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My cousin had the most mellow, easy to care for elderly mother (her father passed at a young age many years ago). Her mother rarely complained about anything, and whatever my friend wanted to help her with, such as taking showers, cleaning the house, hiring outside help when needed, etc, her mother would gladly accept the help. And her mother always expressed gratitude for her daughter's help. She also never played mind games with her daughter, was never manipulative or controlling, and never tried to make her feel guilty about doing enough, or about going out to spend a couple of hours with a friend. Her mother was always good-natured, had a positive outlook, and was always smiling and laughing.


Furthermore, my cousin has a sister and a brother who live nearby, and did their part to help with their mother.


Have you ever heard of such an IDEAL care-giving situation?? Of course, I certainly don't begrudge my cousin for having such a wonderful mother! But as I struggle beneath this enormous burden as a caregiver to my difficult parents who are in their 90's, I also struggle with feelings of envy and resentment. I'm ashamed to have such feelings, but it's so hard not to, when my parents are both driving me over the edge of insanity. I love parents, and they have been very good to me through the years, for which I am so grateful, but on the other hand, my mother has a "Jekyll & Hyde" personality, as she has what I believe to be Borderline Personality Disorder, which has caused a tremendous amount of turmoil and anguish for me and the family, and my father is wonderful, but tends to be obsessive-compulsive, which drives me crazy. And I get almost no help from my sister.


From everything I'm reading here in this group and elsewhere online, it seems that the vast majority of elderly parents are very difficult to care for, and getting help from siblings is a very common problem, too. But have you ever come across easy-going elderly people, or are they truly a RARITY? What percentage of elders, would you say, is difficult versus easy to care for?

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My Dad was a joy for everyone. He welcomed every caregiver into the house, and the caregivers use to jump at a chance to fill in if a regular caregiver called in sick, etc. Once a caregiver noticed Dad was tossing the bills into the recycling, I asked Dad if I could use his checkbook to pay his bills. Next day we were at the bank for me to sign a signature card.

At 93 it was Dad who said he wanted to look at senior living. As soon as I drove up to the first place, he said "where do I sign up". We went on tour, and had a free lunch. He was ready to move in. He was thrilled being around people of his own age.

Dad asked me to sell the house. When I asked him what to do with the remaining items in the house, he said just bulldoze everything down. "Ah, Dad, I don't think the HOA would approve", we had a good laugh.

When Dad had to move into Assisted Living/Memory Care, we referred to Dad's studio apartment as his "college dorm room" since Dad had all his books crammed in there :)
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Reply to freqflyer
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fost40 May 27, 2020
What a blessing! God was good to you!
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To be fair the people who are not struggling with various issues are not visiting places like this to look for answers. My mom was very compliant and grateful, it made me feel all the worse when the burden of caregiving turned me into a harpy😕.
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notgoodenough May 26, 2020
You took the words out of my mouth! If we had easier times with caregiving we wouldn't be on a support message board :)
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I will be 87 so I have lived a long life and I have seen and heard so much. One of the most difficult things is for people to have to deal with people whose behavior and actions and needs have a negative impact on their own lives. This happens all too often and it increases greatly as children and parents become older - the clashes become worse. No one should feel guilty for being angry or resentful about this - if you did not feel that way, I would question what is wrong with you not to rebel. I can't say this any other way but I had a very hard life and it was far too late in my life when I finally woke up and said that I was no longer going to tolerate bad treatment and the resulting impact on me. Now I fight back to stop the bad behavior, etc. The problem is in most cases, you cannot fix it. That leaves two choices. You really "take the bull by the horns" and if need be, go to extremes to force them to stop. If that does not work, and most likely won't, then you have a choice to make. Are you going to keep them in your lives and allow them to destroy YOU or are you going to do the only other sensible thing and place them where they are NOT in your life, other than perhaps phone calls or visits. No one, ever, under any circumstances should let the elderly, or anyone for that matter, cause harm to them. Never.
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cherokeegrrl54 May 30, 2020
Very wise words spoken.... thank you!
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My parents are still quite young, in their mid-70’s, but they have already picked out a retirement home that will continue to care for them as they age. They are both very healthy, thank God. They see what I’m going through with my husband, who is older than me and requires my full time care. They don’t want either me or my sister to have to care for them like this.

My husband has gone through stages of defiance, depression, anxiety, clinging, confusion and frustration, which I think are very normal to experience. Sometimes, it has been very difficult on me. But, he’s not always like this, and more recently he seems to have found some peace. What’s nice is that every few days, he will thank me. This morning he serenaded me with Paul Anka’s “Diana.” 🥰 Life isn’t so bad.
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Actually, there is no way to tell how the vast majority of elderly parents are - For one thing, what makes a difficult relationship is usually the combination of both the child and the parent. Also, bad relationships are probably over represented online -- people who are having a good relationship usually are not posting online.
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I suspect the easy going ones are the silent majority. People usually join a forum such as this when they are having problems caregiving, not if it's smooth sailing.
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Cascia May 30, 2020
It's actually helpful to vent here and read that other people are going through the same things also ideas are plentiful with how to deal with a myriad of issues especially when its all new - I find that friends offer help and lend an ear but even if they have gone through it, don't really want to listen so much to your woes a few are compassionate but most are impatient and quite honestly when I am done with eldercare I don't know how much I'll want to hear about it myself. It's a thankless job and not for the way of heart.
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A loving caring sweet natured young and or middle aged parent will remain the same good sweet person in old age unless he or she has become brain damaged. My grandparents and all my elderly aunts and uncles all retained their same good character in old age as always. Their personalities did not change as they aged. They all died of heart failure at 96 or older and stayed in their right minds either until the end or until a month or less before death.I am 86 and possibly things have changed a lot now. Apparently , most elderly people on prescribed a number of meds including statins, strong diuretics, narcotic pain relievers, so called antidepressants, etc. I do not know whether or not all thes so called meds cause brain damage or if it was healthy country living that once protected elderly people.However, I have in the past 20 years or more seen a lot of formerly nice perople turn into demented monsters. May God have mercy.I take no meds and I am hoping to keep wonderful well working brain for a long time.
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Reply to BobbieSena
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I think my mom is one of the nicest people, but it is still a difficult situation.  She has dementia, her memory is shot.  She is fragile, can barely walk -- but tries to!!   She gets up and wanders at night, I have alarms all over the place.   No one should underestimate the work involved.
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Harpcat May 30, 2020
So very true. Even if they are good, kind parent, the job is still hard!!
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My 95 year old Mother with dementia just passed away a month ago and I was her full time caregiver for the past year. She was truly one of the ‘easy ones’!

She did everything I asked, never complained, followed all instructions and was truly a piece of cake to care for. Dementia stole her ability to converse much, other than the usual dementia questions: What day is it? Where am I going? What do I do? So we could not share memories, experiences, etc, but she remained easy-going until the day she died.

I attended caregiver support groups and heard the challenges most caregivers are experiencing. My caregiver job tied up my time and there were certainly a few moments of frustration, but I now realize that my situation may have been very unusual.

I am so sorry your days are so stressed. I commend you for what you are doing! Reach out as much as you can to outside support if possible.
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Reply to akbohman
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i am going thru the same thing! My mom has always been great and just diagnosed with dementia and she is mean, ugly and has turned into a person I don’t even recognize anymore. I totally get you! I made a decision of putting her in a nursing home and it was heartbreaking! The kicker of all is that the employees of the nursing home tell me how sweet and loving she is, like WTF?!?!
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gdaughter May 30, 2020
Oh yeah, I can picture that so easily. Welcome to the Evil Son club LOL. Consider yourself lucky that you were able to make her move and she is seeming content and loved by the staff.
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