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I bust my butt for my 95.5 yr. old Mother who lives with me, and work part-time as well. I do the very best I can to take care of her. She is able to get around with her walker and gets dressed herself. But, she is constantly pointing out negative things and brings them to my attention! Like, I just mowed and cleaned up the yard and she'll point out one leaf that is still out there! Things like that. It drives me nuts! I take pride in my flowers too and I have a beautiful arrangement of geraniums, alyssum, starburst lilies and light green potato vines. It's beautiful! She goes up to it and points out a few leaves that have some little bug holes in them- I'm mean minute ones! What the heck? Why can't she see the beauty in anything- it's always something I've left out or not done right. Yikes! My daughter says I am negative....woah- wonder where I get it from? Any suggestions? I have said to her, "Now, Mom, can you please point out how beautiful the whole arrangement is without nit-picking about one little thing?" She doesn't get it. I just want to scream!

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Must follow this question. My Mom is the same way. Will write more at another time. Just got in. Thanks!!
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Oh yes the little ladies light up when there is some gossip or bad news about someone else. This used to bother me greatly because my Mom never was gleeful about others misfortunes but boy has that changed. She delights when I do something that she thinks is wrong or not good enough. I just ignore it but she moved into AL 3 weeks ago and I worry about the impression that she will make on the residents who are still "with it" mentally.
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If I throw my two cents in, I think it is lack of control. Fussing and critisizing little things can give a sense of still being in charge. "See there are greenfly on the roses AGAIN"
It conveys the impression that when she was in charge and powerful no bug would dare set foot in her garden. Maybe ask for her advice????????????"What did you use to spray them with Mom? That helps to validate her as a person and still valuable. Easy to make suggestions when not in someone elses situation.
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I'm interested in your indignation that your daughter accuses *you* of being negative! Ditto. But to look on the bright side, my irritation with my mother's constant focus on the miserable, the faulty, the offensive in everything she beholds has stopped me doing it so much. Our search for something, anything - please God! - that will bring a smile to their little old faces does force us to seek out positives. I can't speak for anyone else, but I do have to admit that that might not always have been my everyday habit cough cough...
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Some people are just negative by nature. Mom will be 84 at the end of September and is in excellent health. Yesterday I called her to see if she was informed of the sex of her grandaughter's unborn child. I was waiting for my daughter to give her the exciting news.Since she did not mention it, I figured my daughter had not had the opportunity to tell her grandmother. So I said nothing leaving it to my daughter to share the excitement with her grandmother.

All she talked about was the past and how poorly she was treated as a child and what a victim she is. Same story, different day. After our conversation my daughter called me and I asked her if she had told her grandmother the good news. She said yes, she had talked to her twice. I was not surprised. Mom did not mention one word about her new great granddaughter. It was the excitement of the entire family but she never mentioned it. It wasn't about her.

Negative, selfish, totally uninterested. And this is not age related.
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Hi everyone,

This is very familiar.

I truly do think that negativity IS more 'normal' than not for the advanced in age. And that it's not necessarily personal, directed at the caregiver.

They've lost mobility, the ability to think clearly often, their independence and their health. They can't just pick up and drive where they'd like to go or do what they want to do on whim -- and couldn't bear itif they did due to their infirmities.

They may swallow pills up the kazoo...it's never fun. I don't like taking just a vitamin. They likely hurt in many places, have to shuffle to get to anywhere...which is usually the bathroom -- far too often for their desires. And then the long rituals to take care of matters while there...sometimes a half hour or more. They may also have to undo adult pads and diapers and redo and wash and salve and often with far less mobility than a small child. MUST drive them as insane as it does us.

And they get ANYwhere much slower than they'd like. And have to depend on someone else to do so much every day when they WANT to do it themselves. They may have arthritis and poor vision and nothing is 'fun' or 'normal'. Except pain or discomfort, frustration and inconvenience. It is all just a CHORE. They find little to rejoice in. Not much they may able to do for 'fun' or to keep minds occupied, let alone move around much. They remember and probably think of themselves yet as that 'younger person'...just as most of us do ourselves. As someone above put it...their 'glass is half full'. I think it may even be less.

And usually, whomever they reside with is left to take the brunt of their feelings, which are likely more difficult to handle with age, since we are available and accessible, familiar and likely to 'take' it all. They have no real way to let off the 'steam' they likely endure daily. When some of them try to express themselves...the words must don't come, or they stumble and fumble..they can't make themselves understood, which adds to their fears, frustrations and all round dissatisfaction. And often ...they are just ignored, - and even mocked - as I've seen in some episodes in the hospital. Yes. True!

Methinks that much of the 'elder abuse' we hear of (and there is NO excuse for that in my book) stems from the frustration felt by caregivers who don't realize it's not 'personal' but a common issue of aging.



Ever hear of the movie "Grumpy Old Men"? I used to wonder about that title. NOW I understand. :-)

It seems that negativity is the path of least resistance. I think about how I react when down and out..stressed, tired or sick. I am not inclined to think happy thoughts or smile. In fact, it becomes an absolute EFFORT to try to look on the
bright side. How much more difficult is it for our elderly loved ones when they may be hurting in so many places physically...as well as emotionally. Their spirit suffers. And they likely don't have a way to figure out how to be different or how to help themselves feel more positive.

All of this 'understanding' doesn't make it easier for us to deal with sometimes. But it is important for us to be aware I think. I believe that some of the frustration that I feel is that I, too, remember the abilities of my parent, and my 'expectations', although subliminal perhaps, are still there, that she 'should' or 'could' do better at certain things. It can lead to thoughts that she is 'willfully' being difficult. As time has gone on, I've discovered that that just isn't so.

In some cases, UTI's are to blame...and THAT condition has soooo many repercussions that many are not aware of. It is a serious condition and can cause sooooo many behavioral issues. In one rehab facility recently, a man there was thought to be insane. He was beyond control...had two men to restrain him. Turned out he tested positive for a UTI. Once treated, he was back to 'normal'.

It is VERY hard for ME to come to grips with the aging process in her. And so if I can come to terms with these 'expectations' that are no longer relevant or FAIR to hold due to her bodily changes, things become more clear and less stressful for me.

I, too, get sooooooooo stressed by negative comments. And if something negative in the past happened, or in current time, THAT is dwelled on and dwelled on and dwelled on. And brought up over and over and over. Can drive me insane!

So I think that somehow, possibly brain or chemical changes take place ...and/or the emotional issues from aging take lead and cause other changes within. And once a pattern sets in..it's difficult to change when you can't think yourself through such things. Most elderly likely have no way to help themselves out of it because so much negative in their lives is so CONSTANT. The little energy they may have is spent just coping with everyday things. I don't think this issue is a rare one.

It does NOT always make things easier for any of us...I am well aware. I tear my hair out behind a closed door or outside. I TRY to remind myself that she can't help it. I TRY to put funny things on TV to divert attention...tell a joke she may
understand after a few minutes when things are calmer, or change the subject or respond in the general as mentioned above.

I mourn my mom's loss of independence, (and her former personality -as I'm sure she does) her certain emotional response to
the indignity of having to be helped while naked even by a daughter...I would freak too. There is SO much going on inside
them I'm sure. And there is no way out for them. Little hope of 'going back' to the 'good old days'. Does that reality
sink in -- along with what they think about as just down the road?

So while it gets to me more than I'd like...I TRY to restrain myself...leave the room and let off steam somewhere before
something is said that may be regretted. How much time do we have left with them? As HARD as things can get, I don't want
to see my mother 'go'.

Our parents likely suffered much of the same with us as kids.. all the messes, mishaps, damages, doing things over and over,
being screamed at by us and suffering our vehement tantrums or balking and disrespect. All while they were doing what was in
OUR best interests and safety.

With kids, they usually eventually learn to do 'right' and better. With our elderly loved ones, that is
not an option. They have little choice. Aging bodies rule the will usually. And the 'battle' within may come out in
expressions we are discussing here.

I TRY to remember the vibrant, talented, caring, fun, witty and all-loving parent I was blessed to be born to....and take it
from there. It helps to calm me.

Absorbing others' negativity is NOT easy. And it CAN affect our health and sanity. So finding a way to release that energy
while reminding ourselves that they can't help themselves likely and to have a back up plan/routine/reminder is the route I
TRY to take. It takes practice.

It IS hard when you're overwhelmed, exhausted, sleepless and frustrated with such..but in the long run, when I can get to the
other side of it... I am SO glad I practiced restraint and calm ..and then reminded myself of the wonderful person that
raised me. And how lucky I am to be here...to be ABLE healthwise myself to take care of her.

My heart and understanding is with you all. It is not a happy thought to think that we all might be the subjects discussed
down the road. How unfair is life.

So VERY glad we have this option to air our concerns here. It DOES help to know that we are not alone.
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It's difficult not to take these 'comment's personally. Now that I think of it, I think there should be a 'name' for this kind of 'condition' (verbal aging syndrome). But, until then we have to treat it like some kind of medical condition and try to take it in stride.
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Your post hits home for me today, too. My mom loves to complain. The food is too expensive. Too salty. Not salty enough. It gave her the runs. That doctor's appointment is too early. I need a different haircut. I should dress differently. That table should be moved. And so on ... There's always something being done wrong. It's annoying but little can be done. Sometimes I just shrug and say, "well, I like it that way" or I say, "you can do your things your way and I'll do mine my way."
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Headset and some good music? Ear plugs? I even have started watching movies with the headset on so I can ignore the complaining and enjoy the movie.
It's great if you can ignore it, but I'm the sort of person who kind of absorbs other peoples' pain or irritation, so it is very hard to not let it affect my mood.
You have my utmost sympathy, Flowergirl. Wish I had better advice.
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Sorry............."how they make you feel"
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Remember these two things. 1. You can't make someone be something they aren't. You can't control them. 2. You CAN control how you respond to the comments and how they make you fee.
When she points out the least little thing, say "Mmmmm that's too bad" or "That's unfortunate." or "What do you know." then exit the room. EVERY time she does this. It's her, not you. It's not the way you do things at all. It's her. Her glass has become half empty instead of half full. Take the high road and keep on keeping on. You can do this
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Ditto... But, I think it's because they are (obviously) in a different world due to their age. They're not the same people they were when they were 'younger'. They wish they could do it, and I think they 'think' they are doing it 'through' us. In other words, they are living through us... I do think underneath it all they are very thankful, but have so many things going on in their minds... and, possible fearful in aging... God Bless all of you in this situation... Be kinder on yourself so you don't get sick... xoxoo...
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Oh boy is your post hitting home today. My 95 year old mother in law just came home today after 3 weeks in rehab. The whole time she was there she was whining and complaining about everything and everyone. It was great not having her here but we still had to go visit her every day and handle all her medical issues. It was hardly a break. You'd think she'd be glad to be back in her own room but she just picked up where she left off and added to it. She does nothing for herself. We do everything. The most she can do is feed herself and shuffle a few steps to her bedside commode. I know she's miserable and tired but good grief she's not happy unless there's something to complain about. She calls us in her room over and over. It's cold, it's hot, I want to lie down, I need to use the commode, when are my next pain pills, I'm bored. We don't do anything right or fast enough in her mind. We are responsible for all of her misery and when we say something to her about it she gets passive aggressive and tells my husband he doesn't love her. That just sets my husband off.

It's so hard to be patient and understanding when they show no appreciation for what you do all day every day and night. Ours is such a needy, negative woman and we are just not equipped to give her the amount of attention she demands and take care of everything else. Don't feel bad about how you feel. There are a lot of us down here in the trenches with you. I wish I could give you some stellar advice. We were told to take 3 deep breaths in those situations before you respond to them to help calm yourself. It works if you remember. Sometimes it just feels better to scream or slam a door. She's deaf so she doesn't know. The dog just thinks we're crazy ;-)
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