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I have been primary caregiver to my 89 1/2 year old mother who has had health problems for the last 15 years. My father died when he was 63 ( she was 63 too) and she was completely lost - he handled all the bills, taxes, mtg etc - told me women of her generation didn't ask questions about the $. she got so stressed over handling the bills that I eventually told her I'd handle them all for her. fast forward 25 years later and she's still making me feel guilty. she's been in & out of the hospital since January - now in a nursing home in the re-hab section and wants to go home. My brother & I are there every day. 2 days ago was my daughter's 22nd birthday & I didn't even see her as I went to the NH on my lunch hour to bring over clean laundry and went to her apartment after work to take care of her cat. when I went to the NH last night I told her I couldn't stay long as I was taking my daughter out to dinner for her bday. she gave me a big sigh and said "oh please don't tell me that!" I got angry & said we were there every day and she was being unreasonable - she snapped " well I'm here every day too" she's not a mean woman she just was never very strong and is very needy. she told me last week that she fantasizes that one of these days I'll tell her I'm spending the night with her at the NH. I told her that's impossible I have a job and a family at home and there is no room for me to sleep there anyway. she said I could sleep in the bed & she'd sleep in the chair! I am wiped out... I'm starting to get very resentful. My husband says I just have to be cold about it as this is MY life too and I deserve some down time. but it's very hard and I feel so guilty all of the time.

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One helpful way of dealing with unreasonable guilt is to see a counselor about it. They can help you learn to detach with love without having to snap back.
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How did she handle the "guilt trips" that you tried to put on her when you were growing up?
"Susie is going to the dance and staying out past curfew...how come I can't?"
"...but all the girls are wearing make up to school...why can't I..."
"How come I can't go away on Spring break..everyone else is..."
And then your kids...
I want candy..as you go through the check out line at the grocery store...
I want a cell phone...(and the kid is 12 years old)...
I want a TV in my room...I promise not to watch it after I go to bed....
Life is full of guilt trips and you just have to steel yourself and just tell someone that what is being asked is not possible.
It is difficult particularly when you are dealing with someone that is in a situation like yours.
If she will be going home or to assisted living tell her that she needs to work on getting stronger.
You could also tell her that they do not want people spending the night as it disrupts other residents schedules and that if she had an over night guest everyone would want friends and relatives to spend the night and it would get too confusing for people.
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It's a difficult path to walk, to still care about the elderly parent, yet remain detached from the day to day neediness. I'm not talking from any position of real strength, as I have to struggle with it every day. It helps me to just realize that she is in a place where her basic needs are being met, and she's kept comfortable and safe. It's tough, and probably needs an effort every day, all day, to maintain.
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Try not to let it upset you. Stupid remark OK but she has nothing else to think about and probably wishes she was still young and active and could go out to diner with you and your daughter.
Of course she wants to go home and be her own boss again but is that going to be practical? You say she has been in and out of the hospital since January which tells me she needs a higher level of care which of course she will resist mightily. Are you or can either you or your sister take her into your own homes not that I think that is a solution.
It is time to set some boundaries,
For starters the cat will be fine if you only go to the apartment every other day as long as it does not need medication. Leave it enough food and water and plenty of litter in the box and it will be fine. You said she lives in an apartment so does she have a friend or neighbor who would take over this chore for you.
Whatever you do will never be enough and although thank goodness she is not mean she will still apply the manipulative groan to make you feel guilty. You may just have to tell her just what your schedule of visits can be and how long you can stay. yes it will be hard but not as hard a ending up in a psych ward yourself.
When you do go make a fuss tell her you miss her and be generous with the treats so she looks forward to the visit rather than regarding them as her rights and your duty. If she is not on a strict diet a nice meal you can eat together would be welcome. Ask if the nursing
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My grandmother is great with the guilt an manipulation. It took me a couple years to tell her she had to tough it out and find a way to get what she wants done. She wants new clothes, fine, she has to figure out to bathe herself and plan on going to the store and doing whatever needs to be done with getting herself new clothes. I can't drop everything and drive and hour to help her bathe and drive her to where she needs to go and do what she needs to do. She lives on her own and drives. She will not spend the money for someone to help her out. She can't relate to anyone and she let her world get so small that she can't act appropriatly in public. All she ever wants to do is watch Fox News and have family at her beck and call. I'm sorry, I work at a bakery, there are times where I need to close the bakery down at 9 at night and then turn around and open it back up at 5 in the morning.

Let her know that it is up to her to find friends and figure out how to manage her bills along with being able to go home. Your first priority is you husband and your family. Guilt is a nasty thing and try not to let it get to you. You have your life to live and it will do you no good to let yourself become isolated due to a needy old lady.
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Garden makes a very valid point. When my MIL was in rehab for 6 weeks, she had a morning and an afternoon session, each lasting 45 minutes. She was wiped and needed at least one nap each day.
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I can really understand how she feels - her life has changed drastically, she's in a place that's not her home, there are limited opportunities for previous life as it existed. It's a drastic change, and probably not how she wanted to spend her last years.

OTOH, as a caregiver, I also understand the demands and how responding to them can suck you in like a powerful vacuum cleaner.

What I think helps is to explain that you can only help her, visit her, etc., if you are able to manage the obligations of your brother, daughter, husband, etc as well, i.e., if you can achieve some balance. (Don't say "my family" as that implies that she's excluded). It's a balancing act, often a very delicate one.

Perhaps you can find a way to explain that you need this balance (probably all caregivers do!) so that you can be refreshed and caring when you visit her. If you don't have it, you can end up being annoyed at her demands.

I've found that focusing on the balance needed to provide supportive care is the best approach. Then start doing something special when you do come, perhaps bringing some flowers, a special food treat, a magazine, something like that. If you slip and spend more time than you want to with her, back off on the treats. Try to associate them with less frequent visits - it's kind of a patterning if not Pavlovian process.

In the meantime, when you do visit, go with her to activities and help her get acquainted with others. She's probably relying on you primarily for socialization right now, so see what you can do about changing that. You might speak to the activities staff to see if they'll come get her for musical activities and other events she would enjoy.

Is she expected to return (to her own) home after completion of rehab, or do you foresee a subsequent placement out of her home?

There's another issue of visiting someone in rehab - they need their down time, and they need it to recover enough to be discharged.
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Guilt is irrational unless you know you did something wrong and on purpose against your mother. You give her too many reasons when "No" is a complete sentence. Why are both you and your brother going every single day? Why not alternate?
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You have your daughter, your work, your life, your mom. YOU DECIDE how to balance these. Your mom will demand more of you as her own life and options are limited. Give what you can with love, the fact that you are feeling resentment is a sign to me that you are starting to burn out. Take a break, take care of yourself. You don't have to justify yourself to your mom - just say "I'm doing the best I can for all of you" and change the subject - don't get into a debate. But save yourself - you won't be any good to anyone you love if you are sick and exhausted.
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Please don't let someone who is having issues regarding memory change your life. My wife will do the same as to words but then realizing that later she should not have said those things. Hurtful, but also not able to really say what she really means. I have heard harsh words too and feel guilty on occasion but that too shall pass. Find words that will be understood and use them to say you are worn out and then go home as in my case cry and realize it is not the person that she used to be. I'm sure she may still loves you. I know my wife loves me and she will also understand that like yesterday we were gone almost all day and I said I would like to go home and rest. She agreed with me and this AM when she called she remembered that we had had a long day. Don't take everything personally since she doesn't know what it is all about. I am pleased that she still knows who I am. I see her about four hours a day and have devotions with her before I go home - she is ALF and has been for over two years. Getting older is not for the weak but all of us will face struggles as we age. Meet the Saviour at the Cross - He died for all. He will never leave you nor forsake you even though someone here on earth you dearly loved has done just that.
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