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She appears very normal and sane to others, but when she is home she has different actions. She has fooled many people including doctors.

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I'm baffled when people tell me how cute and charming my mother is to them. She's anything but sweet in a family-only setting. Out come the hateful remarks, verbal attacks, pinching, slapping, paranoia, and rages. During a recent hospitalization all I heard from the nursing staff is what a sweetheart my mom was. I know it's the dementia, but it infuriates me that she can be so selective. Why can't she be sweet with us?
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Definitely. For company or for doctor visits, etc. early-to-moderate dementia patients can gather up all their composure and put on their best behavior and appear perfectly normal. It takes a great effort and they may be exhausted afterward, but for a limited time they can put on the "normal" show. This gets harder as the dementia progresses and eventually they can't do it. But for a while this can be very frustrating for the caregivers, who can't get anyone to take their concerns seriously!
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This brings a funny story to my mind.... I must share it!!! When I took Mom to the Doctor, who she liked very much, and even had a delusional wedding with Dr.B as her Groom (at a later time than this story) He was telling her at my request to eat veggies, and as he was going through the list and as he was saying each veggie she made a face like YUK!!! Was so cute and funny. I thought she would listen to him and I could say well Dr. B said you should eat veggies. Not that simple.... So one day we were in the store, and we were in the produce section, I saw the Dr. right behind her and I winked at him. Mom had no idea he was there. So I picked up broccoli and said, Do you want broccoli she says "Dr. B said I can't eat that." Then I picked up green beans..... "Dr. B said I can't eat that." He was smiling ... I said are you sure that's what he said , she said " Oh yes the veggies make me itch so I can't eat them." I said are you sure that's what he said , because he's right behind you. She says no he's not your lying...I said "turn around" he says Hello She said "OH Hello" She blushed and was speechless batted her eyes then said lets go. I love sharing these things because it makes all the badness turn into a goodness. I forget all the hard times I had and laff about the silly. BTW she still makes me laff.
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LUCKYDOG55. I completely know what you're going through. This site is comforting, because every day someone mentions a problem I'm dealing with related to my 88 year old mother who lives in denial about her dementia and I don't feel so alone and isolated.
My mom's split personality is a huge part of my stress and angst related to being her caregiver. She's so wacky, mean and abusive most of the time with me. She's basically miserable most of the time with me. With me, she has almost no short term memory. Then, whenever she goes out with me, she's like an entirely different woman, nice and sweet and jovial. I don't even recognize her. She's such a phony. But, my life is really hell because my brother and sister do nothing for my mother and see her maybe once a month for an hour. They tell me that she's fine and I must be losing it to say my mother's sick and has dementia. Also, when my mom goes to her doctor, she goes in alone and won't allow me to tell her doctor the truth about her condition, so she's getting no help for her severe mental problems.
Anyway, it's gratifying to know others are experiencing many of the difficulties I am.
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Damita,

I can see why you think the way you do and couldn't agree more: as I stated earlier in this thread, chiIdren who were abused by their parents typically don't make the best caregivers. Too much emotional and/ or physical pain, boundary violations, etc. make it so hard to care for the parent who not only didn't care for you but actively abused you, even through your adulthood. Compounded now by aging and dementia, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

I don't hate my mom. I fear the pain and punishment she inflicts and all too often, more than I' d care to admit, I've reacted like a child rather than the 60+ woman I am. I have a forgiving spirit. That's not the issue. It's just that Mom in her 92 years never, ever took responsibility for her own feelings and actions. To her, husband & children weren't individuals with their own needs but tools to prop the fake self she hid behind. I sought therapy years ago that helped with the emotional fallout and helped face the reality that the woman who "raised" me was and still is mentally ill. The damage she caused within our family is incalculable. None of her children or grandchildren were left unscathed. That circumstance leaves none of us suitable to be her caretaker.

But collectively we have done right by Mom, even though she doesn't think so. With moderately severe mixed dementia, she can no longer be held accountable for her speech or actions, bad as they may be. We have placed her in an excellent memory care facility and know she is well cared for. As her POA (appointed by herself and my dear father before he passed), I manage her care and finances but practice low contact. I would relinquish the job to other family members if I could but either they don't want the job or they struggle themselves with addictions or emotional issues ( some directly or indirectly related to Mom's abuse). My only option would be to hand her care over to the state but I fear I might live to regret such a choice.

In a nutshell, what I'm trying to say is the vast majority who come here to complain don't hate their parents. We're hurting. We need a "shoulder to cry on." We need support from a community that truly understands because we've all "been there." We need a place to vent where we won' t feel judged in a negative way. Some caretakers didn' t sign up for the job but found themselves holding the bag, barely hanging by a thread. For some of us, counseling or therapy simply aren' t options. So we come here to learn how to be more effective caregivers, to restore our emotional health and get stronger. I have found so much encouragement and coping skills here among friends. Blessings, peace and thanks to all.
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Just to state the obvious, a lot of people who are not suited to caregiving are doing it anyway because there's no other viable option. Paid care is great if someone has the money to pay for care, but it's expensive. Many of our parents failed to save for their old age and when they end up needing help they have no choice to rely on their grown children, whether they (or the adult children) like it or not.

My mother, at 86, is stuck in that seemingly endless never-never-land between being capable of living on her own and being so impaired she needs a nursing home. She can't drive and she can't stand unassisted or walk more than about 30 feet, even with a walker. That means she can't cook, clean her house, make her bed, shop for food or other necessities, or go to medical appointments on her own. None of these impairments require a nursing home level of care, but they all require someone there to help her out on a daily basis. She's gradually become more and more incapacitated over the last 10 years or so, but she's not sick let alone dying.

Nobody wants to take care of her, but somebody has to. My sister and I split up the duties, along with Mom's housemate who lives rent-free in exchange for household help and light meal preparation. My sister does most of the chores, like finances and scheduling appointments, that don't require face-to-face contact with Mom. I do most of the other stuff.

When I first moved to take care of Mom, I estimated her life expectancy at about 2-3 years, five at the absolute most, since was in her late 70's and already in lousy health with multiple issues. It's now been 7+ years with no end in sight. So you have people who never wanted to be caregivers, and you have people who stepped up willingly but gradually wore down as the work expanded and the time seemed to stretch into infinity. You get dragged into greater and greater levels of responsibility as you're searching desperately for a way to exit. It's like a job that you can never quit no matter how much you grow to hate it and no matter what other opportunities are out there. It makes people pretty crazy, and who can blame them? Not me at least, because I'm one of them.
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thanks for sharing your story, it really helps to know this happens to other caregivers too, I keep getting looks from all the people she has fooled like Im so mean and lying about my mom! your story was funny I hope I can reach that point but right now its very frustrating, she tells everyone I have dementia not her!
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LUCKYDOG55 If you like that one lol I got more... this one might make you feel better about her accusations. Mom was already in NH but needed to go to Dermatologist the NH calls me to ask me to bring her. I said the whole reason she is there is she cannot be alone with me I am the bad guy to her. I want to go but an aid needs to go with us. So we are at the Dr. in waiting room with the aid. You could hear a pin drop. Mom was pleasant until I was chatting with the aid. Then like someone flipped a switch....Loud as can be Mom says.... "She's a thief, she stole my clothes, my money, she's crazy, etc." I buried my head in a magazine as if I didn't know her." It is obvious that I am her daughter we look a lot alike. So we then go into the Dr. and he's asking her questions she's telling him I get a rash when it rains out. I rolled my eyes he had no clue she has dementia. I pulled him aside to explain and he was repeating what she had told him, I said you can't believe what she say's she also thinks she's 17!! He said OOHHHH!!!
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So comforting to hear others go thru this same thing. My mother had her doc so fooled the doc decreased mom's psych meds and she's back to being a witch with me again.i called doc and asked for a conference next week.wish me luck.
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I am so glad to read all of this. My mother drives me crazy when she acts normal to others and not to me. If I tell her something, it is wrong. If someone else tells her the same thing she does it and acts like they know everything. She also lies to everyone about everything in order have a good story and no one knows what is real. They think she is so adorable and sharp. They think she is sane and I am an idiot. When we get home, she has no clue what was happening or even who the people were or where we went. My mother is 92 and I take care of her 24/7.
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