My husband and I moved to the east coast from California to be with my 87 year old mother after my dad died suddenly. We’ve been living together for 3 years. financially it’s been a blessing for us and we don’t have to worry about my mom’s care. She’s in great shape and we’ve always had a wonderful relationship. Over time though, I’m noticing that things are changing and most upsetting is my lack of patience with her. We used to be able to talk for hours, now I can barely stand 15 minutes. We disagree on issues a lot more now which is surprising to me and pretty much everything that drove her crazy about her mother is repeating with us. I realize things will change as we both age but asking the group for general advice about patience (how to develop it) for a person who has been so easy in the past

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I notice that many people have deep regrets about all kinds of things after their parents die. One of the regrets is not being more patient. I have a few suggestions. Hope some of them will be useful.

You said you and your mother disagree on a lot more issues now than before. So, you irritate each other more. Perhaps, you can try

--ignoring her comments,
--not taking them personally
--asking yourself: Does this matter ___ months/years from now? If not, let her win.
--frequently reminding yourself the things that she and you agree on.
--frequently reminding yourself the good things and benefits of living with her.
--asking yourself: Will I regret this after she dies?
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to polarbear
Ariadnee May 8, 2023
I cared for my mother. Our relationship was never very good. But, the list you provided is great, and almost word for word what I was thinking to myself during the time I was caring for her. Got me through a lot.
Ignore the comments-just how she's always talked to me.
Don't take it personally. I made a very nice life for myself when I left home and am in a good enough place to care for her too.
We would agree about watching old movies and music.
The benefit of Mom living with me during those 19 months is she got to see more of her kids their children.
Will I regret this after she dies. So important. One of my mother's friend told me this and to think about critical decisions carefully and think of the impact in the future and after she dies. Would those decisions be ok and would I be ok with them. Yep. I honestly do not have any regrets in that regard.
Hi. I am an incredibly logical person and patience is difficult for me when it comes to emotional things. I have a hard time interacting with children because they tend to be very emotional and a parent who is suffering from dementia is slowly becoming a child again in many ways.

As my mom's memory issues continued to progress I had a difficult time with patience because I kept trying to be logical with her when she could no longer understand logic. She recently told me in a moment of clarity that she understood my frustration but that she was hurt by some of those conversations. That was tough for me to hear because it wasn't my intent but it happened none the less.

So, I've learned to put logic aside and I try to meet her in her reality. I agree to illogical things as long as they are not dangerous. I don't correct the mistakes in her stories or memories anymore. Basically, I stopped fighting her reality.

Since I live a few states away from her it's a bit easier in some ways. When I am with her and need space I invent an errand, change the subject, or sometimes I don't respond and just let her keep talking. Not sure if this will help with patience but it helps me with my sanity.
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Reply to Scbluheron

It all comes from living together. Anyone can get along for a few minutes, on the phone. But when you live in the same house, every day, together...

It's like a boyfriend/girlfriend who got along great before they moved in together.
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Reply to ventingisback

Extended family living only works on paper, for most of us. In real life, personality quirks and irritations set in, especially with chronic age related complaints and cognitive decline, that tend to turn kittens into sharp toothed dragons. Yet we "children" are instructed to develop patience and compassion for the "poor elder" who's now managed to usurp our entire LIFE and create a situation we need to escape from. In our own home.

The truth is, human beings need autonomy and thrive best when they have it. When they can make their own decisions and choices, select their own friends to hang out with, or what flavor ice cream to order from the menu today along with what outfit to wear down to dinner. When the environment is exactly the same day in and day out, everyone runs out of patience as boredom sets in and we dwell on what's wrong and annoying rather than anything else. If I had to face living with my mother for the 7 years she lived in Assisted Living and Memory Care, I have no doubt we'd have been thoroughly miserable together. How do you develop patience for someone who drives you crazy? Or compassion for someone who has no major issues to begin with? By telling yourself you'll "miss her when she's gone" or by playing the Guilt Card on yourself to toe the line?? 😑 Thats no way to live.

I vote for moving mom into her own AL apartment where she can have her own life and you can take yours back. Become an interesting visitor instead of a boring roommate and your relationship will likely change for the better.
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Reply to lealonnie1
Way2tired May 15, 2023
“we children”. That’s it in a nutshell . They think we are still children and have to abide by their wishes. Some elderly parents expect us to assist them to live their lives on their terms , giving them a false sense of independence . Meanwhile , giving up our own autonomy , our friends, marriages , homes, possibly jobs and financial security.
Even in the best of circumstances, too much togetherness can work on our nerves.

Everyone needs breathing space. Why are you living with her if she is in good health?

Be honest with yourself. Are you tired of living with her? Do you miss being in your own home? Do you miss the west coast? I feel these questions are more important than wanting to become more patient. There could be reasons why you are growing more impatient.

Care to elaborate on how you feel?

Best wishes to you and your family.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

How nice that you moved to be with mom.

What kind of things drove her crazy about her mom that are now repeating themselves?

At 87, I can't help but wonder if she is starting with some cognitive decline. It happens to just about everyone, if they live long enough. My mom, at 80, has mild/moderate dementia (depending on the moment).

I used to enjoy chatting with my mom but now it is quite difficult. It went from her repeating the same stupid stories over and over again to now not being able to hold up her end of the convo. Some days I'm able to prattle on and say stuff about my kids and grandkids, hubby, etc. Some days, I just don't have it in me.

The patience part comes from accepting that they are declining and can't help the way they behave and converse (or not). You've been blessed to have an easy mom for so very long - doesn't make it any easier as they shift into a new stage of the aging process.

What kind of issues are you disagreeing on? I would try not to engage in any kind of argumentativeness with her. Let it go, unless it is super important or a safety issue and even then, it may be best to tread lightly.

You might need some time apart. If she can safely be alone, get out of the house alone more. Encourage her to get involved in the senior center or something similar. Hire a "cleaning lady" that can come over and do light cleaning and visit with your mom while you get out of the house.

Best of luck.
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Reply to againx100

thank you all for the replies. I know I’m so fortunate to have her in still such great shape in mind and body. it’s more my problem I think that I have become so short tempered with her just like she was with her mother when everyone said hers was so wonderful.

I’ve spent so long reflecting on why it’s so different now. Obviously it’s different because she’s lost her partner—I lived across the country for 28 years—but we always had some ease with each other that seems to be lost now. It feels so sad and unexpected
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Reply to Sparkleplenty
betskand May 15, 2023
I know exactly what you mean about losing closeness, the possibility of confiding or just talking with ease. I have been married for 30 years to a man diagnosed with dementia in January. For all those 30 years we maybe had 3 arguments. Now all of a sudden we have several arguments a day, and I'm always surprised by them -- they come up over nothings, or because (as you said) I am trying to explain something that he refuses to accept. Someone on this forum suggested that this has so much to do with the loss of power....all of a sudden I am the parent and he is the child, and he lashes out helplessly in a very illogical way when I am simply saying something. Result is that I have tended more and more not to say anything, or to say it with a kind of wariness because I know an argument (which I hate) is coming.

When he was in the hospital and home with helpers I noticed that they had been trained to politely indicate that they had HEARD ("Oh, really?" "Well." "unh-huh.") and that was enough, they continued with their work as though nothing was happening. It's tougher when it involves getting him to do something, like remove pants he has had an accident in (he insists that "it's not much" and doesn't care that he's dripping excrement as he walks -- and yes, he does wear pull-ups). Somehow the nurses' neutral tone worked better than mine, which always seems to have an unspoken element of "Oh no! Not AGAIN!" in it. People here have suggested dealing with it as with a child. Like you I am not good with children and now I am not good with a 93-year-old child. But practicing neutrality and giving up on the idea of recapturing the relationship of the past have helped me. I really have no choice and possibly neither do you. I have started thinking of my husband as "the patient." And in truth -- the person who is living in his body is NO LONGER a person I really know.

Part of what you have described is something I have too -- it's like constant mourning. Unlike a sudden death, his condition is just a tiny bit of death every day...he is disappearing. Being in constant mourning for my marriage and my husband is psychologically and emotionally exhausting. But that seems to be what many of us are having to endure.
Get mom involved with activities that will get her away from the house.
You get involved in activities that will get you away from the house.
If nothing else that will give you time away from each other and involvement in other people. And it will give you something to talk about over dinner.
If mom is able there are programs at Senior Centers.
If mom is well cognitively there are Volunteer opportunities. If not there are Adult Day programs that would give her something to do in a safe environment.

When an "argument" starts WALK AWAY. Go start a load of laundry, start dinner anything to defuse.
If she follows you, go to the bathroom.
Wear earbuds or headphones so you can listen to music or audio book.

It is often said that 2 (adult) women should not be in the same household. The fact that this is "her" house she may feel like you have taken over.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Grandma1954

Go outside and check the mail.
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Reply to Sendhelp
Way2tired May 8, 2023
When my FIL and his wife still lived in Florida , we would visit once a year. The wife was horrible , yelling at FIL often . We probs didn’t realize she had dementia until years later because she always did that but it had gotten worse . Anyway , one time my husband lied , he needed a break , and said he forgot toothpaste and was going to the store. He went to CVS walked around and salesperson asked if he needed help finding something . My husband said yeah a new stepmother . The guy chuckled and said Gottcha .
Sparkleplenty , ( I love your name ) .
Why did you move? Why didn’t your mother move to be near you ? Many people move to be near parents and it’s not good for them. They uproot their lives , jobs , lose friends . The person that needs help should be the one that moves , if possible . You say you don’t have to worry about Mom’s care. What does that mean ? Perhaps too much togetherness is the issue. Despite living with your mother’s constant company you could very well be lonely for friendships with people your own age . Maybe it’s time to no longer live together . Can Mom live on her own , or hire help in , or Mom sell her house to you and she go to assisted living ? Or mom sell the house to some else and you find a place to live?
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Reply to Way2tired

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