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The issue for me is "daughter guilt". My mom lives with me. Does not socialize. She is sweet as can be, but she doesn't talk beyond the weather or food. Why do I feel guilty and angry? I am recently widowed and I feel that if she doesn't have a "life" then I don't. I do get away once in a while and leave her meals and have others check in on her...I hate this guilt. I miss the days when I would go to HER house once a week, go to lunch, shopping and back to HER house for tea, kiss her good bye and go home.

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Several folks here have made good points. You're probably not angry at mom but angry at what she's become or what's been lost. It's hard when someone you probably once confided in or found comfort from can only speak about a few limited topics. Anger is upsetting but it's worse than not caring at all.
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Did anyone else watch Joel Osteen tonight? He had a powerful message, the last part that seemed to be aimed right at caregivers. He talked about how it was not our job in life to make someone happy, and how some people would never be happy no matter how much you did for them. He talked about getting beyond feeling that we owe something to someone who is never happy and never grateful. He did not say this in an unkind way.

I knew exactly what he was saying. This is not saying to stop caregiving parents. It is saying to stop devoting our lives to entertain or make someone happy. If they are lonely, they can join a church group or go to the senior center. They can call their Cousin Marcie... whatever. Because they choose not to do this, it does not make us obligated to devote our lives to entertaining. That is too much to ask. I think that providing a safe environment, good food, and a thoughtful relationship is enough.
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endofrope,

Your anger is very understandable and somewhat different from the anger of the original poster.

I hate to say this, and you probably already know it, but having someone at home with Alzheimer's will only get far worse than it already is. The strain of all of this can really place a huge emotional strain on one's marriage without some relief to help keeping that relationship nurtured.

I gather that your siblings have abandoned you which is far too common. Chewing your cud over that resentment will only fuel the fire more which will drain you and not damage them at all.

So, what kind of plan have you and your husband discussed for the long haul? Is the $400 per week coming from your money or her's or does she even have any money? Would this be the time to begin the process of getting her on Medicaid? For her safety and care plus your own well being, she may need medicaid to eventually go to a memory care unit?

I hope you are already her durable and medical POA for she may not be able to give that to you now if she has not given it to you already.

Are there any Alzheimer's support groups in your area that you could attend?

Bring us up to date with some more information, keep in touch, feel free to vent all you need to. We are here to support you with love, cyber hugs, advice and listening ears! You are not alone.
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Anger is the hardest for me, it seems I'm doing fine and then just like flipping a switch, my mother acts like a spoiled 2 year old just one too many times. So far I've just left the room (even though she follows me like a dog) My only saving grace is that she is so hard of hearing that she doesn't hear me when she asks me for the 100th time of the day if the pillows on the sofa look good. I am guilty of telling her just where she could put those .*(&^ pillows. Her world revolves around eating and staying awake 24/7 , making/unmaking the bed and rearranging her throw pillows. The house could be on fire and she would stop to check the pillow arrangement! Then the guilt sets in and I think "how could I have gotten so upset about throw pillows"? But I know one thing, and that is that most of you on here understand completely.. I pay a home helper $400 a week to just give me
the weekdays away from her, and after spending 2 days of the weekend, I don't know how she does it for so little even though we really can't afford to keep doing it. I think a huge part of my anger and guilt stems from the fact that my husband and I have worked all our lives hoping to enjoy our pre retirement years with trips and many visits to the grandkids several states away. Instead, we are trapped in this hell not of our making with no way out. What would be a more interesting question would be why in the hell would someone not feel anger, guilt and dislike for circumstances which have ruined all our plans for a happy retirement and much earned rest. I feel like I am juggling more than I was when I had small children, all I do is run to doctors, pharmacies, grocery stores and a hundred other chores that have fallen on my shoulders now that I have had to take over care of my mother. Oh, and let's not forget all the "thanks" we get from our demented parents and the useless family members who disappear like beer at a frat party.
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Well done, cos! Having hours of the day to yourself should help enormously. Glad you have joined a grief group. Definitely, all this with your mum is OK and normal. (((((hugs))))
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Thanks to all of you. It really helps to get feedback and know that what I am feeling is okay. I actually told a white lie to mom this week. I told her that the doctor called and said she should join an exercise class and recommended a senior day care center in our town. I thought she would balk, but she smiled and said "oh that would be nice!" Let's hope she remembers that comment this week when I take her for the first time for a 9-3 "session". I am so looking forward to that!
Yes, I have joined a grief group and we have all become good friends. We call each other when down, go out to eat once a month and talk and laugh.
I just need to realize that all of this with mom is okay. Thank you!
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cmagnum, yes, it seems like these stages overlap and go back and forth a lot at this point. I have thought about getting some grief counseling before and maybe it is time I talk to someone. Many people have done that and say it has helped them. What a roller coaster ride this all is.
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Katie222, unfortunately the grief stages don't always go in a straight line. You many benefit from some grief counseling with all that you have on you.
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cos - (((((((hugs))))))You probably need more space to grieve and also to have a life of your own apart from your mum. Set up a schedule with your mum - formal or informal, for time and activities for the two of you and also for enough time for yourself. You do not have to entertain her all the time. As children we often we feel we have to be everything to our parents, but we don't. She managed fine before without your constant company and she can again. As long as she is safe, and fed, her basic needs have been met and you have done your duty. Is there a senior's center you could take her to daily to get her out of the house and in contact with other seniors? Have you joined a grieving group so you can share your feelings of loss with others in the same boat? You have not only lost your husband, but your have lost your independence and solitude with your mother there all the time. That is too much for anyone.

Anger and guilt are part of grief and you need to give yourself daily time and space to process that. Would your mother understand and accept that if you talked with her? Can she be left on her own for e.g. a couple of hours a day that you can claim for yourself? Do you have a sibling where mother could go for some weekends or weeks?

My gut sense is that you need some regular time alone in your own house to grieve the loss of your husband - to cry freely, to feel the pain of the empty chair, the unused favourite mug, all the reminders of him. This is normal and necessary and takes months and years to get through until you are at a more comfortable place. You NEED this. Please arrange it for yourself.

The guilt you are feeling is part of grieving and also there is probably some false guilt attached to looking after a parent and trying to fill all their needs and get their approval. Try to let go of that part.

I hear your pain. Look after you and let us know how you are doing.
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I can't seem to completely get out of the despair stage as I am continually getting hit with new problems and hospitals etc. etc. Right when I sort of begin to accept that this is how things are right now I get tossed a new crises. Then those stages of shock, denial, anger, despair start all over again. I feel like I am going through a wringer continually at times....
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How old is your mom? Is it possible that she's depressed or is she just a quiet person? Can she afford to hire some caregivers to come sit with her so that you can feel more at ease about getting out and creating a new life as a recently widowed person?

With your just becoming a widow recently, you may be dealing with some grief related depression and grief related anger that now living with mom just doesn't give you the feeling of having enough space to deal with and work through.

Maybe a therapist could help you discover some ways to keep developing your own life while your mom declines so that you still have a life one day. Otherwise, you want.
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I understand how you feel, costellery. Our parents become isolated and their lives don't seem like much fun. We feel like we need to do things with them to entertain them, but then what becomes of our own lives? I envy the people whose parents are interesting. Conversations with my mother are limited to the weather and what my brothers are doing... oh, and repetitions of things that happened in the past. It is what she knows. I do feel guilt about not talking with her more. I feel like I need to take her places, but she doesn't want to go. I'm sure that anyone looking on the outside would think I'm not a very good daughter, since they don't know what I'm working with.

I'm learning to put aside the guilt because it really isn't me. She likes to sleep half the day and watch TV the other half. She doesn't want to talk usually and doesn't want to do anything. She talks of how she might like to do something tomorrow, but tomorrow stays a day away. It is okay. I know she has dementia and pain from her back. If she is happy at home with her TV, I'm okay with it. It isn't the healthiest life, but it is the one she chooses for herself. Sometimes I still feel twinges of guilt that I don't encourage her to do more. I got tired of sounding like a nag. I think we're both happier if I just let her be.
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Take care of yourself. Your poor mother actually thinks that she is helping you. :) What are your plans for when you can no longer take care of her?
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I don't think you have guilt so much as you have regret for what has been lost. Both your lives are disrupted. Both of you are grieving and some counseling may help both of you. Grief has stages: Shock, Denial, Anger, Despair and finally Acceptance. Learn to recognize what stage you are in and how to move through them.
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