Follow
Share

My mother is 96. She had a stroke 4+ years ago which she recovered remarkably from. It did affect her and she lost her driving privileges, but you would not realize she had a stroke. After 2 more years in independent living, she had a fall and has been in assisted living since. This is not a Medicaid facility. We pay fully for her to be there. She has hated it from the get-go. She is always telling me how the food is not good, the attendants are not nice to her, they give her meds she doesn't need (and she often refuses them anyway). Oh, and they steal all her stuff (which I usually find hidden in her room). I visit often, know the personnel on first name basis (it's a small facility) so am fairly certain that she is not being mistreated. I'm told that mostly she refuses help when offered and will not call when she actually needs it then tells me that no one helps her there. My husband and I left our home of 25 years (which was 1500 miles away) 20 years ago to come back and help with my parents. My dad passed in 2011. Since that time, I have taken care of her home (while and after she was living in it. Mowing, maintenance, renting, etc.). I have gone through many hospital/rebab/back to assisted transitions (all during COVID and I have severe hearing loss and lip read mostly -- it has been a nightmare dealing with all the various facilities and transitions with masks). I have taken her to every doctor's appointment and anything else she wanted in these last 9 years.


She is difficult. As a younger person, I always knew she would be. She has far exceeded my expectations! She is insulted if you suggest that any condition might have to do with her advanced age. Everything is someone else's fault. She soils herself . . . it's because they gave her that med, or they served a food that caused it. She refuses to use full on (diaper type) protection and then gets upset because she makes a mess. She will not call for help at the facility, but she will call me and tell me she needs help and I need to come over there (20 miles away). I call the facility and ask someone to check on her. I am pretty good about saying no to that. I wait a day or so. At her request, I do all of her personal laundry. Sometimes she calls my phone repeatedly or at all hours. One particular day, she called over 25 times leaving sobbing, and nasty messages about how we are treating her. Giving her some antidepressant meds helps this behavior but it resurfaces fast when she refuses to take her meds. Every bad day she has is 'the worst day of her life'. On one hand, she tells me I do so much for her and she doesn't know what she would do without me. Then will complain that I am not driving her (80-100 total miles) to her old doctor because she doesn't like the PA who comes to the facility. I take her out for dental, wound care and eye care, occasional lunches and we spend holidays with her. It is an exhausting adventure. She can barely get up and down by herself. Getting her into and out of the car and in to an appointment is slow and difficult. It completely drains me of all energy. I am tired. I want to be done. I am 69. I am not a spring chic any more.
And yes, I have one sibling (6 years older) who does not live here. My SIL has ALZ so he has a full plate himself. They actually live near their daughter so she can help them.
I guess, I just need to vent. This has gone on for so long.

Stop the madness now! Your mother is acting out because you're allowing her to. Stop financing her life, stop enabling her dysfunctional ways, stop taking the phone calls, stop listening to all the endless complaints, and let the staff deal with her entirely. If she needs to be transferred to a SNF on Medicaid, so be it. Recognize what's going on here and put your foot down HARD. Enough is enough. Call mother once a week and visit her once a week, if that. Whatever else she needs in the meantime she can ask the staff for. Unless she's losing weight, which i highly doubt, she's eating the "horrible food" like all the rest of them are and liking it too! All this acting out is for YOUR benefit only. Unless you turn a deaf ear to it, it will go on until you're having a breakdown over nothing! Her histrionics are not your problem unless you choose to continue to allow them to be.

It's time to tell mother, in so many words, to Sit Down And Shut Up now. Your life matters too but women like this never take that fact into consideration because they're too self absorbed to see past the tip of their own nose. It's okay to say NO. It's okay to tell her to use the PA at the ALF even if she hates her. It's okay to take care of YOU now. It really is. And that includes cutting her off the financial tit if you're paying her way in AL as well.

You can do this. Make it happen. Mother will be fine wherever she winds up. You've done enough and you're a good daughter. Just know that because I'm sure you haven't heard those words come out of HER mouth.

Best of luck.
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to lealonnie1
Report

You get past her guilt tactics by not allowing them in the first place. It seems that a lot of mothers as they age(and often before)like to play the guilt game with their loved ones and often manipulation comes along with it as well.
It's always best to cut it off at the start and to call their bluff. You are doing quite enough for her at this stage in her life and if she doesn't appreciate it, that's on her not you. But I MUST say that you should NOT be paying for any of her care. If she doesn't have the money then she needs to go on Medicaid. What's going to happen when you're needing your hard earned money for your own care?
Stop letting her walk all over you, and when she calls you a lot, let her calls go to voicemail and then delete without listening to them if they upset you. The facility will call you if there is a legitimate problem. Also when she starts talking negatively, just get up and walk out and tell her when she can be more positive you will come back, but until then adios!
It might be time for the facility to set up her rides to her doctors appointments and such so you can have more time to yourself and with your immediate family. Or you can just set up her appointments online for her, at least the ones you can.
Stop being her scapegoat, and start living and enjoying your life the way you see fit.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to funkygrandma59
Report
dimtngirl Sep 29, 2022
Thank you for responding.
I think I misled you all. We are paying for her care with HER money.
The money is not the issue. It’s the emotional (and sometimes physical) toll of trying to deal with someone who is never happy and it’s gone on for so long. (There is a reason I had been living 1500 miles away for 25 years!).
And, I am learning to not let her push my guilt buttons, but it’s a work in progress.
(2)
Report
Pick two days a week to be available for mom, let her know what those days will be and that you’ll be unavailable the other days. Take no calls the other days, the facility will let you know if there is an emergency. Refuse to discuss the new plan with mom, just say how it’s going to be and stick to it, as hard as it might be, it'll be easier than the complete lack of peace you’re getting now. Mom can learn to rely on the staff where she is, she can accept help from others, and you can reclaim your life. Gather your resolve, no guilt for you’ve done nothing wrong, start enjoying time with your family and activities you like. This can be done, boundaries are healthy
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Daughterof1930
Report

I still struggle with guilt, but what helped me a LOT is I started a short mental list of mom’s ‘Top 5 Most Ridiculous Complaints.’ They shifted around but the #1 winner is when I told her I had soup for dinner, and she complained about her food and begged me to come ‘Sleep on your floor and can I have a teaspoon- just a teaspoon! - of your soup. ‘ This was such an over the top guilt trip it snapped me out of it and I finally saw her tactics.

Some people will NEVER be satisfied with ANYTHING unless they are waited on hand and foot 24/7 by the child of their choice. This is manipulative and literally impossible. My mom gets the best care I can manage and it sounds like so does yours! You’re doing a great job…

Good luck!


PS Now I can’t stop joking about offering teaspoons of this and that to people hahaha
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Madisoncuckoo7
Report
Beatty Oct 6, 2022
Such a good example!

Is it the food?
Is it the soup?
No.
Is it ever the food/other issue?
Or a manoeuver to be looked after by you.

Is it ever just ONE small teaspoon???
(2)
Report
Oh my, it's so HARD, isn't it. You have your hands so full and I feel for your brother as well. My mom is a master of the guilt trip too, she is younger than yours but starting the downward slide (she's in the hospital right now after her second serious fall). I think you're doing the only thing you can, trying not to take it personally and let it upset you too much. I applaud you for getting the facility staff involved when she calls you. That's what she pays them for!

I'm sorry your mom doesn't realize what a gem she has in you. A little gratitude would improve her life so much. I truly think there's a special place in heaven for those who take care of their loved ones with so little appreciation from them.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to iameli
Report

dimtngirl: You must cease financing your mother's managed care facility living. It is imperative that you take care of your sixty nine year old self, else you run yourself ragged - even more so than you are already doing.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report
lealonnie1 Oct 6, 2022
On 9/29 the OP said:
"Thank you for responding.
I think I misled you all. We are paying for her care with HER money.
The money is not the issue. It’s the emotional (and sometimes physical) toll of trying to deal with someone who is never happy and it’s gone on for so long. (There is a reason I had been living 1500 miles away for 25 years!).
And, I am learning to not let her push my guilt buttons, but it’s a work in progress."
(2)
Report
See 1 more reply
I would say there is some cognitive decline here. She gets upset when she soils herself but won't wear Depends to help with the problem. Accusing people of stealing and then finding it in her room ...signs of cognitive decline probably related to her stroke. Chalk it up that she will never be happy. She probably wants her old life back and its not going to happen.

I understand your hearing problem. My husband is almost deaf. He too can read lips. I am his years. Problem with my husband is he doesn't always make people aware. I have had to ask people to lower their masks to he can read their lips. I have a problem making out what they say especially when u get a mumbler. I wish service people were taught to look at people in the eyes and talk distinctive and clearly.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
dimtngirl Sep 29, 2022
Thank you for your response. I do inform, but during the pandemic, most in hospitals and care facilities would not lower masks even if I asked. I have been hard of hearing since my teen years and I do accept it and I advocate for myself. I have found people in the medical field to be some of the least understanding or accommodating. It makes me really sad for older (than me!) folks with hearing loss trying to communicate with their doctors!
(1)
Report
Plain and simple she is manipulating you, you have no boundaries, and she is walking all over you.

They all complain about the food, keep in mind with dementia their taste buds change, my step-mother claims everything is too salty, even pickles, they all want to go home.

Time to put on your big girl panties and say no, it is a complete sentence. She gives you little thanks because she knows it will keep you doing what she wants, she gets it, you do not seem to.

Do what you need to do to regain your life, good luck!
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to MeDolly
Report

Pay for the laundry, don’t take it home. Daily transporting soiled garments is unnecessary, unhealthy and not to mention demoralizing. Let the facility prepare your mom and arrange transport for appointments and meet your mom at the office to monitor her visit. Spend time deciding what can be delegated to services that might be included in your monthly charge or a minor additional expense with a maximum benefit. My mom (like many) resisted showers until I instructed the aides to not shampoo her hair. (She hated water in her face). I made weekly hairdresser appointments that she actually enjoyed and it took the stress off the aides on the unit. Use your time to regroup your efforts to benefit yourself and the professional caretakers. Pick your battles.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to GAinPA
Report

You are using your own funds to pay for her AL? (Why?)
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to CTTN55
Report
dimtngirl Sep 29, 2022
No. No. We are using HER money for her care. I was just saying it is not a low grade facility.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter