Am I too controlling?

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I just read an article about over-controlling caregivers and I do many of the items in the list. The one that really got me was that I prepare dinner most nights for Mom. I don't let her make her own dinner or help make our dinner. (Mom is 67, had a stroke, has blind spots over half her vision, and no longer can understand quantity or measure things accurately.) So my evenings in the kitchen are quiet times for me. I cook very simple meals that require little work - like chicken thighs on a Foreman grill and boiled potatoes and broccoli, for example. I don't want to watch Mom cook. Selfishly, I don't really want to cook together, either. Her vision makes it hard to move around her in a small space and we bump into each other. And I don't want the food ready when I get home because I want to feed the dogs first and then spend some time reading by myself.

Yesterday I made it possible for Mom to cook this soup she loves which can be made in the crock pot. She even cut the cabbage herself. It was a success. But she can't eat that everyday! :)

So now I feel guilty that I'm being too controlling. We can't win for losing, can we?!

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Orangeblossom, I do clean the bathroom, but never let mom know that is what I am doing. I tell her I have to pee, close the door and scrub the toilet quickly and she never knows that I did it. Her dignity is preserved. As for the floor, pretend to spill something "Oops I gotta wipe that up" and you'll get one room done before he knows what is happening. "Well I got the mop out anyway, I guess I'll keep going" with a smile.
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I didn't read the article, cmcwrinkl1, but as caregivers we all do what we have to do. It is good to review our practices, and sometimes we discover areas of improvement from articles by experts or even by listening to what other caregivers do. Each case is unique, so never let yourself be guilted because you don't conform to someone else's guidelines.

It sounds like you are doing great on the cooking issues for your mother. Try the once-a-week plan and see how that goes.

In general, it is good to allow/encourage our impaired loved ones to do what they can for themselves, keeping safety and abilities in mind. But it is also OK to consider your own needs. For example, if supervising Mom's dinner preparation takes twice a long as just doing it yourself it is OK to factor that in when making decisions. If you simply don't like having her in the kitchen with you, that is a valid consideration. Everything doesn't always have to be about what is good for her. You count, too.

It will probably help you to be clear about "I'm doing things this way for Mother's benefit" and "I need to do it this way for my sake." A balance between the two would be my goal.
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I asked Mom to buy wipes and a duster for her room and her bathroom. So one day soon I'll ask her to clean those two rooms "for me." She says she can't see the dust so why bother. :) But I can. She already unloads the dishwasher most days, which is great. (My least favorite chore.) Now if I could just get her to place her dirtry dishes inside, that would be cool.

I realized on my drive home (after I posted my question) that I might be able to let her cook once a week, maybe, while I read on the porch just outside the kitchen. Then I get a "break." I know if I present it that way, she will be willing. I've begun a list of possible family recipes we can try. Or she can do simple things like the foreman grill herself, I think. It's worth a try.

So glad to have this forum!!!
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I didn't read the article, but it sounds like that with the cooking issues you are acting perfectly reasonably. It's great that you made it possible for her to handle the crock pot meal so she still feels capable and useful. My basic operational standpoint is to let them do whatever they are capable of doing safely, even if supervision is called for, and even if they do things a lot more slowly than we do. For instance, if I have cooked for my Uncle, I will clean up everything, but leave it for him to dry the dishes and put them away. He washes, dresses, and fixes his own bed every day. I no longer allow him to cook at the stove if it involves boiling water or hot oil. He can actually still do a reasonable job of cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, but I will no longer allow him to get on his knees to clean the floor or to use a mop & pail. (He is legally blind and lives alone) Yes it takes an interminably long time for him to do these things, but he feels that he has accomplished something and it basically gives him something to do with his time besides sitting around and vegetating. This evening I am going over to give the bathroom a thorough scrubbing and to wash the floors in is his apt. I am sure I will find many spots he missed, but I will still tell him he did a good enough job that it won't be so difficult for me to the heavy cleaning.
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When I go see Mom, I ask her what she wants to make. She can still tell me where to find things in her kitchen, and she makes suggestions of what ingredients to use. I also check any items for expiration dates and toss out the bad stuff. I do the work, but she has creative control and it makes her very happy. I ask her to taste things at each step, but she knows that the burners and oven are usually a disaster for her so I watch the simmering kettles and baking pizzas to be safe. She takes credit for the finished product, LOL.
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when my mother was talking phsycobabble i still led her to believe that i presented options, she made the decisions. we both knew better but her dignity and brilliance were left unassaulted..
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If your mom wants to help cook, maybe you could prepare the veggies ahead of time but let her put them in the pot/pan,etc. Not a daily thing but a few times a week. Maybe you could let her to some other things for you like fold laundry, dust the furniture and help with dishes. It would allow your mom to feel more independent and that she is contributing. It is hard, I know, because we get in a routine and want some down time when we get home from work. Just mix it up a little giving her some things to do. You are doing a great job so don't beat yourself up over it. Not everything you read is right on target either. Hugs!!
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