Lost my patience.

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I'm the sole caregiver for my 83-year old mom (my brother passed in 2003 and my dad passed in 1999). I have found more patience in myself than I ever thought I had. I lost that patience last week while visiting. I believe she has dementia, she has no short-term memory, does not want outside help, refuses to go to a doctor. In July I visited her to take her car away (she lives 3 hours away by plane). I know I'm dealing with a 3 year old, but I still let her break me down last week. She has awesome neighbors who take her to the store anytime she wants but she still wanted a scooter to get to the store in case she forgets something. She and I argued about it and I had had enough so I took her to get a scooter, resigning myself that she will kill herself on it. I'm mad at myself for losing my patience, for giving in, for helping her buy the scooter, for not getting over it before I flew back home.... Every time I want to scream or cry, I can't because I have to be strong and be the adult in this relationship. Today the tears are starting and I'm afraid I won't be able to stop them.


What makes you think that your Mom may have dementia? Besides short-term memory loss, what symptoms have you noticed? If she does indeed have dementia, realize that it will progress. Persons with dementia beyond the very early stage are seldom able to live on their own, without considerable supervision and in-home help.

I suggest that you work very hard on getting Mom evaluated (on any pretext you can dream up) so that you have a better idea of what you are dealing with. You need to look ahead and make plans. If it is dementia, having her sole caregiver 3 hours away by plane is not going to be adequate in the long run.

It was my husband's caseworker who suggested he get a scooter, a few years after his dementia diagnosis. Yikes! That didn't seem right to me, but it turned out to be wonderful. It gave him back a bit of his sense of independence and allowed him to do some things on his own. A scooter isn't necessarily out of the question for people with dementia. BUT I was my husband's 24/7 caregiver. I checked that he was dressed appropriately for the weather and that he had his JitterBug cell phone in his pocket and that it was turned on. We went through a practice run with the cell phone before every outing. I knew where he was going and how long it should take him. I called him if he were late. I was available to go get him the time his scooter ran out of charge at the barber shop.

You are right that making decisions just to shut Mom up is not ideal. In my mind the real issue here is how much supervision does Mom really need, and as that increases, how is it going to be provided.
My mom has dementia, too, and I understand your frustration. I sometimes lose my patience, then feel terrible later. It's frustrating because I can look at your words and know instantly that I want to tell you to go easy on yourself and know that losing your patience is normal. Our parents sometimes lost patience with us when we were toddlers and little kids and our own ability to control things was quite diminished, and it's ok if your own patience is tried. I can say that to you and others, yet I find I don't feel any better when I tell myself the same thing.

Do you have any other resources for venting, like a good friend, a support group, a therapist, or something else? I am fortunate to have 2 good friends I can vent to, one of whom lost her own parent and had useless siblings (like I have), but even then we sometimes need more help. How are you feeling today?
Thank you both for your comments. I think just writing it down got it off my chest and helped. I do have some good friends who I vent to and my husband is very supportive. I didn't elaborate to the people I work with, only that I had lost my composure and one of the people said it best-I'm only human. Mom has not taken the scooter out yet and I'm thinking if all it does is gives her a sense of freedom, it was worth the money, whether or not she uses it.
my mother developed quite an OCD as dementia played out. nothing pushes me off the deep end like someone obsessing because their idea of utopia has a flaw. google saved my ass because the more i read about dementia and associated disorders , the more patient i became. theres a big difference between cranky old lady who wants to control everyone around her and a person suffering late stage dementia and subsequently grasping for any small shred of control over their life. learning about the illness doesnt mean the elder isnt nuts, just that their behavior is to be expected. textbook stuff. in the end youll be an imposter, thief, and trying to kill them.
so there you have it dlf. be kind to your mom shes effin nuts.

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