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My mother moved in with my husband and I about five years ago. With her I also got my, now, 15 year old niece. My niece is wonderful and not a problem, however my mother is having a huge negative impact on the entire household. Her health is not great (heart and lung disease), and so she is extremely limited on what she can do around the house. She refuses to go anywhere or do anything. We all feel that her whole source of entertainment is us. We are watched at every turn. "what are you eating", "what are you doing", "where are you going". What, where, when, why, how all day long everyday. then there is the starring. Always watching you. Always!, Now we are all resentful of the intrusions the questions and watching are causing. I feel like I am expected to check in with her on every damn detail of my life, and hate it! I want her to just move out, find her own place. When I was growing up I thought my mom was the toughest, most amazing person, but having lived with her these past years I have become completely disillusioned with my childhood memories of her. My anger and frustration is leaking out of my ears. I feel guilty that I don't even want to spend time with my husband or my niece because my mom has me so amped up with frustration that I just don't want to be around anyone. How sad is this?...When she had to stay in the hospital over night we all feel like a breath of fresh air was blowing through the house. The stress levels drop two fold and everyone was practically gleeful. I know that there has to be a better way to make this work, but I really am at a lose to see any light at the end of this tunnel. So I ask you for suggestions or comments that could help bring about some resolve to this issue that we are struggling with.

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I agree with freqflyer 100%
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Sorry my page jumped that comment was for a different ?
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I vote CARLA YES, get out of Dodge, save youself.
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How old is she? She needs something to do - friends- a hobby- she was amazing because she ruled the roost. Now, since you are the roost ruler and she is in YOUR ballpark...she has no title, no dragons to slay. I've got one of those too. My mom loves to stuff envelopes. And dust. Oy. So she stuffs envelopes that I pretend I need stuffed, and is calmly dusting a clean room. We must be together because she has nowhere else to go; and cannot be left unattended. As soon as I have another idea or two...will check back with you.
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You absolutely need to put your foot down with your mother NOW. Why are you allowing her to "hold you hostage?" It is YOUR house, YOUR rules - not hers. She is still a "guest" in your house, even if she is your mother. You need to resume control.
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Oh my, this sounds very much like what our family went through with my mom's MIL. She drove us all bats for a while, then she became dangerous to herself due to behaviors in the home. By then all the kids had moved out; poor mom felt trapped with her all day, unable to leave her alone lest she set something on fire (again) by accident. She moved to a group home for dementia patients. She died a few years after that. Just a gentle reminder that all this is sure to be temporary. Remember your amazing mom for who she is/was and try not to dwell on her current illness too much. (I think some of your frustration may be like mine, originating in an admittedly selfish resentment that my parents are too ill to be who I remember them being anymore. But it's just that, an illness, and they really can't help it, as much as it seems like they should be able to at some level.)
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Your mother sounds very much like mine. I have a 16 year old granddaughter living with us and my mother is on her all the time, nothing she does is right according to my mother but then nothing I do is either. She demands to know where I'm going and when I'll be back anytime I leave. She plays the guilt card very well and knows just how to push the buttons she installed in me 60 years ago. Its a very discouraging and toxic. I know exactly how you feel when you say a hospital stay is like a breath of fresh air. I wish I had an answer for you. All I can say is you are not alone and try to take care of yourself, you are just as important as she is. God Bless.
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Please look on Youtube and view/learn from every seminar by Teepa Snow. There is a type of Dementia that entails "shadowing" behavior, not sure which one. This may be going beyond living vicariously through you. This may be more than just her only entertainment being you. Teepa Snow is the hands down expert on all these behaviors and identifying the corresponding forms. I hope none of this applies but sounds like it will. This may not be intentional to drive you mad, she may have Dementia.
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I too am dealing with a mom and an aunt, since my aunt moved here 4 yrs ago my moms has become resentful towards me and my kids. For many years I was the main one taking care of her and now it's as if my mom hates the world and I, she accuses my kids and I of wanting to take her money etc. I've had it and don't go around her much now. We use to do everything together. I've lost my mom and am having a hard time with the forgiveness of how she's has acted and treated me.
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My mom (80 with mild dementia)lives with me, and I am her caregiver. I work outside the home for 8 hours but am close enough I come home at lunch. She too was questioning everything. But when you are alone for hours on end, with no one to talk to, I suppose this is they side effect. At lunch, I tell her how my morning was, where we are going after work, what we are having for dinner etc. and then when I get home, after the errands or if none, after dinner, I tell her, "I am going to watch TV in my room. If you need anything, let me know." And then retreat to your room and CLOSE THE DOOR. Your can read, watch tv whatever, but you need that separation. In your situation, it may work better if she is the one isolated and you tell her, the rest of you are going to watch a movie. As far as the starring at you.... call her out on it..."what are you starring at?" why are you watching me like I am about to steal something? Often they don't realize what they are doing. Best of luck.
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In the past I suffered from very severe depression and it made me behave in ways similar to how you describe your mom as far as not wanting to go outside or see anyone other than trusted "safe" family. I was literally phobic about leaving the house and dreaded to the point of terror the idea of seeing people (social phobia).

It makes me wonder if your mom is depressed? Thankfully that was many years ago on my life and I am long over it and a much happier, stronger person now, so there is hope!
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Oh, I could have written this myself! Except my mother is fortunate enough to be in fairly good health for her age (87), though not to hear her tell it. The staring and negativity and complaining! She is not only a glass half-empty person, it is also the wrong glass. She brought her own when she moved in which she keeps lined up on the kitchen counter. She is constantly walking around and watching us. Also, once I woke up on the couch with her holding a dead snake dangling from a rake over me and she was asking what kind of snake I thought this was! Yikes! "The kind that will get you put in a home!" was my first thought. I no longer nap there. At the doctor's office she is all miss sunshine. The doctor thinks she has a great attitude and doing really well managing her blood pressure and blood sugar. She is going to outlive us all.
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There's some wonderful - and varied - advice from seasoned caregivers here for you, brunosmom138. Only you can decide, but it seems to me that your mom may do better in assisted living where there is lots of activity. She could keep busy and you may, once again, become the daughter who seems something amazing in her mother.

Not every family situation works out when an elder moves in. Don't let guilt ruin things for you. If medical intervention can't make this better, than a move to assisted living might. I've seen some elders thrive in that setting.

Please keep us up to date on how you're doing.
Carol
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Re-reading these is making me laugh. I actually thought about making signs to hold up to answer my mom. Every freakin' day I have to tell her how many children my daughter has, their ages and gender. Oh, yes,names. It would be so nice to hold up a sign. Would that be rude?
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I agree with all of the advice.

Let me just say that my mom has been dong this for a couple of years. She questions me to death, and usually in a general, open way. She asks BIG questions (to which she already knows the answers because she lived through them) that take 15 minutes to answer, and after along day at work, I don't feel like it. It is soooooooooooooooooooooo draining.

Of course, we all understand, it makes sense that she wants to be a part of things. But it is draining!!!! and, as posted, she is looking for entertainment. Now, my mom is in AL and each time I visit ( EVERY DAY!!!), she asks me questions and wants to be entertained. It really is possible that nothing is new since yesterday--but that is not good enough.

What I try to do, since she is in AL,is to DO things with her rather than talk. We take a ride, go to exercise class, and play cards, go to a movie. That really helps.

Can you give your mom a project? Like working on a quilt, a knitted throw? Needle point? Organizing family albums and writing a family history?
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Has she been screened for depression? Perhaps antidepressants will improve her outlook on life.
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I'm sure it has been difficult for her too, giving up her own place and moving in with you. This doesn't mean she should be a lump. Check into programs that will pay for an in home provider, maybe this provider could get her to go out occasionally and having someone in the home would give you a break. Continue to encourage her and give her opportunities to socialize or go out. Contact your local area agency on aging for in home programs and also ask about caregiver programs for yourself. There are others just like you who are frustrated. It's natural to have feelings of resentment and frustration when someone moves in with you and expects you to do all and be all. Your mom may act differently with an in home provider than she does you, give it a shot it doesn't hurt to try.
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I am disabled ( spine COPD)have no one at all getting new care giver, I am well not quite like ur mom,we get to the point we want to go out but pain etc. Then
Oh I don't feel good,exscuses, you have to get her out,if u take her to docs, also, mom lets go to walmarts or wherever, once she gets her foot out door she will breathe air attitude will change,when you get home she will thank you for taking her out.hardest part is getting her feet out that door.i am her, I want to go out so so bad, I had a bad caregiver, 5 yrs not one walk,nothing, she was a friend, I am interviewing today a new caregiver, I am a New Yorker stuck in colorado, for doctors etc.
PLZ keep us posted..I cry for you, and for Mom, who i no longer have.nor my hubby who passed.
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Thank you all so much for your comments and ideas. It made me realize that there are many people in similar situations, with knowledge and ideas that can be shared. I felt so much better by the end of the day, that I actually felt like throwing my dogs in the car and going for a long walk with them. My mom hasn't spoken to me much since yesterday, but I am ok with that because of all your support yesterday. God bless you all!
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P.S. Sorry I didn't have any helpful suggestions but I'm a little broken right now.
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Dear brunosmom
I totally understand what you are going through. My 94 yr old mom has lived with me since a burst brain aneurism 10 yrs ago. My day consists of "where did everybody go?" Bathroom. "What are you doing" laundry. " what's the plan for today" I don't know, I can't think until I finish my first cup of coffee. On and on ad infinitum. And on. And did I mention and on? 3 years ago I quit my job because it just wasn't safe leaving her alone for hours at a time. It's gotten so bad that lately she is jealous of our dog when I take him down the street to the park. She tells me a dozen times a day how lucky the dog is, how she wants to come back as my dog in her next life and lately has started calling my dog " the dead dog" don't ask, even I don't understand it. Wishful thinking on her part I guess. I don't have friends anymore, I haven't had a vacation since 2007 and I don't go anywhere without her unless it's to the dog park, mom was almost knocked down once by a pack of dogs and it just didn't seem safe. The other day she told a total stranger that I want ppl to think she's crazy so I can take her money. I have been looking for assisted living for her for the last week and today she tried to get out of the car while I was driving down the road (45 miles an hour) claiming it would be easier for everyone that way. Trust me when I say that you are not alone, we all gave our own crosses to bear and sometimes just knowing that helps a little.
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Take the rest of the family on vacation; leave Mom to her own devices. If she doesn't need assisted living yet, she'll be fine. If there's a disaster, she needs assisted living. Be gone about a week. The separation will allow you to strategize boundaries you can set up with her. Get some distance between the rest of you and her, if even just for a week.
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She's choosing to not do anything and she's choosing for you all to be her entertainment. But you can choose to disengage at times and make time for yourselves. Make dinner plans with friends, go to the mall with your niece, retire to your bedroom early and recharge. I used my iPod and earbuds to get down time - if I needed to concentrate in the kitchen, when I gardened. My mom quickly realized I didn't hear anything and after a while, got used to this habit.
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thanks for your feedback which raises a question. Who is the doctor hearing from about how things are? Only your mom? Elderly parents are famous for playing up for the doctor. My mother always tried that, but I got around her by either writing, faxing him earlier or meeting with him in private right before we went in together as to what was really going down. I know that sounds a bit sneaky, but it goes with the territory of trying to be a good medical POA for your parent.

What about any evaluation of her possibly being depressed? Maybe, if she had just a little bit of antidepressant then she would be more inclined to be more active?

It is not healthy for her or for ya'll to continue to be her soul source of entertainment. That only enables more and more dependency on her part and deepens your sense of living in her fishbowl with ya'll getting smaller and her getting bigger. That'll drive you nearly insane.

As you can probably tell, I'm out of ideas at the moment, but do find some kind help for you Right now, from your description, you are very close to crashing into some depression yourself not because there is anything clinically wrong with you, but because this is a situationally depressing situation. and I'm sure that your husband would love to see you happy and enjoying life once again. Thus, you may well need a therapist and some meds yourself. The whole atmosphere of the house is having its emotional impact on your niece as well. Some things needs to change so everyone, not just mom has a life and not at the expense of each other's life.

I must go now. My wife is ready for some food.

Keep in touch.
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Everyone says assisted living, until they get into the process. My mother wouldn't lift a finger to help herself, so assisted living did not work. She likes the NH, because she has a whole staff, to help her.

My MIL is in Ass't living and she is self supportive. They give her meds, a bath and help her dress. She can come and go and arrange her own doctor appointments. She doesn't need lifted or fed.
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I wish, no (o wish) sorry!
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Yep, Carla is right, sometimes the only way to detach, particularly if the attachment is very deeply hooked in, is to remove oneself physically. That is extreme detachment, but it is needed at times for the sake of one's own emotional and sometimes even physical survival.

My wife's therapist encouraged her to detach from her mother by living a certain geographical distance from her and limit her contact with her. This has helped free her up to get freedom from mom inside her head which is the hardest and last step of detachment.

What I wrote initially was to trying to help you in your immediate crisis. The whole work of total detachment involves more work, time and therapy. Only after you have detached from mom living in your head will you really be detached from her and be far less easily sucked into her drama dance by pushing those buttons that she put into your psyche long ago. Not everyone's buttons are at the same depth which is why it takes some longer than others, but the good news is they can be eventually detached and only you will be fully living inside of your own head without anyone else in your head unless you invite them in there.

O wish you the best in dealing with this mess.
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Thank you all for your comments and support. My mom goes to the doctor regularly and thus far does not require a nursing facility. I have suggested that she join a club or attend our local senior center on several occasions over the years, and I am always met with strong resistance. When I suggested that she attend one of the local senior Reno trips, she states she will not go with a bunch of strangers, she only wants to travel with us. I have suggested that she participate in the senior water aerobics class, also suggested by her doctor. She won't even go out on the front porch and sit in the sun. She flat out refuses to do any extra curricular activities. She simply wants to sleep, read and eat pastries. It is so frustrating! I know that if I could get her out of the house for a bit she would be happier, which in turn would make us all happier. But what do you do when your 74 year old parent flat out refuses to participate? None of us want to be her sole source of entertainment, and I don't think it is fair of her to make us feel like frustrated fish in a bowl. I just don't know how or what to say to her that will make any difference at this point.
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Hey Brunosmom -

I don't know what to tell you but my mother is the same way when I'm in her house. I moved out and only stay over about twice a month now, but that was one of the reasons. She drove me crazy with her constant scrutiny. Where are you going? What are you cooking? Why are you going out on the porch? What do you have in your hand? And the staring thing as well. I thought it was because it was her house and she didn't want anything happening in her house that she didn't know about and approve, but based on your account, the same thing could have happened if I moved her to my house. She just seems to have no boundaries. Or maybe it's a way of trying to engage with someone without actually investing any energy in them. Or maybe just a way to relieve the awkwardness of living in such close quarters, like stranger conversation in an elevator.

I appreciate cmagnum's suggestion about detachment. However, I wasn't successful at detaching without removing myself physically from her presence. She still does it, and it still annoys me, but now I only have to be annoyed a few days a month. I realize my solution won't work for you unless you're serious about separating your households. Finding something else for your mother to do may be the best solution. Like adult daycare or a book club or a bridge club. Something to take her focus off you and give her something else to talk about.
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After you call her doctor's office, call your doctor's office to make an appointment for yourself to get some help for you.
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