My Mom (84) only wants to talk about is herself. If I talk about something, all she says is "hmmm." It's very disheartening.

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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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