Follow
Share

I am taking care of my 90 year old mom who has limited mobility and some dementia. I moved both of my parents into my home 5 years ago. My dad died last year and my mom's condition has worsened ever since. I have been on top of every aspect of their health care for years and they have had a mostly stress free life with me as their caregiver. My mom has developed some mild incontinence and tries to cover it up when she has an accident. I have asked her to just let me know so that I can help her get cleaned up rather than putting herself at risk trying to do it all herself. She interprets my impatience as anger at her incontinence which is not the case. She has always been timid and self deprecating - never good enough - always the one who is wrong. It has gotten much worse as she has aged and so if I do get upset with her she takes it very hard and tells me to put her way or put her out on the street. Truthfully I have done everything for my parents ever since I can remember. I am an only child and was taught to care for them and others by the example of how they cared for many of their own relatives. Today, however I am sad and feel guilty because my mom thinks I am angry at her and I think she has become anxious because of it. I feel as though I need to be more gentle and loving but it is not really who I am. I have always been different than her - more direct - honest and not as sweet as her. Help?

Find Care & Housing
Unite, my husband is doing quite well actually, thank you for asking! He is 2.5 weeks post op and I am surprised at how fast he’s recovering! The surgeon said it would be a long recovery. He’s no longer using a walker. He used a cane for a few days but I think he’s ditched it now. He’s been getting out of the house for an hour a day, for about 10 days now. He’s able to make the 30 minute drive to visit his dad who was just moved to a hospice facility. He can’t lift yet and does spend a lot of time laying down still but I am amazed he is so mobile!
(0)
Report

Can you afford a caregiver to come a few days a week and relieve you sometimes? If not, look into volunteers through Elder Services or nursing schools. Then you may be able to get out a little, and do things you enjoy.

I go for walks on nap times no matter what the weather. The exercise and the fresh air activates some endorphins and I always benefit.
Or engage in a good book, something to really get my mind away from caregiving.

My mom cried with every accident. She couldn't get over the shame.
All I did, and could do, is reassure her and tell her statistics...nearly every elder wears briefs and has accidents. It's just what happens as we age.
I repeated myself over and over and over. It got a little better, yet not much.

Is she wearing briefs with tabs? If not, maybe it's time. I also used reusable bed pads on her bed and her recliner so accidents were easy to clean up.

Burnout is rough. It sounds like you are doing the best you can.
Sincerely wish you all the best!
(0)
Report

Geeez, guilt just happens. Certainly happens to me. I think it is because we care and want to show compassion. No one is perfect. We are all imperfectly perfect! We do our best. Let’s be honest, caregiving is hard! I get it, taking care of my 93 year old mom that I think may live to be 100!
(1)
Report

WorriedinCali,. How is your husband and your caregiving life doing ? I'm in California to.
(0)
Report

It sounds like you may be burnt out. Do you get any respite care? Time to yourself? You should seriously look into it!

i completely understand the lack of patience! Being a caregiver is HARD. It takes a toll on you. I have no patience either. My husband had his 2nd back surgery on Wednesday and came home Thursday night in a LOT of pain & with limited mobility. It’s gonna be a long recovery too. He has to use a metal walker to get around. I do not mind taking care of him. I have to do most things for him and I enjoy doing it but my lack of patience is a real problem. Friday morning, I had to take the kids to school. We needed to be out the door by 8:10 because we had to stop to pick up my daughters Friday that I take to school. At 8:08am as I was putting on my shoes and the kids were yelling out that they were going to get in the car, my husband decides to move from the bedroom to his recliner. This meant I had to bring his pillow, water, Kleenex, pain meds and phone out to the living room for him. Arrange his pillows and blanket too. He also wanted his socks on, I heard him ask him my son to get them and when he did, I heard my husband, annoyed, asking him what he’s supposed to do with them! Ok my son is 7, he didn’t know he needed to put them on his dad! So I went and put them on him after I brought all his stuff out. And the whole time I was annoyed, wondering why he waited until now to move to the living room when he knew I had to leave to take the kids to school! I thought “why couldn’t you wait 20 more minutes till I got back?”. Of course I didn’t say anything to him, I just reminded myself that he’s in severe pain and can’t do much of anything for himself and didn’t know what time it was! Anyway when I find myself losing patience, I change my train of thought and walk away for a few minutes. It is really a mental struggle because I feel so guilty l! Like I said, I like taking care of him but my lack of patience is a problem. I hate having these thoughts. I don’t think he’s picked up on anything yet but he knows I am not patient.

Anyway please don’t beat yourself up!!! I hope things get better for you.
(2)
Report

My mom was the exact same way. She always refused to see a therapist but with her disease diagnosis a few years ago her regular doctor put her on Prozac. What a difference! I felt like I had my mom back and wished she had gotten help much earlier in life. I recommend that and maybe some part time caretaker help - often people respond better to care from an aide or nurse rather than the children. My mom used to tell me that she’s the mom and I’m the kid and shouldn’t be helping her with things like bathing or dressing.
(1)
Report

The old “count to three before you say something” might work here. Your mom may have been conditioned all her life that she wasn’t “good enough”. In a way, I was as well. My mom always wanted me to be successful—a nurse or a teacher. But I got lousy grades and had no desire to go to college. So ultimately I felt like I was a failure in her eyes. This can’t be undone. Now, I too am self-deprecating and non-confrontational.

If Mom hides her accidents and doesn’t get cleaned up, this can lead to infections. I know it’s not easy to be upbeat when you’re wiping someone up. When I clean my husband up, I share funny stories with him, talk about my day at work or even talk sports. Don’t say a word when you find she’s had an accident. Have her wear incontinence briefs (don’t call them diapers) and simply help her change. Say nothing about her accidents unless it’s to reassure her that it’s ok and happens to everyone, even yourself.

If you find that you are constantly coming across to her as irritated and impatient, see your own doctor. They may recommend some respite care for Mom or some therapy for you.
(1)
Report

Start a Discussion

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter