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My mom moved in with us 6 weeks ago after my dad died in March. She is medically fragile, uses a walker and gets dialysis 3x a week. She really wants to be independent, which I understand, but she is offering help to carry things, to cook meals, lots of things. Unfortunately she cannot help in most cases. What ends up happening is that she then asks someone to come get things for her, to move things, to put things back and becomes too worn out to clean up after herself. In many cases, its easier to do things our selves. She needs to feel needed, but is making a lot more work.

I feel sad part of the time, she's overwhelmed with the changes that have happened, most not of her choice. We offer her choices and she is overwhelmed. But if we don't ask her what she wants she gets her feelings hurt.
She desires the independence, but needs help to be safe. Her emotional responses are more like a 7-11 year old rather than a grown woman.

I knew there would be adjustments to make, but I find myself feeling frustrated most of the time. I don't want the end of her life to be remembered by feelings of frustration and it'll get harder before she's gone. What did you do to become more understanding, more tolerant, and accepting?
K

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Captain - Do you think we're stupid? We will give you a few jars of greasy rusty nuts, bolts, screws and nails to sort. You'll be in your element.
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My 87 yr old dad doesn't feel like he is a burden, just the opposite, he expects us to do whatever he want's or need's, but will not let outsiders help. He is a walking skeleton & lives at home alone, just the way he want's it, but I know the time is getting closer for a fall, not going to be able to get up, & once again, we will loose another piece of our sanity:( God, Give us strength
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lol Captain .. what??? you don't fold the towels and washcloths? For pity's sake, how in the world do ya find stuff?

(I'm kidding, y'know)
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I prayed to Jesus to help me be transformed to serve my Mom well.
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There is so much wisdom in these answers (and on this site in general). I just love the way each poster for this question has added a little tidbit of knowledge and experience that make such good sense and that comes from such a loving place.
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This was a problem at our house too. The downhill slide to dependence is pretty difficult for anyone and it can be pretty frustrating when the situation gets to the point where the elder clearly is struggling to to what they have done all of their lives. They hate to feel that they are a burden or not pulling their own weight.

Mom has lived with us for many years, as her abilities declined we made adjustments. If it was heavy duty stuff, like vacuuming or laundry - we would say Mom, that's too much for you, we can do it. Cleaning up the kitchen - Mom you shouldn't be on your feet for so long, we can take care of it. Eventually, we got to Mom, if you can keep your bathroom and bedroom straightened, it would be a big help. Don't worry about the rest of the house. Time straightened out a lot of things. Now, at 95, very fragile, she doesn't have the ability to do much of anything beyond getting herself to the bathroom and getting from point A to point B and even that is getting more difficult to do without help. So yes it can be very frustrating for you, but it is equally frustrating for the elder. Try not to allow small things to become big things, try to just adjust as the situation changes.

Talking with her will help. Sounds like you've gotten that ball started. Good Luck.
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I learned to listen. Now I do exactly what my Dad wants, in the exact order, at the exact time. We get along famously. What the hell do I care how many tomatoes to buy, how the bed is made, or how often I water the plants . My sisters run screaming from the house, because they insist their way is best, and Dad digs his heels in and fights with them. I try to tell them, but listening is a lost art. In doing what Dad wants I give him control over his own life. He retains the power and the control. What greater gift can I give him? It wasn't easy. Next to quitting cigarettes it's probably the hardest thing I have done, shutting up and admitting I don't know everything. .
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everybody tries to task elders with folding clothes. i have two open front bins. jeans and the other stuff. i aint foldin no clothes is what im sayin.
caregiving patience has evolved for me by doing a lot of reading online. at some point you realize that your doing a pretty good job under the circumstances and take a degree of pride in it. i sometimes see people on here so diswraught that theyre ready to jump off a bridge. then i realize that im not doing too badly.
and dont jump off the bridge. you could catch a std when you land..
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Mom and I had a fantastic talk today. She was in good spirits. She asked about feeling as if she was really causing too much tension in the family. We were able to talk about how on good days her independence is clear and doing things for herself makes sense, but that on her bad days, when she says she can do things for herself, it is clear that she is stuggling and we fear for her safety. I was able to let her know that her denying her bad days affected our trust in her perception and thus we hover too much, or do things for her that she'd like to do for herself. She let us know that she wasn't denying it to us, but to herself. That it is hard for her to face. She could definitely see how the denying would lead us to not feel good about her independence. We'll see how things go, but it was probably the first really clear, honest talk we had yet.
Thanks for the support
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Hi Kgirl, Welcome to AC! I was going to say what Nancy said – give your mom some small chores. Folding towels, clothes, etc… You can always refold it later when she’s not around. Or if you don’t have enough laundry to fold, then unfold it so that she can re-fold it. How about when you’re doing chores, you can give her simple jigsaw puzzles to work along side you in the kitchen or the diningroom. Is there something that your mom used to love to do? Crochet? Knit? Gardening? Whatever her previous interests, maybe set up a Simple Task related to her interest.

As for talking to her…I noticed that when I talk too fast, my father looks lost. And I can tell when he answers me, that he didn’t understand what I said. So, I did a search on YouTube for Teepa Snow’s videos. I’ve watched #1-4 over and over. I tried applying to my father and it works. Now, when I ask him questions, I keep it Simple. Do you want this or that? Only 2 choices – and not more. And I need to give him time to figure out the answer. He can no longer reply right away. For example, if I want to know what he wants to eat, I do not ask what he wants to eat because most times, we don’t have it. So, I ask if he wants mashed potatoes or chicken soup? I don’t go into details like, “do you want mashed potatoes, with chicken nuggets and mixed veggies? or do you want chicken vegetable soup with pickle asparagus on the side?” Just keep your comments and your questions simple and straight to the point.
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Welcome to the wonderful world of caregiving for our elderly. Seriously. Although it's full of hurdles, being able to give care and comfort to our seniors can be rewarding and full of love. And angst.

On this site you'll read a lot about boundaries. The ones we have to set (to keep ourselves well) and the ones that conditions and health set for us and our loved one. We have to learn them. Then we find workarounds. We have to realize and accept that the challenges we face are sometimes overwhelming, and then we have to learn to breathe, again (really learn to breathe .. what we've been doing for decades is automatic .. conscious breathing is a very dynamic and different thing), and then take a moment or fifty and reconsider how to deal with it. Communication is huge. If lucid moments are few and far between, we have to learn to recognize them and take advantage to get clearer pictures of what our loved one wants.

I think NancyH's suggestion is great: uncover the things she can safely do (and don't worry about reliable .. you may decide to reDO everything she's done, but don't let her know or tell her, that would defeat the whole purpose) and post a schedule. Daily, weekly and monthly things. This also has the advantage of challenging diminishing mental faculties.

When things start feeling like a challenge .. do the 'walk in her shoes' thing. Trying to get our elders to do it our way, in most cases, is an exercise in futility and frustration. Give yourself this challenge: go through your day in her world. If she uses a walker, use it like she must. If she has a hard time bending over, wear a corset or something that restricts YOUR movement the same way. Put a stone in your shoe. You may discover a whole new world. And appreciation for her perspective.
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Can you make a job chart for the whole family? She could sit and fold clothes for example, or maybe do dusting? I was thinking that when my son was young, he did a lot better knowing EXACTLY what was expected of him. He had regular jobs that a kid could do, and he knew he had to do them. It wasn't a problem for him because with his ADHD he NEEDED a regular schedule and expectations from us in order to function without acting up. Now he uses that ADHD (at age 33) to his benefit, but not when he was a kid.
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