I feel so bad because my patience is so short!

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I am caring for my 93 year old mother in my home! Every day I say I'm going to be more patient, but everyday I find I'm short with her about something. She has a history ever since I can remember of being vey sensitive to any kind of discomfort. All discomfort is a 10 on the pain scale so it's hard to know what is really bad. Her comfort has always been of the utmost importance. She goes from whinning to acting like she's enduring her discomfort to whinning, everything hurts, no strength, have had to ease her to the floor 5 times in a week and if no one is here I have to call 911 to get her up off the floor. It makes me so frustrated.

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Hi, daughter. I find it hard to keep patience, too. Much of what we go through would try the patience of Job. What you described is one of my major frustrations. Any little pain or spot can turn into a life-compromising malady. I usually don't say anything, because people would just think me horrible for talking about my elderly mother.

I've learned lately that sometimes the pains are made up. My mother's left foot has a sore place on the heel. It hurts her really bad to walk. Last night the sore place migrated to her right foot. I thought maybe I just remembered wrong which foot it was. But tonight it was back on her left foot. I didn't say anything, though I did think it funny. I don't know what gratification comes from talking about small pains. In my mother's case, she will even make them up to talk about them.

Did you have to ease her to the floor because she was about to fall? It sounds like she needs to use one of the rollators (rolling walkers) with a seat so she can stop to rest if she gets too tired or weak.
I used to have a wooden wall sign that said, "Lord give me patience RIGHT NOW!"

Patience is a pretty hard characteristic to develop. It is worth striving for, but it doesn't seem to drop into our lives on cue.

If getting short with Mom changed her behavior, I'd say, hey, go for it. You are showing some displeasure and perhaps, to please you, she might tough it out a little better. But you've tried that and and it doesn't seem to work. In fact, she has been this way ever since you can remember. It seems highly unlikely she will change now.

So, being short with her, or being patient, or not saying a word, or leaving the room etc. is not going to make a difference. She is still going to rate every discomfort a 10. What will make YOU feel best? Apparently you don't like how being short with her makes you feel. That is reason enough to try to refrain from that behavior. Mother doesn't necessarily "deserve" your patience, but you deserve to feel good about yourself. Try to do it for you.

(And don't be too hard on yourself if you aren't perfectly patient all the time. No one is perfect.)


I can relate. Every night I go to bed telling myself that tomorrow, I will be more patient with my father. I have tremendous guilt when I loose patience. I am constantly on an emotional roller coaster. His moods change quickly as well, sometimes dependent on mine. Its a crazy cycle. After seven months, i am now trying to "yes" him more and go along with him and to stay calm and not argue the point anymore. I guess I'm a slow learner.
This may sound a little callous but I basically have taken an approach of you are on your own. In other words, I watch my Mom as I would watch a child playing in the back yard. I don't interfere as long as she doesn't appear to be in any danger. I don't try to do everything for her and let her motivate independently. While I still lose patience, I keep it to myself. She seems to think life is pretty grand. She does what she wants, when she wants and I'm on standby if there are technical difficulties. I've learned that everything doesn't have to be perfect in my home, just functional and clean, not sterile necessarily, but clean. Patience requires self-control. I didn't have much when I started this gig, no children to train me, but I think I have more now then when I started although I still lose it sometimes, and I don't feel particularly guilty since when I lose my patience I just walk away to cool down. Most of the time Mom has no clue.

Besides, one day, not so long ago, I lost it, I threw her meal tray across the kitchen. I've never been a thrower, that day I realized I must have looked like a crazy woman, out of control, and my Mom oblivious to why. Somehow that realization just gave me a bit of a different perspective, it wasn't me, it was a stranger that I didn't like. It helped me to stop and find myself again, I hope I never see that stranger again.
great approach, fadingshadows . taking bits of control from an elder will result in extreme agitation every time ..
jeanne also knows what shes talking about . shes been thru it all , caring for her husband till his last breath ..
I find myself losing patience with both my parents and I always feel so guilty afterwards because losing patience is not in my character.... it's like, who is this person???

I was ALWAYS correcting things my Dad [92] was saying as he usually had the story wrong.... then in the past month I realized it was just easier to agree with him because what difference does it make if he said he slipped on ice and broke his nose, when in fact it was in April and he miss-stepped going into the garage.

I also need to learn to have more patience with my Mom [96] because she is so hard of hearing.... I just hate repeating things over and over hoping she will catch at least one word, to trying to rephrase a sentence with other words. I just can't imagine what she is going through.

The other day Mom and I had a tense discussion over shredded cheese because the manufacturer now has a brand new packaging, so my Mom no longer likes the cheese but in reality it's the same identical cheese. We went round and round with that one. I should have just agreed with her, and ask her what other brand of cheese would she want me to buy.
Thru the years I have learned to ask myself these questions.... how important is it???...... What difference does it make????.... and a hundred years from now will this matter????.... doesn't keep me from being human. I get impatient in traffic, in a slow line in the grocery store, ect.... if it's something I need to apologize for , I do.... if not, I let it go..... with all of us being tired, it's going to happen...... just don't beat our self up and try to do better next time...
Hi, Daughter. I think you need to be careful of your back. You're risking repetitive strain injury by doing this type of work 5 times a week. You may not feel the impact at the time of the effort but later on you may. I tore a quadriceps in my thigh doing this kind of thing. I am quite strong but not strong enough for this kind of work. Very few older women are strong enough to do the practical nursing required by caregiving.

Your mother's pain may or may not be real but yours will be real enough if you injure yourself.
Daughter, yes I have had the same problem's as you woth patience. Yo must be careful of your back. I had to life my wife and my back has not been the same since. It's been 3 months now and it finally feels a lot better. The only thing I can suggest for patience is just keep telling your self it is the changes in the person due to age or the illness. Theyare losing control of their lives. They are depending on us to take care of them. Just try to take a deep breath, go outside and kick a pillow or something to "try" and relieve the stress
I can completely relate to you. I cared for my mom and brother for 4 yrs, with both of them abusing me emotionally, physically and mentally. Everyday I would say I had forgiven them for what they did, but always found myself getting angry with them which never helped the situation. I thought taking a day or weekend trip every once in a while would help me, so I started that after 2 yrs, but being away did nothing but make me more angry about the situation. It's normal for us to loose our patience, especially when the parent is not making it easy on us. My mom also always said her pain was worse than it was. They do this most of the time for attention, my mom admits this now that I am no longer caring for her and barely in her life. If your not ready to give up on your mom yet, look for agencies to come in sometimes and give you respit care ( relief care). Depending on the state you are in, they might offer 24 hr care, they might not, and depending on your moms income, they might cover it fully or she might have to pay a portion. Do it either way though, even if you have to come out of pocket! I have found care.com to be helpful when I needed a break. It's a website that has caretakers that sign up for the service and background checks, references, everything is listed, for a small yearly fee. You can get great caregivers on there a lot cheaper than you would thru an agency. Good luck!

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