1. Expert Q&A: Protecting a person with dementia from financial abuse - Weds 26 June, 3:30-4:30 pm

    Financial abuse can have serious consequences for a person with dementia. Find out how to protect a person with dementia from financial abuse.

    Sam, our Knowledge Officer (Legal and Welfare Rights) is our expert on this topic. She will be here to answer your questions on Wednesday 26 June between 3:30 - 4:30 pm.

    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

Anyone who faces the same?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by JT13, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. JT13

    JT13 Registered User

    Aug 9, 2006
    41
    Dear All,

    I've learned so much from this forum where you've all shared your personal experiences, tears, laughter and lives. Many times, I've heard your stories of loved ones who had been wonderful and caring before Alzheimer's kicked in.

    Have anyone of you had to care for someone who is extremely selfish and foul tempered to begin with (without Alzheimer's)? Know what it's like to have to live with such a person WITH Alzheimer's? It's tough.

    Regards,
    J
     
  2. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya JT13,
    I think there are several others who post who can empathise with you.
    I think what is particularly difficult is where you have had a positive relationship in the past, the ill temper due to dementia can almost be excused as it is 'the illness'; where there has been ' extreme selfishness and foul temper' prior to the dementia, it must be difficult to know where the natural temperament ends and the illness starts; also difficult because the carers are already scarred by the previous relationship. I am sure that for some it feels as though they are trying to love the unloveable; the fact that they continue to try is to their credit.
    Love Helen
     
  3. KenC

    KenC Registered User

    Mar 24, 2006
    913
    Co Durham
    Talking Point

    Hi JT13,
    Its amazing how much pleasure pleople get from this web site. I look in quite a lot and even when I am feeling down I can usually find something to cheer myself up with such as Brucies jokes.
    I am sure my wife thinks I have gone mad at times when she hears my laughing. But at the same time we are all in the same boat and there is always someone there to help or give advice. I can not speak highly enough about this web site, as its given me countless hours of support in many ways. I do not look after anyone like you, as I am the one being looked after, but you and all carers need all the support you can get, because I think you are doing a marvelous job. Without you we Users would be totaly lost.
    At times I feel very sorry for my wife because she has to look after me.

    Best wishes

    kenc
     
  4. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Ken, I love your signature sentence!
    Love Helen
     
  5. KenC

    KenC Registered User

    Mar 24, 2006
    913
    Co Durham
    #5 KenC, Sep 5, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2006
    Anyone who faces the same

    Hi Amy,
    My wife gave me a post card with this on when I was first diagnosed and struggling to carry on at work. This made such an impact on me, that I carried it round in my pocket and then had it framed and put it on my desk at home.
    Every time I look at it I feel better knowing that somedays I may not succeed in doing something, but the next I may be alright. At the same time I get worried about doing things or my illness showing up at the wrong time.

    Regards

    kenc
     
  6. JT13

    JT13 Registered User

    Aug 9, 2006
    41
    True

    Dear Amy,

    Yes, you hit it on the nail. I've noticed that many have sweet memories to fall back on and to get them on to the next day. You put it very well with your statement ... "have had a positive relationship in the past, the ill temper due to dementia can almost be excused as it is 'the illness'". On the flip side of the coin, i've realised that with someone who is "selfish and foul tempered" to begin with, Alzheimer's merely intensifies and magnifies those characteristics.

    Ken, I absolutely agree with you. All these wonderful people who have contributed to TP has given me much support and knowledge. I understand if you feel sorry for your wife... but do know that's what "for better or for worst" truly means. You'd be there for her too if the tables were turned. It's the moments both of you share together, no matter how tough it gets that adds real value to your relationship.

    TP has helped me understand this person much better. However, it's put a lot of strain in my personal relationship with my partner. After 8 months, I've tried everything to keep her happy, short of calling it quits. Yesterday, I've decided to stop trying so hard as it goes no where.

    Regards,
    J
     
  7. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya JT13,
    Let us know how it goes - you may find because you are trying less, tension eases in you, and all relationships improve.

    Ken,
    Your wife is choosing to be with you - you sound a pretty special person. I'm going to copy down your signature sentence - it helps keep things in perspective.

    Love Helen
     
  8. JT13

    JT13 Registered User

    Aug 9, 2006
    41
    Update

    Dear Helen,

    Thanks for your kind thoughts and words. Honestly, I never did expect or demand for her to be nice to me. Just hoped for simplicity that she isn't nasty/bully me.

    My relationship has suffered as a result of this through the months. Can't do much when she wants to be the center of attention all the time. Can't even go out for a date. Tried everything in the books, tried all the tricks and methods people have written on TP. It just doesn't work.

    He's asked me to change my mindset and deal with it. Now, my partner and I are going to see less of each other to avoid any escalation of negativity with her.

    I'm caught between a rock and a hard place.

    Regards,
    J
     
  9. JT13

    JT13 Registered User

    Aug 9, 2006
    41
    #9 JT13, Sep 8, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2006
    Tired

    I'm tired. I've only known her not more than a year. Her children are all keeping a distance from her as she's brought so much difficulty into their lives and marriages. Now, it's affecting my relationship with her son. They've adviced me on how to manage but what good does it do when those methods never worked for them in the first place?

    I hate confrontation and arguments. Hence, all this time, I've been trying to avoid such an outcome. Avoiding the path and outcomes that have resulted with the relationships she's had with her other children's families. I've spent so much time reading, researching and trying to find new ways to deal with all this amicably so as not to generate any negativity. However, I'm failing many times as her personality is fixated.

    What am I to do? I'm adamant to ensure my bf never has to choose. That would be very selfish and wrong of me to do so. Ever so often, I find myself back on the drawing board, picking up after being drained so that tomorrow, hopefully, will be better.

    If you have some advice, please do impart to me. All my other friends have just told me to stay at a distance, similar to what her other children are doing.... just to keep the sanity. By doing that, my relationship suffer as a result. What am I to do?

    Regards
    J
     
  10. Rosalind

    Rosalind Registered User

    Jul 2, 2005
    203
    Wiltshire
    I don't see how you can be expected to do that much for this woman. I would say provide your boyfriend with a peaceful, happy place to come to away from his mother, so he can build up his own resources. Offer advice, do practical things such as finding out about benefits, but keep your distance from the monster mother in law as clearly you are not going to be able to care for her willingly, and neither should you feel you have to.
     
  11. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    #11 Margarita, Sep 8, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2006
    For me when I first began looking after my mother is was hard relishing how can I put it, that that I was the adult now no more was I a victim as that is now my mother made me feel as a child, teenager as my mother was extremely selfish and foul tempered to begin with (without Alzheimer's)?

    Its hard when your trying to help them when you got so much emotional pain that they given to as a child , but ones I realise that I am in the hear now and the future, that my mother is just triggering memories from my past bring then in to my mind at that given moment . I feel cram because I have control only of myself I am not that child any more, but a grown woman. I change in my attitude towards how I see those out burst of foul temper that my mother use to give me when I first started to look after her. I just ignored them did not indulge in them. I can honestly say that my mother does not direct them at me now and does not have them unless like yesterday trying to clime up the stars to our flat, she scream blue murder shouted in Spanish crushing the council for not giving her a grown floor flat.


    (I must say that I never swear just sound vulgar to me )

    while I had to tell people as they pass by that she just getting confused not telling them this was how my mother express her anger anyway she sounded like a mad woman then and still yesterday, but after my mother got in she said she was sorry .

    So don’t know if this has help you , But I would also say Like J said
    provide your boyfriend with a peaceful, happy place to come to away from his mother, so he can build up his own resources.

    but keep your distance from the monster mother in law as clearly you are not going to be able to care for her willingly, and neither should you feel you have to
     
  12. JT13

    JT13 Registered User

    Aug 9, 2006
    41
    exhausted

    Dear Rosalind & Margarita,

    Thank you so much for your replies. I really am glad that someone out there listens and cares.

    In regards to the below:

    provide your boyfriend with a peaceful, happy place to come to away from his mother, so he can build up his own resources.

    but keep your distance from the monster mother in law as clearly you are not going to be able to care for her willingly, and neither should you feel you have to.


    My bf doesn't have any financial issues and has his own resources. He's there to take care of her because no one else is able to emotionally, mentally or physically.

    I sat down today and thought about it. It's ok if she doesn't like me, or accuses me of not doing things for her at all. It's ok. I'm slowly learning to make myself feel less of anything. I accept that this entire thing is out of my jurisdiction to change for the better.
     
  13. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya JT13,
    What does your boyfriend expect of you? (Sorry if you have told us before). I note you say he has asked you to change your mindset - but what to? You say that you are going to see less of each other - is that because his mother does not like you around the house, or that she resents him seeing you? What do you want? Together you need to decide the way forward - what compromises can be made to ensure that your relationship survives, if that is what you both want.
    Love Helen
     
  14. JT13

    JT13 Registered User

    Aug 9, 2006
    41
    Dear Amy

    Dear Amy (Helen),

    1) What does your boyfriend expect of you? (Sorry if you have told us before). I note you say he has asked you to change your mindset - but what to?

    He wishes for me to take it and deal with it, reason being that she isn't going to change for me or anyone else. To change mindset to one that doesn't feel upset, hurt or unhappy when she chooses to pick on me.

    2) You say that you are going to see less of each other - is that because his mother does not like you around the house, or that she resents him seeing you?

    I believe the answer is both. We suspect that she's merely jealous. Also, I've realised a trend that if one spends much time with her, she tends to let her frustrations out on them. Reason for me to see him less is because only recently has she been picking on me this way. Maybe there's no one else around to pick on?

    3) What do you want?

    From day 1, I've merely wanted a cordial coexsitence amongst all parties. Didn't want history to repeat itself like the past family relationships.

    4) Together you need to decide the way forward - what compromises can be made to ensure that your relationship survives, if that is what you both want.

    You are correct.

    P.S. Yesterday, she reminded me again that she can't be controlled by anyone and that if she doesn't get her way, she'd loose her temper.
     
  15. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya JT13.
    Why not?
    What stage is MIL (I know she isn't, but easiest way to refer to her) at? Is she left on her own - does your boyfriend work? If she isn't able to be left, then you need to get outside carers involved, or other family members, so that you and your boyfriend can get some space together.
    I think that is what we all have to do, to prevent the hurt overwhelming us. But you cannot switch your emotions off altogether, and your boyfriend needs to realise that - if you do, you won't be the person that he fell in love with!
    Love Helen
     
  16. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    3,433
    Suffolk,England
    Hi J,

    Just to get it clear in my own mind, the AD sufferer is your boyfriend's Mum, and he lives with her full time (as her carer, or just her companion at the moment? - not clear if she is still able to function without assistance.) And you don't live with him/them, but you are obviously a frequent visitor in the normal way of things. Right so far?

    Your wish to pitch in & help take the strain off your boyfriend is a laudable and natural one, but the bug in the butter is that Mum isn't a sweet little old lady reminiscing about her childhood memories, but a dyed-in-the wool foul old witch trying to hang onto her marbles & her independence by the same nasty ways she has lived the rest of her life up to now. Her 'jealousy' is probably also now fear that she will lose her only remaining ally, although wild horses wouldn't drag out of her an admission of that.

    Someone who posts here frequently uses the signature line "If you can't change something, change the way you think about it" (I hope I've got that right Karen :rolleyes: ) and I think this is pretty much what your boyfriend is saying to you, probably for your own sake and to preserve your relationship. He knows absolutely that you would be flogging a dead horse in trying to build a rapport with this fractious, difficult person, and would only get hurt (as you have already) AND possibly - without intending to at all - make life at home more difficult for him to deal with. I don't imagine it is a barrel of laughs for him at the best of times.

    I know it's easy for someone else to say, but try not to take her 'accusations' to heart too much; it is a common behaviour amongst dementia sufferers to become suspicious and imagine (for instance) that even their nearest & dearest are stealing from them, or hiding things. Your boyfriend will know that there is no foundation to them. It's probably her way of trying to make some sense of her confused world - if she can't find something, then someone must have stolen or hidden it, obviously! It can't be her that's got it wrong, that doesn't happen!

    J, I really feel for you in this cruel situation. All your instincts are telling you to spend as much time as you can with your lover, and make a life together. He will be feeling similarly, BUT is also pulled by family duty and circumstances in the opposite direction from that he would like to follow. It's diffficult enough to get the proverbial "sweet old lady" (or gentleman) persuaded to accept help & support from :eek: 'strangers', as many here know; to build a support team around a vicious dragon-lady seems an impossible task, but eventually it will have to be done. The nature of the disease is such that there is only just so long that a devoted son cna do it on his own. When it comes to intimate care, she will reject such services from him. You haven't said how old she is, or how badly she is affected (apart from her 'normal' horrid nature, that is :cool: ) but the situation as it is won't last forever, it will change. That won't make it easier for him to deal with, and he will need all your patience & support for HIMSELF, so don't knock yourself out trying to give it to his Mum, who patently doesn't want it.

    Good luck & God bless
     
  17. JT13

    JT13 Registered User

    Aug 9, 2006
    41
    Lynne, you're correct.

    Dear Lynne,

    I must compliment you for your keen intuition and deductive reasoning. You hit it on the head of the nail. I do know it's a lot to do with Dementia. My presence at the house is wearing out its welcome. Hence, as I've tried all routes, have now concluded that I shouldn't be there that often or at all for the next few months.

    The more I am there, the more she remembers me, the worst it gets. Hence, best just let it be and keep away as everyone else.

    She can be the sweetest lady when she doesn't remember who I am. LOL. I trust I like it to be that way henceforth. Makes it less stressful for her too. You're also correct to say that she may be jealous of my presence in her son's life. I'm not here to take her son away from her, but been trying to foster a good relationship amongst everyone so we can all co-exist under the same roof. However, I doubt she feels the same way... that is very understandable.

    I admit, it's not easy. Rationally, it just isn't conducive for the relationship between my bf and me. That's reality and we have to just accept it.

    Regards,
    J
     
  18. JT13

    JT13 Registered User

    Aug 9, 2006
    41
    Forgot to add....


    "He knows absolutely that you would be flogging a dead horse in trying to build a rapport with this fractious, difficult person, and would only get hurt (as you have already) AND possibly - without intending to at all - make life at home more difficult for him to deal with. I don't imagine it is a barrel of laughs for him at the best of times."
    --- Not difficult at all for him because she doesn't let it out on him. One moment she's throwing her tantrum... and when he walks through the door, she immediately stops and puts a smile on. Hence he never gets the short end of the stick.


    "I know it's easy for someone else to say, but try not to take her 'accusations' to heart too much; it is a common behaviour amongst dementia sufferers to become suspicious and imagine (for instance) that even their nearest & dearest are stealing from them, or hiding things."
    ---- She doesn't accuse people of stealing or hiding things. Her family has firmly informed me that she exhibits many characteristics all her life, long before Alzheimer's.

    Her symptoms of Alzheimer's is very mild. Merely some short term memory loss. More so that at times, her children suspect that she's using it as a reason for personal gain. No medications are desired to improve her memory. They really don't want her to get her memory back as it will make things revert to how it was when she used to hold a grudge for days and pit one child against another.
     
  19. martin77

    martin77 Registered User

    Jun 29, 2006
    9
    Hey JT13,

    I can't offer much in the way of advice but plenty of empathy. I live with my wife in her MIL's house who has AD. This is after living together for years on our own in a different part of the country. I'll save you the life story but in a nutshell I have found it a complete nightmare. As well as memory loss we've had to deal with quite aggressive behaviour and many other upsetting symptoms.

    Unfortunately being an imperfect human this has had a very negative effect on me and my wife's relationship and we've got to the point where we have to move out, we''ll be near enough to pop in when we need and we have the support of the care people in our decision, despite MIL's illness she can still be on her own with plenty of supervision.

    In fact I have very angry feeelings as I miss my old life, our relationship as it was, and being away from where my roots are, but hey I'm supposed to be a big boy now so I've just gotta deal with it. Our scarifices (financial, social, work) dont even come into the equation with MIL.....we are the enemy despite being there to try and help deal with this. This seems to me a denial issue on her part which is understandable but has made the dynamics of livng there extremely diificult.

    I feel guilty with not being able to sacrifice my life to indefinitely live in this situation but have accepted I just can't do it.

    All I would say is there is only so much you can do to be there for someone, you have to be ok too....it's especially diffcult when it's a partners loved one as they may have history of a relationship with that person, where as you may not, and there is no way of bulding one now she is suffering from AD.

    You are not alone I hope the future works out ok.
     
  20. JT13

    JT13 Registered User

    Aug 9, 2006
    41
    Thanks Martin

    Dear Martin,

    Thank you for your empathy. Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. It is comforting to know that I'm not alone. My experience is very similar to yours.... only difference is, she's always been this way before Alzheimer's kicked in. Also, you had the luxury to have a normal and fulfilling relationship with your wife. My relationship never did have that chance. Yes, I do feel angry because every relationship should be given an opportunity to grow between two people prior to taking on such a responsibility. I can't cry over spilled milk, can I?

    Alzheimer's is a dreaded desease that changes many people's life, bringing sadness and pain. However, ironically, it's brought a little peace to the people around her. She no longer has the ability to plot and plan, to hold grudges for days on end, to make life misserable for her children for long periods of time. For that, they are thankful to Alzheimer's.

    Throughout all this however, I still do feel guilty as you do. Wished I had the ability to take care of her and provide unconditionally. However, I cannot. I don't have the ability to live my life for her. If her children are unable to, I hope they don't expect me to either.

    Again, I thank you for your kind words and encouragement. Will definitely update on progress of this situation.

    Much love to all of you out there, that each day be a better day than the last.

    Regards & Hugs
     

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