Trying to work part time, but running into mom's fear-based insanity.


I have been taking care of mom for @ 4 yrs now. This yr I decided that I want to do dog walking and pet sitting (very part time) -- like 2X a day during the week for about an hour TOPS. All the jobs are right around here so I am not far or gone long at all I decided to do this instead of being broke all my life not that it was a dream fantasy of mine but to earn a little cash while still being here for mom Well, according to mom I've abandoned her. Now when I go to the store for an hour or take a walk for an hour -- I'm not accused of abandoning her - but now she's acting like I'm leaving her all alone when I'm a mile down the road and coming back immediately. Yesterday, I was gone for an hour and the cable went out and mom thought the lights went out.), Is this separation anxiety?Or is it fear based selfishness? Mom told me "I didnt' know this would be full time". Yep, 5 hrs a week tops -- according to her is 'full time'. I know mom's not well and the PD is starting to affect her cognitive reasoning but the self centeredness of this is beyond the pale as far as I'm concerned. Any pointers out there from my fellow caregivers who have been or are in similiar situations?

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Kedwards460: good for you!
So many of the elders are self-centered, it is appalling. I remember my Mother telling me as a child to "always think of the other person first." Well, I was already that type of person, wanting to please and nurture, so reinforcing a positive positive creates a negative, I think!
Also, I discovered that the "other person" most likely was HER! What a life.
Anyway, we should all know and accept who our parents are by now, without expecting a different outcome or behavior from them, right?! (Insanity definition)
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. We are too nice:) xo

Thanks ChristineW and jeannegibbs. I have been working my very part time job for a month now and so far so good. Not a lot of $$ but it sure helps my sanity just getiting out for an hour. It breaks up the day. Mom has been ok although she grumbled the other day about not realizing this would be everyday and 'full time". (Remember 5 hrs a wk LOL is 'full time' to mom). We need to get someone from an agency in here a couple of times a week to help me get her to dr and other appts. Right now she wants to be in charge of that -- so it hasn't happened -- but it will when it has to. She has no other choice. I would love to ask her neurologist some questions but I would have to schedule an appt for when mom is not there. Guess that will happen at some point too. Thanks again everyone!

Fear-based insanity might also be paranoia as a part of dementia. Many people with PD do develop dementia and perhaps this is a signal that this is happening to Mom. (Not a certainty, but a possibility.)

But whatever label we give it, it is not good for you. Continue to do what you need/want to do. Be upbeat and matter of fact about it. "I didn't know this was going to be fulltime! Grrrr ..." "Yes, wasn't I lucky to find something like this for 5 days a week. Of course it is only an hour a day, but still I'm very glad to have it."

Cable went out. Most people know they can live without cable for an hour. People with beginning dementia might not be so sure. I truly do feel sorry for your mother. Self-centeredness goes with dementia and shouldn't be judged harshly. But that doesn't mean you have to cater to it. You must continue to carve out as much of a normal life for yourself as you can!

Keep a little notebook of the changes in your mother's behavior, so you can discuss them with the PD doctor at her next checkup.

Being alone and not being able to remember the situation can be very frightening for people who are beginning to lose their memories. A white board could help. Each time you leave her alone, write down "Dog walking. Back by 10:30" or "Shopping. Back at 4:00" and perhaps have your cell phone number written on the bottom of the board.

Also it may be a comfort -- a genuine help -- for her to have a medical alert button. Knowing she can press it in an emergency might make her less fearful. And if she considers a cable outage an emergency, the alert company staff will calm her down and deal with it.

It sounds like mother's condition is deteriorating. You are facing new challenges. If she is developing dementia the time may come when she cannot be left alone. The solution then is not for you to stay at her side 24/7, but to have someone else stay with her while you are out. What you are doing now, establishing that you also have a life to live, is good preparation for that, in my opinion.

Her doctor my have additional suggestions, based on your observations of her behavior.

Keep us informed of how this is going for you.

Kedwards, it sounds enjoyable to just get out for a walk with the dogs. To make money doing it sounds even better. Your mother has what sounds like the tunnel vision where she can only see herself. For some elderly people, the caregiver becomes just an extension of them to control. Does your mother have dementia with the Parkinson's? If not, I would take a lot more and longer walks with the dogs and by yourself, too. Your mother should be fine. Sometimes when our parents don't see the boundary between them and us, we have to see it for them, even if it makes us feel like bad children when we do it. (I still wonder how my mother can make me feel like a bad kid at 60 years of age!)

Do you inhabit a body? Then you have a life to live. The more you let her push your buttons, the more resentment will build within. Your feelings and what you need are equally important in the scheme of things, she just isn't there anymore. Two year olds have the same belly button focus, remember? It is the circle of life. It's annoying, but stay focused on your own well-being. Maybe a visit during the week from church ministry or friends might help, but I doubt it. She wants you and only you. Bet you never knew you were indispensable. However, you still need to do something for you, so try to deal with it matter-of-factly and Ignore the manipulation. Enjoy your walks!

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