Mom doesn't want me to have respite.

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Mom and I have always been VERY close, I am her only child, she had 4 miscarriages after me so she clings to me. Dad died in 1980. She has the usuaI senior aches and pains (arthiritus, vision, hearing), uses a walker to walk but her mind is fairly sharp, altho she is starting to ask the same questions over and over and gets confused occasionally, she is 87yo.I have been her care giver for over 3 years and havent had any more than a few hours by myself.
I finally have a chance to have respite, I mentioned this to mom to give her time to adjust to the idea, now she is pouting and acting mad at me, making me feel guilty for suggesting respite. Respite will only be a few hours once a week, I was planning to leave after breakfast and her a.m. meds (10a.m.) and be home in time for dinner (5-6pm). I feel she is being selfish by not giving me time for myself but she gets her feelings hurt very easily so i dont want to tell her how I feel. I really dont mind caring for her but 24/7/365 is too much!! Occasionally I get perturbed with her and speak harshly and regret it later. I try to talk to her as if it might be the last words I say to her but its getting more and more difficult. I drove a otr truck for 20 yrs and only came home once or twice a month for a couple days so I have no friends locally, all my friends are truck drivers and not living nearby. The closest relatives are 1,000 miles away and we're not very close anyway. I'd appreciate suggestions on how to get mom to accept me being a way a few hours a week. She has me feeling guilty so I wouldnt enjoy myself on respite anyway. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to vent.----Mike


How to get Mom to accept your being away a few hours a week? Go away a few hours a week.

Seriously, parents love their young children above all else and would risk their lives to protect them, etc. etc -- and still need respite! They get a babysitter and go out on dates, right? And if the kids fuss at the notion, do they give up the idea of going out and let the kids make that decision? Not if they are sane they don't!

So you need to do this, regardless of Mom's reaction to it. It sounds like she is still cognitively pretty well with it. I think a nice calm matter-of-fact discussion with her, telling her how glad you are to be able to spend so much time with her but that you also need some time to yourself might work. Remind her that parents need to get away from their children once in a while, and husbands and wives need time to their selves occasionally, and this has nothing to do with how much love is present. Mom may honestly never thought of it in these terms, and perhaps if it is explained to her calmly a light bulb will go off.

But even if Mom can't accept the need for this, you still have to do it. No apologies. No negotiating. No scolding or pleading. Just do it.

Sigh. Isn't this harder than you ever expected it to be?

Good luck!
Ditto to what Jeanne wrote. I can tell by the things that you wrote that you really do need to get away. If your mother is sound of mind, there's no reason you couldn't get away each day for a little while. It is so easy when caregiving to get caught up living the life of another and forget to live our own. It is not a mentally healthy thing to do. So, while you are caring for your mother, don't forget that you are just as important. You need to care for yourself.
"I'd appreciate suggestions on how to get mom to accept me being a way a few hours a week. She has me feeling guilty so I wouldnt enjoy myself on respite anyway"

Two things here, Mike.
I don't think you or anyone else is going to talk your mum into accepting that you need to go away. What jeanne suggested may work, or your mum may continue to resist the idea. - go anyway. I have found with my mother there is no point in trying to convince her of anything, so I just do what I think is right. She gets used to it. I don't think telling her how you feel will accomplish what you want.

Secondly the guilt that you are heaping on yourself, is not deserved. You are a caring son, who does much for his mother and who needs a break, and a life of his own. I have a feeling that your mother's hurt feelings will recover, She is pouting and acting mad to manipulate you into staying home 24/7. Her behaviour IS selfish, and possibly narcissistic. Older people can become that way as their worlds get smaller.Some people are born that way.
It does sound like you are reaching the end of your tether and you both would benefit from you having a break. Sometimes, as adults, we have to take the parent role with our parents and make sensible decisions, the same way they made them for us when we were children.
So even if you feel guilt - go anyway, and if at all possible, let the guilt go. You have nothing to feel guilty about - it is just your mum pushing your buttons. Go and enjoy yourself, do some things just for you, and keep doing that. Build up a life outside of your caregiving. For your mental health it is necessary.
Good luck and come Back and update us. .((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))
Take the time for yourself while you can.Don't feel guilty over it. She may not like it but she will get over it.
Wish I had, now I can't
She will appreciate you even more and be so happy to see you when you return! Do it for both of your sakes! And make it a fun day for yourself!
I have a slightly different perspective on this. I have experienced when I have taken time for myself, my mom will do something to retaliate. Not something I can or want to do something about but she does something really nasty. So, be careful... Moms can be hurtful and can wield power that is difficult to articulate. I would suggest that you find something that she really enjoys. Help her to find a group of women, or in my mom's case... men. My mom loves smart men... she turns into a different person when she visits her doctor. Yesterday she admitted to me that her group of friends, who are 20 yrs younger than she, don't pay attention to her like they used to. Long way of saying, pay attention to what your mom enjoys and try to get her that (without you in the room). I know it sounds odd, but try to shine a light on what makes your mom happy and feel special ... when it's NOT you doing it directly. Then step away... make sure she knows you organized or arranged it or came up with the idea. I hate to say it, but I know what it feels like to be lovingly manipulated by the person you love and I'm just saying there may be a way that you can step away and still help her to be happy and thankful to you at the same time, because if you make her sad and upset... that can be bad in all kinds of subtle ways that will further hurt you... subtly. Loving relationships are great as long as they are healthy all the way around.
You have to do this for yourself-she will get use to it and if you give in now it will get worse-you have a right to have a life outside of caregiving-some day she will be gone and you will be a lonly man with no friends-I feel friends are so important to have. My husband did not like me being awy from him but I went to our senior center once a week and then after he passed away I had a good support group to turn to at that time. Do not argue just calmly tell her you will be getting respite help at least once a week for now-what if you were to meet someone who became important to you and wanted to spend time with you-would you give up a relationship for your mother-let her know if she wanted to go someplace without you you would be glad for her-let us know how it goes-we do learn from each other-and once a week for a few hours for yourself is a good thing and you will be a better caregiver when you can have a little time away.
Good news, bad news. Your mom is lucky to have a caretaker 24/7/365. I suggest you 'team' with your respite person for a month or more. Alternate with a day off--get yourself to a doctor for a check up. See how well this goes before committing to your respite person. Mom is old and adjustment takes time. Hugs for the great job you have been doing.
I have been caring for my husband, who has Alzheimer's, for over 5 years now.
The way that I was able to introduce caregivers was to invite them to visit several times so that they could get to know him, and to see if the relationship was viable.
That way, they became friends to us, and he now looks forward to seeing them.

Regardless of our past relationships with our people, the changes to their brains cause them to be less sure of themselves, and as care needs grow, they don't always understand that we will be back, nor are they always capable of dealing with phone calls or people coming to the door when they are alone. ( My husband has aphasia, which affects his ability to communicate verbally).

Regardless of our past relationships, compassion is the key, and our need to rest and recoup will be most effective if we are able to leave them with a clear conscience that we have provided them with a trustworthy substitute for that time.

We all have a lot to learn about this stage of life, and I wish you well with your journey.
Just go... May sound harsh but I have found that even when I prepare my Mom for the fact that I will be gone for the day she still will try and sabotage - either consciously or unconsciously my plans. It may be through trying to make me feel guilty to suddenly feeling "sick" ect..... At first I would allow the manipulation until I realized that it was affecting the pretty solid relationship that we have because I was so angry at not getting any time to myself. I will tell my Mother a couple of days before and then right before I am about to leave. It does not change her reaction - she does not want me to go. Much as the toddler does not want his parent out of his sight for long. You know what? After I get back from my respite my Mother is fine. The sky does not fall because we caregivers need some time and I feel a lot better. Good luck - and ENJOY your respite - you deserve it.

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