Sanity...insanity...or just curmudgeon.

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I do not know if I reacted to a particular situation correctly.
I think, after reading other posts, that sometimes we react
based on previous experience(s).
Saturday Sept 7, morning. I am up watching tv with mom
(age 90) before breakfast. Is the morning routine @ home.
Mom starts going on about how her underpants don't fit right.
Some are big, some are smaller. They are all the same size.
I have ordered different batches at different times. I have run
into the same problem: since retailers are always shopping
around vendors/manufacturers they will never been the same
fit twice as a general rule.
Now, I've just gone through a bout of trying to find outer pants
for mom. I have ordered and returned about 3 different
shipments from LL Bean, and one buy/return from Sports
Authority. The largest size sweat pants was XL and they did
not fit so I did not swap them out.
So, already I'm thinking 'O lord, here we go.' Mom starts this
'we' stuff 'we need to get some underpants, some of
mine are too big or too small. We can go to Macys (she
can't really go out shopping anymore) and get some."
I probably over-reacted and stated "I'm not getting involved
with this." Mom blinked and repeated this, so I repeated
my line. Several times actually. I tend to think Mom has gone
back in time 50 years or so when one could reasonably
expect to find something that fits the same, even if separated
by a few years, or months even.
Then she starts 'boo hoo hoo, they (underpants) make
me miserable (this is the first I've heard about this),
... maybe I can find someone to go and get
them for me." She snivels a few seconds more and then
stops, as if a switch has been thrown.
We watch tv a few more minutes, I say 'I'm going out (kitchen)"
where I start breakfast. It seems as if she has forgotten the
incident entirely. I have no intention of bringing the topic up
I am 60, not in the best of health or shape (my own fault), and
while the shipping back and forth is bad enough, having to
traipse in and out of stores endlessly trying to find something
that really does not exist anymore..
She also needs underpants that have the elastic band covered
in cloth as she seems to have developed an allergy to the elastic
in the waist band.
It all sounds so innocuous, just pick up a bloody pair of underpants.
However, it all ends up the same. Something won't be right, I'll have
to go in and out several times trying to find it. She'll want to try another store
and the same thing will be repeated. Even if I do find something, she may
well start kvetching about it in another month. (Like the current set of
Anyway, I suspect that I'm just being run around because she thinks she
can order me around. The whole exchange had an air of craziness about it,
especially when mom started blathering about how lousy the underpants
she had were.
I have it better than a lot of people here. She is not abusive (she was almost
40 years ago and I walked out on her back then), at least not yet. You can
have an 'incident' and on the surface (at least to others) it can appear quite
normal. However, for one living with an elderly person, we can pick up on
the 'offness'.
heck, I had to grit my teeth watching mom talk to her doctor... going on
about how 'she got my dad.. everyone else wanted him but she got him'..
made me want to retch. The last thing I remember (just before I walked out
40 years ago was) a) (to me) you should have been an abortion and
b) If I ever see him (dad) again I'll shoot him c) "You (to me) are going
to pay for what you (me) took and what dad took."..
Frankly, and it may sound awful, if she ever goes back to that kind of
mindset, I'm outta there.
this is enough. thanks for listenin g.


don't everyone answer at once.
I can totally feel your frustration. after many a frustrating day my 91 year old mother left to live with my sister. I don't blame you at all for feeling like you are getting the run around. I was sent on alot of wild goose chases myself. I really think it is a control thing like you said, I know that was what it was here. good luck keep the faith....don't be hard on yourself no one knows what you are going thru and dealing with everyday unless they have walked in your shoes.
I can totally feel your frustration. after many a frustrating day my 91 year old mother left to live with my sister. I don't blame you at all for feeling like you are getting the run around. I was sent on alot of wild goose chases myself. I really think it is a control thing like you said, I know that was what it was here. good luck keep the faith....don't be hard on yourself no one knows what you are going thru and dealing with everyday unless they have walked in your shoes.
Oh I hear and understand!! My mother has a new packed every two weeks,,,she keeps throwing hers away with her gross trash and I have to go buy more if they are too bad.I have a weak stomach..probably not a good thing since I can only get her in the shower once a month.I am 51,she is 84.I take care of my grand daughters also.If it wasn't for those little rays of sunshine I would scream..every day.Praying for you!!!
Twocents, sometimes if a lot of questions get posted around the same time, your question gets demoted below the top 5, and people don't see it unless they go looking.

Think whatever is most comfortable for you. She was not a nice person in the old days. That points to Curmudgeon. On the other hand, a 90 year old body is not very comfortable to live in. And 90 year old brains don't work all that well even if there's no dementia. That points to insanity. The only sanity here is yours, which is in danger.

You have a hard job, and you are doing your best. Hang in there.
I know exactly what you're talking about, twocents. Some people are never content. You can try to please them, but you never will. Not even the trees can please them -- they're growing in the wrong place, have too many/few leaves. :) And shopping with them is a woeful experience. They buy things, get them home and decide they cost too much, so want to return them.

The last thing happened with my mother. She picked out a gorgeous dress that looked good on her, then wanted to return it because of the price. I wouldn't return it, because I knew it was right for her. She would NOT wear it. So one Sunday I put it on. I'm smaller than she is, but with the jacket it was hard to tell. The dress is bright yellow, so I got a lot of compliments. After hearing all the compliments, she told me I could not keep the dress, that it was hers. It was funny. Now she wears it a lot to church.

There is one thing that keeps me sane in dealing with someone who is never content with anything. I stopped trying to please her and do things that pleases myself. It works. Personally I think there is a cup of curmudeon and a dash of insanity in these people. But then we put up with them, so we must be doubly insane. :)
Jessie - your story about the dress is priceless! I have been basically a zealous nut about keeping my mother in nice outfits at the NH. Just before she went there about 18 months ago, I bought her a lovely pale yellow set of soft pants (sweat suit material) and v-neck sweter in matching yellow with white stripe accents at the collar and cuffs, plus she already had a zip-up matching jacket - Fabulous outfit and color is great on her. She flatly refuses to wear it and it's still hanging in her closet. I keep bringing it forward and she pushes it back. I am going to see if it fits me (will have to bring the pant hems back down), and if it does I will take it and wear it in front of her. I'll let you know what happens!

Two-cents, caregiving can turn all of us into baskets cases at various times. We are dealing with what you describe as curmudgeons and insane elders. Just keep in mind that it is the aging brain or a demented brain, or some form of mental illness that causes their behaviors (and guess what - it's going to BE us someday). The fact that we are able to put up with it must make us a little 'insane' with a whole lot of heart. Hang in there!
(((((two cents)))) definitely some curmudgeon in there in my view. Set some limits on the shopping. Mother is like that - never pleased for long. Some years ago she wanted to buy a certain type of black pants. I searched the stores and brought her to a few stores to try things on, but nothing was right to her. I tried to explain that that line had "gone out" and would not be back but she would not accept it. So she ended up buying very expensive slacks (they must look good if they cost that much) having them altered and they still, in my view, were not flattering, but whatever - her money, her choice. After that I refused to do the run around. Mother is still capable of shopping for herself thankfully, though I am not sure for how long.
Jessie - great story. I can see that working!
orangeb - let us know what happens lol.

I know that mother will complain about something - many things - and find I have to work at not letting it bother me. Not that I am always successful even though I care give at a distance. I think some older people are into controlling what they can. I had an aunt who lived to 97 and she was a delight all along and not like that at all. Neither was a grandmother in law or mil or other aunts. But my mother is. Hopefully I am not and will not be. I think it is the accumulation of life choices, and, of course if Alz/dementia is involved personality changes. I read an article recently that negativity brings its own rewards in the brain - sort of an adrenaline rush and is addictive. I see that in my mother. I determined to be more careful in the choices of the thoughts I dwell on after I read it. Good luck, Do what you have to do to keep your sanity.
I can't answer about her state of mind, but maybe I can give some practical advice about the undies. I do not have an off-the-rack body. I'm very fussy about my undies -- I don't want to be aware of them while I'm wearing them. I have finally figured out all the features that I want, such as covered elastic, high-cut (but not bikini) legs, etc. They must be cotton, and I prefer white, because I bleach them. But that isn't critical -- I had a navy pair that have slowly bleached into a dreary lavender. Who cares? They are comfortable! So now that I know exactly what works for me I can easily shop on line. It doesn't matter if my local department store no longer carries the style. I can read a few sentences and reject that because the elastic isn't covered, and discard that because it has too much nylon content, and finally come up with exactly what I want. If you and Mom can come up with the exact features she likes, the two of you should be able to find exactly that online.

My mother does not seem fussy about her undies. She is now wearing those pull-on bras. One day my sister noticed that Mom's panties were still on the bench after she finished dressing. But the used ones were in the dirty clothes pile. "Ma," my sister asked, "didn't you put panties on today?" Mother assured her that she had. "There must have been two laid out. But I couldn't find a bra!" Yup. She pulled the bra on instead of panties! Sister got her all straightened out, but what a hoot. Maybe being fussy isn't all bad. :)
thanks. mom is still pretty sharp on some things. which is what makes these little odd outbursts just that.. odd.
the problem with underpants is that, while I know what I want and can pretty much find it: all cotton, everytime I get new ones they are slightly different because the vendor (one or two steps back) has changed and all the cuts are different. Some are larger, smaller, etc.
I notice that when mom does go off on these type of benders it is more like she has gone back in time to another age. Like the underpands: when one could reasonably expect to be able to go back in a year or two and actually find the same exact fit.
There are hundreds of stores, thousands of different styles and stuff of undies. I am just not going to start doing that kind of running around. I got what I have from the Vermont Country store, their undies are actually made here. However, still doesn't keep them from varying.
Oh well, like I have said, things could be worse. I have read a lot of the posts here and man, what a nightmare in many cases.

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