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Need Advice on How to Deal with Threats

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
To preface this, I need to explain that I am my Mum's only caregiver. I have no siblings and Mum absolutely refuses to have strangers in to help.

Over 30 years ago, when my Dad was first diagnosed with cancer, Mum didn't have dementia. She was in her right mind, and she stated that if Dad died, she was going to move far away and didn't care anything about me or if she ever saw me again. This wasn't news to me, as we'd never been friends. Dad survived that first round with cancer and my parents didn't move away. I dreaded the day, however, when Dad would pass and leave me alone to care for Mum.

That day came in January of this year. Sure enough, Mum has been getting aggressive, has told me to "shut up" in front of other people when we aren't arguing. She's lashed out at me with her walking stick in public when I'm trying to assist her. Plus, she's been "threatening" to move away to be closer to family (who are not my friends). She expects me to manage her household, finances etc. even tho she will be too far away for me to commute to her place more than once a month at most.

Does anyone else out there have a terrible relationship with the person they're caring for, which goes way back? Somehow, I just know that not all of the grief I'm being put thru is due to dementia. Some of it is being done on purpose and out of spite.
 

try again

Registered User
Jun 21, 2018
462
0
Does she have a diagnosis? Do you have power of attorney, if not get it now. Explain to her it will help you pay her bills.
Get a social service assessment done for her.
My mum and I have never been that close and it took me needing respite to get her to accept care.
If you are comfortable with your lack of relationship, walk away.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
Does she have a diagnosis? Do you have power of attorney, if not get it now. Explain to her it will help you pay her bills.
Get a social service assessment done for her.
My mum and I have never been that close and it took me needing respite to get her to accept care.
If you are comfortable with your lack of relationship, walk away.
I've had 3 calls in to Mum's GP since she failed the memory questions. He refuses to call me back, so I'm wondering if I should get a referral to a specialist instead.

GP did suggest the possibility of calling in social services. Trouble is, Mum refuses to have "strangers", as she calls them, in her house. So...I'm not sure how to arrange this.

I will be seeing an elder law attorney in a week or two to clear up some questions I have regarding Mum's care. I'd love to just walk away -- especially if she moves far away, but I'm not sure that the laws here allow that.
 

try again

Registered User
Jun 21, 2018
462
0
I've had 3 calls in to Mum's GP since she failed the memory questions. He refuses to call me back, so I'm wondering if I should get a referral to a specialist instead.

GP did suggest the possibility of calling in social services. Trouble is, Mum refuses to have "strangers", as she calls them, in her house. So...I'm not sure how to arrange this.

I will be seeing an elder law attorney in a week or two to clear up some questions I have regarding Mum's care. I'd love to just walk away -- especially if she moves far away, but I'm not sure that the laws here allow that.
You can't be forced into caring for your mother. Adult social services are the ones with a legal requirement to help her. They will happily sit back and do nothing and let you get on with it.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
You can't be forced into caring for your mother. Adult social services are the ones with a legal requirement to help her. They will happily sit back and do nothing and let you get on with it.
I'm in the states... I've heard horror stories re. adult children of elderly dementia patients being taken to court for neglect or abuse over the least thing. Also, I've been told by other caregivers in this country that I could be sued for neglect if I walk away at this point. Hopefully, it's just stories, and the attorney can help me figure out what my rights are in this.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,528
0
South coast
Im afraid tht I dont know enough about the law in US, but you certainly need that elder law attorneys advice, so I hope you can get to see them very soon

Not wanting "strangers" in the house is very common in people with dementia, but here it all revolves around capacity. There comes a time when you have to override their wishes in order to do the things they need. From what you say, I really dont think your mum has the capacity any more.

By the way - wanting to go somewhere else (often, but not always, a childhood home) is almost universal in the later stages of dementia. It happens because they do not understand what is happening around them and think that its the fault of their environment and/or their carer(s). They want to go somewhere where they feel safe and can leave the confusion behind, not understanding that they will simply take it with them. She may say that she is going to move, but the reality is that she wont be able to do this herself. The only way she would be able to move is if you did every single little thing for her, and I definitely dont recommend that you do. So when she threatens this, dont bother to argue. You can safely nod and say "good idea" before moving onto something else, which will probably take the wind out of her sails.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
This USA organisation may help - they have a helpline.
Thanks! I'll try contacting them.

Recently, I went to a state site that supposedly listed all types of dementia caregiver support for this area...and found the nearest to me was 3 hrs away: impossible on my present schedule.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
Im afraid tht I dont know enough about the law in US, but you certainly need that elder law attorneys advice, so I hope you can get to see them very soon

Not wanting "strangers" in the house is very common in people with dementia, but here it all revolves around capacity. There comes a time when you have to override their wishes in order to do the things they need. From what you say, I really dont think your mum has the capacity any more.

By the way - wanting to go somewhere else (often, but not always, a childhood home) is almost universal in the later stages of dementia. It happens because they do not understand what is happening around them and think that its the fault of their environment and/or their carer(s). They want to go somewhere where they feel safe and can leave the confusion behind, not understanding that they will simply take it with them. She may say that she is going to move, but the reality is that she wont be able to do this herself. The only way she would be able to move is if you did every single little thing for her, and I definitely dont recommend that you do. So when she threatens this, dont bother to argue. You can safely nod and say "good idea" before moving onto something else, which will probably take the wind out of her sails.
Thanks so much, Canary. I do know that Mum is a classic dementia case. Her own Mum and older sister were both diagnosed. Older sister is, as of this year, in a dementia care facility and not doing well -- violent with staff and her own daughters, plus demanding to be taken back home (not knowing that her home has been sold).

Very well do I know that Mum can't negotiate the move on her own! She expects the lawyers, realtors and me to do all the work for her. However, It will take months of work to clear her house of 72 years worth of stuff, and we will need to hire junk removal people to help us with the heavier items.

Yesterday was a bad day where Mum took her frustrations out on me for leaving her lonely. She feels a need to get back at me for taking weekends off and does this by threatening to move etc. (I'm with her 35-45 hrs per week). Last night after thinking it over, I came to the same conclusion as your suggestion: I should just reply "whatever you say, Mum" and keep going. What will be, will be.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,528
0
South coast
Very well do I know that Mum can't negotiate the move on her own! She expects the lawyers, realtors and me to do all the work for her. However, It will take months of work to clear her house of 72 years worth of stuff, and we will need to hire junk removal people to help us with the heavier items.
Exactly, so you dont help her - at all.
She will not be able to organise anything, so it simply will not happen if you do nothing.
Just kick the can down the road.
 

T1000

Registered User
Feb 3, 2022
110
0
So sorry to hear this, a really difficult one with a parent you are not close with. I am in a difficult place too, as we were never close and now I am the only one caring for her as her husband passed away and she has moved into my home. Siblings cannot help, and I know she is early in her journey but get attitude from her on the bad days.
Do you have a charity for carers, or an alzheimers charity you can call? Perhaps you could get a grant of some kind for respite and maybe some therapy to help you through.
As others have said, she is losing her power and the only thing she can say is threats like that, that will lead to nothing. 'OK mum' should eventually have the effect of there being no more dicussion, and redirct if you can to another topic.

Personally, if my mum said that, I would at least get 'step 1' done for her if that is what she wants, which would be the junk removal co in immediately at her cost, this will help clean and make good her place for a better environment, and she may see the impact of such threats and stop. But with a clean place!
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
Exactly, so you dont help her - at all.
She will not be able to organise anything, so it simply will not happen if you do nothing.
Just kick the can down the road.
If I do that, there will, of course, be "consequences" from the family who are on her side and refuse to listen to me. It's hard to convince them that there's anything wrong with her, so they won't understand why she can't move so far away on her own.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
So sorry to hear this, a really difficult one with a parent you are not close with. I am in a difficult place too, as we were never close and now I am the only one caring for her as her husband passed away and she has moved into my home. Siblings cannot help, and I know she is early in her journey but get attitude from her on the bad days.
Do you have a charity for carers, or an alzheimers charity you can call? Perhaps you could get a grant of some kind for respite and maybe some therapy to help you through.
As others have said, she is losing her power and the only thing she can say is threats like that, that will lead to nothing. 'OK mum' should eventually have the effect of there being no more dicussion, and redirct if you can to another topic.

Personally, if my mum said that, I would at least get 'step 1' done for her if that is what she wants, which would be the junk removal co in immediately at her cost, this will help clean and make good her place for a better environment, and she may see the impact of such threats and stop. But with a clean place!
Yes, you and I are in a similar situation, since my Mum is also recently widowed. However, I travel to her town to take care of her in her own home, Mon - Fri.

There isn't much for dementia resources in this area. I could call in social services for an assessment (Mum would object) but only Medicaid will help with the cost, as far as I know and Mum does not qualify in spite of being lower income -- a common problem in this area.

Currently, I'm working on clearing out the lightweight junk, which helps me get an idea of what needs to go and what needs to stay overall. I will be contacting a junk removal company in a week or two.

I do hope you're right that Mum's threats will lead to nothing, as I don't need to be caught between the rock and hard place of both her and her family's disapproval.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,528
0
South coast
If I do that, there will, of course, be "consequences" from the family who are on her side and refuse to listen to me. It's hard to convince them that there's anything wrong with her, so they won't understand why she can't move so far away on her own.
What sort of consequences?
In my books relatives who are not actively involved in the care (known on here as "invisibles") have not earned the right to interfere.
Its a pity that she cant go and stay with them for a couple of weeks in order to "look at places she might like to move to" - they would soon change their minds about there being nothing wrong with her!
 

T1000

Registered User
Feb 3, 2022
110
0
What sort of consequences?
In my books relatives who are not actively involved in the care (known on here as "invisibles") have not earned the right to interfere.
Its a pity that she cant go and stay with them for a couple of weeks in order to "look at places she might like to move to" - they would soon change their minds about there being nothing wrong with her!
This right here - they do not want to do that, so they can continue to minimise the amazing job OP is doing, from afar.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
What sort of consequences?
In my books relatives who are not actively involved in the care (known on here as "invisibles") have not earned the right to interfere.
Its a pity that she cant go and stay with them for a couple of weeks in order to "look at places she might like to move to" - they would soon change their minds about there being nothing wrong with her!
Thanks for saying this. I don't believe they have a right to do anything except shut their mouths. I'm the one bearing the expense, financially and physically. However, they feel they know what's best.

Mum says her 92 year old sister has volunteered to let Mum stay in her condo as long as she likes while house hunting or whatever...well..first, you can't believe Mum. She might have dreamed that offer.

Then, it's possible that my aunt, being less sharp herself these days, might have offered, not realising what she's getting into. I pointed out to Mum that my aunt is in no shape (heart disease) to look after her -- at which point Mum insists she doesn't need looking after.

Can't drive, can't write out a check, doesn't know what day of the week it is or what year -- and doesn't need looking after?

2 weeks of Mum needing to be catered to, hand and foot, and my cousins would be up my alley to sell my home (which I don't want to do) and move near them to placate her. Mum's family have had a problem with us living so far away for years.

Of course...I may be worried about nothing. I am catching Mum's anxiety and paranoia.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
This right here - they do not want to do that, so they can continue to minimise the amazing job OP is doing, from afar.
Exactly. In emails, they've been consistently downplaying Mum's disability and underestimating the amount of work I'm doing and its effect on my health. They've made it quite clear they don't give a fig what happens to me.
 

T1000

Registered User
Feb 3, 2022
110
0
Exactly. In emails, they've been consistently downplaying Mum's disability and underestimating the amount of work I'm doing and its effect on my health. They've made it quite clear they don't give a fig what happens to me.
I'm so sorry. My mum is nowhere near as bad but I can relate on the effort we mnake being downplayed. by family I have learned the term 'hostessing' on here, which is what mum does on the phone or in person when she sees them short periods of time. Family do not truly know how the PWD is the rest of the time.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
We stayed with my aunt for 3 days this month at the time of Dad's funeral. The family did get to see something of Mum's physical disability -- she appears frail, shuffles when walking, has very swollen lower legs and ankles and can't stand straight -- she appears twisted to one side. The paranoia, aggression and cognitive problems, however, receded into the background with all the attention she was getting. I don't know if it's "hostessing" or whether it's just that social activities help stabilise her. But yes, she can be a different person over the phone -- and the family have already forgotten what they observed of her at the funeral. It's so discouraging.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,528
0
South coast
he paranoia, aggression and cognitive problems, however, receded into the background with all the attention she was getting. I don't know if it's "hostessing" or whether it's just that social activities help stabilise her.
Yes, this is classic "hosting"
 

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