Is it a normal part of the aging process to feel completely helpless and vulnerable, even when you're not?

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There is a real loss of self reliance & independance, but some of it can be an act also.
Some folks think they are clever & want to play the poor me card.
I hope this isn't the case for you, but my mother has been sucking the life out of me for 15 yrs. and plays the helpless waif on a regular basis.....beware.
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I agree with castoff, but my mother has been helpless and self-centered for as long as I can remember. I believe basic character and personality traits are amplified as they become elderly. I have met 90 year old women who were independent, cared about other people besides themselves, or asked how other people were doing once in a while, but I am not related to one. Just remember: however they were before, they get worse.
Some people like the attention they get by appearing to be poor, helpless little creatures (my mother).....some people ARE helpless but will argue till h*** freezes over about how capable they are (mother-in-law). I take your question to mean that you have a loved one who is "putting" on an act? Only you can tell what is really going on with them if you see them on a daily their routine, see how they interact with things you ask them to do, see how they take care of themselves, i.e. ability to bathe, eat, etc. I take care of mil.....and I see a daily decline in the things she can do....she has dementia and is losing the ability to take care of personal hygiene, has problems dialing a phone, has a memory retention span of about 5 min. and on and on and on. My husband often says "this person is not my mother". He tells me stories of growing up and I have known her for 10 yrs and see the difference in her mental status. And as Christina says..however they were before, they get worse.
Leslee-Inasmuch as you are refering to a person with dementia/alzheimer's I would somewhat agree that it is normal-As there are many changes that will take place in their behavior, and I would suggest you prepare yourself of these posibilities, as I have personally gone thru this. For all you know, the person in need is crying out for help! It may be a good idea to be in contact with your local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association-for their input as well, or phone them at ther helpline--(800-272-3900)...Knowledge is power!

Hap: thank you again for your statement. I watched my independent (loving) mother's confusion grow and all the 'trying times' we had with brothers who thought she was just being honery (in her old age). It was nothing of the sort. A pleasant positive person slowly changed to someone who HAD to have her own way, from being a God loving person,to someone who cursed and swore. None of this was easy to watch or experience. But I learned something from it all. I learned that what we see should not be all we value that person to be. They are the sum of all parts, and on this Christmas Eve, I wish nothing more than to think happy thoughts of happier days with a mother that I will always love.

Find it in your heart to forgive for one day you too may need forgiveness. God bless us all!
Mia & Leslee--I watched my Mom go from a very sociable person-to almost a shell-For me it was very difficult to observe this, and I was not prepared-for the changes I observed- It was from the Alzheimer's Association-visits, and support meetings, I gradually came around. She was in a facility, and as she got worse-she required more and more care. Thus I realize the importance of sharing my experiences and knowledge with others. There presently is NO CURE for AD...but the next best thing we can do is to become knowledgeable of the many twist and turns that may lie ahed.
And with all this said-try to have somewhat of a pleasant Christmas-as you owe it to yourself.
Is it a normal part of aging to feel vulnerable & completely helpless, interesting question.

I think one can feel this way at any age of our life, maybe more enhanced as we get older. Even very independent people can feel vulnerable at times.

I think fear is behind it and when it is overwhelming... we do nothing.

I remember my father, talking about all of his friends passing away or being sick, listening to him made me feel... he was thinking perhaps he would be next.

If someone lives alone, I think these feelings are more prominent, even though they may have visitors... they are alone.

I feel the social life in centers are a necessity and help with the loneliness and helpless feelings.

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