New here and needing support.

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I'm taking care of my 90 yr old mom. She is able to live in her home as long as I come over and spend time with her most days. I do the shopping and the driving (she's still honked off that she can't drive). Lately I just feel so overwhelmed that I end up in tears.

I love her, we get along great, and she has only mild dementia, but the memory loss and the hearing loss take their toll. I feel like I should be more patient and not get frustrated. I don't take anything out on her, but it's loaded up inside me to the point I looked for a website for support and found this one.

Does anyone else get so tired of repeating themselves, both in terms of because a parent doesn't hear them (she has hearing aids, but doesn't want to wear them at home unless I "nag" her) and the fact that she can't remember things? How do you handle it? I have one sibling who lives hundreds of miles away and who is useless on good days and damaging to both my mom and myself on the rest of the days.

I'm not even sure what I want to say I'm looking for here. I know that I'm sitting here tonight wondering when someone else will take care of ME and I can take a break from taking care of all these other things that just pile up and never seem to end. Thanks for reading this.


Well Sherry, you have found a saftey net, to catch you and help you... This is a wonderful sight, full of love and support, many many people on here... many will respond to you, you are not alone.... and yes , I personally get weary from all the things you said... we all do... and we are as patient as we can be... you will get suggestions for respite, how to handle some of the stress, ect.... and it is proven that when you continually have so speak loud, it releases adrenline... sort of like if you were hollering to get help.... and when it's over, we are exhausted.... I would leave J's house and be in tears, just from having to repeat and pracitally scream to be heard... and she wouldn't wear her hearing aids either... so I completely understand how you feel.... and who's going to take care of you???? Us... we will... that's what we do here, take care of each other.... you will meet some amazing folks, lots of experiance here.... so please come back and let us know how you are doing..... we understand , we care, and you are not alone.... hugs to you.... and breathe, we all forget to take deep breaths.....
Ladee's answer is right on. You have come to the right place to be heard, understood and truly cared about. The amount of patience we require in these caretaking situations goes above and beyond. And as time goes on, it becomes extremely difficult. When my MIL lived with us and the years prior when she was constantly repeating herself were often unbearable. And, of course she had hearing problems as well and would not use hearing aids; so the constant repeating on my end became so stressful. Some situations are worse than others with respect to the constant repeating. My mother in NH has dementia, and repeats frequently, but nothing any way compared to MIL.

There were days I was so depressed and exhausted from all the efforts of patience. My heart goes out to you - venting is good and necessary. Hugs and hugs to you. As Ladee said - take deep breaths and remember this too shall pass.
Thank you so much to both of you for replying. It does make me feel less alone. It makes me realize that I can carry the burden more if I have somewhere I can turn and say things like , "I get so tired of repeating myself - gawwww!!" and have people who TRULY understand that.

Why is it old people pay a lot of money for hearing aids and then won't wear them? My mom was so eager to get them and so upset that she couldn't hear much. Now she has them (her second set over the years) and they sit in a box except for when she goes out (church, with a friend, etc). Meanwhile *I* have to scream and when I ask her to please put them in, she gets grumpy. I get tired of being put in the parental role, even though I know it's not her fault. That's when I wonder why I don't have more patience, because parents certainly have to have that in spades.

I'm hard on myself, I suspect, which is something my mother grew up doing to herself. I wish I didn't want someone to say to me, "What you're doing is great, stop being so hard on yourself" but damn it would feel nice.
Sherry, the people on this sight are wonderful. Pour it out and read the responses, as you know all situations are different. But, ultimately we have all given our lives to take care of others. Do not neglect yourself.
SherryZ!!! You have definetly come to the right spot, and Ladee is right. I think she should be the welcome ambassador to everyone, but I'm sure she probably doesn't have time for that. She is on the "No one ever askes the Cargiver, How are you doing" thread almost everyday. She is a true light, very funny and full of wisdom. I have to tell you I could have wrote every word you said, right down to the ( why do they spend so much money on the hearing aids and then they don't wear them). This site is a great place to share your feelings, good, bad, and ugly. You'll find alot of great support here, sometimes there is an occasional troll, but they quickly disappear. I've taken a break from responding lately and I'm not quite sure why. I wanted to let you know I could identify with you completely. Caregivers are wonderful people fulfilling a roll that most people, ( brothers and sisters) cannot find it within themselfs to do. We are the "elite". I've come to see it that way since finding this site. I used to think I was just the family slave. So stop being so hard on yourself, you are doing a wonderful job. I hope to hear more from you. Welcome. Vivian
"What you're doing is great, stop being so hard on yourself" !

About the hearing aids ... I've given up on a lot of my husband's behaviors. They are what they are, and I need to be the one to make adjustments. But the hearing aid issue is one I've held out on. His level of cognition fluctuates, and I've picked his very best days to explain to him that when I have to raise my voice to talk to him that makes it sound as if I'm mad at him, and I only want to sound mad when I really am. He needs to wear his hearing aids to keep our conversations sounding as pleasant as I mean them to be. Learning new things or remembering messages is hard for people with dementia, and I've repeated this many times, all on good days, and all in pretty much the same terms. And now I just don't talk to him unless he wears his hearing aids. If we start a conversation and he has to keep asking what or clearly can't hear me I don't raise my voice. I tap my own ears or hand him the hearing aid box. I don't get mad or frustrated that he forgot to put them in. He has dementia. Forgetting is what they do. But, by golly, once he is reminded he can jolly well put them in! :-D

This approach may or may not work with your mother. If is doesn't, it isn't because you aren't as good of a caregiver as I am ... it's because she isn't as good of a care reciever (on this topic at least) as my husband is!

Since it is a source of frustration for you and that leads to impatience and that leads to self-criticism, I think the hearing aid issue is one worth a lot of effort, even while you let other poor behaviors slide.

Good luck!
I will add another "What you're doing is great, stop being so hard on yourself"

It sounds like some emotional detaching/distancing would help, as does coming here and venting, and gettng ideas from others.

Your mum is not who she was, so you cannot expect the same from her as you did. To let go of those (now) unrealistic expectations, you need to grieve the loss of who she was, to get to the point of accepting who she now is, and adjusting your expectations accordingly. As she declines, and we all do in one way or another, those expectatioms will need to be readjusted. Lowering your expectations to a realistic level can help to lower the stress. Developing techniques, as jeanne mentioned regarding tapping her ears and handing her hub the hearing air box, are great coping skills. I remember years ago with one child who was being particularly difficult, emphasizing to myself that I was the adult here who needed to act maturely, when I was being tempted to respond in kind. Caregiving is an extremely difficult task, and one for which most (none?) of us have been prepared. It is challenging to the extreme. People here have loads of experience and are so willing to share. Pick one thing to work on to improve - right now it all feels so overwhelming, I know. If you can accomplsh one small change that benefits you, it will be an encouragement, and then you can pick another. Some changes cannot happen - the clock cannot be turned back, but improvements can be made, and your quality of life can improve Good luck!

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