Follow
Share

I have been caring for my mom by myself for 7+ years. I have been starting to feel caregiver burnout lately. My boyfriend, who has been VERY UNDERSTANDING, has said that he thinks I need to talk to someone professional. I don't think so. I mean being able to be on this site has really helped me and I don't really see how talking to a professional will help me. They will probably want to give me drugs, which I don't want. I really value the people on here because unlike a "professional psychiatrist" you all KNOW what I am going through.
I guess I should tell you what the issue is with my mom. She has started smoking again. She is on 3 different types of b.p. meds because of the strainon her heart from the sstrain on her lungs. No heart disease-yet. But she and I fight about the cigarettes. She stopped with the help of the patches. I want her to live a long life, but I fear that the cigarettes are shortening her life. What do I do? Keep buying and making them for her knowing that they are killing her. Or do I fight her about every cigarette she smokes? I have always been the accommodating child. But I am at a loss here. This is why my boyfriend said I need to talk to a professional. So that is why I am asking all of you---my professional people. I will take all of your opinions over a professional any day. Please tell me what I should do.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Mulata88. I'm not moving out just yet. We will take care of her together although plans are not set in stone. I don't know what I am ready for. She and I used to never get along but I'm hoping that we can get along after a long time away from each other. There WILL be ground rules established when she moves in.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hi Zena, hey, just wondering. ?.... When your sister moves in, are you going out? Or the two of you will care for mom? So you and your sister will be sharing the care of mom?
When is she going to get there?
Since she's a smoker... are you prepared.....or preparing for what just lies ahead?
Do you and your sister get along pretty well or..........??? Thanks. !
M88
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I made a previous comment to 'let mom have her smokes' and am reconsidering the wisdom of that! Smoking isn't good for her or for you (second hand) and putting an end to it seems the only way to go. It is difficult indeed, I wish you and mom luck. I would like to say, though, that the patch might be better than the lozenges. The lozenges can make one nauseated, upset the stomach, and cause incredibly painful heartburn. She'd be better off, truly, chewing clove gum or sugar free lollipops.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Mom is 70, has copd, hypertension, and basic old age issues starting. I just wanted opinions on if I needed to get help to handle the guilt or not. I have decided that I won't feel guilty about her habits or ways. I love my mother dearly, but I cannot let this issue turn my into HER mother when I know that as her dementia progresses I will be taking on that role. I have a great guy who is my sole support and cares about my mom. If things get worse later, I will deal with them as they come. When my sister moves in, SHE can handle the cigarette issue because she is a smoker too. I will be buying another air purifier for my room. Thanks all for your comments and suggestions.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I help her with her meds, which she is on a lot for her blood pressure and breathing. I pay her bills, makes sure that she eats. She can do and does a lot for herself, but I don't take too much Independence away from her. I will try the lozenges for her. But I think that she just does it because she is bored.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I know someone who is suffering from some serious medical issues due to being in the same house with her dad - who smokes like a chimney. Maybe your mother would be ok with nicotine patches or lozenges, but I really think that if you are around her and caring for her ( to keep her out of a nursing home) that you have the right to breathe air not contaminated.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

zena, thank you for the update that Mom is living in her own house and the cigarettes are being paid for with her own money. And that you are her caregiver. What caregiving does she need? And may I ask how old is your Mom? Age makes a big difference when it comes to answering certain types of questions.

I have never smoked but had friends who did, and I remember them telling me that one brand tasted between than another. So I am thinking, ask your boyfriend what brand of cigarettes did he find tasted the worse.... then buy your Mom those cigarettes. Tell her her brand wasn't available so you bought her Camels or is she a Camel user already. And be ready to deal with the guilt.

My concern is for the future as dementia will only get worse, and we wouldn't want Mom to be a fire hazard to everyone in the household. If she is in her very late years, I would say don't bother, let her smoke until you find she is being careless. If she is still young, then you don't want to see cigarettes be the death of her.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Zena, Would nicotine gum or lozenges help? It sounds like she has quit before.
If you can get her to stop smoking and she wants to do so again...tell her she is a nonsmoker and it is odd that she would want a cigarette. This tactic worked on me as I smoked for 21 years and quit cold turkey 20 years ago. It was hard but telling myself I was a non smoker and that it was strange I would want a cigarette stopped me from lighting up ever again. I also kept a log of what smoking would cost me and put that money away for awhile...then I bought some nice clothes and took a trip. I wonder if such an incentive of buying something she would like instead of cigarettes would work with her?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

THANK YOU ALL FOR SO MUCH ADVICE AND WISDOM! I learned so much about myself from all of your comments. I don't know if boyfriend will leave because he is a smoker too. He is concerned about my well being. Anyway, thank you all again for your help. It has helped me with a lot of the anxiety I have been having. Tatianna, thank you for your wisdom and understanding of what I am going through. I guess I needed to hear from you most of all.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Hey Zena. I don't really have any words of wisdom. I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. I'm in a similar situation with my mom. My mom is about to turn 60 and she's been a smoker for 40 years. She tried quitting with patches, but she only lasted a week. She smokes almost 2 packs a day. She's in a wheelchair, and she's can't walk very far with her walker, so I'm the one who buys her cigarettes for her. I know i'm enabling her by buying her the cigs, but I feel like even if I don't buy them for her, she can just buy them when we go grocery shopping. Basically she'll find a way to get them regardless. So I just keep my mouth shut and buy them for her. Which is still not right I know.

I've tried everything to help her to quit. I ordered the patches for her. I bought her sugar free lollipops to help with the oral fixation. I've written her letters expressing my concerns about the future of her health. But the fact of the matter is is that she doesn't wanna quit. They have to WANT to quit. It's sucks because it's like we're watching a love one commit a slow suicide. Believe me I KNOW your frustration. I'm still coming to terms and learning to just accept things. I'm not saying we should give up on our mothers, but we need to realize they're just some things we can't change.

I think finding a therapist could be a really good outlet for you. You might not even need medication. Sometimes just learning better coping mechanisms can make a world of difference. My old therapist was AMAZING. She was very laid back and chill, she had a great sense of humor. I learned a lot from her. Even though we talked about a lot of serious and depressing things she added some much needed levity to our sessions, which helped a lot, because I have a very melancholic temperament and I can be rather intense. So, you know therapy doesn't always have to be a drag or this huge thing. If nothing else it can just be a place for you to blow off steam in a judgment free zone.

Anyway I'm sending you and you mom lots of good vibes and I hope something clicks and she quits for good :))
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Eddie, you make some outstanding points. We all want Zena's nice boyfriend to stick around.
Problem. 1. The house is mom's
Problem 2 . The cigarette $ is mom's
Problem 3 . Second hand smoke is deadly
Question
What was the motivation to quit the previous time?
Can the same motivation help this time?
I, personally, and since Zena asked, I think that smoking is an addictive and nasty habit to have. It's dirty in every way.
Yes, the captain will say : we are all dying -true -, but I wouldn't sprinkle my food with a little bit of rat poison every day, just because we're all dying.
If you buy them, then endure the nasty consequences.
If you don't, brace yourself to deal with the crankiness of mom.
Put her back on the patches, like you did in the past!
Hugs,
M88
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Zena, baby, get some help. You're so worried about Mom's health and longevity your own ticker isn't beating right anymore. Boyfriend is very understanding because he loves you very much, but his patience is going to wear thin.

If she's living with you, the house is a SMOKE FREE zone. That's non-negotiable. If you're living with her, it's going to be a 24/7 catfight -- in installments. ... And your man isn't going to hang around long enough to see how it ends if you don't stop being so accommodating ... and obstinate.

Draw the line. Next time she lights one up, take it out of her mouth.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

All her life my aunt ate only healthy foods and exercised. She is now 94 and wants her donuts and cake everyday. When people give her advice she at first ignores them, then if they continue she says firmly, 'I eat what I want!' We give her a healthy meal daily, and make healthy things available. Then it is her choice.

Zena, how does her smoke affect you? You can take care of yourself, and keep safe. Lassie asked some good questions around it.

Smoking has some benefits, but side effects are awful. When my first husband and I were told he had cancer (bone marrow) I cried for 3 days. Two of those days I had to work, so I picked up smoking again. Every 2 hours I would go outside and have one cigarette. It kept me from crying for the next 2 hours, but no longer than that. So I postponed dealing with the feelings till later, and went through craving the smokes as I stopped again. Feelings that aren't dealt with for a long time make us very sick, so I get help when I can't figure it out myself. Sometimes from a friend, once in awhile from a counselor.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Well, if you know so much better, no one can make you seek 'professional help'. Just tough it out on your own, you will either sink or swim. .... As for your mom's smoking jones: can she afford cigarettes? Is she on oxygen, or would be in danger of burning down the house, or setting herself on fire smoking in bed? How old is she, how much of longer life can she look forward to with her ailments and dementia? Take all this into consideration. .... I say, buy her the cigarettes, but she can only smoke outside on the porch or deck, or supervised in the kitchen in bad weather. NO cigarettes at night if she is alone. Ration them out like it was war time. I say, when they get to a certain point, no booze, no cigarettes, no junk food, only fruits and vegetables, vitamins and organic foods, all that stuff: let them have what they want and enjoy their last days. (I speak for myself, mind you, what *I* would want in MY last days. I don't want to go out of this life drinking kale smoothies, I want my wine and Lays potato chips, and if I had 6 months to live, you BET I would take up smoking again, lol! Let them bury me sooner than later.)
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

zena,
would your mom put her foot down about your food fondness ? im thinking probably not . i think an effective caregiver should honor the will
of the patient , above all .
when you get old you firstly lose the desire for things that you once enjoyed . secondly , you realize that youve ran your race . you done good , gave it your all . living the remainder of your life as you see fit becomes more important than longevity . who wants to be bullied around in a nursing home for a decade anyway ?
ive had a few prolonged sober spells during my lifetime . trust me . after about 4 - 5 yrs of it youre saying " im sober .
, YEAAA "
its a QOL thing .
sober and miserable ..
im almost getting old enough to speak from the mindset of the patients . they dont need your crap , ( no offense intended ) as they see it you have issues too .
when my dad was dying , my near sister was trying to sell him on the prospect of drinking tons of water . she looked like a water balloon about to pop and was blithering like a maniac . dad was near death and short on patience anyway . he asked the hospital staff to keep that idiot out of his room -- and who the hell would want to resemble her anyway ?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Zena, you asked "should I seek professional help". I'm not here to debate with you about it, I only offered my opinion based on the question. I can see why your boyfriend advised you seek help, every comment from you is a justification for why you can not change things. If you don't want to change it's fine with me, but why did you ask?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Cwillie, HER house. We live together. As for enabling her, she's my mother. What do I do, tell her NO, I WILL NOT buy you cigarettes with YOUR money? It's not how the dynamic works in an Italian house, especially not our house.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

The part about learning not "to NOT have guilt over her killing herself" is what a professional can help you with. And I wasn't asking why you were spending your money on cigarettes, but why you continue to enable a behaviour you disapprove of so strongly. If you choose to continue to enable her habit then you should at least be able to dictate when and where she can smoke in your home, your house your rules.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Freqflyer, she has early onset dementia. She wanted to quit and did it. But then, out of the blue, she wanted cigarettes. She just said she needs to smoke. I keep everything in the house for her to eat. When she doesn't smoke, she is unbearable to live with. She won't go out and socialize, all she wants to do is smoke. Cwillie, I buy her cigarettes because I handle her money to pay the bills. I have never smoked and I am CONSTANTLY being told " you don't know what it's like to have an addiction " but they are wrong. I had a food addiction and I still struggle with it everyday. But I find other ways to deal with it. I have bought her crafts to do, the adult coloring books, word sea ch books. I just don't get it.
SO LET ME ASK THIS QUESTION: do I continue to buy her cigarettes and learn to NOT have guilt over her killing herself or do I let this eat me up?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I think that perhaps what your boyfriend wants for you is to learn how to say no to your mother without being overwhelmed by fear, obligation or guilt. You want her to stop smoking yet you continue to buy her cigarettes, why is that?
Seeing a professional does not necessarily mean that you need to be on any medication, but talking it through it may help you to get a better perspective on your family dynamics and find solutions that work for you, something that you may not accept hearing from your boyfriend and that you may be too close to see clearly for yourself.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Zena, you are in a tough position here with your Mom and her smoking. I refuse to go out and by anyone cigarettes because I have seen the damage they can do, and how they can shorten one's life by 20 some years. But it is very difficult for a woman to quit smoking [easier for a male]. Now here are some questions....

Ask your Mom what does she get out of smoking? Does it make her feel calmer? If yes, then that tells me it is the action of deeply inhaling... one can get the same affect with a soda straw cut in half.

Or is it a strong physical need created by the nicotine? If yes, then that is much harder to deal with. You need to find something else for her to do whenever she gets that strong urge to smoke.... even if it means eating something with a lot of calories... better to put on some weight then to be pulled down by lung damage by a cigarette.

You mentioned you Mom had started smoking "again". So that also tells me she can quit. Do you know what happened in her life to make her start smoking once again?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter