I used to have a great relationship with my mom but now its strained, and a challenge. I find myself snapping at her then feeling horrible about it later. She needs my help but really what she wants is me to cater to her and I resent her for it.

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Shelsley, welcome!

I think most of us love our moms. That doesn't mean that caring for them when they are elderly is easy

Here's the thing. Many folks ASSUME that because your mom took care of you as a child, you owe her for that.

I believe that's a false assumption; I believe that because MY MOTHER told me that my job wasn't to care for her, it was to pass that caring down to MY kids and my husband. That she and my dad were adults and responsible for their own old age.

Here's what I did. I decided how much I was willing to do and could do without damaging my relationship with my kids and husband and without putting my job in jeopardy. That turned out to be an hour or so of visiting once a week. Occasionally a doctor visit. Showing up at the hospital for true emergencies and being her advocate. Helping to find food facilities for her.

NOT daily entertainment, cuddling, cooking, toileting, dressing and the like.

Decide what you can do without resentment and anger. And stick to it.
Helpful Answer (27)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Anxietynacy Feb 13, 2024
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OMG this is the hardest job you will EVER have in your life. PERIOD! I had no idea what I was in for as I thought she wouldn't live very long when I agreed to take her in. However, thanks to me (LOL) here we are SEVEN years later, and half the time I want to commit suicide and the other half hug her! I told her that I was beginning to resent her, that I was not her nurse, I was not her personal assistant and would not cater to her every whim - in addition to making me feel better, that statement opened her eyes to her selfishness. If it wasn't for my therapist, I probably would have gone completely mad. This year I hired several people to come in 6-7 days a week for 3-4 hours. I now have MY life back. I just bought a travel trailer and plan on doing some 3-day getaways in the future... even if it's only camping in my driveway!

BOTTOM LINE: don't let her take over your life (like I did). It is an ugly, ugly road paved with guilt, fear, obligations and burdens (that are not yours to carry).

My heart hurts for you. Sending love and best wishes.
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Reply to LadyDi6653
jemfleming Feb 20, 2024
LOL! We did the travel trailer thing too and sometimes we use it as an escape even though it never left the driveway! It has a TV and a fridge and has been a great escape for my husband at various times. In the summer, we take it to a nearby lake a couple times and set it up for a week. My husband stays there with our dog and I visit every day for several hours while my paid caretaker is at the house. I have to be back for the evening shift unless I make special arrangements. It is only a 45 minute drive. It gives me a chance to go on bike rides and kayak which are things I like to do. I am on year 4 of caretaking for two. I am POA for both. My mother is with me - my younger brother is with my Dad in a nearby state 3 hours away. The dementia is awful to experience in so many ways. My (and my brother’s) resentment comes and goes depending on how chaotic and demanding things get. It is normal and comes with the job.
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You have become a caregiver rather than a daughter. Only when your mom is being cared for by caregivers, in my opinion, can you return to being a daughter rather than a caregiver. That's sad but there are few ways around it.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

You have your answer in your profile. You state that you are looking for help. That’s the best solution for your situation!

I think you realize that you can’t do it all by yourself. It’s too difficult for one person to do.

Either hire help to supplement some of the caregiving or look into placement for your mother in a facility.

Don’t listen to others who may tell you to continue things as they are. Do what is best for you. You matter just as much as your mom.

Plus, if you’re burned out or get sick yourself, you won’t be as effective as a caregiver. Everyone has a breaking point. You haven’t failed your mom if you have reached yours.

Many people who are advocating for their parents accomplish more than those who are trying to do everything alone. We can only do so much by ourselves.

Wishing you peace as you navigate through this difficult time.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

Most of us care givers , are there or have been there. This support group has helped me tremendously, in a short amount of time. just knowing I'm not alone. We all have are "story" some worse off, some better, but we all get to that point.

For me I have recently started to treat my mom's caregiving, more like a job and take the personal aspects out. Compartmentalizing the emotional part. It really is starting to help.
My mother can no longer do her laundry, which has always been an issue for me because it's in the basement, and I didn't want her going up and down. I gave up that fight, but now that she can't, she is angry. This morning she was complaining about her favorite towel being dirty, she was explaining why she can only use that one towel. I handled it very differently this time, I shrugged and said, well we can't all get what we want. In a very unemotional, detached way. But not really rude or snotty. Just matter of fact.
It really seems to be helping me not to get my anxiety up, or get upset. I'm still practicing and learning what works.
Good luck your not alone
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Reply to Anxietynacy
rustlingleaves Feb 20, 2024
Dear Anxietynacy,
I really liked how you treat caregiving(or parts of it), as a job. I need that, I get tangled up in the emotional part, need to keep that separate.
Thank you for the post! 🌻
Caregiving only works when it's done on the caregiver's terms and not the care recipient's.

Set some terms (boundaries) with your mother and stick to them.

AlvaDeer in the comments is right. When her care needs are being taken care of by paid help that is when you stop being the parent of an adult-sized child and go back to being the adult child of a senior mother.

Let me tell you something and it comes from 25 years of experience as an in-home caregiver and I'm saying it for your own good and your mother's.

NEVER cater to the fussy and demanding senior even when they need help.

NEVER "baby" an adult. The only time an adult should ever be "babied" is if they are so far gone with dementia that they have regressed back into being a baby. In that case keeping them home is really no longer the appropriate level of care and they belong in a nursing home or memory care facility.

Preserving any level of independence is the most important thing. Anything a person can still do for themselves they must do for themselves.

I'm reminded of a care client I had some time ago. She lived with her daughter. This woman was perfectly able to get around with her walker. To the kitchen when she wanted a snack and always wanted to go out all the time.

Yet there had to be a portable commode next to the couch where she spent most of her days eventhough there was a handicapped-equipped bathroom nearby. I asked the daughter why the commode was there as her mother got up and used the actual bathroom while I was there.

The daughter claimed it was "convenient" and she catered to her. No way. Her mother had every caregiver in the agency because she expected to be catered to so badly that they all quit. I told both of them that the commode got put away during the day when I was there. That peeing and crapping in a bucket in the livingroom isn't convenient. It's disgusting and dangerous. An actual toilet doesn't tip over. It flushes so it doesn't stink up your whole house. There's a sink and running water to wash up in. There isn't in the livingroom.

The commode was put away during the day. It stayed put away for the two years I worked for the mother. It upset her at first but it was for her own good.

Bring in homecare to help your mother and instruct them that they are not to cater to her. You will see a big change in her attitude if you do.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to BurntCaregiver
rustlingleaves Feb 20, 2024
BurntCaregiver that was so helpful to me. You understand things, thank you for the post!
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I vent on this forum. I get it all out. And I usually receive some kind words back. It helps a lot.

The only other thing to help will be when my parents finally pass away and we sell their home so that Medicaid can take the proceeds from their house sale. Only then will it be over and I can feel better. It’s sad to write that but it is true.
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Reply to Hothouseflower

Mom needs help......not YOUR help, necessarily, just help. By her hiring a caregiver or moving into Assisted Living, you're off the hook for feeling all this resentment and can hopefully get your old relationship back.
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Reply to lealonnie1

Wow, do I understand. I’ve been caring for m parents for 8 mos now in my home. They are 94 and 97. Mom has dementia and had a stroke 8 yrs ago. She is disabled. Dad can still do his ADL’s. I’m burned out. I’m looking at senior living facilities in our area. Also, considering in home care so I Don have to separate them or risk Mom getting out of bed on her own and falling. Rails on bed are not allowed in facilities. It has been very difficult meeting their wants and needs. I have two chronic illnesses which makes it more difficult for me. Yes, I feel some level of obligation to them because they support me as I’m on disability. I never should have tried this, but didn’t see any option. Now to address anger and resentment. I was abused as a child. No details here. My anger about that comes out sideways toward my dad. Also, he is quite content having me figure out everything. As he says if it wasn’t for me he would just ignore Mom’s and his needs. He wouldn’t deal with the problems I’ve run into with the medical system for example. Yes, I understand being resentful. I can’t beat myself up. I also have to recognize it is not helping me, only hurting me. Take a deep breath and I keep praying even when it doesn’t seem to matter. I’m lost most of the time. I keep trying to find help: home health care, palliative care, and paying for home care. No family to help. Dad burned those bridges. I’ve gone on. You are not alone. Here if you want to talk.
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Reply to Laurie616
buffyintexas Feb 20, 2024
girl. i’m impressed by your spirit and willingness to help your parents i think you will get to a resolution. yes if they get along it would be great and probably cost effective to get them into the same location. you usually get a discount for the second parent. at least here in texas. you might get more care in a smaller home but with a larger home lots of activity and more people to visit with. do keep searching for a spot for them even if you send them one at a time. bed rails yes not allowed. maybe a larger bed. or you roll up a blanket on on side of bed. other side near wall. also how big are your parents there those nap things they use for kids that comes in a larger size flat with padded then a half of circle or bumper around it you lay with your head and upper body between the padded bumpers. you are doing great. keep going
I answered earlier but I would like to add one thing.

Anger is a normal human emotion. It’s a reaction to something that is disturbing to us.

Anger isn’t a bad thing. It can have a positive impact on our situation, if it motivates us to make necessary changes in our lives.

How many times do we see people who don’t change things until they become sick and tired of being sick and tired?

Anger is only destructive for us if we become stuck and do nothing about our situation.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

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