Are there any positive caregiver success stories out there? Are all old women mean and negative?

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This site has been so helpful to me since my mother came to live with us. I think I might question my sanity if I did not hear so many stories like my own. I read here over and over about elderly women in particular who are mean spirited, paranoid, manipulative, selfish & negative. I totally relate as that is what I am witnessing.


The only time my mother seems to be happy is in the rare instance that one of her paranoid predictions actually comes to fruition, or some terrible thing happens to someone. She has a look of total glee at those times. She loves to say "I told you so" and since she is always and I do mean always negative the only thing she can be right about is a negative prediction. Sometimes it is an atmosphere of pure evil around her.


My question is are there any full time caregivers who are caring for a loving sweet appreciative friend or relative? Or by the time an elderly woman reaches this stage are they all as "mean as a snake". Are there any stories where a sweet old lady had to come live with a relative and actually brought joy and happiness?


My mother has always had personality disorders, but now it is like every negative aspect is times 100 and the positive aspects have disappeared. She has done all of the right things physically, healthy diet, exercise, regular checkups, now at age eighty plus she only takes two pills a day for mild hypertension, has few physical ailments, just a mean nasty spirit........


It makes me physically ill to think of getting old and treating those trying to care for me with such ingratitude, or for that matter just being that miserable myself. Right now I have no desire to eat right, exercise and take care of myself, so that I can outlive my mind and hang around to make my family miserable.


Sorry to rant, I'm beginning to sound just like her..... Just wish I could see light at the end of the tunnel. Her Dr. will not listen to me and she will not go to another Dr. and refuses to take anti-depressants or anxiety meds.

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v, some of us are just too worn out and embarrassed to post much. I have a world of gripes. For some of us the guilt hold is so strong, that airing 'dirty laundry' makes us feel bad, like we're doing something wrong. Sorry, but true.

I'm thinking of calling in 'sick' tomorrow. I have been doing this for four years, seeing her every other day. I've never failed her, but I'm sick of her complaints. The negativity is awful and life crushing.
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its called selection bias - the folks for whom caregiving is working out great all around don't tend to need to post on here so much. my journey with my mom had its sweet moments but was mostly hard and sad; with my dad there was a lot more sweet and I didn't seek out help as much :-)
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Hi! My mom is sweet now even though it didn't start that way. When I moved in with her I was miserable, but I learned some wonderful solutions over the three years I lived with her as her Alzheimer's progressed. Now she is at a wonderful memory-care facility where she is thriving and happy. Here's what I say about my experience and how it might help you:

1. Let yourself be happy. It seems counterintuitive; but, the happier you are the better it turns out for everybody! Most people think it’s sad that Mama has Alzheimer’s and I decided I had to get over thinking I should agree and commiserate (especially with the websites with all the sad-stories). The best way I found to break free of anger and worry was to get alone for a few minutes and BREATHE (take a deep breath in and a slow exhale) and in that moment notice the feeling of relief and breathe again. Think about the solution you want, why you want it, and focus on the solution.

2. Remove yourself from the room (or the phone) if there is an argument starting. Say, “Excuse me, there’s something I’ve got to do.” And it’s true – the thing you’ve got to do is to stay calm. BIG DISCOVERY: Arguing, complaining, and blaming only spirals the situation downward.

3. Project thoughts of goodness onto them several times a day. Even when you don’t feel like doing it, say, “You’re great.” “You’re sweet.” We know that it is true in the depths of their hearts and saying good things brings those good things to the surface -- you might not think she deserves it, but I won't beat around the bush -- you're doing it for YOUR own good.. After several weeks of doing this, lo and behold, she might even say it back to you! J

I never had a great relationship with Mama until one year ago. I’m sorry to say that I always dwelled on past resentments and for the first two of the three years I lived with her I was miserable and hated living there with her.

During those first two years I kept trying different solutions because I did not want to keep feeling bad. Those steps 1 and 2 were discoveries in the first two years.

Then when I started doing step 3, everything began to alter. At the end of the day when I was saying goodnight, no matter what had transpired during the day, I looked Mama in the eyes, and said, “You’re sweet.” I remember her look of surprise that first night. And I remember having a feeling of relief. Then I started saying it several times a day. Sometimes I would put my hand on her shoulder. Over time I took her hand and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Then she started saying it to me!!

Now Mama and I have a sweet loving relationship that is so remarkable. I still make it a point to get her attention, look into her eyes, and say, "You're so sweet! I love you so much!" It's because of the transformation over the past three years that I can do that with such love in my heart. So I am thankful for the problems I had and for where I am today.

Maybe steps 1-3 can move faster for you by reading this. Maybe they don’t fit your situation at all. We all experience our own epiphanies in our own way. All the best to all of you reading this.
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Meohmy, you are fortunate to have a sweet Mom. As I posted on another thread: I often wonder if Mother "didn't mean it" or couldn't help it when she was 35, 45, 55, etc. At what age did the excuse for her behavior become dementia and not a nasty temperament? People don't change much. Their natures are pretty consistent. I'm sure I'll still be a cynic and a smart ass when I'm 95, if God makes me live that long. :) xo
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After reading DonnaCG's post I feel fortunate to have the mother I have. She is 91 and has lived with me since April 2011. Prior to that she lived with my sister for three years and prior to that she lived by herself. The reason she ended up living with my sister was because she lived in a mobile home park that was bought out by the forest service and she needed a new place to live. I had taken care of all her daily living needs such as grocery shopping for many years, but my husband had passed away the year my mother moved in with my sister. Anyway she came to live with me when my sister's husband was diagnosed with cancer. My mother never learned to drive and relied on my dad to do all the driving, etc. He passed away in 1987 and I made sure she had her groceries and doctor appts. etc. I will admit it has not been easy, but I have managed to figure out coping skills. I have Visiting Angels come in once a week for four hours so I can do grocery shopping or just get out of the house for a while. I do yard work and leave a walkie-talkie so my mother can ring it if she needs me. I check on her about every 20 minutes and this works for us. This past year she was hospitalized for a fractured leg and spent much time in the hospital and skilled nursing homes as she recovered. She has heart issues and has lost about 35 pounds over the past year so she is frail. I know she can't live forever and I am willing to do this as long as I have to for the little bit of happiness it gives her. For this I feel blessed, although I realize many would consider it the opposite. I don't know why some people are negative. When my mother dwells on negative thoughts I change the subject or just tell her I don't want to listen to it. I tell her it makes me feel depressed and then she feels bad and realizes she is being negative. I don't know if your mother will listen to you DonnaCG but you might try talking with her about your feelings. Sometimes the fact that you speak up might shock her into realizing how she sounds. Maybe her need to be right about something overshadows everything.
Or maybe she has dementia which sometimes seems to rob elderly people of their happiest memories. My mother can dwell on some pretty depressing thoughts at times and like I said I try and disract her from those thoughts. I don't know if my story helps, but I figured it can't hurt. Hugs to you and know that you are not alone.
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husband, Your post struck me that your wife could be suffering from Lewy Body Dementia. My mother in law passed from it in 2010. In the mid to late stages of the disease, she insisted my father in law was two different people. She called them the two Jim's. One Jim she thought was a stranger impersonating her husband. He could leave the room and come back and be the 'real' Jim. Animal faces morphed out of a pattern in the carpet or a reflection in the window. For the most part, it amused her, which was good but sometimes she was terrified by it. She was a classy, dear lady even when the disease took her away.
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That extreme high appetite some diabetics get, if there is any chance they will tolerate something besides jus more insulin it can help. There are side effect concerns, but it may be worth trying something. Januvia is the one that worked for my mom, and she stopped stashing sugar packets to eat when she felt a little "low" (without checking, of course) all the time.
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Donna So Sorry... Sometimes people can be worse to their own family, and I am sad that happens. We have a guy at our ALF who the Dr told us had anger issues and now knowing him and the dr I see why - this guys doesn't really care about his patient and says stuff like 'get a feeding tube' versus what we tend to do in the assisted living home, coax him, make his favorites, rub his back, treat him like family....
I've realized too much of the "industry" is about the money and writing Rx for everything - when it is better managed with diet and exercise. Many elderly do much better in an ALF if you can put them there. Even daycare would let you do more and have a life. Someone mentioned $8,500 a month for memory care unit but wow that is a LOT.
Our place gets $2500 to $3500 or so depending on care needs. The higher end tends to be those with needs like diabetes or dialysis etc transporting them, if they are sick a lot, and so forth. It's like getting your life back, is what my families tell me, and still knowing mom is in a good place with love, good food, and people she can relate to. Smaller places are more like home, not such a culture shock for the elderly people.
I wish you all the best, and am praying for you both. Don't let it get you down, and I mean that in the best way, knowing how hard it is. I have 6 people to be the manager in caring for, shop, come up with activities, meals, recipes, tell the caregivers / train them how to cook a soft boiled egg, lots of things people today don't know about, especially as many are Jamaican or something, and our seniors are mostly American. The pre-diabetic sneaks food sometimes we have to hide the bananas (ate 4 one night recently, non left for breakfast) He is so upset at me that I said No more cheating on diet - gained 12 lbs in 6 weeks.
And there is the lady who doesn't know my name but knows I love her. :-) And I love them all, I rub backs and hug them treat them like family....
But I have no life at all. Just when I'm fixing to take a day off, someone calls in or just doesn't show so I race over there, adopt a caregiver role for the day, get home exhausted and have to catch up on my "other job" that pays my bills at home for the next day or two. Wow, now I'm whining so I better stop but sometimes it's best left to the pros who do this or at least a few days a week.
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My mother was always a narcissist. Everything was always about her and not anyone else. She lived with me almost 7 years after bypass surgery at 80, at her request. And it got worse and worse even though her health was excellent. This last year she started having cognitive problems and short term memory loss. She got depressed and angry and talked awful about me behind my back playing the victim which is a role she played throughout her life. I tried everything to stop the madness but the biggest problem I had with her was communication. She would not talk to me about anything but she would bend anyone else's ear who would listen to tell them how mean I was to her. I finally had to put her in intermediate AL because she started running away another pre-dementia behavior. She has been in AL 6 months and liked it for a while but now they are the bad guy. She is 87 and agreeable when she gets what she wants which is an audience but no one can meet her un-relentless need for an audience. And she lies about everything and did so even before her memory problem started. I don't know how I'm going to handle her unhappiness somewhere else. I think once you commit to taking care of someone, you're stuck with it even when they're somewhere else. A facility at least gives you a break. But you can't change their personality no matter how hard you try to fix things. No matter which choice is right for your situation, I wish you the best. There are no easy answers to a problem that escalates with decline. Bottom line, you have to do what's best for you because you can't take care of someone else when you're not at your best. Good LUck & God Bless.
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I've been my mom's caregiver for 7 years. I'm sorry to hear stories of other caregiver's having such a hard time. The only time my mom acts up is if she is in pain or has a UTI or other medical issue. I give her lots of love and she's just as sweet as she can be. I've never been closer to her. I haven't resented having her with me for one day even though there have been many challenges. I don't look at the surface or take what mom may have said personally. I can't imagine what she is going through. My heart hurts seeing her now in pain from cancer and to make it worse she was in an auto accident with a neighbor and both legs were broken. I brought her home because the rehab was more than I could deal with. I shouldn't have to chase them down for pills and no one ever checked on her. I hope I can continue to take care of her to the end as my mom has always been a very nervous person and fearful. Keeping her at home so I can watch over her and give her comfort I think has kept her fears down. Who wouldn't be afraid to lose your abilities, it's terrible. I hope you can find a way so your mom and you have a more peaceful time together. I wish I had more time with my mom than I'm going to get. I feel so blessed to have had this time.
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