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Help! - Carers UK Forum

Help!

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
I last posted 4 years ago and I’m still struggling. I’ve withdrawn from my 90year old Mum for my own sanity but keep in touch for my integrity.

Today I visited my 90 year old capable, but can’t stop complaining Mum. I gave her a gift. As soon as my husband left the room she was onto me. How had the quilt that was missing get back into the airing cupboard? I knew where this was going. She’s accused me many times, it can only be me, no one else can have done it. Although she did ask who else has got a key to her house when I go through all the names she discounts and excuses everyone else saying things like no she wouldn’t do that etc.

I explained it wasn’t me why would I do that? She says who else could it be. Bla bla I’ve heard it all before.

The affect on me. Total stress, feeling bad about myself. Going over old painful childhood memories. Not wanting to discuss with siblings due to their lack of support in the past and assuming they won’t see this accusation as irrational.

I am not the daughter that should be caring. That one died sadly. I was the odd one out who became the rock for my parents and relentlessly cared for years and years. My siblings remained at arms length. Suddenly after my Dad died my siblings moved away and I felt alone. I struggled and I reached out to them for support. Eventually I burnt out I had nothing left and I had to look after me.

Now the dynamics have changed. The siblings (4) have all been made powers of attorney and executors and I’ve been pushed down the line below my younger sister. I feel hurt. Even though I’m aware I can’t care as I once did. I feel pressure from them all to be this daughter I can no longer be. They don’t understand what I go through when I see Mum. It’s as if as soon as I arrive she has an axe to grind and she’s onto me. I take my husband mainly but even this didn’t help me yesterday.

I keep going back for more, as if it’s still the same or it may get better but it never does.

My Mum complains about everything and accuses me and I react so badly to it. It takes me a few days to recover from each encounter.
Do you have a phone that can record mum?
I'd do this a few times, and make her aware of what you are doing, then play it back to her, and ask if she thought it was acceptable behaviour? Or play it to your sisters, or her GP.
I don't know why you keep "going back for more". I'd walk out the moment she started on at you.
Trying to argue or discuss things with a person who has dementia won't work as the mental ability to do 'reason' gets lost.

It's sad, but too often true, that a person with dementia may fixate on someone as being the reason for all their ills and confusion. This fixation can often result in these accusations.

If you do an internet search for 'Compassionate Communication with the Memory Impaired by Liz Ayres' you will find a list of tips that may be useful to you.
I decide some time ago ...

To no longer get involved in peoples problems. I have help many family and friends. As I have gotten older it's taken a while to realise. I was a good listen and didn't make judgements. However I began to recognise people just dumping the problems on to me and feeling better themselves. I was left depressed and fed out. So now I do not allow anyone to dump or share anything that's negative. I surround myself with happy people.

Try to step and stay away. This is better for you health and sanity. Let the others take it on good luck to them. Perhaps it's they turn.

You sounds like you did all you could and nothings going to change.

Surround yourself with golly peaceful people and think happy thoughts.

To much negativity drags us deep down.
May I suggest one practical thing if you do want to keep visiting? Leave the room every time your husband does. If he goes to the loo, discover you must fetch something from the car. If he is given a job to do, go and watch. That way you avoid the diatribes that start the minute you are left alone. (Can you tell I have had some practice at that?!)
I don't have anything to add to the massively practical advice above. Just wanted to add my support.

You have tried your very best. Time for your siblings to pick up now. If you still want to see her (and you don't have to) then keep visits short and don't ever be alone with her for your own sanity.