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I found this forum when searching for answers to my questions, and found there seems to be a community of people asking the same kinds of questions here.


I'm wondering, in general, for those adult children who are struggling in their relationships with their elderly parents, are these mostly situations where the relationship with that parent has had a rocky history, or can previously good parent/child relationships go bad when the parent gets older?

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In short, yes any relationship can be strained due to various issues when caring for the elderly.

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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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I agree with MJ. I think that when senior parents have cognitive decline, it’s imperative the adult child be able to accept it and not take the words from that parent so personally. I’m not sure what part of brain damage they can not accept. Holding a person who has dementia to the same standard you would a person with a healthy brain is not realistic. It’s akin to being angry with a person who is in a coma because they refuse to have a conversation with you.

Seniors without cognitive decline can push your buttons too. I’ve learned to pick my battles and not let little things bother me. In the scheme of life, what is really important....I try to frame things that way and I can let minor stuff roll off my back. I’ve had very a strained relationship with my parents, long ago and then we were on very good terms for years. Now, I’m more of their caretaker and it’s strained. Senior behavior, poor choices, selfish decisions, make it difficult for the adult children. It’s hard being a senior. I see it everyday. I see what I don’t want to do when I’m their age.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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I no longer struggle in my relationships with my parents. I have very firm boundaries in place. It is the only way for me to deal with decades of crap from them.
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Reply to Tothill
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YES!
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Reply to lacyisland
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I have experienced both. A good relationship that was strained by the changes disease caused and a fraught relationship where the ill person became sweet and appreciative and much easier to be around.

I think when our parents age we need to have a relationship with whoever is being offered to us and lose any expectation that the same mom or dad we used to have is available to us anymore.
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Reply to Marcia732
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I'm waiting to see! I am wondering how many times I have to say no to unrealistic requests, no to enabling bad decisions, no to having my time rostered for tasks without asking first... How long will it take for either side to feel either unloved or misunderstood?
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Reply to Beatty
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My mother died from cancer aged 78. That’s not the typical situation with unhappy posters, but for me the relationship got better as she got more ill. She had always had a head set that I was ‘the academic one’ of the three daughters, and that turned upside down when I was the one doing all the caring at the end. She was both surprised and grateful. I’m very glad that I didn’t lose her in the way that happens with dementia, and very sorry for the people that suffer that way.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Yeah, that can happen, but it can also go the other way too. I had a very turbulent childhood with .y dad but as he aged things improved until his dementia started then it was a never knee deal with what might happen, one minute he was happy as a lark and the next he would have me in a chokehold. All I said to dad was would you like beer or wine with the pizza and he had me in that chokehold. Next minute he would say what are we having for dessert, having forgotten the previous moments of anger.
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Reply to thingsarecrazy8
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Dear "MJ1929," - Very well said and I agree with everything.

Relationships rarely change for the better when they weren't good to begin with -not that it can't happen but for the most part, it's more of the same just worse!

I'm glad you still see glimpses of your mom every now and then allowing you to know "she's still in there."

(Oops, missed hitting the "reply to" button!)
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Reply to NobodyGetsIt
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Anything can happen, but I'd say that those here who are talking about terrible relationships are carrying a lot of baggage from years of terrible relationships.

I was always very close to my parents, and their aging never changed that. What it did change was who was the parent and who was the child. I'm now in charge and my mother is the helpless one, so I have no expectations of her to behave like an adult, take care of her personal business, or do anything but try to have as pleasant a life as possible at her age with her issues.

I find it really hard to read some of the posts here by people who seem to be unable to understand that a mind with dementia is not a rational one, so expectations absolutely have to be adjusted. My mother wouldn't say "Sh*t" if she had a mouthful of it, but she's not the mother I once knew and let's just say she's stored up some colorful language in 91 years and now knows how to use it. I understand that it's the best way she has of expressing herself when she's frustrated or in pain, so I don't hassle her about it. I apologize to whomever she aimed those comments at, but they're professionals and understand as well.

The mom I knew was gone about four years ago, but I still see glimpses of her now and again. She had a wicked sense of humor, so when they surfaces, I know she's still in there. I don't worry about how she is the rest of the time. She'll always be my mother, and I know she loves me and I love her.
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Reply to MJ1929
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