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I've been living with my mother for almost 7 years now. She turns 90 in November. She is still able to do many things, but spends her days in her pajamas in front of the TV. She will get up to get herself something to eat, then throw her trash on the tables and floor for the slave daughter to pick up. If I say something to her, she'll say I can pick it up, because what else do I have to do, anyway. She leaves cabinets and drawers open. She throws clothes and towels on the floor. She will help clean the house some if my brothers come to visit.

Okay... I know there are people who are saying that she is 90 and out of energy. But truth is she has always been lazy. I mean lazy lazy. Her laziness has been the biggest problem in caring for her, because it makes me feel angry and contemptuous. If she couldn't do more, it would be one thing. I try the "Use it or lose it" idea, but the words have no impact. She just wants to sit and watch TV and eat. Drives me absolutely crazy. Sometimes I want to kick her butt and tell her to get up and start living. She is nowhere near death, so this could go on for years.

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(((((((hugs)))))))) Jessie; I don't know how you put up with this. I know that I never could.
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Great idea and I've tried that. The answer was that we don't need a maid, that I can do anything that needs to be done. After all, she says, what else do I have to do with my time. She doesn't like having anyone come into her house -- a common theme with older folk that can be very inconvenient. I'm left to decide exactly how much I can do and where to draw a line. If you are thinking it isn't the best of circumstances, you're right.

I've been planting some seeds in my mother's mind. She talked about her friend's son and how he doesn't seem to pay much attention to his father. The father is 93, living in a nice ALF, and in poor health. I told her things weren't like they used to be when people lived to 60-70, then died of a heart attack or something. I told her people can live 20 years now in poor health, so no child can donate that much of their life to take care of them. Then I talked to her about my aunt and cousin. My cousin spent 15 years of her life taking 24/7 care of her mother. When my aunt died, my cousin was in her 70s and totally broke. I told her that it was a bad thing my aunt did to her own daughter, even though the daughter loved her enough to do it.

I somehow think I did not impress on her that what she was doing was not okay. And I know I will not be able to donate much more of my own life, because it is just not a good way to live. I do deserve to be happy as much as she deserves to be comfortable.
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I hear you, JessieBelle! If I didn't look so much like my middle brother- people thought we were twins when we were kids - I'd think I'd been switched at birth as well. If fact my whole family teases me about it and have since childhood. My mother wasn't a slob but she didn't clean much either - I vacuum almost everyday. I was brought up camping - the rough stuff, tents and sleeping bags, no RVs - and was taught to ski at age four and was swimming even earlier. Today, my idea of roughing it is slow room service. My brothers and their families are still in the woods in tents and cooking over the ole' open campfire- and loving it! I'd rather donate a kidney!!!
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Church; I think the issue is not so much that Jessie's mom's bad habits as the fact that she thinks that Jessie is there to "do" for her and that she has nothing better to do. It's insulting and demeaning for an adult to treat another adult as their personal minion, unless they are being paid to do so.

This whole relationship strikes me as veering into a toxic zone; toxic for our friend, at least. Caregiving is tough even when the person you're caring for is loving and grateful. When they are dismissive and rude, it becomes, imho, unbearable and unhealthy for all concerned.

Of course, if a change is going to happen, only the OP can initiate it.
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How about getting rid of cable television? I know it's drastic but it will save money and force your mother to find new forms of entertainment like reading, radio, movies, arts and crafts, etc. It also will improve the quality of what she is watching because she will choose movies or programs rather than just plop down in front of the TV. My husband used to spend $150 a month on cable TV. I cannot imagine paying that amount of money to watch commercials and bad news.
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I remember reading news stories of moms or spouses who had "gone on strike" in order to force their kids/SO to step up. I imagine them living in filth and chaos because their loved ones didn't notice or care, and in the end they would cave and nothing would have changed.
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You're just venting, right Jessie? I hope it helps a little.

I have been a loving, caring, patient, compassionate caregiver for many years. Really, I was a great caregiver. But I couldn't have lived with your mother for seven weeks let alone seven years. So know that you are exceptional and give yourself a lot of credit for the outstanding service you are providing, above and beyond what duty calls for.

Your mother was lazy lazy all her life. She certainly cannot be expected to change with dementia. You are doing an amazing job putting up with her.
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Jessie, your Mom sounds like my sig other who is more of the absent minded professor type his whole adult life. And who's Mom would clean up after him instead of teaching him to clean up after himself. It can drive me crazy at times especially if my OCD had kicked in.

I stopped nagging to him to close the drawers, cabinets, refrigerator, etc. because it would only work for a week. And here he was a man who was highly regarded at work, winning rewards, etc. Maybe if I pay him he would clean up after himself :P

Once my primary doctor prescribed meds for me to take the edge off, mainly because of my parents, I found it worked for dealing with my sig other. I would come home from work and be able to follow a trail through the house where he had been. Therefore, no more closing drawers/cabinets/refrigerator/closet doors. When he emptied the shredder and tiny pieces fall to the floor, he can pick them up... right now those pieces are all over the house as they will stick to the bottom of one's socks.... [sigh]
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Thanks, everyone. My mother has always disliked anything resembling work, so all this isn't new. The place was a wreck when I first got here. I tried to get it livable, but it has been an uphill battle. I swear I live with Pigpen from Peanuts. A lot of times I let things go until I just can't bear it anymore. Sometimes I ask for help cleaning, but she says she doesn't care if it's clean or not. It's fine with her. It can be so hard to believe that she is my mother. If I didn't look like my father I would think I'd gotten switched at birth. My brothers are even more industrious than I am. We must take after my father.
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I wouldn't mind moving into one right now. Some are reasonably priced and one rabbit would be welcomed. She wouldn't even bother the neighbors with barking or prowling at night. :)

I used to dream about having a little house by a stream out in the country. Now I just dream about going to sleep in my own bed inside my reasonably tidy place, knowing I can wake up and have coffee with my friends if I want.
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