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I have to admit I regularly complain that my mom has basically given up doing anything for herself. She basically sits in a recliner most of the waking day except when she gets up to the use the restroom and then it’s to the chair until bedtime. She rarely if ever takes the initiative to go to the kitchen to make herself a meal unless she’s passing through on her way to or from the bathroom. She mostly refuses outside trips except to the doctor or rarely to my sisters’ for special occasions but those might happen once every few months if that. She expects everyone to come to her if they want to see her. But when that does happen she wants to try and cook for the family like she always had. The problem? Her balance is poor, it causes her a lot of physical pain and her sight is greatly diminished after a retinal occlusion in her right eye took away about 35% of her vision, so she has terrible trouble seeing and gauging distances, numbers, letters etc. Hence when she wants to cook I’m expected to be on hand and available to do whatever she can’t do. Translation: she sits on a kitchen stool at the counter, issuing orders and making me do all the labor just to make her feel useful. I understand her wanting to feel useful and needed but I keep telling her she needs to find other ways that don’t require her to do as many physical tasks that she is now unable to manage alone. But she just gets mad and says she doesn’t have anything else to do and this is all she knows. So I’m at a loss, I don’t know how to help her feel useful but at the same time save me from constantly having to accommodate her laborious demands.

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You nicely need to set up Boundries. Someone sitting in my kitchen while I am cooking would drive me crazy. My family knows this.

If your Mom refuses dialysis, she will not live long. Toxins build up in the body and you get septic. I have had two friend die from this both diabetics.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Your mom is very young with serious problems. Tonight on the news I saw a segment in Chicago where people were donating kidneys. It was very inspiring. Two young girls who lost their dad to kidney disease started off a group that included 10 people giving and receiving.
You know your mom probably misses her own cooking but can’t do it anymore without help.
Perhaps she wants to recreate the feelings of a time gone by?
Plus cooking is creative and we all enjoy having a creative outlet.
Since you don’t want to be her Sou Chef would it be possible for one of the other daughters or maybe a grandchild to help her or maybe help you as you help her? How often does this happen? You could make it a fun event that might help the family grow closer. Perhaps someone could help with your son that day so you aren’t so overwhelmed.
My aunt (92) seldom helps now but as recently as a year ago she would peel potatoes. Snap beans. Shell peas. Peel eggs. She still sets her coffee pot up at night before going to bed but that’s about it in the kitchen.
Good that you recognize that you are annoyed when she does want to do something. Hopefully you will find a way to make it work.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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Is there no aged Day care programmes where you live. It’s like kindy for oldies
where I live there are lots. Usually free through government funding or a very small fee. Usually goes for 5 hours. They have morning tea and lunch. Do activities and such. Many have pick up and drop off. Try your local aged care services, church and such. I am sure there will be something
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Reply to anonymous882968
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Not easy when your mom loses her physical ability. I am in the same situation. My mom sits in recliner most of day and then tv in bedroom in evenings. She wants to do more & I feel so badly that she isn't able to. Before her sickness we use to shop, lunch, salon on Very regular basis. Now she goes out once every week or so. Ive wished so much that my mom enjoyed books or needlepoint bc it really helps with the mind to occupy it. My mom also loved to cook!! I miss her cooking to. Maybe you get mom a vegetable peeler so she can work on peeling while your on another task. It makes the cooking more pleasant if each person has a role and its great your mom wants to participate!! Thier are many things she can go while sitting, even if you have to get food prepped for her:) Nothing better then moms homecooked meal for family to enjoy ❤
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Reply to Justme44
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When my mother simply lost the ability to hold anything that weights more than about 5 lbs, her cooking days were over. Also, her apartment is filthy and I won't eat anything unless it's from a freshly opened container. Salad with bird feathers in it is gross.

She still wanted to be a hostess (this ship has now sailed, but a few years back..) and so we talked her into getting the main dish--and it was something she could purchase in huge quantities and be 'acknowledged' as having bought it. Then the rest of us brought a side dish. This worked pretty well, although all she ever wanted was KFC and our families eat 'healthy' and so there was always a ton of chicken left over. We just hid that fact from her.

I am at the stage where I really don't enjoy doing the huge meals much--but, goodness, by the time my mother was my age she had long since quit doing any family meals.

There's nothing wrong with handing over the torch! Just because some women can whomp up a meal for 40 into their 80's and 90's does not mean every woman can!!
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Reply to Midkid58
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I can certainly empathize with you, kthomas. My mother did the exact same thing. Except she didn't sit in a kitchen stool - she sat in her recliner to issue cooking directions Or sometimes she didn't get involved at all, as in "I promised to bring potato salad - will you make it?"

I'm not sure it's your job to help her feel useful. I think your job is only to decide what you're willing or not willing to do. Can your family switch to a "pot luck" format for family gatherings? Maybe your mother could just provide coffee and dessert, meaning cake or cookies bought from a store. Could you maybe persuade your mother to start using catered food like party platters from the grocery store?

If all else fails, you'll just have to put your foot down. The more you allow her to treat you like an extension of herself, the more she'll see you that way, and the harder it will be.
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Reply to CarlaCB
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SofiaAmirpoor Jul 2, 2019
I'm liking the pot luck idea!
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