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She's always sick & battling with congestive heart failure, double pneumonia, osteoarthritis, fibromalgia, diabetes, & a huge hematoma inside her stomach-which the doctor won't do anything about. Shes been sleeping alot. I have a hard time spending time with her because She's always crabby and mean with me, & a bit controlling. When I want a break, she tells me I don't need one or when I want to go and do something she makes me feel guilty for leaving her alone. She says she wants my company but I'm with her 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (I do get out to do grocery shopping and to go to a religious service but thats it) So my question is What can we do together that may help lift her spirits and maybe make her less grumpy?

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My mnl is just about in a negative mood every day. I try to get her to listen to the birds singing outside or look at pretty clouds and blue sky and sometime it will work for a little while and she is only in her mild stage of AZ. However, we are now working on a scrap-book photo album even though she said it will be mine when she goes and she makes that sound like its going to happen tomorrow but she will tell her doctor she is fine. Anyway, the album is old photos and I have label names on them for her. I also told her that, "this is for her and not me and if she wanted me to bury it with her when her time does come that I will, which shouldn't be any time soon." I think I got a smile out of her and I let her small colorful stickers so she can decorate it as we fill each page. I personalized her name with gold letters on the inside of the book with a big angel and she loves it.
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Sumlerc, most packages of epson salt have a warning for diabetics. Check with your mom's doctor, though -- that warning doesn't necessarily apply in all cases.
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Allarck, so glad to hear that things are getting better, that's something we dont often hear. I see I must do more research! My mom is diabetic also, foot soaks aren't good? I actually took a foot pan and Epson Salt with me on my visit yesterday but something told me to hold off. Glad I listened to my instincts! I would feel HORRIBLE if my good intentions caused harm.
Thanks for keeping us posted, I won't give up on my Mom and Dad even though Dad has long given up and Mom seems to like dweling in the world of "I can't", I'll rest but I wont stop trying.
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So many great suggestions here, thank you all.
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Will try some. She's been helping me in the kitchen lately. Got out yahtzee and she plays it every night before she goes to sleep. Next thing I'm gonna try is a game night and a movie night and have her help me with laundry-she can fold. She always feels so worthless, so I've been having her help out in the kitchen and make out the grocery lists, then we both search for coupons to cut down on expenses. I also went to the library and checked out some books and grabbed some free magazines (which people donate) she likes recipe books. Computers/internet can't ever take the place of turning the page in a book/magazine. She likes getting emails, so when I'm going thru all my emails I'll watch for funny jokes, tasty recipes, or other fun things and send them to her. In one day alone I sent her 15 emails--it really made her day. I have tried the foot soak, but being a diabetic its not a good thing to do for her. They can get cuts and sores. Can't afford the full spectrum light but I have been keeping the curtains and blinds open to give off light. Something must be helping--she's getting better.
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First you must think of something that happen to her long, long time ago and you must bring that back to life,You must add more positive laughter to it. suggest trying to rekindle those moments as close as you can get to it;;;also tell her how much you appreciated her as your "MOTHER";;and for teaching you the important of becoming the woman who you became..She sounds like she wants the praises and honor from the past,, and future just from you,,and only you !!!try it,, it is all about her and making her laugh again....
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I understand your dilema! I have the same problem with my mom. She's not mean, but just sits at the kitchen table ALL day, smoking and staring, holding her hands over her ears or face. She denies any pain. She doesn't have or want any friends, refuses to do any sort of activity. I've tried to get her interested in SO many things but she has no interest in Anything. It makes me depressed and irritable, and I feel SO guilty when I need to lay down to take care of my own pain, and my own emotional state. My mom is on an anti-depressant. Maybe meds for depression would help your mom if she's not already on something? You need to have time for yourself or you will get sick yourself. My thoughts & prayers are with you! - Kathy
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Thanks Quakerite, I'll look into it and def let you know. WOW, that's so wonderful for your Aunt. I just love hearing stories like hers, good for her! :))
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Sumlerc: I got my spectrum light at Alicks Medical Supplies. Any similar store should stock them, if there isn't an Alicks in your neck of the woods. I have also seen them - for about the same price - in the catalog Gaiam. I forgot to mention too that my aunt also attends an adult day care (where I got hired one day a week as a nurse) 3X weekly. It's great - gives her exercise, activities, lunch, 2 snacks, social life, a religious service on Friday (mini-Mass for Catholics, bible study for Protestants), and her favorite: Bingo. If you get the light, let me know how you like it.
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Great ideas! @ Quakerite, where can a spectrum light be purchased? @Stephan, I LOVE the foot soaking treatment, on my next visit wit my mom,this is just what I will do, Spa time!
@AlLarck, respite care sounds like it will fit the bill for you. It's so important that we take breaks and do things that we enjoy. Life marches on, don't get left behind. Best wishes to you.
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Oops, wrong button, new iPad... Anyway, she is scared to be alone. Make lunch or snacks and invite a couple friends from church to join you (and mom, of course). Have a support group, quilt block of the month club, support our troops letter writing campaign, whatever, and hold the meetings at your place. Good luck!
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Oops, wrong button, new iPad... Anyway, she is scared to be alone. Make lunch or snacks and invite a couple friends from church to join you (and mom, of course). Have a support group, quilt block of the month club, support our troops letter writing campaign, whatever, and hold the meetings at your place. Good luck!
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I am fortunate that my mom is never crabby; on the other side, sometimes I AM!! That's when I know I need to get out for a break. Reading between the lines, sheis
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Very sweet, Stephan. Soaking the feet can also pull impurities out of the system. I would add to that a good foot massage with a nourishing foot cream after toweling her feet. How can anyone be crabby and mean after that treatment? AlLarck: if you are not comfortable doing that, perhaps you have a friend who is a cosmetologist or manicurist who could come to the house. A hand and arm massage is also nurturing for your loved one. Certain massage is Not recommended with certain conditions, so check first.
I agree with Grace that you need to be positive about and live your own life. Learn about boudaries and taking care of yourself. You don't want people feeling sorry for you, or you feeling sorry for yourself, as that will not improve your situation. How would you feel with as many ailments as your Mother has? I would be frightened and feel helpless. Don't allow her to victimize you, but get someone to come in and sit with her. Remember she is afraid, that emotions comes out as meanness in some people. You are a Blessing, Dear One:)
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When my mom's just hanging out sitting in her favorite chair I fill a pan with warm water (not too hot) and a little bit of liquid soap and maybe some epsom salts. I let her soak her feet for 20 minutes or so and she feels like she's at a spa. I put a towel under the pan for splashes and ask her clearly not to get up and walk (and slip) with wet feet. She loves to soak her feet, feels like she's "doing something" useful and feels loved and cared for.
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If you can afford it, a full-spectrum light, 30 minutes daily, might do wonders. (For both of you). I got one for my aunt (she has vascular dementia) when the doctor suggested anti-depression medication. I call it her 'healing light.' 2 months later the doctor met with her, then turned to me in amazement. He said he'd never had a geriatric patient blossom like that in 2 months. Besides improving her mood, it has stabilized her sleep rhythms and she even seems to be remembering better. If you can get her in a better mood, it is easier to make other changes that will benefit you both. Good luck.
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I feel so sorry for you both. My mother always cheers up when we get the old photograph albums out (which is often as she has dementia and forgets we looked at them the day before). God bless.
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Wow, my heart goes out to both you AND your mom. The suggestions that have already been offered are excellent. I would only add the suggestion that you accept that your influence on your mother's mood (or anyone else's mood, for that matter) is limited. Abraham Lincoln once said something like, "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." I have a 90-year old family member who has similar health challenges as your mom, but is unfailingly cheerful and pleasant. I would encourage you to be sure to do things that lift your OWN mood and enlist any and all support/practical assistance that you can possibly get. If you have to do so, pay for sitters to come in while you go to a caregivers support group. I would think that it would be important for you to do all that you can to have pleasant/positive influences in your life on a regular basis in order to help "neutralize" the stress of caregiving for your mom. Blessings to you and to your family.
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Does she have any friends who would come over for a visit every so often so she has something to look forward to-maybe a neighbor who lives alone would be willing to spend an hour with her once or twice a week.
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I think I'd be grumpy if I faced that list of chronic conditions. I tend to get irritable when I'm sick. I try not to, but I also seem to lose impulse control when I'm sick. My family puts up with me, but all of us know this will pass in a few days. You don't have that reassurance. This is not a 3-day bug, it is a chronic reality. I admire you for trying to come up with things that may life her spirits.

Does she like being read to? Can you find a book or magazine articles that you both would enjoy?

Does music cheer her up at all? (My mother likes things like Lawrence Welk.) Could you enjoy a snack together and listen to something she likes?

How about a project like organizing photographs that have accumulated over the years? Or looking at the season's greeting cards together.

If she wants your company, she might like sitting in the kitchen while you cook and it might perk her up to be asked her advice about how to make various dishes. If watching you do things brings out her critical streak, try to joke about it, or humour her sometimes and try to do it her way. She is a very sick woman; cut her some slack.

Play checkers with her. Do crossword puzzles together.

Also try very hard to arrange some respite care, so that your whole life is not focussed on sickness and crabbiness. As a caregiver I do know how next to impossible that is, and also how essential. Can she be left alone for short periods? Could you join a bowling league or a book club or sign up for community ed cooking classes or do something to get you out of the house on a regular basis? Is there a room in the house that is just yours, that you can retreat to, with the understanding that you are not to be disturbed except for emergencies?

Try not to take Mom's crabbiness personally. She may want to buy you tickets for a guilt trip, but you really can refuse to go! :)

May your holiday be calm.
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