How do you deal with over-dependency?

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I live with and care full time for my Dad and he states he can't do anything without me and while he needs help with things, toilet, showering, dressing etc he seems to just want everything done for him and makes little or no effort to take some small responsibility for his own care. When I attempt to go out he mutters, or gives me a 'look' that speaks volumes and then gives whoever comes in a hard time asking when will i return home?

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Hi Sissisu. A few encouraging words. You are not alone in this as many of us have gone through similar experiences of been 'blamed' for what is going on in our parents life particularly as they get older. I have been told that it can be a natural way of manifesting a fear of morality and also the scariness of been alone at this time and in particular in venting this in different 'guises' is a common way of making you feel guilty, helpless and overwhelmed. You started this post with the lines "I'm not sure what is going on with my mother" and i would wonder if something has happened around her which has got her thinking and behaving in such a way? Loss of friends or people her age? Has your brother stepped back from the support he has given her out of also feeling overwhelmed and often in that situation unappreciated? and hence it is your 'turn to step up' which as you have stated that is unrelaistic... and the fact that you have posted on this site indicates to me that you do actually care for your mother... good on you! So in moving forward... can I encourage you, as I have to do quite often, to step back... breathe a good long sigh and let it out... your mam's venting is not your fault even though it can be hurtful and peircing... look and see in real terms and ask 'what can I do?'... which given where you are it sounds like you are doing what you can do.... and well done in that! I would maybe look at what supports or services are available to your mam in her locality.... you mentioned 'Church'.. could you make contact with them and share your concerns for your mam with them to see if they could maybe check in with her and reassure her in real terms... What about her doctor? can you speak to him? Your Brother? - the reason I mention your brother is that I have had some experiences in feeling that my family at times 'do' little to help where in reality on having talked to them I find that they have been spoken too or have felt the same way as me which in turn has helped in addressing 'Mam' together in support of each other!! Finally just to say You are a great daughter regardless of what is said... just ask your friends and own family.... Best wishes and prayers are with you!! Hope this helps in some way!!
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Not sure if this is the right forum, but I'm not sure what is going on with my mother. She's 87 and in fairly decent health. She does not have upper arm strength (torn rotator cuff on one shoulder - doc said surgery was too risky at her age, nor did she want it) and has arthritis in her knees. My dad died when I was in my early teens. Mom was the total 50'/s wife, stay at home, did not drive, the man took care of things, etc. She was lost when he passed but did learn how to drive and did so for a few years. She then had me in driver's ed as soon as possible, then my brother, and gradually we became her chauffeur. She's always been moody at times, but it has gotten a lot worse recently. I live a good 4 hours away, own my home. She now has this thing that she repeats all the time - her goal was to have us live together, but I was so selfish and bought my own house without consulting her. We could have bought a house together. She had never, ever mentioned this at all. She was content to live in her same town, along with my brother, the golden child. She now says she sees other elderly mothers together with their daughters and she envies them so. We have always been more like oil and vinegar, and even more so now. When I go to visit, I have to do everything, and I mean everything. She is fully capable of cooking and doing some chores. Nope, it's my duty to do everything for her - I have to pull my share (as in my brother does so much - he takes her to the grocery and to church). He does not help her clean, nor does he even come over to her house for a meal and he lives within two miles. Now she's been calling me crying that she never should have been born, her life is meaningless, while I am so happy. Why can't she be happy? And she's also blaming me for decisions she made to stay in that town and her original home after my dad passed away some 40 years ago. She said she did it to make her kids happy. Well, then that was your decision. You were the adult. She says she hates to hear that - because she has always had a hard time making a decision (again deferring to the male in the family to it for her). Yet, she wants to depend on her daughter. I am evil, and the devil, and I have rejected her - according to her. I merely told her one time, it would not work, our living together. She wore out her welcome the last time I had her visit; she criticized every thing I did, ruined some furniture and appliances, and then shrugged when I told her about it. So what?? I am in my mid to late 50's so I cannot up and change my job, and I know if she moved here she would be just as miserable. I have been wondering if this is onset dementia or Alzheimer's, but to get her to be tested would be like getting Godzilla through a china shop and not breaking one dish. I never know from one day to the next if she's going to be a reasonable mood, screaming at me, making cutting remarks, or in a happy mood (happy mood maybe 1 time per week at most). She is very manipulative in trying to get me to go there - this time to put away her Christmas decorations. She has more decorations than a decorator showroom, and if you say it's time to donate (along with any other possessions), she has a fit. She also has a fit that I choose most years not to decorate (as I have to decorate her house), plus I work most holidays or am away, so it's a waste of effort to me. I am just hating Christmas and any holiday according to her (what I hate is the hassle and eventual fights that then come up with her - I don't put the bow exactly right, I am stupid, I do not care about her one bit). I have spent all of Thanksgiving week with her, did the entire meal and clean up, spent all of Christmas week with her - got all of the gifts (my brother just refused, so it was up to me). I am just ready to snap. I have suggested that she look into an independent senior living community to which she says I am not going into a nursing home. I didn't suggest that. My aunt - who lived out of state- lived in a great facility, loved it. My mom then said oh she's having fun out of life, wish there was some place like that here. There is but she refuses to even look. She just wants attention 24/7 and I have my own life and home to attend to - which she does not get at all. What do you have to do so big? She still envisions her children as "kids", like we're 10 or 12, but then relies on us as adults, then we're idiots who have no clue. I'm just frustrated and at the end of my rope. My brother is no help at all. Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks for the opportunity to vent.
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Thanks everyone for your encouraging words and insightfulness. Very helpful. I have been attending a counsellor who has helped me to learn to try and connect with my Dad outside of his 'illness' which he can have a tendency to stay in.. I had the same connection, but stronger with my mam and it was so much easier to separate the dementia from the person because we had a relationship all the way through and she was just a sweety to care for even though she had different and 'off' days with funny habits...I have begun to find that in trying to take the same approach with Dad is helping... even though I see our relationship has been strained in the past... I find through prayer and also honest reflection that God is giving me extra strength to work through things and in all that learn to forgive the past and see him as just another man who has struggled with the things in his life and that I too have different struggles that are probably not the same as his but that he is just human.... beyond my hope as a boy that he would be superman. And in been here with him now, although challenging, tiring and often beyond belief it is nice to have the time in his last days to be with him. As I look back with my mam I can honestly thank God for the honour of having the joy and priviledge of caring for her!! I know its not easy and my thoughts and prayers are with you all!! M
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The dependency is only going to get worse, so you need a plan.
Otherwise, you will go down with the ship and I'm not exaggerating.

My mother is in a nursing home for dementia and a number of other medical problems. She is **extremely** dependent when I am around. She will do utterly nothing for herself if I am in the room. If I'm not there, she's much more willing to try for strangers in medical uniforms.

Over time "won't" turned into "can't" for real. It's hard to discern won't from can't with some people who have been stubborn their whole lives. Or if they are good at covering up their deficiencies.

I put my mom into care willingly and without guilt. Those people are trained and the facility is purpose built for people in wheel chairs who need a lot of help. Their staff rotates on shifts, which is something you won't get at home.

Sometimes the parent and the children do better when there is some separation in place, and everybody can get away from one another for some time. The patient always does better with other people to interact with, other stimulation, and being put into situations that require them to use the abilities they still have.

Good luck out there!
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Sorry to hear about your mother passing away last April. That loss has been tough on the whole family. You are a real trouper for having step in and cared for both of your parents and now taking care of your dad.

Sounds like he has been very dependent his whole life which is not going to change and will increase as his health declines. You have to decide just how much of his need to be dependent upon you that you can reasonably carry? He understandably misses his wife being present and your being present in the room fills that need. However, you can't be in the room with him all of the time.

The sad reality about leaving work is that the older you are and the longer you go without working the harder it is to get back into the workforce. Is this something that is financially sustainable for you to do? What is the allowance you are talking about? Is it some kind of contract between you and your dad that is signed saying you will do these caregiving duties for so much a month? I know this probably sounds calloused but you do need to consider your own financial well being for your dad at 77 could live many more years and without any income building up your own retirement and social security, you could end up dirt poor and homeless.

What part, if any and we sure hear about a lot who don't, are your siblings contributing to this? You should not be expected to do this alone. They will not fully understand what you are going through unless they actually do some of the work you are doing.

It sounds like your dad's mind is declining. My dad's mind is declining as well for he has lost all of his short term memory. Has his doctor evaluated him for dementia/Alzhiemer's?

Also, are you your dad's durable and medical POA?

Have you and your siblings sat down to discuss a long range plan for your dad's care and safety that does not involve throwing you and your well being under the bus? If you have not discusses a plan, now is a good time to do so.

While I am concerned about your dad's safety and health needs, I am also concerned about you not becoming a trapped caregiver which does happen and is easy to fall into. I would look into some options for your dad's care based on his overall health and safety needs that will give you some sound options for having and continuing your own life. You cannot be his emotional substitute spouse. You can't and shouldn't have to sacrifice your hole life for his final years and I don't think a good, healthy father would want their adult child to do that.

I agree with what Chicago said, Take care of dad, but also take care of you. Do something nice for yourself today.
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Mother used to pull that on my elderly sisters. The stress led to ones early death on her 70th birthday. So, then my even older sister decided to stay there 6 weeks. She was not allowed to leave the house.??? I would tell her "Get out of there. Go." Finally, her husband made her go home. Now, Mother is exceptional, at the local NH. She does whatever she wants to do. BUT, I was there for a week in March and the dependency started all over again.

Don't fall for it. Tell him if he is that bad off, he needs 24/7 care and you will gladly make those arrangements.
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Yes I agree... When I cared for both Mam and Dad they were both quietly content in each others company and I could be upstairs or somewhere else in the house knowing if they need anything they would call me... now I find that I have to be 'present' in the room with Dad. He does get visits at home on occasion and there is that sense of a substitute 'body part'...
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I understand the burden that dependency puts on us. My father was dependent on my mother and me for everything in life. He is gone now, and it is only my mother. She is dependent on me for almost everything. I am fortunate that she makes her own breakfast and toilets herself. She can bathe herself. Her main dependency is that she has to have me around when she interacts with people. If someone is coming to visit, I might love to take some personal time, but she doesn't want to be with other people without having me there.

We can come to be like an essential body part for our elders and they feel very vulnerable without us. I don't know if there is anything we can do to break the feeling of dependency. We can only decide what we will do and remind them that they will be fine without us if we decide not to do something with them. I usually accommodate my mother, but it is because I have the time. Other people may have to use their judgment about if anyone is really needed, and get in a substitute "body part" if the person feels too vulnerable.
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Dad, 77, has kidney failure, attends dialysis 3 days a week... broken hips over past two years so mobility slow.... Sees his doctor regularrly but I have to attend with him as he tends to forget what he needs to discuss or plays it down....

He has always had this dependency... my mam carried that load for a long time.... She passed last April (had dementia for last years of her life and cared for both of them) and while that has been hard on us all (family of 7 kids... me youngest) Dad continued to be dependent... at times telling me that I can't go out... he tends to forget and ask where I am...

He has a medical card so the extra care is covered by the local health service... I have left work over four years ago, with attempts of going back to work over that time but proved impossible... so currently applying for allowance...

Quite an impact on me personally which at times is difficult to try explain to other family members...
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New to this... so hope I am replying in the right box? Am I
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