Ugh. The guilt


Hello, Friends. Just a few thoughts on this sun-shiny Sunday. I’ve been looking forward to this upcoming week. For once, I’m the one traveling for work and not my husband. I’m attending a 4-day team meeting complete with socializing and dinners out every night, cocktails, the works. Ah, a break! Yet, it’s the night before my trip and I feel bad because I know what my family will contend with regarding my mom in the next 4 days & I don’t envy them. The simplest of scenarios is a struggle.

Today I asked mom if she wanted to take a quick ride with me and my daughter to the car wash. It wound up taking 5 minutes to explain the concept of going to the car wash. “No, we’re not asking you to wash the car, mom. No, we’re not washing the car, we’re GOING to a car wash. You know?...You Drive in and the machines wash the car? When are we going? We’re going right now. Do you want to come?...Do you want to come to the CAR WASH, like I just said? Right now, yes, we’re going right now.” Once she understood and declined the little field trip to get the car cleaned up, I told her we were taking our dogs with us (so she wouldn’t wonder where they are and panic that they got out). She didn’t get that either without another 5 minutes of explanation. Finally, progress! Everything seemed to click and we were on our way. 10 minutes later, we take two steps into the house and she’s standing in the doorway of her room yelling at me, “Don’t EVER leave me like that again! Do you have any idea what I went through while you were gone wherever the h*ll you went?!”

Evidently, the windows were open in her room (side note: I never opened them and had no idea they were open. Also the screens were in the windows). The cat wanted to sit in the window sill and jumped up and startled causing her to knock over her glass of water onto the carpet. I let out sigh and commented that we’d only been gone 10 minutes and I’m sorry that the windows were opened....I didn’t realize that they were. I then commented that “Sometimes I need to leave the house, mom.” She whips around, stunned and says to me “well, what the h*ll’s gotten into you? I’m just telling you how cute the cat looked sitting near me in the window and you’re mad at me? Jesus Christ, every thing I say or do sets you off. The h*ll with you, lady.” Uhh...huh? I am not the one that was yelling - she was - but I’m smart enough to let it go.

However, the children are confused and one of them chimed in, pointing out that grandma was mistaken about who’s doing the yelling. “NA-uh, grandma. Mom’s not yelling. You’re the one screaming about the cat. We all just heard you.” Then the sibling chimes in with, “Yeah, grandma, sorry but you’re really confused about what’s going on.” Jeebus Christmas. That made my mother really mad. She closed her bedroom door and now she won’t talk to any of us. I reminded the kids, again, that these aren’t things we can reason with her on - they need to let it go and NOT point out to her how confused she is. She probably realizes it and she’s probably scared as it is. So yeah, part of me can’t wait to get the heck out of Dodge in the morning. The other part wishes I could wrap my arms around my kids and hubbie and take them with me. It ain’t easy, is it?

Find Care & Housing


I have found that my mil says the opposite. ALWAYS! If I ask her if she is hungry, the answer is always no, If I ask her if she has to go to the bathroom, she says no, etc. Then she does the opposite of her "no". And for this reason, I never take "no" for an answer, I can never leave her to be left to her own devices, and I will not allow my dog to be left with her in my home. So, no more outings for either of us. But if I was able to drive, I would be gone.

Have a pleasant business trip!

Scout, I seem to recall that your mom is on waiting lists for some facilities, yes?

What doctor visits to you have lined up?

Scout, right now your home doesn’t sound like a very peaceful place. In addition, you seem very invested in your career. You also have children in your house who don’t seem to understand Grandma’s afflictions. Honestly, Grandma doesn’t sound that happy either. You don’t say what led her to come live with you, but perhaps it’s time to do a rethink. This is not to say that you don’t treat her well, but from what you wrote there are many contentious situations on a daily basis. Mom knows this. She’s dealing with her own fears and upset. While she is still able, maybe take her around to some Independent or Assisted Living facilities. Some are really nice with their own chefs, pub/lounges, beauty salons and lots of age-appropriate activities. It might be better for everyone all around.

My mom is 80. Diagnosed with dementia 2 years ago. Prior to that, she worked a couple days a week , drove , shopped. She lives with us. Shortly after the dementia diagnosis, she quit work and basically stopped driving. She doesn’t drive at all anymore. Since she lives here, I really get no break. She’s not as bad as others , but it’s hard. My point to all of this rambling, is I got a “needs assessment “ done. The nurses concluded, that she indeed can be alone. I get them to come to the house when we go away for 2 hours a day. They take her to restaurants, the hair dresser, they will take her or go get the groceries she needs. When I called to get me on the schedule for our upcoming trip, I asked, should we get another needs assessment, since the last one was a year ago. She asked if my mother cooked, and is she a flight risk. I said no to both. So the nurse thinks the current schedule will work versus her going into respite care while we are away. I have relatives coming in often and a good friend of hers. She can still write a check, do laundry, unload a dishwasher. She repeats constantly, very bad short term memory, and feels anxious when I take her anywhere. She’s best off here. Hope this helps

Scout, when you get frustrated, think how she must feel, trying to understand things that are beyond her comprehension now. I'm not chiding or criticizing, just thinking about how frustrated and confused SHE must have felt during this situation.

And if you feel guilty going to the conference, think how much it will refresh and hopefully challenge you mentally (in a good way) so that you can return feeling much more healthy, energetic, and all those good things.

Your part about the car wash is what happened to me today,, except mom was with hubs and I. We pull in,, she has a hundred questions about how this works.. when we were all covered with soap suds.. she actually asked if it rinses us off or we leave like that.. She has been in a car wash with us before.. here we go! And then we went to Costco,,,

Thank you for bringing this to my attention because I was not aware and this officially goes to the top of the list at our doctor’s appointment that’s coming up. She does not have a dementia diagnosis, but I know that it’s coming. Your response is certainly not an easy message to hear and frankly, we are not equipped for that in our home. I have a full time senior management job that requires international travel from time-to-time, as does my husband. But reality is reality and we’ll need to establish the resources to cover that responsibility whether it be in our house or elsewhere. Oh - and she does have a medical alert necklace that has tracking capability and video monitor that I can see on my phone.