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This might come across as quite selfish but I want to be honest about this and ‘get it off my chest’ I used to be in the British Army and settled in Nottingham which was my last posting. Both my wife and I (only children) come from Bristol, approx. 150miles away. When my father died in 2003 it hit my mum quite bad and she went into a depression so we decided to move back to Bristol to be near her and to think about starting a family (up until this point we’ve been married for 17 years so we thought it was time!!) We moved in 2004, daughter born in 2006, son in 2008. We regularly visited my mum who still lived in the house my dad passed away but wanted to move. She was quite desperate and was looking at the worst places. Where she was all her neighbours have moved away and then properties were all rented so it was a large transient area, Professionals working 7-5 and not coming out in the evening so my mum never saw anyone… She used to use the phrase ‘its like being buried alive’ a lot! Anyway we saw a property with an annex attached. We approached my mum and after a bit she said yes (she kept thinking ‘I would I cope’!). We all moved in in 2009. Fast forward to now… and we want to get out! That sounds harsh but the feeling of being buried alive has now transferred to us. A lot has happened in those 9 years but the main things are: she doesn’t like being alone, even for a few hours and just moans about it and when we (wife and kids) go out she gives us a guilt trip that she’s not coming with us. Up until recently she did come with us but her mobility is now really bad if she comes with us for a day out… all we end up doing is sitting in a café! For my 40th (2010) we all went away to Florida (my mum and the in-laws) and it was really good but now my mum expects to come on all our holidays, even though she goes off with her sisters for her own holidays. Last year we talked about it and she said she didn’t want to come but then a few weeks before going she blamed us for not including her saying that we never asked her. Small things have been happening recently that, to me, could be tale tale signs of something bigger… She is 85 years old and has only just given up work. She used to work as respite care. I think one of the reasons is that she found it hard finding where her calls were, which is understandable. Now however all she does it sit in her chair watching endless re-runs of ‘Murder She Wrote’ or ‘Columbo’, mostly with the sound on mute! She only eats ready meals or meals that we prepare her as she now burns all her food. She tries to cook cheese on toast or warm a pasty in the oven, sits down and forgets it. We are constantly having the same conversations, sometimes within minutes on each other and when you talk to her you can see her ‘glazing over’. Her hearing is very bad but she refuses to have a hearing test “What good will that do!” is always the answer… This week we all went out for a meal for my sons 10th birthday. She had prawn pasta (forgot the name of it) and it was made with a slight chilli butter sauce. At the start of the meal we asked what’s its like and she was happy and replied “ooh, this is lovely!”, then within 15 mins her mood changed. She claimed she only had 2 prawns in the pasta and just kept picking at her food trying to find more. (My father in law had the same and had about 7-8 I his!) My son, who was sat opposite her said “but Grandma I saw you eat at least 3” he was shot down by “no you didn’t, stop lying!”. She then went on to say “That was a horrible meal and I only had 2 prawns” and that was it she had a face of thunder..!! Which made for a lovely atmosphere for all of us.. The main issue we have now is my daughter was recently diagnosed with Autism (Asperger’s Syndrome) and from my sons actions and personality we think he may be on the Spectrum as well (not diagnosed). Now we want to do something while we still can but feel we cant because of my mother... A few years ago my wife had the option of working abroad, either in mainland Europe of America for a couple of years. I mentioned it to my mum and she said “why would you want to do something like that?” we knew she wouldn’t like it she we never did it, and regretted it. I even mentioned about working and living overseas but that has fallen on deaf ears and all she thinks about is “what about me?” I don’t think she cares about me, what I want, or what my family wants. I feel quilted into staying as I’m the only child but my cousins are allowed to do things… One of her sister (my auntie) has 2 sons, one now lives in New Zealand, one in Australia but in my mums eyes that’s fine but because I’m the only child I have to stay! My feelings (and my family) is to sell the house, buy my mum and apartment in a care home or an assisted living complex and then we can do something.. I feel this will be better for all of us. We are starting to resent my mum (which I hate feeling that) as we can’t live our lives or do anything as we wil

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Life is seldom static, our needs and desires change. Back when your mum moved in with you there may have been a vague thought that this would be her final home but I doubt that either of you really thought about what life might look like that far in the future. It is understandable that as her life in the outside world has shrunk you have become her everything, but that doesn't mean she can't still find a new life with a different focus. I think you should begin to explore some supportive living options for her and continue to pursue the changes that are best for your family. She is only one spoke in the wheel and not the hub, life doesn't need to - shouldn't - revolve around her.
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Rich, big ((((((hug)))))) to you!

Please let go of the guilt and shame, first off. You are NOT selfish for wanting to do the best for your family, especially your children. In my mind, obligation goes down the generations, not up. Your primary responsibility right now is to your children. Then your spouse. Your mother is a distant third. (It was my mom who drilled this into me, obtw).

It sounds as though there is some cognitive decline going on, which may or may not advance. The thing is, the sooner you get mom settled in a supportive environment, the better she'll settle.

She sounds quite depressed as well. Can you get her to a geriatric psychiatrist or neurologist to assess her mental health and cognition.? Don't accede to her defeatist attitude. What good would it do? What, you're a qualified doc, mom? You know what treatments are out there, do you?

Read up on Fear Obligation and Guilt (FOG). It's how your mom is manipulating you.

More later, off to work now.
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Rich,

I wholeheartedly agree with Barb. No one can accuse you of not taking care of your mother. You've done your duty and now it's time to devote yourself to your own family. Take those holidays and make those memories for your kids. Don't sacrifice it all for your mom. Don't sacrifice your family to make your mom happy.

An assisted living sounds like a great idea.
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Hi Rich, I'm sorry that I only just saw your post.

If you have questions about the memory assessment your mother's GP will probably have done, why not call the surgery and ask for the GP to give you a call back at some discreet time.

It was a bit dim of them not to address the mobility issues at the same time - why annoy and puzzle your mother if they didn't have to? But never mind. The main thing is that they took your concerns on board.

It is routine to take bloods; it's a useful way of ruling out all kinds of things and getting a picture of what's going on with her general state of health. They can check for "cardiac events" (small, silent heart attacks that could have gone unnoticed), infection, anaemia, problems with liver and kidney function... the works, basically.

Your description of the vanishing prawn saga hit home with me... It may be that changes in her brain are leading your mother to develop clinical depression. Her negativity and apparent selfishness aren't her fault. They're not your fault either! But it isn't that she's a different person from your lovely mother, it's more likely that her brain structure and chemistry are playing horrible tricks on everyone.

Plus, of course, she still misses your Dad, she's still had to retire, she's still getting old... It is, as they say, definitely not for sissies.

Being in Bristol you do have a huge range of options for your mother's ongoing care. Lose the guilt, it doesn't help anyone, least of all your mother. Let us know what the GP says and what the plan is beginning to look like. Best wishes.
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Hi Rich310
You did the right thing coming here and 'letting it all out' That was a great first step.
I am totally understanding of the meals situation. Although I had one of them from my MIL and one from my husband (he is my physical carer - and I am his mental one) little bit complicated but I sure get it.

Do you have any British Legion places near you. As ex military they will offer good advice.

Here is mine and I hope some of it helps. Others will come here and give more.

Day centres. Home help (not to clean but may be use her time to have a sandwich with your mother.
Find her a club to join. If you plan it well, most of the week will have some stress relief for you all. Church - they have clubs, days out, meal etc. She can go there for the company and to share her wisdom.

Food.
Batch cooking. Put a load in your freezer and defrost. Dont tell her you froze them - after all you did make them from fresh. Meals on wheels will come anywhere if you have them in your area. BUT check if they use fresh veg etc, as our local one uses frozen.

Time out.
Once you have some of the above arranged, print out a rota. Stick to it. Get her to a little hair dressers once a month also.

Holidays are more difficult.
Here you will have to be firm. If you WANT a family holiday with you and yours. Tell her.

I have a grandson with Asperger’s Syndrome. This can come in a variety of symptoms. But is manageable and he is a lovely caring lad. So I sent you lots of love for your daughter.

Keep coming here to vent - it will help a little. And the good people here are very caring an knowledgable. I am sure you will get great advice.

Take care of yourself, your wife and your children. Look out for your mother - wit h love.

Buzzy
ps I am not very good with words but I hope you can get what I am trying to say and help with. :)
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Rich- don't feel guilty for having resentment towards your mother. I do, too, and a lot of us here do as well. I feel trapped in my own home, can't leave my mother for any length of time unless someone else is with her which doesn't happen often enough. Most of us even verbalize that we want this existence to end so we can be free to live our lives again. Don't feel guilty. We have to vent or else we will blow.

Your first priority is your children and family. Your mother might not understand that anymore, but that shouldn't change your priority.
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Hi All and many thanks for your kind words and thoughts... I did notice that my text got cut off due to reaching the limit (once I started I couldnt stop!).. heres the final bit of the text..

"I feel this will be better for all of us. We are starting to resent my mum (which I hate feeling that) as we can’t live our lives or do anything as we will upset her. I think at first it will be really hard but feel that if we get the right place she will be more active and cared for. Instead of sitting in front of the TV moaning about everything she might actually get involved in activities with people of her age and interests..
I know it seems like I’m getting out when the going gets tough and that’s exactly how I feel, I’m abandoning her, but due to my children’s condition I feel they are now my priority and I have to do what’s right for them.. In a horrible way (I told you I’m being honest) my mum has lived her life, and she really has had a great life but now we are wasting ours because we don’t want to upset her… "

I think my first avenue is to talk to one of my aunties as they are quite close and she has the same thoughts as me eg its our holidays and my mum shouldn't be coming etc... and explain my feelings to her...
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I’m sorry about your mother. My mother ( 86) recently passed away, and she sounds a lot like your mother, however, there was nothing mentally wrong with her, she just got really mean sometimes especially as she got older.
She came to me for Easter last year and, ( I’m an artist) looking at my new work, she scoffed and said “who in their right mind would buy this “ ! That sort of thing. She got even nastier right at the end, telling us we were useless daughters etc
she is perhaps frustrated, confused, angry etc about being old or something.
I found that my mothers comments and behavior did get to me and I had to put up a barrier of sorts, and certainly, I had to consider my children
We were also told that the nurses are there to do the nursing and there are councilors and doctors for her depression , seems she needs help with that
But that’s not your role.
You can’t fix it, you can only try to make things as smooth and comfortable as you can - for everyone - for the greater good of you all.
All the best to you and your kids and your mother
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Rich, yes, contact the doctor remind them that you've asked them for a full workup of your mom's abilities because you are going to be moving house and mom is going to have to be placed in a facility. You need to know what level of care she requres.
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Hi All,
Well my mum went to the doctors today for her blood test.. I asked her what happened and what was said but all she said was.. "they just took my blood and I should hear in a few weeks.. if I don't I should phone", "don't know what they are looking for though?'

This is one of the issues we are facing. The doctors probably said a lot more but she's not telling us 'oh everything is fine!'

I will try and contact the doctors this week to see if I can talk, or meet, with someone to discuss this and ill let you know what happens...
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