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We have been looking after my mother in law for over 10 years now. She's almost 98 and still going pretty strong. She has full time in home care givers for the last year and is sometimes very mean to them. This causes us a lot of stress when they call us to say "I"m outta here" because she was so nasty. She has never helped us in any way throughout our marriage, but expects a lot from us now just the same. Whatever we do is not enough. I'm sick of it and her.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

My husband and I don't have kids and will have to manage our affairs ourselves. I'm sure this is part of my resentment. I think she's very lucky to have our assistance, but she shows no appreciation for it. She just resents her lack of independence.

We will be moving her into an assisted living situation this year. She does not want to go and is very upset about it. We must move her before she runs out of money so she can transition there onto Medicaid. They won't take her if she doesn't have money to pay for at least a year.

I can't WAIT to get her moved so we can stop having the daily worries we have now. I wish I felt differently....but these are my honest feelings. :(

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I have done some research on this topic of the elder(s) we care for being ungrateful, snippy, terse, demanding, etc., and it is usually due to dementia in some form or other, to some degree or other. We care for my 82 yr old MIL in our home and we have for 8 - 9 years now. She has steadily declined mostly in the last two years. She is bedridden now, alert, but sometimes foggy and spacy, and more often than not, unable to articulate to us how she feels or what she needs. Her short term memory is all but gone, and she has a hard time with decision making. Her usual response is "I don't know". She moans and groans when we address her hygiene needs, she whines when we put in and take out her teeth. A lot of it is drama, and "ouch" really means I am uncomfortable or I have to exert myself to roll to one side or another. She says "thank you" sometimes, but less and less. She does appreciate what we do for her, she just does not say it. She gets snippy with us when we ask her direct questions, but it is because she cannot remember, or she cannot articulate to us an answer. It is not personal, she doesn't like the condition she is in any better than we do. She watches us intently when we provide care for her, but she doesn't ever say she appreciates what we do. We know she does. It is hard to be a caregiver if you are the type of person who needs affirmation. Just try to know in your soul that you are doing the right thing and they do appreciate it even if they can't tell you they do.
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Stay tough, ignore the noise and forge on with assisted living. ASAP. Sounds like she's cogent enough to understand that AL requires one year of self-pay before accepting Medicaid......and cogent enough to try to sabotage it.


Keep in touch with the AL. Keep a secret suitcase in your home, packed with a week's worth of MIL's clothes and duplicates of all her toiletries. The minute a bed opens up, grab the suitcase and put MIL in the car -- under whatever pretense it takes. Sign the papers at AL and check her in. Shuttle the rest of her belongings on your own terms. Without her "help."


You and your husband literally gave until it hurt. For 10 years. All you got in return was negativity and scorn. Enough already.


Steel yourself for overt or subtle criticism from others. (Others who never lived with MIL or offered to take her in, I must note.) Be sure to offer each naysayer the option of moving MIL into his or her spare bedroom. End of conversation.


You and your husband deserve peace in your retirement. Not chaos and abuse. Stay strong and keep moving forward.
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I think there are elders who resent they are getting old... refuse to admit they aging... refuse they need any help.... refuse to move to some place safer. That was my Mom [98]. They become really grumpy.

My Dad [94] was the other side of the coin, he accepted he was aging, he didn't mind having outside help, and after my Mom passed it was he who said less than a month later it was time for him to move into Independent/Assisted Living.

Jane, I was and still am very resentful of dealing with my parents for the past 7 years. My parents had a wonderful 25 year retirement which included a lot of travel. They never had to take care of their parents, so they had zero idea what they were putting me through. I couldn't get them out of that darn 3-story house. I was always on pins and needles, and would go into full panic attack mode any time the phone rang. I've been so stressed out I had developed numerous health issues. Heavens, my Mom was healthier than I was !!
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Wouldn't it be great if Teepa Snow was available for private caregiving?
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jane, of course, you feel resentment. You have given so much of yourself and are getting back abuse and hardship. Sometimes I read the responses here and they feel like the balance is out of whack. You and your husband are as important as his mother. It would be easier for others to sympathize if they saw her actions as being physical abuse toward the caregivers and you -- maybe that she was hitting people with a bat. Words can be like that after a while. Having caregivers quitting and hearing things yourselves raise your cortisol levels. When this happens long term, it can cause you to become ill yourself. If you feel stressed all of the time because of the living situation, it is a good time for you and hubby to sit down and decide what is the best thing to do. If your MIL is 98, I know that you are also not spring chickens. You do have to make sure you are also caring for yourselves. I can only think of two options, since at 98 your MIL is not likely to change -- find a caregiver who can work with the meanness (a drill sergeant comes to mind) or find a facility so that it doesn't have such an impact on your own stress and health.
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Some elders are gracious, others are not. I'm assuming that her selfish, entitled attitude has been with her for her lifespan.

Yes, you are resentful. I think you need to own those feelings. You've given up your freedom and your privacy. Maybe it would have been more realistic not to expect gratitude, but hope springs eternal.

You are moving her to AL because it's in her best interests for her to go there now. If she's got even a hint of dementia, she can't see the good of this, because long term planning is one of the first things to go. She's living in the "right now".

Seeing a therapist or counselor might be a good idea. You've got a lot of feelings on your plate right now, and talking to someone outside the situation might be helpful.
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Your posting shrieks resentment. You are not doing yourself any favors by dwelling on how much you dislike and resent her. She is a burden and you don't like it. What else could you do with the energy that you are expending on these feelings?
One possible way to deal with these feelings is to join a caregivers group or talk to your minister or find a therapist who would listen to you.
I suggest you look up the life expectancy tables for a female of your MIL's age in your state. She could live one, two, three, four, five or more years. She could fall and break major bones and you might have a much shortened life expectancy.
Here is an idea. Just repeat to yourself, I am grateful that she has help." . Feeling gratefull has the power to change your feelings.
Remember you are likely to be in the very same place she is in 30-50 Years.
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i prepared goat pizza for my MIL 30 yrs ago . it seemed like just something a crude hilljack would do at the time but now 30 yrs later shed be hardpressed to even accept a glass of water from me . maybe i was young and less than sober -- maybe i had the foresight of the pentagon . either way , she aint gonna be knocking on my door for any reason ..
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