My elderly mom has no social network and she's hurting my own social life.

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My Mom is 89 and in pretty good health. She lives about 5 minutes from me. I drive her everywhere she needs to go and help out with chores. Aside from becoming overwhelmed with another person's house and life, I notice that Mom leans on me not only for the above-mentioned duties but for her social life as well. As a result, my own social life has suffered. She constantly bemoans her life and her loneliness without my Dad. I almost feel like I'm called upon to be a surrogate spouse, which feels very weird and tiring. And, of course, there is the constant guilt--tripping. I'm so "lucky to have a car and have no job to go to." Therefore, naturally, I am free -- and obligated -- to be at Mom's beck and call. Limits are hard to set when the demands are ever-present and never-ending. I feel like I'm trying to rescue someone at sea and my arms are getting tired! Any and all suggestions would be much appreciated!

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I live with my 87 year old mom. She will show the same pictures of relatives (that I don't know and are long deceased) over & over. She has a wonderful family that love her but she refuses to accept that. I joined a car club (I have a muscle car) but can't go to overnight events - she can't be alone. If I attend one day events she forgets when I said I will be home and worries if I get home after 9:00 PM. Her memory is deteriorating to the point she is having difficulty conversing so a senior center probably won't help. The worst part is I am having to turn her into the DMV because she insists on driving! I wish she would let me drive her. She already thinks I hate her and that I am mean. I am lucky to have a sister living close by for emotional support for me and to take her out occasionally. Take any family help you can get! I looked for more support and found this sight. Since I also deal with depression and social anxiety (fear of going out of the house) I really have to push myself to get out. I also use Facebook and forums for my hobby to keep me connected with the outside world. Just so you know, your post helped me realize I am not alone. It is good to read about how other people cope and struggle with caring for an elderly parent.
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Avid reader. You said something that made me take notice. You said your mother was very narcissistic. My mother is a narcissist and refuses most social opportunities to the extreme. I have learned there is a personality disorder called schizoid personality disorder. With this disorder a personal just basically has no need for social interaction. They have very poor social skills. My mother I believe has this disorder. If I do not pick up the phone and call her, months and months will go by without a word from her.. She calls non one but believes everyone should call her. She will not and does not seem to need friends and she can disengage with family members at the drop of a hat without any remorse. All very odd personality characteristics. Maybe you mother has a little of the schizoid personality going on. Read up on it and see what you think.

I totally believe my mother has this disorder, along with a narcissistic disorder as well. Take care.
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Great, there is no one to delegate anything to. I am it. I am the chief cook and bottle washer. I am so tired of doing this I can't even express it. All I know is I am not only confined to the house, I am also confined in the house. I truly hate this and am at a loss as to how to change it. My mother goes to senior center during the day, but the bus or the workers are off more than she goes. When she finally goes and I get her off, I just am so burned I don't want to do anything but sit down by myself and breathe. I need a social life and I am not sure how this is going to happen, but I am so tired of this life now.
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irst, we do have to put ourselves first sometimes. What’s best for us, best for our own families and our own peace of mind must be a serious consideration. Sacrificing our sanity for the sake of caregiving is not the best choice. Delegate and find others to help if having too much of the caregiver burden is getting you down.

Second, know our own limitations. Caring for aging parents can become very time-consuming and emotionally wrenching as we watch our loved ones decline in health. Trying to bravely go it alone, taking in an ailing parent, or assuming other large, long term chores is not for everyone. It’s okay to say “no”. Every adult child is not the same and many are simply unable to do a good job of being a primary caregiver. Admitting this to ourselves is both healthy and necessary.

Third, forget trying for praise, appreciation or recognition of a caregiving job well done. The cognitive impairment may mean that he or she is unable to appreciate our efforts. It may mean behavior changes, such as suspicion, accusations and nasty outbursts in our aging parent when that sort of thing didn’t happen before. Do a good job for your own sake and because it’s right, not because you have to have your parent’s approval.

Fourth, we need to love ourselves for trying. Our efforts may not always succeed. We may feel doubt about what we’re doing. We may feel guilty that we get mad at an aging parent who is so difficult. But we keep trying to make life manageable, keep up their quality of life the best we can and go at it with sincere hearts. We need to tell ourselves that we are brave and valued from within for forging on in the face of difficulty. We need to appreciate our own efforts.

Finally, we need to take breaks. We get so lost in caregiving, directing others, managing our own jobs, families and problems, we forget how much time we’re putting in. We forget to stop. This is really important! To nurture our own bodies and soothe our own spirits is the very thing that gives us the strength to carry on and keep it up.

So, my friends with difficult aging parents, be very good to yourselves. Honor your own heartfelt work of helping aging parents, especially the most difficult ones. It takes a strong will to put up with the resistance difficult parents put up.

I have difficult people in my life, too. My Mom was mentally ill and the challenge to my strength and patience was there for years on end. Another family member refuses help and is a trying part of my life. We just keep going the best we can. We back off when it’s too much and go at it again when the emotional strength is there.

I think a client said it best: “We keep doing whatever we can to make their lives as good as we’re able, so when they’re gone, we’ll have no regrets”.

We are on this journey together. We can help each other along.






























All too often family members who provide care for a loved one burn out, and badly. The stresses, emotional, physical and financial take their toll on the best of us. I for one wish we would all be a little more proactive in planning for the care of our aging loved ones. How great would it be if we sat down as families, siblings and parents, to discuss “what’s next” and who might be responsible for what.





How much better we’d all be if families could talk together to plan ahead. Maybe our society will one day accept that we do get old, we do need help, and we have to plan for it and pay for it. Family caregivers are often overlooked, but we’re doing billions of dollars worth of care.




Keep up the great work!
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Yes 2tiredinfloria we seem just alike. In the same boat.
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I know exactly what you are feeling! I just posted here awhile ago myself. What do you do with someone who does not want help? It's fine for some to suggest that you don't do enough, and won't be "bothered" much longer. Yes we will all feel guilty when they are gone. Did we do enough? Did we make their lives any better? The sad fact is a lot of old people, do not want help. They don't want to make new friends or interact with anyone. My Mom like yours has made me into a surrogate spouse. At least you don't live with yours, I do! It's all about her, her needs, her wants. When I do something for her, she is never satisfied. If I buy her clothes, she never likes them. If I cook something, she says " I won't eat that crap!" I can't win, no matter what I do. I'm an only child, so I can't ask for help from siblings. I have been stuck with her for six years, and like my Father always said, " she can drive anyone to drink, and it's a short ride". She is a miserable old woman with no interests other than watching her soap operas. Even those she complains about because " they're always jumping in bed with each other". Just know, that you are not alone! Many of us are trapped like you.
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It sounds familiar. And can only get worse. SO set boundaries now. She sounds mentally with it. I'm going to try and date. But my mom lives here with me and she wants no one around me. She thinks I will be murdered and guys are all liers and cheats. So it will be hard just to get out of the house. So sit down with your mom and talk to her about what you need right now. Before she does not want to listen or cant understand u.
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Avid reader, your description of your mother sounds so like mine! Mom used to walk and golf. She talks endlessly about it but refuses to try either. Her eyesight is bad (degenerative Mac) and badly broke left shoulder/arm in 2010 in a drunken fall. (I found her on the floor 2days later). She complains daily about these disabilities and I try to encourage her to at least try to do things but she refuses. She refused in hom physical therapy which has hindered her arm & shoulder mobility also. My counselor and I talk every session about my "Damned if I do, Damned if I Don't" life with mom. Accepting that helps me cope. I'm constantly working on those boundaries also. It's "One day at a Time" in this house with mom and that's the best I can do. Even that is a struggle, but like you, I do enjoy this site. Just knowing there are others out there that listen, understand, share and care means so much! Best to you, try to make each day a good one for you! xx
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Wow, these were really great responses. Thank you all so much. I have offered to take Mom to the Senior Center, but she refuses. I could try to "trick" her, but she would probably throw a tantrum! Someone asked if she had hobbies. She used to have hobbies like needlepoint, knitting, making miniatures, but she no longer has good enough eyesight to do them. She does read large-print books, but she's not as avid a reader as I am. Mostly she watches T.V., and this often makes her even more unhappy, which is understandable! I guess the main problem is that she has no friends. She lives in a lovely townhome, but she doesn't really want to pursue friendships with anyone. Since she's narcissistic and complains a lot, I think that those who do come in contact with her are perhaps put off. She seems to just want my Dad, or me. Well, that leaves just one of us now, and she's tired. Another person who responded said that maybe this is just the way it is. I think there's a lot of truth in that. I have set some boundaries for myself. I guess if Mom wants to be unhappy with me, she's just going to have to be unhappy. She exudes too much negativity for me to hang around with her all the time. And I don't think that's good for my mental state either. I guess I'm doing the best I can, as we all are. I am so grateful for this community. I'm going to go back and re-read all your answers. It's good to share our feelings, I think!
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