My 83-year-old mother is "my shadow." How do I get her to stop following me?

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My husband and I live with my 83-year-old mother, who has a lot of health problems. If I leave her sight around the house, she finds me and asks what I'm doing. My husband and I can't go to our bedroom to watch TV because it upsets her that we aren't in the den with her. Where she sit on the loveseat, she can see every move we make. We can't even go out the doors because the doors are near her loveseat. Mother and I take a nap every day and every day she asks me if I'm going to lay down and take a nap. About eight o'clock at night, she starts asking me if I'm ready to go to bed. She wants us to go to bed about 9:00, but my husband and I will on purpose stay up until 10:00. She'll finally head off to bed. She goes everywhere with us and I have to help her wherever we go because she can't see well and her balance is bad. We can't get away from her until we go to bed at night. Then, I have to set my alarm to get up at 8:00 or she wakes me up if I'm not up. This is a prison for my husband and me. How do I get her to stop following me all day long?

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Top Answer
The obvious question for me would be, why are you living with her? I realize she has vision problems, but can she not live in an asst living place? The other thing I was thinking of, was when my son was little. He, like your mother would be under my feet all day long. I would have to give him something else to occupy his time in order to let me get my housework done. You've had enough children to remember what that was like I bet. If she's hasn't got mental problems, then why can you not set some boundaries? Lay down some rules that you all can live with, as to when bedtimes are and for who, times when you WANT privacy with your hubby, etc. Surely she remembers what that was like to have children under her feet all day, and no privacy with your dad. Maybe it's time she takes a trip down memory lane about those things in order to 'get it' when it comes to what you're going through. Good luck.
You mentioned that your mother has many health issues. Is Alzheimer's one of them? I have to say that "shadowing" is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer's or other dementia related illnesses.

To your mother YOU are security. I sincerely believe that in their eyes, when they are uncertain about what to do, they look to 'us' for security. Try reassuring your mother when it comes to her insecurities. Don't do thing just to irritate her, that would be unkind. There were times when my darling and I would pretend to go to bed, just so Mom would settle down for the evening.

Make her feel more secure, give her something meaningful to do and you may find that she is more at ease. Perhaps even a nightly routine may help. Ask her to help change the bedding, or fold laundry to help occupy her time while you and hubbie relax.

I do hope this helps.
Shadowing is sypmtom of Alzehiemer's sundowners syndrome.
We are in the process of making our little room off limits to her. The old care taker, my nephew, had done that, but we thought it was mean, well he was right and now we are reaffirming that the extra bedroom is OUR space.
She still will knock on the door for a lot of silly reasons. Some things I think she does on purpose just to get me back out in her area, like screw up the TV channels.
Personally, I think both actions are mean. If she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's then you need to rethink what you are doing. Making any area off limits has the potential to make matters MUCH worse.

Please talk to someone about the 'symptoms' of Alzheimer's and how to deal with each of them or do some research on SHADOWING or sundowning syndrome.

They are not purposely trying to things "on purpose" to aggravate you. They truly do not remember. I often heard family members say "I think Mom is just 'faking it'. But if you spend enough time with her, you would realize that she is geniunely confused. But if you are not familiar with what Alzheimer's can do to the mind, you might misunderstand their actions.

Please be kind.

Thank you for your comments. I've learned something new about "shadowing." I was just using that term because I feel like she is my shadow. I didn't know it had anything to do with alzheimer's or dementia. Mother does have dementia, but don't think it is alzheimer's. My step-dad had alz and his symptoms were different. Knowing it is part of the dementia, is so helpful. Thanks. :)
How do I take care of mom who has many health problems and my step-dad too who does not want to go into asst. livivng. Step-dad is able to help around the house but doesn't want to. He works part-time and expects all housework, cooking, dishes laundry to be my job, plus caring for mom. Neither one can hear well-especially mom.
MiaMadre - I have to disagree with you comment about not making some areas off limits. My mother has Alz and lives with me. She is not allowed to come into my bedroom unless she knocks first and is invited in. It took a little while for her to understand this, but now that she does it isn't an issue. Everyone needs some space to themselves. If I didn't have this little bit of privacy, I don't know what I would do.
Julie... I do agree with you. However, it is HOW we do this that makes all the difference in the world. Banning someone, or putting a PLEASE KNOCK sign on the door can make all the difference in the world.

Of course we all need our space, but it can quickly change from 'needing my space' to "STAY OUT of my space" which can cause agitation and escalate into combative behavior within seconds.

Any 'wisdom' I share is in an effort to help others. I lost my mother on May 7th and really shouldn't be 'here' at all, but my heart tells me to help others that may not know just how confusing Alzheimer's or any dementia can be to US! God bless.
If you are looking for something to keep your mother occupied, rolling coins is a good job.

A little to the left for me and I'm glad my mom doesn't live with me, but if she did, I wish she would still be able to "shadow" me. If my mom could still get around easily I'd be on cloud nine.

But then again she doesn't live with me and I still do understand what you are saying.

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