Dealing With My Aging Parents

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I am an only child and my parents are in their mid-70's, For the most part they are in good health other than the regular health issues that come with age: high blood pressure, arthritis, mild depression and with my Dad, maybe some early dementia. Also, becuase of finances, I moved in with my parents - which alone is stressful; however, being with them has made me aware of how they are really aging and I am having issues with that.

My Mom has always been the type of person who could come across as curt. The older she gets, the worse this curtness is specifically towards my Dad (who retired 5 years ago). She hates everything that he does and it is always wrong. She is always in a horrible mood and constantly complains about everything. She claims that she doesn't feel well and to date we can't find anything physically wrong with her other than high blood pressure (which is under control), allergies and arthritis in her hands, which she can correct with joint replacement but refuses. I do think that she suffers from depression but she refuses to talk about it much less take medication for it. At times she will say she is very depressed but even during those conversations, she refuses to get help. URGH

My Dad has become a very grumpy man since his retirement and I think he may have early stages of dementia. It is as though aliens came and took his brain. He has problems remembering things ranging from conversations to incidents, his vocabulary has changed, and did I mention he is grumpy/croctchity. I also think he is suffering from some depression, but nothing like my Mom. He misses work, misses being busy and having challenges. He also has some back and leg pain from prevoius injuries, which at times prevents him from doing what he wants.

I am having so many issues with this - they are driving me crazy, they bicker all the time, they won't listen to the advice I give them, they are STUBBORN and I am going to lose my mind!!! I have seen a therapist to try and figure out how I can deal with the changes that they are going through and deal with them without losing my mind but I didn't find that that was really helping. There are times that I am at my wits end - I want to run away and never look back. Of course I would never do that. And I realize that this is just the beginning - who knows what I will have to face in the future. And being an only child, who happens to be single, I will have to deal with this alone.

When we are younger and our parents are younger, we know that they will eventually get old. But when it actually happens, it is very scary and stressful. Some days I feel like I will be able to handle whatever is coming my way and other times I feel like I am going to snap. Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with this and how to deal with stubborn, older, cranky/grumpy parents?

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Hang in there. I am going through a similar situation. Although my mom is in pretty good health ( praying thanks to god), she recently hurt herself and needs me to help her. I do, then she criticisizes how I am "not helping her". She snaps at me, tells me I'm diving too fast, when I only going five above the limit. I live at home, financial issues, I try to help her by cleaning, she freaks out and blames me when stuff is missing, I say I did not touch her stuff, I find it close to where it was lost. Tonight, we got into a little huff, so I decided to stay away and I kept to myself in my bedroom and organized a few of my own things. Thank goodness I have my own space to go to. I love her dearly, she is great lady and lets me keep my pets, they love her too, but I am getting distressed and feeling down.
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Hang in there. I am going through a similar situation. Although my mom is in pretty good health ( praying thanks to god), she recently hurt herself and needs me to help her. I do, then she criticisizes how I am "not helping her". She snaps at me, tells me I'm diving too fast, when I only going five above the limit. I live at home, financial issues, I try to help her by cleaning, she freaks out and blames me when stuff is missing, I say I did not touch her stuff, I find it close to where it was lost. Tonight, we got into a little huff, so I decided to stay away and I kept to myself in my bedroom and organized a few of my own things. Thank goodness I have my own space to go to. I love her dearly, she is great lady and lets me keep my pets, they love her too, but I am getting distressed and feeling down.
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I just want to say thank you to you all for sharing. I feel better just knowing that I'm not the only one going through this.
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TRIPLE STARS FOR LYNNPO
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So - you've received empathy, sympathy, understanding and some practical advice - I'll add this - try to find some acceptance and then balance. Easier said than done I know but it's the best thing to do for yourself. My parents were married for 55 years - the worst years were the 4 after my dad retired. He felt useless, Mom was angry to have him underfoot all day. They had to get reacquainted and learn to enjoy each other all over again. THEY had to do this, I could not do it for them. They also had the luxury of relatively good health, your parents may not. Getting old is hard - with a failing body, I'd be grumpy too. I found that living with my parents made ME crazy, it didn't have any effect on them except causing them a little more stress to share a small kitchen and one bathroom. If possible move out - it might be difficult but you can do it - roomates, part time jobs, studio apartments. YOUR needs for peace, privacy and space are as important. As long as your parents are okay without a live-in aid, you don't NEED to be there. If you can't move out then GET OUT often - be a volunteer, work in the yard, take a class, go to the library, walk, do yoga . Realize what you can do to help versus what they want and really need. They may not want your advice; they may be complaining because there is nothing else to do. Old people are also like little kids - they are narcissistic, they worry about themselves only and no one else - perhaps its because they spend so much time alone.

For yourself - I suggest finding and attending a support group for caregivers. These are generally free and you'll find all kinds of information, suggestions and support from people who've been through the same situations as you. It also helps keep you from becoming isolated - and possibly narcissitic yourself, it's easy to do because we don't want to complain or whine to we keep everything bottled up.

Good luck to you. Even though your parents are grumpy, they probably appreciate that you care enough to listen and try to help.
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I deal with some very difficult situations, and can relate. Opera, I'll keep you in prayer, that God will guide you, and be your help.
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Thanks for the support... However I personally believe that it is entirely my own fault for not being firm enough to go ahead with what I want to do, out of respect. What you said in your comment has made me think again and thank you for seeing it the way I do.. I sometimes feel that its not fair for them to be moved out of their surroundings at this age. But God bless them they are both strong especially my mom and I hate the thought that I have to see them gone before I can improve all our lives. For all I know I may be gone before them for that matter... I know I am not ungrateful to the fact that they offered me my life , my education and who I am today. I owe it all to them.. I shall never stop caring or looking after them.. So I think I will move on with my decisions . Thank you alwaysmyduty... Elizza my mum is so stubborn she will never take any such medication... tnx anyway...
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I strongly - STRONGLY - recommend everyone check out anti-depressants for your grumpy parents. It made a world of difference when my mother became more pleasant. Still takes aLOT of time in care, but we are not resentful - and, the best part: we have a lot of fun together and laugh. This is because of zoloft. Not all medications work equally well for all people, but there is something out there that will help. Wouldn't you like to enjoy your parents? Good luck.
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Opera,
This is what I don't get about selfish parents. Why in the world would they allow you and your son to be miserable? It's beyond me how some parents can be so mean. My mom was always mean so now that her main ambition in life is to make me miserable, I am not surprised.
I think some of this is their generation. They have ideas that are so out in left field, we the next generation, can't fathom them. My mom says because she's old, she's "entitled" just because she's old. What???? She's always said it so again I am not surprised.
I hope you can find a happy medium. If not, I'd tell them as nice as possible that life is about change and you feel that you and your son deserve a life also and to be happy and it's time for a change. If they still refuse, you have your answer. . . it's all about them and you two don't matter. At that, you have a right to be bitter and resentful. Heck, reading your post makes me mad and they aren't even my parents.
I wish I had a solution for you but I don't. Keep working on them. You sound so sad and full of despair, I pray they will come around. How sad to know you are stuck and have no way out. I will keep you in my thoughts. The best to you.
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I am 62, my parents both alive, God bless them, my mother 87 and dad 95... They live in the same plot that we live , are together 3-4 times a day and also talk on the phone several times .. Understandably they are becoming more and more dependant on us-- but also as a result, more and more opiniated about everything- my mom especially- in a way that she is trying to rule now my life. Have come to a point where she wants to know everything but everything of what I do or dont do... Financial reasons are forcing me to contemplate selling, and for good money too,the plot of land where we live and go to new house /- flat for us and one for parents- and they refuse stubbornly whenever a great deal arises ....They decided they want to live for ever in the house they built since 1950 which is humid old and needs constant restoration.So I am forced to live in a house adjacent to a big commercial noisy avenue, suffer financially both us and our son .But they insist and refuse to consent to the sale as they dont want to move, the actual reason they dont want me to sell the land..which is in my name...So I pray to God to give me patience to go along with my life as a pauper, see my son suffer financially now that times are harsh - I want to help him buy a house and open a studio-I am still a good nurse and companion to my aging parents..I am very bitter and desperate about the whole thing and I am also taking lessons though not to do the same to my only son..Enslave him forever around me and my needs as a parent. I wonder..do parents become selfish when they become old? I'll try not to be...
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