My elderly mother makes me feel guilty. What do I do?

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I don't drop everything and come over everytime she calls for a problem.

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Vicky, yes: you and your two brothers together should research more manageable options for your mother, including Assisted Living facilities, and help her to find one she likes. Clearly she is not coping well in her old home and will benefit from the support and adapted environment of an ALF.

But I think the difficulties you are experiencing are not only to do with your mother's needs. This is why I think that.

Your mother asked you on Thursday if you could visit her on Saturday to help her, and you for very good reasons told her no, you wouldn't be able to. On Thursday she seemed to understand and accept that. You sensibly went ahead and spent time with your husband on standard domestic routines.

When you then spoke to her on Sunday she told you she had waited for you - picture her sitting gazing at the door, waiting for the bell to ring, violins in the background - not only on the Saturday which you had discussed, but also on the day before and the day after, which nobody had mentioned.

I am very sorry that your mother went through such a sad and lonely experience. But only somebody who is already emotionally vulnerable could possibly feel herself blameworthy for it. How could you *possibly* have known that your mother would have this irrational reaction to the conversation you had with her on Thursday?

Moreover, why have you not questioned whether your mother's description of her weekend is accurate? It can't be, can it. She called your brother on the Saturday, and presumably he did drop in and make sure she was okay. Which she was, or he would have called you. You weren't in purdah, just busy.

So your mother did not sit alone in the house for those three days. You did not fail to attend an agreed appointment. There is nothing to blame yourself for.

Therefore: if you are feeling guilty about this, you are not feeling guilty about anything you have actually done. And, importantly, your guilt is not related to anything your mother has said or done, either, because what she "accuses" you of makes no objective sense.

What you are is quite naturally anxious and sad about your mother's current living arrangements and *her* state of mind: her loneliness, her vulnerability, her distorted sense of reality. So those are the things to work on; at the same time perhaps exploring how you yourself are feeling and how you can best protect your own mental health during the challenging times ahead.
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VickyO, your mom has created some of her problems and made them yours. Not fair. You are NOT obligated to personally solve her loneliness problem by being over there every time when she has pushed everyone else away. You are NOT responsible for her happiness - you are fretting over the fact that you cannot make her happy, but that is the reality. She is not happy about things happening to her at this stage of life, but you cannot change and did not cause those things.

On the plus side, it sounds like you have siblings who give a hoot, and a family meeting to talk honestly about what each of you can and can't realistically long term could be a huge help. If Mom expects one or more of you to be there immediately at her every request, she is expecting too much and yes, absolutely, assisted living might be very be very appropriate especially if she is resistant to having home health aides come in. You get to decide what you CAN do and sure, you should respect Mom's needs and preferences - but only as far as reasonably possible and no further. She is making bad decisions about her medications and possibly needs more guidance than you could give her or that she would accept, and why on earth she would keep cancelling eye appointments - either just afraid to hear bad news, or afraid of the trip there and not good at making transportation arrangements? Well, you can feel free to set up the next appointment, do not tell her 'til you come to pick her up for it. She could have glaucoma or some other condition that's treatable as long as it is not picked up too late.

It is sad, but it looks like it is also time to make sure paperwork like POAs and advance directives are in order. This can all be a very steep learning curve, and the adjustment to being the one in charge when that's what your parent truly needs, who used to BEING the one in charge can no longer do so, is emotionally hard as well. But she can't run the show anymore, if her way of running it is running YOU all into the ground.
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pittn7734 - you can do a couple things - admit to your caregiver that you feel helpless and afraid, and see if there are practical things you can do to feel more in control. Maybe you can have a Lifeline button where you can get other help in an emergency, so them you will not have to be always in fear that an emergency could be brewing that you could not do anything about. And if you have had anxiety issues lifelong, realize that is really a medical problem that can be treated medically. Some of our system are just wired a little off on that fine balance of sensing danger when it is real and not being on edge all the time.

Above all, just by writing this and wanting to void being overdemanding and consuming of a loving caregiver's time and energy, you are showing concern for them and not just yourself, and that's what this thread is all about. So many caregivees don;t have the capacity for empathy and concern any more due to dementia or just neve had enough of it to start with. You do though, and you could always talk with your caregiver about what things can wait for routine planned visits and get done when they have time, versus the kinds of things you should call in between times for. I have a feeling you will be able to work out some things, and might even find out that your caregiver does not find most of your needs a burden to them at all. Thank you for writing!
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Well, I am so glad I found this page I need support so bad. I was put on a guilt trip today by my mom..She asked me Thurs if I could come over sat and help her clean. I told her I couldn't make that commitment today. My husband is home fri, sat and sunday. We are down to one car. I called her friday and we didn't talk about sat so I assumed nothing was going to happen sat. So me and my husband went and did some shopping and hung out together. I called my mom sunday. She said she sat and waited friday, saturday and sunday for me, so she called my brother to come clean her kitchen saturday. I told her I will have someone drop me off at her house next week to clean and then my daughter can pick me up after. My dad passed away 4 years ago from cancer. My mother has always pushed away anyone that wanted to be her friend she don't want anyone in her house but me and my 2 brothers. So I feel obligated to be available anytime she gets lonesome. It puts me under a lot of pressure that I am responsible for her happiness. She needs new glasses and keeps cancelling her appointments that she has so she is living not being able to see very well at all. She has parkensons disease and does not take the pills like her dr prescribed. She says she thinks the dr. is wrong. She takes her anti depressents but, I have to remind her sometimes. She is incontinent and struggles with that. Should we offer her assisted living and encourage her to sell the house? I have another brother that goes over there and cleans. She gets angry because sometimes she don't hear from him. Well he has a wife that has stage 4 cancer and takes care of her. My other brother goes over and mows the lawn. I feel like my life is spinning out of control and all of this is adding to my own problems of depression. I have had the duty for many years of doing all the family dinners on holidays that is really making me tired. I have so much to do in my own house. If anything thank you for being here and letting me vent. I have nobody to talk to. If anyone has any ideas for me please, please let me know.
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That's what elderly mothers do. They have this sense of entitlement with their children, the old BS line; "I took care of you...."
What can you do? Nothing. You grow a thick skin and you learn to live with it. My mother has been torturing me with guilt all my life. You never get used to it. And mothers will never stop with the guilt trips, it's all they know. You have to talk yourself out of feeling guilty. It's the only thing you can do.
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i am seeking help from the other side as i am the sick one and dont want to be this burden after all she is everything but i am so alone and feel helpless and afraid all the time
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What kind of documents do you folks out there require on private care-givers coming into your house, those who you have hired NOT from a care-giving agency? I get references, letters of recommendation, but I haven't asked for copies of their CPR certification. Both of the caregivers have lied, so I'm going to start searching for more. Also, how do you search for your caregivers?
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Possibly, but I will say this: the day shift care-giver is the grandmother to the night shift care-giver. So, they both have given me "joking flack", become cool toward me, and say, "give me a break", meaning, are you kidding me, you won't go get this for your mother?" They love the big money they are getting from my mother, so they are keeping her queen bee in their eyes, which is good, but not to my demise. I hear you though. I'm just so tired of feeling rejected.
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You know, Stella, maybe the caregiver didn't come strutting into the house like you were the most terrible person. Maybe she just came in happy to have something she thought her client would like. Maybe her actions didn't have any judgment all about you. Possible? How did you "know" she thought you were horrible?

Is your sense of guilt possibly coloring what you see?
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My mom has always been a guilty trip layer. Now, she has two care-givers that come in, and I do the finances, pill box, taxes, etc. The other night she wanted a fast food cheeseburger and I was exhausted from getting her home from rehab and settled; I needed to go home, as my fibromyalgia was really acting up. I told her no, that I would get her a cheeseburger another time. Her caregiver came strutting into the house today with a cheeseburger, fries, etc., like I was the most horrible person alive for not getting the food for my mom. I felt guilty when I said no, but I asked myself, "Does she have other food in the house to eat, yes." So, there you have it. I can't win even with the care-givers.
I even put my armor on and sometimes I forget and let the fiery darts get to me.
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