I was hoping there might be people here who would be able to give some positive feedback about their elderly relatives. I know most of us are looking for support re problems we are having, but not all elderly people are difficult and make our lives awful.
So even if no one joins me, I'd at least like to give tribute to my wonderful mother who will be 93 December 15. She has dementia, just lost my father in October, and lives in assisted living. However, she is one of the most positive, kind and undemanding people I know.
She was the one who raised her 3 children because my dad was a traveling salesman and gone a lot of the time. Because of her, my brothers and I have a very good relationship. I see my mom 2-3 times a week and my brothers take turns seeing her about once a week (they work full time and have over an hour's drive). We don't argue over my mom's care and even though I put in more time with her, I do not resent it in the least.
She is always happy and upbeat. Losing my father was difficult for her, but I suppose the dementia has, in some ways, made it easier. Sometimes she forgets he's dead and thinks he's in the hospital, but one time she told me she was okay because he had traveled so much that she just pretends he's on another trip.
I usually take her out for lunch and then to the library or maybe just for a drive and she will keep repeating, "that looks familiar." When I call her in the morning to ask if she'd like to go out, she always says enthusiastically, "yes!" When we are walking together from or to her room she will tell me how nice things are and it's so quiet "because everyone is old." But she isn't complaining because she is smiling and it's her little joke.
It wasn't this way in the beginning because I was the one who had expectations. I was upset because she would hide her used Depends instead of throwing them in the covered container I bought just for that purpose!!! I was irritated because she kept repeating herself or she would have to keep her purse with her no matter where we went.
Then I stopped trying to get her to do things the "right" way and started going along with "her" way. I realized I was embarrassing her when I got after her for hiding the Depends so I quit lecturing and quietly threw them away myself. I also made sure the staff was aware and asked them to check when they cleaned and things are much better now. She can take her purse wherever she wants. Who cares. It's way more important to her that she has it and for whatever reason provides her some security. Yes, she repeats herself a lot and she also doesn't hear very well. So what. I smile at her and respond as though whatever she says is fine with me.
I know I'm very fortunate and not all parents or relatives are like this. My father was a nice person, but much more difficult so I totally understand the people who are upset, discouraged, tired, etc. However, I also needed to say that there are also people like my mom.
When I take her back to her room, I always hug her and tell her I love her and she does the same. Then I will tell her I'm going and I'll remind her of when I'm coming to see her again. She has this huge smile and she'll lift both arms in the air and say, "thank you, thank you." I'm so blessed.