My 97-year-old mother has been living with me for almost two years. She still has her home in another state and resists selling it. There are relatives living in her home, but the family there all work and could not stay with her 24/7. I am retired and available.

Compared with the other postings, I am having a much easier time and should have little cause for frustration and weariness. She does have extremely poor hearing, balance problems, and severe peripheral neuropathy in her hands, but she is in good health, is still potty trained, mobile with her walker, and functions fairly well with beginning late onset Alzheimer’s. Of course, she needs help with her meds, someone to cook, to do her laundry, to take her to her appointments, to help bathe, to pick out clothes, to help her up when she falls because she wasn’t using her walker, etc. Most of her time is occupied by sitting in a chair looking out the window or reading or trying to get me to do whatever she deems important.

Having in-home care is not something that I would like because I would either still be there and on call or I would need to find somewhere to go and something to do out side of my home. She refuses to go to an adult daycare center, even though I had arranged for her to be picked up and returned two days a week---that would give me some alone time and also give her social interaction. Her reasoning was that she did not belong there with those old people and wasn’t a shame that she had to pay for someone to talk to her when she had family. To be completely fair, Mama has never had friends or socialized outside of church and family. I do take her to church on Sundays, but her physical and emotional limitations keep her from interacting with the members. When she lived by herself, she stayed home, tolerated visitors, and didn’t visit others.

When my children were small, she asked me to leave them at home, when I made the 6-7 hour trip to visit, so that we could do the things she had set aside for me without interruptions. There was always a list of things she needed done----such as refinishing furniture, painting, yard work, washing windows, and canning. Work has been her mainstay. Now, because of her balance issues and numb hands, she has become comparably inactive, although she does walk around the house with a swifter straightening things, putting dishes in the dishwasher, folding clothes, making her bed, and looking for dust bunnies.

My problem------I am resentful of the expectations and demands that all is to be done to her whims and specifications. She resents it when I go to another room. She wants me to go to bed when she is ready and get up when she does. You would think that after almost two years of my refusal to agree to her bedtime and sleeping schedules, she would stop insisting and accept that I will not sleep at her demand. Numerous times a day I cringe when I hear, “You need to…” Now, I don’t cater to all her unreasonableness. For example, when she said, “You need to dust your bedroom today or I will be very unhappy,” I told her to start crying because I was not dusting since I pay someone once a week to clean.

I know her mental state is fragile and her behaviors are childish, but it is difficult to be patient and understanding since I can see that this is to be my life for ‘who knows how long.’ I exercise three times a week (my only outlet from caregiving), and she is constantly saying. “You need to quit or you will start looking like a man.” As if at 65 I could develop excessive muscles….if I could, I would; muscles could help fill out the sags!

Right now, I think, I am in my right mind, and I frequently tell my children they are not to give up everything to cater to me when I can no longer live by myself---use my long term care insurance to either hire help or put me in a home. I do not want them to resent me, as I am becoming to resent my mother. AND, of course, I am mortified that I feel this way about my mother.

I don’t know what I am expecting from this posting; I needed to put this in writing to see if I can make sense of what is happening. The situation will not improve; there will be no changes for the better. I must just endure, strive to function, and resolve to reach a level of sustainable acceptance and patience.

Thank you for caring enough to read this.....Margieanne

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Cattails, your comment about whether or not you can continue what you are doing or if you want to still do what you are doing doesn't always work. I took care of my mom and her BF for 6 years. When I told my siblings, after my mom's BF got hospitalized that I needed help and I could no longer take care of my mom, I have a mental disability, my bro banned me from seeing or talking to my mom. My siblings don't care about my health, I'm suppose to give up my entire life and they can still enjoy thier's. I am the youngest. I had to put my foot down and tell my siblings that they needed to step up because I'm stepping out. The thanks I get for the 6 years is I can't see her or talk to her. His punishing my mom more. We were like best friends. I did the cooking, cleaning, activities, doc appts, etc. No one asked if they could help. I never stopped my siblings from calling or seeing her. They did that on their own. So, standing up for myself means nothing. I guess their lives are more importan than mine.

Well, bless you Margieanne. I think you have just summed up what many caregivers feel. You are not alone and please don't be mortified at the way you feel. It just proves that you are a sane person.

I totally understand about wanting to be at home alone. I took care of my parents for 7 years. We moved them to our area when we retired and had a small house next door for them to live in. They kept me hopping the whole time. My mom passed in 2008 and my dad had a major stroke in July 2011. He required 24/7 care and came to live under our roof. I did eventually get some in home care, which I so much appreciated, but I missed the simple freedoms of life, like being in the yard or whatever. Sometimes, we would put my dad in respite care for 2 days just to have time alone in our home.

As you know, it's really not about taking big trips or getting away. It's about having your space in your own home and being at peace for just a little while. That's the break that meant the most to me. To just feel normal for a bit.

I loved my parents and my dad passed away on Sept. 24th of this year. I do miss him and I'd like to put my arms around him one more time, but I was with him when he passed and that is a comfort to me. Also, he is a peace now and so am I. The last 2 months of his life, we placed him in a nursing home because we just needed to get our lives on track and focus on our own health.

I am forever changed by taking on the role as care giver for my parents. My sibs all lived out of state so everything fell on me and my husband. I think I have grown quite a bit as a result of being a care giver. My perspective has changed on a number of things. I enjoy so many small things right now. Just the simplest things make me so happy. I appreciate that very much.

You are on your own path right now, so my experience may not be yours. All I can say is you need to have a life too and how you go about that is up to you. All choices have gains and losses and you have to be prepared to look at them honestly, make decisions and live with the consequences, whatever they may be.

Also, sometimes it's not about weather you can continue to do what you are doing, but more about if you want to continue doing what you are doing. Truly, there's no shame in saying, "I really don't want to do this anymore." Maybe the healthiest thing to do is be honest with yourself.

You will need to find your own truth and make choices. I wish you the very best and I am always here if you want to talk. My heart goes out to you and I wish you and your mom the best that is possible.

Sending white light your way, Cattails

Venting can be very therapeutic. It is funny that in two years your mother hasn't figured out that you aren't going to bed at her bedtime! Actually, it IS funny. So see it in that light and laugh, if not to her face at least privately. You can't change your mother's behavior ... but maybe you could change your attitude just slightly and bear it better.

Good luck!

It can be harder to talk about things when nothing is really wrong. I can understand everything you say, though. Probably most of our parents still want to be in control of us. We will always be the kids. It drives me crazy, too. My mother did the "go to bed" thing on me Halloween night. It wasn't even 9:00, but she was ready to go to bed, so I should be, too. She got so upset when I said I was going to stay up for a while. I didn't want the late goblins to be disappointed.

It is pretty bad when one gets 60 years old and their mother is still trying to put them to bed before 9:00. :(

I typed this earlier, but it did not get published.

Your resentment is a normal reaction for someone under someone like your mother who sounds like she is the way she has always been. You didn't make her that way. You can't control how she is. Nor can you fix her. All you can really do is take care of yourself and put yourself on a healthier path than she is regardless of how she chooses to be.

You may find a therapist helpful so that your mother can't press those emotional buttons which are beneath your resentment.

Along with continuing to treat you like a child, your mother sounds like she is as she always has been. You didn't make her that way. You can't control her. Nor can you fix her. All you can do is put yourself on a healthy path like exercising which you are doing. I may also help you to see a therapist so that your mother can't push those emotional buttons which are underneath the resentment. Your resentment is a normal reaction to the emotional blackmail and abuse she puts you through.

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