I am the caregiver to my mother who is 77, has dementia, and COPD. She expects me to spend all day in the living room with her, keeping her company, watching tv. She is ok with me being in the kitchen cooking/cleaning, for the most part, but she occasionally will come into the kitchen and stare out the door to the deck, if she thinks I been out of the living room too long.

If, now and then, when I don't feel good or have a headache and want to lay down, I still without fail, will make sure she takes her pills and make her breakfast. Then after that, if I need/want, to lay down for a bit, within 20mins she will be standing in my doorway giving me puppy dog eyes, because I left her all alone. So out to the living room I go.

I do my best to try and keep myself busy. All she cares about is that I am conscious and in the room. So I have my laptop and tablet. E-books, games, etc.

Now, my sister does come over three days a week and stay with her for three hours. So I can run errands, do grocery shopping, and I get a break. However, some of the days I feel like I am ready to jump out of my own skin, I am so stir crazy. other days I am like a jack in the box. I pop out of my chair, run to another room for 5 min, then back to my chair, and reload ready to pop out again a few mins. I stopped drinking coffee and stopped buying soda with caffeine.

I understand she is lonely but its self imposed. She does not want to leave the house, she refuses to pick up the phone and call anyone in the family. She has her sudoku/crossword puzzle books, her cards she plays solitaire with, a window she stares out of, and her shows.

Anyone else in a similar situation?

I’ve not lived with my dad, thankfully he won’t allow any relative to live with him, but I did see the beginnings of him getting too dependent on me being there. Had to put the brakes on that, it wasn’t good for either of us. Your mom has gotten this way because you’ve allowed it to happen, we truly do teach people how to treat us. She’s lonely and bored. Try taking her to an adult day program, even if she doesn’t like the idea, do a visit where you stay. Tell her you both need more interaction in life, she may not understand but that doesn’t make it less true. She needs to get out and stop the isolation, which is isolating you. Your sisters visits aren’t enough of a break for you, there’s every possibility you’re going to burn out completely before the end of this.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to Daughterof1930
Penelope123 Feb 22, 2019
I don't think she's "taught" her to do these things because when you read all the other folks in the same situation, and I am also, this is what happens with the disease. Hard to take someone to adult day care when they won't budge an inch. Even when I take my Mom out it is never enough! So I completely understand how she feels and blaming her doesn't help.
Well she’s certainly taught you how to behave and it’s working in her favor. You need to tell mom that you don’t want to be sitting all day and need your space. I don’t know how bad her dementia is but maybe work out a signal. Like give her a stuffed animal or doll to hold when you need time for yourself. Tell her that when you give her the "doll" that she’s on her own until you come back. Soon she will learn...but you need to set boundaries and stick to them. Just let those eyes wash right over you. No one can take advantage of you unless you let them. You’re going to go bonkers if you don’t set boundaries and have a system.
plus sitting all day is not good for your health.
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Reply to Harpcat
moecam Feb 20, 2019
A tyrant can be a little old lady - with dementia treat them like  a 3 year old - give her an activity & leave - tell her that you need to do your own thing so she must get used to you being out of her sight -

Go to your room & lock the door then if she knocks do a gentle scolding & take away her dessert or similar but make her aware that that is the result of her actions - even unplug her favourite show as a deterant ... it won't take long for her to learn the cause & effect - it may sound harsh but you need to have some time to do your own thing
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Yes, my LO used to be very insistent that I be with her all the time. I'd explain that I had to go to work, she's accept that, but, not much later start calling and wanting me to come to her. She would forget that I was at work, so, I'd have to keep reminding her. As her dementia became clear, it made sense. She simply wasn't able to process logical information, retain facts, use reason or put my needs into focus. Her brain just prevented her from doing those things, so, I had to stop expecting it. I came to learn that she was confused and scared a lot because the brain is changing and brought her comfort to have me close. At times, she would tell me things seemed strange in her head and she would ask me if she was was so sad.

As her dementia progresses, I'd try to arrange for someone to be with her at all times to comfort her and remind her that you are returning, are running errands, working, whatever she will accept will work. It's so stressful to provide care for someone who has these kind of behaviors. I'd try to get more time for yourself. It's so stressful.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Sunnygirl1

Hi Silveron I just want to say I completely understand what your feeling and going through cause I was in this situation a couple of months ago that I felt that at times I wanted to pullout all my hair cause my mom wanted to be with me all the time and didnt have much time for myself. But what I want to also say is to cherish all the time you have with her because I just lost my mother and I would have anything to have those days back just be with her again.I don't know how your relationship is between you and your mother but when your mom one day might not be there you will wish she was.I did everything for my mother just like you are doing for yours and I don't regret anything that was shared between us the good and not so good.what I'm saying is be with your mother as much as you can . Love her no matter what.
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Reply to stressedout9603

It was the same way for me when my mother lived with me. Before she moved in, there were moans and groans about how she'd have no privacy. She got over that pretty quickly. I'd work an 8 hour day, come home and just want to unwind for an hour or so but she would run right out of her in-law apartment with whatever mail she received that day, waiving it in my face and demanding I read each piece of mail (mostly requests for donations) and take care of whatever it was immediately. Then she'd bug me about when I was going to make dinner. During dinner, she'd regale me with stories about her bowel movements until I couldn't eat. My kids ate in their rooms or the living room because they couldn't stand her constant criticism about what they ate, how much they ate, etc. After dinner, she'd be right at me again. I'd be trying to watch a TV program or read a book and she would yammer on forever about what she saw on Dr. Phil that day or ask what each character on the TV was saying. Forget about spending time with my kids - she was jealous as hell if I even spoke to them. She grew up as a much-spoiled only child, so this "I must be the center of attention" behavior wasn't exactly out of character, but it certainly magnified when dementia set in. She now lives in a memory care facility and has plenty of people to pay attention to her and guess what - she doesn't like it!
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to lablover64

When Mom was home I had hired an in home health agency to give me respite. Your sister needs to stay 3 days, not 3 hours so you can get some respite. If that's not possible then look into home health agencies in your area.
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Reply to mmcmahon12000

I am dealing with the same thing except with my husband. I feel like a slave. I had to seek professional help. Slow process but I now see a light. Helps to know I'm not alone but sorry that you have to go through it.
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Reply to Sammysunny

Oh My God YES! My mother is 83, has COPD, and not so much dementia as a borderline personality disorder. She is also very hard of hearing but refuses to wear her hearing aids and is perfectly fine making me repeat everything I say five or six times! She wants me in the livingroom with her watching TV all the time too except she talks to me constantly so I can never actually hear or watch anything. It drives me crazy! If I leave to run errands she is constantly blowing my phone up, (there is a lady that stays with her while I'm gone running errands) so when I leave I still feel tied to her.

Like you, it's ok if I'm in the kitchen but she can't stand it if I go to my room to rest or have some alone time and she will bust up in my room unless I lock the door. If my door is locked she screams and yells at me through the door. I feel like I'm losing my mind most of the time. I feel like a prisoner. I don't get to get out and spend time with my friends or do activities that I enjoy. I have no life outside of the four walls of the house. My church is an hour away so I can't go there either. I just sit in the living room and watch it on TV or on my computer. I usually say I'm going to bed early at night just so I can have a little time to myself before I fall asleep which usually doesn't take very long because I am so depressed. You are not alone!
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Reply to manilowgirl
Live247 Feb 20, 2019
Manilowgirl, I could have writen word-for-word your first paragraph! Seriously, so many comments here are similar that I wonder why this is. I do not, nor could I ever, live with my mom because we are like a match to dynamite after about a week. But when I've had to be with her for an extended length of time, our conversations are: sit here, look at me, pay attention to me, who are you calling (on phone), get me some water and put it right here, don't put that there.... The TV volume is always so loud, sometimes I would have to go upstairs because it would give me a headache. For the last two years I've made sure to always have yarn and knitting needles or crochet hook with me. I don't care what I end up making - just something to do with my hands to keep my sanity. And that's what I call it, my Sanity Bag with minimum two skeins of yarn and a crochet hook. Then I donate the items to a group of ladies who make things for organizations. I'd go nuts without my Sanity Bag.
Oh Gosh YESSSS! And the thing is that I am by myself with NO SIBLING help. When I have to leave for household errands, (when a p/t caregiver comes) Mom(94) gives me the 3rd degree. She is so argumentative to the point that she accuses me of wanting to go by myself so I can meet my (so called) boyfriend. Shhhoot I have NO SOCIAL LIFE, NIL, ZERO, ZIP!!! And I am still young. But I will continue until I no longer can.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Delido
MargaretMcKen Mar 2, 2019
Why continue until you 'no longer can'? Till you're dead? Have a breakdown? Injure yourself lifting her? You shouldn't need a disaster to give you permission to look after yourself.
Yep, I'm going through the same thing. My mom falls asleep on the couch and I get up and go to my room to lay down and I'm not even in there five minutes when she hollers for me. I have no social life, either . She doesn't like me leaving her for two hours to go to church and calls me at church to come home and take her to the bathroom. Then if I go out with friends afterwards I always come home first to make sure she's taken care of. I'm 57 years old and I get the third degree. She asked me if I had something going with a guy friend of mine. I don't know what she's afraid of.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Teresa914
mmcmahon12000 Feb 20, 2019
Then get a home health agency to help you. That's what they're there for.
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