I've been caring for my mother for about twelve years now, and almost three as the sole caretaker since my partner died.
More and more I've noticed that my mother seems to look to me for cues about how to react to things (she often says she's my daughter, and not in a joking way), but lately it's gotten a little out of control. I've been sick, but still working, and cooking, and cleaning and all that, but i have laryngitis. Now suddenly she acts like she can't talk, or she whispers, just because I do. Tonight I turned on the Mary Tyler Moore show on television for her, and went to send some business email and make a few calls. about 10 minutes into the show she came running in yelling because she thought I had left the house, and it made for an awkward moment on the phone for me. Turns out she hit the wrong button on the remote control and it frightened her. It seems that unless I am in the same room with her, showing her what to do, and how to react, she can't really handle it. I don't know if it the (incurable) bladder infection is causing her confusion and fear, or if she has dementia. Her doctor says 'mild cognitive impairment' which seems about right, but when I get sick (rarely) it seems to make her anxious and more clingy.
She's a strong, intelligent, charming woman, but tonight I barely recognized her. She seemed terrified at being left alone in her own bedroom. We've been caring for her 24 hours a day for more than a decade, but she actually thought I'd left her alone in the house. It shouldn't have, but it hurt my feelings to think she didn't trust me.
Is there a class I can take, or a book I can read, or someone I can talk to who can explain this all to me? I think I/m too close to the situation to be objective.
I don't mind giving her a context and a framework when her grasp on reality is a little shaky, but it's hard to do when I'm sick too.
Maybe things will seem better in the morning.