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Mom has severe Aortic Stenosis, 87 yo, very active until this past Spring. Rapidly declined and is now living with me with Hospice care. She has always tried to take care of others, not me as much as our deceased father and my brother who is living with me and takes care of her.

She has never been like this, wants something all the time, juice, food, moved on and on. She can do more for herself then she lets on, but , when I am home it is a constant needing of something. She is not willing to talk about her dying nor is my brother who is in denial. She requires constant attention to simple things but then I see she can lift her cup to her mouth if she wants to. and then goes into this helpless act. She almost seems like a baby instead of an adult.

With my Dad it was totally different, he tried as hard as he could to remain independent and is seems like the opposite with my Mom. How to I deal with this it is driving me crazy, takes so much energy and time.

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Sometimes patients can be very cunning to say the least. My 96 yr old (in good health) is in a "feel sorry for me" mode all but half the time. I just kid him until he laughs it off. He's Jewish and if I call him a schmuck...he cracks up. There is always a funny bone underneath the act. Try your best to find it. If not, then be stern but loving and tell them you cannot deal with the helplessness because you are not a trained nurse and so maybe they'll have to be put into Hospice full time. (and since you love them so much it would devastate you)
One or both of these scenarios should be effective in stopping the games. Good Luck and Blessings to all!
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I am so glad I have the honor and opportunity to answer your question. Let me tell you my story. My mother was always a selfish perfectionist. I loved her very much but in all the time I cared for her she never asked how I was doing although I have my own health challenges and no health insurance while she had all that Medicare provided. She never asked nicely for anything or said please or thank-you for anything I did. She demanded.

I am a beauty therapist and gave her beautiful permanent eyebrows yet she complained about them constantly and nagged me about re-doing them although I was understandably reluctant to do so, as nothing I did seemed to please her. She complained about my soups, always asked for things I did not purchase for meals I prepared for her and made me feel resentful and overworked with constant request for the one thing I did not provide or think of and as a result of he behavior I began to ignore her in ways I am ashamed of today.

She had a male friend and had invited him to dinner even though I had asked that she ask me first before doing so as she required me to help her not only getting dressed but also with the meal itself. This request she ignored. As I was plugging in my cellphone she also ignored my insistence that she not go into the kitchen and when to go mind a simmering pot and fell. She died in the hospital after a torturous 2 weeks where I tried to get her home with hospice but failed. I tell you this story because I strongly believe that as difficult as your mother is I do not want you to feel as I do which is REGRETFUL. Nothing can prepare you for your mother's death although you expect it and yes you will feel relieved because she's working you so hard but the predominant feeling you'll have is an end to the longest standing relationship of your life. The feeling I have now is that I was offered an opportunity and I turned my back on it. I feel I should have tried to enjoy her when I had her, steered her complaints to something more positive and understood; that when a person is dying they are grasping at what is left of LIFE, sometimes desperately so. I cannot be certain of what your mom feels but it may be she is just trying to soak you up. She's trying to BE WITH YOU EVERY SECOND..and most of all she is FRIGHTENED OF BEING ALONE WHEN SHE DIES...This is the the overwhelming feeling my mom's spirit has imparted to me. I have made peace with my past resentments and my mother's demanding nature. And now I wish God would grant me a "DO OVER". Unfortunately in life..there are NONE. Life, Love, Trials are for a REASON. There were always things to be healed and a reason your mom is still alive. Find it with patience and kindness, knowing that when you look back on your care you won't find fault with your dying mom so much as YOURSELF.
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My first thought, given that your mother was not like this her whole life, is that she is deeply afraid of the dying process, and her fear is not being alleviated because she is unwilling or unable to talk about the thing that is foremost on her mind. Can she still read? There are some wonderful books that tackle the subject indirectly, which might give her some ease and open the door to conversation.
Many Lives, Many Masters (Brian Weiss) is a psychiatrist's story of a patient who began spontaneously remembering past lives while doing (non hypnotic) trauma work, and how that experienced completely changed the way he thought about both mental health, and life and death.
The Wheel of LIfe (Elizabeth Kubler-Ross) is the biography of EKR, the foremost expert on death and dying in this country, if not the world. She is the person who first talked about the Stages of Death, and Stages of Grief. Her biography, though, is funny, fascinating, and completely reassuring, as her decades of working with the dying left her with a complete sense of peace about the process, and what happens to us after. It is not specific to a religious frame, but fits with most belief systems fairly well.
Who Dies (Steven Levine) is an exploration of who/what is the part of us that inhabits the physical body, and what is the evidence for the continuation of life, in some form, after death. Levine worked with Elizabeth Kubler Ross for decades, and there is some overlap in their philosophies and experiences. Levine is incredibly comforting also, for his ability to convincingly lay out an argument that physical death does not mean the end of "us", only a transformation.
Even if your mother is not willing or able to read these books, you might wish to pick them up for yourself. All three are fascinating reading, and all would offer you a frame for working with and sending compassion to mom.
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We're all needy at some time or another in life, no matter how old we are or what we're going through, my mother is 88 and has dementia. Be grateful for every day you have with your mother. Mother's deserve our utmost respect no matter what the circumstances! Reverting back to child like behaviors is a normal aging process for most elders. Actually, on a positive note, it should help us understand what our precious mothers/dads went through raising us (-: Have you stopped to think that just maybe she keeps asking for things because she is afraid to be/die alone? Be loving and patient with your sweet mother, we only have one...Thank God for mothers! Is there anyone in you family/friend circle who could take turns caring for your mom so you & your brother can get a break? If she is dying she needs someone with her 24/7 to help comfort and ease her through the most horrible ordeal anyone must face in life. I have often laid down next to my mom, just to hold her and tell her how much I love her...simple things mean a lot and go a long way...Good luck & God Bless you all.
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I agree with olivia and bandit8it, your mom is probably afraid of 1. leaving you and your family and 2. afraid of dieing. No one actually knows what its like to die because we have not done that ourselves or if we have we do not remember if we go to another life. My mom is also dieing but she has many problems and god bless her she is fighting to try to do things for herself. She can not see, hear or walk. She is totally dependent on me or someone else. We also have hospice. She has parkinsons and shakes so badly that she can not feed herself or drink on her own. She has alzhiemers and at times she has no idea who I am, so I treasure everyday that I have with her. She keeps me up nights sometimes 4 to 5 nights iin a row when the moon is coming in to the full cycle. She is scared and yells to me and she doesn't want anyone else. I'm the only child so when she is gone I'm alone. My dad passed with severe cancer in 87, and he wanted me to do everything for him and I was teaching during the day and would go to the hospital as soon as I left the school. Please just bear in mind that this is not for long and treasure the sane moments she has . I know it's hard because I'm going threw it also just as the others have here on the board.
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Dear Fanyejane, Hello, I just read your question, and I had the same question about two months ago, when my Mom got really really needy. She could'nt eat, and then I started feeding her and she began to eat. She would stay by herself at night, and would ask me or my neice several times before we left at night to check things we has checked over and over again. She would call first thing in the morning and ask us when we would be there, and if we did'nt get there in time, she would do what she needed done before we got there. I was so frustrated, I did not understand why she would ask for something, she could do herself. It was 'nt until she passed on September 13, 2012, then I realized that she was just lonely, and wanted us around her at all times, so she made do things she may or may not have been able to do for herself. Think of it this way, if you know you are dying, but don't know when, and you feel like you could leave her at any minute, would'nt you want someone with you? And her acting like a child, is true, when you are old, you go back to a childlike state, this is normal. My only suggestion to you, is that you charish the time you have with her, if there is something she needs by all means give it to her, because there will come a time when she will not be here to ask anything of you. So Love her, hug her, kiss her, and keep her close for as long as you can. I will be praying for you and your family for your continued strength.
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I don't think your mother is trying to upset you by her constant requests. She probably is feeling insecure able the future. She probably needs to have family with her. I found my dad would have lots of requests but if I handled the requests and just sat near him as I folded laundry or did other chores the demands tended to decrease. I think your presence will reassure her, if she is left alone in bed or in a livingroom chair, the needy behaviors may reappear.

These will be difficult days but they can be days of joy as well. Your mother's days will be limited and you can strengthen the bond you have had.
Take care what you are experiencing is normal.

Elizabeth
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I am not on this site anymore because my mom past away on September 11, 2012. I saw your post on an email. I don't want to throw guilt out to you at all. I promise. I was very bitter towards my mom before she past away. I loved her only because she was my mom and nothing more. Two weeks before she past away I found my mom again. The mom that I had always wanted. We talked and we laughed so much. She was so helpless and started to become confused. It was sweet confusion (if there is such a thing). Confusion like... she once told me that she must have changed my daughters outfit 5 times that day. (My daughter is 11 years old). Please, I would give anything to wait on my mom again. I would quit my job to have my mom here with me for one more week. Again please, I am not saying this to make you feel guilty for saying what you said because I know how hard it is to be a caregiver. It is so difficult and painful. However, I thought that maybe if I wrote to you, you may see her in a different light. She is dying and is most likely very scared. She is anxious. Talk to her. Go through photo albums and trust me....TAKE PHOTOS! You will cherish them so much in the future.

Take Care and Hugs!
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My husband is paralyzed and dependent on others for almost everything. However, I have been through the second by second requests: "move the blanket, move it back" etc. The doctors have treated that as anxiety and given medication for it, which has helped. I dont' know if that is an answer for you or not, but maybe there is some medical intervention which will give you both some relief.
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Your question answers itself: she's dying. Fear, sorrow, so amny things have her just trying to stay connected to you and to life. Hospice teams usually include religious conseling. Your mom may not be ready to talk about death, but it would be a good idea to have them in often for just a casual chat; a priest/rabbi might be able to gently direct the conversation into areas that will help her cope and allow her to relax her grip on you.
Even if not, do you best to be patient. Remind yourself daily that she won't be here much longer (however long it is).
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