Regular Disagreements and Fight with my 94 Year Old Mom

by Hillar
(norton mass)

I grew up in a very unhappy family; mom and dad always fought day and night. Now my mom is a widower for the past 20 plus years and she lives alone in subsidized housing; about 30 minutes from my wife and I.


We often get into arguments and loud discussions and she and I just don't get along well. Might be okay for a few days but then resorts back to my mom always wanting to be right.

Went food shopping for her the other day and although I asked to to call me or write down what she needed; she just asks me to go get something else.

She had a loud discussion with management at her complex about some new program and they called me to discuss this problem. When I bring this up to mom; she acts like nothing happened

I'm getting very stressed out and don't know how to handle this woman anymore

Please advise

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Practical suggestions
by: Gina

I grew up in a very unhappy family; mom and dad always fought day and night. Now my mom is a widower for the past 20 plus years and she lives alone in subsidized housing; about 30 minutes from my wife and I.

We often get into arguments and loud discussions and she and I just don't get along well. Might be okay for a few days but then resorts back to my mom always wanting to be right.

Went food shopping for her the other day and although I asked to to call me or write down what she needed; she just asks me to go get something else.

She had a loud discussion with management at her complex about some new program and they called me to discuss this problem. When I bring this up to mom; she acts like nothing happened

I'm getting very stressed out and don't know how to handle this woman anymore

Please advise


Hi Hillar, sorry to hear that you're dealing with this and that things are so unpleasant right now. You will need to make some decisions about what your goals are with your mom moving forward.

- Not sure how old your mom is, but she might be in the beginnings of dementia. When I would call my mom-in-law to see if she needed anything from the store, she'd ask for things and I'd bring them, only to open her fridge and see that she had all the things already. Then, I would call and tell her to go to the fridge and look in it and would ask Do you have eggs? Do you have this or that? Only to drop things off and find she DID have those items. She couldn't help it.

- Are you involved at all in her health care? I chose to take my mom-in-law to her doc and stay i the room with her, and passed the staff a note asking to check her cognitive functions. Yup, she had significant decline in her short-term memory, And it doesn't get better. I wanted her to get checked for a urinary tract infection (UTI) which is very very common in seniors, especially women, and if they have one, it mimics or magnifies symptoms of dementia. Knowing if she has cognitive decline or a dementia or Alzheimer's diagnosis will help put things in perspective and direct future goals and decisions.

- Power of Attorney. Yes, you need to discuss this with your mom so you can legally and more easily manage her affairs. Get the form online at legalzoom.com for your state.Print it out and take it to the bank for notarization, take your mom, yourself and a witness who is not a family member. You also need to get the medical advocate form from her doc so that you can call on your mom's behalf and they can release info to you without her being there. Also so you can request tests and discuss sensitive info with her medical team without her involvement.

- Next time you're at her place, look for signs of confusion and struggle managing daily life. When she's in the bathroom, look at her checkbook to see if she's logging her checks. Look at her mail: is she opening it? Are there past-due or overdraft notices? Does she have a credit card and is she spending responsibly? We discovered my mom-in-law had over $900 of overdraft fees. She'd write a check out of one book and one out of another. She also was not remembering to eat. None of the food we brought her was being eaten. When I'd call and quiz her on what she ate that day, she tell me she ate stuff but in an on-site visit there was no evidence of food in her trash. She fainted once when we were out because she hadn't eaten. Chaos that we had to problem solve.

- Don't get lured into pointless arguments for your sanity and as a form of compassion to your mom who may be in mental decline or suffering from depression. If she goes down a sour path, redirect the conversation to a different or positive topic, even if it's a very abrupt change. I used to do this with my MIL when she'd go on and on and on with complaints. I'd respond with a completely different topic, like "hey did you hear about.___?" or, "If you had to pick your favorite song, what would it be?". She'd look at me startled. Then she'd respond. I kept redirecting it every time and eventually she stopped complaining.

Getting Power of Attorney is very important because she needs to have her mind intact when she signs it. Once you have it and if she really needs to transition to a care center, you will be able to do everything legally and easily.

If you become very concerned for her well being but she won't sign you or anyone PoA, then I would contact social services to see what services they could provide (like meals and some housekeeping). Also to get her on their radar as a vulnerable adult. I found social workers very helpful. You can offer to help her do her banking and bill paying on line, if she lets you.

Hang in there...make tiny baby steps of progress every day so that her reasonable wishes and your goals/expectations can be met. Wishing you well!

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can you get her doctor involved?
by: Anonymous

sounds like mom might be losing it just a bit to me. Maybe you need to have a discussion with her doctor. Do you have POA? If not mom is (IMO) on her own pretty much. Try not to argue with her. Look up Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Does that sound like your mom? If so read about how to deal with that with her. You may have to just walk away. It's hard. I'm dealing with that too.... Hugs for you.

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