For the last 3 1/2 years I have spent 24/7 for 4 to 4 1/2 month with my mother through the winter and then a day or two weekly through the summer. Her memory is getting bad, she repeats herself, she constantly talks about who is sick and dying, she always talks about how bad old houses and abandoned buildings look every time we go through town, over and over, I have heard this 100 times plus. I took 2 1/2 weeks off to stay away and give myself a break and went to see her yesterday to straighten out some med issues and found myself angry all over again because she started all over again with the same stuff. Who died, who is sick, we drove through town and I heard the same stuff. She needs to sell her house because her property is getting too much for us and we feel her me,org is starting to spiral down and my sister and I have proposed she live between us, she can't afford ALF for very long and there are none with. 30 miles. What is wrong with me? I was a nurse for 40 yrs. why am I having such a hard time tolerating her? I love her dearly and am very protective of her but I just find myself looking at her and getting angry. I am the only child that has put so much time into caring for my mother. Help, I don't want to,feel this way.

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Dear Karbar,

I hear you. Its not easy being the primary caregiver for our elderly parents. It does take its toll. I think the resentment and anger builds slowly over time and then we just hit the wall. We just can't take it anymore. We try and try and we get to the point where we have to seriously look at other options.

My father has passed. But I desperately wished I could redo the last year of his life. I was consumed with so much anger. I wished I had gotten more help sooner. I hope you will consider talking to a therapist or joining a support. Please look into other options for your mom's care. You are such an amazing daughter and you have done so much. But its okay to ask for help now. Thinking of you.
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Kabar I wish I had an answer one thing I do know is after reading all of this advice it's better than any therapist. My dad use to repeat stories all the time he was in good health so I never thought much about it. Than he fell last February and passed in December. Now all I can say is I miss all the old stories. Now I have my mom and I've been doing this for 13 yrs she had a fall and it's been a struggle all these yrs. she has short term memory so I repeat myself a lot but I also try to get her to remember what I said. My sister is not a caregiver but she tries although the outcome is different. She gets irritated and storms off. My mom is still adjusting to loosing her husband my father of 56 years. So as they say patience is a virtue. And I cry a lot but I know God is bigger than any problem so if you believe hang in there and smile. One quote I love is Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain. Take care
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karbar, I have the same trouble. It has been full-time for over 7 years. I realize I can't listen to the repeating all the time or it would waste my life and drive me crazy. I'm lucky that my mother doesn't mind being by herself. Even though we live together, I limit the amount of time spent together. I really have to, because I work out of the home and go out for exercise almost every day. It works out fine, since my mother likes solitude.
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Your anger, frustration, disgust is perfectly understandable. For me it helped to realize the source of my anger was the dementia. I hated Lewy Body Dementia. I got angry at Lewy. Some days Lewy was particularly frustrating. I saw my husband on the same side with me -- both of us hurt by Lewy.

Typing it out like this makes it sound like a silly word game. Anger is anger, right? But I'm telling the truth that this attitude really did help me cope. This wasn't my dear husband's fault. It was that dang Lewy!
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Karbar, you are definitely not alone. I promise. I have helped many many nurses and other medical professionals who feel horrible for being amazingly patient with other people but not feeling the same composure for their own parents. Simply, you are feeling this way because she is YOUR mom. And that is completely ok. I have a theory, someone else could have this theory too but I like to think my ideas are original, those of us who care for others for a living, most likely have just as much compassion for our parents than someone we care for professionally but we feel like we should have MORE fortitude with our parents. Sometimes, you just don't have it in you. Maybe there is a finite amount of patience in one's lifetime... I'm not sure about that. But what I do know, you are not alone. What to do about it, many get outside help. You are more than qualified to care for her but getting outside help may give you support you need. Not only time away but a sounding board and perhaps other ideas to help her and you.
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There's nothing wrong with you.

Crying babies are almost impossible to ignore. So are ringing telephones, dripping water, whining mosquitoes... and complaining elders.

There are good evolutionary reasons for our emotional response to things that need putting right. The trouble, of course, is that there is no putting right your mother's view that the world has gone to H3ll in a handcart, nor her natural preoccupation with those who are "going before" or look likely to.

So there you are. A background noise that spurs you to do something about it, but coupled with a situation that only the good Lord can remedy, and not in any way we look forward to.

No wonder it's maddening, and no wonder it is tying your stomach in knots. This makes you *normal*.

Solutions. Ummmmm...

My mother, if I went off on one too long, used to sigh theatrically and quote "... and the goal is but The Grave!" You could find your own bathetic catchphrase to interrupt your mother when her stream of depressing consciousness gets too much for you.


Set yourself a reward to have after each visit, and set a time limit too. So, say you go to pick mother up at noon, promise yourself that by four you'll be home with Netflix and a modest tub of ice cream. That sort of thing.

Perhaps the most important thing, though, is to acknowledge that you have every right to find her deteriorating mood and manner a serious downer, and not expect yourself just to shrug it off.
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You're looking ahead and see more and more of her care falling to you with no light at the end of the tunnel and wonder why you feel resentment? Having been a nurse I expect you know deep down that this care arrangement is unsustainable. I am a list maker and planner, so what helps me is to make a list of options and weigh their pros and cons, including every worst case scenario. Having a better sense of control and understanding of our options helps. Sometimes.
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If your mom has cognitive decline, then some of the repeating, talking about people who have died, makes sense. I think that some seniors do that a lot even if they don't have dementia. Of course, with dementia the repeating is obviously much worse. As a professional, you know that if she has dementia, it means brain damage. It's not like she has any control over what she's saying. And her condition will progress and other much more concerning things may appear.

Have you been around a person withe dementia who has severe short term memory loss? They can and often do repeat the same question every minute for hours. They have no idea that they are doing it. To them, when they ask you a question for the 200th time, it's the first time of the day for them. It can get that bad. And that is extremely stressful for the caregiver to handle. A lot of people post about it.

Sadly, we are limited in ways to cope with repeating. We can try redirecting their attention, occupying their time with other things, changing the subject, playing music, talking a walk or drive, etc. It's often a matter of just tolerating it, unless it passes. (Is there a Senior Day Center she could spend some time? Maybe, chatting with others will calm some of that talk.)

My LO repeated so much that I thought I would lose it. But, I kept telling myself that I had to repeat a nice, sweet, response to her every time. And I did. Eventually, she stopped doing it. Of course, her speech slowly declined and now she hardly ever speaks, except to answer a question.

I think that feeling frustrated and resentful is perfectly normal, but, you have to consider that caregiving around the clock is not reasonable. If you overload yourself with stress and anxiety, you may be setting yourself up for problems.

And consider that some people are not cut out to be full time caregivers. If that is the case, accept it and make other arrangements for your mother. To me, that's the appropriate thing to do. When you are only around the LO for certain times, I found that I was more rested and actually happy to visit with my LO when I went to visit. If you are constantly overloaded, you may develop resentment and anger.
Oh, also, if you think that your mom is depressed and is obsessing over sad things, discuss it with her doctor and have her evaluated for depression.  Meds might help with that. 
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