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I am slowly but surely taking over more and more of the daily tasks of living for my 88 yr. old mother who suffers from degenerative spine disease, and macular degeneration. She still maintains her own personal care, but I do most of the cleaning, cooking, pet care, all transportation, and will soon take over paying the bills as she is losing her sight. She often says "I am useless, I take up all of your time." I assure her she is not, and that I value her friendship and companionship, and I have time as I am retired, have only a cat at home to take care of. Her mind is sharp as a tack, in fact her memory is better than mine and I am only 63, but her body is failing on her. Has anyone had similar experience and how did you handle it?

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Since Mom is bright and mentally able, why not see if some adaptive technology can help? A lot of times people don't think about it, because without the mental abilities learning the new skills to cope with low vision will not be practical, but for some tasks, like bill-paying, there are magnification technologies and computer-based screen-reading technologies that would make it possible. Most states have an assistve technology initiative ongoing, and there are home- and center-based low vision education and traning programs that can be considered. Some, such as books on tape, are low cost or even free, and can really enhance quality of life a great deal.
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BestHomeCareMN allows a person with special needs stay in their home and home care services available to help you maintain your independence within the comfort of your own home.
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Use humor. There's that thing from Shakespeare on the ages of man. I just Googled it. It's "As You Like It" and starts "All the world's a stage."

The song from the Lion King, "The Circle of Life." "September Song." Remind her of how "useful" you were when she was changing your diapers. Tell her you need to care for her to atone for your wild life of sin. Tell her HER suffering is needed to atone for her wild life of sin.

Don't be afraid to agree with her that it sucks to get old and lose your abilities. Bette Davis said, "Old age ain't for sissies." Tell her to stop whining, if she would take it the right way. You need lots of different tools, but she's lucky to have you.
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The elderly can get cranky at times, well we all can get cranky at times but as the lose more and more of their independence it can get overwhelming. You are very lucky at her age that she still is sharp as a tack because your job would be very much harder. I'm not saying that your job isn't hard because it is, not knowing what tomorrow will bring has to be the hardest. I think you are going about things the right way by reassuring her that she is not a burden and that you value her, these things are key to successfully be a caregiver. So keep up the good work wishing you and your mother the best.
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It is not easy, especially if they still live independently miles away from you. I am in that situation with my mother. I tried to encourage her to make as many choices for herself as she can and tried to help her when I can. My mother does not want to move closer to me so I have had to tell her I can't keep traveling one hour each way when she needs this or that. She has had to learn to prioritize her needs in regards to my help. Eventually there will come a time when living independently is not an option and she will need to make a choice about in home care or assisted living. Hopefully I will never have to choose for her.
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Hi, my mother had me late in life. She is 95 and I am 54. For me it seemed a lifetime that I had to do for my mother. All of my sisters left home before they were 21 and my mother depended on me to help her out. She started getting sick when I was 16 and for years there has ongoing health issues with her and she always pulled through. Now, she has lost most of her indepence and in a facility. She wants to come home but, she cannot right now and I don't know if she will ever. It is hard for her because in her mind she feels she has something left in her but, she is a fall risk and her mind is diminishing and has gotten forgetful. It is hard for the caregiver because I handled her bills for years and have taken her to most if not all Doctor's appointment. Aside from losing their independency get ready for depression to set in with her. My mother would always apologize to me that she does not want to be a bother and thanks me for being there for her. But to be honestm I gotten so tired because I still work and have my own family to deal with. Assure her that this is why you are there for her and let her know that she should not feel bad about you helping her. There are going to be days when she will not agree with you about her caregiving and it will be a challenge and hopefully she eventually understand that you are doing your best. Get help when you think it is overbearing. We all want to be the protector and no one will do it better than you. Take care and all the best.
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You just do it, to maintain the dignity. I hear your story, and it appears to are doing the best your can. It is a jouney if are not prepared for and commited to, don't do it, and/or pretend to do it. The comments and questions you ask are common fold. However, this journey is most difficult, and if you can't do it, don't do it. And, that's ok. I suggest you roll your sleves up a lot higher (you are going to have to) and get more help, as best you can...if you are going to be of greatest assistance. If you are more concerned about yourself and your life (at this point in time), perhaps take a step back and to the side..and explore all options.

Yes, your comments are exerienced by millions of caregivers...so you are certainly not alone, far from it. It depends on how you deal with it all, and your level of true committment. If it's not there, I think everybody understands. It's ok. I do. Seen it too many times...and is all one big waste of time and energy.

Roll your selves up and/or more on in other directions. It's not going to get any easier.


I agree with anglewhyspers comments.
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How can you continue to let someone with Dementia/ALZ to manage her own life? It seems there is a turning point that someone needs to take over the control of some things- like medication (my mother was changing medicine in bottles because she thinks someone is after her medicine), like driving (my mom had an episode driving her car where she thought the FBI was after her and she was driving a high tech spy car and had to get away so gave the car keys to the postman and wandered off though the village..fortunately the postmaster called the police and they took her back to her apartment.), and like finances (My mom is convinced people- "scammers" -are talking directly to her and that she will be getting a lot of money, etc, and we have had to have her mail sorted before giving it to her which really pisses her off!)), or Basic care needs (Mom thinks she has showered every morning but one sniff and you know that is not true, and the Assisted status in her independent home apartment just makes her feel watched and abused.- Neither of which I can tell are accurate statements). Yet we have gotten her to turn over some control to the "Assisted Living" Staff- they struggle to do any of the normal assisted duties (other then medicine delivery which they convinced her they would be able to keep it from anyone trying to take it) as she thinks she can still do everything and can be convincing that she can when she is in a clear mode.
Dem/ALZ are funny symptoms that defy definition in my mind. I wish my mom would feel she is a burden and I could tell her she is not, but that is far from the space she occupies currently. My parents are 89 (mom) and 87 (dad)- Mom has good physical health but mentally starting to loose it. Dad is 100 % there mentally, loosing some eyesite and hearing but golfing 3 x a week still. He struggles with the burden of Mom's mental delusions and being used to her more independent nature is not sure how to deal with the emotional needy and contrary wife she has become) .I am 5 states away but travel there regularly and have other siblings helping do what they can as well. But Mom is narcissistic (an artist and educator- other wise known as "we know nothing and I know everything" mom- love her creativity and tell her often how great she is but it never seems to be enough. Always a struggle but this is such a good forum! Thank You!!
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Mom will get to maintain her dignity because you treat her with dignity. As I took over for my Mother, we talked about how life changed for everyone and how I was happy we had the relationship that allowed me to remain so close with her; that her value to me was in the love we shared and the joy I felt to have her with me, not in whether she did the dishes. Respecting her mind as you do and including her in decisions you make on her behalf, will continue to let her feel that she has value to contribute to managing her life.
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My mother has dementia, but can still do lovely needlework. I ask her to help me out with mending or laundry and she loves feeling useful. Ask for her knowledge, her memories, her recipes, her opinion... all make her feel she has something of value to give. You can also get an inexpensive digital recorder and have her record her history and family history, favorite stories or recipes - none require good vision, but do require HER. :-)
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It sounds like you are doing a very caring job now, with much sensitivity. Every day is a new journey for you into caring and to new ways of being empathetic. Both your mom and your cat are fortunate.
Squint
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Just take one day at a time. Everyday is a challenge, everyday is a renewal, and everyday you get the chance to change the mistakes you might have made the day before...Hang in there 63 yr. old. I'll be 65 in Nov. and having to remember everything for two people (medical, legal, etc.), two dogs, one cat, and 4 geese (in our lake), 12 ducks, and 32 pigeons keeps me on my toes!
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Always remember that disagreements are a normal part of daily life. If everyone agreed on everything life will become mundane and monotonous. Respect the decisions and values of the older generation. They simply have a different view on life that may not be in keeping with up to date technology and modern times. They have raised you, so give them some credit for the way you turned out. Try to meet them half way by blending your own ideals with those of theirs. You may come up with a spectacular solution that you never thought of before.


2Do not marginalize the older parent by excluding them completely from important decision making activities. Very often we tend to give very little credit to the vast experience and the wisdom of our elderly parents.Marginalization makes the parent feel hopeless and unwanted which in turn leaves them with no choice but to become rebellious and look to others for comfort, usefulness and belonging.
3Realize that the memory tends to fail with age. As our parents age, the memory capacity tends to weaken. Very often they will forget to remember completing little chores or taking a proper message for you by telephone. Please be patient as you would, when dealing with a child. The natural course of time is having an effect on their memories and this is seldom due to carelessness or sloppiness. Avoid becoming agitated or passing hurtful and sarcastic comments.
4Understand that elderly parents will suffer a general decline in health. Be supportive when they complain about minor aches and pains. Avoid adopting the attitude of neglect or simply ignoring every little complaint you are faced with. Drive them to the local clinic, hospital or even a private doctor if the need arises. You may save them from further harm to their health and their general well being. This also proves to them that you care and parents take great comfort in knowing that their child or children care for them.
5Remember that you too will reach old age at some point in time. The cycle of life continues as does everything else. You will not want to be treated badly by your own kids , so refrain from doing the same to your parents.
6Give them the respect and dignity they deserve. One can understand that aging parents can be difficult , sometimes even completely unreasonable. Listen with attention and find the humor in this to help you relax and calm or smooth the situation over. Always remember that you are what you are because of them due to the proper care and nourishment they afforded you with. The buck does not stop here. It is the duty of every child to act with responsibility to aging and elderly parents.
7Make them a part of your daily life. In the middle of being busy with your own life and family, try including your parents into this daily routine. Other issues such as medication times need to be scheduled into your other activities to cater for the needs of ailing parents. Where possible use hired help if necessary. Incorporate the help and input from other siblings or family members.
8Make them proud of themselves and you. A comfort dwells when parents know that their children are there for them when or if the need arises. The smiles and happiness reciprocates leaving you feeling fulfilled and content.
9Only as a last resort should you consider admitting them into an old age home or retirement center. Most often these old age homes creates loneliness and discomfort for parents who have been used to having their own independence and lives. This restricts them greatly, as life in these centers tends to become very controlled, revolving around set schedules, medication and sleeping times. This leaves them estranged, leading to more emotional outbursts and disappointments for them. Take heed and be sensitive to all issues before considering the option of an old age center.
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Having the same issue with my mom who has dementia. I get her to help me with laundry folding and anything else she is capable of doing without taxing her limited strength. And we talk about things going on with my family, friends, etc. She always has keen insight, which is invaluable. In thinking about it, I seem to not assure her I value my time with her - something you do all the time. Thanks for the reminder about it. Starting with my visit today, I will make sure I do that multiple times while I am with her.
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I had the same situation with my mother-in-law. It's normal for her to start to feel useless, as like you said - she's losing her independence and having to rely on you more and feels like she's "just in the way". It sounds to me like you're doing and saying all the right things. And you can keep reassuring her that you actually enjoying her company especially since you're retired - as the cat doesn't talk much-LOL! And you could tell her that you'd be bored out of your wits if she weren't there, and that she is a real help with XXX because you don't really like to to that, etc. etc. It's sad to watch our parents get older and lose their self-esteem. If she's still smart as a tack, maybe playing some card games could benefit her? Just a thought. But know you and your mom are not alone. So keep up the good work! Good luck!!
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