Insanity of it all?


Hello friends. I spent last night in urgent care then transferred dad to ER after he fell tryig to carry in groceries. My dad is 94 and still drives. I see evidence of some cognitive issues that are typical given his age, in particular, bouts of rage. I add that he is a narcissist and that is not new. Everyone is wonderful except the one who shores him up. Nothing was broken and I have offered to grocery shop and often do though he declines at my offer. The man is out and about all day long - he used to be very active in work and so forth. He still maintains board positions and goes to those functions often. Often leaving me behind to care for my mom who is a dry drunk and recently recovering from a heart attack. She cannnot be left alone. Sadly, her dementia is robbing her of the capability to think rationally. She won't go out with me for tea or coffee or walks. Makes the dementia worse. I live with them both to care for them plus I work PRN. I am interviewing for a job out of this state - hoping I get it. I can't do this anymore by myself and my siblings do NOTHING to help even when I ask. Nobody has come to see them since mom's heart attack a few mos ago and it is pretty obvious. My dad then sends out guilt inducing e-mails to everyone which I do not agree with. While my father is an oft raging narcissist, I have compassion for him. He has always been in denial and vigorously defends my mom's alcoholism. He has slowed down on providing it to her. So while I was out at the ER last night, my mom did not want to go to the ER. I have a panic necklace for her. As I was taking dad from urgent care to the er, I called my mom to see if she was ok. She didn't answer. I texted my sister and asked her to call to see if mom was ok. She texted back that she got no answer. UGH. Once dad was secure, I drove home to retrieve his phone and charger as per his request and my mom was fine - but decided to take a shower on her own at 10pm. OMFG. So I picked up a few stray cleaning implements she left out and she starts yelling at me not to put them away. I lost my patiences and snapped back - said fine you put it away. I felt so defeated. In a house of insanity. I love my parents and take on so much compassion for them but it is draining me to never be thanked or treated like they really care in return. It would be nice. y time outs for myself are not enough. Any caregiver can relate to this I am betting. The level of care can be such that you need a lifetime to recover it would seem. We had a cleaning pair come in after mom had a heart attack but my dad cancelled it because it was expensive but it has more to do with my mom hating and b*tching she doesnt want anyone cleaning her house. So she does it and complains that we have to pitch in. I clean constantly even when the cleaning lady has been here and its my parents who crap it up. Anyways, we also have a useless sitter from an agency come in three times a week to sit with my mom. She uses a cane is not very mobile and it is supposed to be so my dad can go out and she would sit with my mom. But most days they wont wake up and refuse to set an alarm so the care taker shows up and they are not even up. My dad ends up sitting there stealing the attention from mom ad talking to the caregiver the entire time and does not end up leaving until the caregiver does - when I return home he decides to go out. There are no rules for them. My mom is contantly pulling out step ladders and climbing sh*t though she knows the risk. I wennt shopping this morning for them after a late night in the ER - made them a nice breakfast that I set out and the paper and pills. I walk in to the step ladder in the etry way and hats and mittens all over the floor. Same spot dad fell last night. I asked why the ladder is out and expressed that it has got to stop because I cant do more runs to the ER than i am. My mom screams at me of course because speaking nicely is out of the question. Says no one has gone to the er yet from the ladder. But I had to leave work for her heart attack and care for her without help. But I pick them both up whenever they fall in the house on flat ground. The logic escapes them both and I walk into the kitchen and my dad starts in on how great his freind the DOCTOR is for calling from Florida after his ER visit (they are friends) this morning. Not one HI THANKS FOR YOUR HELP LAST NIGHT - Thanks for breakfast. NOTHING. I cannot conceive of being so clueless when a person is smart. But narcissism is a devastating pattern to inflict on people.

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Yikes.....(wish we had an edit feature here!), I made a mistake in my first point. I DO THINK YOUR SIBS would be wrong in thinking that you owe care to your parents because you live with them. I have even read on this board where some sibs think the caretaking sib should PAY RENT to live in the parent's house while doing 24/7 caregiving. Unbelievable!

What a difficult life you have! I have some thoughts.
1. Your siblings may not step up to help, because they see you as getting free room and board. Now let me make it perfectly clear that I don't think that they would be wrong for thinking this way, but I've read on this board that sibs can feel this way about the live-in caretaker.
2. If your father is running stop signs, then you know he shouldn't be driving. What happened when you tried to stop his driving?
3. What did your therapist say about your living situation? I would have thought he/she would have encouraged you to get a plan about moving out, and to be more sure about it.
4. I know what you mean about being scared about getting older. I am so tired of my mother's complaints. I don't know why she thinks I want to hear constant complaining about her ailments (well, I do know that is because she's pretty much of a hermit and she gets very little socialization) OR about other elders' complaints. I feel that I'll have to go through this myself, so why do I have to go through it twice?

Please get out of Dodge. Let your siblings handle your parents. You've done your part (especially since you don't care about any inheritance). Even if you were concerned about inheritance, I'd still say move out and away and wash your hands of them.

Please do not be manipulated by guilt and fear. There is nothing as dangerous for you as that. You need to take the job, if you are asked and get out of this negative thinking that you can't make it on your own. There are plenty of older women who do not want to live alone and would be happy to have a roommate., if you cannot afford your own place right away.
Your parents can get paid health care workers who will have to deal with their dysfunction, you do not have to! Nothing in the parent child handbook does it say we owe them anything!
I care for my mother because she is my best friend. She is kind and smart and generous but there are still times hat I struggle with the task. The frustration is rational! The guilt is not.
If you get a job, make their care become a family problem to be solved by everyone. If you do not get out and try to create a healthy life, you will grow into a grouchy old person! Good luck!

My Mom is one of the sweetest people I know. This hasn't changed with age.

My dad was the opposite. But, I am certain that it was a big personality change brought on by actual physical damage being done to his brain from hydrocephalus.

Their elderly years does not pre-determine your own. Except in the case of actual physical damage....your future old age isn't destined to be old, mean, and nasty. It is what you make it.

My mother died in August, at age 96. She had dementia and mobility issues. She was a kind an loving woman who loved fun. She was polite. She accepted each of her 7 children as we are and never demanded we be something we weren't. She was well-liked by the staff at her nursing home. And in spite of her impairments, she was content.

I tell you this to make the point that not everyone ages the mean way your parents have. You don't have to fear that part of old age. To look only at your parents you may think that getting old is always dismal and filled with misery and meanness. That simply isn't true. Old people can be content in spite of impairments, and they can continue to be nice and to love and to show kindness.

Oh yes. The whole circus aged me, AND left me terrified of aging. Now that mom is gone, my old dread and despair made a U-turn. I now fixate on the prospect of my own sh*tty old age -- when the time comes. It takes great effort to fight my black cloud. I don't always succeed.

It doesn't help that most of my self-care went down the dumper when I got on the "Mom train" a few years ago. Now that things have leveled off, I keep saying I'm going to get my mojo back. But getting off my duff and making it happen is a whole different story. The "caregiving hangover" is a pitfall I did not expect.

Windy - thank you. I wondered if I was ousting at windmills and makind word salad. Glad you affirmed that it was concise.

I like the word you used- "untenable". Master's class!!

I think if I were elderly and felt badly I might consider taking myself out. I mean - for some, the pain may be that bad as can the depression. I can't speak for the. To hear this must be very difficult to bear witness to. Heart goes out to you.

Gosh - I cannot figure out if the NPD gets worse or less so w aging. Sad to watch in general.

I really cannot understand why the harder try to be kind and help them, the colder and meaner my father gets. It is almost surreal! Have you experienced this facet?

Watching this makes me fear aging. Anyone else??

Love reading your comments, Scared. You are a very good and concise writer. My NPD 80 year old mother is driving me cuckoo lately. Nothing but wanting to die, day in and day out. This dark time of year is a struggle for so many of us. I think the NPD's get worse as well. This too shall pass. Easier said than done I know. Sending you good wishes and hoping the new job pans out. Your situation sounds untenable. Please keep us posted. AC is great for 'talking' things out.

Jessie - I have hidden the ladders and she screams and rages and then her sidekick starts in, too. My siblings have told her to stop but she likes the attention or simply believes she can do it. My one sister visited over the summer and mom was trying to go up the stairs to the garage attic and my sister was pleading with her to stop and mom just snickered and laughed like a kid. My sister it into her. I hate the idea of being mad to the degree of snapping at her because I have too much compassion and guilt. I have no idea what goes on inside her head. I get glimpses of her. But the climbing thing is insane. She climbs the ladder in her closet. She fell one time a few yrs ago in her closet and guess who had to take her to the er after picking her up.

Honestly, sometimes I do not know what I have a right to do or not do. I don't know why but my dad went crazy when after my mom fell a few yrs ago, the in home PT removed these endless supply of rug throws that even I trip on. My dad lost his temper and was raging. No amount of logic worked. In fact he slipped and fell on one last week. He screams at us when he falls like it is our fault. Oye. The man is a rageaholic with no compassion for people unless it serves him. He can reign it in when he chooses to.

WHACK A MOLE - Holy cr*p I say that all the time. I guess life in general is like that - moreso in a caregivers red light alert district. Or like the little rascals wee wow cake. And there is no thanks. I don't expect it but it was expected of me as a kid and still is. I believe in being thankful and telling people that. I choose to be kind regardless of his behavior. Or hers.

I do work now PRN and it is good money during the warm months...not so much now. I used to volunteer a lot at our shelter but it is more service and frankly it depressed me as there has to be a break in that sort of intensity. Sometimes it ripped my heart out.

I want to go back south or out west and have looked for oppty's to do so but at my age it is hard. As some of you know, aging is a stigma relative to job searching. As a caregiver I can put any spin on what I do here and have been doing but truly, employers don't always see this as noteworthy. But I am trying and hence why I am grateful someone is calling for an interview Monday. I am not wild about Boston - but I can see the value in such a rich opportunity should they bestow that to me. The issue with FT work here is that I will have to drop everything to attend to the increase in their emergencies. I already have at my PRN job. If I have to leave work that day, I don't get paid. Ah well. So the interview opportunities have increased, but either the money or the YES WE WANT YOU has yet to happen. Hoping, though! I am afraid to start over but I suppose that is how life is, right? Always changing. I have not been great with change even when it is positive.

Little - I agree that I can slow down as needed to make a decision. The last 4 years have been indecisive and ended up with me staying put and working on m Masters. I do not have enough money to pick it up again this past quarter but I am studying for another certification right now.

I am not an RN - should have been because there seems to be a lot of work for that, but it's not my thing. I have so much awe for nurses. Takes a lot of strength of character.

I do not know what it is but my parents are acting as though I have done something again. My dad told me the mirror on his car is broken. Guess what the implication is? I said I have no idea what happened because I do not drive it. He, however, hits parked cars and goes through stop signs. I mean - tried to shut that down, too. Did not work.

I feel there is only so much I can do and as such, I have to throw myself a life preserver. I find the years slipping by and frankly it would be worth it if the relationships with them were enriching. But they could only be as enriching as they would allow. I wish they could see the beauty in life and how blessed they are. I wish they could tap into their spirituality and simply love without guilting their kids. I want to live my life while I can and there was room and desire to do so b helping them. I took on way too much and I thought it would make them happy. It's never enough and it has not made me a family favorite - and I have learned to not care about the siblings opinions too much - but lets face it - caretakers are not always so popular.

When I hear stories about people fighting over inheritance I cannot relate. I have never ever wanted any such penance. Nothing is owed me. No matter how poor I may be - I find it upsetting to even consider standing in line for the handout. I want nothing to do with that. To me it is so - I don't know - disturbing.

scaredtaker, there's always hope for tomorrow, even if it's just that tomorrow you'll be able to have a lighter mood :). I can be negative even in better circumstances and living here with Eeyore can send it into overdrive. I was just trying to relate how, beyond deeper emotions and desire to do right by everyone, there maybe practical matters that can make it hard to simply up and leave. Last week, I was ready to flee (3,000 miles back to where I came from), had a huge blow-out, said we need to look at homes, the brochures have arrived, and inspired a reality check in that maybe that isn't the answer either, yet. But, at least we have some more information.

You had the good sense to become an RN and must have excellent employment prospects regardless of age, location. This gives you options. Maybe talk to an eldercare management counselor, get some professional, in-person support to get the ball rolling at a speed you are comfortable with? See what the options are for them? Then, deciding the right thing may become clearer.

Things have lightened up this weekend for me, I think from coming to this site. I was in a closed loop with her (we're surrounded by people yet so isolated) which was making me say things that were true but pointless to try to communicate to her.

Jessie, I like the making the ladder disappear idea. I've found that making even small changes in the physical environment can make a big difference. Whack-a-mole, ain't it the truth? And the food thing, oh yeah. The problem is when she starts nagging me about things I would want to do anyway, like creative cooking, I become obstinate because I don't want to reinforce the nagging, trying to be vigilant with boundaries But, I'm going to try to just la la la with the nagging and do what we both want anyway. Crazy.

Scaredtaker, your post yesterday inspired me to get some exercise and read some stuff that inspires me, thanks. Hope today was better for you :)

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