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I love my father to bits and would do anything for him, however I do find myself getting frustrated with him more than I should, for example when we are out he walks into me or he is so slow with everything, walking into shops or making decisions? Plus I feel I always have to make a conversation with him otherwise he doesn't talk, I also have to repeat myself a lot.


The thing is I hate myself for being moody with him as he is 71 now and I want to spend and do as much with him as I can, I am 34 and single and always make time for him, but again and again no matter how many times I tell myself not to be un-paitent with him or lose my temper, I do.


I feel like a bad person and don't want him to feel like I don't like spending time with him or that he annoys me! I wondered if this is normal with aging parents and how should I take more time to accept his age and his ways and be more understanding?

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First, you are not a bad person - you are simply a person.
My mom is 91; up until a year ago I would take her grocery shopping with me. It was a torturous experience! Just getting her out of the car was an ordeal and to walk across the street from the parking lot to the store...? Traffic would back up while she'd hesitate to look at something shiny on the pavement. I'd remind her that she was in the middle of the road and she'd start moving again. <sigh>

Personally, I try to treat irritations and aggravations as challenges for ME to overcome.
Going at a snail's pace through the aisles of the grocery store I would remind myself to take deep breaths. I would glance at the other shoppers hoping for eye contact and smile or nod. I live in South Carolina and people here are generally very gracious and cordial and so I found that many times they'd offer to help Mom with out-of-reach items. I realized that her 'disability' gave them a chance to practice kindness and seemed to give them a lift as much as their generosity gave her. I noticed a lot of other things. Mom's slowness helped me to slow down too.

Not at first, but eventually I started realizing how much I'd missed by simply rushing by. I found myself thinking over my life and realizing it's the 'little' moments that had come together to create the whole experience of my life. The very moments I was now treating as a burden or inconvenience.
It takes practice and it sure as heck didn't come natural but it has paid off.

It may help to let go of what you think you're suppose to do - don't feel like you're responsible for making conversation. If your dad isn't talking then rest in that silence. You didn't mention if he has early onset of dementia or an illness but if so then his silence maybe his way of dealing with confused thoughts or he could simply be comfortable in your presence and not feel the need to talk.

Coaching yourself not to be something, or to not act in some way, usually won't work because you are reacting normally but then - so is he. There are no rules for how a human acts when they age and so there can't be rules for how you react. You sound as if you care enough to try to be better than you are and that will carry you a long way.

"I wonder if this is normal with aging parents...?" Absolutely its normal and you are young and in unfamiliar territory, be patient with yourself too. This is another life experience to add to your 'portfolio'. And like every other experience that you want to do your best at, you'll find that it take practice and effort.

And for what its worth...I've been taking care of my mom for about 11 years - I still want to scream whenever I have to take her to an appointment because of her slowness. That is until I take a moment and really look at her and see how very hard it is for her to simply put one foot in front of the other - the way she leans into her rollator and has to pause to take a breath - the slight wince when a movement causes pain - the way she acts ashamed of her infirmity...and then she looks up at me and grins and says "Old age sure isn't for the faint-hearted."
We chuckle, and I remind myself that this 'trial' is only for a short time and at the end of the day I can still run, get my own food, shop for my own clothes, drive a car - live my life.

Take care of yourself.
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Babs75 Aug 10, 2018
This sounds familiar. I take a lot of deep breaths and count to 10. I do find myself getting ahead of dad in the grocery store while he scoots along with his walker so I have to consciously slow myself down. I have noticed that people do get out of our way!
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When I feel myself losing patience I try to remind myself that my mom is scared and confused and relying on me to help. I remember that she has not asked for this and that I have chosen to take this long walk with her. If there can be any good from this horrible journey we are on is that I have learned to be more patient and to appreciate the beauty of seeing things "for the first time" through her eyes, even if it really is the 20th time. She goes on a drive with me and will gasp in awe at a flashing red light and tell me she has never seen one before. I take a moment to look at the red light that I may have never noticed in that way prior to that moment. I have chosen to do this and I know that some day I will look back on this time with her and be so glad I did it. Among all the bad stuff, I am really hoarding some beautiful memories that I would never have had if I had not made this choice. So when I feel myself losing patience (which really is a very human thing to do. It is not fun repeating something for the gazillionth time - but it is the first time for her), I think of all these things and I take a moment to breathe.
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trying42 Aug 9, 2018
I love this. Thanks 12LittlePaws.
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I don’t believe that what you describe is normal for a 71 year old unless he has other health problems.
I do think you should do some reading about things like Parkinson’s, dementia, depression, and other diseases of aging.

With me, it just helped to realize that my father was a different person now, not my young robust parent of the past. My relationship is different now than I had in the past.
You are very young and this is pretty difficult to face when young.

A good friend told me, “You just have to let your Dad be who he is. We can’t change our parents to be who we want them to be.” Barring any medical problems that needed addressed, that brought me peace in my relationship with Dad.

There is a deck of cards called Chat, that has conversational questions that you might try. And maybe only plan one activity at a time so both of you aren’t overwhelmed.
Your love for your father is evident, and he feels that.
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dannyboy21 Aug 7, 2018
thank you for your reply, yes i agree i feel that i maybe get frustrated as he's not the man i remember as a young lad, the one i have always looked up to etc, and sometimes i feel he is really old-fashioned in he's ways and as a baby of the 80s i find that difficult, but then perhaps i should be more understanding!
im hard on myself and i always think that he's time is limited on this earth and i need to make every second count otherwise i will have regrets and i dont want him to think of me as moody with him, i do support him and show my love in other ways, he doesn't always say i love you etc thats not the kind of family we are, i just hope that when i look after him and make sure he's ok, that he's aware of that and me being moody is just frustration from time to time on my part.
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I also have trouble keeping my patience and temper with my mom. In stores, I give her the cart and go find my own things then come back to her. Sometimes she is still dithering over the same item. She also NEVER understands something when it is explained to her and either I have to go over it several times over several days or I leave her to misunderstand it. There’s no easy fix for me. I get snappish and impatient with her and I don’t like myself when I do, but I also understand it’s human nature and I can’t fix my patience level. When I am at the point where I’m getting snappy; I leave the room, store aisle, or vicinity. I come back when I’m feeling calmer. Don’t feel like you are a bad person. You are imperfect just like everyone else.
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hey dannyboy, I feel like I know that pain... Here are a few things I have done that have helped me...

I set up a dedicated TV screen which has a HDMI-device which allows me to play content on that TV. This meant that I could have it cycle through a few screens - reminding my Mom that I would pick her up at 2pm on Thu for the dentist, or what time she should go down to the dining room for lunch or dinner. I also had a page that I called "Things We Have Been Talking About" and there I would put questions that she had recently asked and what the answers were that I gave her. This allowed her to re-read this info, and answer the question (which of course had come up in her mind again), without her having to ask the question or me to re-answer it. This was a huge help!

In terms of frustrating things that she would do - I tried to change how I reacted. My Mom has some standard rant/complaints that can get annoying, hearing them over and over again (Prince Harry's red hair, men with facial hair, men wearing baseball caps, women with 'crazy' curly hair, etc etc). I will never get my Mom to stop sharing her annoyance at these things, so I have "game-ified" it, so that I give myself a mental point for each rant. So instead of feeling my blood pressure rise as I have to listen to an all too-familiar rant, inside I am happy ("woohoo, 1 point for Prince Harry!!"). :)

Bottom line is to see if there is some way to change your emotional response, as that is the part you have control over.

And one last thought - is there any way that you can ask for help or reduce other responsibilities that you have? When I used to be with my Mom all day, and also trying to work an 8 hour day at the same time (on my laptop), I was quicker to get frustrated. I went on leave a few months ago, and now my only "job" is to help my Mom, and I have much more patience. I know that I am very lucky in this - but thought it was worth mentioning - maybe you need to ask for some help to reduce other burdens, to leave you "lighter" when you are with your Dad.

All you can do is your best. If you lose your patience, you are not "bad" you are just human, like the rest of us. Lots of luck to you, and know that you are not alone.
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Laurel77 Aug 9, 2018
This made me laugh out loud. Thanks. 🤣 The comment about your mom ring annoyed by Prince Harry’s red hair, men/women hair in general. My mom’s the same way and I used to be so annoyed by it but now I keep a journal of some of the best comments (and how many times they’re said) and re-read it when I need a laugh.
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Danny; Does you dad live with you, or you with him?

I found that I could be patient with my mother for about 2-3 hours, once a week. So that's how often I visited. When she resided in an Independent Living Facility, my visits consisted of taking her to Bed, Bath and Beyond or to get her hair cut or her pants shortened. Then we'd have tea and muffins and discuss anything that was important.

I could be patient for that long and so I limited myself to that length of time.
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71 is too young for what you describe. He needs to be ckd by neurologist. Do it now to get the medication that can help him or diagnosis for you to understand why he isn't the way he used to be. My spouse started w not remembering things he'd normaly know. Took him to his reg. Dr. Did MRI & said just getting old. Can't see anything else. Then he started repeating things so off to neurologist who tested him verbally & was cognitive impairment then next year visit was alzheimers. Not saying that is what your dad has but specialist are trained in seeing differently & give test to detect. Also I must talk more distinct as each word I speak now takes more time for him to get the meaning. Less words are better. I too felt silence needed talk but just you being there brings him happiness. Start preserving his legacy by asking him questions of his life & record it. Where did he sleep as toddler, his favorite toy, sports he played in school, how he met your mom? You'll wish you had done that when it's too late.
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It’s wonderful that you want to spend time with your dad. I’m in the same boat. I’ve learned to say “STOP” to the perfect vision in my head of my dad and I enjoying conversations, dinners out, coffee on the porch etc. What I envision is not what is reasonable at this stage. Since my mom’s passing 7 months ago, he’s confused, agitated, irrational, angry, and he doesn’t want to engage in conversation without an argument. He sits alone all day, smokes cigarettes and watches tv. I cook all his meals, do his laundry, make sure he takes his meds, make all of his appointments, clean his apartment, grocery shop, pay his bills, and if I “suggest” we go out someplace, he gets annoyed. So, my advice is to keep your visits short and productive, don’t take it personally, and let go of the vision of how you “think” it should be. For my own sanity, I just say to myself, “STOP” because I know that the way I’d like our relationship to go is not Possible.....and I leave.
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Please trust and listen to my post !! Instead of looking at your dad as being 71 and difficult to deal with at times, you need to realize he is nearing the end of his life and there will come a day when you wish you could still take a walk with him. For me it really helped thinking about that time as being a blessing and when I would deal with my parents at the end of their lives, I would think of every single day as possibly being the last time I would ever get to spend with them. Do you think you would get frustrated if you knew today was the last time you would ever get to spend with him? It really helped me looking at life a little different, because it's easy to take the time for granted when the truth is it really could be your last walk with your dad. I just don't want you having to live with guilt once he is gone. For me, it was less than a month where I went from walking with my dad to watching him not even be able to get out of a chair to wondering if today was the day he would die, so please take this to heart !!
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ambly02 Aug 9, 2018
What an amazing answer, and one I so desperately needed to read!!! My mom has been living with me and my husband for 4 months now. She is 86. She's basically bedridden and on hospice care. She has a large mass on her kidney. Regardless, I get very aggravated with her at times. I'll ask her if there's anything else I can get her. She'll say no. I sit down and she remembers something she needs. I then get so mad at my self that I fall into a depression. I try to spend time w
ith her in the family room, which we turned into her bedroom suite, but I feel it's never enough. Sometimes I feel torn between my mom and my husband. He loves her and wants her here, and we do watch baseball together, but sometimes I just need my own time to read or just think. I work also. Your answer made so much sense!!! No one thought she would have long to live, but she has improved. I am 60 and I feel this time of my life is to do more things with my husband, so I am very torn between these feelings and caring for my mom. I'll be 86 soon enough, and I am afraid!!!!
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For me, I finally realized my loss of patience with my father was because I was mad at him for getting old. When he got confused, needed help in the bathroom, help eating, help with practically everything, I realized I was remembering him from when I was a boy, and he was in his prime. It was hard to comprehend the problems he was having at his age, 85, and it just plain made me mad, and I took it out on him. He's 89 now and we just had to place him in a care home.
My anger has subsided and I am not adverse to doing anything he needs. I visit him and still clean him up, bathe him, dress him, feed him, and do anything I can for him. The most important thing though is to let it go when I do the things above, getting him clean with a change of clothes, and he soils himself again.....I just fix him up again and let it go. I think I've finally been able to get rid of the anger, and replace it with compassion.
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PrairieLake Aug 9, 2018
Thank you for your honesty. I think most would like to have their parent back.
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