How can I relieve mom's anxieties when she starts to obsess? - AgingCare.com

How can I relieve mom's anxieties when she starts to obsess?

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She is always worried about food not being spoiled or past expiration date. We shop every week. She annoys me when I cook something for myself that she doesn't eat - worrying whether I cooked it long enough to be done. I get so frustrated and angry with her - I know it's over-reacting, but I can't seem to help myself. She has early dementia so that is part of the problem, but really this is the way she's been for years.

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You are all AWESOME caregivers!! This is a job none of us asked for, but we seem to be there for our family members...weather it is a wife, husband, parent, in-laws or grandparents... It is not by choice!! I hate it! And there really isn't anything we can do to make it good or better! One day at a time...no future, and no getting better! We all seem to be dealing with it in many different ways and it is very hard! By the end of the evening, I just want to put him (my husband) to bed and sit with a nice glass of wine. Temporary relaxing...but good at the time! We do have to take care of our selves, get someone to come into the house for a couple of hours to be with 'your person'....and GET OUT!! (For now, it is cheaper then Assisted Living) Eat right, get some exercise. Read a book, 'ONE WORD that will change your life'. My work for this year is RELEASE... I have posted notes in my special places to remind me. Try it. It's a temporary fix...but it does work each time you use!! Be strong! And take care of YOU first! If not, who will care for your loved one?....
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You can't. Stop trying. Find something you like to do and do it, preferably with someone babysitting Mom so she can't even make you overhear it.
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Have you heard of Dysfunctional Family Bingo? Keep track of the number of times your mother says "That can't be done. You'll get sick." The more times she says it, the more M&M's (or the bigger the cocktail) you can have. She will not change, but you can trick yourself into minding less. Just a suggestion.

Or answer, "Do you think so?" to whatever she says. Plan in advance with a canned response or a mental trick. I know, it IS maddening. Best wishes to you.
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Braida, thank you for the information from The Shriver Report. I looked it up and read what is available on line. I must find the book somewhere. Although frightening, it at least holds out some hope for future generations. I guess every generation has its burden to bear: the Great Depression for our grandparents, WWII for our parents. Is Alzheimer's the burden of our generation? Each successive generation bears the good and the bad that comes out of the lasts generations burdens. I hope and pray that we can save our children and grandchildren from the scars of this horrible disease and others like it such as Lewy Body Dementia. (If you're unfamiliar with it, please google or otherwise search for it online. You will be horrified. It is not as well known as AD, but is just as bad, if not worse.)
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Hi Donna, I am so sorry that you had such a hard childhood. I meant to say that in my last post. Having a parent with OCPD would be very hard. I commend you for taking your Mom in and making it work. I am glad you found some info about OCPD. When I read your post and saw that you got scolded for not doing things her way it just seemed so much like the OCPD trait. I learned about the personality disorder while researching about my own OCD. Both stink but are actually quite different . I wish you the best of luck with your Mom!!
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MishkaM, Thank you so much for your last post. I just read several articles about the differences between OCD and OCPD. You are right my mom's does sound more like OCPD. There are two of the traits mentioned for the OCPD she does not have: "an inability to get rid of items that no longer have value and a miserly spending style towards both you and others". In fact quiet the opposite. Other than those two traits she fits all of the others. Thanks for pointing this out. Understanding more about why she does what she does is so helpful in addressing the issues. Hopefully will help others as well.
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Thank-you , FedUpNow for your kind words. Good luck with all you do! You sure have a full plate. I give you kudos for all that you are able to handle!!
DonnaCG- it is possible your Mom does not have OCD but Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. -big difference, actually. The OCD person usually knows their thinking is flawed and hates it while the OCPD person thinks they are right and the world is wrong. If you google OCPD vrs. OCD it will explain the difference better than I can. I cannot imagine just being able to change with a firm hand. I wish that was all it took.
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I was mentally abused as a child by my mom's ocd. She would decide it was time to teach me to cook, clean, sew whatever...... I would try so hard but got scolded and punished because I was "half doing it" as she said. That was before any average person had ever heard of ocd.

I spent many years of my adult life feeling guilty before I figured out I was not a mean, disrespectful, lazy child who could not do anything right. I lived with so much guilt as an adult over the tantrums I threw and the arguments we had because I wouldn't just do it right. It was only in the 1980's or 90's when ocd hit the news that I knew it wasn't all my fault. No one could do it perfectly enough to satisfy her, not even herself. If I did get it almost right she would find a better way to fold the towels and I had to start the learning process all over again.

Fast forward to 2010, Mom is a senior spoiled rotten by my father, me, my husband and all our children who have catered to her ocd all these years not understanding the monster we were enabling.

Both she and my Dad become ill requiring major surgery within a two week period. Trying to perform her rituals properly when she was not physically able nearly killed me for 3 or so months, until she could do it herself. a couple of years later my Dad is terminally ill and she tortures him until he dies worrying about his every hair in place, the bed covers had to be over him perfectly square, no creases or wrinkles,, a drop of tea on his gown, the poor man had to be changed immediately.... a piece of lint on his pillow whatever just pick, pick picking at him. The hospice folks begged her to stop and let him have peace and rest, but no way she going to let him die with a hair out of place!

Now the rest of the story. After Dad passed away she begged us to let her sell her house and come live with us. I told her repeatedly she would not be happy with us, that we could not live up to her housekeeping standards. She was afraid to live alone, she wanted me to have her savings not an assisted living on and on...... We finally gave in and she is with us now. It is far from a picnic she shadows me, is often negative and paranoid and has weird ideas, still plenty of ocd rituals regarding her hygiene, etc. When she got here she thought she could change my husband and me, we are not slobs, but far more relaxed about neatness and organization than she. However on many issues when we told her politely, but firmly "that is not the way we do it here" or "I prefer not to do it that way". She gave up, accepted it and remembered not to try and change that particular habit. Her negativity has also improved. Again soooooo far from a perfect situation but we learned she could control some of the craziness. I know that not all dementia or ocd folks can or will change so I do feel blessed for even small improvements. I guess you don't know if it will work until you try. Makes me sad that we didn't figure it out earlier. So many years were wasted, so much misery created as we catered to the ocd beast.
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My Mother is obsessive too and I think it's depression. She obsesses over cleanliness. I buy her lots of Lysol and plastic bags (Plastic bags are germ barriers). I do way more laundry than I need to, leave notes for her caregivers and I lie a lot. The doctor prescribed and antidepressant but she refuses to take it.

Fortunately she doesn't live with me, I know I couldn't take it. I just try and understand. She's always been somewhat obsessed, but it's gotten much worse as she gets older and more senile.
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PS TYPO: I am in awe of your courage, not coverage.
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