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i am a only child she is so difficult to take care of. i've prayed for patience with her but she drives me crazy. any advise?

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To soverytired-I needed to hear every single word you said. You described how I feel better than I can even try to do. I, too, am an only child. So as you know there's no one to split my mom's care with. I'm going to print your answer and keep it in my journal. Thank you so much for sharing!
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Snowboardwoman, do try to just accept the reality of your own limitations physically and emotionally as hard as that is for that is nothing to feel guilty about. For example, babies are for younger people to have and raise because they have the physical and emotional energy and health to do so.

We just don't know what our limitations are going to be as we get older. Both my dad and my step-dad are 89, but their limitations are not the same and that at no fault of their own. While earlier lifestyle impacts some for sure, I think a lot of it is genetic. I hope you are able to be more self sufficient at 93 if you live that long. I hope that I don't end up in a wheel chair like my step-dad but am able to walk around like my dad if I live to be 89. However, I would like to have more of my mind like my step-dad does compared to my dad.

Also, feeling resentful of her attitudes at 93 helps neither one of you. So, try to let go of the resentment. My step-sister who is 59 just lost her mother last May at age 81. She has come to face the fact the she does tend to have a critical outlook and mouth like her mom's, but she's told us that she now wants to change that.So far, she's made progress. That's been a wonderful change to see. I wish you well in your journey to be less dependent than your mother and to not have her negative attitudes that you listed above.

Take care, live with an attitude of gratitude, enjoy being alive, be less critical of yourself, be nice to others and be nice to yourself. Have a good day.
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cmagnum And country mouse, you both are very helpful. I suppose that most of the guilt is that I cannot physically and emotionally provide care in my home. Also, that i am resentful of her attitudes which is wrong at this age. If/when I am her age, I wish to be more self sufficient and able to contribute a small amount to a home. The previous advice to remember that mom is "childlike" is important, but hard to adjust to. Thank you.
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I think some of your stress in visiting comes from some anticipatory grief. She is 93 and probably doesn't have that many years left. Some of your stress probably comes from this guilt which like Countrymouse, I don't see what you have to feel guilty about. Do you have some overwhelming sense of responsibility or obligation that it should be you doing all of her caregiving? If so, where did that come from? Lighten up and let yourself off of this guilt hook.

She's being cared for and your list of reasons for her to be in a nursing home do justify her being there. I mean, she reached a point where assisted living no longer met her care needs and she is now somewhere that does.

Take care and do something nice for yourself today.
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Um. What exactly do you have to feel guilty about, Snowboardwoman? She's doing fine, isn't she? I expect the visits, from your own personal point of view, are extremely tedious when one gets down to the brass tacks of it - but you do it partly so that you can keep an eye, and partly so she knows you care. And that's good. Seriously, I'm not sure where your guilt's coming from - what do you think?
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My 93 year old mother lives in Vermont now that her husband has passed away. This was the plan since my brother and sister in Pennsylvania never had much time to visit or plan her medical visits, etc. She liked her assisted living home nearby, but the medical care was not adequate. So, now she lives in a nearby nursing home. I feel guilty that she is not living with me, but these are the reaosns that I "justify" the nursing home:
- She sleeps all day and satys up at night with aches and pains. We try to change all of this but it doesn't help
- I work almost full time. It is not time for me to retire yet financially.
- My mom is weak and sits in a chair all day. She has been like this for 10+ years. Therefore, she has become unable to do much for herself. She greatly depended on my poor step-father before he died.
- We live in a rural area where it would be difficult to have regular respite care.
- She is very fussy about details, how she looks, her surroundings.
- Last but not least, she talks almost non-stop, mostly about herself and her past.
I visit at least twice a week. Anymore feels stressful. I'm not sure why she stresses me out so much. She was a good mom for the most part, but not very independent. She tends to point out people's faults. Just this past week, she had to spend the night due to bad weather. We were both up all night with her moaning and uncomfortable. When the sun rose, she fell asleep in the chair!
I guess I'm just venting. Not sure how to move forward with having a good relationship and to stop feeling guilty!
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Soverytired wrote ...Also, although I don't advise threatening with a NH, she probably should start at the very least,
I wasn't threatening but it is a fact. I told my elderly parent that I can't do anymore. I' done. If anything else is needed, placement is necessary.
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I know soverytired what you are saying. I do get some relief every 6 months but the sibling has been so mean to me through the years and my parents think this one never does anything wrong that even thought I don't have to stay all night with them while he is home I am on call and have had days where he went places and I had to do all the work.I am too tired and burn out to do anything while he is home and it is very stressful. I have to also take my dad to the dr while the sibling is in for it is too hard by my self. I have had to buy a handy cap van mostly out of my pocket just to tansport him.My parents paid some I pray for patience and strengh just to do this. Seems like I can never do enought. I think sometimes I just feel sorry for myself because I know people who have it harder. I am so thankful for the internet for this is my only way to even know what is going on in the world. I would bring in outside help but my parents are standoffish so I would have to be there when help was there so why do that. I guess every family is the same there is one who carrys the load. I know my brother can't quit his job nor would he do this full time and come in and do this for he has bills where he is and he does feel bad that I am carrying this but he has always been mean to me and I will allways never be good enought I think that is what hurts the most. When this is over I don't know if we will ever keep in touch I am not too good to carry this and do this work but I feel I am too good for others to take advanage of. I don't want to be resentful and only want the best and the nurseing home wouldn't be it just seems like there is sometimes no hope. My dad won't try to do anything to get stronger I try to be by myself every change I get. I won't even go to the store unless I have to for I just am so burnout and tired I won't go in public I am not vain but when I look in the mirror I don't even know myself anymore. I will be lost when this is over for I love them and wish these last part could be easier and not so stressful. So I guess we just do the best we can and help each other throught it. Take care caregivers.
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annecurrey, actually sometimes I think sibling resentment is a wonderful deflector. We can't take it out on the old person but my sisters need to watch out for my ire! I have sometimes thought that being an only child would be better because I cannot get my out of state sisters out of denial about our mother's condition and I definitely have more resentment towards them as they treat me as though I am exaggerating, they judge me, I cannot vent to them or they will say hurtful things to me AND repeat it to my mother, needlessly hurting her....and I haven't been able to even get every 6 months out of them. Most recently, my oldest sister has refused to participate in family mediation. So it's interesting to me to hear from an only child. Not only does moonbeam have no one else to turn to (as some siblings ARE able to support each other, albeit not yours and mine!), she has to hold all her frustrations inside because she can't take them out on her mom. But you are right, it is a situation that is ripe for resentment because there is a lot of sacrifice involved and moonbeam should not feel guilty about the resentment she is feeling which is quite natural. Maybe throwing pots and pans at the wall of her basement would help! Also, although I don't advise threatening with a NH, she probably should start at the very least, planting seeds for moving her mom because it takes a long, long, long long time. I wish I started 10 years ago.
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If the elderly start resisting your efforts, remind them that there is always the nursiing home.
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I'm not sure that eldercare resentment stems from childhood issues unless there was blatant abuse and in my case, there was not.
My resentment comes from the fact that I have a sibling who does zilch and "stops by" when she wants and I am stuck.
Most people I know who get stuck caring for mom/fathers resent giving up their own lives.
My grandmother was stuck with her own mother when great-grandmom was pushing 90. I was a kid then but I remember the resentment she had in giving up her own life. My mother's cousin put his own mother in a nursing home because he said that he saw too many people give up great years to take care of their elderly parents and he would just have become bitter toward his mother.
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I am a caregiver to my parents and it is the most stressful thing I have ever did. I know about the resentment as I have given up everything to keep them at home out of the nursing home. I have one sibling who is a few states away that comes in every 6 months or so for a week or 2 but I am so tired when they get here I still don't go anywhere or do anything as I am too tired or burn out plus I still have to stay close for it seems like my dad goes down some. My dad broke a hip 3 years ago and won't try on his own to get stronger so I have to stay close 24 hours a day. I live really close and and it is best for my husband and them for everyone tostay at own place . I have given up my life totally for this and there are times I resent no help and I pray for patience as seems like I loss mine more and feel so bad. I have a garden and I have the internet which I think are saving me. I guess what I resent the most that when this is over I will be lost and everything is to be divided down the middle and me doing everything while others go on and have a life. I do not do what I do for the assets but the sibing has alway been not so kind to me. I can't bring anyone in to help due to that I would have to stay there when they are there and why waste the money so I try and carry this by myself. I have worked nurseing homes and I know they would not be happy there and would not get the care they need so I just do the best I can. Good luck to all the caregivers out there for it will be the hardest thing you may ever do.
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Sovery: Well said and such useful advice
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There is a little bit of crazy-making in a lot of mother daughter relationships. As both a mother and a daughter, I think it is the same gender parent/child that we relate with in many ways, we seek the approval of and then we have a tendency to view things as criticisms because we are in approval-seeking mode. I am not in any way saying you are not stressed or she is not wearing your patience thin because my mom is difficult, too. This becomes more complex when you throw in aging and your mom being dependent on you. I know that my mother is very critical of me and not at all responsive to suggestions I make to help her. She just doesn't want to be in a dependent role at all so she resists me over the silliest things. Because I'm doing so much for her and want her approval, it hurts that she reacts with anger or irritation when I'm just trying to help. For example, the other day, I suggested to her that she bring a particular issue up to her doctor. All I said was that would be a good question for your doctor. Next thing I know, she's fighting with me . Another thing that happens is ordering me around. No pleases, no thank you's, just one thing after another - I think this comes from feeling powerless. If this sounds like the kinds of things that go on in your communications with your mother, here are some things that help me: 1) Make a little space. Take about a week where you have less interaction with her. If she's living with you, just keep conversations short and pleasant, don't attempt to "mother" her over small things. If she's not living with you, then call/visit a little less often and keep the interactions shorter - still pleasant, but shorter. 2) If it's really bad and she almost seems abusive to you, then sometimes it works for me if I kneel down next to my mom, look her in the eye as you would a small child, and gently say Mom, why are you snapping at me? I'm only trying to help you. The eye contact seems to make her realize what she is doing. Another strategy is to use concern. My mom has had a couple of UTI's which made her real mean. UTI's can have dementia like symptoms. Now that she has been through that, when she is really mean to me, I say Mom, you seem so angry, you don't think you have another UTI, do you? 3) Think of how powerless she must feel. Try to see her actions as coming from her own fears of feeling helpless and anticipating death and not as actions against you. This is hard but if there are times when it was easier for you to see her feelings of being powerless and afraid, think of those times. For me, when my mom is hospitalized, it is easier for me to see how vulnerable she is feeling. So sometimes when she is acting out, I will picture how scared she was the last time she was sick and this helps to kick start my empathy during a stressful time. 4) Examine your own resentment and where it is coming from. If something from your childhood is being triggered, research it, talk to a therapist about it or talk to your friends about it. Vent it to somebody safe. Venting to relatives is sometimes not safe because they knew your mom when she was someone completely different and they don't know the stress of caregiving so they might just make you feel worse - like you are not being the perfectly patient caregiver. Your mom is likely past the point where you can get any resolution for childhood issues so don't expect it from her - go look for it someplace else where it is safe 5) Don't expect that it's going to be an "even" relationship at this point - that there's going to be giving on both sides, because it's just not possible anymore. It's like having an infant in many respects, it's all about them. I have to remind myself that she is in a life stage where it is not reasonable to expect that she is going to provide emotional support for me. I picture her as a baby or a small child. Sometimes this makes me cry that I have already lost my mother, but it does help to temper the resentment. Good luck to you.
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I have found that support groups don't help much. I went to a few and found that I much rather use the time doing something for me instead of talking about my mother and listening to others problems. Sorry, there's more to life than that. Hence, I'm not a fan of supoort groups outside of getting their lists of resouces.
I pay sombody every Saturday to sit with mom and head to the beach, the hairdressers, nails, bookstores etc.
If / when it becomes too bad, I will start looking into nursing home placement.
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MB:

In your post "How Do You Have Patience ..." I provided a few tips you could follow to alleviate the situation. Your resentment -- which festers over time -- probably stems from feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place; and there's no one to help you. Try looking for caregiver support groups in your area. You need to vent girl, or that resentment will continue to escalate to the point you'll do something deeply regrettable. Seek help now.

-- ED
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