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She is 77-year-old, her health is good other than COPD which is well managed with oxygen, etc. There is no dementia. She wants to be waited on--totally. Her main activity is napping and watching soap operas. There surely is depression going on--but she refuses to participate in anthing that will make it better. Actually she refuses to participate in anything and is very resentful if I participate in anything. She claims to be "sick", or says '"I "m dieing". My last visit to my sons was a disaster. (He is out of state--so I go for a week long visit about three times a year.)She tormented my husband who remained home to care for her--and when I spoke with her own the phone she would crie and sweaer she was dieng, etc etc. She is becoming so weak from just sitting in a recliner or laying in the bed that she has developed a stooped appearance when she does walk. This is awfully difficult for us.My husband is in very poor health, and needs alot of care, I am disabled from a birth defect in my spine that has left me with a nerve dystrophy and limited mobility. I just got out of the hospital today from a "cardiac event" that is about 100% stress. Can anyonme please share a thought on what to do with a parent who has decided to quit participating in life? (This is causing some huge problems in my home--not just our health--but our marriage is suffering, our kids are begging to really resent their grandmother, etc. It feels like she wants the nursing home care (someone to see to her every need) without going to a nursing home. Her selfishness is killing me. please help.

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Wow. You are in a really tough situation. My dad is 80, with Alzheimers. He has a few days in a row like that, but then he comes out of it. I try to take him with me wherever I go, to let him socialize, and experience the weather, pet dogs, whatever. Can you try unplugging the television? Or recording the programs to be watched at another time so she can have some social time during the day? I don't want to offend, but maybe a nursing home is the best place for her. It sounds like she's holding you hostage. You can't afford to let this situation get any worse, you have your own health and family to take care of, also. I will pray for you and your family.
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I'd say it's time to move your mom to assisted living - be prepared for drama, crying and guilt trips but it's necessary to retain what's left of your and your husbands health, emotional well being and physical capabilities.
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Some times there is nothing you can do my Mom is 91 and thinks she has all the answers meanwhile her comments hurt us all she is as mean as she can be -I do not let her know how she is hurting me just as I did while growing up she is only getting worse and I know now is not the time to try to change her so all of us ignor her digs and do the best we can-she is losing out because no one wants to be around her but we all are in agreement to not let her make us upset -she no longer brings me to tears she lost her power over me finally which makes me feel worthwhile she uses her lack of hearing for her benefit but as I said she has lost her power over me finally as I am 70 that is fantasic for me-I am a slow learner I guess but accept what is the truth she never really liked me but that is ok because my strength and refuge is God.
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At 77, I am assuming your mother has medicare. I would suggest you have a mental evaluation done on your mother--At least have the depression addressed. I strongly believe it is time for your mother to be seen by a professional. At this point, an objective party may be better equipped to help your mother appreciate life again. Do not give her the option as to whether or not she wants to go. Set the appointment and take her.
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Everytime Mom says "I am dying," I correct her and say, "No, you just have a plugged up nose from hay fever. You have problems breathing so it feels like you are dying." If people have trouble breathing, then it is hard on heart feeling pressure ,choking sensation, perhaps partial blacking out, disappearing into head to try to overcome sensations.

Not being able to relieve their symptoms or to have them understand them so they are aware of what is really going on is one of the most stressful times spent caregiving. Compassion fatigue, especially with the person you see neverending. If you came across a stranger in a restaurant, you'd probably be involved and very compassionate, calling 911, staying with the person until the ambulance leaves.

With a relative so close to all the time, it's "I dare you to die, here, i'll call an ambulance for you...that'll show you."

I'm writing a book about fighting for mercy for our elders, and I couldn't get away with writing about those cruel medical professionals hiding behind their impunity and badge of expertise. Nope. Mercy (who has been almost like a genie out of a bottle as soon as I started book) on my butt kicking me when I am a jerk as well. This sort of scene I write about. Getting on Mom's case at intimate times like this. Have to find ways to reframe what is going on, find a way to punish myself (like a dollar into a tip jar for every insult from me), After all, now I have all the authority in her life, just like position of clergy, perhaps more like jailer, power can be abused. Feel we have impunity because of our overwhelming efforts and sacrifices.

It is hard to sort out what is really going on. If this behavior of "wait on me" is lifelong habit, then has to stop. I still think Mom is responsible for her behavior and attitude. I have pretty good luck chewing mom out when she is snappy with the lovely respite caregiver.

Here is a possible strategy. When the mother is being overdemanding to the primary caregiver, then have someone ELSE come in an stop the mother. "I hear you talking to Jane in this way. Don't you realize how much she does for you? You must realize she cannot wait on you hand and foot. You woudn't like it either if the table were turned. I need to hear an honest admission about your behavior and attitude, and then an honest apology."

If this person is a stranger, the shock might even be greater.

Oh, the honest in depth admission about their behavior is more important than a whiny "I'm sorry." No always admission of behavior first, in detail. This is not one episode, but a string of moments and seconds where the subject has decided to act that way. They can change direction in a moment, and don't. Break it up into very tiny segments. Find similarities in behavior from fifteen minutes before, the day before, etc. See if you can get awareness of the Moment into their noggins. Good luck
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If your mother is truly clinically depressed then none of the above mind games will work.

If she's selfish, she will very likely go into a very dramatic rage.

To really know if she is clinically depressed or not she needs a full psychological and physiological evaluation.

Yes, you will have a life after she dies, but the question is given her present state of mind, the impact her state of being is having on everyone, your as well as your husband's health, the durability of your marriage and the dynamics of your children, what sort of life after she dies will you have.
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Hi MZ, I hope you don't take your Mom's TV away from her. That seems somewhat harsh, although I do agree w/ some of the other suggestions by AlzCargiver. If you want a bunch of good advice, you should go to this site's ""community discussions" and look up the recent activity from Willow. "I'm Worn Out and Feel A Meltdown Coming Soon." She's dealing with some of your issues, times 2!! She's received a lot of good advice that might help you as well!
Best of luck. Braida
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From what you say, it sounds as if, out of you, your Husband and your Mom, she is in the best physical condition. It is time to lay down the rules. Next time she insists she is dying, get her off the chair and insist you are going to take her to the ER, right then. After all, Mom, if you are dying, you do need a hospital. I am basically telling you to call her bluff. Then shut the TV, take the remote, start the car and wait. I know it sounds extreme but sometimes it takes extreme measures to jar someone back in to reality. You say she is healthy, maybe putting her in to a situation where a third party,like a doctor, tells her she is fine is what you need. You are in a very difficult situation, but time, being what it is, it is a good bet that you and your family will still have a life to live after your Mom has passed on. You need to decide what you want the quality of that life to be. Your Mom is not mean or selfish, she is clinically depressed. The depression manifests itself in the behavior she is exhibiting. There are medications that can and will significanlty improve her mood and behavior. You owe it to yourself, your family and your Mom to get her to a doctor and get the help that will make everyone's life livable again.
Good luck to you
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if there is more than one person involved, perhaps plan an intervention, a family meeting. Look at the Supernanny programs. Everyone in family on the same page, put sheets up where the mother can see them, charts, penalties for misbehaving, but that includes everyone. You could even film the meeting and show on TV when the mother starts acting up again.
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I have the same thing with my mother. If I don't do everything for her, she's wishing she was dead. So much stress when you are working hard to take care of her. I know she is depressed, but what can you do but try to help her.
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I went through the exact thing for the last 3 plus years. I almost lost my sanity. Long story short, my mom is now in a skilled nursing facility, & even though I am running to see her several times a week, I feel like I have my life back. I took care of my mom for her entire life, & at age 54 it's time for my husband & new grandson. I will pray that you gain the courage to find a nursing home for her because she is robbing you & your family of your lives. You did your best for your mother, now it's time for you.
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We have my father (81) lives with us 60% of the time and after 2 years we realized we had ended up cooking and serving (on a tray to his recliner) all his food (he takes home cooked meals for when he is not at our place). He did however at least get his own cereal for breakfast. One winter morning my wife offered to make him raisin toast and this almost became another institution. She decided one morning to get him back to cereal by highlighting she had bought his favorite brand and some fresh bananas - well that morning he didn't eat in protest of no toast delivered to his chair so we decided to make a stand - no more toast and he can decide whether he eats or not. And it worked! He has responded positively and is generally a bit more helpful. I have many other examples too long to list here, but my experience is that aging loved ones take what you offer, turn it into an expectation, and then look for more. Your family must come first or things will fall apart for you & then your mother anyway! My advice is to gently but systematically make her more responsible for her own care where she physically can and put her in her place and get her to help. She is a member of the household and must contribute, even if it is minimally. It takes planning & determination but the result is sanity. In this way your family survives - and I think she will too. Giving aging parents what they want or what you think they want has no ceiling. Create a ceiling you can live with. Hope this helps.
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Hi everyone! Glad to be back to my online family of fellow caregivers. My mom is the exact opposite. She wants to pretend she's full of life and wants her hands in all activities at home. Until she drops from exhaustion, and then that's when she wants to be waited on and asks for many things to be given to her -- water, food, turn on the fan cuz it's hot, turn on the TV... the list is endless. I really like it when she's just sleeping all day long, I can do many house chores or take a long bath without hearing another order from her. In fact, if she can be a comatose for years I would probably appreciate it. I can travel for few days and not bother hiring a caregiver for her cuz I can't afford the fee in the first place. When I come back, she's still asleep. It happened already a year ago, and I know I love it when she's just sleeping.
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I am also recieving the same treatment from my father. He started out the same way as your mother. He is now 61 barely 100 pounds unable to walk due to muscle withering away due to lack of use. We tried everything to keep him active but he just refused. Dont give up because right now she can feed, wash, and take care of herself if she can still walk dont let it get where I am. But also keep in mind what COPD does they use 10 times as many calories as us just with breathing. They spend alot of thier time concentrating on controlling thier breathing and trying to get breath. To maintaine health they require a calorie rich diet that is health and should exercise as long as they can. I wish you all the best. My father is on 6 liters of oxygen, takes breathing treatments every 4 hours, and at the Severe Severe level with his COPD. It took him 15 years to get to that point. But if he had tried it would have taken longer. Good luck. Keep informed about COPD and talk to your doctor.
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You need to gently put your foot down, make sure she is not having a medical issue like clinical depression, and tell her she needs to look after herself some and make an effort, and then make it so this is necessary. Don't wait on her hand and foot, try to find a spark of life there and hold on to it and expand it somehow. Good Luck, this sounds like ti will be an uphill battle literally. It sounds like she has simply or not so simply given up on life.
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She wants nursing home care from two adults who are not healthy themselves? Ok, then start making plans to get her into a good nursing home. Now she'll have to realize that even in a nursing home, no one is going to wait on her hand and foot.

My mother complains about PT not doing anything for her, but the rest of the story is that she will not meet them half way with any effort and then almost has to be begged to participate which is self-fish.
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I don't agree with most of the other responses. For one thing, comparing a 77 year old lady with COPD and needing oxygen to a lazy teenager is misguided, to say the least.

But I wonder what kind of participation you are expecting. Mow the lawn, bake a cake? Presumably, your mother is a couple of decades older than you. And looking at the way you describe the physical health of yourself and your husband, is it that much of a stretch to suspect that maybe your mother has serious limitations as well?

Bottom line however, IMO, is can you even IMAGINE a way that she could behave that would please you? And if yes, is there any possible way to get there from here?
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Yep know that one myself...my mom started crying WOLF a couple of years ago when she was fine and able bodied at 84. Now she is 86 and is a lot weaker and still does the same thing...it's a matter of CONTROL with the Narcissists, they will not willingly give it up..it keeps them alive. My mother calls my name in a sickly sing song manner and pounds the floor with her cane....it's like a horror movie. She can move around by herself if she wants too, but insists she needs help. You have to stand up for yourself and make them do much more. My mother likes to just lie in bed or the couch and watch JUST the food channel...which is making me hate that channel. Make them do what things they can do or you will be running after every little thing they can think of. My mother was the same way never wanted me to go anywhere...and she succeeded in that FOR 12 YEARS!
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Oops, I see now that you say she won't participate in treatment for depression. Does she listen to her doc at all if she/he were to try to insist on treatment? If not, there's not a whole lot available to do, is there, except to take care of yourself, as others have said. And really, that's all that's truly within the control of any of us--to take care of ourselves. G'luck.
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Is your mom being treated for depression? An antidepressant might help. Some of what your mother is doing does seem to be within her choosing, but maybe not all of it is. I don't know, not being there. Just a thought that she might be clinically depressed and be able to be helped.
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I really don't have much to add to what naheaton and ed have already said, except three things. !. What a shame to read story after story on this site of moms who trained their daughters to feel like they had to be their enabling slaves later in life! 2. mzgrits, the insights you have into this are supurb. and shows you have not been envolped by F.O.G., i.e. Fear, Obligation and Guilt. 3. I'm not a therapist, but often in dealing with a mother like yours with these sorts of boudnary issues, I recommend a therapist strongly for yourself and your husband.
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When I got THIS message into my noggin, i realized my boundaries of what I was willing to do. At some point, her condition is MEDICALLY impossible for you to HANDLE. In this case, your own strength and abilities. For instance, I was not medically able to handle Mom's nasal congestion. The post nasal drip, the not being able to hear well, the slight headaches. I was with her all the time trying stuff or writing notes. something this simple totally almost destroyed ME. So time consuming. So are you at a breaking point. Make her earn her food, give her chores to do. Cancel cable TV, take it away until she shapes up. have tv only for good behavior. Do some Super Nanny stuff with her. Tell her "your behavior is unacceptable, stop it now." and walk away. turn off tv and take away remote. Say you expect an apology and an admission of her behavior...not just a simple "I'm sorry" than has revenge attached. you know when sincere. The reload and repeat. I don't stand for stuff like that. But she does not do it often
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MZ~I like the reply from Ed, as he says it as it is. I agree there is a lot of drama going on-and you have become an enabler, as your Mom most likely can do more for herself. Knowing all this..It is time to put the relationship with you and your husband FIRST..Can you speak with someone from an aging council out your way-in addition to here in this forum? You surely sound burned out-If you want to read more on caregiver's burnout there is much on the web. One last thought is to bring her to her PCP-and you confront her with your delimna and see what happens--you have nothing much to loose and everything to gain.
Best of luck!
Hap
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My mother also lives with my family, but I made her understand that the moment she put her needs before my sons and husbands it would be time for her to go. I have 9 brothers and sisters who all have forgotten their mother even exists most of the time, so she knows I am her only option. She goes out of her way to try and be helpful, since she has dementia she can't do much, but she goes to a senior center while I am at work and we have a schedule that i keep her on(important) that makes her feel secure and cared for but also allows me time with my husband and sons(after Mom is in bed). It's not easy but it works. Good luck
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MZ:

As long as you remain her willing slave, there's no incentive for her to get off her keyster and help herself. Make her an offer she can't refuse, and mean it: either pitch in or pitch herself out to assisted living or somewhere else where she can drive someone else nuts. ... Stop being a doormat and start respecting yourself again.

-- ED
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It's time to put your husband first like he should have been in the first place. There is a reason that God said to 'leave your father and mother and cleave to each other' when you get married. Move mom out or set some healthy boundaries and lay down some rules. What would you do with a lazy teenager living at home? You'd make them get up and move out or do something productive. Sorry about your mother, but she's made the choice to make your life miserable in what time she has left on earth. Question is, will there be anything left of your sanity, marriage and children when she finally does die?
Time to take back control, enough of this nonsense. Take your husband away for a few days and put your heads together as to what to do with mom. A few days alone won't kill her right?
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