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My Mom is so negative! All I try to do is help her, but everytime I try to help her, such as setting her up with pill boxes because she flat out tells me she forgets to take her medications, warrents complaint after complaint after complaint from her. She just won't stop! One complaint too many and I lost it! I cussed her out and flew out of her house. I just don't know what to do. She is making very bad choices and I am just trying to keep her safe and make her life easier. She refuses anyone coming into the house to help her; refuses to stop driving; refuses to look at assisted living facilities, so it's all up to me. I do not live with her and honestly I can only take a certain amount of time with her. I hate that I lost my temper and that she frustrates me so much but I do not see her changing since she doesn't even see that she acts like that. She's all I have left and I want to help, but how do I deal with her negativity without losing my temper? I live in Hayward CA...if anyone knows of a support group for caregivers of an elderly parent...PLEASE let me know!! I need HELP! Yvonne

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This is one of the hardest situations to deal with. The parents are mostly still able to do some things, but like one post said, can't do a lot of the things they used to do.
My mother decided to move to where i was going to college under the pretense of "I always dreamed of living there". Funny how "always" became as soon as I was there. I'm an only child and Mom was a single parent so I get loneliness. But a couple more years of college and the whole thing would have been so much easier. See, she's never really understood how to deal with money. When she moved to be near me (which she denies but it's clearly what happened) she had no plan, no job, no savings, no place to live and a dog in tow. After a month of blowing her tiny nest egg on a hotel by the beach, she showed up at my door with her dog & bags and told me she needed to stay with me for a couple days. I lived with 2 other sophomore college guys. Not a good mix. Anyway, several months later I realized she had no intention of dealing with her mess and would never leave unless I made the move. Suddenly, she had "fibromyalgia" and couldn't work or leave the house. And Holy God if anyone ever mentioned the convenience of being w/o a job or home f her own happening at exactly the same time as developing a strangely hard to pin down illness that encompasses all her body... Well, you basically get a lecture about how "I didn't ask to be sick" or "you don't believe in sick". It's maddening. I had to move into a studio apartment and work whenever I wasn't in school. Thank goodness i didn't drop out because, though the entire point was she wanted to give me the opportunity and swore up and down to help pay, obviously that was all just lip service. Im so deep in student loan debt, I'd never be able to get more loans to go back to school. So that's good.
But to he point: it's been 15 years since that all happened and she has only gotten worse. Now we refuses to leave the house because of her "illness" and won't so much as clean herself or her surroundings. That despite being disgusted with how gross I am for having worn my clothes out in the world and dared to sit on a chair in her apartment. She doesn't eat well and like I say, won't do anything for herself. And the complaining is NON-STOP. When you've been hearing the same couple of complaints for 15 years about how nobody cares about her and nothing I do is ever up to her high standards, I'm at my wit's end. And get this: she's 55 years old. So I have another 30-40 years to look forward to. All I can say is the stress has to be dealt with. You need time to yourself and the only way to keep her complaining and whining from driving me over the edge is to not listen. That's all we can do. Know we are helping and take solice in that. This isn't easy for any of us but who else is going to deal with out parents if we don't?
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You know, I think you might be right. She also warned me that one of my kids was going through a very rough time and needed help. She made a special point of telling me that this was VERY important. I was pretty sure I knew which kid, and got her an appointment with her old therapist, whom she hadn't seen in several years. I went to that first appointment with my daughter and found out she was miserably depressed, much more than she had even let on, and had tried to hang herself in her room the previous week, but couldn't go through with it. She was considering trying again.

It's now a year later, and things are much better. I had not realized how much my fighting with Mom had impacted everyone in my home, but I'm much more conscious of it now. (That wasn't my daughter's only issue, but it was something that she hated hearing, and made her hesitate to come to me for help because it was obvious I was already overwhelmed.). I wish someone had helped my mom realize how harmful it is to your loved ones to be so negative, but at least (I hope) the behavior is ending with me.

So, yes, I think you might be right. Angel.
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Maybe the psychic was really an angel. :)
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Funny true story - a year ago, I was eating lunch with a friend and she decided on a lark to go see the psychic across the street from the restaurant. She was wondering whether she should take a new job. I walked over there with her, and decided to get a reading just for fun even though I don't believe in psychics. The psychic dealt some cards and the first thing she said was 'I see that for the past three years you have been surrounded by extremely intense negative energy, and it's actually harming your health.' It was three years to the week that I had brought my elderly mom to live in my home, and she's always been the most negative person I've ever known. Dementia has made her even worse. Then the psychic said 'I see this situation resolving itself within two months.' Well, the only things I could think of were that either Mom was going to die, or that I was going to have to put her in a nursing home - a distinct possibility because my blood pressure had gotten sky high over the previous year. I truly did not know how much longer I could stand to have her living with us. The psychic said several other things, including correctly guessing my kids' gender and first names, and that my oldest son is developmentally disabled. So on the ride home, I made a resolution to be nicer to Mom and try to get along with her. If there was anything to this psychic stuff, I didn't want to be wracked with guilt when the situation 'resolved.'

I was able to de-escalate things with Mom to a large degree, and worked on not being such a martyr by taking more time for myself (God knows I learned the ways of martyrdom from one of the best:-). I started playing with our pets more and working in my garden. My blood pressure came down. I was able to ignore many of Mom's negative remarks and actually started to feel a bit sorry for her. She had squandered her entire life on being miserable, and I was determined that history wouldn't repeat itself with me. All in all, the situation improved greatly, even if it had started from my rather selfish motivation of not wanting to feel like a major b---- if she were to die with angry words between us.

And then I realized, the psychic's prediction had actually come true! The negative situation had, for all practical purposes, been resolved to a tolerable level within a couple of months. I guess the moral of this story is that you should never underestimate the value of a good self-fulfilling prophecy:-)
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My elderly mother has always been a negative person, even when things were going well. Her contant complaining and whining has caused many people to distance themselves from her. Her behavior even extends to places in public. I myself have had to distant myself to being around her. I refuse to help her on the things she wants, only what she needs in a limited capacity. It took me a year to realize how inconsiderate she was toward my feelings. There is guilt that come from the distancing, but a lot less emotional stress and higher emotional wellbeing for me.
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sometimes you really just do have to walk out. my grandmother gets very negative too, always complaining. "what did i do to deserve this?" "i wish my legs worked." "every day is the same." "don't get old, it's nothing but hell." that kind of thing. sometimes it works when i just say, "i know you're frustrated grandma. i know you don't feel good today." sometimes she just needs acknowledgment that she is suffering or wants the attentions. othertimes i just tease her about it. "well you're just a ball of sunshine today grandma!" and she chuckles about it, sometimes.
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kindlostangel3, you are not boring and I hope you get alot of good advice. I like your screen name too.
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Thank you so much Bellas--I am the same way.I research and research till I feel I can make the best decision based on the information out there. I will definitely get that book and I will also look at the Susan Forwards' book mentioned earlier. I appreciate this site..I don't feel..well so alone in all this. Thank you..
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The 'bible' that will help you is a book titled "The 36 Hour Day" published by the Mayo Clinic. It is THE best book I have read and reread. I got mine off Amazon and it was not expensive when one considers how MUCH it has helped me. Otherwise, I would try to find a support group for you, the caretaker and not plan on taking your mom with you. My heart goes out to you..as Nancy Reagen called Altz as "The Long Journey Home". This site is wonderful and people have been very helpful with suggestions so keep posting and reading but the best way I have been able to deal with the problem is through education on the subject matter. Knowledge is power as they say.
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Guys - I am new to this post..in fact this is my first post. Until about a month and a half ago- my stepfather took care of my Mom We knew she had alzheimers but just did not realize how bad. My stepfather passed away on Sept 18 and we found out quickly to the extent Mom needed help. Mom is able to stay alone -- right now-- we worked up from a couple of hours a day to nights..That was mainly due to her depression from my stepfather's death. But the more I read about Alzheimers the more I am like..Oh my..that is what my Mom is doing..hiding things --especially money-- accusing everyone of taking things (even her clothes from her closet because she lost weight...she said someone took her clothes and replaced them with someone else's)..but most of the time she is lucid--very forgetful--but lucid..but she does do what has been stated her.. the complaining...which is hard..see my Mom was always more a negative person in general and I am an optimist..With me- I don't care how bad a situation I will pull something good out of it..my Mom--will complain that no one will take her to get groceries..and then when I do- she can't find anything she wants to eat--But I have a sister and two brothers..but the weight has been on me..my older sister who lives 10 minutes away - is a stay at home wife- her children are grown--helped Mom so much during the funeral..afterwards they had a huge argument about money and the bank..and my sister just up and said..I am done..I can't do this anymore and I won't..my older brother is a work aholic and has also said he could not stay with my Mom..my younger half brother likes to use this a little to his advantage with her cars - groceries and such--so- Mom depends on me..BTW- I am unemployed single mother of three. Thank goodness my children are older- two in college and one in high school..but I have absolutely no time and feel like I am swimming in quick sand. I have yet to join any groups (both my brothers said they would go with me)..but just recently my mother has begun saying she does not have Alzheimers..so I guess getting her to go with me is going to be a job in itself..BTW- I am next to the youngest and really feel at times this is too much for me..But my Mom cries out sometimes (or did) my name..and I answer and she thanks me for being there and cries that she is afraid..It kills me because I want to protect her..she has never really in her whole life been alone. I am not under any delusions as I know things are going to get worse..I just am at a loss as to where to even begin..well besides praying..and believe me--God is probably ready to me on mute..She has had really three major outbursts with me. Two when one of my best guy friends was with me (who has been a saint and helped me with her a lot) but the next day or 3-4 hours total change. Can you guys let me know any books (besides Susan Forward which I wrote down) that was especially helpful to you? I checked some out from the library but they had a limited selection and they were not especially helpful. And believe me ..right now..I need as much good advice as I could get.. I am over being mad at my sister..I can't make her do what she will not and really she will have to deal with her decisions--but I still need to find a job to take care of my own family--and yet--though now Mom can stay the majority of the time by herself..She has begun to beg me to come and spend the night again..which she knows I have kids and can't just up and leave them..So..I need to prepare myself and try to make the wisest decisions I can..My apology for this being so long (and probably boring to you guys)..but this is my first posting..and I guess I had more inside me to let out than I thought..
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I can so relate to all of this in dealing with my father. He is now in a convalescent home after going to the hospital in order to get out of the ALF he WAS in. Now we found a new ALF when he gets out of the C. home. He stayed with me for about a week last summer and I described it as a "black cloud" over the house. Completely negative. If I go away on vacation it's "when am I getting MY vacation"? Of course, I think much of it stems from the fact that people just can't accept the fact that they are growing older. They get angry when they can't do the things they used to do; even small things. My dad told my husband, "I can't even stand up to pee". Things of that sort. I've been forced to limit contact with him, which for me is easy, since I live relatively far away, but my sister is in the midst of it and doing the lion's share of the work. It's so hard. He still would probably like to go home, but he cannot live alone. Good luck and God bless you.
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I used to live with my mom - different story - but there was no place for me to be - my car became my reading place or quiet place. I even knew where the best parking lots were with lights and of course where there were restrooms near by. It might not help but i got alot out of Susan Forward's books. One is toxic parents and Emotional blackmail. the first time i opened her book i thought oh my goodness i'm not going crazy! Its so hard to be around the negative person. HUG
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I totally understand the need to separate even if only to a different room but it saddens me when I realize the power of the unrelenting negative parent or spouse causing everyone else in the family being 'sent' to their separate rooms just to escape the control of this one person's power to destroy our lives. I use the same 'escape' but it doesn't always work, my spouse comes looking for me in his power chair and keeps sharing the complaints. No, shutting the door to my room doesn't work either. At times there is no escaping, even within the four walls of ones home.
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Bella, my MIL lives with us. She doesn't need to be watched constantly, so after dinner, I head upstairs. I just can't sit and listen to it any more than I have to. Really, we all scatter after dinner. I think this upsets her, but it is out of self preservation.
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The theme I see in these honest posts is that there is an option of limiting ones contact with the negative parent or spouse...problem is when they live under your roof and there is no way to walk away from the black cloud of complaints and zero appreciation for what is done...respite? All that means is knowing the few hours or days you are away, that you will be returning to the same black cloud but it will seem even worse because you got free of it for that little bit of time and the contrast sucks the life out of you that much more.
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The negativity is like a black cloud. My MIL is.about. 100% negative. One day I came home and she asked how my day was. I said "great". She said, "well that's good because someday it will all head south and then all your days will be crappy". Wow, thank you Mary Sunshine. I too limit how much time I spend with her. She has always been this way. I suppose I should feel bad about that, but I don't.
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One thing i've found out is that everyone has choices. My father has a spinal cord injury but is only 57 and has control of his mind. But b/c he wants me to do everything and i have come to realize i can't without dying - stress is not healthy. I found a caregiving group at the hospital that was free to go to. Pick the things you can help with and the other things you have to let bounce off of you. Most the time with my dad i listen and then change the topic. the more i get emotional and can't get things "fixed" i get frustrated and depressed. The more i step back and limit my time and energy with him the better i am. i don't know if this helps but good luck!
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Thank you for your comment JessieBelle. My Mom's negativity is like a black toxic cloud...I can only take so much. I want to help her, but then face her repeated complaints. I just feel like telling her she's on her own, but it feels like turning my back on a helpless child. I'm very torn between allowing her to make her own poor choices and "fixing" as much as I can. I keep thinking of what I need to do to live with myself after she's gone. If you see someone you love hurting themselves or putting themselves in harms way....what do you do when they won't let you help?
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Yvonne, I don't know why so many older people complain so much. Sometimes it can be like they're reading a list of negative things. Sometimes the things that are complained about are actually blessings that come with living a long life. I don't think there is any way to fix the complaining. The only thing that I've found that works is to turn off my listening. Sometimes it works. Other times not so well.

Something I've found is my mother complains less when she gets out of the house and does something like going to church or out to eat. Of course, I have to take her everywhere she goes, so I tend to start complaining myself. :)
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