesterday we had one here go missing. He drove his car to church and left at noon to go home. He was found tonight at the beach 6 hours away. They thought he was fine to drive around town. Last summer we had one walked away from home when her son ran to the drug store. She was hit and killed on a major interstate miles from her home. They can go out and get lost in a moment.

They will also get their days and nights mixed up. Sundowning will make the evenings the worst part of the day. Then they will be up at night when you want to sleep. My Mom slept no more than 4 hours a day in short naps for years!! Or she may do like my Dad and sleep for hours each day.

Eventually her meals will need to be tailored to her ability to eat. This may mean finger foods while she paces, soft foods that she does not have to chew, or puree and thickened liquids. It is always a challenge to keep them eating as their taste and abilities change.

It will also be more and more difficult to get them to appointments.

Then there is the cost. It is expensive and unless they have specific long term care insurance, insurance does not pay. Medicare does not pay for long term care. Medicaid will require a spend down of all her money and then she would be placed in a nursing facility. This can only be done if her health condition warrants medical intervention.

But only you know when it is time to make a move. Just be very aware of the fluid changes inherent in this disease. It can change in a day. You may be able to keep her with you now but there may come a time when she will need more care than you can offer.

Moving her from one sibling to the other can be difficult for her. If she has lived with you for many years they she is familiar with your house and you being there. They do function better with routine and familiarity. But if sister can give you some relief, and Mom is familiar with her house, then it is ok to send Mom there for a while. Just know that each move does come with a period of adjustment and may lead to agitation. It is best if she can stay where she knows or be moved as little as possible.

Some do the medicaid application themselves with the help of the facility social worker. It helps to keep her money separated from your money and keep detailed records of what is spend for her. Medicaid will look back 7 years to make sure her money was used for her. A good Elder Lawyer can help if necessary. If Mom doesn't have the money for a lawyer, you can call the local bar association and see if there is a lawyer that will do it pro bono or on a sliding scale.

Love, deb

Love, deb

 
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:50 PM   #7
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Re: Mom Thinks I am Mean to Her

I also want to mention that you may consider home care. Hiring a home care co. and the caregivers can come to help you part-time or take turns. You don't have to be there 24/7 given that your husband got sick before. You can share help with the paid caregivers. This way she can stay in the same place and you don't need to send her away to a facility.
We had done home care for my late father-in-law for a long time, so he only stayed in the dementia unit for 2 years before he died.

Nina

 
Old 01-25-2014, 07:57 AM   #8
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Re: Mom Thinks I am Mean to Her

ninamarc brings up a good point. Medicare will pay for home health in many instances. Check with the staff at your Mother's physicians office. They are usually the best source for local help and have better working knowledge of insurance coverage than the clinician will.

I agree that long term care is a personal choice. If you can remove all assets from your Mother's name (this was a challenge in my family) within a certain time period prior to going into a nursing home, those assets are protected. http://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/help-paying-costs/medicaid/medicaid.html It is called Medicaid spend-down when assets are lost and the rules to protect the assets vary by State. It sound like your Mom does not have her own home so this may be a moot point. But there may be other assets such as stocks etc. to protect so sometimes, if your family can pay for it together, even a single consultation with an attorney who specializes in elderly/long term care issues is a benefit.

I guess my point is that it is an emotional as well as a financial decision and neither is easy. What works for one family may not be best for another. Alzheimer's is like that. It is a beast and will find your weak spot and go straight for it. It gives you problems with no good solution.

Just know we are here for you, Lisa. I am sending many hugs and prayers to you and your family during this difficult time.

 
Old 02-01-2014, 05:20 PM   #9
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Re: Mom Thinks I am Mean to Her

i really no how you are feeling. my mom is 84, and has dementia, and has a couple of mini strokes. its really hard as my mom is my best friend, and i no she blames me for everything. she can do most everything herself, and sometimes seems like nothing is wrong with her. she is just not a happy person anymore, or is not happy anyware. she stayed at my house and wasn't happy. I also have a husband with some heart trouble. then she felt we didn't want her, and i felt like i was split in two. she is staying at a private adult home. But she hates it, the food, the other ladies. in 2 weeks we are going to florida for a couple weeks and that is not going over well, she wants to go, as she always went with my dad, and then my aunt. so now i feel guilty to even mention it. but it would not be a fun trip lol. just hope she doesn't get worked up.
every time i am down i come to this site so i am glad you found it. you are not alone

 
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