I am new to caregiving and am caring for an elder that is demanding and is prone to a bad temper.

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Hi everyone. I'm 47 years old and live in the home I grew up in with my mother. She just turned 79 in late July.

My mother is obese (5'6" and over 300 pounds), is on medication for blood pressure and cholesterol. She has two coronary stents. In late 2005, she started having some vision problems due to circulation in her eyes. Because of her weight, she has some mobility issues/arthritis.

In spite of this, she is in better shape than many others I know who are her age.

She's always been demanding and prone to bad temper, but over the last month, it's gotten a lot worse. Right now, she hasn't spoken to me for almost FIVE DAYS all because I went out to dinner with my significant other on his birthday and came home around 11 that same night. She was mad because she had to get up out of her chair, go in the kitchen, and cook something.

I had brought her some food from our dinner and she basically said "I eat more than once every 30 - 40 hours; shove it up your a**; go take it to your significant other and his family, they're all you care about anyway." I had told her in advance we were going out to dinner and I would be home later.

Since then, she won't say anything to me unless it's in a sarcastic or hateful tone of voice. When I called and asked her what she wanted to eat before I left work on Friday, she said she "hadn't thought about it" and hung up on me. When I was getting ready to go out with my signifcant other last night, she said "I see you're getting ready to go work your corner again." (Yes, my mother basically called me a whore.)

I am going to call her doctor tomorrow and request a face to face meeting with him. I really believe she needs some medical help. I'm at the point now where if I DO go out, I'm afraid to go home, not knowing which side of her I'm going to see.

This makes me angry. I bring the paper in for her every day, bring in the mail, make sure the checks are written so bills are paid, do the laundry, take out the trash, go to the store for her. I do clean the house--not to her satisfaction, but I do the best I can.

She doesn't like my significant other, but it seems that she's becoming more resentful of the fact I have a life and do social things. A few weeks ago, when I told her that I was meeting some friends after work to see a movie, she said, "so that means you're not going to feed me?". I said, "I will bring you dinner AFTER we leave the movies and that will be sometime after 7:00."

She won't go anywhere--I've tried to get her to go places and she won't.

I'm sorry, but I don't deserve to be treated like this. I just need to vent.


Sweetie, I feel so sorry for you and this is a good place to vent. My mother is also mean and verbally abusive. I am 46 and have a husband and two children and take care of my mother and father. My mother is the mean one and she is 80. My father is the sick one and is usually nice.

Do you live with your mother to take care of her? It took me 20 years to tell my mother that if my health keeps going downhill from dealing with her bad temper and demands that I will have to stop taking care of her all together. Of course, she does not think that possible, but I am at my wits end too.

Tell your mother if she can get along without you, try! I can't stand when my mother doesn't talk to me and ignores me, it gets me sick. But, I have been told that if you hold your ground for a couple of days, they will come around because they know they need you. If you can do it, good luck. I couldn't.

Hang in there,
D ear Divabella
You are at the right place-since I'v been here I am no longer depressed. Taking her to a doc is the right way to start. It sounds like she needs counseling but she probably would refuse; after all she thinks the problem is with you. You tell yourself you DO NOT deserve to be treated like. I have been told that people usually treat the ones they are dependent on the worse- I can not understand why that is-I wish I could find a book that explains why that is I would like to be able to understand it. It is so hard for many of us to stand up for ourselves but if you are able to take baby steps and hang tough it will get easier -it may be very hard but she only has you people like her usually don't have friends-those her age do not want to be around glum people esp. when you are older. Dear lady keep commming back to this site- you are in my heart and mind.
Seems like your mother is jealous of your life since she doesn't go anywhere. That is not your problem and don't feel guilty. She has made that decision of not wanting to go places, she is lonely and that is why she wants all of your attention. Don't cave in. You deserve a life too, continue to live your life and attend her as much as u can. She is playing mind games with you because she knows that it hurts you. Like Marylynne said, hold your ground. You continue doing for her even if she doesn't speak to you. The most important thing is not to feel guilty, enjoy life as much as u can.
I am sorry you are going through that. I helped to take care of my grandmother when she was ill (this was in 2002 I think i was in like 6th grade or something) anyways it is not your fault. I did think that when I was dealing with it, however now that I am working in home health care I have come to realize what they say most of the time they don't mean, although other times they do. Just keep telling yourself you are doing the best you can do, and hang in there, it will get better, especially if you do see her doctor. I would recommend going and seeing him yourself first then taking her in. We have had to do that at work. It is not your fault.
3930 helpful answers
You do need to vent. You do need to take care of yourself. Your mother is afraid of losing you, so she is controling your life. Don't let her. It's painful, but you'll have to get her help. Your county adult social services can do a welfare check on her, if you call them. They will help you figure this out. She obviously needs more help than you can give her. She'll be angry, but let her be. You deserve a life and you don't deserve to be abused, or afraid. I'm glad you can see that!

Take care of yourself,
To Divabella, I am really sorry that you have to endure this... What is it that happens to someone when they become older that makes them think it is okay to be so rude.... I have this issue with my Father. The big difference is I do not live with him. Perhaps you should arrange some Meals on wheels for your Mom and some other help and take some time off. I do a respite program for folks with Alzheimer's disease and I know that alot of communities offer respite services. These services are at a minimal cost or may be funded by a grant. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging and see what programs they offer. Or contact your local hospital often they have in home health care workers that can assist you... I know this is hard, believe me but people can only do to us what we let them. PLEASE take care of yourself... J
My Mother lived with me for 6 years with advanced emphysema. I left my kids(grown) and life in Maryland and moved to Arizona to take care of her. I had to work full time (and went to college) while we lived together. She did NOT want to live with me at first. She was given a choice by Hospice to live with me or be placed in a facility. We had our ups and downs also, but when she was nasty and petty to me, that was the hardest times! I used to get her a lot of snacks like cheese and crackers, fruit, yogurt, things she could get and eat herself for the times I was late getting home to feed her. I actually got her a portable fridge for her room so she could keep everything handy. She was on oxygen and at times found it hard to walk to the kitchen. She sometimes would still call my brother or sister and tell them she was hungry, which turned into "Gina is starving our mother" and created a hostile environment but we got through it. I knew that I HAD to keep a private life though, my boyfriend actually moved to Az with me. He is a different race, which created a whole other set of tensions. It is a struggle to keep a personal life but you have to, no matter how your mom reacts. I could go on and on! My Mom passed away a year ago and I will say that through all the family drama we had together it was worth it.
Take care of yourself first!
3930 helpful answers
Go, Gina! Good for you. You've had rough times, but you also have a lot of strength. I'm glad you made the effort to take care of yourself, while taking care of your mother, as well. That's a great story.
to Divabella: My mother is the same way with my husband- she resents him and is constantly picking on him. Finally, one day, I had had it- I told her that he was my husband and I was tired of having her try to turn me against him or come between us...I explained how much we did for her, and it seemed like she didn't appreciate it, or thought someone else could do it better. I told her that if that's what she would like to try, I'd be happy to move out. I felt so much better after I told her how I felt..things were okay for a few days actually, but now it's back to more of the same.

It's almost like they need to be given boundaries as they get older..if they don't have any, they get terribly mean. My dad did as well before he died.
Divabella, I have been where you are and you definitely have to live your own life as long as you can. When my Mom was still able to live on her own, she always wanted to have me to herself. She never liked any boyfriend of mine, and always wanted my friends to be her friends also, rather than having her own. She would almost always 'get sick' when I made any plans to go anywhere. Now she lives with me and I can't go anywhere besides work, because I have to pay someone to be with her and I can't afford any extra hours other than when I go to work. We are practically joined at the hip. You absolutely must have a life while you can. Believe me, things could, and might, get worse, so live as much as you can now.

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