Mom is starting to assert herself. How do I support her in moving forward without making it worse? -

Mom is starting to assert herself. How do I support her in moving forward without making it worse?


Hi there. Stubborn dad won't accept help. My parents are lovely people who have an old fashion marriage. My dad always controlled everything, my mom just went along. I don't judge it because they do love each other and come from another era. My Dad has had a stroke in 2013. He is frail and can't speak. My mom came to me today and asked for help on how we can get the tires changed and oil. This is HUGE. Doesn't sound it but, remember, my Dad controls everything. She is asserting herself and I want to make her successful. My dad has temper tantrums and INSISTS on doing everything. I honestly am at a loss. He's controlling, she is trying to take control because she needs to knew. How do I support her in moving forward without making it worse. My dad has severe panic attacks when he doesn't get his way to the point we worry about him having a heart attack. It's just awful. I'm confused and could use your wisdom. Thank you!

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You can support your mother by finding her a caregiver support group. You can help her by making an appointment for an oil change at the mechanic and other appointments for things she would like to get done. You can also set her up for success by helping her figure out their finances and getting all the paperwork together for if and when the time comes.

Your dad's illness, whatever it is, will only get worse. As he loses his independence and becomes frail, his temper tantrums will get worse. Can you help get him to a geriatric psychiatrist or primary care physician to get him some medication to take the edge off?
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What a great story Missy. You sound quite capable.
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Iam 20 yrs younger than my husband who is now disabled and has dementia. Although from a younger generation I allowed him to contol household decisions,as well as all of the money, paying bills etc. When the time came for me to take over it was a little scary but I found out that I am very capable and actually smarter than I thought. I have paid off the house and credit cards, been through some legal situations and also dealt with my husbands medical issues. Who would've thought? My husband at first didnt like it and was very distrustful of decisions. I went through lots of verbal put downs, guilt trips, and anger. I knew however he couldn't make sound decisions and I wasnt about to let everything fall to pieces. Soon I learned not to tell him all that was happening. If I needed something I would just do it. Like new dishwasher. When it was installed I just told him the old one was broken and we needed a new one. After awhile seeing that I could make good choices he has let me be. My daughter was there for me and is there for me by giving me encouragement. Simply by telling me I'm doing a good job, doing the right things, and the most important thing by telling me I'm smart. When I hear her say those things its the best validation I can get. It is hard for a controlling spouse to let go but by just doing what needs to be done without discussion has been very helpful. I cant control my husbands anger. I hope the fear of your father getting sick doesnt cause her too much anxiety and guilt. I have been there. Its sometimes a struggle just to get out of bed. Whenever she is feeling guilty ask her if she has done anything wrong. If the answer is no then there isnt a reason to feel guilty.
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Has your dad been diagnosed with anything since his stroke? You say that he can't speak and is frail. Has he had mental decline too? I'd see about finding out why he's not able to help with things like he used to. If he isn't mentally able, that may also explain his anger, anxiety and agitation.

I'd get a medical opinion and then help mom with what she needs. Does she have Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare POA? If dad is needing more and more care, your mom may be exhausted and not letting on as to how much she's doing to run the household.

I'd figure out just how much dad can't do and get mom help. Tradition may not be something that remains when a person becomes disabled or suffers from substantial decline. Dad should be supported and assured that he is very important and valued, but, behind the scenes, I'd make sure mom has the help she needs to really take care of things.

And if it's too much for mom, adult kids sometimes have to step in to do that. Sometimes, full time, around the clock caretaking of a spouse is just not feasible for another spouse, without help. AND, I'd discuss meds with dad's doctor to help with his anxiety attack.
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