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That Neighbor . . .
Friends - First time poster here and needing some advice. Mom was diagnosed several years ago and is still highly functional and able to live alone. My sister is with her for several hours during the day and I am there to visit in the evenings after work. Mom is generally happy and the issues are more short-term memory loss and confusion - the daily stuff like making coffee, taking her meds, bathing, dressing, caring for her birds, is good with blips now and then. We have been very lucky in a slow decline.
The next door neighbor is the issue. She is the building troublemaker, has a drinking problem (a mean drunk), and imposes herself where she is not needed. At one time she was extremely helpful - checking in on Mom, being our eyes/ears, sharing meals, etc. That changed when she drunkenly repeated something my mother had said to her to another neighbor and we found ourselves on the the wrong side of an elder-abuse investigation. Luckily, the investigation went nowhere once it was known that Mom did have dementia (something the reporter wasn't aware of). My sister was called in, drug tested, etc. As awful as that was, we never told the neighbor what her careless gossip had brought about and re-invited her into our lives.
A recent incident involving a drunken call to me about Mom releasing her birds (she wouldn't and she tells the birds "I'm going to put you out!" at least 70 times a day) followed hard on the heels of another text from the neighbor to my sister claiming that she was verbally abusing our mother and the next call would be from the county. As I said a mean drunk - she apologized via text the next day claiming a death in the family . . . blah blah blah. We have now asked her not to come into Mom's apartment anymore and she has honored that request. We have not, however, prevented them from communicating with each other.
My sister received another text this morning. Mom and sis had a difficult visit yesterday and Mom was upset. Mom repeated some things to me supposedly said by my sister, things that I know just are not true. It seems not coming into the apartment does not preclude the neighbor from chatting with Mom over the joined balconies. Mom said things to the neighbor about my sister that engendered this latest threatening text about verbal abuse and again reporting us to the county.
I have seen my sister angry or frustrated with Mom, but name calling and "threatening to hit" are simply not how she behaves. She is with Mom every day - helping to keep the house clean, making meals, cleaning up after "accidents," encouraging her out of the house, keeping her immaculately dressed, made-up and bathed, and she manages all of her finances. Both of us were raised to love and respect our Mom and most of our energy these days is devoted to ensuring that she is loved, secure and taken care of. This neighbor has seen this for several years but chooses to believe Mom in her confusion. If I thought for one second my sister was in any way abusive, I'd report her myself. If anything I sometimes think she does too much for Mom and the frustration between them may arise from Mom not feeling she has enough autonomy or that her "child" is telling her what to do. Sis can be bossy - I admit that. The bottom line is my sister would cut her tongue out before calling our mother a "whore" or looking as if to strike her, which is what Mom told the neighbor.
I'm just looking for a way to head this off at the pass. We contacted the investigator from the county who stopped the first investigation again after receiving the text and she was clear that this would be a "second" complaint, she'd have to investigate it and couldn't talk to my sister at that point. Of course, the neighbor apologized for sending the text and nothing happened. Now we're here again - the neighbor has indicated that she wants to keep this "between us" but a glass or three of wine might change that quickly. She's a known instigator in the senior building in which they live and my sister has a record of all the text messages but - perhaps as some of you know - once this kind of complaint is made, it takes on a life of its own.
Paranoia and delusions are common in this disease. I'm very tempted to ask the neighbor if she was indeed having all the rough, noisy s*x with a man in her house for more than a week as Mom claimed not too long ago. Petty, but it makes as much sense as my sister harming our mother.
So we had neighbor issues which never involved APS or drunkeness but were in other ways similar. In the end our problems were resolved by moving my mother and selling her house (the problems continued at a lesser decibel into the sale process). I don't have time to reply at length at the moment but to start out with (as I think you know) don't antagonize the neighbor with snide remarks. I'll come back later with some of the issues we faced and how that complicated my mother's situation -- as I think in your situation, part of what made this a continuing issue is that my mother was turning to the neighbor for support when family were absent and she was upset or confused about something. In our case, there literally was no way to head anything off at the pass absent physical relocation, which was in the works anyway. As with your family, one of the neighbors was extremely helpful a couple of times but the flipside was difficult.
Wow! That's a lot to deal with! It's frightening and frustrating! I know what you mean about making up stories. My own MIL calls me mean and cruel because I won't let her spend the WHOLE day sitting on the toilet and keep after her to leave the bathroom to eat or go to bed. I work so hard to keep her safe. Sometimes she thanks me over and over for what I do for her, and at other times she thinks I am stealing her bras!
She threatens to call the police and says I and my husband try to poison her! I have always had this little fear that she would make accusations that someone would act on.
The one thing I console myself with is that I have the written diagnosis on hand and take it with me to any new doctors.
You can't control the neighbor, so, if at all possible, I'd move your mom someplace else.
This thing with the neighbor just shows that your mom really can't continue to live on her own. I know it's difficult to do, but I think it is time to move her to either live with you or your sister or some place designed to care for people with memory issues.
Sorry you and your sister are dealing with this!!!
Welcome to our world Uppernwbear. We're so glad you found us.
Your mom does need either AL or full time care...in the meantime document and keep a log of everything, like a diary so when noisy neighbor butts her nose in you have proof. even if it means taking pictures of your mother eating and the date and time
My mom lives with me, and we had lunch together today and we go home, and fifteen minutes later she goes, they (you) forgot to feed me and I have no food!! Well mom we just had a giant pizza and salad at the mall, so to CMA (cover my ass) as well as sharing a bit, I take pictures of my mom and my granddaughter eating pizza together at the mall...after hearing stories about noisy neighbors and weird money managers, I have decided to be a bit proactive.
And you and your family should be talking to a social worker for your selves and for advice. It is another way of showing you are good people, which you are.
As for the "neighbor" also keep a diary of her behavior and drinking and whatever...its time to circle the wagons