I am struggling with having constant anxiety in dealing with, and even standing up to my 85 yo mother who is beginning to decline cognitively, including her becoming irritable and irrational. She has been living with me and my husband since March 2018 due to having a heart attack on top of existing spinal stenosis and horrible balance. We have recently sold her house of 55 years which was a real loss for her. She had been on and off being on board with selling it. Due to her health I no longer felt it safe for her to be there alone.

I have a constant pit in my stomach to the point where I am struggling to utilize healthy coping skills. My mood is becoming dependent on my mothers mood. Looking for thoughts of others who may be experiencing similar feelings.

i know exactly what you are going through and the emotions and mixed feelings you’re experiencing because i have gone through and am still going through the same situation in a lot of ways it’s similar. My mom lives with my husband and I and she’s 81 with late stage Alzheimer’s. She’s lived with us since 2017. Every day is different and we have to just roll with the punches and adjust accordingly. She’s very irritable with everyone and angry also. Sometimes I feel guilty because I loose my patience but then remind myself it’s not her fault. It’s a difficult situation for everyone in a lot of ways but wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s my mother and I love her. So hang in there and know what you’re going through is normal. Maybe try talking with a professional. That may help. Be blessed.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to LeBronFan

I'm not a big Dr. Phil fan, but, I heard him asking a family member about being the full time caregiver for a disabled person. He pointed out that it is for professionals who have the skills, resources and ability to do this. It made me think about how feasible it is. I can understand how you are suffering with anxiety. I hope you can get some help. I'm not a hands on caregiver, but, still, I do feel anxious at times. I just started a local support group. I'm not sure how much it will help, but, I'm positive.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Sunnygirl1

I feel your pain. Literally. I find that it comes and goes. Some weeks, I feel really depressed. Other weeks I'm OK.

Exercise helps, especially until you do it until exhaustion.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to needtowashhair
MaryBee May 23, 2019
Good answer, so true.
Suggest seeing a psychiatrist who can give you an RX for a low dose anti anxiety med. Some of us do feel anxious from time to time and that's okay because a medication can help you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Llamalover47

I took up tai chi. Worked for me. Did a lot of it. Several times a day.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Rie144
NeedHelpWithMom May 23, 2019
Tai chi is awesome! Good for you.
See 1 more reply
Caregiving of someone frail is very hard work. There is no way for anyone to be everything for their parent or LO. You must decide what you can do to get some distance by being able to get away from the demands. Yes your moods can become affected by hers and because she's your mom it's even harder. It's not a like a job a hired caregiver has who doesn't have the emotional bond and baggage of a parent and who can leave the job when it's over.
So the question is what can you do to help you cope and survive. My first and foremost is to have a trusted objective person such as a therapist to vent to and get skills from. You said in your profile you are already doing this so kudos. You are also a mental health counselor so you know the values.
Secondly, get help...either hired or from other family members. Make it regular and ongoing. Even if your mom protests do it...let her moan and are doing this so you can provide care and maintain boundaries and mental health. Engage yourself in the company of others either through a club, church, exercise, or other activities. Do not let yourself become an island.
You mom (like my dad) will be angry for many reasons and constantly second guess decisions made, like the one about selling her home. You need to realize this is part of the process of losing one's independence. I hope you have DPOA and MPOA for her. If not get it now.
If she could live in AL this would be ideal if money is there.
I would like to recommend an excellent book that has coping skills by Dr. Paul Chafetz. It's a thin book and an easy read full of tips. He actually has a counseling practice in Dallas and even does Skype counseling. It's called Loving Hard-To-Love Parents: A Handbook for Adult Children of Difficult Older Parents. Available on amazon.
You already know about boundaries but this is where these are musts for dealing with a parent because essentially you are in role reversal. It's even harder when they live with you. Your marriage, physical and mental health must be a priority. Your mom has had a good long life and I doubt she'd want you to suffer. So do not feel guilt making healthy decisions.
I hope you can do this for yourself. Remember 40% of caregivers die before the care receiver. This is motivation enough. Hugs!!
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Harpcat


I am the primary caregiver for my mother who lives with us. Married 41 years. We have two grown daughters. It’s very hard. I feel all of the same things that you do. I took care of my dad too. He died in 2002.

I also thought about therapy and decided to go ahead and seek help. It does help speaking to an objective qualified individual. Best of luck to you. Hugs!

I am now receiving some respite care from Council on Aging. They will do an assessment and if she qualifies you can get a break. Check into some resources or perhaps even assisted living if you feel it will be the right choice for you. They come out for a four hour shift.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
cherokeewaha May 23, 2019
Please, please talk to a counselor or psychologist. I was so overwhelmed when my mom passed in a memory unit after being there for several years and having my husband diagnosed with stress, severe depression and then dementia that precedes alzheimers and it overlapped my moms that, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. (Husband got nasty, mean and abusive). I made an appt with his psychologist for myself to shut him up about me being the sick one and not him. Dr. confirmed I was under too much stress with no end in sight. She put me on meds as needed to help me cope. Sometimes one of the kids or grandkids comes to pickup my husband and keep him out for most of the day. This happens about every 5-6 weeks and it has made the world of difference for me.
So, please find some help for yourself. You need it.
I think you need to rethink caring for your mother in your home. This could go on for years, and it seems like it is too heavy a burden for you and is causing you harm.

I also have to wonder what your husband thinks about this situation. Is he OK with how your mother's care is affecting you? Is this what he wants?
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to SnoopyLove

Talk with you local council on aging. They sometimes can point you to a volunteer visiting program. My dad had a visitor once a week from such a program. He would be out for 4-6 hours with the volunteer ... shopping or whatever.

It it was a break I really needed.

Find time for yourself. Call the local catholic charities... they often have volunteer programs, someone to come for a few hours and give you time off. Check your local church too.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Katiekate

Talk to your Doctor. Maybe he can give you something.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to JoAnn29

I rode the rollercoaster of emotions with my parents. That is normal.

Caregiver is the hardest job. For me it was unpaid. I thought everyone would be appreciative. My parents were grateful, my siblings were largely resentful, jealous and even angry.

Don’t spend all your free time eating and sleeping. That will have a negative affect on your health.

Take time off. Don’t forget to do things that make you happy, feel alive and keep you positive and connected to the rest of the world.

If caregiving in your home becomes too much, get help. Either hire someone or find an appropriate placement so that you can enjoy your time together instead of collapsing from exhaustion and burn out.

Take care of yourself.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to ACaringDaughter

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter