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OK, this is more a need to vent than anything, but I am so annoyed. I know I should let it go, but I'm not quite there yet.
Today I was going to pick my mom up -- at 7 p.m. -- to take her shopping. At noon she was fine with it, even excited because she wants to get potting soil, some clay pots, some essentials. I was happy about it, too, because her mood is good and I figure we might have a bit of fun just getting out.
At 3 p.m. she calls to cancel. She says she can't do 7 p.m. because she'll be too tired and that she's usually in bed by that time, even asleep. (She has no trouble staying up until 10 if I visit her apartment, though.)
Now I have an odd work schedule. I work 30 hours a week at one job and freelance here and there, so I have some leeway. I don't need to work until afternoons on Tuesday and Thursdays, and I've often mentioned and written it in cards that I could pick her up around 10 a.m. on those days to take her for some quick (2 or 3 hours, because she's low mobility) shopping. No, that's impossible, she insists. She can't go anywhere until at least noon or 1 p.m. She adds she doesn't want me to take her on weekends because she wants me to relax and she insists I must be able to take her some afternoon around 2 p.m. during the week.
Now, why is 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. so unreasonable? She was downright hostile on the phone and was trying to lay the blame on me, that I was somehow being selfish. I get no days off with my job, so I either have to make up the hours within that week or I lose the money. I don't have a large income. I was laid off a few years ago and was lucky to find work, but it's not the same rate of pay. My husband was laid off a year ago and still hasn't found full-time work. We both 12- and 13-year-old cars, respectively. I can't just take off willy-nilly when her mood strikes (and she will cancel at the drop of a hat, so if I took off next Tuesday the odds are good she wouldn't go anyways!)
So it's nothing new, but I'm tired of being labeled a jerk for trying to be helpful to her but I think reasonably trying to work with her. Is 10 a.m. or 7 p.m really such a big deal? Am I supposed to just go, screw everything and take her shopping when she'd like to go?
On top of that she complained of being tired and not being able to walk in big stores. (She can't walk more than 10 steps without getting winded because she smokes 3 packs a day.) I said, well, we can borrow a wheelchair at the store. She says, no, because she didn't want to look silly! She's 76 years old and is handicapped, so a wheelchair doesn't look silly at all!

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It's the beginnings of dementia, we went through it with our mom. She would constantly want to change or cancel any event. She said she didn't care if it wasn't workable for us. So we set boundaries. One daughter takes her shopping on Monday afternoon. If she cancels, she is out of luck until the following Monday afternoon. If she throws a tantrum like a toddler, too bad so sad, no guilt. Earlier this week she wanted Hospice. Our daughter is on Hospice, and we knew this was pure bullsnot on mom's part. Her son told her "If that's what you want we will make the arrangements." There was complete silence on the phone, then she changed the subject. You gotta be tough with dementia.
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Thanks, everyone. I think in part my feelings were hurt. I like getting her out on a bit of shopping so she gets out and I can make sure she gets stuff she needs. Thing is, she talks about getting a neighbor to take her shopping but she never does. She won't try the senior center (it's full of old people, she gripes) and won't try any other help or anything. And I can't count how many times I've said, OK, I can pick you up at 10 or even 11 a.m. and we'll do a quick shopping excursion. It's always a no from her! And with the wheelchair, she used one in the past when she broke her leg, and had no issue. Now, it's silly! I know she's old and she tires easy but she gets driven the store, dropped off at the door, and I go and get stuff for her, carry it all in and put it away. It's much easier to go with me that way! I think she's going into another hostile phase, quite possibly, which can't be good.
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Heidi, I think your mom is asking a lot from you. You will both have to compromise, since you're on two different schedules. It's reasonable that your mom would be too tired at 7 PM (my mom would be too), but then 10 AM is very reasonable in that scenario. Since you're working, your work schedule trumps all in my opinion. In this economy, you need to protect your job at all costs.

And her not agreeing to use the store wheelchairs is ridiculous. It sounds like you need to make other arrangements to get her shopping - like have someone else take her. It sounds like it was a luxury for her anyway...so make it fit your schedule. And there's NO way you're a jerk! You're a good daughter to try to get your mom out.
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I feel for both of you. At completely different stages in the life cycle. Your Mom, at 76 and disabled, does not remember or reate to when she worked and was a very busy woman. I don't think she does this on purpose. When you get older, you are not as healthy and it is hard to stick to commitments because you just don't know how you are going to feel. Perhaps Mom can't face up to that fact yet. Don't know your Mom. I do understand her desire to maintain her dignity and not want to be in a wheelchair even if it does not look silly to you. We are all twenty-one years old on the inside no matter how much the outside changes.
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Heidi, be happy your mom tells you what will not work for her. In my case, I would not take my mom out after 4 pm. It is too hard on her and you I would think. I find 10 am very reasonable and you should tell mom if she wants your help with shopping that is when you are able to fit this in to your schedule. If she is still unhappy offer to hire a caregiver to take her where she needs to go at noon.
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