Caregiving a difficult abusive parent.

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I would like to start a discussion about this topic and see what others think. It seem to me we need more direct and realistic approaches to dealing with aging parents and we need to stop this nonsense about approaching it with god's help. This is a growing epidemic in our country, the largest populace is people age 85 and up. And who is taking care of them? US, and especially the children, usually one while others sit back and do nothing. We need support, help, no lip service and real doing. We also need to cut out these blood sucking professional in home services that are eating up our medicare and medicaid and charging insane prices for home care. There are also people who want to help, but cannot due to agencies that are preventing them from getting to you directly without you paying a fee. We have to stop this. You can hire a baby-sitter on your own, but low and behold, you cannot hire anyone to come care for your elderly mother because of the bullcrap out there about hiring in home aide. As a caregiver I am appalled at the lack of services, the lack of help for caregivers, everything comes with a huge price tag, let us join up and put a stop to this nonsense.


I also care for my mother who is 86. She does not have cancer, but she is in a wheelchair. I join the millions of Americans taking care of an elder parent who was less then adequate as a mother to me and my siblings. In fact, I am surprised that my siblings and I survived with her in charge. My mother is a habitual liar, she is self-centered, she cheated on three husbands and had numeros affairs, she is both anorexic and bullimic, she was an alcholic til age 70, and she has no friends. My sister will have nothing to do with her and my brother died partly due to her constantly interfering with his life, belittling him and controlling him. She barely fed or clothed us as children, never took us to a doctor and never gave us christmas or birthdays.

She treats me like a servant. She never says thankyou for anything. I am past dealing with my childhood angst though. Now I deal with her as she is now. she has dementia, so she does not remember anything. Course this is what she says, if I bring up my brother, she remembers everything. She still lies, blames everyone except herself for things that go wrong and she has horrendous table manners and sanitary habits. She begins every sentence with "I".

I think it would help anyone and everyone to express their anger in forums like this instead of pussy footin around the "Ah we will all learn and gain by putting our anger aside, or trust in god, etc. etc. that does not help the caregiver.

My husband and i see a therapist weekly to deal with the stress. WE had to do this. She emphasized that is is NORMAL to feel angry, to feel stress, to want to clobber this incessant anvil that has attached itself to you and will not let you breath. there are parents who understand and feel compassion, but there are others who never learned that others have feelings. They think only about themselves. You feel resentment you feel angry, good. You need to get it out. I want a punching bag that I can practice on to get out my anger. If you hold your anger in, then you will have stomach issues, or be a candidate for cancer. No, get angry, express it, beat up a pillow. Just do not let it affect those who DO love you and care about you, like your spouse or children.

Unfortunately, with the parent, especially if they are past understanding, all they think of is themselves, think of them as you would a turtle or fish, provide food, water, needs, be kind and considerate, but do not invest anything of yourself. If they are incapable of being loving and real to you or beiing humane, then just provide them with the type of care you would get from a hotel. Did they invest in your wellbeing? No. Did they protect you beyond measure and love you despite all odds? No? then give them them what they need to live, but cut them off emotionally. they did not invest in you, why should you invest in them. they deserve respect, and care. they do not deserve your emotional support and that is where it hits hard. I am sorry if some think of me as harsh, but I look at it this way: You have to protect your self. You have to stop them from mistreating you. You have to stop them from making your blood pressure rise and you have to stop them from shortening your life because they made a mess of their lives. What goes around comes around and we know this. Do not be abusive, do not be unkind, but do not let them run you ragged and cause you personal and physcial trauma. You have to protect your life.

I think of it as this, If Hitler had a daughter and she had to take care of that evil man, how would she feel? Well, probably no one has had it that bad, but you know, sometimes it is close. I wish I had had a wonderful loving mother, I did not.

what you can do, you have to find others to talk to for one, who see you, listen to you and care for you. You have to block others who just want to tell you what to do, and have NO concept of what you are going through. These people are numerous, they will tell you to this are that, etc. etc. Let me tell you something, those out there who read this, if you want to help, then do, don't run your mouth, shut your mouth, and go over to the home, pick up the mother or father, take him out, or cook for the friend or sibling, or take a day and do laundry for the house, or do the lawn, or come over and let the siblling have a weekend off completely. Find others to give this person a break. The hard part for the caregiver is that they are so filled up with day to day chores that they don't even have time to find anyone to help them and they cannot afford those stupid blood sucking caregiver companies out there who want $2000 a week for help.

and another thing that siblings do not realize is this and it is why I am taking care of my mother. She has a home, she has property. I want that land and home to remain with the family. I want it to go to our children, I have none, but I have a niece and two nephews. I am trying to make a difference for her and our family. If you give up then medicaide will come on in, but you can kiss your families property away. They will take everything. My mother gets medicare, I will not sign her up for medicaid. I have no idea how long she will live. I don't ever want her to have to live in a piece of crap nursing home if she lives beyond 90 and they have taken all her assets away.

I personally wish my sister would help me, but I know that she would just throw my mother in a nursing home now and let her assets go out the window. I won't let that happen.
In the meantime, please help others when it comes to this, as a nation we are facing a growing epidemic of huge proportions: a growing populace of 85+ people with no contingency of care. They are moving into our homes or we are moviing into theirs. We need to share caregiving and stop puttting all the burden on one sibling. It is wrong. Even donating one day a week to help these caregivers would make their lives easier.
That's quite a rant. It's good to do that sometimes. You should check out the other 10 thousand stories on this site about mommies from hell. My advice to you if mom is so horrible is to walk away. Let the county, state or who ever deal with her. You owe her nothing due to the way she has treated you. But it sounds like you're worried about losing the inheritance if you were to dump her and piss her off. Am I reading this correctly?
I understand exactly what you are saying, you want to hear some honest feelings about having to care for a soul sucker..... you would like for people to band together and help caregivers that can not afford in home care.....and I am validating those feelings and thoughts.... I am a paid caregiver, I do not work for a company..... and I charge reasonable and depending on the person or families assets, I work for less...there are some good paid caregivers that do this work for the right reasons.....
I was thinking yesterday that I walk into a family dynamic that I have to observe and learn what goes and what doesn't.... keeping in mind I bring my own dynamics with me....I am 'triggered' every single day , on every job I have ever been on.....but MUST remain of the comments I have read and heard that just makes my gut get in a knot, 'But the professionals are trained to handle these things'..... alrighty then..... If I can handle it, why can't you??? Not YOU, but the ones making that comment.... I rarely come on here and just blow because I am paid, somehow that makes my feelings of anger, hurt and frustration less than......I learned a long time ago to not share how I was really feeling.... because all the platitudes only made me more angry..... so ya, I get exactly what you are saying....
Don't get me wrong... I do appreciate the few on here that do support me.... but even then I don't really say how I feel... don't want to be shamed or judged because , after all, I am paid..... just have never figured out how that exactly I appreciate what you are saying.... and what you are asking for.... might have to do personal messages, but I do have one person I share exactly how I feel.....I could have come on here yesterday after a week from hell, and shared my week, but it would not have been received in the same way as family caregivers.... I do not know where that invisible line is.... but ya, it's ok to be angry, to be so frustrated you want to walk out the door and never look back.... to give what we get..... but in the end, we are living in a PC era of humanity... where real honesty just doesn't meet well with some readers.....
And you have given me an idea..... I am going to start doing some research on what can be done in our area for elders and caregivers with no charge.... volunteers to help make things a bit more livable for those who can not afford help.... I have been 'in the trenches' for over 20 years....I know there is something I can do besides babysit a client that is non compliant, passive aggressive and a manipulator.....
Thank you for starting this thread.... hope others 'get' what you are saying and feel comfortable to come here and get real.....
Whew, I do agree with much that is written. And there have been times when my anger has been so high that I could have written this and more. But then it is good to step back and ask ourselves why we are doing this. A piece of property or a little bit of money is certainly not worth the investment of years. Goodness, we could be making more money than that by doing other things if the time of caregiving service is long -- especially if any estate remaining is to be split among multiple siblings.

So why are we doing it? Maybe it is because we are not like the person we are caring for. Or maybe it is because we are needed and there is no greater purpose calling us at the moment. Or maybe it is a sense of right or wrong, even if it is misguided. Who knows why we are doing it? It can help if we turn the concentration away from them and put it on our own personal growth (or avoidance of demolition). It is easy to get lost in their lives when we become caregivers. They take up so much of our thought time.
I awoke this morning worried that the first letter back would be someone shaming me. Thank goodness I got the responses I have. I agree with you all. With JessieBell, yes there has been from the get go a since of this is the right thing to do. My conscious is getting in the way. However, My husband and I both agreed to put a time limit on how long we can invest our lives. My mother is not improving, there will be a day soon, I am sure where she cannot function and I will have to put her somewhere where she has more aid. We agreed that when she becomes bedridden then it will be impossible to take care of her on our own. so we are setting up now to find those avenues when they are needed. We are still fighting to get her VA help and if that comes through it would make life easier.
Also, I have sensed a change in myself and I think everyone of us will see this, an internal growth spurt. Jessie said it well: There is no greater purpose. AT the same time it has stopped me from running around being petty with other interactions. I almost cherish going to the the grocery store and chatting with strangers because it means some healthy interaction and someone actually paying attention to me! lol
Thanks Iadee for your words as well, let me know what you find. Here I researched and researched and found some volunteer thing, I went through and picked someone from my area. Then it took me to a page where they wanted me to pay monthly for their list of volunteers. I think it was also suspect, so I just gave up. They also tell you to call the Senior Centers and ask - thats another dead-end. Most often what I find is a big huge circle that inevitably takes me to some expensive in-home care place. I worked for one to these places, for 1/2 year. I left. I was paid $7.25 an hour and they would not pay for my gasoline. I was thrown into environments without training and spent most of my time cleaning homes rather then taking care of anyone. This is why I mistrust these places. And I hate how they treat their workers.
In addition, all the webpages out there say "join a caregivers group". I have yet to find any. Maybe over time, they will spring up, but where I live which is out in the sticks, there are none. And then they say "if you can't find a caregiver group then form one." Um, no thanks, if I had that kind of time, I would not be caring for my mother. The fact that these webpages even suggest that means that whoever wrote it has no clue.
I think that we are at the beginning of a major crisis, which is both bad because we are in it, but good because it means when enough baby-boomers realize they are in it, they will look for remedies. Those in the upper percentiles of income can send mom away, those in the way low can give into medicaid. those in the middle will seek more realistic solutions.
Oh I meant to answer Windyridge. Yes, the property left is not much. My mother sold off most of it to have extravagant vacations with her last husband. My real father worked tirelessly for years to have the property, when he died she remarried immediately. This man had no income except disability. He convinced her to sell most of it off. The home they built is a shack. My husband and I have to rebuild. So the only thing of value is 1.25 acres. It's not much, but we have struggled during the past 10 years, so it is a relief to not have to worry about rent. But it is not paradise by any long shot.
Original, thanks for the info. I have a much better picture now. Regarding support groups, this website has helped me tremendously over the last year or so. Not only have I gotten great advice and learned a lot, it's a lot like being in a support group. I've never been a "joiner" so this is my support group.
This forum is also open to any suggestions on making life easier to the caregiver.
I wanted to let everyone know also, if your parent has medicare and it pays most of the bills, then good. If you are finding that the 20% that they will not take care of is eating up your parents SS then do this. Get the AARP supplement Plan F.
This is not an ad for them, I am just trying to warn those who will see the parent going into a hospital for hip surgery or god knows what, that the bills afterwards are a nightmare. It took us this past year to pay off the previous year's hospital bills and we have just a few left. With the supplement, this year she went in for a week for her heart. She recovered and came home. Month later they were sending the usual $1200 here, $800 there, and so on. I sent them my supplement number and those bills are gone now. It will add up. We added it on in 2014. She is 86 so it was pricey: 240 a month. If we had added it on when she first got on Medicare, it would have been less.
originalhirevs: While our situations are different, I can certainly relate to a lot of your rant, particularly where money is concerned. For over a month and a half I desperately wanted to find out what was ailing my mother and during that span all anyone wanted to talk about was how much her house is worth and what kind of assets she has. People who didn't know her at all were coming in, taking a quick look at her and basically writing her off as a hopeless case before anyone had even tried to correctly diagnose her. And THAT didn't happen until I defied the social worker and told him that their "decision to discharge her" was outrageous and that I was refusing to take her home until someone in the chain actually did something. Lo and behold, later that day they "decided" to send her for more tests, which revealed her two spinal fractures. And even after she was properly diagnosed, I had to stop her primary doctor from discharging her again by insisting that they bring in a specialist who knew what the h*ll he was doing instead of bum-rushing her out the door before she was ready.

You go into this expecting "help" along the way but all anyone cares about is wringing them dry. Some of them don't even try to hide it either. I've had a social worker peppering me with questions about her assets while my mother was five feet away moaning and groaning. Another one was all hopped up about "discharge" BEFORE any tests had even been done. I'm sure there are a lot of good social workers out there doing a bang-up job but the ones I've dealt with were as helpful as a soccer bat.

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