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My mother is 89 and I have been caring for her solo for 8 years now. She expects me to care for her because it is what daughters do. My brother and his wife believe that it is my job and because they live four hours away they can't be here to help out. I have asked him to help out monetarily even if he can't physically do anything and he tells me he is "retired" now and lives on a fixed income. The man is an author of many books, and was CEO with many subordinates beneath him to manage as well as having his doctorate in Economics. His 600,000 dollar home has been paid off and with no children at home now,he still has a huge amount of money coming in every month. However, this isn't the issue I am concerned about here.....although I resent him for never offering to share part of the load. I have planned a short 2 night weekend with friends at the end of this month and my son who lives here with his baby and fiancee offered to help me out with mom while I am away. She is very upset and depressed about this and does not want me to go fearing my son will let her starve and go out during the day. He has taken care of her before for 2 days and really did a great job. How do I make my mother more comfortable with my going away for a very short break? I feel as though I am going to crash and burn most of the time and my patience with her has been short. Thank you for your help.

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I think it's because our loved ones are afraid something will happen to us. And then what would happen to them?? That and the fact that many of them are in some state of dementia which means that "It's allllll about ME. What I need. What I want." Much like a child.

I haven't arranged any respite time away for myself. I plan to do so soon. It's not fair to my Tom (an angel without wings) and it's not fair to me. But I don't think I'll feel guilty about THAT.

What I DO feel guilty about is when I hire a care giver to come in of an afternoon or evening . . . Tom and I off to dinner and the show . . . to a family cook-out . . . to a wedding . . . to a shower. I simply can't take her. I get alllll dressed up as does Tom, give her a hug and a kiss and go out to have some fun. And there she sits.

She does nothing to make me feel guilty, but I can't help thinking of all the fun she's missing -- and how terribly small her world has become...
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My only suggestion is for FUTURE trips, and they should be on a regular basis, is not to tell mom until just before you leave. No time to make life miserable, no time to dwell on the what if's for a month. You already know she won't be happy, so why prolong it? We only go away for one weekend in the 4 years we have been taking care of FIL and he sure made it miserable. He stayed with his other son and said he was being sent to PRISON! Then made them so miserable that they kept calling us. He said he wanted to be driven home and since he is not allowed in the house alone he wanted to sleep in the car in front of the house til we got home! NOT HAPPENING. I was so furious!
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Why is she making you feel guilty? Take your pick: she afraid; she doesn't have the reasoning power she once had; she is fundamentally selfish; she doesn't really like you.

You know her and I don't. I'm guessing it is about her own anxiety and not about your at all.

But it doesn't really matter WHY she is doing it. You don't have to play along. You are taking some respite for perfectly sound reasons and your sound reasons trump her unhealthy reasons no matter what they are.

Be pleasant. Be firm. Don't be apologetic (which just confirms to her that she is right and you shouldn't go.) Offer to bring her something special, especially if you are going to an area known for certain things.

Next time (and there should be regular next times) don't tell her in advance. If this conflict over you leaving briefly is a reflection of a more general anxiety on her part, I think it worth discussing with her doctor. But if the only time she gets like this is when you leave, I'm not sure medical intervention is necessary. Let's hope she gets used to it and it goes more smoothly each time.
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Glo; I very much empathize with this sort of situation. I would suggest that if your mom is experiencing this level of depression, dread and anxiety over changes like this, she might benefit from seeing a geriatric psychiatrist for some meds. I'm NOT suggesting that you dope her up, I'm not suggesting tranquelizers. I can only say, as a lay person, that my mom was enormously helped by relatively low doses of antidepressant and anti anxiety meds. Before, EVERYTHING was "the world was about to come to an end"...storms that might or might not happen, whether an aide would show up on time, what should she say to the aide...on and on and on. You need some respite; the world will not come to an end, even without the meds. Maybe she needs to see that.
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And one more thing - pat yourself on the back for raising a kind and responsible son.
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Prepare for mom to "get sick" just before or while you are away. Working at assisted living for years, I've seen it time and time again. Please go away with no guilt. Mom will be well taken care of. Have fun.
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glor my mum WAS like this last year and i did crash and burn but one thing ive learned to do is go anyway! i have realised that mum ONLY trusts me and feels safe with me around i was with her when she had a siezure and since then she is just worried when im not here as she knows if anything happened to her id know what to do my sister is useless BUT ive told my sis do not panic just dial 911.
I dont think your mum wants you to feel guilty BUT she probably is worried but you cannot live like this please just ignore her and go if you give into her now she will continue and you will never get a break i know how guilty they make you feel but have learned to ignore it and just go anyway and you know what? mum stopped making me feel guilty as she knew id go no matter what and she gave up trying this! It took me along time to say no to her and take a break anyway i could which is very rare!
Do not let her make you ill we all need a break and your son sounds like a responisble guy maybe just reassure her that youre not that far away and you will be home in a flash if anything happened!
Just how i handled it and trust me the more you stop giving in the more she will stop making you feel guilty! in my mums case i look back now and realise it was fear with her i think it could be the same with your mum!
I know how you feel also about sibling i have no money and no car i would love to take mum out on long drives but dont have money for a car my sister has huge savings do you think she would suggest a small cheap car just for my mums sake? NO! when mum goes i will be confronting her about this simple basic need i know mum would go out more if buses and taxis were not such a hassle everytime!
Hugs its so hard when siblings dont help out but look youve a great caring son well done you for bringing him up this way you should be proud!
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You need the time away. Go and enjoy yourself. So glad you have a wonderful son to help out.
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I agree with 1tired. Don't tell your mom until the last possible minute that you're going away the next time you do this. That way she can't get fussed up beforehand. The suggestion to get her evaluated for some anti-depressants is a good idea too.

Go and have a good time. A couple of days is NOTHING! Your mom will be fine. Once you step out that door, don't think about her once - she'll be fine! Enjoy and let us know how it goes.
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glornorth, I can imagine that your mother thinks of you as her arms and legs, since she has mobility problems. If she is anything like my mother, she doesn't want to impose on anyone else. My mother doesn't want anyone to see how confused and vulnerable she is, so she depends on me to cover for her. When I'm not with her, she feels exposed. Most of the time she won't do things unless I do them with her.

I have a feeling Jeanne is right. It is more about your mother's anxiety than anything you're doing wrong. You don't need to feel guilty, because you are important and you need a break. When you get back, your mother might pout for a couple of days, but that too shall pass. Go and have fun.
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