Mom's Anger and Resentment

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My father fell down a flight of stairs Dec of 2007, since the fall he has found out that he has Parkinson's Disease. Its been a very slow recovery for him in fact he has degressed in alot of ways. He has short term memory and is somewhat confused at times. My mom has been the primary caregiver. Her duties include giving my dad his medication because he cant remember when he takes it and making sure he eats, he's a diabetic and he doesnt remember when he should eat. He does go to the bathroom by himself and takes a shower on his own and gets dressed on his own. We all know this has been overwhelming for her. We have helped with the cleaning at times and also painted her whole house for christmas and birthday presents. My sister lives next door and she helps my mom with taking care of the house. My mom is in good health and she works part time. The problem is my mom is overwhelm with anger and resentment that she has to take care of my dad her husband. She resents my dad so much for getting sick. She treats him like crap in her tone of voice and belittles him in front of him. Overall he is in pretty good health. We have suggested to my mom go seek some help for herself and she needs to get rid of this anger and resentment. We even given her gift certificates at a spa just for herself. Apparently that hasnt helped. All she says is she is leaving we have to deal with this she has had it. As far as the house is consider she is capable of cleaning her own house but we have offerred in fact I have given her a coupon for one month of cleaning for her birthday. My sister and brother in law take care of the yard and all the snow shoveling because they live next door. We have also told her if she needs any help just to let us know. I have been through this already with my in laws, its tough we took care of two homes for 15 years. My mom needs the help dealing with this herself and we suggested for her to go talk to someone she wont listen to us. We are at our wits ends we dont know what to do, we all have full time jobs and families of our own and its starting to affect all of them. Help! How can we get my mom the help she needs.

7 Comments

Dear DA, it really sounds like your Mom needs respite care for help with your Dad. She is crying out for help, but not the cleaning kind. Sounds as though she needs time away. I'm not suggesting you take over, but that you help your mom find a real solution to time away from her husband, and the constant demands of his care. She needs it, for her own strength and health. I can see where telling her to "talk to someone," might not be a comfort to her. If she's feeling overwhelmed, and sees no relief in sight, it's natural to want to quit. How about calling your local Commission on Aging, and ask for resources and referrals. (Day care, nursing care in the home, or temporary placement for your Dad, and for your Mom's well being.) A lakeshore vacation may help your Mom more than painting.
Some folks just deal with things with anger... I would also encouage you to get Mom some respite, which would also help Dad. Many nursing homes witll do respite care for folks. This would involve his actually going and staying at the nurse home for several days, maybe even two weeks. How does your Dad feel about doing this. Often with Parkinson's disease comes some dementia. Is he able to commnunicate how he feels? take care I sure do with you well... J
"All she says is she is leaving we have to deal with this she has had it." This one sentence says it all. Your mom is overcome with emotional stress--not physical exhaustion. Responses like "helping out more" or sending her off to the SPA only reaffirm her sense of uselessness. There is no cure for Parkinson's and your "in pretty good health" mom is realizing that life as she knew it is going away. At the same time she is torn between giving your dad the care he needs and taking care of her own needs. If she lacked integrity she would already be gone and would not be looking back. But the key to your dad's care is not in painting the house or cleaning. It is in finding outside support. Remove your mom from the equation and ask yourselves what would work out best for your dad. If you conclude that Day Care or a full time Nursing Facility would be best, then go with it. Don't expect mom to help make or even support the decision. That will only lay more guilt on her. Once it is done, I think you will see the good side of mom emerge. She will be a caring wife and happier person.
good comments ezcare... I think it can be very hard for spouses to deal with the decline of their loved one. My parents have been married, Lord willing 62 years in October. I think it is just hard to realize life is not the same... and your will not be together forever. I would encourage your Mom also to get into a support group, they can be very valuable resourses of information and care. take care ,J
Excellent comments and suggestons, both ezcare, and Jaye!

I appreciate what ezcare said about Mom's integrity. That goes for many a Caregiver! You hit the crux of the situation by saying, "remove Mom fro the equation." Actually, they both need help! Dad for his needs, and Mom for hers. (I didn't mean a spa vacation, then back to the same ol' grind.) I was hoping the family could find some local resources for the long term relief of both Mom as Caregiver, and for Mom's personal needs. Saying, "...don't expect Mom to help make or even support the decision" was perfect advice. What a blessing for that family, for Mom's good side to emerge. You have a good way with words.

May I add, (for the girls' sake) don't take on the guilt yourselves, for having to make a decision that is seemingly unpleasant. The bottom line is, Dad AND Mom need help.
You are all right, we have talked to someone regarding resources and adult day care they are scheduled to come out tomorrow. We have suggested time away and we have helped on the weekend as we all work too. In fact next weekend I'm there to relieve my mom for the weekend so she can do some shopping and she has a luncheon date with a friend. We all realize this has been hard emotionally on her and we know that things will never be the same for her and we know she knows this. Several months ago I took a week of vacation and spent it with them. My mom and I talked she told me things will never be the same. She knows we are here for her. Like I said I have been down this road before with my in-laws it was difficult then and its difficult now. Thanks for listening and making suggestions sometimes it helps with another party especially if you have gone through this or going through the same thing.
DA I can see why you want your Mom to get help due to you already did your own stint for 15 years...she is burned out too. I can see that as well as the other ladies have. She perhaps needs someone to take over for a while not just a day at the spa or a paint job on the house, those are all well and good, but she is right back where she started from and that is where the burnout is. Since you perhaps are burned out and she is burned out is there someone else in the family who can now step in a bit? This is where more government programs are needed. This is a entirely vast syndrome of folks living longer where no one has anticipated caretakers. They say there is so much help out there but when you go looking for it there is some catch, or monetary catch or something that is just not that easy.

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