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I am so grossed out by my husband's elderly aunt that lives with us- her flaky skin and her hair in her bathroom she stares at us all the time it's uncomfortable and I can't watch her eat because she sticks her tongue out so far before she takes a bite - We don't share food because she fingers it - does anyone else have this issue? I thought I read a discussion about this!

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As my grandmom got older i did notice that she stuck her tongue out when putting food into her mouth. I just choked it up to old age. She lived until she was 95. Could she be stairing because she can't hear too well? Maybe she just enjoys being involved. After a nice shower perhaps you could help her use some cream on her hands and legs. I know if I missed one day of creaming up my moms legs, the skin would be all flaky. As we get older it is hard to reach our legs. You could always help with the creaming with gloves on, this may not make it so bad for you. I had an uncle that i helped as he got older. Only child, never married. After helping him i came to realize that he was so appreciative of the human touch, something that some of us take for granted, it was heartbreaking. He didn't like looking a mess but just needed some help. He would come to my house for holidays and would just sit and watch everyone. I think he was just so happy to not be by himself for the day he was content just watching.
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One blessing of this site is it's a safe and supportive place to vent about the aspects of caregiving nobody on the outside could possibly fathom. This site is the only place some of us can come to get it out of our system and keep up the brave face otherwise.

Being grossed out is a natural reaction and very few people aren't, so there's no sense acting like it's odd or mistaken to have a natural reaction, or pretend it's pleasant and dignified. Every person doing caregiving of any stripe or variety has to be honest with themselves about their limits.

We can drive ourselves crazy with "shoulds" and "ought to" and "what must others think". These are not the motivators of good quality care. Yes, we will all get old and die, but not everyone is cut out for caregiving. Not everyone is cut out for parenthood either, and will have children for the purpose of future caregiving.

I already expect that when I am very old I will probably be gross too. I hope that I'm not aware of it so I don't have to be embarrassed. I don't expect my kids to pretend it's not gross & unpleasant and I hope they bring in the help that's needed to do those care tasks for me to spare themselves.
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My two cents worth here: I completely relate to caregivers who are overloaded, burnt out, feeling unsupported, - and if that isn't enough, we are now blamed by soceity for not having "enough compassion". For those of you who feel called to be a caregiver, good for you, I salute and honour your choice. But please recognise that there are many, many of us who do this work, not because we want to but because we have no choice. If I HAD a choice, he would be in an old age facility where he is nursed and looked after by people who CHOSE to do this work. I have hit compassion overload, and when I have just cleaned his room and changed his PJ's to have him mess all over them, then Yes, I get grossed out. And I get resentful. When I have to sit and hear the awful noises he makes when he eats to the point that everyone else loses their appetite, then yes, I get grossed out, and I get resentful.

When I have to clean the toilet, or the bathroom tiles, or the floor again after he has dropped his urinal/missed the bowl/ for the 4th time in a day; when the first thing I smell in the morning is old age home; when I haven't been able to have a dinner party for 3 years; when I cannot leave the house for longer than 30 mins at a time unless my daughter or husband is able to "babysit"; when our lives revolves around him and only him, then yes, I get resentful.

THE POINT IS: and yet, I still do it. And yet, I still put his needs ahead of my family, despite the fact that it has impacted so awfully on my family. He made no attempt to take care of his old age, expecting his family to do it... and that makes me resentful... and we have a right to feel this way. We are already invisible and unseen and unsupported by our family; don't belittle or judge our feelings as well. Don't cut off the one space we have to be "real", because you are looking after "loved ones". Many of us here are not looking after people we love, and YET WE STILL DO IT.

For those of you who are angry with those of us for being human, tired beyond beleif, resentful that we had no choice, I would like to ask you to practice just a little of your compassion for those of us who are trapped in a prison from which death is the only way out.

Of course we feel guilty. Of course, we feel that we are not nice people when we admit these feelings. But the point of this forum is to support each other not vilify those of us who acknowledge that we are failing.

Case in point: when he is in hospital I have all the patience for him in the world. Why? because then all I have to do is visit him and let him feel connected. I don't have to feed/change/wash/clean/ him. He gets a far more compassionate me when I do not have to deal with him and his energy 24/7.

Would I do this to my kids? Do I want them wiping my bum, cleaning up my feces, knowing that my kids and grandkids would feel like I do now? Not a chance. I would never move in with my kids, and will never expect them to do this for me. I am working my butt off to make sure that doesn't ever happen, so that they have choices of what to do with me when I get that old.
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You're a saint to take care of an elderly aunt of your husbands. Being grossed out is normal. That one of the main reasons being a caregiver is so stressful. To tell you the truth, it all grossed me out. I hired people to come in for the things that really, really made me uncomfortable. Empathy is the best tool in your bucket. Laughter helps, if I didn't laugh, I would have been crying all the time, while caring for my mom and brother who both died this past year. None of it was pretty, but I muddled through it day by day and I'm a far better person for it now.
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Wow. I hope and pray someone will be there to wipe your mouth and your butt when you get old and can no longer take care of yourself. Remember, your kids are watching you now and are learning how to be kind and compassionate. I hope you are modeling the kindness you are hoping to get when you are flakey, lonely, deaf and need some human touch.
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You are living my nightmare!! In fact I'm getting my own fridge for my bedroom so she can not drink out of bottles and eat food with her nasty nails. I feel so bad to say all this but it's nervous breakdown for me. The staring is another issue! All she does is watch me all day long. I feel like I have my own TV show sometimes. Well it does't seem like it is going to get any better. I'm sad for all of us that are going though this.
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Yes, I have a hard time with my mental reactions to my Mom's growing older. When my Dad died and I became her main source of everything, I had to tell her nicely but firmly that I was not comfortable with her walking around without any clothes on. I also told her and a sibling that my limits are I will not change her pullups or help her bathe. Just too much for me. Also her voice getting more and more gratey gets on my nerves. My counsellor says old people's throats close up and the vocal chords age so their voices change. Very annoying. I try to focus on other things, do things to make myself happy, and try to stay busy. Yes, being around people as they age can be uncomfortable.
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In my book, “What to Do about Mama?” (WTDAM pp. 13-14), I stated that during a family meeting my sister-in-law expressed strongly that I should touch her mother more. She expected and suggested that I do more hand-holding and hugging. I could see that my very frank and harsh reply shocked her. “I have no desire to touch your mother in that way, and at times I can hardly even stand to see, smell, or hear her around me.” I couldn’t believe the sound of my own words, which were much worse than their actual meaning—that there was no getting away from her mother’s presence, even when she was visiting someone else.

I suspect that your feelings of being “grossed out” might stem from a similar source—your inability to escape from an environment filled with your husband’s aunt and no longer your own.
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I understa d being grossed out I an a lot with my own husband that has alzheumers and was when I had to change my uncle's diapers and had to scrape dried food off the sink from mom rinsing her teeth out after eating. But it a d more happens and if we don't do it thinggs will get grossly worse. I don't even want to get old because I too will most likely be gross to younger people but what can we or they or humans do? That is life andi if you are so grossed out you can't help an elder maybe you should start praying that you will have someone with enough mercy to help you when you get there. Life is not always pretty. I personally want to jump from ok looking to dead. I do not want to live to be a hundred or one day longer than my beloved husband.
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I totally agree with Sandwich42. Kseale and willow: In theory I understand that we should strive to be compassionate, selfless providers, but I think your tone is exactly what you condemn: judging and critical.
The guilt of feeling these things is tremendous. I find myself increasingly disgusted by some of the habits my mother is developing, yet I've never been able to verbalize it. Shame on you for shaming the people who are simply trying to find out if their feelings of disgust are normal. I agree that we should all strive to be compassionate selfless beings in the care of our loved ones, but the reality is that we all have disgusting sounds and smells at times. None of us would be human if we pretended to enjoy the more difficult aspects of care-taking. Please keep your lofty judgements to yourselves. This is a forum for venting, not public shaming.
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