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Besides my 2 adult daughters who have their own lives to live. there is no one to help at all. My mother has no family besides me and my kids. I am an only child. I love my mother, but I am at the end of my rope. When I dropped her off today at her house I was crying on the way home, begging God to either take my mother or to take me, because I cannot live this way anymore.

If I had a choice I would see my mother once or twice a week tops. I don't have a choice as she is very demanding and does live along and does have dementia and doesn't drive and is disabled (bilateral hip implants and walks with a cane). My mother feels it is my duty to care for her. I know that it is my responsibility to help her and to be with her as much as I can but it is emotionally killing me.

Because she has dementia she can't remember from one day to the next. She is very demanding. Just take today for instance. She likes to go to the movies every week. She hates most of the movies we go to, even when she picks them out. She refuses to wear her hearing aid so she complains at EVERY movie we go to that she can't hear it. When I say to her that it would help if she wore the hearing aid, she gets angry with me. After the movie we went to IHOP and in traditional complaining mode, she complained that the tea didn't taste right (the exact same brand she has) and that the ice cream was too hard and that the pancakes didn't have fruit in them (she didn't order fruit in them). Everytime we go out to eat she ALWAYS complains about EVERYTHING and says she "never wants to come back here" again. There are only 2 places out of about 30 that we go to and we don't like those places. Sorry.

While we were eating, I asked her about a letter she had received from an old friend of hers who has dementia also and lives in nursing home. She insists that this woman is dead (her husband died about a year ago but she is very much alive, just in a nursing home). My mother insisted again that she was dead. She said someone else had written the letter. I told her that she was alive and she got very angry at me. I said to her "hey mom, you keep saying she is dead and I tell you every time that she is alive. What do you want me to do next time you say she is dead." Idiot me expected her to say, "I want you to tell me the truth". Well, she didn't. Instead she said "I want you to stop arguing and disagreeing with me." Are you f-ing kidding me? She really wants me to not say anything to her when she says that her friend is dead and starts crying about her. Are you kidding me????

I am not allowed to see a movie without her. I am not allowed to go on vacation without her. Do I see movies without her? yes. However, "sneaking" away for vacation is so much harder.

I am forced to see her on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and alternate Sundays. I hired a caregiver on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and alternate Sundays. She does about 17 hours a week and I do about 17 hours a week. Yes, the caregiver has helped somewhat, but my mother is still driving me crazy. Her whole life revolves around me and she is emotionally strangling me to death. She has no problem if my kids want to do anything without her but pitches a fit if I dare to do something without her.

Growing up she was the same way with my dad. She would complain that he was exercising or taking a class at college when he retired because "he doesn't want to be with me." Yes, it sounds like deep emotional abandonment issues. I am not a heartless person. I feel so very sorry for my mother. She has been through hell and back but I cannot go on like this as I am being dragged down into the misery.

I hate being with her. There, I said it. I am a lousy excuse for a daughter. If I truly loved my mother I would want her to live with me, and I would want to be with her all day long every day. I would rather shoot myself than have her here more than she already is.

I guess if her attitude was a little more positive, it would be easier. But someone who refuses to wear a hearing aid and makes me repeat things twice. Someone who demands that I don't tell her that her friend is alive. Someone who demands that I spend time with her because she is "alone and lonely." I am ready to hang myself.

I have encouraged her to participate in senior related activities and she won't. I have begged her to contact her neighbors but she refuses as "if they wanted me they would knock on my door.

If I had a gun right now I am scared to think what I would do with it.

She is already on a ton of meds including an antidepressant and two memory meds. Every time I am with her, I feel my happiness draining. I am not allowed to disagree with her. Today she asked me when we had to pack to go home. We haven't gone anywhere! when I told her this, she started getting upset with me again. There is nothing I can do every to make this woman happy except to agree with her even when she is wrong.

PLEASE give me some advice. I am at the brink. Than

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Jessie and eqw have given you some excellent advice.

I suggest that you do a little reading about dementia and about how caregivers can more effectively deal with some of the behaviors. Your mother showed a lot of insight when she told you, "I want you to stop arguing and disagreeing with me." Generally dementia victims don't want or need "the truth." They need to be accepted and loved. And if you could convince them of "the truth," they wouldn't remember it tomorrow in any case.

I think it will be easier for you to not take this struggle personally if you realize that these things your mother does are very common among people with dementia. Her life-long personality also factors in here, of course, but she has a disease. She can't help many of the exasperating things she does. Joining a caregivers' support group can be a life saver! (I speak from experience.)

For many months my husband (age now 85, Lewy Body Dementia) repeatedly packed his bags to go home. He'd ask when the taxi was coming, or when our train left. We were home. This was early in his dementia and I hadn't learned enough about it yet to realize this was very, very common behavior. It drove me nuts. If possible, this is another topic not to argue about. "I don't think we can leave just yet, Mom. We are expecting our clothes to be delivered from the cleaners first. Let's play a hand of Merry Widow and have some ice cream now."

About the complaining ... I'm not dealing with that, so I'm guessing, but really, her world is NOT right. She can't remember. She can't drive. She can't control many things she used to take for granted. It is frightening to be alone, and yet being with someone doesn't make it all better. Maybe that is why the tea tastes funny and the ice cream is hard and there is no fruit in the pancake. She can't articulate well what is really wrong with her world so she picks on everything else in sight.

You say you have no choice. You have to see your mother more than the one or twice a week you'd prefer. That struck me as very strange. What is forcing you to do this? If you chose to see Mother every Tuesday and every other Sunday, who is to stop you? Will the law show up with a warrant for your arrest? Will a thunderbolt strike you when you step out onto the street? Will your mother have a gun trained on you when you next walk into her door? Maybe she'll complain her addled head off, but she does that all the time now, and you live through it. She pitches a fit if you so something without her. So? And how does she know what you have done without her?

I think it will help you immensely to
1) learn about dementia.
2) take control of your own life and actions. Realize that you don't "have to" do anything with regards to your mother, except see to it that she is safe and adequately cared for. Chose how much time you want to spend with her, and what you want to do with it. And your perception of the experience may change, as you learn more about the disease she has.

You are not a lousy excuse for a daughter. You are obviously a kind and dutiful woman who is in over her head dealing with a cruel, confusing, and devastating disease that is taking your mother away from you.

Best wishes to you are you struggle on this very heatbreaking journey you never signed up for. May it help to know that you are not alone, and that in fact the road is getting crowded.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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Hi Karen, I see so-o many issues here. One I would like to begin with is your Mom's inability to be contradicted. My experience with dementia shows these folks living in their own little world. I'm not sure if it is right or wrong, but I no longer correct my Mom. When she says she had lunch with someone who passed away 18 years ago, I ask how it went. And is there anything new. In her mind she had lunch with a dear friend. Why burst her bubble?

As far as the hearing aids go, can you bring them with you and just before the movie begins hand them to her. Tell her your friend/neighbor/co-worker saw the movie and said it was hard to hear it.

My cousin once said that as we age we become more of what we were/are. More pleasant or more cantankerous. I'd suggest that over the next few months, you bring the caregiver in more and more. Make arrangements ahead of time w/caregiver but don't mention it to Mom til the last minute. For example. Saturday evening call and tell Mom you have a terrible whatever (headache/stomach ache/flu) and you don't want her to get it. You were very lucky and called (caregiver) and she is free and will be there instead. End of discussion. "Mom I'm running to the bathroom, turning the phone off so you can rest -- bye)

Little by little try to gain more time for yourself. I sometimes use her illness to support my actions. If she doesn't remember from one day to the next, will she know if it is your turn to come or the caregivers turn? Are there any children's movies out? They may be easier for her to follow. How about one day a week in a respite center.

DO NOT feel guilty. Our parents have no insight into all of the "new fangled" facilities to help them. They have no concept of respite care, assisted living, at home care givers, etc. They out of hand reject help because they do not understand it. You will be of NO help to her or yourself if you are all worn out.

Good luck
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Reply to geewiz
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Oy, I am afraid that many of us are on little boats like yours, floating around wondering what to do. The key word that you wrote above is dementia. Dementia tends to annoy other people around the person, but is very frightening to the person herself. My mother has not been diagnosed -- she refuses to be tested -- but I'm sure she would be diagnosed with dementia if she were. She becomes very angry if I correct something she says. I think her anger is a self defense mechanism. If I am not wrong, then it must mean she is losing her mind. I know this has to be frightening when memory and orientation start to disappear.

I read an article once about validating a person's thinking that has dementia. In the case you mentioned, maybe saying the friend was still alive, that it was the husband who died, would help her redirect her thinking. It would have given her an "out" to explain why she thought her friend was dead. When my mother is wrong, my first impulse is to correct, but then I think about it not being about who's right or wrong. That really never matters. It is about helping her deal with the dementia that I know will become worse.

Taking care of elderly people is very difficult. Sometimes people have said to me that it must be like having children. I want to laugh and tell them that yeah, it is like having 150-lb children that wear huge diapers and you have to call 911 when they fall down. People who haven't been a elder care giver have no idea how hard it is to watch as our parents decline. For me, I am always trying to recreate the mother and father I knew. But I know these new people are the same ones, only older and meaner and mighty unhappy.

If you are on the brink, it may be a good time to take a break. Could the person that helps you take your mother extra hours for a couple of weeks so you can have some time for yourself? The care giver is just as important as the one cared for. Do what you need to do to make your life better and to get your blood pressure back to normal!

About the gun thing -- I've had visions of what I would do to myself, but they weren't serious. It is just a way of relieving frustrations. If you ever have serious thoughts, it is definitely time to get away.

About the complaining -- I have never figured out a way to make some older people stop complaining. My mother complains from the moment she gets up to the moment she goes to bed. I wish they would come up with something that would cure complaining.
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Reply to JessieBelle
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Who whoa whoa!!! slow down dear fellow caregiver. I'm an only child too. And I am sandwiched between my mom & my daughter. My mom has also Alzheimer's. egw07305 is very right. To keep your sanity, don't argue with your mom. Don't correct her every mistake. Unless the mistake is a matter of life or death, just let it be. Let her be in her own small world that existed in her memory long long time ago which you will never be able to visit as it happened perhaps even before u came into this world. So don't correct her, just say nice words, agree with her, proceed with whatever you're doing for her. Save whatever amount of energy & sanity you have. You will need it. Remember, you're not alone. I'm an only child just like you. I'm in my 40s now. It's alright to rant & vent. You come to a good website perfect for your emotional overload! Many of us here are on the brink of either killing ourselves or killing/shortening the lifespan of the ones we care about. My mom's Alz case is perhaps even longer than yours. She's almost 19 years in this degenerative disease and according to her she still wants to see my daughter graduate from the university! Ha-ha-ha ho - ho -ho boy oh boy that means another 8-10 years of waiting for the grim reaper to take her away! Smile.. I wanna add some silliness to our thankless situation. Hugs & kisses my fellow only child-caregiver.
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Reply to mhmarfil
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Darling, I love my mother too, as you do. I live with her, she needs care 24/7, she's physically frail (but doesn't agree she is), deaf as a post, early to mid-stage dementia - I can relate very well to the tedium and the frustration you describe.

Now, here are the big differences.

One: I volunteered for this. Nobody made me. My mother didn't ask - I suggested, she accepted. If - I can't imagine how, but if - it ever came to pass that I really couldn't cope with her care, I would feel under no obligation to continue.

Two: my mother, though a depressive and at times unbelievably negative and insecure, is a sweetheart. She irritates the bejesus out of me, sometimes, but it's not because she's demanding or unkind.

Now then. How is your mother able so successfully to pull this MASSIVE guilt trip on you? How is she able to "make" you spend one second more in her company than you willingly agree to? She may think it's your duty. What on earth makes you agree so wholeheartedly?!

STOP VOLUNTEERING!

I'm sorry your mother has had her lifetime of insecurity. But it's not your fault. It is therefore not your responsibility to try to correct it, even if you could (believe me, you can't). Are you still surprised that your father didn't want to spend all his leisure time with her? Sensible man, to keep his sanity through outside interests. Otherwise someone else might have been glad he didn't have a gun…

Do what you can do for your mother without losing your marbles. Cut back the hours you spend with her to a schedule you can cope with cheerfully, getting in more outside help as required. Take her to the cinema once a week, for example, and amuse yourself by betting internally on what she's going to dislike most this time. My daughter told me a joke about this (context being her other grandmother) - two elderly ladies are having lunch in a restaurant. Waiter goes over to them and says: "is anything all right?"

Your filial duty extends to ensuring her welfare. Nowhere in any good book does it say that this means you have to do the work, let alone most of the work, certainly let alone all the work. Make sure that no harm will come to her, and that's you done. Anything more is purely VOLUNTARY. You choose to do it, or you don't. It is not up to your mother to decide.

Your diary, similarly, is not in your mother's hands. It is yours to fill as you wish. Do so.

Your mother will complain bitterly. And? So? What will happen when she does? Nothing will happen, except more complaints. Hang up, or leave the room, whichever applies. Come back when you're good and ready. If you can't leave for safety reasons, then just don't listen - say "blah blah blah" or sing or whatever helps you ignore her.

Your mother is old, she needs your help; but it's time you took control of both of your lives. Her unhappiness is not your fault. Always, always remember that you cannot make a deeply unhappy person happy. If you continue to sacrifice your own welfare to this futile crusade, you are on a hiding to nothing.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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It's been an entire YEAR since I posted this. So much has changed. I put my mom in assisted living and it's the BEST thing I ever did. I have not abandoned her, and willingly take her meds over there and do her laundry (even though they could I still prefer to know her meds are correctly ordered and her laundry is not lost). I see her about 3 times a week. Does she still complain? Oh hell yeah. The only difference is that I am the one in control now. And I am a thousand percent happier now than I was a year ago.

To all of you who are financially able to have your parent in assisted living but are feeling guilty about it, and hating your life because of it; DO IT!! You won't regret it if you do, but you will regret it if you don't.
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Reply to karenp
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Karen, I didn't get the idea your mother was ungrateful. For myself, I know that on bad days I make my parents sound like dogs. Then the next day I wish I hadn't been so rough on them. I imagine that a lot of people on the group do that.

Something happened with my mother this evening that made me think of you. She told me that the BBQ ribs I had bought for lunch were too tough and she didn't like them. She said that she would have much rather had the chipped BBQ. I said, "But, Mom, the last time I bought the chipped BBQ you said you didn't like it and you would rather have the ribs." Of course, she denied saying that. Sometimes there is no winning.

I'm glad for this thread because it made the rib incident funny. I go through this with almost everything I buy or cook. My father would eat only sweets if he could and my mother would eat only fried chicken. Reminds me of getting young kids to eat what they should. (My father throws his away when he thinks no one is looking.)
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Reply to JessieBelle
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Karen,
Don't backtrack. Sounds like people are making you feel guilty. Don't cause we all have our moments, days, weeks, etc.. of feeling just as you are venting. And that is just that..venting..we are all doing the best we can in an unfamiliar situation. Yes, education is helpful but here on this blog where the real world exists helps the most. In the past nine months I am learning to deal with my mother's dementia that I didn't know existed until I moved close by.

I have been thousands of miles aways for many, many years from my mother and now thinking I would have some very special times with my mother in the years before she passes has warped into to something so very different. Which is what I am dealing with and how to prepare with the future without wanting to shoot myself and my sister who will not deal with reality.

Anyway hang in there, you are not alone, keep posting. Your feelings are valid.. but it is an education to understand if only to keep yourself sane.
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Reply to rw
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Well, as it turned out, the interruption was à propos. E.g. you type in: "Mother claims she "can't find" the TV schedule in the newspaper (not that surprising, given that she's looking at the business section)." Then you press Options.

Your objectivometer displays a) b) etc. options, e.g.:

a) check when the news is on, because you know that's what she wants to know, turn on the TV for her, swap her glasses over and check the subtitles are switched on;
b) turn to the correct page of the paper for her;
c) remind her that she knows very well how to find the TV schedule, and that you will come back when you've finished what you're doing to check she's had more luck;
d) fly into a screaming rage about endless trivial requests, smash the TV to pieces and storm out of the room.

Each option would carry a mark ranging from 0 (caring to the point of disabling your loved-one) to 10 (are you sure you should be doing this job?). The really clever bit, which shouldn't be impossible in our age of microcomputers and algorithms, is that the device would be preloaded with exhaustive, updateable detail about the cared-for person: age, sex, health conditions, mental health, lifestyle manner to which he/she is accustomed, good day/bad day, and so on.

Or you could swap it round. You type in: "mother claims she is made to feel such a burden." Then you press "Guilt."

a) You have suggested she might like to spend a little time with friends or family;
b) You have suggested getting some outside help;
c) You have suggested she consider ALF;
d) You have told her she is a burden.

And, again, you can check your 0-10 reading to see how appropriate the guilt you actually feel is.

You get the gist. Fortunately AC works almost as well. And there goes the beeper… Wonder how she's getting on with the TV schedule?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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I cared for my mother for four (hellish) years before she went in a NH in November 2012 and I was on the receiving end of constant screaming phone calls which make me unwell and shaky for 24 hours. I've threatened a number of times to change my phone number and yesterday I did it. What spurred me to take action? Last week driving locally I got a sort of hot flash and my vision went blurry for a few seconds. My mother has had strokes, her mother and sister both dropped dead with stroke so it frightened the life out of me. It was a wake up call.

The new number won't take effect for a couple of days and my mother was able to call me this afternoon, not nasty this time but she'd received a greeting card and someone stole it. People are always stealing her stuff {sigh}.

I met with the NH admin this morning and we decided on fibs. Come a time when she tries to call and gets "no longer in service" staff will tell her my phone's out of order. When I visit and she asks about it I'm going to say I rarely use it so I'm just using my cell now but there's no point in her having the number because I only turn it on when I want to call someone.

Of course I'll still visit, get her shopping, ensure she has all she needs and take care of her affairs but I'm finally free!! It hasn't quite sunk in yet!
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