No matter what I do, my mom will almost always find something wrong with it
My mother has Alzheimer's and she has become so nasty and mean to everyone and she always asks for unrealistic, silly or meaningless items. I get so frustrated and angry, but then I feel guilty because I know it probably isn’t her fault. How can I cope with feeling like this?
Alzheimer's can make relationships extremely difficult. It's hard not to take what loved ones with Alzheimer's say personally. If you're a caregiver, try to find some respite. Being "on" all the time to keep your loved one safe is exhausting.
Time away doing something you enjoy can help alleviate the stress. Any small things you can do to nurture yourself throughout the day can help your frazzled nerves so you can stay calm. Remember, Alzheimer's words are not intended to hurt you. Those words are not about you at all.
If the items they ask for are something you can provide, provide them if they are safe, no matter how silly or unreasonable they may seem. If the item can't be provided, you can tell them you will work on it or get it when you go shopping. They will most likely accept your answer and forget shortly. By telling them they can have what they want, you help them stay calm.
If you can find a pattern, you can lessen unpleasant experiences. Are there things that tend to precede outbursts? If you can elevate triggers, you can reduce the behavior. Sometimes a word or activity can be triggering. If you eliminate the word or make changes in the activity, you can make your loved one more comfortable and less apt to lash out. Very simple changes can reduce agitation.
A common issue is paranoia. Perhaps they think someone is stealing or someone will come and take them away. You can calm them down by assuring them that you will keep them safe. You can have them go with you to lock doors or put valuables in a locked drawer.
Distraction can be a helpful tool. You can redirect the conversation or change to a different activity. Sometimes getting up and going for a walk or looking at photos can distract from an agitating moment. Putting on some music they enjoy can also help them change gears.
Softening your language can help to soothe the symptoms of Alzheimer's. A soft tone of voice and carefully chosen words can make a big difference in the responses you receive. Instead of saying the word "no," you can explain in a few words. Something like, "We can do that after lunch." is less threatening or jarring. It they are frustrated, agree with them that the situation is frustrating.
Transitions can be difficult. Gentle reminders that a change will come can soften the blow of a sudden change. Since memory is an issue, the last reminder should be a few seconds before the change.
A big part of dealing with Alzheimer's is being creative. It can help to try to step into their shoes for a moment to assess a situation. Imagine you are frustrated and confused. What would most likely be something you would like in that situation?
Sometimes there's just nothing you can do. All you can do is give them space to work through whatever emotions they are experiencing. Stay close to keep them safe. If you stay calm, they may pick up on it and join you.
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There is some great advice here that can really help, but you need some direct support. Please find a caregiver support organization, a grief group and an individual therapist to help you during this trying time. Your mom may not know what she is saying, or mean the awful things she says, but that doesn't make it hurt less. Please take care of yourself and gt some help!
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Image and Likeness Counseling
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Hi, this sounds like a very confusing and painful experience. It may help to conceptualize your experience as grief and trauma. Your mother is failing to perceive reality accurately because of her condition, and it sounds like she is responding in an uncharacteristic way. This causes you to question reality yourself because she is really treating you this way, with real consequences, without realistic perception. It is common enough for people to question themselves when they are being mistreated or gaslighted, but the problem is compounded when the mistreatment is unintentional. In some ways, you believe the real her wouldn't treat you that way, but in others, the real her is how she is being right now. You may have feelings of guilt, shame, regret, anger, despair, denial, or even defensiveness. All of these feelings are valid, understandable, and justifiable. It is hard to accept two contradictory realities, but the truth is, your trauma is just as true as your grief, and your mistreatment just as true as your loss. What I would recommend is, find a support group for individuals in your situation, whether virtually or in-person; and find a mental health professional to unload your emotions on, because I bet you're holding a lot inside in order to try to be patient and understanding. Of course, I do encourage patience and understanding, but not bottling up your feelings or trying to go it alone. Your mother could benefit from music therapy, which can improve mood and memory.
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Disclaimer this is going to sound harsh and maybe triggering.
It seems that you have not fully accepted that your mother has Alzheimer's and all the hardships that come with the brain being breaking down. I would recommend that you may want to look into grieving counseling; for the lost of the mother you had growing up and seeing the worst version of your mother as she age. It is heart breaking to see a person that raised us look like a shadow of their brightest self and it seems like that has not been honored in this case.
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Being a caretaker can be very rewarding and demanding. This is not easy work, particularly when the person you are caring for is experiencing significant changes in behavior functioning. In your mom's case, it appears that her personality has drastically changed, and not just toward you. The first thing is to keep in mind that this is not personal to you. Your mom is experiencing cognitive degeneration, which impacts how a person perceives the world around them and how they respond to it. Educating yourself about Alzheimer's and how to take care of yourself as a caregiver may be very helpful.
It is so important that you have support. It is challenging to take on the task of caring for a person. The adage, "it takes a village to raise a child," is no different in this case. Maybe have breaks for caring for your mom and have someone else help. In those times, you get away, engaging in tasks and activities that are fun and exciting to you.
It also may be beneficial to reach out to support groups of caregivers of those with dementia or Alzheimer's.
Lastly, individual counseling for you will be so helpful. Talk through these experiences and develop coping strategies such as deep breathing, self-validation, wise mind, or safe/calm place.
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Getting to the root of what about her request upsets and frustrates you the most. Does her asking ignite the realization of how much this condition has taken from her and subsequently you? When she asks for items, does it remind you of what this condition has truly done to her? Anger is a secondary emotion, once we address what the true emotion is we can work thru anger and frustration. Self-Forgiveness is also important, her condition impacts you, and your feelings are valid.
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Let's acknowledge the fact that your mom has Alzheimer's and some who you know about her is not present sometimes. That's a part of the disease, we know. Let's also acknowledge that just because she has Alzheimer's doesn't mean that when that comes up for her a part of your brain does pauses or becomes something rubber so that what you experience during that time bounces off of you and doesn't get placed into your subcortical brain or deep limbic system. Your brain still takes in what is coming at you and that is tough. You are human and you have feelings and your feelings are present and they matter! You are right, it isn't her fault, it's a part of the disease. I often work with my clients in session on the present feelings through Brain/Bodyspotting to help cope with these feelings. If you know someone who does it, I would do a couple of sessions to notice the guilt, when it first came up, where you feel it in your body, what it does or tells you, or where it goes. In order for us to feel better, we can't avoid the experience, we have to give space for it, for your brain to work itself out. Hopefully that helps!
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My love lots of empathy for you and your mother. I am not sure if you are taking care of her or not, but it is difficult to see people we love change. I think that your anger speaks about you may be frustrated with the mother you cannot have right now. This is also a loss as well. Your mother and her condition may impact her more with time. I think it is important for you to seek support with medical providers for guidance. They may be able to offer you connection to support groups for family members. Your mother is experiencing an illness that is also changing your life. If you are unable to be connected, find a therapist on your own to support you through your own feelings. Wish you the best for you and your mother.
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It is hard to watch our parents age, especially when Alzheimer's is involved. I echo what others have recommended regarding the need for support for you as you deal with the changes that are going on physically and mentally for your mother. Alzheimer's steals so much, and when your mother is nasty or asking for things that seem nonsensical to you it can be hard to show love and patience. It is normal to feel anger, frustration, and guilt when you are faced with uncertainty, not knowing what your mother will be like or act like from day to day. I am not sure if you take care of her in your home or if you have placed her in a facility that cares for her. If the latter is the case, utilize the help of the facility's social worker. They are there to help you adjust to the changes you are experiencing while also helping to meet the psychosocial needs of your mother.
It is okay to take a break as a caregiver, give yourself permission to have time away from the frontlines of care. When you can connect with an Alzheimer's Support Group, allow the group to help you. Share your frustration, these will be people who are walking in similar shoes and can help you find peace with the role you play at this stage of your mother's life. When you do spend time with your mother, take time to prepare your heart and mind for what you may experience. Remember that what your mother says and does is not coming from a place of knowing the consequences any longer. That can help when it feels like she aims to hurt or to willfully be mean to you or others.
Finally, take time to make peace with anything that feels unfinished in regard to the life and memories you have shared with your mother. When Alzheimer's takes over a loved one's faculties I have seen many families struggle to try to find ways to make peace with this. No one plans for a parent to get Alzheimer's, how could they? Having an outlet to express grief, anger, and guilt can go a long way in helping you to cope with an uncertain future. I hope there is something in these words that encourages you as you care well for your mother.
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It's a good question man, and it must be terrible to see your mother in the state she's in.
Understand that Alzheimer's is due to under-performing function of kidneys, adrenals, and connective tissue strengtheners; all of which may be corrected with appropriate protocols that are inexpensive and generally simple to follow.
Imagine it like a flower that is not fed properly: A once, beautifully blossom flower APPEARS to be wilting, but it's life-force, spirit, and essence remain fully there and present. And your mom hears you.
Let's clean her out, and see her smile return.
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Make sure that you continue to treat your Mom with respect. However, you also need to make sure that you have time away from her so that the stress of caring for her doesn't overwhelm you. Balance is the key!
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You have the answer already. It is not your mom's fault. Always remember that in spite of the disease, that human being you call mom is still there. To cope with the feelings of frustration, anger, and guilt, practice accepting what is at this time. Bring peace to these feelings and commit to move on to provide your mom love. If you can, use mindfulness meditation to stay focus and calm your brain.
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It is very difficult to move from being the child to be the care giver as in your situation. Your mother's behavior as you describe it is a part of this disease. As the disease progresses and she is less aware of the present including her surroundings and who she is speaking to. Your response of anger and frustration are understandable. It is also a part of the grief process as you see you mother slipping away mentally. In the moment that you feel the anger step away, take some deep breathes and give yourself time to calm down. Then return to whatever you were doing with her. Caregivers of Alzheimer's patients need a lot of support themselves. There are support groups as well as respite services available in many areas that will help you understand the process that each of you is going through. You can get more information about Alzheimer's disease and local resources by going to www.alz.org
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Let me first say that I am sorry you are going through this. Yes, this is a symptom of an ugly disease, but that does not make experiencing it any easier. If your mother was a sweet and understanding lady, I am sure this change in personality feels awful! On the other hand, if your relationship with her has always been difficult this can definitely open up old wounds and anger.
I have walked alongside many families as they care for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease. It is unfortunately common to see mothers become cruel and mean toward their daughters. In your case, it sounds like she is not directing her anger at just you. While this may feel less personal, I am sure it makes finding supportive care for her very difficult. I have several quick tips that might help you cope with this situation.
1. Stay tuned in to your level of anger and frustration. If you can limit the amount of time you or anyone else is with your mother you can limit the caregiver burnout. It is completely NORMAL to feel what you are feeling!! However, these are the feelings that can lead to acting out and abuse when not acknowledged. It doesn't sound like this is the case for you, but healthy boundaries and exercising respite will help with your feelings of guilt as well. So, rotate care as much as possible.
2. If you find yourself arguing with your mom, STOP. Don't worry, we have all been there before. No need to feel guilty, but this only serves to agitate someone. None of us enjoys being wrong and getting into an argument. For those of us who are able to logically engage with others, sometimes this type of interaction is necessary. Alzheimer's disease has robbed your mother of her logic, therefore arguing with her will only make matters worse. Try redirecting her instead. For tips on how to do this check out Teepa Snow (teepasnow.com)
3. Take care of yourself and seek support. Support groups and counseling are a great way to tend to your needs during this long journey. Caregiving can be overwhelming, lonely and heartbreaking. You don't have to go through this alone. Check out Alz.org for support groups in your area.
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Yes, certainly your mom's difficulty in having meaningful conversations with people results from the Alzheimer's disease process which weakens her brain function.
Feeling a sense of guilt in relation to a parent, is pretty common for everyone.
This is because as little kids and babies, we had a strong reliance on a parent and believing every word they sad and wishing to follow each action they ask or demand, was for the benefit of our own survival.
One way of coping with your feeling of guilt is to examine it.
Ask what it is you're feeling guilty about?
Chances are that your sense of guilt is less due to what you're currently saying or doing to help your mom.
Very likely, your guilt feeling is awakening the sense of obligation that you and all of us feel toward a parent simply because parents seem to have unquestionable power when we are very young.
After all, you're thoughtful enough to write a question, so chances are great that you're already actively involved in caring for your mom.
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