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My mum has been unwell for the past year and I have done the majority of the day to day care as I am the nearest in distance and work less hours than my siblings. However I am a single parent, my husband died 5 years ago, and my daughter is 11 years old so I am having to juggle work and home life along with caring for mum.


How do others manage to do this without becoming resentful? I love my mother dearly but she has me doing errands practically everyday, uses me as a taxi service and questions my whereabouts constantly, so much so that I feel I have no privacy. Fortunately her health is now improving but I’m doubtful she will ever return to full independence and don’t know how to cope with being at her beck and call indefinitely and feeling that my life has no worth as my reasons for not being able to undertake an errand/request will be deliberated on by the wider family who will then comment on whether the reason is, in their view, acceptable or not.


I realise in a lot of ways I am fortunate as mum has no signs of dementia and is a lovely person whereas I read a lot of stories on here about care givers who are struggling with a lot more difficult issues than this so I apologise if my query appears trivial but to me it is very real and the resentment is causing me to be constantly guilt ridden. How do I get my own life back while still being there for my mum and my child?


I even feel guilty posting this as it makes me feel I am being disloyal to a wonderful mother

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Set Boundaries ! Drop the guilt. Limits how much you are willing to do for her. Be specific and firm. ie “I’ll come over Tuesday and Friday from 9-12 to help you with x, y, and z.” Or whatever YOU chose. Barring unexpected emergencies. If she needs more help (in form of time/attn/errands/rides) than you can give, she must get it elsewhere. Will your other siblings pitch in ? Or friends, relatives ? Get others involved, the more the better. How about local senior services ? They can help with rides, housework, errands, and the like. Depending on her financial situation she may have to pay a reasonable fee for this help, but it’s well worth it. Feeling resentful shows that you are already overextended.
Also prioritize; YOU FIRST, then your dgt, then your mom. Stop being at mom’s beck and call. It’ll only worsen in time. If it feels like she is being intrusive, she probably is. As for other family judging you, NO ! Stop. That is way out of line ! Unless they want to (a)take over or (b)help out, they are in no place to judge you.
I struggle with similar issues; resentment is frighteningly common among caregivers, espec among adult children caring for aging parents. If you read Topics, Forum, etc. here on AgingCare.com you’ll find many articles with tips for reducing stress and burden, as well as alternative resources. I think it comes down to self care and priorities. Stop trying to please others at your own expense, or it could cause you to loose that which you hold most dear. This from a people pleaser who is also learning this painful lesson. Hang in there Barbarabee123. Your worth is NOT determined by anyone else. It’s intrinsic!
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Reply to Nancymc
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Great tip there Moecam re blocks of time. Not "I have a haircut 10am Tues" (room for errands squeezed before & after). "Tues morning I'm busy" instead. Nice big blocks carved out for you.

Both my folks gave 1 day a week for their aging widowed Mums, then stepped up to 2 arvos later - all appointments, shopping, picks ups to fit into that. Each sib that lived close enough & opted in did same so they managed ok for years without resentment (it appeared). When 2+ days per sib were reached the move to AL was decided upon.

My Mum remembers this & yet she thinks it reasonable to ask me to not go to work because she wants something done that day! I just laugh & ask "do you want your grandchildren to starve?"

I think after being ill & being around so much in the recovery time some people get emeshed together. Detaching & setting boundaries again is the next step. Don't feel guilty about any resentment! That's the signal to start the detaching process.

You step back a bit, other sibs step up a bit. Do it now before they get used to you being 'the carer'.

Best of luck.
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Reply to Beatty
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Do not feel guilty. Your feelings are real and legitimate. You do not owe anyone a detailed explanation of why you can't perform some of the care duties. You have to draw the line and when you can't do something they will just have to help you out. Of course they are always going to say your reasons are not acceptable, they don't want to do it themselves.
I drove myself crazy trying to fulfill every wish my elderly mother had. I finally realized I could not do it all and had to start combining errands, asking for assistance and letting some things just wait.
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Reply to mikejrexec
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Definitely set boundaries - even then it's almost like a battle to find some time to yourself. But make sure you do or you will get more and more angry, and resentful and it will show up in your health. I've had my 92 year old mother with me for a total of 20 years off/on. Recently she's lived with me for 2 1/2 years. During that time she could be hell on wheels even though I'm doing everything I can for her. She's driven away other family members and now I feel almost all alone in all of this. She is finally acting nicer because I think she realizes I'm it!

We finally had a big blow up and I told her she didn't care about me - just what I could do for her. She's taken over my t.v. - so I bought another one and put it in my room. When she starts to get ornery - I leave. Call a friend, go for a walk, etc.

She is finally starting to get better and be nicer. She even bragged about me to one of her friends - that I do everything for her. I literally almost fell over! I'm trying to be patient but I'm single, work full-time and at almost 60 am no spring chicken. I have lots of friends, interests and hobbies and refuse to completely give up my life to her. Sometimes I feel exhausted - I then go to my room and close the door and sleep on the weekends. Take care of yourself and at least once a week do something just for you. Mani/ped - wine tasting, movie/lunch with friends, etc.

I know I've suffered shingles and eczema - which I've never had before. And heart palpitations - all signs of stress. That's when I know I need to put myself first.
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WELCOME TO THE SANDWICH GENERATION - I was doing this for years for both parents with separate situations ... the first line in my autobiography will be 'At the age of 69, I became an orphan'

Not to make light of your situation but more to welcome you to the sisterhood - many have been there before us & there are many to come yet

SET BOUNDARIES & STICK TO THEM - tell her that you are available on [for example] Tues afternoons, Friday mornings & Sunday afternoons/evenings - she can call but you 'will not be able to drive to her place to get shampoo until Friday A.M. but you will make a note of it' -

Your daughter takes priority as she has no father & is young enough to need your help - this is why she is your highest priority - if daughter has a soccer game then you go & if mom wants to join you then that's a bonus however if mom doesn't want to stay then walk her to the car to sit in until the game is over - bring her a chair to sit in but that's about as much as you do as the focus is on your daughter

The hardest thing is that you don't have boundaries now & trying to establish them now may be hard - explain to mom that as she is now so much improved [lay this on thick] it is now your priority to be there for your daughter .... invite her to be part of this but make sure mom knows how the land lays from now on - good luck
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You are going to need respite care, else you fall faint and ill. One person cannot carry on like this.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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As speaking from experience in caring for my 94 yr old dad for the past 2 ½ yrs and is the youngest of 3 and is single. You are only 1 person and i understand your feeling of resenrment. You have force yourself at certain times of the day to take care of you and recharge yourself. If you dont you can easily become snippy and lose your patience wirh your love one.
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Aassist living that's the best way you have to put your self and daughter first. Good luck
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Reply to misfairlady69
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I don’t know if my answer is helpful or a nail in the coffin for you, but it seems like part of the stress is driving to and fro to your mother’s. Do you think she should be living with you to make it easier on you? Even though in other ways, it could be worse - I don’t know.
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Reply to Heidindsrespit1
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I hate to say this but I hear you and understand where you are coming from. You have a life of your own and a child and you work and you are not right next door. Of course you are overwhelmed and stressed out - who would not be. I have come to the conclusion, based on a long life (I will be 86), that sometimes what we think we must do or feel responsible for is something that we cannot for physical and or mental reasons handle - at least not on a long term basis. We must put ourselves first because if we don't, we will go down to the bottom of the pile, so to speak. If circumstances are such that we are slowly being consumed, then we often have to face that we must make other arrangements or put suitable alternatives in place. Sometimes, as hard as this may be, it is time to seek placement for the 'patients' in an environment where they will be properly cared for so we can live our lives as we should be able to do. It may be that this time has come. Do not feel guilty. Love your mother but your child now has to come first. Your mother has lived her life and now it is your turn.
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Reply to Riley2166
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Assisted living facility. That's the only answer. or have her live with you and she can help babysit your child.
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cmagnum Apr 28, 2019
Babysit an 11 year old? No way for she's almost a teenager.
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I can sympathise with you. There is no easy answer. I help my 84 year old Dad. He is a difficult man to start with. He still has his mental faculties but physically his health is declining. My Mom died 3 years ago. He made the choice to sell his house and go into a group home. I have 2 older sisters but neither one helps. So it falls to me with help from my husband. I know I am bitter and resentful and I definitely have caregiver burnout. Plus my husband and I both work and have our own family and health issues.
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Reply to Kootiebear
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Resentment is normal when the bulk of caregiving responsibility falls on one person. You might want to have a discussion with your daughter to see if she understands why you give so much time to your mother and whether she is feeling neglected because of the lack of time you have for her. Your daughter should be a greater priority than your mother.

Can your mother afford to pay someone to do some of these errands for her? (I did not see anyone else suggesting that as an option.,) Maybe there are some chores that your daughter could do for her grandma and get paid for the work.
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jacobsonbob Apr 29, 2019
"Maybe there are some chores that your daughter could do for her grandma and get paid for the work." That might be an excellent idea if the logistics can be worked out suitably.
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I am sorry to hear about your husband. He must have died at a young age. I am also sorry that your daughter lost her father so young!

There is no long-term solution regarding resentments. It is part of caregiving. But can your siblings contribute financially so that you can hire a caregiver to help you out? It is only fair. You are a single mother with a young child and a fulltime job. That is really hard and unfair.
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Reply to Worriedspouse
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Trust me I know how you feel, but you are doing such an amazing job. I’ve been at the beck and call of my Dad since 2011, he’s been ill tempered and I’ve felt everything was my fault. He died on Wednesday 24/4 and I’m reflecting on everything I did and what we’ve come through together along the way. He didn’t go into a Care Home until January 2019 and I felt when I visited him and he expressed his unhappiness I had run out of answers of how to help him anymore. It was so painful. I too have felt very resentful and pulled apart. Now I feel lost. Please take care of yourself and to take time for YOU and your daughter. I was told at Christmas ‘you will have no regrets at the end’ I now pass those words to you. Stay strong. It’s going to take time for me to find Me I think! Sometimes looking after yourself is a full time job. Hugs to and your family - I think of all of those on here who are undertaking these caring duties and it’s not easy. Bless them all.
I have gained a lot of comfort at times from this site and continue to do so.
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My sister, Who never did anything much to help in my own family, Is Now stuck caring for my own dad, Mom died back in December of cancer, And he is left with Empasema. God bless she can be near enough o help but it wears and teats on her as well, Caring for Him, a tight wad husband and two Gimp knees now. It is sad but all of this is true and yes, She complains Herself but Loves my dad so much Although now he is more demanding Himself and would move heaven and earth for him just to keep him in his own home. Or put him in a Nursing Facility which we are all trying to avoid.
I realze it is hard for you and being single, Have a little one and no help, your Mum is demanding, Makes you run like a rag doll and you feel your life is being zapped from you.
Maybe Mom could HIRE part time a Caregiver to Take some of the Slack off of you and you should Point out although you Love her and don't Mind the chores, You have a life too with her GRAND DAUGHTER.
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Reply to Parise
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Could your mother afford assisted living or hiring caregivers to come take care of her. You have an 11 year old who needs you and you'll have these years only once. You are not being disloyal to your mother by having boundaries and your query is not trivial. I think you will need to look into other care options and deal realistically with what one person really can and cannot do whether she likes it or not. You are not her slave. I wish you the best.
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Reply to cmagnum
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I've been doing it alone for three years now, and with the progression of my mother's disease, and NO help, I feel resentful as well.  However, there is no one else, so I mush on and TRY to remember that one day I won't have this person who looks like my mom, but hasn't been my MOM for quite some time now and remember that I tried the best that I could when I had her.  Lots of people say they wish they had been more patient with their loved one when they faced the same things.  Now I know what they are talking about.  Take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time.  That is all you can do other than take time for yourself if it only amounts to locking yourself in the bathroom for soak in the tub, taking the dog for a walk, going to your bedroom and screaming face down in the pillow until you get it out of your system.  It is tough!  Don't sugar coat it.  Seek professional help, join a support group for yourself.  Hand in there! As time marches on, you will see that you did the best that you could under the circumstances and wishing you could turn the clock back to "fix" it or change it doesn't happen.  Give yourself a break as often as you can because you have to take care of yourself before you can help anyone else.
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BeeBeeL Apr 27, 2019
Hugs to you, Debbiesdaz! It seems like you're doing a great job, definitely doing your best which is all one can do. I feel the same. It is so, so hard. And even if we can't take as good of care of ourselves, at least knowing we should try and that it's good to try to find time and energy to take care of ourselves--it's a goal. sorry for rambling. It's late and I'm always tire, so I'll stop now.
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Well I am truly amazed and grateful for the many helpful and loving responses to my post. Thank you for taking the time to reply and help me get some perspective. The last couple of days I have pulled back a little and put my foot down completely on one particular matter. Despite several attempts to manipulate me I held firm and put my daughters needs first. It really helps to read over all of your replies - I take something fresh from them each time and feel much better knowing that I am not alone or a bad person in feeling this way. Now I’ve just got to put those ideas and suggestions into action
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norkor Apr 28, 2019
Thank you for sharing Barbarabee123--your situation is very similar to mine--your post has helped me put somethings into perspective as well. Keep up the strong, loving front =)
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No query is trivial here! All situations have their own struggles. My take on this...your little one is your first priority. The extended family opinions? Acceptable to them? What in the world and who are they to judge? Let them do it then maybe they can throw in their two cents. And I say, stop explaining to others. Do the best you can. I get it's difficult, but let that go as they are not in your situation. Maybe some outside help it that's an option. And the resentment? You feel how you feel, and it's ok.
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Reply to lynnm12
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Your mother sounds much sweeter than mine but caregiver burnout is a very real thing. The more you drop to their every whim the more needy they become and the greater the resentment builds.

I had a blowout yesterday with my mom over cleaning her sink. I cleaned it two days prior and she told me to clean it again and I didn't because 3 people stopped by yesterday to take care of her needs. ( Life alert, equipment delivery and something else that I can't remember now)

She had so many derogatory remarks about me and my cleaning abilities even though I've left my husband for a total of a month-and-a-half to stay and take care of her and wait on her hand and foot. I lost it!

She knew she pushed my buttons and apologized. But later as I was taking out her garbage, we had three bags she thought she only had two. as I was returning back to get the third bag she stands up gets in her walker and starts screaming out the door get my mail get my mail! I simply ignored her. of course I was going to get the mail I just had to return one more time to pick up another bag. Neither one of us mentioned it but she knew I was ignoring her on purpose.

I guess what I'm trying to say is right now the relationship between you and your mother is very sweet. The only way it's going to stay sweet as if you step back and limit your time like the others said. the more you do, the more they expect the greater the resentment builds and one day you may find yourself not liking the person that you once loved dearly.
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Reply to smilingtulip
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I also have family obligations that would interfere with my being a caregiver to my mom. Unlike you, my mom was never considered to be a “lovely” person, but that aside, they age and become more demanding. And I’ve found with my mom ( controlling and manipulative) it has been a battle of the wills. I have stepped back, but once home care ends in a month, lines will need to be drawn once again.

You cannot be in two places at once and your daughter needs a mom to be there for her in her full capacity. Stress and guilt over your mom can certainly compromise your ability to do this. Set boundaries with your mom on YOUR timetable and remember your daughter comes first. Easier said then done for sure.....but you must maintain your well being in order to care for your loved ones.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 26, 2019
Abby,

So true! Battle of the wills. I noticed my mom competing with me, even having to have the last word and so forth. Very good point. I have thought about if it is an attempt of gaining some independence back. Has to be so hard for them to have to rely on others. I totally get that.

However, our world cannot totally revolve around theirs so we have to come up with compromises. Since doing so, I have seen a deeper appreciation and respect for me and on my end the resentment towards her has faded and away and I can feel deeper compassion for her.
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I don't think treating you like her personal care aid 24x7 aligns with my definition of a lovely person. You probably won't get your life back--and it's okay to mourn that and feel resentful. I've been taking care of my mom for nine years, and I have no friends left, no hope left, no health left. I pray for it to end. But while you have to be here, sacrificing your life for hers, please don't make it worse for yourself by feeling guilty. She has chosen this for you.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 26, 2019
14 years and counting for me! I feel for you. I get it. Hugs!!!
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Hello Barbra I know exactly what you are saying, my mother has not won and ribbons for best mother of the year, matter of fact she was down right abusive. But she being 88 yrs old came to live with me. Now if I go to the store or see a friend she gets all upset and begins to yell at me as if I was 9yrs. She does not do much during the day and less by night, but insists I be at home 24/7 for her. She went as far as arguing why my 18 yr old son should not come to visit. She is just very very rude as often as she can. I hate the way it makes me feel and try to say as less as possible but her being a narcissist it drives her crazy when I’m quiet and she gets 3 times as bad. I don’t know what to do. And when she calls a relative to vent, she’ll lie about the whole thing....
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You don’t need to feel guilty. Your life has changed with caregiving. Happens to all caregivers. It’s an adjustment in itself.

When different personalities come into play it’s even harder. I hate how nosey my mom is, that she wants me to report everything to her. Makes me feel like a child. Plus I want to speak to her, have a conversation with her, not be interviewed by my mother! I don’t do it. She will ask but I don’t answer every question. I don’t want to.

When she tells me about this or that and I am not interested then I walk off. My mom is loving too but she likes to stir the pot sometimes. I don’t provide a pot for her to stir. I don’t say that I don’t want to hear what she has to say because she will only argue and tell me why I should. I go to the bathroom or my bedroom, hang clothes in my laundry room or somewhere she won’t follow me.

Mom was and still is a fantastic grandma but unless I ask for her advice then I don’t want her to interfere. She has interfered. My mother in law did not interfere. She died and I miss her but so grateful for that I had her until my oldest daughter was 5. She was a special lady who said right from the beginning that she would never interfere, she didn’t. Her mom did interfere and she chose to break the cycle. I admire that.

I hope it will be possible for you to find solutions to your situation. Hugs!
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You still have your mom, when some here don't have a mom(or dad). With Mother's Day around the corner it can be a tough time.
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SparkyY Apr 25, 2019
She's already said she knows others have it worse and she feels guilty because she thinks her post may seem trivial. I'm trying not to be rude as I have been called out on a few of my posts but the way I understand it this place is here for caregivers who are having a difficult time not caregivers who meet a certain degree of discomfort.
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I blew up at my father the other day. I just got tired of it. I know I’m not 100% right, and he’s way easier to work with than most parents, hell, he’s 95% independent, but it just came out.

It’s hard not to feel some resentment. You are trying to live a life, take care of problems, and someone comes along that you have to care for. Even the easy one’s aren’t trivial impacts on your life because you worry about them, they need help in ways that are frustrating and so on and so forth.

And lets be honest here, there’s a lot of BS too. My father is an excuse machine for why he can’t do things

I feel bad about it, but I don’t too, it kind of clarified some things and I think it’s been a positive. I sort of wish I’d put my foot up his butt a year ago.

Anyways, don’t feel bad about it, as I’ve said before, this is one of the hardest things a person will ever do. You won’t be perfect at it and you don’t want the practice to get perfect at it. Just do your best.
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I think setting aside a day a week is a good idea JoAnn29. I think she will struggle at first as she seems to find something that requires my assistance most days but I realise some boundaries are needed as most certainly my daughter will need me more as she transitions from middle to secondary school in the near future.
Ironically one of my siblings recently said that mum only allows me to assist her. It appears that their offers of help have been rebuffed. I feel hurt she has let me struggle on when help was apparently forthcoming from my sibling and possibly unbeknown to me the others too
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Isthisrealyreal Apr 25, 2019
Perfect opportunity to tell her that she is hurting her other childrens feelings and she really needs to allow them to help. Sheesh that's just terrible that she has put all this on you and your daughter.

You can do it! Just say NO!
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Thank you all so much for your replies. Just having my feelings validated has made a big difference already.
I have recently arranged pharmacy delivery although I’m still working on trying to get my mum to think ahead with her prescriptions so that she doesn’t leave it until the last minute and then expect me to collect and deliver - we’ll get there in the end I think!
Thanks for the transport suggestion I am going to see what is available in the area.
I love “no is a complete sentence” and am planning to be more assertive in this respect which I have to admit I do struggle with particularly as my mother assumes that something bad is being withheld from her if I give no reason for not being able to assist with something and becomes more persistent with her queries. She will ask directly what I am doing that stops me from doing her biding which I find very difficult to respond to. It sounds pathetic but I find myself planning things that I don’t really want to do just to avoid constantly being available when really all I want is to be able to stay at home and do some of the chores that have built up over the past few months while being carer.
Sunnygirl I understand why you ask about my mothers mental state with regards to her insistence on knowing what I am doing everyday but she, herself will tell everyone her plans and I think she just can’t understand why anyone else would not want to do the same? I would like to be able to say no and for that to be accepted without questioning from her or my siblings. I can see I definitely need to improve my ability to be assertive!
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GeminiUnicorn Apr 25, 2019
On the medications, some (if not most) pharmacies have the "auto-refill" option and you can set up an account online to keep track of her medications.  Some even deliver 90-day supplies, or check with her health insurance to see if they also offer the delivery service of prescriptions.

Once we reach adulthood we feel we don't really owe any explanations to anyone of what we are doing...and this happened to me.  My mom would ask where was I going or doing and some times I would answer, but most times it would bug me (and lets face it, that was the teenage in me coming out!).  Cause think about it, if you were in a relationship, married or even to your own kids, wouldn't you tell them what are you up to?  Is a different dynamic, but bottom line is that they may just worry and would like to know you are safe.  Easier said than done...but it is an idea!
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Once Mom couldn't drive I set up one day a week that was a good day for both of us. This day was for shopping and running errands. I was working a week on and a week off so appts were made for the days I was off. Since we live in the same town, this was not a problem. I was able to pick up her prescriptions but in my time.

Now Mom is improving would be a good time to set boundries. Explain u cannot be at her beck and call indefinitely. You have a job and a 11 yr old who is ur priority. If you have an 11 yr old Mom can't be too old. There are services out there she can take advantages of. Check with your Office of Aging. They usually have buses that will take you to appts and shopping. I had a whiteboard for Mom where when she thought of something she needed she wrote it down and picked it up during our errand day. Your Mom needs to do for herself. It will be better for her and her health.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 26, 2019
JoAnn,

Very practical and good solution all around. Compromise is always good if it’s possible. I love having designated times for taking care of routine occurrences, running errands, and so forth. I used to think it was easier to just do what she wanted and get it over with. I was wrong! She just came up with more for me to do and naturally, I grew resentful.

Just like we didn’t give into our children’s demands because they would have become spoiled. I think many caregivers don’t realize they are spoiling their parents. I didn’t realize it.

I had to tell my mom that I am happy to help her but I will not be a trained circus animal, puppet on a string, servant at her whim, and so forth. I do things according to my schedule and everything always gets done. She may not always like that things aren’t done instantly but she is actually showing more appreciation and respect.

My wise daughter lovingly gave me great advice one day. She said, “Mom, people will view you the way you view yourself. You always taught me to stand up for myself. Now it’s your time to do that with grandma and anyone else.” She’s a smart young woman!

She adores my mom and my mom loves her. I love my mom and I know how much she loves me. If we don’t watch ourselves we can take each other for granted and then we have to make sure that we show love, appreciation and respect for one another. It’s the only thing that works, otherwise resentment will build which is never healthy for anyone.

My daughter could see what was happening though and lovingly spoke from her heart to me.
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