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I have taken care of my 72 year old mom for over 5 years. She recently had two heart attacks and was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. Every time I go to visit her, he hurls profanities and insults at me, insisting that I leave. I feel guilty not visiting her, but the visits seem to upset her and greatly upset me. Any advice?

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I can relate to your plight; and have found that keeping distance actually does help. Let the professional staff at the facility deal with the mood swings, etc. When you have been a doting daughter, as you are; often times our mothers, ect. take out all their anger on us. Professionals have told me to stay away and allow the patient to come to terms with their situation without taking it our on you. I've been going through this for years with my mother and it takes its toll. My health has disintegrated due to all the stress. But am finding that keeping a distance helps. I feel its almost how a baby learns to calm itself; the elderly need to do this for themselves as well and with the help of the professional staff.
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What a sad report, Dancerdeb, It sounds to me that there must be a drug interaction or something similar. After all you were a dutiful and loving daughter for 5 years. Please consider that there is more than likely a physical reason for this. Have you spoken to her physician?. . I can only guess at how it made you feel just in writing to us about it.

Planeman
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Hope this gets better for you for I know it has to be heartbreaking. Maybe just go to the hosp and like others mentioned ask a nurse to step in for you. If she doesn't want to see you maybe just sit in the waiting rooms or take shelter in the chaple. I alway take shelter in the chaple when visiting at the hosp. This way you have went and you are there if anything would happen you would not have the guilt that you didn't go . Us caregivers are full of guilt and what if's. Hope things get better . Wishing you and yours a very Blessed Merry Christmas.
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I like RLP's suggestion -- show up, and have someone check if your mother wants to see you. If she says she does and still hurls insults, remove yourself quickly, without being confrontational. "It doesn't appear that this is a good time to visit, Mother. I'll be back tomorrow."

Does telephoning her work any better than in-person visits?

This has got to be very upsetting for you. Try very hard not to take this personally. The blow of the heart attacks and cancer diagnosis has understandably left her reeling. She is angry. (I would be.) It is too bad she is taking it out on you, but realize that she is not fully in control at this point.
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Is this change in attitude toward you new? If yes, the you need to understand what's going on. New drugs? narcotics? denial or anger about the cancer diagnosis? Speak to her doctor and social services at the hospital to get help to understand her behavior. Seek out the hospital chaplain, mom's minister - a social worker, an elder psychologist - someone trained in this sort of thing- as an intermediary to talk with her. Get their advice on counseling for both of you.

In my own experience - an uncle turned everyone away because he didn't want to be a burden. He told the nurses there about his fear but would not tell his family. She was good enough to encourage us to keep coming back and tell him we WANTED to be there. My normally kind, quiet mom when absolutely NUTS when she had narcotics for pain. A diagnosis of lung cancer is difficult to deal with; even for a younger more healthy person there would be anger and frustration. After 5 years, you've done a lot for your mom already but because she needs you more now than ever so you both need to figure this out. If her health will get worse then she'll need help from nurses, perhaps a nursing home or rehab center. She needs their care and you DO TOO. You need to know she'll get good care so that you can rest and regroup when you're away from her - this will enable you to be kind, patient and supportive when you ARE with her.

She's lucky to have you - whether she knows it or not! Best of luck to you both.
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Could you, for your sake, leave small gifts with the nurses and ask them to check with her to see if she wants to see you? If she says no, I guess you can usually leave but actually stick your head in the door about once a week to make sure she is okay.Caretakers take more grief from parents than other children. I hope you will try to find a way to not blame yourself. Take care, Rebecca
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