The Caregiver & Dysfunctional Families: How are you doing?

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Bonnie - missed your last post - no bulbs up here. I miss the snowdrops from Ontario where I grew up.

Wanted to mention that I know how hard it is to see a good friend have one illness after another. I have a friend of over 40 years who is like this. Her arthritis is getting worse and worse. She had a mastectomy a few years ago, then later an emergency appendectomy. This year she has a second mastectomy. I feel like I am losing her in pieces. It is sad, though she has a very good attitude. She is widowed and has lost a son as well.
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Hi Bonnie - that is too bad about L. I can see you are worried about both your friends, and with good reason, It is good that L has a husband that will not leave her. I am not clear - is L's mother staying with her?There are a few caregivers on here who admit to using alcohol to cope. Doesn't sound like she is capable of doing much for her mum if she is in bed a lot. Alcohol is a depressant so if may be hard to see which is the horse and which is the cart with depression and alcohol. It must be hard for you to see her mum decline if she was a second mum to you. What a sad situation for S - all those health issues and no friends since they moved. Sounds like her husband is very disrespectful. It must be very discouraging for S and I can certainly see why it was upsetting for you. She does need support. As
a person gets older and with more health issues, social contact can decrease, and technology can be a great help.

No, not the pacific northwest. I wish! I am in Northern Alberta, Canada. There is a pile of snow about 10 ft high outside the front door piled by G shovelling the driveway. We will not be rid of snow till into April. We had record amounts of the white stuff this year. Agreed - there are lovely ladies here :) Blessings Joan
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correction...we have not had any snow and bulbs are all up and smiling. Guess you are not in our neck of the woods. Bonnie
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Oh thank you so much for taking the time to write~and such great suggestions. To clarify, these are two different friends. the one who drinks too much wine was my next door neighbor growing up. She is an only child whereas I am the middle of 5 kids! I know L. is very very depressed and has gotten far worse as her mother has declined in mental health. When her widowed mother moved from her close knit hometown in the rural area of VA/TN/KY to swanky Potomac, MD, it threw her for a cultural loop. L.'s mom was like a second mother to me and I love her dearly. L. just can't see that her depression is leading to alcoholism! Her husband is either so busy at work or he just can't stand to argue with her. He is the sort of man that will NEVER leave her, which is darn good for her!
The other friend S. is the one with PD, cancer and knee replacements...brother! They moved from here (Seattle area) a few years ago. S had many many friends and is a social outgoing person. Her husband R. is a know it all and can't stand most people. they have not made any friends in the new town as S. can't get out. She does do a swim class or at least she did before the knee surgery. I went to visit them last 4th of July and just about cried at the way R. treated her. Not hitting or such, but making remarks about her in the 3rd person and being such a martyer .I don't know how she stands it. She is currently in recoop place and is making great progress. Happier than ever that he isn't there 24/7. Thanks for the help, I'll try to find a venue for her to get some mutual support. She uses her IPad and other notebook things so can communicate that way. I relaly appreciate the help you have given. What a lovely group of ladies!
So emjo, I bet you are in the Pacific Northwest as I am. It is so beautiful today!

again, thanks so much. Really appreciate all this help. Bonnie
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Bonnie, there are some on here who are caregiving a person with PD. You could do a search and/or post a question, To post a question click on "Caregiver Forum" on the banner at the top of the page and click on "Ask a question". Is this the friend who drinks? Her husband sounds very controlling. Other than Aging Care, I suspect if you googled PD forum you might find something for her. certainly she needs support. Good luck!
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cmag - that step dad of yours is causing some problems, Glad the nursing home staff can help with this. It must be very frustrating.
book thanks for thinking of me. It is not a nice situation, I have had to distance/detach from my mum and my sister, and now it has happened with my daughter, who in my view is seriously depressed. I have written her about making arrangements to see my grandchildren as I do not feel free to drop in (with a phone call first of course) as i used to anymore, and she has not answered me - so I am now in the postion of not being able to make arrangements to see my grandchildren. It doesn't feel good. I have had a very good relationship with my grandkids, and I guess I have to wait till they grow up and can make their own decisions, unless my daughter comes out of this "mood" before that. I have to say it is bothering me. Or I coud just drop over as I used to and take what comes from my daughter. Last time I called she didn't answer the phone and I know she was home.

A beautiful sunny day sounds nice. We have had some good weather, but that here means the snow is melting. Thankfully Gary does the garden so I don't have to worry about it, but can do as much as I feel like. We wonlt garden here of another 2 months, as the ground stays frozen.

margeaux - it does sound like things with the caregiver have gotten out of hand. I hope you are managing well this weekend. You will have a better idea of how your mum is with spending time with her. I really dislike it when people spout things and then do not follow through, or even behave the opposite. Re my mum - I have heard nothing from her since I laid down the law about no more nastiness For those of you who are new, she does not have dementia, but has had Borderline Personality Disorder and narcissism all her life. It has been hard. I think with her is it all or nothing, black or white. her only way of coping with me saying I won't take any more nastiness is to stop writing, as she is incapable of having any kind of normal correspondence. The same is true of my sister, though she can appear quite pleasant for a while, but sooner or later I get slammed and I don't need it any more. My daughter is the same - her way or no way -there is no compromise. I am very sad this weekend about my grandkids. Hard to see your neighbour like that when you are trying to help her, but people who neede to drink will go to great lengths to get it.
welcome Bonnie - sounds like your friend may have gastritis from drinking. I don't know that there is much anyone can do with an addict. Mentioning it to her will not help usually. You may want to go to Alanon or a drug/alcohol agency for information/advice. it is terribly hard to see a loved one self destruct, but they have to "hit bottom" before they decide to change.Talking about ending friendships due to addiction/ unhealthy behaviour, I have some experience with that. I had a girlfriend of some years who was taking drugs. I had that confirmed by a household member. I knew she had a source. She had MS and was admitted to hospital. I called her doctor and told him, and he believed me. They "dried" her out and, of course, when she left hospital she returned to them. Eventually, I dropped the relationship as it was too hard on me. She would call - in a drug fog -with stories etc, and I could not carry on like that. Honestly, as much as I appreciated the friendship at the beginning, I have no regrets about this. As far as I know she is still using. One has to go through a grieving process, as I am with the women in my family, as it hurts when there is a long or a lifetime relationship, but in the end we all have took after ourselves. I find the stress from these people is too hard on me, Be sure that you cannot change anyone else - only yourself.
dabsmom -I lost it a long time ago and i don't think I want it back! Join the crowd.Glad your mum is gettting some sleep. I know what you mean about her looking so small - my mum looks more that way sometimes too. Stick to your guns as to who is going to the appointment. I know what you mean about controlling people who try to make you feel like and idiot or like a monster. Sounds like you have an excellent neurologist. Glad you are seeing through your bro and the CG. Manipulators - so sick of that. Go on and on all you like!
Just feeling sad here about my daughter and my grandkids. She is estranged from my middle son and his wife, and now she is estranged from me. Her husband is a decent guy, but under her thumb I think. I just have to pray about it and I appreciate any prayers from those of you who do. As well, she doesn't want to hear anything about mother. When ever the ALF has informed me that mother has gone to hospital, I have told my daughter, as she has been the one of my children in most contact with mother, and if anything happened to me someone else needs to know. I will ask my son up here if he will take that responsibility. I believe that at least 2 family members should have that information. My sister lives over seas, so it has to be someone here.
Wishing everyone a good day and some relief from the craziness. G and I go on a short business trip next week to BC. I am hoping it will help get me out of this "cabin fever" or maybe SAD. A change should be good. Friday, I had a 4 hours coffee with an ex student - a middle aged lady with whom I have things in common. It was great and we will meet again. This is a very young city - average age was 25 some years ago, so it is nice to know someone in the same stage, a few years pre retirement, as we are. I feel for you Bonnie - it is not easy to find friends.
(((((((hugs)))))) and blessings to all Joan
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Does any one know of a similar forum for the person with PD? My friend is in stage 4 (I think, maybe 5) and her husband is sole caregiver. He is very domineering and down right mean to her at times. He will not allow anyone into their house to help. Poor gal, she has had breast cancer diagnosed last August and breast taken off in September. Knee replacements...one last week the other a year ago. I feel so sorry for her poor little body! She is only 67 and has had Parkinson's diagnosed for 11 years. Her husband has all of her phone calls on "speaker phone" as he insists on listening to her. He opens and reads her mail. there really isn't any way for her to vent so I'm asking if anyone knows any way she can find a group similiar to this one? This may be a new topic. I am very new to this and not sure how to get active! Thanks for any help and if this is a new topic, how do I make it one? Bonnie
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sharyn - I am glad that you got through to your sis - FINALLY. It is becoming unsafe for your mum to stay at home. I hope you get someime to go out with your camera. I know it does a lot for you.
susan - how are things going in your house? You said you had a very tough day.
dabsmom - I am gkad the visitors are gone Your brother in coming in a matter of days. I do hope he gets "clued in" during the neurologist;s visit and just being ariund your mum more. Glad you could take in a basketball tournament - a littke "normal". Your sis does not want to mover into the world of technology! I think your atittude towards accep[ting one;s limitati9ns (we all have them) is very healthy.
margeaux - hope your visit goes well
imm897 - I do appreciate what you wrote. No matter how you strugggle you can't remove yourself from family dysfunction, I have reached a point of detaching from several family members - my mother, my sister and now my daughter - all of whom have characteristics if narcissism. I am convinced it is genetic in my family. yes, we hope to grow, but it does have a price. We do not come out of thus unscarred.
austin - good to see you - you may be right that the boss will move on to someone else - hopefully
book - why don't you celebrate holidays any more? I think you are right - don't accept all requests for overtime, and don't refuse all.
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Hey there everyone. I think I'm loosing it...... I thought I posted a hello to all our new members, and commented to book about the whole holiday thing, but I may have posted it on one of the other threads. I follow several, and don't always have a chance to check posts everyday, so I miss some things.....get confused..... Oh geez...under the circumstances that scares me....
OK... I have mom here for the weekend, now that her insensitive out of town guests are gone. Poor thing was so tired last night. After dinner she rummaged around in her room for awhile "looking for things", then came out to watch TV. She sat in the comfy chair with her feet up, and fell asleep within minutes. I didn't have the heart to wake her to get her into bed, but had to give her meds anyhow. She looked so "small" to me sitting there with her head bent over like a little kid, and snoring like a freight train. It makes my heart hurt....
The dreadful visit from my idiot brother is coming up this week. He gets into town on Thursday afternoon. I had mentioned before that he's going with me to mom's appt. on Friday with her ALZ doc. I don't know why I let the little s**t get to me like he does. I know his game, his controlling nature, and his money grubbing attitude, and yet I always feel like an incompetent when he's around. For crying out loud, I've got 2 bachelor's degrees, and a masters, have had a very satisfying professional life, and know so much more about Mom's situation than he could ever dream of knowing, or for that matter, wanting to know. I just feel like I'm going to end up between a rock and a hard place again when he's here scrutinizing everything, and Mom makes her huge effort to fake her way thru his visit. Oh yes, she'll use her walker, and do whatever he tells her to do, including taking her meds without a fuss. She'll exhaust herself trying to convince him that's she's fine. He's so out of the loop that he hasn't got a clue what her day to day behavior is like. I can only imagine what the visit to the doc will be like. He'll second guess the doc just like he second guesses me. Mom's doc is one of the best Neuro guys in the South East. He runs the Carolina's Memory Center, and is one of the best in the field. He actually worked on the research when Aricept and Namenda were being launched. I've known him for years.... I worked closely with him both when I was with Hospice, and when I was working in long term care (AL and ALZ care), and have total respect for him.
My brother thinks he's going to bring his over opinionated wife to the appt. too. NO WAY!!! My husband isn't going(he thinks it should be just my brother and I) and I certainly don't need her there making things even more difficult. Mom is going to have a hard enough time with him and I being there. She doesn't even know he's coming to visit yet. If she knew she'd be totally psycho all week. During his last visit he called a "family meeting" and insisted that her very close friend/neighbor and her CG be there. He acted like he was running one of his corporate meetings. He totally intimidated both the neighbor and the CG. The care giver tells him what she thinks he wants to hear, because she's afraid he'll cut her loose. If it weren't for her I don't know where things would be with mom. Problem is that she is so attached to mom that if we do decide to move her to AL she'll be devastated, not to mention she'll loose her job. For the past 2 months now she's been telling me how much mom is changing and that her mind is really going south, then this past several days she's been telling me how she thinks mom is doing pretty good, and that she thinks it would be too hard on mom to move. Between little jerk brother not wanting to spend the money, and not being able to "wrap his head around it", and the CG wanting to keep her job, I know that once again I'll be the bad guy.

Yikes, I've gone on and on. Sorry. I'll try to stay up on posts over the next few days. In the meantime tight hugs to all.
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first posting but eager to comment on your experience with neighbor and wine. I've a dear friend who has a mother in AL near by her...and my friend has been getting worse and worse, drinking too much and is not able to manage her own health let alone her mother's. In addition, I really think she has early stage (let's hope it is early!) dementia as her mother has been diagnosed. Friend has a husband who is in total denial and is uncommunative to me or other friends that are concerned. Friend is 62 living in MD and I'm 65 in Seattle. Does anyone have any suggestions for help? Friend is currently having "stomach flu" that has lasted for over 2 weeks. Maybe yes/maybe no...as she is always asleep when I call. Husband travels on business frequently so she is home alone.
So, I don't know what you can do about your neighbor...guess just go with your gut instincts. Sounds to me like you are a very good friend so it must be terribly hard for you to see her abusing her health. That's how I feel about my friend, too.

When I do call my friend, she tells me not to harp on her...gets very upset if I say anythng about drinking. She has been like a sister to me for all of her 62 years. It really hurts to see her drink herself to death.
Maybe I'm off topic but it seems to me your neighbors drinking wine is up to them, and more than likely their comments about you needing to leave were nothing but excuses for them to have an other glass of wine. If you want to end the friendship, that's your right but how would you feel about it?
Bonnie
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