I'm so tired. I've been caring for my mother for about twelve years now, and almost three as the sole caretaker since my partner died.

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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.


Hang in there -- things will seem a little better in the morning.

MCI often (but not always) is the foreshadow of dementia. And whether she officially has dementia or not, she certainly has some of the behaviors common in dementia. If she has had the bladder problem for years and this anxious and clingy behavior is new, perhaps it is something new causing the behavior.

There are many books and online articles about what to expect from someone with dementia. Know that there are more than 50 distinct kinds of dementia, and what you read may not match exactly what you are experiencing with your mother, but getting a general picture will be very useful -- at least I found it useful.

Another way to learn what to expect, and also some tips about how to deal with it is to join a caregivers support group. Your local Alzheimer's Association office may be able to direct you to such groups.

I know what you mean about hurt feelings. When my husband accused me of stealing from him I knew it was the dementia talking, but it still hurts. My mantra became "It is the disease talking. It is the disease talking. ..."

The contrast between the "real" person (strong, intelligent, charming) and the person with the disease (terrified at being left alone in her own bedroom) is stunning. If I suddenly lost visuospatial cognition I'm not sure others would notice (I'm kind of ditzy in that arena to start with), but when my mechanical engineer husband couldn't figure out how to get into bed so that he was comfortably spaced between the headboard and footboard, that broke my heart.

If it is possible to get someone she trusts to help out when you are sick, that might be a good thing for both of you.
I don't understand how someone can have a bladder infection for years. That's just wrong on so many levels. Plus, it does sound like dementia is raising it's ugly head too. Some doctor has got to have the answers to these problems, that's where I'd start first. If there's something that can be done about these medical issues, then things might get better (might).
Thank you. I have a lot to think about here.

P.S. The infection is untreatable as far as I know-- after 25 courses of antibiotics it is antibiotic resistant. We do the best we can with diet, liquids, rest, all the holistic treatments, cranberry everything, acidifying her urine, estrogen, etc. and have seen three specialists. Apparently it's a growing problem with the elderly.
Thanks for the response --sorry -- I don't think I should be emailing when I'm sick, and everything just feels a little off. I feel uncomfortable with this level of sharing. How can I delete this thread?
My mom started this same way about a year ago. She was always so independent but suddenly, she didn't want to be anywhere without me. I couldn't go out with just my husband as she would be livid when we returned. Then she started actually telling me that for some reason she didn't feel right when I wasn't around. She said she knew it was "crazy" but it was what it was. I think she actually felt bad about this behavior but it didn't stop. It only got more possessive as she fell into dementia more and more. I think after awhile, I stopped being upset by my lack of individuality and instead took it as a compliment that I was the one person in the world she wanted around her always. It's so difficult caretaking as well as having a life of your own. I found I wasn't able to do that and actually lost my job due to my caretaking efforts. My mom had a fall about a month ago and fractured her neck. She's now in a nursing home, with a feeding tube, doesn't know where she is or why she is there and guess what? I miss her! I miss her being up my butt constantly. I don't think I took enough of that time to just sit and "be" with mom as I was always so busy. Now, I can't hold a conversation with her at all anymore. I think caretaking is one of the hardest things children or family can do. I wish you luck and health
OMG Bhenson, you certainly made my body react, your situation sounds similar to my own with my mother and, after 20+ years of caring for her now, the thought has crossed my mind that I probably wouldn't know what to do without having her here! As much as I gripe and complain when I am angry, tired or just pissed off at the world, I know I would feel the same way you do if things were to change tomorrow. Thank you for bringing the tears to my eyes, it is a great wake-up for me when I am feeling sorry for myself! God bless you and yours and have a fantastically wonderful day and week-end. With love to all of you caring, loving, giving people. It really is a blessing that we are able to help our loved ones when they need us. Believe it or not (and sometimes I do NOT), they really do appreciate us; too bad their mental or physical problems make it appear otherwise much of the time! May God bless you.
Thank you so much. I just got a little too stressed and lost my perspective. Mom is feeling herself this morning and I am going to take her to lunch and a mani/pedi and see if we can make this a great day.

Sometimes I avoid thinking about how difficult it must be for her to have limited hearing, vision, physical strength and cognitive abilities, because it is a bit painful to contemplate. But she also has compensations: loving friends, many interests, and the respect of her community.

And I know we can get through this. I just need to keep my sense of humor.
Please remember that you are all angels in your own way. I firmly believe that we get back more than we give at some point. Sometimes we have to open our eyes to see it though. At times I'm ashamed at all of the times I was frustrated, angry, stressed, annoyed etc. but then I think that I am only human and as a daughter, I did the very best I could for the woman who did the same for me all my life. It's okay to be frustrated and to even want it all to end. Natural really. Just remember that once it's over you can't redo anything so be at peace, take time for yourselves, and love all you are able to. When things get rough, know that you have given all you can and take solice in that. It's all I have now. Going to the nursing home and taking care of mom as much as possible. She doesn't realize it but surprisingly, for all my moaning, NOW I want to do it for her. Hugs
I do understand. My mother has gone to rehab centers/nursing homes for short periods after being hospitalized. I wish I could feel at peace all of the time but, as you said, we are human. Nothing is constant, moods change from day to day; some days I have the patience of a saint, the next I will rip your head off for asking me how I am feeling! I get guilt feelings from time to time but, all in all, I am amazed at how I stepped up and helped my mother all of these years. I would have not believed it if I would have been informed of my future prior to taking this job.It is not easy, and not necessarily fun, but still very rewarding in so many ways. Take good care of yourselves and, bhenson is right, we are all angels in our own way! May God bless.
Stephen: Your situation is unique to you and I'm sorry that you felt you overextended on personal issues. Nevertheless, people on this site have walked in your shoes and they understand. Nothing you shared is unique to my world. I deal with it everyday. Bless you and those who have responded. If you took the time to understand each of there circumstances, you might find some comfort in not being alone. Love, Cattails.

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