I feel guilty, I resent caring for my mother

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

I just gotta get a grip on this.
I don't know what to do with my emotions, I don't know when I have felt so much anger over such a long period of time.

Mom came to live with us about 18 months ago. I need some place (besides my husband) to vent my frustrations.
I try not to be negative, but some days I think the strongest force of the day is negative emotions having to do with my mother.

She is 80 and had a stroke about 2 years ago, she has recovered beautifully and has as much mobility as most people her age. Although she does have some balance issues, walks with a cane and has some diminished strength on her left side. (Luckily she is right handed)
When in physical therapy they asked her if she could cook her own meals her reply was "yes, but I don't have too". Like a spoiled child, that was the typical response towards household tasks and other duties as well.

She pouts when I ask her to do anything for herself and sighs heavily when I pass by.
Just to let me know how difficult her existence is when I don't attend to her needs.

(like this morning)
She wanted me to fix and serve her breakfast, I'm didn't, I was at the computer ignoring the fact that she was opening and slamming cupboard doors, slamming dishes and fixing herself a bowl of cereal. She could fry an egg, make some toast, but that's too much work... something she expects me to do for her.

Now to a degree, I created this monster.
When she arrived her diabetes was not under control despite medication, on a daily basis her blood glucose levels were totally off the chart, ranging anywhere from 250 to 360. Her diabetes and blood sugar level was the most urgent health issue, I began to work on her diet. I cooked her three healthy, balanced meals everyday, I made sure she had a small snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon. In the mean time the doctor continued to adjust her meds. It took 6 months and a team effort to get her glucose levels out of the danger zone.

Now she knows what to do, she is a living example of how important diet is. My husband and I make sure she has healthy homemade meals, during the day all she has to do is get off her butt and warm them up.
She does not. She expects me to do it.

She is passive resistive and passive aggressive and it there is such a thing she is also passive vindictive.
She treats me like her servant, she treats my husband only slightly better, she has the manners of a (rude) 8 year old, she does nothing but read, watch TV and wait for one of us to serve her meals.

I wish she cared about something other than herself.


Carrollton, OH(Zone 6a)

Dear Sweet Dove,
I can see where you are coming from.When my granny had a stroke years ago, my mama took care of her.The DR. told mama that granny's personality might change,so they put her on an anti-depressant.My mama told me later how she had recented granny at times(mama and my dad move in with granny).Plus mama was dealing with a drinking ,run around %ss of a DH.This took place for about 3 years at which time granny passed on a Christmas morning.And mama and him moved back home and she got a divorce.

But now it has been 17 years ago that granny passed and we would, including mama love to be able to kiss her soft cheek.Your mom is 80 ,and I'm not trying to be cruel,be she might not be with you much longer.So try and get passed your feelings even if you ask your DR.for some kind of nerve pills to try and help you cope.Because I would never want anyone to have regrets from negative feeling for the rest of there lives.Put in your mind that she isn't the same mom you had and try to put in your mind that she is that 7 or 8 year old ,because emotionally she may be.And get a sitter sometimes just like you would of done with your kids.My pappy always told us don't do today what might bite you in the butt tomorrow.And I know that is easier said than done.

Could you be having these feelings,not because she is being a brat,but because you lost the mom you knew,and are feeling cheated from a part of your life.

I will pray for you all.And you are doing the right thing by taking care of her and I praise you.

Big Hugs,

Prattville, AL

I understand the feelings and fighting myself not to have them. I care for my husband. He likes being waited on. Thing is if he doesn't do for himself and I don't make sure he does, we end up at the ER again. Then the situation gets worse running back and forth to the hospital.
Perhaps if you talked it over with your husband to do something as a joint effort. My first thought is, she wants it like it is at a nursing home. They proide the meals and some activities but the patients read, watch TV or whatever. I am NOT recommending a nursing home but use it as an example.
She wants everything done for her and that is what it's like at a nursing home but only when they have time to do it. is that what she wants? Is she not happy there? Even the doctor has said she needs to be active. Now she can't do all she used to but there is a lot she can do. Then give her the list as to can she do wash? Can she cook her breakfast if balance is sometimes a problem without burning up the kitchen or hurting herself? On meals, she can peel potatoes, fix the salad or get other things ready.
I found just saying "you can do that" ended up with him getting obstinate and doing nothing. If I said "you know you could do putting away dishes, and that would really help me". Then he seemed to take pride in helping. we still have times of "oh poor me, I can't do anything", like now. We go OK for a while and then he decides he's not able. I tell him what I think about that and leave him alone to think about it. Sometimes, I just tell him there's a load of towels or whatever that need folded and put them on his bed.
I think each of us has to find a way to deal with it. I am not an expert. I do resent having to give things up to make sure he's OK. I resent my health going to pot from lifting him and not getting sleep. I resent not getting to go to my doctors and having to cancel appointments bcause of him. It goes on and on. I've come to the point that I'm making my appointments. I have a kidney disease, bulged discs in my lower back, and problems from my neck surgery.
I'm not going to stay home all the time anymore. I'm going to go visit my gardening friends. I'm going to try to salvage some of the flower beds. Unless a serious need, he can do it himself!!!!
Take time for you. If family in the area, let them pick her up to spend the day with them. If no famiy, find a sitter and go do something you enjoy or consider taking a class or join a club.
Sorry I wrote a book. I just know that unless you have been or are in this situation, they have no idea the stress, tears, and frustration.
Take care of you. come and have a cup of coffee or glass of tea. I live in Alabama so it would take some time away to do that. :O)

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Thank you so much for sharing your granny's story. It sounds like it was very difficult for your mom
Our Doc does have mom on an anti-depressant, I think it helps some.
But it doesn't change parts of her personality that have always been the way they are. If the truth were known, Mom lives with us because the rest of the kids won't deal with her, there is so much painful water under the bridge between my mother and brother's and sister.

My sister who lives in California, says "Our mother may be a lonely unhappy battered old woman (her late husband was very mean) who dosen't need any more stress. She may be all that, but she is also tough old woman."
My sister thinks "mom uses guilt to get what she wants, and you just have to think of a way to survive her.
We, her children have been battered, beaten emotionally and physically since childhood. However, we must face our demons daily."

Still there is truth in what you're saying, I was and am shocked at what she has become... she used to be a real take charge, get it done, always rose to the top kind of person. Now she doesn't even try. She used to always have an up attitude, not so much anymore.

I'm going to talk with Matt about getting some time alone together, go to a movie or dinner.

Thanks Synda, I appreciate your words and prayers.

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Oh my gosh you hit the nail on the head... "He likes being waited on"
Oh Gawd Yes! So does mom... she even admitted, to the physical therapist, she uses her stroke to get out of doing things she doesn't like doing.

I don't want to be her mommy... telling her to eat and making sure she takes her shots & pills. She can do that. I taught her how to eat and provide what she needs to eat on a daily basis, if she doesn't do it.... she is facing another stroke and she knows it... still she would rather eat a couple of cookies for lunch rather than the homemade soup I left for her.
Do I go so far as to say next time she runs out of cookies, We're not buying anymore because you eat them in stead of a proper meal? Can I say that to her? Is that mean?

Nity Nite all... thank you for being kind to a stranger and writing to me. I need it.

This message was edited Feb 23, 2009 4:35 AM

Cochise, AZ(Zone 8b)

Sometimes the judgment and ability to think things thru is just gone after a stroke. The mental changes after a stroke are not as visible as the physical BUT they are much harder to cope with. Have you talked with her DR. My MILs Dr has been a big help to us. It''s kind of a similar family situation. Very hard for us all. When they got her antidepressant balanced she got better but she still isn't the same as she was. Very cranky and rude sometimes(often). Like you, I don't do the handmaiden thing very gracefully! You might also try suggesting to your poor abused siblings that if they can't show up and help maybe they can provide a few hours weekly of "respite" for you! Call the local home care agency. Here it costs DH other siblings appx $15 per hour. And yes you can tell her no cookies. MIL was asking people to take her to the store, filling cart with stuff she couldn't (shouldn't) eat and then having a loud tantrum when anyone suggested she needed to not buy sugar etc. Nobody will take her to the store now?? I clean out stuff every week when we go over. She argues and I remind her that she did not like nursing home and I am only trying to help her stay in her home. Sometimes it's hard to even go there! Better for me not staying there but I know the time will come again! Rest when you can and lean on DH! Know that alot of us also cope with negative feeling and guilt cause we're not happy with the way things are! I try to think of it as an opportunity to serve someone who really needs help. Notice I said TRY! I also remind myself that the commandment does not say"honor thy other and Father when they are reasonable and rational" , it only says "Honor thy Mother and Father". Vent all you want. I'll think of you when MIL says, "I think I'll have a couple scrambled eggs with some of that nice salsa you make and some of the sugar free spread you made seeing as you will be here in the morning." I try to remember that it might be as hard no her side of that frown ;-) I do know that we treasure the occasional good visits. Hope this made a little sense! Take care of you!

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

My husband is in the military, we were transferred to Ohio about 2 years ago, within a month mom came to live with us. The rest of the family is in California. I know my brothers would help if they were close and I think my sister would eventually overcome some of her issues if she were close enough to face them regularly.
But none of that is the case, it's me and my husband, in a new place, with out a net (so to speak)

Where do you find out about elder care, is it though a local nursing home?

(btw) I would like to say that I show her no disrespect, I do honor her, I think one of my issues is where do you draw the line between honoring and curtailing unhealthful behavior.
The reason I asked about the cookies is that, to me, it feels like I would be humiliating her if I told her no more cookies. Treating her like a child... If I did that it would be in the range of 2 to 3 days of foul mood before she got over it.

Our goal when she came to live with us was to help her be as healthy as possible and as happy as possible for the rest of her days.
I've ended up the yo-yo at the end of her string, she only wants to be dependent when she says.

Prattville, AL

Most areas have a Counsel on Aging. They would be able to discuss different options. If she is now a member of your household, do you have where she gets military benefits? Even if not, check with Family Services on base as it effects you.
On the cookies, find a place that sells them for diabetics. Get her some of those and only leave out however many would be OK for her to eat and hide the rest. I believe if you contacted a diabetic association in the area, they could tell you which stores carry those items. The commissary here doesn't really have a diabetic section. Foods are in different areas of the store. You could contact the commissary manager to find out where they keep all of it or luck out and it is in one area.
You do have to be selective on an assistant or sitter. Check out references for even the service through the Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau. Check references for the person you will have in your home.
I fired a Hospice group and 2 sitters. Sometimes it just comes down to being able to depend on them - showing up when they're supposed to and doing what has been agreed upon. i just didn't feel the Hospice group was dependable for showing up n time or forgetting they were to do a test and wold want to come another day. Of course Medicare would pay them for another visit. Don't hink so.
With the sitters, I would drop back by to get something I forgot or needed to do. this way I could see what they were doing. Talking on a cell phone all the time or getting a snack and staying glued to the TV just didn't get it.
Being a sitter alone, leaves a lot of time free if the patient sleeps. You might want to consider a sitter/housekeeper. For you, it might be required they do activities with her, take her to get her hair fixed or whatever, not just sit there and star at her.
Best of luck

AuGres, MI(Zone 5b)

I totally understand the guilt.

My mom is 93 and has dementia.She's been living with us now for going on 5 years. It took some adjusting and change to find suitable solutions to some problems we were having. One bad habit she had developed was spitting. She has COPD and was producing a lot of phelm. She would just hock it up and send it sailing wherever she was at. Her room was covered in the stuff. I was so disgusted to be cleaning dried snotty spit off the walls, her walker, the lamp, table etc. She would send wads of this disgusting stuff sailing all over the livingroom floor. My two little bichon dogs thought it was treats and would fly to gobble it up which made me want to puke. I admit I yelled at her. I was so frustrated. No matter how much I told her to please not spit all over the place but instead use a Kleenix she just couldn't do it. I felt guilty yelling at her. I finally realized she just couldn't remember to do what I was telling her. At the time I had a little grandbaby who was crawling and I just hated the floor could be dirty. I kept thinking about how I could remedy the situation. I finally settled on a spit bucket for her. I took a thow away or take along plastic bowl and set it next to her lift chair recliner. I told her if she has to spit to spit in that. I put one by her bed as well. She has bonded with it for about 90% of the time and it has solved one big concern I had.

Mom weighed about 178 when I took her in. Her breathing was labored and I decided to put her on a diet.She has slowly lost weight over the years. Last year she became type 2 diabetic so I changed the diet even more to help that condition. She's on a low carb, sugar free diet. She never sees any kind of cookies or desserts......ever. I only keep apples in a bowl. That's it. My husband is diabetic also so he is on a strict diet as well. I buy the food. I'm in charge of menus. If I don't buy it or make it they don't eat it. Simple. Mom is now down to 137. Her last A1c test was 5.7 which is exellent. Her blood pressure is good. All her bloodwork is great. I'm in control of her diet totally and I prefer it that way.

You say you want your mom to cook her own food. HEAVEN FORBID. :) I was so glad when my mom's dementia got bad enough she stopped trying to do stuff in my kitchen. When I wasn't looking she'd try to wash dishes and I'd was finding dirty silverware and dishes throwed anywhere she could stick them. Nothing was safe on the ktichen counters. If you left something out she would get into it. I'm GLAD to fix her food. I serve it to her on one of those tablemate trays at her chair. It makes for less messes and easier cleanups. It's easier for her to eat too. I put big bibs on her when she eats too. I catch her blowing her nose on it and get after her. :) She's got a box of Kleenix sitting right next to her. It's no problem cooking for her. I have to cook for us and how hard is it to scramble an extra couple eggs and pop another piece of toast? She is NOT a fussy eater and will eat whatever you put in front of her. I'm glad for that.

I did have a problem when she first came here with her fingernails. She had a fit when I insisted on cutting them. She had stool and crap under them and there was no way I was going to let her hold my grandbaby with filfthy nails. That was our biggest fight I guess. I won. The nails got trimmed short and after that she started chewing them off so we never had to have that confrontation again. She uses a bedside commode in her room at night and I clean it each morning. I give her showers and do her hair. She is able to dress herself and during the day she's able to walk to the toilet. I put a six inch riser on the toilet seat to make it easier for her to get up. She leaves crap all over the seat and there are times I resent having to clean it. Sometimes I clean that toilet seat 5 or 6 times a day. I'll have to pee real bad and before I can sit down I have to clean the seat. I'm pretty used to it now and thankful that she's still trying and not in diapers yet. That would be more work. I try to count my blessings.

In the beginning we had fights over her eyedrops. She wanted to be in control of her medications. She has a bad mind and would waste it by taking too much too often. She hated that I wouldn't let her have her eyedrops. She has glaucoma. I finally came up with the idea to take the lids off her real drops and put them on bottles of cheap artifical tears. Problem solved. :) She's so happy to have her drops in her room and she goes in there many times a day to put them in. She feels like she's in control of something in her life. I know it can't be easy for her either. She's lost her home which I sold and all her stuff. I got rid of everything she had except for a few clothes and her best jewelry. It's all gone. We're a couple hundred miles from her Church so she can't attend any more. SHe misses Church. It was a big part of her life. We turn on TV Church for her on Sundays now.

We've fallen into a routine now and so there are no real disagreements any more. She sleeps most of the time and my life is much easier now. We have changed roles and I am now the "mom". She's more like my child. There is no complaining or resentments. My husband is wonderful and helps me so much with her.

Anyway, I'm sorry I've written a book here. I just want you to know that I totally understand feeling resentment at having to change your entire life and feeling guilty over things your mom is doing or saying. It will get better in time as you fall more into routine. Just try to find a good solution for each problem as it arises. Ask others for ideas. These things can be worked out. If your mom is lucid you could try just sitting down and talking some of this through with her and ask for her input or ideas. You can even ask for her help with some things. I have my mom snap green beans for me. She's good at that and it is a big help in the summer time. I just make sure she has washed her hands good and I put sanitizer on them. :)

Good luck,


Prattville, AL

I think a lot of the frustration, anger, sadness and all the other emotions are that this person is not who they used to be. By doing for them, it takes away from our time of doing things needing to be done or that we want to do.
My husband didn't listen to the doctors. Then when he had an ingrown toenail, he said nothing until it was horrible. With poor circulation due to heart disease, The infection spread and gangrene set in. After 5 surgeries, he lost is leg.
My husband is now an amputee in a wheelchair, with his heart functioning at 20%. I get to go very little as it depends on how he's feeling. If I go outside, he starts yelling cause he can't find me. I get frustrated and angry as my life has changed due to his bad choices. That's why I resent the situation so much.
have resolved it to an exten in that I can't change it. I HAVE TO MAKE THE BEST OF IT. Sometimes, it's not a good dy and I have leared not to make ny definite plans. I've made too many of my doctor appointents and had to cancel. With my kidney disease, I can't do that any more. I need to go back to th neurologist for the thingy in my brain.
ll of this to ay, there comes a point you have to re-evaluate the situation and take care of you.
May you have rainbows in the morning, smiles all day, and an angel on your shoulder to help you get through the day

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Hi Lynn,
I think you missed root of my frustration.
I do not want to hide cookies... she is not that far gone that she needs that kind of help.

We do buy her sugarfree cookies, but hydrogenated fat and refined white flour is just as unhealthy. Refined white flour is full of empty carbs that turn to sugar once consumed. Hydrogenated fat is saturated, it raises cholesterol which in turn causes platelets to form on the arteries, and that was the cause of her last stroke.
I've tried to convince her that sugarfree cookies are for an occasional snack - They are not intended for lunch because you are too lazy to pop something in the microwave.

We are in the process of trying to get her declared a dependent, the problem is that although we support her, she may have too many assets to qualify.

Herein lies the (my) rub
She needs to take some responsibility for herself.
If she does not want to have another stroke.
If she wants to live the remainder of her days as healthy as possible for her age.
Then she needs to do what she knows she should do and not put me in a position to being the "Prison Guard". That is not what we signed up for. I do not know how to get out of the role I find myself fulfilling.

I am going to do a google search for the Ohio Counsel on Aging, thanks for the tip

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

I can't imagine dealing with spitting, and here I thought I had it bad because she leaves icky used tissues and napkins on the tables or arm of her chair. That had to be very hard for you to deal with. It would have sent me over the edge.
And tooth picks, what the heck! I've told her; toss it when your done mom, we can afford to buy more if you run low.

One correction, I did not say I want mom to cook her own food. (although she can preform simple tasks like cooking an egg, toasting bread, and making oatmeal.)
I said, in the refrigerator there are always healthy balanced meals prepared. All she needs to do is heat them up. I may be busy, in the garden, or running an errand, she can feed herself rather than wait for me to serve her.

She does go to church, she does a bible study and a couple crosswords everyday.
I know stressful situations made it difficult for her to think clearly, but in everyday life she's no slouch.

We had a nice long talk today, I told her that she is not that old or that sick that she can't take care of herself.
That I don't mind doing for her what she can't, but I resent doing for her the things she doesn't want to do.
We've had this talk before, she knows it's true, but eventually reverts back to her old ways.
As I see it, just because a task is difficult doesn't mean you shouldn't have to do it, or at least try, it's a use it or loose it issue.
At least we cleared the air... that's a start.


Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

I get frustrated and angry as my life has changed due to his bad choices. That's why I resent the situation so much.

Lynn, I hear you.... I know this is what's coming if she doesn't take care of herself now. I get frustrated and angry as our life has changed due to her expecting me to do everything for her and that's why I resent the situation so much. My marriage is suffering from the constancy of demands.
And just as you can't do something simple like work in the garden without him yelling for you... I can't do things because if I leave her to her own devises she doesn't care for herself. I have actually had her walk out to the garden (without her cane) to ask me what's for lunch... you can translate that to "come in a fix me something to eat"

She can live on her own, or in assisted living, but my mom has never been the kind to like being alone.
Our next house will have separate quarters, a bedroom, living room and kitchen. It can be attached, but it has to be her own space.

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

And while I'm ranting,
She belches
With her mouth open
When ever the urge strikes
Never a thought to covering her mouth or stifling it by keeping her mouth closed.
She has done this for years, but then she didn't live with me.... ugh
I better go do something, sweep the floor maybe, you'll are going to get sick of my complaining.

Prattville, AL

Think I'll just go jump in the pond!!!! Not really, I'd freeze my hiney off. :O)

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Maybe throw a rock in it ;-P

Prattville, AL

NAH, it'd scare the Koi. :O)

Waterman, IL(Zone 5a)

I hope my DD takes as good a care of me as you and your DH are of your mom. So many elderly people are living in nursing homes because the family can't or won't open their doors to them. Some of the larger churches have elder care services such as daycare. It doesn't have to be an everyday thing, but your mom would be able to interact with people her own age and you could have a "time-off" afternoon or two during the week. It would give yourself a mental breather.

You get a gold star from me for what you are doing for your mom. I'm sure the stroke is responsible for a lot of her personality changes.

southeast, NE

Oh Dovey and others I feel your pain. We had similar issues with my father and mother. One thing that I would suggest is contacting your military family service division. They may have suggestions. My mom was my dad's caregiver and we convinced her to take my dad to a adult day care unit several days a week. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the VA paid for these services.

Prattville, AL

Jewel, you must be around Nebraska city. I was born and raised in North Platte.
First, they have to be willing to go. My husband is in the beginning stages of dimentia. He's fine for a while and then something happens and the dimentia kicks in. We've been in this stage for the past couple of days. He doesn't understand simple things. Tries to get out of bed yet not use the only leg he has and falls. He won't use the leg to push off on to help get him up. Takes a while but finally get him in the wheelchair or bed.
I would love it if he'd show some interest in something but that hasn't happened for some time.
Will take one day at a time and do what is needed to be done. I appreciate your suggestion though.

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

The hardest thing is finding a way to deal with her, talk to her, that doesn't demean her.
Treating my mother like a rebellious child is not what I want to do and yet at times it seemed as if that's exactly what she needed.
Clearing the air really did help, mom brought it up because of something the minister said during church.
(so I didn't have to figure out a way to get the conversation started *whew* that helped.)

She said while sitting in church she came to the conclusion that her behavior was wrong, that she needed to get motivated to do something with her daily life and yet she just didn't care enough to do anything.
As much as my mouth wanted to hop on board and agree with her, I was slow and gentle.
I think she finally got it, one thing she got was, that it's not right to place the responsibility of her health and welfare on to me. We have not reached that point in time, where she needs someone to take over for her.
It's been a week since we talked and I can see she is still making the effort.

The pour woman doesn't know what she wants, she doesn't want to live alone, but she wants her own house, her own dishes, and her own style of furniture.
She wants to own her own car and drive, yet she doesn't like doing things alone, and she knows she is not really safe on the road.
The list of conflicts goes on and on... she just doesn't know what to do with herself, which has made her difficult to live with. (sort of like an 80 year old going through "the terrible twos").

Thank you all for listening

AuGres, MI(Zone 5b)

Ideally, it would be nice if Mom had her own living quarters adjoined to your home. If she had a master suite large enough for her own bathroom and a sitting area to read and a comfy recliner to watch TV and her own kitchenette that would be great. My mom was too far gone physically and mentally to cook or clean by the time I took her in. We did look for homes with mother in law quarters but wound up with a tiny house on a small farm instead. It's worked out fine now. Could you add on to your existing home or find a small apartment close by for your mom? There are senior citizen apartments that base the rent on your income. As far as driving goes if she thinks she's not able to be safely on the road then she probably is not and I wouldn't encourage that.

Sometimes what we "want" and what is possible or practical is not the same. My mom yearns for her home at times and I remind her when she was living at her own house all she did was complain daily how depressed she was because she was all alone. She asked to come live with us and wanted that. That sort of shuts her up. Thankfully, it isn't often that she expresses out loud those yearnings for the way life used to be.

There are all kinds of hobbies your mom could explore for something to do with her time. My mom used to like to do word search puzzles, play solitare, regular puzzles, fuss over her houseplants and watch Price is Right. :) Some older folks can learn to use a computer. I don't think my mom would have been one of them though. Maybe your mom could be.

It's good your mom at least now recognizes her problem and how she's been treating you and is willing to work on it. That is a big step in the right direction.

Good luck,


(Zone 6a)

This sounds like my MIL a few years ago. She NEEDs to take care of herself and be in control of her life as much as possible, if she wants to continue being healthy. Sitting around being waiting on will bring her down, Older people need to be active. My MIL would not do anything for herself even while she could, the last 6 months she could not. But she would not even get up and walk and she could if she really, really wanted to. Maybe your mom is just kinda scared? It is hard to really know what goes throuh their minds. Maybe ( and you probably have already done this) you could sit down and have a major heart to heart with her ? I do really feel for you, taking care of one's parents is hard and takes a toll.

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Yep! It's use it or loose it to put it bluntly.
She may be scared, but she says, not of dying.

She's not that different than when she was young, she had no hobbies, no desire to be creative that I ever detected. As a younger woman she loved to socialize, she loved parties and was usually the life of the party.
Later in live she because a christian and taught bible studies and counseled people.

I guess she has lost her place in life and doesn't know what she should be.

AuGres, MI(Zone 5b)

Did she ever enjoy cooking? She might like to watch these series of videos of Clara, 93 years old, cooking and chatting about the Great Depression.


Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Nope, she doesn't enjoy cooking, gardening, sewing or art, I don't mean to sound so negative, but I'm at a loss.

Last year we had to insist that she accompany us to the museum to see the Claude Monte exhibit, "In Monet's Garden: The Lure of Giverney". This was a "once in a life time" opportunity for us to see some of his works. The exhibit was held in Columbus, Ohio, and Paris, France, no place else.

On the other hand I get a huge kick out of Clara, I wish mom had that kind of drive.
I hope I have that kind of life in me at 92!


Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

... ugh!
Why do I let this get to me?

Mom asked if there was anything she could do to help me, good start...
I asked if she wanted to learn how to make pizza dough, did she want to help me.
Her reply; "No"
I said, there is no hand mixing or kneading, all we have to do is measure the ingredients and put them into the kitchen aide, it does all the work.
Her reply: "Oh"

I went into the kitchen and started measuring the flour for the dough, she sat in her chair and read her book.

Why did she ask?
Couldn't she have at least come into the kitchen and watch... look slightly interested...measured a couple of teaspoons of salt?

Maybe her question should have been do you need anything done that I like to do... anything I think might be fun... got any cookies you need sampled, any chocolate cake you don't want lying around?

Fort Mohave, AZ(Zone 10b)

Hello everybody - It is kind of therapeutic knowing there are other people going through the same sort of problems and issues that caregiving bring. Mom lives with DH and me; she will be 99 in June. She lived 2 miles from us until Nov 2007. The caregiver who came in once a day to fix a meal for her and do light housekeeping kept telling me "sweetie, you've got to take your Mom home to live with you". And I could see her dementia had become rather dangerous for her to live alone. So we fixed up a section of the house for her: a hallway with a bathroom, bedroom and laundry room. We put up a wrought iron door at the entrance of the hallway to keep her two cats safe from our two dogs. As it turned out, when I realized she didn't even recognize her cats as being hers (or even that they were cats) I found a home for the one cat and kept the other one upstairs with me. But the door was a godsend because we could keep it locked (as hospice suggested) so she wouldn't go wandering outside or rummaging through the closets, etc. Her personality before dementia - and even until the last year was very self-assertive, take charge, do--it-myself sort. But now she is much easier to deal with, live with, yet at the same time the more infirmed and disabled she gets the sadder I become knowing she is at her journey's end. But, Dovey, even several months ago I went through one of the worst times ever simply because I couldn't contain myself and became very angry at her when she wet her pants. I yelled, "I JUST changed your pants five minutes ago! Why didn't you go then!" The reason why it was such a hard time for me was because I was filled with remorse and upset at myself for yelling at her. I cried and cried over this and prayed for a solution. What an easy solution popped into my head: Make sure her food is ready before changing her pants, then after changing them sit her down for her meal (she can still feed herself) and leave the room and DON'T go back in for at least twenty minutes. That way, what she does or doesn't do won't hurt me :)
In the past two months she has fallen at least four times. But she keeps on tickin'. I pray that God will take her soon before she has to go through any more. Her two older sisters both died just before or after their 99th birthday.
Now my DH is another thing. He is almost 82, diabetic, had two toes amputated 13 years ago, bipolar, and permanently catheterized the last two years - so Home Health comes out and changes his catheter once a month. He gets around in his wheelchair but due to the pain of getting up and down he usually just sits and sleeps on the soft in the family room. I started a container garden last November, then some raised garden beds in January - and simply love it! This is my sanctuary - the garden. It has helped to ground me and gives me a place to go where I can just feel peaceful. And then there is Dave's Garden! I've started participating in the Southwest forum and then discovered this caregiver forum. Hope you all have a great day! Sandra

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Hi Sandra,
It's good to meet you (hugs) Your sweet and openhearted response really touches my heart.
I deeply appreciate your honestly to admit that you broke down and actually yelled at her, I totally understand the horrific remorse after having doing something like that.
People in our situation often live on the edge of coping and not coping, sometimes we fail. The guilt is killer when that happens.
I haven't had that kind of break down in front of my mother, my dear husband has witnessed it when she was at church... I stood in the kitchen and pounded my fist on the counter until my palms were bruised, I cried, I swore and said unkind things.
I fear that she feels my frustration and senses my anger. I don't want her to live with that.

Since I started this thread things went from bad to worse and finally to better. (Yipee!)
Even the better can be stressful because I feel I must maintain the balance and steadfastness or we will end up back where we started.

I think another reason things have improved is that it's spring and I can work in the garden, Composting is my Prozac, pruning roses my Zoloft, my mental health and soul renewal comes for the vegetable patch and the rose garden.

Hold on Sandra, we can do this, we both will get though this time with grace.

Fort Mohave, AZ(Zone 10b)

Hi Dovey - I'm glad things are looking up for you. Just take one day at a time and say your blessings when it's been a good one!

What kind of composting do you do? I don't have a space for a regular compost bin but I'm thinking of using a round plastic garbage can. I read that you can put holes in the bottom sides and rotate can every day or so and it will produce compost. Have you ever heard of this?

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Yes I have and it sounds pretty easy to do although I've never tried it.
I think the most important part is getting a rubbish bin that has a secure lid.
One article I read suggested securing the lid with a bungee cord.
Compost needs heat and moisture and turning.

We have a huge round compost bin, made with a fencing wire, the sides are about 3 feet high and actually too large for me to properly work.
I'm considering alternatives, something long and low that I can turn easily.
Something with wood sides that looks more like a raised bed, 8 feet long - 3 feet wide.

I have my best luck with the "Field of Dreams" approach.
When I want to prepare a new bed I cover the section with news paper, a layer of manure and a little dirt (to keep the stink, flies and new paper down) I toss all my grass clippings & kitchen scraps in the designated area, I add more manure, then more scraps, sometimes in between tossing I cover things with a light dusting of dirt to keep the flies down, I toss and I toss and I toss. Then I water it daily to keep it all moist. It doesn't take long for the earth worms (mostly night crawlers) to find it and turn it all into beautiful, fertile soil that needs nearly zero tilling or weeding.

Oklahoma City, OK

Oh My Gosh !
I can't believe I've been roaming around on this web site for so many months and not run accross this forum.......
I've been a caretaker since my hubby started having mini strokes back in 2000. I didn't catch on at first about what was going on with him because I was working full time and running a small business on the side. He was retired but had a wrecker that he run and things began happening ....Like putting gas in it when it was a diesel, (that was costly) and time consuming. Then he traded it for another one without even talking with me about it....We paid for that one twice.He blew the engine in it shortly after he got it, we replaced the engine then ended up having to replace the transmission. Then he lost a couple cars off of it at different times.... By now I'm trying to talk to him about shutting it down. He wouldn't listen to me........Well I came back to the house one morning and found him down in the bathroom. He had had a stroke that put him out of action for a while....It affected his left side. But he could have overcome some of the effects of it if he would have cooperated with his therapy. He can do more for himself than he lets on. He would rather be waited on. The stroke also caused short term memory loss. Which he appears to find as a convenient excuse sometimes..
I could go on and on but I know my story is not as bad as what some of you all are enduring.
I can identifiy with each and everyone of you regarding the feelings of flusteration, helplessness and even the resentment, plus the feelings of being ashamed because I have these feelings. If I vent to some one then I come away feeling not very nice and disloyal. If they've never been a caretaker they probably don't understand how trapped a person can feel...Not to mention that very many times of "venting" and your friends start avoiding you

Fort Mohave, AZ(Zone 10b)

Hi PinkPanther - Boy, you said a mouth-full! How true, how true. You expressed some of the frustrations I've had with my DH. I am usually a pretty easy going caregiver but I know, like you, that if I weren't here DH would do a lot more for himself than he does when I'm there. He even stands up faster when I'm not around (or he thinks I'm not around). And he used to set up the coffee machine, stack the dishes - little helpful things. But now he pretty much sits on the couch except when he goes to the bathroom. And that's okay - just don't tell me I'M selfish (an occasional thing he'll do when I don't give him the response he is looking for). That's when I go berserk! And, I think, that is what can happen to a related caregiver (as opposed to a professional caregiver who goes home at the end of the day. When the caregiver doesn't take the necessary breaks or get away for a few days every now and then the stress builds up and explosions can happen. I haven't had a vacation in over three years because I didn't feel I could leave DH and the three dogs alone - and now for the last year and a half my Mom lives with us too. This is a great forum to express and to vent every now and then - and to get some helpful hints from others who have been there and done that! Happy gardening PinkPanther!

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

I'm glad you found us, having a place to vent is very helpful. When I began this thread, I felt guilty for starting it... and disloyal to say such "ugly" things... and I was afraid of being misunderstood (judged) by anyone who might read it.

I am a "The glass is 1/2 full" kind of person, and theses emotions are so negative that sometimes it is hard to give them voice.
Matt and I were talking last night about an aspect I just can't figure out... that is; why does old age, a stroke, dementia, etc bring out the worst in some personalities while others carry on with grace?

Dear God I want to grow old kindly, sweetly!
I want to be like Maria D'Antuono, the 98-year-old woman rescued from the earthquake rubble in L'Aquila, she knitted while waiting and after 30 hours came out with a smile on her face.

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

...don't tell me I'M selfish (an occasional thing he'll do when I don't give him the response he is looking for).

The other day mom said she didn't understand why I act the way I do somethings, and that she wouldn't even allow herself to think it was because I was "just being mean".
Which means she thinks I'm just being mean, when I require her to close a cupboard door when she's finished, or replace an empty roll of toilet paper.

We are saving our money to fly my brother out for a week to take care of her so we can take a vacation alone. That should be interesting.

Oklahoma City, OK

Sandra and Dovey
Thank you so much for your response.
I guess a lot of the flustration comes from having to be the everything of the household . Where I used to think I had a help mate now I have a child like individual that I don't feel like I can treat like a child. Somtimes I try to include him in some of my decisions and I end up getting an "off the wall" suggestion or it'll cause him to remember something from his young adult years (I wasn't around then) that I've already heard an umteen gillion times over and has nothing to do with now........ I do feel like an uncompensated servant. I don't mind doing for him but when he's at the table he acts like he thinks its a resturant and I'm the waitress. I can think I've got everything he could possiblly want and he'll look around and figure out something to ask for.....I finally for the most part don't set down and eat a meal with him, I just wait until he's done or almost done to start eating. Otherwise he'll keep me hopping....
And yes Dovey I have also wondered why "old age" gives a person the right to be rude,outspoken, or just plain negative.....or some of the other things I read about further back in this forum.
For a while I was having trouble with him wanting to pee everywhere but in the toilet. That was disgusting. The wash bowl, the shower, the sink, even the kitty litter box wasn't beyond his attention. When I had to replace the faucets in the bathroom because of the corosion causing them to start leaking ......I raised so much *%@%^ and told his daughter that I was really put out with him. Because of the cost and labor (which I btw had to do) Well I guess he interpeted as me saying I was going to put him out....So he got cured. Now if he's got enough thought processes to stop that (which had gone on for a long time) then he's capable of remembering other things.
He has 5 kids but only one comes around occasionally. Then she just wants to sit here and vist him doesn't take him anywhere.
I can't afford an adult day care which he probably wouldn't agree to. I'm just barely keeping things going now.
Well now I guess I should to ask ? " Did you enjoy the whine with your breakfast?" LOL
Now it's time to go run an errand...thanks for listening and I'll be back in a little while....karen

Oklahoma City, OK

OMG Dovey did you say "vacation".....Is that as in how do you spell "relief?

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

I have a child like individual that I don't feel like I can treat like a child.

That is another really difficult issue, being in the position where the individual is adult and in the past deserving of the right to be treated like an adult... but you actually can not do that now.
Treating my mother as a child, making sure she eats her vegetables and does not fill up on bread at dinner... making sure she eats food and not cookies for lunch, the list goes on and on, goes against everything I used to feel about her, it goes against everything she once was. She was my mom for crying out loud... now she is a poorly behaved adolescent.

You can treat them with dignity, but not as an adult and that's a hard thing to balance.

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Everyone's gotta have a dream!

Oklahoma City, OK

Dovey you again have addressed some of the same issues that are going on here..Sometimes he'll say nope not hungry , then a few minutes later I find him with a bag of chips or a handfull of cookies. "The other thing is that when I have to run an errand, I might be going to Home Depot, the bank or the courthouse, just about anywhere and he"ll ask me to bring him something........( I've seen kids get in that habit ) mommie says be good and I'll bring you something .......$$$ is so tight that I can't do that but he seems to have no concept...Or that where I'm going may not have have what he wants, that means another stop...another thing he'll do is get into stuff. Then say he didn't ....
Ok I feel like I've boo hoo'ed enough for this session...
We have a very small back yard and not much available for 8 hrs of sun , so I'm trying to grow a few things in pots...I have 3 beefheart tomatoes actually blooming.....3 Bell Pepper plants and two pots of cucumbers .. and two roma tomatoe plants. I have a two wheel dolly so I'll be able to move them around according to where they get the best sun. I have to keep them in the back so people won't help themselves to them.
...I have flags just now starting to bloom , roses, peonies (both budding out) redbud trees that just finished blooming and jonquils.Oh and 1 lilac bush ..My walk to the front door is lined with hotpink creeping pflox and bright pink dianthas. .(they smell so good) I wish I had a camera so I could show you how pretty they are...Of course I probably wouldn't know beans about how to put the pictures on here....LOL. Yesterday I mowed the back yard ,its hard to do because it is so small sometimes I just use the weed eater. Today I'm going to mow the front. Do you have a big yard that you can play in? For the first few years my yard was all that kept me sane........
Catch ya later Dovey....((((HUGS))))) We can prop each other up.....Karen

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or register to post.

Upload Images to your reply

    You may upload up to 5 images