Loading discussion content. Please wait...
Advice - Mom in MC and texts, e:mails toxic notes 30+/day
Hi, not sure what I'm looking for but at my wit's end. Placed mom in care facility end of June (med reminders and some care) but she's young, doesn't look like she belongs there with all of the "old people" who tell her she does not belong there. I sold her house b/c she was convinced people were living there, stealing food, living in the basement so she would remove all light bulbs and turn over furniture so they could not see/use them. She needed money to finance her care so I have been working with an attorney to make the most out of a really yucky situation.
I made the tough decision to put her in a facility in June (literally showed her and left her there and it was awful but I knew it was the only option), I have POA, sold her home, put her $ in an estate to try to get Medicaid waiver benefits. I also took her car away from her. She is mad, understandably so, and does not understand/cannot understand.
I'm doing this with the support of my DH, raising 4 young kids and both working a job through pandemic. I say this, not to take away from my mom's journey, but man, I am just overwhelmed with responsibility. I was raised by her (single mom) and she has survived 4 bouts of cancer. We have not been particularly close over the years and live 3 hours away - she has always had manic depressive disorder - so it's been tough/toxic most of the time.
I am sad she's alone and isolated herself from everyone so no one visits her. I don't know what I'm asking for here, but, if you are reading this and it is similar to your situation, you are not alone. If you have been through this and have some tips, ideas, I'd love to hear from you.
I am so sorry. Please block her texts for most of the day. Look at them once a day or less. It doesn't help her for you to see those texts all the time and stress is really bad for our health. If there is an emergency the facility will call or text you.
It sounds like you need help at looking at what is possible. At knowing what is and isn't possible regarding your mother. And help to be in charge of her without guilt and at the same time take care of yourself.
Can you get counseling through your workplace? They may have an EAP. "An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems."
I have also gotten very good counseling over the phone from the Alzheimer's organization.
Please get yourself some counseling. You cannot fix things so that your mother is happy. You cannot change that she has multiple health problems that make her so unhappy. You can take care of yourself and do the best one can to see that her needs are met as much as she will allow them to be met. I am sorry she is so unhappy, angry and ill. But you cannot fix her. It is not your fault she is so unhappy.
Does she see a doctor at the facility? It might help to talk to the doctor to see what else might help her anger, depression, etc.
I would look into having a go-between for you and your mother. Someone else to check in on her and see what she needs. Let someone else who is not likely to get caught up in the emotional stress be your eyes and ears. Someone besides an employee of the facility. It doesn't help your mother for you to be her emotional punching bag.
Best wishes. It's kind and good of you to do for your mother. I hope you can find a way to do so and still take care of yourself.
Hi tghatt, welcome and thank you for reaching out. I am so sorry for what you are going through with your mom. It's terrible and it sucks. You are definitely not alone - I've also posted on here when I've been at my wit's end! I am in a similar abusive cycle with my mom who I had to move to Assisted Living (July) and then to Memory Care (October), both times without telling her in order to first avoid and then to solve a crisis situation created by her dementia. She is mad, and I've barely seen her in months because she is hyper-focused on living someplace else (although she doesn't understand or remember that any independent living situation is not possible due to her level of memory loss) and refuses to discuss anything else with me. She has had unmedicated anxiety/depression for years which we are now trying to address with medication but it takes time. It's awful to get the constant phone calls and texts and you did the right thing by blocking her for a few days. I've started hanging up on my mom when she becomes abusive and demanding (I have an agreement with the staff so that they are aware and can manage her behavior afterwards) and sending her repetitive calls to voice mail. Even trying to set basic boundaries with her is stressful and agonizing because within a few minutes of a call or visit she forgets that she has spoken to or seen me.
I am also trying to raise my family and I am the only caregiver with POA, etc. I'm the only family member she has and she is also isolated. Most times after a call with her I feel guilty and question whether this is the right choice of care for her, even though I have carefully thought through and researched other options and concluded that she needs MC even though I know she feels out of place and "too active" for some of the other residents. Other members of this board will echo that you and your family come first, even if it was a situation where you had a "closer" relationship with your mom prior to her dementia.
Some of the best advice I've seen/gotten on this board is that anger, complaining, and malcontent are hallmarks of the moderate to later stages of dementia. As much as you want to, you cannot ease the dementia, make her brain work better, or be happy. I keep reminding myself that my experience is that my mom will be miserable no matter where she is (despite what she says to try to guilt/goad me into taking her out of MC), and it is best right now that she is safe. I agree that you should reach out for therapy for yourself. No way should you be her emotional punching bag. The Alzheimer's Help Line is a good resource and on a separate note, I've also found a lot of great educational info about the caregiver experience through the podcast put out by the San Diego chapter of the Alz. Assoc.
You are being a good daughter by taking care of her and planning for her care. She will never know or appreciate all that you are doing, but please know that you are not alone in this journey!
First, I would take her phone away. Why does she need it? When I moved my mom in to MC in September I took her cell. The aides will help her call me anytime but she doesn't call often whereas she would go through crazy texting, calling sprees when she had a cell phone. Also, they aides may help her call you 3-4 times a day but certainly not 30. There is no reason for her to have a phone.
What is the medical situation in the facility? Minimally, a doctor or NP should be able to evaluate her and prescribe some meds. You don't mention if she is taking meds for her bipolar disorder. If not, she certainly needs to have meds evaluated/changed. It seems like anxiety could be another factor.
As the parent of young children you know that often we have to do things/require things of them that they don't like but are in their best interest. Unfortunately you are now in this same situation with your parent. You have done what had to be done (selling the house, taking the car, placing her for care etc.) It's very difficult to manage but you are doing what is needed and correct.
I would also not visit for awhile. Let things calm down, meds to kick in etc. Believe me, I understand how much guilt you feel not seeing/talking to her all the time even if that time is not "quality" and just you taking abuse. But that isn't helpful to anyone, not her, not you, not your husband, and certainly not your children. You deserve to have some peace.
Please read about anosognosia. This is not the whole problem with your mom but PWDs with anosognosia truly believe they are fine. They see no need for doctors, medications or changes in their routine. Her conversation will not be based in reality. You must understand this, she won't be able to. Don't take what she says personally. Learn the work-arounds from the members, they are very knowledgeable and helpful.