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I moved in with my mother to care for her after she broke her hip a few years ago. She needed more care than I could give so my sisters and I moved her to an independent living facility. We are now having to move her to assisted living. She had been in her home for over 40 years and I completely understand her frustration with having to give up things that made her comfortable. However, my mom has been in her apartment for a year and things are not getting any better as far as her complaining is concerned. No matter what is going on, she will find something to complain about and is constantly negative. For instance, my mom complains that she doesn't get to go to church or out to eat anymore. My sister offered to take her to church and then out to lunch but my mother refused because she said my sister can't handle taking care of her even for three hours. Also, my mother did not tell my sister this, she told me but did not want me to do anything about it. I am the youngest of five and my mom has always been closer to me. The negativity is affecting my mom's health and I'm just at a loss. I could go on and on...my question is how do I deal with the constant complaining and negativity? I don't want to hurt my mom's feelings but this situation is completely draining me. I wasn't quite sure which topic this falls under so I chose Tough Issues but it could be considered Family & Relationships, Caregiver Burnout or many others.

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It's difficult to say why she is now so negative. Has she always been this way or is it fairly recent? I'd explore possible causes and maybe, something can help her. Sometimes, it's that the person is tired and has lost most control over their life. Or, it could be something else.

Do you discuss things with her doctor? Does she have depression? Sometimes, that kind cause the person to act that way. I might ask that she be evaluated. Medications really helped my LO who suffered with anxiety and depression.

I would also consider if she is bored and not keeping her mind amused. Maybe, helping her get involved in some kind of activities might help. Most AL facilities have a variety of things like games, cards, music, movies, stretching, trips, etc. The regular AL that my LO attended has a church meeting each Sunday right inside the facility.

Also, extra visitors might bring her some cheer Or do funds allow to hire some pet therapy. They come to the facility with dogs, cats or other pets, who have been certified and the residents generally love it.

If your mom says she can't go out with your sister, because she's not able to properly handle her care for that 3 hr. period. Believe it. The important thing is that your mom believes it. So, she must feel some reason she doesn't want to go with sister, so, I'd make other arrangements.

I'd keep in mind that if a person has cognitive decline, they sometimes are afraid and don't want to venture out. They may give various reasons that they can't go out. And they may be quite negative, contrary, disagreeable and even nasty. I'd keep my eye open and talk to staff to see if there could be something like that going on. Often, the staff may have more information about how mom is operating when you are not around. 

One more thing.  I'd make sure that she's not having some kind physical pain that is not being addressed. That can make you cranky too. 
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Mimi, it is tough getting old. Think about it, you can't hop in the car to drive to the to store any more.... you can't go to church on a regular basis.... and going out to eat isn't easy.... most of your friends have either moved away or have passed.... your hearing isn't as sharp, and neither is your eyesight.... and food doesn't taste as good as your sense of taste has declined. You wake up with aches and pains.... and shows on TV are just terrible now a days. Oh, and the love of your life is no longer around. I would be grumpy, too.

I remember any time my Dad or my mother-in-law would grumble about aches and pains, I would share my aches and pains with him/her, and we would chuckle about how hard it is to do this or that. Like, what is it that we can't get up off the floor anymore???

Is your Mom joining in on any of the activities? Does she say "no". Or is she just saying that. One time one of the writers here said her mother didn't like the place and wanted to move... then one day the daughter popped in on Mom without Mom knowing she was coming, and there was Mom enjoying herself with one of the activities :)

Another note, some times our elders will complain so that you would feel sorry for them and move them back home with you. Don't fall for it.

Another thing, limit the visiting, otherwise your Mom will depend on you and your sisters visiting at a certain time to make an excuse to not join in social hour or activities at the complex.
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