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My mom is 93, in fairly good health and still lives in her own condo, even though she is legally blind and has mobility issues (i.e. needs to use a walker all the time). I am her primary "go to" person for grocery shopping, doctor appointments and anything else she needs. I live about seven minutes away.

Mom is high-strung and even the slightest inconvenience sends her into a tizzy and puts her in tears. Today she left a voice-mail about her alarm clock. After daylight savings time, she needed to reset the alarm. Because she can't see to do it, she asked her neighbour to help. Her neighbour tried three times, but wasn't able to set alarm properly. Mom calls me in a panic, saying "this is just TERRIBLE that my alarm isn't working," and she's almost in tears. She asks if I could come over immediately and set it, but we're a one-car family and my husband was out with the car. Now, I am going over tomorrow morning to take mom grocery shopping, so I told her that I would happy to look at her clock then. Not good enough! She wants it done NOW or...could I come over tonight? I asked her if she really needed the alarm set for tomorrow morning. She said, "Yes, my caregiver is coming." I ask her what time her caregiver comes. She said 9:30. I said, "You're always up well before 9:30, but just in case, why don't you ask one of your friends if they can give you a wake-up call at 8:00. She said, "I don't know what time they get up." I said, "Ask them. Or, I can call you at 8, and then I'll be over later in the morning to help you." Well, she didn't like that at all. She went on about how awful this was. I said, "Mom, it's not good for you to be this upset. It's only an alarm clock and I'll be there tomorrow to fix it." She said, "You don't know what it's like to not see well...I feel so stupid that I can't do simple things like this." I do get where she's coming from, but I suggested good solutions for her. This is not the first time she's demanded that I come over to take care of a minor thing. I just can't do this constantly. It's about setting boundaries, but I still feel guilty when I say no. She has these "drama events" quite often and I find it hard to not get drawn in. When I see her tomorrow, I think I'll suggest that if she's having such difficulty with minor things, maybe it's time to look into assisted living. Thanks for letting me vent.

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cat you are a wonderful daughter so i won't repeat all the womnderful advice you have been given. You have already solved the clock problem nut for others just get a cheap battery operated clock as a back up. usually about $1 in a thrift or $1 store.
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For my mom, it's her cell phone that throws her. It died the week after my husband's last heart attack, and she was beside herself. She raised such a fit that my sister found a TMobile near me that would give me a loaner until her new phone came in three days later. I've since purchased a new flip phone for her to keep in the drawer.....just in case they stop making them.
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@endofrope....you know EXACTLY what I'm going through. Everything with mom is a major dilemma. I don't think she'll ever change. I guess it's up to me to change the way I react to her. Thanks for your input!
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My mother would call ALL of the time about her TV. She would get it off the correct setting on the remote and THE WORLD ENDED. I would make her wait, but I knew that I would pay later in the "guilt" coin she used so well. Now she is so far gone that she couldn't even turn on the TV if her life depended on it. I also had the clock problem if the power went off, which it does pretty often. One thing that helped me so much was a clock I bought from one of the healthcare catalogs.
It has huge glowing blue numbers and tells the actual day and the date, plus has a back up battery. She poo-pooed it when I bought it (heaven help me if she knew that I paid $80 for it!) after a day, she said she couldn't live without it. She is 88 and has no responsibilities, but for some reason she has to know what time it is
like she has a hot date or something.....
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Actually, I am the one who is on antidepressants. Have been ever since I started caregiving mom. And sometimes the meds don't help me...she still makes me nuts.
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Not bad at all! Sometimes this level of axiety and "what ifs" was greatly improved by two antidepressants in a way that antianxiety meds never did.

The other thing that helped was moving to Independent Living. Having staff around to help with everyday tasks was a huge relief to her.
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No you're not bad to say that at all, but it's a good suggestion from baba .Sometimes the right meds can make a huge difference. And remember, if you mother was of sound mind she would not want to be a burden for you. She has no idea what she's doing. Stay strong, no guilt and keep your life!
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@Babalou...she's not depressed. She CAUSES depression...and anxiety...in others. (Am I bad to say that? LOL)
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Has your mom been seen for depression? My mom was very much like before antidepressants.
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Aw...thanks, geewhiz and heart2heart. It's wonderful to have such positive reinforcement.
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Your mom's world has become small so everything is magnified for her... and, of course with her handicaps she becomes frightened by all the thoughts running through her head. You're her daughter, and she know she can depend and trust you... I know the position you're in, because I'm in the same position. It all pulls at your heart-strings because you love them so much. I go one day at a time. You're a wonderful daughter.
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Thank you, Jeanne, for your kind words. I know in my heart that I've been a very good, supportive daughter to her. Yup...she certainly knows how to push the guilt buttons, as you say. She knows that if she has an emergency, I would be there like a shot (and I have done so). This alarm clock thing is NOT an emergency.
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Hi Cat, you ARE handling it all extremely well. Take a deep breath and let it all go. A side story ... years ago I had a friend (age 51) single with a VERY debilitating disease. She had EVERYONE running in circles for 3+ years. Finally I sat down and explained that friends were willing to help but she had to be respectful of our time. Asking 5 different friends to each bring a handful of groceries wasn't going to cut it. She HAD to make a list and let one of us get them and do without if something was missing. I also had to talk her out of changing curtains and bedspreads seasonally by having us do it for her. She couldn't do it but most of us didn't do this for ourselves and didn't feel it was the best use of our time in helping her. The losses we experience in life are quite sad, but all of the wonderful caregivers on this site (and elsewhere) can't spend all of our time making the person's life exactly as it had always been. There aren't enough hours in the day to live our lives and to help others live theirs in a particular fashion. That is just the way it is. Stay strong.
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You vent away.

I really like it when people ask questions that are so easy to answer. Why do you feel guilty? Because Mom knows just how to push your guilt buttons. She put them there, after all! :)

It sounds to me like you are handling this extremely well. You feel guilty but you are going ahead and doing the right thing in spite of that uncomfortable feeling. You are setting sensible boundaries and (most of the time -- no one is perfect) you are sticking with them. Good for you! Take a gold star out of the petty cash drawer.

Your suggestion that Mom consider a more supportive environment is a great one. Just be careful that it doesn't come across as a punishment for her anxiety and calls to you -- it is a solution to help her feel less anxious.

Keep up the good work!
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