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I am recovering from years of caring for a sick husband and just as I was beginning to adjust to widowhood my elderly cantankerous mother needs care. She is stubborn and refuses professional help and I have never considered her a "loved one". More so now. I am sliding into burnout, what I call 'twhat next" syndrome where the least hint of a problem becomes a mountain over which I have to force myself to climb.

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Birdie8 - no one can force you to take care of your mother. Decide what you will do and what you will not do - and hold firm. If she refuses professional help - that is her decision as a capable adult. You do not have to fill the gap. The best thing i ever did was dedice what i could do/could not do and be firm with my dad and mom (divorced, living separate - both demanding). They found other avenues of help, sometimes with my help. They didn't like it, but i still have my life and sanity. Good luck to you
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Birdie, thank you for your honesty on how you feel. You can't make your mother do things, but you can decide just what you can do for her. It is easier to let her know upfront what you can do, then stick to your words. After you let yourself get into it, it is so hard to stop doing it. It sounds to me that there is something you can say to her that will soften any hard feelings that she may have -- Mom, taking care of hubby took so much out of me that I can't do it again right now. I have a feeling that it is probably true. Going through a long illness with a spouse is so difficult. I am so sorry that you lost him. You do need a chance to recover and start to rebuild your life. Your mother may not agree, but it would mean that she is not thinking of your needs. We have to watch out for our own needs when it comes to parents, because they can lose site of us as people.
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JessieBelle is so right Birdie - that last sentence sums up some mothers to the nth degree. My mother whilst in 'normal' mode knows who I am but she also has sometimes quite short sometimes long periods where she thinks I am the carer. She actually believes I (daughter aka me) dont do the care very much and talks about me behind my back to the carer (also me!) saying how I (daughter aka me) should do more. When I (in my carer mode) say but your daughter does do so much and remember you pay carers and you should pay your daughter she has given up her career / life just to care for you.....she does one of several things...

Gets a full grump on and is utterly vile for the rest of the day

Says:
Noone asked her to....I had my granddaughter living here (this is true but my daughter had a full mental breakdown from mothers attitude and I stepped in to prevent her from getting worse)

Says loudly:
Pay her? of course I pay her! she robs me blind never pays for a thing herself. Well this is also somewhat true BUT it cost me all the equity I had in my house over the last 5 years to stay at home to look after her and up until about 6 months ago I was paying all the bills too yet no income - you go figure because I clearly was very stupid.

My mothers 'pay' as she calls it consists of living here rent free and she provides food for the meals. I do all of the rest of the care from shopping on line finding gardeners, decorators etc as well as all POA stuff and hospital etc all personal hygeine, and obviously cooking cleaning washing ironing. She did not buy my car she does not pay the running costs of it sorry went into a rant there.

All I trying to say is please have a look round at the carers in here and see what they are up against. You have to either

WANT to do it because you love your mum dearly - let's cross that one out then!

Enjoy doing it because she's such a sweety - nah scratch that one

You may lose financially if all her estate gets spent on care - I gave to say there is a grain of truth in that one for me but only because I have invested 40K of my own money into the house - new kitch/bathroom etc

You are under pressure from siblings to care for your parent - Erm Hello lets share shall we or she goes into care - then thats up to them

You promised someone you would care - hands up here to that one and if you did get counselling now - what you promised is to provide her with the best care you can get for her - and if that isnt you then by putting her into care you have fulfilled your responsibility. And when/if you have guilt feelings about it,come back on here and join the rest of us who have either been brave enough or wise enough to do it or stupid enough (like me) not to or who are feeling awkward at the mere thought that time is approaching

Try to distance yourself long enough to consider this sanely with your head and lock the door on the emotional gremlin who says you can do it - in fact I would burn his tail right down to the bone!
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Birdie, the first step is to admit that you can't do the caring at this time. Tell you mom honestly what you are going through, just getting used to the idea you are a widow, and her situation at this time is too much, you will help her find a caretaker or a palce for MOm....NOthing against you, your mom, or anyone else. It's just the situation..at the time
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Shelly thank you for your comments it would seem you have singled me out for vitriole so please have some back.

There is absolutely no reason on gods earth why when I have taken on a full 168 hour a week role as a carer and have given up my job to do so that I should be expected to do this for absolutely nothing AND PAY RENT AND BILLS which I did for 5 years. I have done so because my mother wouldnt pay for carers - refused point blank and as her POA I have to abiude by her wishes that does not mean I agree with them and I am entitled to an opinon and to voice that opinion. I cannot however live on thin air.

Gets a full grump on and is utterly vile for the rest of the day - this is an English expression which means in this case if mother does not get her own way 100% of the time then she becomes moody and is very unpleasant to me

My daughter's breakdown was caused by my mother's constant demands which left my daughter deprived of sleep and holding down a full time job

I can assure you - not that I personally give a damn whether you like it or not - that I have receipts for every penny I spend and it is totally recorded too should anyone ever wish to see it. My mother thinks that I am wasting her money when I buy her a protective covered mattress or pay a gardener or pay a plumber and that is why she says I spend her money - I have to as she no longer has capacity

I have invested 40K of my own money into the house - new kitch/bathroom etc because the old one would not allow my mum access to either place until it was done and she refused to pay for it so as a DUTY OF CARE to her safety I paid for it to be done - however when or if mum has to go into care the state will take the entire house and I will be made homeless which should please you immensely I imagine

Finally the emotional gremlin who says you can do it is a ral danger to the elderly for if you cannot leave your emotions behind and care properly with your head then you would be a danger because you need focus to and strength of mind not emotion to do much of the caring that is required of you.

Finally Shelly I do have to say that should I be looking after you then I agree euthenasia is something I would want ... FOR ME
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I totally identify with your situation! Some of the conversation is identical to my mother's. Two doctors had diagnosed her with dementia which she adamantly insisted never happened! After almost having a breakdown myself, her primary physician, at my request, referred her to a neurologist who recommended assisted living and prescribed medicine that calmed her. Do not assume that your mother's behavior is just being stubborn, as certain types of dementia seem to accentuate personality traits that mimick the symptoms of dementia. I guess my best advice is to seek medical help to the point of being obnoxious if you have to be to get a doctor to help you determine if it is stubbornness or dementia. Sometimes living at home with one's caregiver is not the best answer for either person. Most of all, stop feeling guilty! Ask for help! It does not mean you are a bad daughter or caregiver!!
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I am trying anew technique towards learning to love myself. Not easy I never have felt good about me...I know that my low self esteem is partly down to my Mum for whom nothing ever was good enough and dementia only exaggerates that. With that in mind I am trying to reevaluate my feelings toward my Mum with honesty and integrity and to adopt the alcoholics serenity prayer (just for the record I am tee total):
Give us the grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed, Courage
to change the things which should be changed,
And the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

My mother was young obviously but is now elderly and frail
Accept this as I cannot change it
She is and always has been cantankerous and this wont change now she has dementia
Accept this as I cannot change it
She now needs care
Accept this as I cannot change it
She is stubborn and refuses to pay for professional help
I am going to try to get the courage to address this with her
I love her
This hopefully will give me the serenity I need
I dont like her
Gain the courage and strength to cahnge my thinking in the future as I cannot change the past

The trouble is having the wisdom to know the difference isnt easy
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Birdie - I can only say I relate. " If your mother can pay for help/care, she should. Don't let her tell you that she shouldn't have to pay someone because that's what you're for. My "unloved one" can't afford to pay for any help at all (barely covers her bills) so there's not a lot of choice in my case - she'll need to rely on unpaid help until she's disabled enough for Medicaid. If you're not in that situation, you have choices. Don't subject yourself to any more of her than you absolutely have to.
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Shelly, you have got to calm down and stop the personal attacks or the moderator will be removing your posts and banning you from the site. This is not acceptable.
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Gladimhere it was nasty so be gladyouwerenthere in this instance!
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