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I call her every night to check on her. Every night she just wants to talk about how she can't get around like she used to. I understand that's hard on her considering she used to be an active woman. But if I tell her about something in my life all she says is 'yeah' or 'hmmm,' and then changes the conversation back to her. My brother lives only 15 minutes away but doesn't do much to help. I constantly tell her if she needs anything done at the house or if she needs to go anywhere to please let me know. I am unemployed right now, so I have plenty of spare time. But most of the time she will call one of her neighbors to take her to the doctor, to the store, or to pick up a prescription. I gave her a speech one night about that and told her that's what I am here for, to please ask me. But she will turn around and ask one of her neighbors again. It's like she can't bring herself to ask her own children. Her neighbors probably think she has terrible children because they are always the ones to take her places. I've heard that some elderly people don't like to ask the children for help because they feel that they have always been the main figure in the family, and if they ask for help it makes them look weak. Just an hour ago I talked to her on the phone and she told me that she had an appointment tomorrow with the hearing aid doctor. She said that she had cancelled it because it wasn't that important. I know why she did that. She didn't want to ask. Yesterday I took her to Walmart, she actually asked me that time. She probably felt it would be a bother to me to take her out again. It would not have been a bother, but she just won't ask. And while I was on the phone she just kept saying 'yeah' if I tried talking about anything. When I got off the phone with her, I was so upset that I threw the phone across the room. I wish she could understand what she is doing, because I feel like she is driving me away.

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Mary you have good insight with what is going on with your Mom-she is a lucky women.
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I feel your frustration, Peggy. Until I actually moved in to take care of mom, she wouldn't want to bother me with things and would find alternate solutions. She has always been a strong, independent woman and I think losing independence is difficult to face. My mom also is now very self-centered (she's 95) and points out her "boo-boos" to others just as a child would. Even if they are months old. I have learned that she needs a lot of attention and fussing over to be happy. It takes effort, lol. Now she jokingly calls me mom and mocks me sometimes about taking her pills, putting her feet up, etc.

Maybe your mom isn't relying on you as much as you'd like because you're not giving her enough of the attention she wants; that maybe her neighbors are. You may need to take charge with her to show her you care. It is tough when the dynamic changes and you take on the "parent" role. I rarely talk about what's going on with my life because mom either: doesn't hear me, pretends to hear me and gives a benign response, doesn't understand what I'm talking about unless it's very basic, forgets in five minutes and asks again, or seemingly doesn't care and I get the hmmmm response. I know she loves me and cares, but her world has shrunk down and she's lost the ability to show it as much. I'm reminded of the joke of two people talking and one says, "Well, enough about me. What do YOU think about me?" Keep smiling!
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assandache -you have found what works for you and I think that is the most important thing-doing over and over what does not work for you just makes a person crazy and finding something that does work helps in other areas so you do take back some power.
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Purplesushi I so agree with you. It's likely hearing or comprehension.. I've resorted my conversations with my Mom to start with one word, the "main event".. For instance if she has a Dr appt I just blurt out Dr.or Supermarket etc.. First I get her attention, then she can usually fill in the blanks...
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I would not talk to her neighbors about this. I would feel that that is interfering with how she wants to live her life right now. It makes her feel that she still has some independence. Let her do this for as long as it works for her and still offer to take her shopping and other places that she needs to go. Believe me, one day, this assistance you are getting from her neighbors right now may no longer be there and it will be your turn 24/7 and that is not a fun lifestyle. For now, just check on her, make sure her needs are met and give her your love. And...keep reading here to prepare yourself for the future. All my love,
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I'd say you are coming to terms with your mother's age decline, it is not easy. I would be glad that your mother has alternative ways to get things done, believe me if she gets to the point where you are needed 24/7, you'd be praying for these days back. Let her do her own thing, be there if she wants you, call her and listen but just realize it is now about her and you will have to grief the loss and the reality of what happens as aging comes in.
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Hi again Peggy, and everyone - we know sometimes this stuff isn't always easy. We have good days and not-so good days with our parents and their care. Some parents may have been born grouchy; some achieve grouchy, some are angels, some not. There's no absolutes in anyone's aging processes, but while we care enough to be present for them and to be of help, there are many issues out of our control.

My goal is keeping a few of my remaining marbles, finding some kind of humor when things look bleak, and doing the best that I can, with what and who I have. I've been lucky and grateful for it. My dad, like my mom, did a lot for me - helping out my dad is my thank you back to him. I'll always have his back, regardless of situation.
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To Peggy 15: What you speak of here is so familiar to me. Many of these same things happened during the last 2 years of my Mom's life and are now happening with my Dad. I live out of state but call him every night. Did the same with Mom and of course visited/still visit several times a year (I live 2000 miles away). At first, I, like you, took Mom's lack of interest very personally and would be upset for sometime days after. Over time and with much practice, I've learned to prepare myself emotionally before I call my parent. I would even write a little note to myself to look at while on the phone with them. The sense of loss of not being able to share the stories of your life with them any longer can feel unbearable. And, the sense of the loss of a once bright, intelligent, interesting parent interested in you and the outer world, cuts deep. But, I assure you that, with time and practice you will find a way to listen and be with them even as you are feeling this deep loss. The sense of frustration/ even anger of feeling they no longer can hear what's going in with you and are only centered on their illnesses, will lessen. This change is very difficult for us adult children , and for our aging parents too, and nobody prepares us for it. My anger and emotionality around this very issue began to strain my marriage. As loving as my husband is, he just couldn't relate. I am a single child with no siblings to commiserate with. Its taken me years (and therapy) to come to peace with this change in my parents. I highly recommend you find a good friend or a good therapist to whom you can talk or cry this out . It has helped me tremendously, to get some perspective on it. I wish you well as you find your way in this.
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As soon as I started reading your post, my first thought was her hearing. She's not 'disinterested' in what you are saying - she either can't hear what you're saying on the phone, or her brain can't keep up with your speech pattern. My mom was the same way - if we didn't speak in simple sentences, she didn't "catch" what we said. You mentioned you're unemployed, so instead of calling your mom, go over there to talk to her instead. Let her know that you are available for doctor appointments, and that you actually INSIST on taking her the next time because you want to spend time with her. You can't leave it up to her to ask you, in other words - just tell her while you're out of work that you want to do that for her while you are able to & ask her for the schedule for the next few weeks. Pick appointments you will take her to, and then do it. I would suggest that you or she reschedules that hearing test - if she's willing to go, that's half the battle. My mother's hearing was horrible, but she never wanted to admit she was deaf as a stone so we worked around it, but it was so frustrating.
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My MIL has 3 daughters, only one is actually good at caring for their mom. They are all good people and they don't realize that mom doesn't want them driving her any where, but that is how it is. The oldest daughter is 69 and cannot drive around the block without getting lost. The youngest daughter is 64 and is on a slew of prescriptions and routinely collapses on the floor.

So, I am sure that 2 of the daughters feel like their mom doesn't ask them for anything, but there is a reason. Mom is more competent than they are.
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She is losing out-my mom was that way the years before she died-I finally got to the point I could not call her very often because of her being so negative-she had a lovely apartment but did not appreciate that or anything else-she felt entitled to be nasty-it was very sad.
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OMG!!! I just got done responding to the post about he negative Mom....This one sounds like mine too. I know all the other posts are saying this might be a natural way to become at the end of life but really! I don't buy it 100%. Maybe for a small number but usually these people have been self-centered or narcissistic all along and have no interest in something that is no about them. Mine has been this way since my childhood. I don't ever call her to announce any happy news since she never really hears me or stops talking long enough to ask me about what I did or do or anything about my day to day life or experiences. The glazed eye look comes through, even on the telephone. I don't even try anymore. Sad for me but I think it's more sad for her since she is limiting herself in life's joys. H-m-m-mmmm?
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Wow, I am so thankful to have found this website. My Mom is the same way. I though she was saying mean things lately to hurt my feelings. Now, I understand some of her behaviors are signs of dementia and won't take it so personally. I too lately want to just shake her and say straighten up. Why do you say those awful things about my siblings and be so self centered and nasty. She tells her friends tough sh.. i am who I am, like it or not. Her house is dirty and unkept. Can't wait to be around her for Xmas,yuk.

This will help me tremendously. God bless you all and hang in there!
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Hang in there, Peggy.

It sounds there's a lot of layers and mixed feelings happening with you and your mom.

On one hand, you've made yourself generously available to her. That's wonderful.
On the other, your Mom may be showing independence in asking for neighborly help, and she may be embarrassed to ask her own children in the act of feeling weak and not wanting to bother nor rely on you.

Instead of the doctor's appointments and other "business", perhaps this is an opportunity to take her out to lunch, a pretty garden, a little shopping trip, or just hang out with her. Sometimes all our parents want and need is our company. My auntie takes my dad to his appointments, while I bring food, groceries, and fishing news to my dad and my fiance watches football with him.

Mom's attention is drawing inward and her world has become much more centric around her health, her immediate needs, and everything in the present. The toughest part about observing and being with our parents in their aging process is that we're also losing parts, big and small, of the relationship we once had with them.

You've probably done this already, but maybe changing things up a little might present some other opportunities? For instance, when you're calling her every evening - she tells you about all of her ailments, etc.. We're all usually beat by the end of the day, so would you consider calling her in the morning when everyone's got more energy? Then she can go on and on about what her day will be like instead of what hell she went through during the day. You'll both more have more energy.

Hearing aids can be the bane of existence for caregivers. The ones who need it don't always understand that we're frustrated and often hoarse from the strained communication efforts. I should have bought shares in cough drops.

In the meantime, try changing things up a bit. Take some time for yourself - time with your loved ones especially girlfriend time. Don't isolate yourself with 100% focus and care on Mom while neglecting your need to connect and be a part of the world.

Hugs,
In the Same Boat Karen
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Not to hijack her thread but kazzaa, it's funny you saying your mom said to shoot her. I tell my youngest daughter that all the time. "If I ever get like Gramma, just shoot me and put us all out of misery" lol I would really not commit suicide because I know it would hurt my children. But then I don't want to put them through the hell of caring for me if I'm going to get mean and hateful with them. I really do just want to go to a decent place to live the last of my years.
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the most interesting story my mom relayed was about her teen years during ww11. her family of 5 kids lived on a 40 acre parcel of mostly forest. her story has always been that they had ' nothing '. when late stage dementia set in a little different tale emerged. they had a milk cow, chickens, a pig or two, and every kind of berry and fruit imaginable. very hard times im sure but the reality was they had so many products that the people from the small town nearby woulda starved without their eggs, butter, chickens, milk, etc.

im still trying to figure out if they had everything or nothing..
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Sneaky my mum used to tell us way back when I didnt even know what als was that we were to shoot her if she got this we always said no way mum we will shoot ourselves if you get that! Gosh that was knowing nothing about this illness then now believe me there are times i think oh just shoot me now and I wont have to deal with this.
I dont if its true or not but the only thing that keeps me going is HOPING mum isnt suffering? I dont think so she seems in good form placid but how do we know what they are really going through?
I dont have kids but I would like them to look after me until it got too hard thats normal I think I would tell them look just put me in a nice home if I became unbearable!!
Killing yourself would hurt your kids 1000 times more so dont think like that i just want mum around for as long as is possible and pray she never gets to not know who I am?
I tell my CAT?? to walk away if I go crazy find a good home that do great chicken!!
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Peggy, I swear I feel like a broken record when I read peoples' experiences with their moms. My mom is the same way when I try to catch her up on what's happening in my life. However, she usually wants to discuss her bowel habits. YEECH!! over and over and over. If I say I'm having some minor health issue (usually just a cold or maybe a headache) the very next thing is "Well if you think you have it bad....blah, blah, blah,....) Of course she has always been this way and I have learned over the years to never expect any comfort from Mom. Just ain't gonna happen. However I still try to engage her in conversations to try to take her mind off of all she has going on in her life, even for just a few minutes. I have learned how to just chew my tongue off rather than have an argument over small stuff. Now I just let her be "right" all the time. She has come up with some of the silliest beliefs in the last few years that are not even logical. Of course I have to remember that she doesn't know how to be logical anymore. It's sad because I remember the intelligent woman she always was in the past. I also know she gets very angry at herself for the things she can't do anymore and takes it out on me. I try with all my heart to let it go and chalk it up to the sickness but it's hard sometimes. I agree with those on here that say that it makes you want to sit and cry for them. And for myself...is this her legacy to me? I'm afraid for her but in all truth, I am just as afraid for myself. Will I put my children through the same misery? I certainly hope not. I think I would rather commit suicide if I ever become who my "Mom" is now. But in the end I try earnestly to just let her be who she is now.
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I asked my mum once years ago did she want to be buried or cremated? she said neither " i want to be buried standing up" EH OK No problem!!
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I agree with captain. I noticed my mum cannot show emotions like she used to in fact I think its a blessing(maybe one positive about this?). Ive told her about her sick brother and she smiled and said well hes had a good time! Before I know she would have been very concerned but never asked about him again.
My mum was aggressive and nasty the first 2 years (not like her at all) NOW shes calm and normally in good form the more I learnt on here and about dementia the more I know how to control her moods and thats by not nagging or judging why she behaves a certain way or why she does things that could drive you nuts! My mum is more concerned now about herself and has become selfish and demanding but thats the illness, sad to think that only 2years ago she was nursing me after a burst appendix running around making me dinner etc.... as captain says my mum is talking alot about her childhood her past etc...and yes facing her own death makes sense. Let your mum natter away about her and cherish it as long as shes not been nasty or abusive be blessed as I know this is going to get worse!
The saddest thing for me now is that mum and I dont talk like we used to she either dosnt hear you or its not registering I try and talk to her about her life, her parents whom she adored and this makes her happy!
Im glad she dosnt know or notice that theres times I run to the kitchen to cry as shell have said or done something "crazy" that wakes me up as to the reality of this awful illness!
Yep days you cry then days you want to scream your head off at them then feel like crap for losing it! AH the joys of dementia caring!
Captain you working on that book yet? We could all do with a laugh! i bet you could just write your experience in your humourous way about caring for your mum she must have been a hoot my mum would have loved her!!
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i think your mother is trying to cope with her own mortality and thats a big deal at any age. in my mothers last few months she wanted to talk about her life and the best thing i could do was listen to her. of course it was all about her, she was approaching the end of her life. had a story to tell.
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if the neighbors did not want to help her they would tell her so-maybe you could plan one day a week for her appointments so she could count on that and not worry about others helping her.
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Peggy15 I know it seems like she's not interested it can be hurtful...

Now that I look back I realize that my Mom would do the same things and I would just push it off to "old age"..Then I looked up dementia/alz and saw some of behaviors listed there..She may not want you to know exactly how she feels. The neighbors will over look her forgetfulness while you will call her out on it..

You may want to go with her to her next Dr. appt and let him know what you are seeing in your Mom..
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Welcome to the forum. I think many of us can relate to what you are saying. My Mother has very little interests anymore except her health issues and gossip about the neighbors. Very sad as she used to be such an intelligent, vibrant woman.
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Try not to take her lack of interest in your life too much to heart. If she was interested in prior years and has not been a neglectful parent to you, celebrate that. Some elders really become self-centered in their old age. It is not deliberate, it just kind of happens to them. This is especially true when there is pain or any kind of cognitive problem. Try to be patient with her.

You need you concerns and interests acknowledged, too. Now is the time to start getting those needs met elsewhere.

I've read the theory that teens become so difficult to live with in order to prepare parents to be able to give them up and let them become independent. Along the same lines, maybe parents become self-centered in order to prepare us for the time they won't be around to take interest in us.
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Thank-you so much for your comments. Sometimes I feel like I am so alone in handling all of this. It gets frustrating trying to talk to someone and they don't respond to you. And that's a good idea about the private conversations with her neighbors, I think I will do that. Thank-you again!
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Do you know her neighbors? Perhaps you need to have private conversations with each of them about your availability to take your mother places. They might not know she has an option other than them so they accommodate her needs. If they know she has another option, they might be unavailable to provide transportation when she asks.
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I think some of what you're seeing is what I see with my mom. As some people age, their world gets smaller and smaller and their ability to be interested in or concerned about anything or anyone beyond themselves decreases. My mom has a pretty flat affect these days compared to how she was years ago. I tell her stories about friends or relatives she doesn't have much to say, or she responds with kind of a standard sentence. It's like she's just lost some of her brain power to analyze and respond to what I'm telling her. So I've learned not to expect any kind of reaction that will be emotionally satisfying to me. I still tell her stuff so she'll feel included, but I don't tell her half of the stuff going on in my life because her lack of reaction will be somewhat painful to me. She'd feel awful if she knew that's how I felt - she's not being that way intentionally.

As for the appointments, I'd start asking your mom every time you talk to her what appointments she has coming up. And schedule regular visits to the grocery store and beauty salon or wherever she normally goes. If she visits her podiatrist every six weeks, make a note of that on your calendar and start asking her a week ahead of that time when her appointment is scheduled.

My mom hates to ask me for anything, so I have to be a detective to figure out ahead of time what she needs and tell her we're doing it. I don't know if that would work with your mom, but if you take the lead in setting up a schedule to help her, it makes it easier for her to accept your help.

My frustration is with my mom's memory, she can't remember to tell me stuff ahead of time. I took her out yesterday to the mall and we had a great time. We stopped by a candy store and I bought her some candy. When I got her home, she told me she'd like me to get some candy for her neighbor's upcoming birthday. ARGGGGH!!!! I could have bought it when I had her out, but she just doesn't think that way any more. So now I know to put her neighbor's birthday on MY calendar so I can anticipate it next year (if my mom and her neighbor are both still here).
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