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My mother broke a hip in August and later had a hospitalization for an unrelated condition. She is making a lot of progress and I find that she is driving me more crazy now that she is "better." She wants to do dumb things like not use her walker. And she is dying to get back in the kitchen and cook, even though a doctor in the hospital thought she shouldn't, because he thought she had cognitive problems -- actually I don't agree with that. She is the WORST housekeeper. I hate when she gets in the kitchen because things get so greasy and dirty in her care, It was getting nice and clean under my care. She is also the WORST conversationalist. She has always had this very, very annoying style of draaaaaaging out a story and talking about really trivial things in the most minute detail. You just want to die of boredom listening to her. I work evenings, and when I got back to her apartment tonight at midnight, she wanted to have a big long conversation with me because we had had an argument earlier in the day. She is very hard of hearing and refuses to wear a hearing aid (even though she used to work for a hearing aid sales company) -- so I have to practically shout to be heard. I just got so tired of going over the same point over and over and I did not want to wake up her neighbors in the duplex unit next door. So finally I gave up and just let her hug me. I admit, I am a really shut-down person and I hate to talk about personal things and hug people. Being with her can be awful for me. So much baggage. She was the WORST alcoholic when she was younger and her 2nd husband was a child molester and in general an asshole. I avoided her for a good 15 years of my adult life, but decided after her husband died to help her out and it has been just one thing after another. I helped her get out of credit card debt (still working on it), helped her sell her house and move into a safe apartment, have helped her with her stinky dog. I've sunk thousands of dollars and hours into "helping" her and -- you guessed it -- it NEVER seems like enough. Sheesh. How do you not lose your mind dealing with someone who has some sort of undiagnosed mental illness and is in cognitive decline anyway from old age and TIAs, etc. etc. etc. Help!

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my mom is not from the town where she is living, and I live 20 minutes away, so I don't know about church people being able to help -- we don't know anybody at the local churches. We have been doing private pay for some in-home care. It is very expensive and now Mom is out of money. I'm trying to get her on Medicaid so they will pay for it. She is really too frail to be picked up on a bus or anything like that. I am thinking about adult day care run by a local agency -- maybe I would have time to drop her off there one day a week and then she could get out and meet more people. It really worries me that she just sits alone in her apartment every single day. It also puts a lot of burden on me to get there every day and try to entertain her, help her, whatever
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Sounds like you have a lot on your plate with working and full time caregiving. Is it possible to get some in-home care or assistance? Is there a church group of ladies that might help with errands or coming in to keep some company with your mom? How about the local senior center; sometimes they will send a bus to pickup seniors and bring to center for a couple hours or at least for daily lunch meal. Just some thoughts to have some outside help and lift some of your burdent.
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thanks kad -- she's been pretty good lately about using her walker and hasn't tried to cook anything in the kitchen. I started her on the meals on wheels and I would say 3 out of 5 days she likes it, so I feel like she is eating better and it is a big load off of me. I was about to have a huge meltdown today because of her dog -- well, I won't go into details, it wasn't really his fault, but I had a big mess to deal with when I was supposed to be relaxing before going to work. ha ha. Relax -- what's that? Anyway, I managed not to scream out all the ugly things I was thinking. Thank you for your prayers.
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All I can suggest is PRAY for help to understand her, the peace of mind to deal with her, and for her to be more compliant. When I became stressed I had to take a step back and pray, it helped me. Sending you my prayers.
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October -- Hadn't heard of byron katie until today. Sounds interesting though, the type of thing that interests me.
Debbie -- My mom has also had the "mini-strokes" and I think that's when her hearing started to diminish. Before that, she could hear a whisper in the next building. ha ha. It also affected her eyesight. Some of the other stuff though is just "her way" though maybe getting worse with old age. I am thinking I am going to have to cut my mom off from access to her checking account. I might just give her one of those Visa or Mastercard gift cards and tell her to have at it with her catalogs and such -- just to make my life easier when I am trying to manage her finances. I do not like managing her money, I don't feel I'm good at it!!!
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My mom is only 68 and I had to move her to a senior community apartment. She feels like she is around a lot of "old people" and doesn't belong there. However, she can no longer cook or do household chores. I have to remind her to take a shower and her meds and I am taking care of her finances. She has had a number of "mini-strokes" and has had a heart attack with triple by-pass and in early stages of dementia. She is also a hoarder and I'm having trouble keeping her from trashing her apartment like she did her house. She doesn't understand why I get so upset when she has so much stuff piled up! She is always asking how much money she has and is upset with me that I won't let her have access to it because she would only buy more stuff she does not need. I feel I'm going crazy!
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The Work of Byron Katie would be my advice.
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Mishka -- I've never heard that about cinnamon. I'll try that around the dog's dish next summer
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So sorry to hear about all the abuse -neglect you guys faced. Life kinda sucks sometimes. Prayers to you all.
Just a note about the ants. I found out that cinnamon is great at keeping ants away. I hate using harsh chemicals ( dog, cats and kid) so I would sprinkle plain old cinnamon around the window that some ants were getting into when it rained and it really worked. You can sprinkle it in cabinets too though it looks messy but it will keep the ants away safely.
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Hi Mishka, yes, I agree with you, it sounds almost funny. Sometimes, later, when I'm talking about my mom with other people, it does sound funny and I laugh, which makes me feel a lot better. I liked it when the visiting nurse was coming over because she was super patient with my mom, but she and I could kind of exchange looks, and I would mutter things like, "see what I have to put up with!" Now she won't be coming over. I did go to a caregiver support meeting today and they gave me some ideas on adult day care, financial help with assisted living, etc., so it will something I can try to look into.
Jessiebelle -- actually my mom is very, very neat and puts things in exact places and gets very annoyed when something is new or out of place. BUT -- she doesn't wipe things up. Her idea of washing the dishes is rinsing them and there is still crud on them and she puts them away wet. Her old house was swarming with black ants in the kitchen. I was able to exterminate them myself once I moved her out of the house and into the apartment. Same here in the apartment -- she started getting the little red ants in the kitchen. But once I started wiping up and doing things the right way, they died out. GROSS.
And PandaRosa, despite all that, my mother would say little digs if I didn't wash the dishes right away. I am used to leaving them in the sink or throwing them in the dishwasher, but she doesn't have a dishwasher. Oh cripes, I would make myself late for work washing dishes so I wouldn't have to hear her grumbling.
So that's why I don't want her to cook. One, I don't want her to burn the place down or scald herself. Two, she'll just get grease and crumbs all over the place again and draw bugs.
ADHD -- how sad your mother was like that. My mom was not super abusive of me, though she was abusive toward one of my brothers. My mother was very, very neglectful of me though when I was preteens, teens because she was passed-out drunk all the time. Nice. And her husbands, well, that's another barrel of crazy. But anybody who meets my mother nowadays thinks she's a sweet old lady. Ha!
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To PandaRosa, it is probably better to grow up with a decent one, then you can have great memories at least, most of my life was S$%^t..and it still is that way for the most part..I had a perfectionistic OCD mother who called me "sloppy Sally the Sow", told people when I was little "pretty in the cradle, ugly at the table" to people in public, apparently she was embarrassed about how I looked..ok I would have looked better if she had spent money on my haircuts I had bowl cuts, not to mention she went once a week for a wash and style (this was the 60's) and when I was upset hauled me to the mirror when I cried and said "I hope your face doesnt stay that way" and "look in the mirror, I think that the devil got into you last night"...now keep in mind I was under the age of TEN. I had to clean her whole house and then she would put on a white glove and see if there was any dust and then if there was, and there was if she was in a bad mood, even if there wasnt, I had to do it all over AGAIN..keep in mind I was under TEN! And to this day she is still a terror..I cringe when I hear her door squeek...I promised my father I would care for her after he died..but my God what a job! Hey thanks Dad..love ya..you are the lucky one..you got away. but you had to die of colon cancer to do it.
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Your mother is the flip side of mine, Mother's perfectly happy not having to cook, she does use her walker but prefers just staying in bed. She was always a meticulous housekeeper, so right now her biggest gripe is my lackadaisical attitude and lack of "a little schedule to get things done". (I admit I'm not the neatest.) But I can relate, you can NEVER do enough for an unhappy parent.
I don't know if it's worse to grow up with an abusive parent or a decent one who will not stop reminding you how much she did for you as a child, and how wonderful her own parents were, and "my people would never do anything like that", such as yell at neighbors. And all the while I'm determined to keep my mouth shut. You can only talk about family and memories so much before you burn out.
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I understand all these things so well. My mother is hard of hearing and can't see very well. Her memory is also very patchy. If she doesn't hear, see, or remember something, it doesn't exist and never happened. This leads to a lot of craziness for me. I rarely argue about anything anymore because most things don't matter. I found the best way of getting around words when she loses or forgets something is just say "It's around here somewhere," or "It doesn't matter, anyway." It does drive me crazy, but that wears off pretty quickly.

The messiness I can so relate to. I haven't been able to figure out why my mother can't close cabinets or throw trash in garbage can. I don't know why she stashes garbage and dirty dishes under the table by her chair. I don't know why she sticks her chewed gum on the remote control or why she uses 10 glasses a day, never taking any of them to the kitchen sink. But she does this and I go behind her cleaning up. Does anyone remember Sherman and Peabody on the Rocky-Bullwinkle Show? I feel like the guy that follows the parade at the start of that cartoon, cleaning up all the poop and confetti. It's irritating, but just the way it is and not worth the energy to fuss about.

I just thought about why I don't bother to fuss about things anymore around here. It must be something to do with the evolution of a cg.
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My Dad won't wear a hearing aid either and he needs it .. So frustrating and to make matters worse my Mom can barely talk so it is incredibly crazy sitting with these 2 trying to have a conversation. My Mom will mention something out of the blue -she does that -say these half thoughts like she had a conversation going in her head and thinks you were following along and then say out loud " your brother had one too.""( for example) and I am like -"huh?"and she looks at me like "you know"and then my Dad jumps in and is like "SHARON WHAT ARE YOU MUMBLING ABOUT?" and then she says "motor bikes-your brother had a motor bike"and I say "Yes, yes he did"wounding how we went from discussing turkey dinner to my brother's dirt bike and then my Dad goes "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT SHARON?!? I AM NOT GOING TO BUY YOU A BICYCLE? WHY WOULD YOU WANT A BIKE? YOU CAN'T EVEN WALK?!?" and , well, it goes on and on. I tend to find the humor in it but probably because I only see them once a month. -for a weekend or longer. I think the only thing one can do is make sure you get some respite care so you can go out and get some time to wind down and relax. And , of it gets too much, I think it is OK to say they need to live in an assisted care place or NH. Good luck!!!
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Hi Coleen -- she's never stated a reason why she won't wear a hearing aid. She's like that. If there's something you want her to do, and she doesn't want to, she won't explain herself -- though about trivial things she can give you minute detail and description. Well, I've never tried speaking (on purpose) in a soft voice (although my natural voice is kind of low and mumbly). What she does a lot of the time is not hear someone and PRETEND she did hear them. Like I'll respond to her question about some mundane thing and she'll laugh as if I'd said something funny, and I hadn't. So I'm pretty sure she didn't hear me but is pretending she did. Or, for example, when she was in the hospital, somebody would come in and speak to her, and she would nod her head and smile and say, sure, sure, OK, but as soon as they left the room she would ask me what they said. And in that case, I'm not entirely sure if she didn't hear it or if she didn't understand it. -- sigh -- very difficult to deal with. In our disagreement the other night, I insisted she just TELL THE TRUTH, and she just went on and on about how she does, and I tell you what, she doesn't.
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Cycloops - It all sounds horribly frustrating. I don't have a solution for you but I wanted to sympathise with you about the hearing aid thing. Hard-of-hearing people who won't wear them can drive us nuts. In their defence, I am told that some hearing aids pick up too much ambient noise so make having a conversation most unpleasant for the wearer. But if there is no reason why your mom won't wear one, try speaking in a normal or even softer voice. Don't pander to her by shouting everything - it's exhausting. See if she gets the hint once she realised you're not prepared to shout all the time. When I get old I am going to make use of hearing aids, walkers, automatic wheelchair (woohoo).......anything to make my life easier.
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virtual hug ... mizdaisy... that's exactly it. My mother wants to try and prove she can do all sorts of things. It's just crazy. Can't she just accept the fact that she is almost 85 and different parts of her body are just broken. Some of the things she says just don't make sense, and I never know if it's a lack of intelligence, if it's mental illness or if it's dementia. I was talking to her about how she never tells you if she is feeling pain and how I and her doctors believe that she MUST have had significant pain because her hands and wrists are completely deformed from arthritis (either rheumatoid or something else). And she talks and talks about how it never really hurt all that much except when some man in church would grab her hands and shake them really hard. And I had to quiz her ... so do you mean this man is the one who made your hands deformed? It NEVER hurt otherwise? So CRAZY!! (I kept thinking, and biting my tongue, actually, she was so drunk during her middle age, it blotted out all the pain?) Part of our argument earlier in the day... we were talking about when she fell and broke her hip four months ago ... she honest to god blamed the GRASS in the yard for her falling (it was patchy and lumpy and she tripped over it and fell onto the concrete patio). She just can't accept the fact that she was feeling weak and dizzy after being very sick for the week before that. Just nuts. I try not to take it personally. I could not tolerate it if she were living in my house. God help me so that I do not one day slip up and invite her to my home. I feel like I should be pouring a circle of salt around my house so she does not enter
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I'm sorry...but I have to tell you, this sounds so familiar. My mom is 91 she lived on her own for years up until her last fall in July. The doctors at the hospital did tests on her and discovered that she has progressive dementia. She now lives with me. She has become someone totally different towards me. I did the same as you was at her side all the time. She thinks she can do lots of things. I feel bad because she tries to prove to me that she can do things on her own and she fails. Then she is so upset and frustrated. She also is very hard of hearing and is losing her eye sight do to Macular degeneration. Her dementia has made things really hard. She treats me as a caregiver/slave. I love my mom..I hate this disease. I know how frustrating it gets. I have often thought of throwing in the towels so to speak..but I just can't. Good luck and God Bless.
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