My elderly mother makes me feel guilty. What do I do?

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I don't drop everything and come over everytime she calls for a problem.

Answers 1 to 10 of 56
recently moved my elderly mother to be closer to us. she no longer drives and has early stages of dementia. i, along with my husband, are the sole caregivers for her. she lives by herself in a retirement/hud apartment complex and has lots of nice neighbors. i take her to the store, dr. appts, all her errands and handle her finances. i now spend my days off tending to her needs. i either call or go see her everyday. but she always makes me feel guilty if i dont drop everything when she calls wanting something. i understand she has dementia (she's 83) but even before this she has always made me feel guilty and has been very selfish. it's all about her and her needs. i just had surgery and have had complications (was in the ER for 8hrs the other night) and not once has she asked me how i'm doing. honestly - she might not remember i even had issues. but i hate feeling guilty and being made to feel guilty because i have a life with a family to take care of too. any suggestions/advise?
Sorry you're in this situation. Elders can abuse their caregivers. If you care for yourself or the rest of your family you must set boundaries. You have other obligations and cannot be at her beck and call 24/7.
DO NOT FEEL GUILTY!!! It can and will hurt you.
If you do not set limits now it will only get worse. Guard your heart with all dilligence and as much as you love her do NOT let her run roughshod over your life.
You are not here for her amusement and you must take some control along with this responsibility.
The Love&logic website was recommended to me and I found it very enlightening. Check the testimonials and you'll get a good idea of what its about. It works on elders too as I have heard that elders are children in reverse. Other threads on this site you may also find helpful. This is a compassionate group of loving caregivers who support each other and you can learn much.
I'm praying for us.
Consider hiring some non-medical home care, if even for only a few hours a week! She needs attention that you can't give her (not for lack of love or devotion indeed). You can reference "on Thursday when Betty comes she will help you ________." Most agencies have a 3 or 4 hour minimum and a once per week minimum. You might find the money is worth it even if it has to come from your pocket for some peace of mind. This has worked tremendously well for my Grandmother in the past!
Hi, ssnow! May not be what you wanted to hear, but guilt is something that we have to accept. Your Mom doesn't make you feel guilty. The feelings of guilt are yours, not your Mom's. From your sharing, your Mom is manipulative and you walk right into the situation. What is the worst thing that would, could, or might happen, if you simply said, "I have other plans today. I will let you know when I am able to do that for you."

I have never hesitated to tell my mother, whom I love dearly, when I am too tired to do something. Don't just go along to get along with your Mom. You sure do have a life and family, and owe it to yourself to keep your life in balance.

Maybe the next time she asks you to do something that can wait you can tell her nicely that you are still recovering from major surgery and need a whole lot more time before you can start juggling as much as you once did. Let her know you may never be up to the task of juggling as much as you once did, but that she will always be able to count on you. Let her know what works for you and what is realistic. No need to argue with her. She may pout. That's ok. She's entitled to, as we all are, to pout when things don't work the way we expected them to work out.

Wishing you healing, a full recovery, and reclaiming your life and time. Hugs.
Ssnow, I want to join in on the chorus here to say "Don't feel guilty." You have not one single reason to feel guilt. On the contrary, you deserve a great reward for the way you are taking care of your mother and being faithful to her this way. The only way you will be healthy enough to care for her is if you get the rest you need. Cindy's idea of hiring someone to help your mother out in the home is a great one I think. You said your mother is selfish. It seems to me that this trait of hers could cause her to try to manipulate you with guilt. Realize that this may be happening and do not allow any guilt to begin to build within yourself; nip it in the bud. Something that has helped me a lot in this dept. ( of not feeling unreasonable guilt) is that I ask myself: " What does God think of how I'm doing, and what I"m doing?" In other words, God is my only judge, not any person. I figure it's God I'm going to have to answer to at the pearly gates, not any human being. If you feel you are doing what God expects you to, then there's another reason to let go of the guilt. So finally I say to you, Good Job, because that's what you're doing!
I agree, you are the one with all the power over the guilt you're feeling. Just because she pushes your buttons doesn't mean you have to jump. Tell her you can't come over now, but that you'll be coming by when you're up to it. period. My friend lives in one of those HUD buildings for senior/disabled apartments. There is a woman there that also has Alzheimer's who wanders the halls and goes into peoples apartments. She doesn't mean to be weird, she's just can't find her own apartment. She has even crawled into bed with people and tried to go to sleep. Don't let your mother get that bad before you move her into an asst living facility.
Top Answer

Someone -- I can't recall whom -- once said you need to be a masochist to work in the caregiving field and a sadist to succeed at it. Still, if you had enough self-respect to stand up for yourself, your priorities and your mind would be clear and and wouldn't have to put up with all this abuse. In any case, here are some suggestions:

(1) Get a home health aide to put up with her whipcracking;
(2) Have a tete-a-tete with her and let her know your own family comes first; and/or sit down with her and make a calendar indicating the days you'll be coming by to help (tell her the moment she starts her BS you're leaving);
(3) Flip the script on her and make her feel guilty about all the things you can't do for your own family because you're catering to her every whim;
(4) Zip it and do a Mother Theresa.

It's up to you to love yourself once again. Good luck.

-- ED
I would agree with Advier accept on one point option. My mom always wants to know when I will be there to see her. This is so she can have her dastardly plan for the day in place when I get there. I have found it to be much safer to take her by surprise before she gets me!!!!
Cover your buttons!!!!!
That is a great way of managing and coping, godhelpus. Your sharing and lightehearted approach remind me that being creative and not taking it all too seriously helps. It's no different than regular life, at least for me. For a caregiver like me, adding more routines and expectations to my days will never work. The calendar is already full and the rest of my time is mine to do with as I wish, especially to sustain some balance in my life. Cheers to those buttons, godhelpus!
Sorry I didn't take my own advise yesterday. Didn't wear my armor when I went to see mom. She can be so evil.

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