I feel that life is passing me by.

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I don't mean to complain, but I just want to vent for a minute! Of three sisters, I live the closest to Mom, who seems to want me around a great deal more than I want to be or am used to. My Mom and I (88 nad 65 respectively) used to be close and have fun together. Now that Dad is gone, however, she has become very dependent, needy, and demanding. She makes fun of the fact that I have friends and go out to socialize and meet new people. I am a widow and would like to put some zest and love back into my life. I could do without the constant negative feedback from Mom! Aside from just ignoring what she says, is there a good thing to say to indicate that my needs are different from hers? I know that I am not alone in this predicament by a long shot, but I sure could use a pep talk. I find that if I do things for and by myself that my patience with Mom greatly increases. All ideas are appreciated!

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avidreader: I hope you can find your oulet here. We all need to vent from time to time. I sure home you do continue to get out and make new friends and enjoy the old ones. 31 yrs ago I was divorced from my "1st love". We were high-school sweethearts. We waited 5 yrs to have a baby, and 1 year after her birth we decided to move to the suburbs. My mom was 62. I was always (and still am) very close to my mom. My parents split up when I was 9 and my older sibling was married by then. I felt mom was getting older and taking care of her home by herself wasn't good for her. My husband and I had mom sell her house and come move in with us. We made a beautiful mother in law apt for her. She had a 4 room apt, separate from us with her own walk out and garage. Very nice set up for us both. She was close enough for me to help her yet independent enough to come and go as she pleased. And she did. She had alot of lady friends and she would drive back to the city often and spend time with them.. She would have some of them over for a few days and they enjoyed each other. They were all either divorced of widows. I was happy for her.. She enjoyed her life, and enjoyed her two daughters and her grandchildren. A year later my husband left me for his secretary! I had to go back to work . Thankfully mom was there to "raise" her for me. I truly appreciated it and I will be forever thankful. As the years passed by, mom became more and more pushy and manipulative. She is a good woman, don't get me wrong, but she knew how to press my buttons. She was very hurt by my dad, and after seeing me go through the same thing with my husband she was totally against men!! So, when I met a great guy, and decided to marry him, the poo poo hit the fan! He was a few yrs younger than I am, and this was his 1st marriage. Here he was a self employed (contractor), and he was moving into my house (which somehow mom thought was her place the way she was running things) She didn't like giving me up. As a single person I really had no privacy. Mom was a workhorse, but she didn't respect the fact that I lived on the 2nd floor and she lived on the 1st. Now there were going to be some guildlines and she wasn't happy. She showed her feelings too! Tried to talk me out of marrying him. Oh, and she was good. First the silent treatment, then the crying, then the getting sick! I felt bad, but I thought about my future. I was 34 years old and I really loved this guy. I trusted him, and he loved my daughter. Thank God I went with my gut. I married him, and 21 years later we are still together. He was the man who walked my daughter down the aisle. He is the man who my grandchildren love and call Papa. He is the man who helped me more times than I can count when I needed mom picked up after she fell, or taken to the hospital. The guy she tried to talk me out of marrying is the same man who is still here despite her dementia and all of her neediness. I became here total caregiver these past 5 yrs. Because of dementia she lost her independence. It's heartbreaking to watch her decline. It hurts even more that I had to put her in a nursing home. Despite her fiesty attitude and alot of "lip", my husband and I both said we miss her. When she is humble and kind, you know she's sick, and now she is humble and kind!! My husband visited her at the NH the other day. He walked in and she looked up and said: Oh, Joe, I miss you so much! I'm so glad you came to see me! My mom is now 95. The dementia is getting worse, but she is still very healthy. Who knows how long she will be here with us. All I know is this: I know my mom loves me dearly. Of her 2 children I know I'm the favored one, and I know I am the one who has stuck with her and taken care of her all these years. Sometimes it was a challange and it wasn't easy, but I have no regrets. My conscience is clear knowing I gave my mom the best care I could give. We had (and still do) good times. BUT, I am so glad I didn't listen when she tried to talk me out of marrying him. I would have resented her and I would have never been able to give her the loving care I gave her. Being happily married and having my husband's support is what's helped me be patient and caring all these years. So get out, have a life, and still make time for your mom. If you don't take the time for yourself , you will just build up resentment, and nobody benefits then. Take care!
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Hello everyone - wow this is a really great thread. Hits on so many of the problems, we as caregivers live with on a daily basis. This is the one place that I can come to and see how many unsung heros there are among us. I can read all of our postings and realize that I am not the only one. There was a time that I thought I was the only one doing what seemed to be impossible while everyone else was having a life. Now I know that is not the case. Avidreader - I feel your pain. My last overnight away (I take one once a month for my sanity) ended early with Mom calling needing to go to Urgent Care for a UTI. This is now my daily life, which is how I take it, one day at a time. However I will not give up the little respite time that I get. This month I will just have to take 2 nights instead of 1 and the sibs will have to deal with it. Heres hoping for sanity for us all during the holidays.
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Thanks y'all. You have put things in perspective for me. With the weather changing, this has not been a good week for me. I could not sleep last night & have hurt all day. I had one of Daddy's caregivers get my parent's dinner tonight because I hurt so bad. Then my mother called wanting to know if there was anything we needed for taking care of Daddy. I wanted to say, "I don't know, you are the one over there". But I didn't. I told her I would see about it when I could get up. After reading all of your posts, I know I am not the only one that wants to scream at times. Again, thanks for letting me know we are all in this together and are not alone.
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@avidreader - I feel the exact same way as you and I think many of us do. I am at wits end to know what to do anymore. With the holidays coming and all I am trying to be cheerful but it is nearly impossible to do when you are exhausted before it is even here. I have to make some decisions soon as well as my health is taking a dive and there seems no way out anymore. I too want to run away for a while and maybe if I did get away I could come back to my situation in a different spirit. There is the part of me that feels so bad about my father and the other part of me that says I can not do this any longer. What a dilemma for the mind. I have not even got a Christmas tree up and am not in the mood. I hope I feel better tomorrow. I totally understand what you wrote and I send you hugs and much love.
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I've realized my Mom is "land-marking" She has to have certain things in certain places. If they are moved (or sold) she becomes disoriented and starts to panic.

The same goes for ME! I'm one of her land marks! If I leave and someone else comes in to take care of her, she panics...

Happy Holidays! (Bah, Humbug!)
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It's really hard to remember when you are hearing all those negative messages that, at this age and with dementia, our parents have no EDIT button. I find the same kind of manipulation techniques from Mom as I did from the kids when they were small. "Don't go Mommy! Please stay!" I agree with jeannegibbs, you already have the answer! When you are fresh and rejuvinated from your personal time, it will carry over into your caregiving.
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I don't respond very often anymore because so often I see people "complaining" who are their own worst enemies. But, avidreader, I think you are actually very perceptive and having the same difficulty a lot of us do with manipulative parents. Even though we are adults and deserve their respect, too, we seem to be hard wired to continue in the same old child/parent role. As another person pointed out, you did an eloquent job of answering your own question in your initial post. Sometimes I wonder if it would help to pretend that you are giving advice to someone else. What would you tell a friend who is in your situation? It's easier when you can take your personal emotions out of it. My father died in October and while I loved him, I often didn't like him very much. He was extremely pushy and manipulative to the point where I finally talked to a therapist. I cannot tell you how helpful that was and it was such a relief to be able to vent out loud, have another person hear me and validate my feelings. She really helped me clarify that I needed boundaries and it was okay for me to say "no." I'm 60 and now I have my mother who is 93, has dementia and is in assisted living. As difficult as my dad was, she is a delight. She is still kind and thoughtful and totally undemanding. At first I butted heads with her because of things she couldn't help. Now I ignore those things and just go with the flow. I am so blessed and I truly wish the same for you. However, if your mother cannot give that to you, then you have to learn to be okay with taking it for yourself. You are not being selfish and, honestly, it might help if you didn't tell her about everything you are doing with your personal time. I admire you for wanting more in your life!
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We are all on the same "parent boat" together. I am an only child and there is no one else to take care of everyone. My father has vascular dementia that is in a constant state of decline. When his memory started getting so bad and his attitude towards us started to turn nasty, I knew I had to get him and myself some help.
I took him to see a neurologist, who confirmed the diagnosis. I do have a DPOA on my father that I had him sign when he started staying with me, because he was unable to handle his own affairs.
The doctor placed him on several medications. Aricept helped in the beginning, but with vascular dementia, the cost isn't worth the outcome. What we really found that helped to stabilize his mood was Depakote and Zoloft. The Depakote had to be doubled over time.
The doctor also gave me a book entitled "The 36 Hour Day." It's an excellent read. I would also highly suggest that you read the Stages of ALZ and Dementia. If it is dementia, you'll need to find out what kind, which can be done via an MRI, other testing and communication from you to the doctor.
My father is now between the 5th and 6th stages of 7. No, he does not show appreciation, he doesn't really like it if my husband go out and my daughter calls to check on him and he doesn't always like the situation. He'd much rather live on his own, but understands that he is now unable.
He goes to the Senior Citizen Center everyday that he likes. Some days he elects not to go, depending on what's going on. The bus picks him up at 9 and drops him off at 2:30.
I also take care of my husband and grand daughter, so this gives me time away. My husband is able to watch our grand daughter so that I can get errands ran and get away to do some things I enjoy.
I'd say to start with your loved ones doctor first and go from there. My father wasn't totally open to the fact of going to the senior center, but now he doesn't know he'll do around the house if he doesn't go.
As for what I fix for him to eat, he's diabetic. I cook accordingly and we add what we want. Some things I can't control, but I am the main cook and bottle washer around here. I didn't fix a different meal for my children and I'm not about to fix a different meal for him either, just because he wants something else. "I'd" like to fix what I really want, but my husband I go out to lunch every now and again, so that we can remain sane too.
Get the DPOA's, speak with the doctors and find something that will work for all of you.
I do have days that are unbearable, but life is much better via medication.
S.
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Thank you, everyone. Your feedback means a lot to me. My mother refuses to call a local senior help agency for anything, even though another elderly lady has raved about them. She says she doesn't want to spend the money (of which she has an abundance). I have also offered time and again to take her to the Senior Center -- or anywhere! -- to meet some same-age friends. She absolutely refuses, saying, "This is my life and I want to be alone." Well, that's not quite true! She wants ME! My problem is I feel sorry for her, stubborn as she is. Sunday night I went out for dinner with friends, and she later told me she didn't eat dinner, even though I'd bought food for her. She said she couldn't figure out how to use the oven! Seriously! I can see right through all this. I remember raising my son and worrying if he didn't eat. Another wise mother said, "When he's hungry, he'll eat." Friends, I want to get off the manipulation train! I don't plan to let any of her strategies deter me. However, I do fear when she really, as one of you said, can't manage on her own. I have sibling issues in addition to Mom issues. We all have durable POAs, and I wonder what ability that gives us to use her money for her own care. She claims we can't use it until she passes, and I don't believe that's the case. Can we exercise it if she's competent? Again, any input will be most appreciated. I wish we could all talk in person! I've been thinking of starting a local Meetup group for caregivers in my area. I wish you all a peaceful, joyful holiday.
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My father is a horribly selfish person. He is VERY high-maintenance (MUST have a certain kind of bagel, yogurt, color of clothing on a particular day, etc.) He is living with my husband, daughter and me and is very demanding. Everything must be done when he says so. (For example, his car--which he can no longer drive--needs to be taken in for a checkup within a two-month time frame--before the end of Feb. 2013. I told him my husband and I would coordinate in January after the holidays. I am also coming off a surgery three days ago, and am more tired than usual, in addition to the general health issues I have, A nurse on the phone even told me I need to be in resting mode in order to recover better.) My father is yelling at me to take the car in next week--before Christmas--or between Christmas and New Year's. I told him I need that time to pace myself to get ready for the holidays and relax with my 8-year-old while she's on school vacation. He insists it's going to be his way, and then yells at me because I am "making his life so difficult." I am getting so depressed to think that my life is revolving around this unappreciative, toxic man. He is the one making my life a living hell. When I sit down to eat a meal (rarely do I get two in during the day), he hovers around me, giving me more orders and a verbal barrage of things to do. I am to the point that I don't want to be in my own house because I am so miserable. He is becoming more forgetful, but blames me that I am the one who "didn't buy the spaghetti sauce" he asked for, or I am "confusing one check with another reimbursement." In the end, he finds the stuff, and then blames me that he misplaced it "because he doesn't have as much space as he did at his house for things, and that it's my fault that I am not giving him 1500 square feet." Assisted living would not really help. (I guarantee you that his space would be even smaller there!) I would still have to run his errands on his ridiculous schedule. He even told me I should volunteer less at my daughter's school so I can be available on demand for him! I think he's jealous of his only grandchild because I can't devote my entire life COMPLETELY to him. Part of it is that he has always been difficult, but it is getting worse. We are going to a doctor appointment on Friday, and I am ready to ask the physician to schedule cognitive testing for him. (He's also forgetting conversations, last-minute schedule changes, etc.) I feel sorry for him on a certain level (my mom died 12 years ago), but he is so mean sometimes. I try to get him to do positive things with my daughter (work on a puzzle or game, ask her how her day is). At first I thought that he would become nicer if he stopped focusing on himself. However, he barely talks to my daughter. I know no one can really help me. I just needed to vent. Thanks for listening.
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