Help! How do I deal with my Mum?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by GillU, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. GillU

    GillU Registered User

    Oct 18, 2015
    Hi all, am new on here and looking for some advice/support on how to deal with my 84 year old Mum....she is currently being assessed and has had a CT scan recently to determine either Alzheimer's or vascular dementia (apparently they require different medication). She scored 21/30 last December on the standard mental health test and 17/30 this August, so there's been some deterioration and she is now in the 'middle range'. I understand that below 12 is 'severe'.

    I get the memory loss/time distortion bit and it must be very disorienting to have that, but Mum seems to be so angry/judgemental/critical with almost everyone that she is becoming isolated and lonely. She has now upset so many people that she has almost no-one in her life and to be quite frank, it isn't pleasant to spend time with her anymore, so I can't blame people for avoiding her. She will wait for someone to park near to her house (perfectly legal to do that) and she's straight out causing a scene. She will be openly critical of others on the warden-controlled complex she lives on, so they steer clear. She won't attend any of the social events because she doesn't like the people. In fact she's turned into a grumpy old lady and I'm struggling with it.

    Many years ago she fell out, on separate occasions, with both of my brothers (she criticised their wives and caused arguments so this trait is nothing new). They have tried many times to visit/call but she won't let them, so it's just me now. Things have now come to a head when I invited her to lunch last Sunday (like I do every week) and she said she wasn't going to come if my Son in Law was there because he hadn't thanked her for his birthday card. I tried to say that he'd simply forgotten but she was adamant he was 'slighting' her and said she'd never come round when he was there again (he's a lovely guy by the way)!

    She then started to criticise my daughter too, at which point I got cross at her (I know I shouldn't have) and said that I wasn't prepared to listen to her and if she changed her mind about Sunday she could ring. She then said she'd come but she wouldn't speak to him so I told her that I wasn't prepared to have that going on in my home. I also asked her to consider Christmas (because we usually all spend it together) before she started causing more family problems.

    She didn't call on the Sunday so I went round and she wouldn't let me in, and shouted at me through the front door to go away. I've phoned 5 times since and she won't answer the phone. I've left some home made soup on her front step and have checked with the warden that she's ok.

    So what do I do now? Am torn between leaving her alone for a few days to cool down (and keep checking that she's ok) or persevere with trying to contact her, but am loathe to keep getting the cold shoulder. I'm actually really cross at her and I need to cool down too, I keep trying to tell myself that she can't help it, but sometimes I think she knows what she's doing, she seems manipulative to me and is putting me in an impossible position!

    Am so sorry for the long rant, I just don't know where to go from here!:mad:
  2. TinaT

    TinaT Registered User

    Sep 27, 2006
    #2 TinaT, Oct 21, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
    Perhaps a joint family response to such behaviour might moderate your mother's attitude.

    If you can forgive her silly criticisms of your family members and allow her to come to family gatherings and the whole family deal with her silly behaviour by ignoring her remarks, this may (just may) bring her a little to her senses. She will have to learn that such remarks cut no ice in your family circle.

    If she refuses to come to family gatherings, this is entirely her decision and seems to be one which, at the moment, she is still capable of making. She is making her own life much more difficult and must suffer the consequences. You can tell her she is cutting her nose off to spite her own face by the decisions she makes and social isolation is the inevitable consequence.

    Things do have a way of reaching some sort of resolution even if the final solution is not one which your mother can see at present or would like for herself in the near future. Try to stop worrying about a situation not of your making.

  3. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    It seems to me you've done everything right so far. You have reached out to her, given invitations and an opportunity to join the family, left soup as a sign there are no hard feelings. You have contacted someone to check on her well being. Short of taking her by the scruff of the neck there is not much else you can do. If she is going to continue to upset other people then inevitably she will be isolated. She seems to want it that way.

  4. ElaineW

    ElaineW Registered User

    Oct 18, 2012
    Verbal aggression and hitting

    Well that was rather spooky I just went on to this site to start off a very similar posting to that of yours so am using your thread to voice the same concerns. I like you have tried to put everything in place i.e. getting people to visit when I cant (I do visit 4 days a week) and when I am not visiting mum is constantly ringing me. I have set up befrienders to visit all of which have been met with verbal aggression and rudeness (which I know is part and parcel of the illness) but it's been causing me so much stress over the last six months or so. I have just in fact today decided to cancel all the visits. I am now having the same trouble with friends, mother-in-law and some of her carers that visit. It's making my life a nightmare and all falling down to me, she just will not engage with anyone apart from me. She's just started taking a new medication to try and calm her down but even if it helps (and I am not convinced it will) this could take 6 weeks to kick in. I desperately need to get away for a break (I have no other family to help) within the next month or so but given how things are at the moment the thought of leaving her with others feels me with dread and real apprehension. Might even have to change her care provider as well if things don't improve which wont be easy. :eek:
  5. Mrsbusy

    Mrsbusy Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    May I say I do agree with what others have said you have tried your best. I'm afraid even though she hasn't been officially diagnosed it sounds like some form of dementia, so it maybe that she wants to be on her own as AD sufferers do become more insular and cut themselves off as it's easier to deal with than facing other people. She may not realise that's what she is doing it, but it does sound like she's insecure anyway.

    You will feel hurt by her comments, her behaviour and her accusations but although it is so hard to endure it all its more than likely the disease not her as a mother. If she could see herself and her behaviour now if she was predementia I'm sure she would be astounded by her own attitude and behaviour.

    For now just enjoy the few days of respite, hopefully after a while she may forgot what it was all about and try to reach out to you again. If not keep in touch via the housing warden they're used to this.
  6. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    My Ma had a phase like this. I feel for you , it is really difficult.
    We did manage to get through it by persuading her to come to things, never contradicting her (and training the family just to nod and smile and NEVER contradict lol). She did have phases of being spiteful and although sometimes I did get sucked in before I realised but generally I would just remain neutral or change the subject before it escalated!

    The trouble is when they have a history of falling out with people it sometimes just gets worse but with my mum when we left her to her own devices two things happened 1) she deteriorated and 2) she spent time thinking and becoming more unpleasant so we distracted, cajoled and pleaded and whatever we needed to do nicely and just kept going, exhausting!!! I always tried to remain positive and calm or else it rubbed straight back onto her and she became 10x worse. Moods definitely reflected back

    I wouldn't tell her that she had to be 'nice' to people or talk to them or whatever, we used to just explain to others and we all dealt with the situation by ignoring any barbs flung in our direction. We continued to keep her part of the family right to the end in spite of her need to be horrid on many occasions lol

    Good luck, thinking of you x
  7. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    just to say, my mum used to lock our carer out of the house, but she was amazing, she used to make a joke of anything and everything and she always got to mum in the end although initially it took her six weeks of weekly calls to break down the barrier
    mum used to say "I don't need you thank you", "I'm going to call the Police", "you've only just come why do you want to keep coming into my house, you want to live here don't you and then you'll throw me out" and so it went but Michelle's amazing sense of humour taught me so much - weight in gold comes to mind!!
  8. GillU

    GillU Registered User

    Oct 18, 2015
    Thanks for your replies, it's so helpful to get other opinions. I hadn't even considered that she may actually WANT to be on her own! (Although she complains about having seen no-one so possibly not?)

    And Fizzie, that's my worry if I leave her on her own for too long, that she will deteriorate and only become more likely to 'stew' over things.

    I suppose I've just got to learn to let it all go over my head and not react. I think there's a small part of me that is rebelling against finding myself in this situation. She seems to almost regard me as her 'partner' and equally responsible for every problem in her life, and I don't want to be. As fast as I solve one problem, she finds three more, and I'm exhausted with it all! I am actually convinced that she is finding 'problems' to keep me running around!

    But anyway, thanks for all your support and suggestions, it's a great help just knowing that there are others who know how I feel!
  9. Mrsbusy

    Mrsbusy Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    I'm not surprised if she does find you three more things to sort out, it's known as delaying tactics as she doesn't really want to be on her own. My parents do this all the time and I now have a speeding ticket as they made me so late for my son! So when it's time to go be firm but fair or its can be costly. But underneath all that bravado is a scared old lady.

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