Follow
Share

My mom has gotten into the nasty habit of what seems like helplessness by not taking care of minor issues, such as making a phone call to her apartment manager to request a minor repair. She complains about the problem bitterly because it hasn't been repaired. I've stopped jumping in to take care of these small items because when I have she wants and does direct the whole operation down to the smallest detail and critically I might add.. So, obviously she could have handled it on her own. Besides finding this aggrevating and wasting time, it seem like a control issue or attention seeking behavior. I'm not being mean when she complains but know she is capable of handling this. So what is going on here?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
My mother started taking advantage of me and my husband's kind heartedness in helping her. It got to a point where she would rely on us for everything, even the things she could do for herself. I finally decided I was not going to be used anymore and had to convince my husband to stop being manipulated by my overly needy mother. I did not appreciate my mother referring to my husband as her personal handy man. My mother is the type who will latch onto anyone who offers their services to help her especially if she can get it for free. Then expects this help on a continually basis. She has managed to distant a lot of people who used to help her, including me. Her needy expectations has left her with few people willing to help her. My sister is the only one left willing to be used by her. Her behavior has forced me to do only what I feel like doing for her, when I want. I feel so sad and guilty about what little substance I have in my relationship with my mother.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

And my mom would use "what?" to give her more time to think of an answer (all my life) and also so that the speaker would spend more time with her ... attention. Sometimes it is a fine line between all of this ... and also a combination of these among other factors.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I agree with whoever said trouble hearing is an issue with dementia. It's hard to tell the difference. My mother has had trouble hearing for many years which I think has accelerated her dementia.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

To think about calling for repairs requires thinking in a step by step process.
"If I call the manager, they call the maintenance and I have to be here and show them where it's broken, etc. and then I will have a functioning faucet". This is not possible anymore. Instead, they look at the broken thing and want it fixed. Reasoning out how things are accomplished involves other people and requires thinking in sequence, a process. Most comprehension of how to contribute to a process is lost. Most of the things someone learned how to do are forgotten. Sadly, it seems a person is reduced to wanting something done, but not knowing how. Understanding that you have things to do or that they are causing a problem does not even occur to them. It seems their survival skills take over and it's down to the basics. This is easier to deal with if you know why they have become so selfish, having never been that way before.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

To: Maria050205: When my mother broke her back she was placed in short-term care. At that time I was planning to send her to a smaller AL with a smaller staff to ratio patient care. Then, mom began saying that she liked the Skilled Care Nursing/Rehab and is now there long-term. There is a place in Davis that is $1,000 less called Courtyard, but we are all so pleased with my mother's Skilled Care Nursing at the Vacaville Rehab/Conv. we all think this is the best fit for her at this time. The staff is very friendly and accomodating to her various needs. You might call them and see if they have an opening for long-term Please keep us updated--I know what you are going through--have been there.
In regards to your q: "are we responsible for our elders?" Our family goes by what the Bible says and there is much to be said about honoring our parents and caring for them. There are blessings when we obey God and His commands and curses when we don't. Better to live a restful joyful life (though difficult) than not, and instead live a life filled with regret. It has taken awhile and my mother still has days where she struggles, but on a good day I think she will agree that this is the best scenario for her, her family loves her, and her well-being and safety are of utmost concern. May God be part of your decision making process and bless it!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thanks so much for sharing me your thoughts, sumlerc.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Maria050205, everyone has their opinion but as we are walking this path together we may venture off in various directions, ones that will hopefully get us to our destination in tack. In other words, if you're making a decion that helps both you and your Mom, give yourself credit for taking care of the both of you!
I think sometimes people use the term care giving in a singular fashion, meaning that one must do the hands on, day to day care giving, for those that this type of care giving works for them, that's wonderful. For those of us who opt to think outside of the box, that's awesome as long as the care is given.
My parents prepared for health and life insurance and even their burial prefreneces with POA's, DNR's and a Will. What they didn't prepare for was the time in between their independent health and the end of life. That's where I came in, it wasn't easy but I realized early that I could not have my mom live with me with her controlling, negative, unhappy self and Dad's stroke left him wheel chair bound, incontinet, along with his my way or the highway mind frame. So with me being the closest family in a 300 mi range, the others went on with their lives and I found myself loosing myself.
Thankfully Mom saw the need to be where she could get help and she requested to be in NH care with my Dad. She is there but she also took her personality with her, I love my parents dearly but their personalities are too stressful for me so I am happy with them where they are. I hope that you can find the same peace of mind in your care giving journey.
Check with your city's care on aging, Social Workers or just do a google search for Long Term NH care facilites in your area. When you find them, visit at random times and go with your gut.
Best wishes to you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

After reading the statements in here, i feel the same that we are all in the same shoes and scenario. I am a loving and caring child, but i want to know how far is too far in this very strenous situation? Are we really responsible for our elders? What about our own life and health? Should we not take care of it as well? So give me your opinion on this query of mine and i will appreciate it. I am planning to place mom in a nursing facility for long term however most of the facility seems accepting short term only. Anyone who knows long term care specifically in California? Thanks you
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

We all have the same scenario. I am even planning to place mom in a nursing facility coz i can't no longer cope up with her changing personality despite the adjustments i am doin just to understand and be patient with her. I just want to know if we children are responsible for our aging elders despite that we also have our own life and health to take care of. Please help me with your opinion on my query. I appreciate it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My mom also has a sense of entitlement and also was spoiled by my Dad. Family members were "in the know" that when Dad died Mom would expect others to do for her as well (like ordering in a restaurant). I do not do things for her that I know she can do for herself (or has done for herself). I recognize that the trauma of grieving (my Dad has been gone only a year) magnifies the memory loss so sometimes (if I see she is genuinely having a memory loss day) I will accommodate and help out but not do 100% for her. I have, with her permission, taken over the management of her medications as she, for one year, has been forgetting to take them and yet when my Dad was alive she diligently took them and made sure he took his as well. So things changed and I accept that. With that being said, and being her daughter my whole life, I know when it is victim play and when she truthfully cannot remember to do things. It is that fine line that I can see in her eyes LOL. So I try not to play the game as Eddie stated. It is in the elder's best interest to maintain some semblance of independence and freedom and I won't take that away from my Mom while being aware that some days or times of the day she just cannot do some things that she did yesterday but may be able to do tomorrow. It is all about awareness. Eddie: the fish story was a good one for all of us to remember and practice. Thanks.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

GG:

Sometimes they become accustomed to being served. It's not uncommon to feel like royalty when everyone around you behaves like a lackey forever catering to their whims.

Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime. My point is that unless they're completely and genuinely helpless, get a stool and tell them to get off the high horse. ... And get ready for the whining and victim roleplay.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I appreciate your input and being a divorced mom I truly understand your story comparison. I have emailed my brother 8 times in 8 months, he tells my mom I don't "communicate" (my sister at least backs me up) and what I do say he does not like. I do see what you are saying. The last email I sent was to encourage mom to eat, eat, eat and that email got blown out of proportion. I understand there are some people that cannot accept someone is withering away. Guess I saw the problem more than others cared to see it.
I was frustrated because I provide food and get no pat on the back but I see what you are saying. I am trying to help my mom move forward and gain weight to prevent going to a nursing home and my brother says my mom can do whatever she wants. I agree she can and rightfully so and my agenda is to save her life. Perhaps she does not want it saved as with my Dad's death a year ago, she wants to join him (and has wanted to for this past year). it is difficult doing the day to day caregiving while far away people "seemingly" undo what I am trying to do: have a healthy mom. I was being careful not to identify a diagnosis that I am not qualified to do and also agree with you in that regard as well. Others who have diagnosed family or friends have warned me not to use terms that are "professional" you know what I mean?
I know my brother means well. The agreement was that he is actively involved with her finances and I am actively involved with her day to day and he has drawn strong boundaries that NO ONE gets into his space and yet I feel as though he is in mine and truthfully undermining what I am trying to do: save mom's life. But not everyone has that goal in mind. I know it is ultimately mom's decision to follow doc's advice and if she chooses to wither more and go to a nursing home that's her choice. I do know with memory loss that she has forgotten to take her meds, so she has given me permission to manage those for her. I feel as though I have respected my brother's boundaries and not interfered his involvement and yet he has overstepped into my area. His favorite line is: "too many cooks in the kitchen" and yet he won't stay out of the kitchen I am working in. It's just difficult to continue to grieve the loss of my dad and see my mom wither away every day and feel so utterly helpless. When I do ask for sibling help, i get that I am out of line and being too bossy. All I ask for is support ... guess some people can't give it the way I need it. Thank God for counseling and kind souls like you that can paint the picture a little differently. Thank you, Peg
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Peg, just because your mother doesn't have a diagnosis doesn't mean she doesn't have dementia. Dementia involves more than memory loss; it can include loss of good judgment, and loss of reasoning ability.

But whether she has some cognitive decline or not, let me play devil's advocate here a minute.

You provide food and are helping her with a doctor-ordered effort to gain weight. You are certainly not neglectful of her nutrional needs. But one night while you are gone she gets hungry -- whether for food or for attention, we don't know. So she calls her son (whom she probably misses, since he lives so far away). She tells him she is hungry. Son creatively solves that problem by ordering a meal to be delivered and telling her what she has to do (pay for it). Son is happy because he gets to do something for his mom even though he is geographically remote, Mom is happy because she is getting a meal, attention, and evidence of love. Daughter is unhappy because ... ?? Hmm, could there be a power issue here?

Divorced parents know the difficulties of custodial/non custodial relationships. The parent the kids live with has to take them to the dentist and make them do their homework and insist they brush their teeth, etc. etc. The one who they visit with 3 days a month takes them to the zoo and the circus and the video arcade. Sigh. It's not fair, but it is understandable. Peg, you are like the custodian parent in this situation. Your brother has the more glamorous role here.

And like many non-custodial parents, Brother may be longing for a more active role in the important aspects of his mother's life. Instead of seeing him as "interfering," could you try including him in your care of Mom? Send him an email update each week of what is going on? Ask for his input when questions arise about her care? Informing him of what the doctors say?

I'm just playing devil's advocate. Maybe your brother really is a devil. But maybe he could be a good ally. If anything here strikes a chord, give it some thought. If not, no harm done. Just disregard it.

Best wishes to you as you continue to take good care of your sometimes difficult mother.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mom (with whom I live), with memory loss (no diagnosis) asks ME to do something then "forgets" or uses excuses and calls my brother over 1500 miles away to do it for her...one night HE ordered dinner from a local (to my mom) restaurant, told her to get money and meet the guy at the door, and viola dinner was delivered. I was not home that night (I go to school) and although I contribute food to the house every month, HE was her "hero" and I was the one who deserts her everyday ... mmm ... yeah, power and control for sure right? Even now I am making sure she gains weight (per her doc's orders) and have interference from miles away. Power and control ... guess those people don't outgrow it ... such is their personality and not mine! I agree that this site is great for seeing "we are not alone" and this is incredible to hold one another up during this difficult time. Peg
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Yup, lrock, dementia is very, very odd!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You know my Mom has dementia and would rather I take care of everything. I have never heard of a person with dementia picking and chosing what to do, how odd.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

When I read what Hopeful2011 had to write, this could have been written by me. My mom is exactly the same. This is why it is so hard to put them in an ALF, because one day they are normal and the next day is scary. I lost patience with her at times and then felt so bad, so now every day I pray that God will give me patience and understanding with her this day. I know God answers prayer, because I have been more patient, understanding and loving.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

WOW This question is great. I love this website. My mom and I go round and round. We do talk (when she's all there) and she explained that it is very hard to admit that she can not do simple things she has always done. It is also hard to have her child now take care of her. When she is "all there" she is very controlling, arrogent and insulting. She claims it is because she knows her abilities are slipping away. Anyway, that is my mom's perspective. Just thought I'd share it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you for all of your insightful responses. We are both making adjustments and I am learning more patience, tolerance, and acceptance that this is a disease process. I'm planning on attending a community education class next month that discusses how to communicate and care for a loved one with dementia.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Hopeful2011 says it best when learning patience is critical. Having never had kids of my own, I never had the experience of setting boundries, answering repeated questions, so on and so-forth. Sometimes I feel like a bully when I put my foot down, but it's something I have to do.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

My mother-in-law was always fiercely independent and shrewd in handling her finances and assets. When she began to show signs of dementia, and as that dementia progressed, we quietly had all of her mail diverted to our address so that we could monitor it, pay her bills and make sure she wasn't being victimized. The issue became her checking account, and our insisting that she not have checks to access it, lest she fall prey to those who would victimize her. She would go to the bank branch at her sr. living facility and order more checks printed, we would commandeer those checks, and the cycle continued until I asked the bank to ignore her orders for reprints. Despite that, she would have snits, and one day I told her that I was happy to continue taking care of her business but that it was not a 'job-sharing' proposition. If she wanted to take it on, she would potentially forget to pay her rent, and could be put to the curb, but we would not intervene in that event. OR we could continue to keep her obligations covered and she would not have to worry. That seemed to be the last of it. We always made sure that she had 'walkin' around' money for small purchases, but soon that became less important as her dementia progressed.
We knew that the issue was one of control, dignity and the loss thereof, and always acknowledged that with her, but we had to confront with her the realities and continue to reassure her that we were trustworthy stewards. Mainly we were concerned that she not become an elderly statistic who was trapped by a predator like we know exists.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

OMG I could have written this post myself! Jesh...most everything seems chalked up to dementia. Dementia seems to have a life of it's own...like living on the moon who knows whats going on up there. Well, once again I love this website because we are able to see that we are not alone in this dementia state of living.
Dementia, we come in peace, yearning for understanding and tolerance.
Please note: I in no way am making fun of such a serious issue, the unknown can be very frightening and cause stress. The more we know the more we grow, I am learning everyday and I appreciate everyone's words of wisdom, support and community hugs.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

My mother has a hearing problem along with her dementia. Perhaps that might be part of the problem as well. Some moments she is lucid and can seem to handle things that come her way; and the next moment she is confused and can barely function. I'm learning patience, and to accept each moment as it comes. I again appreciate this site where we can communciate with one another and know we are not alone in this.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

It is a control and independence issue. Like not being able to drive again.. They know they have health issues, but still want to be important and a source of strength to the children, or seen as such. Imagine you having an illness that prevented you from driving daily...you would have to have help from your children, however, at the same time, you would not want to give up the parental feelings you have toward them. They are still you parents no matter what, and it is so difficult for them to start letting to and allowing or needing you do do what they normally would do.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I think it is because (at least in my mom's case) they are struggling to maintain sometype of control. My mom knows that she can't handle a majority of things, but she gets very upset if not consulted about everything even if she doesn't have any clue.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

My Mom without dementia does they same thing. She's "too tired" to make the needed phone calls, but then I seem to do everything wrong.

She'll also ask my opinion about something and then get furious when I disagree with her. What did she ask me for?

I know some of this is because she has a lot of back pain and is just lashing out, but it sure makes being around her difficult.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My guess is some control issues, some attention seeking, and lots of dementia-related disability. Wanting to be the boss seems understandable enough (even if it is not reasonable under the circumstances). Not being willing (or able?) to take the initiative with a phone call, hmmm ... don't know why that would be but I'll bet that it is related to the dementia.

With dementia we have to remember that our loved ones' brains are not working correctly. Not absolutely everything is screwed up, but bits and pieces are, When we see some parts working as they always have or working in what we consider normal ways, it is hard to accept that other parts are broken. If she can do this, why can't she do that? The answer, often, is simply "because she has dementia."
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.