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(she can do very little on her own anymore)


Mom is 91, and still lives alone. She lives in a small duplex, not enough room for another person to live with her.
I am the sole caregiver, though not full time. But I have to drive to her home everyday to get her mail, and spend time with her. I take her to ALL of her doctor appointments, to the store, take her trash out, fix some of her meals, and help her clean her home weekly.
I love her dearly, so why am I sometimes grouchy, when I go to see her? I think I must feel some resentment for having to help her so much. Please give me some good feedback. Thank you!

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Thank you everyone for your comments! And to Daddysgirl, I agree with you fully. You stated that "they" are supposed to take care of us, not visa versa. And now that I am reading all of these many comments, I do not feel as guilty for NOT feeling happy about "doing" so much for Mom. She is a wonderful lady, and I would feel guilty if I did not help her at all. But I am doing it all, and resent it!
However, I think I will have a better attitude about being her caregiver. Just knowing that so many understand and empathize, means a lot to me.
I have to think of it this way: She has been there for me when I needed her, so I have to be there for her, too. The BIG difference is this .. When she was there for me, I could still do A LOT for myself, too. But she cannot. That is where it becomes a real chore! Mom is to the point of helplessness. And it IS taxing, to say the least. And yes, Daddysgirl. I think it is time for Mom to go into Assisted Living.
She can no longer hear well, nor see well at all. This is why she has so many doctors appointments. And yes. These appointments are necessary. She has swallowing problems, too! (was in the hospital 2 times last week for that) And who was there with her all that time?? Yep. Yours truly.
Yes. It is taxing. But when Mom is no longer here, I will also be losing my best friend. Back in her day, she could DO IT ALL! And she was always there for me ... to listen, and just make me feel like everything would be OK! So, now I guess, it is my turn to do the same. Thank you everyone!!
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olegrumpy, You have turned yourself into her Home Entertainment Center and that is not fair to you. When mom got to this point, she tried out Assisted Living for one month and she liked having all the companions. Think it over.
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It's very very hard to care for your parent. I take care of my Dad (Stage 6 Alzheimers) and love him to the moon and back, but it is extremely typical to be annoyed with our loved ones, especially a parent. Subconsciously, I think we are resentful because they are supposed to take care of us, not the other way around. I would see if you could get a break from your family, or your church or her church, local senior center, someone to come and sit and talk with her, bring her lunch, etc. You clearly need a break my friend. And I know it seems that there is no way for that to happen and I thought the same thing but I thought, "What would I do if I had to go to the hospital, what would happen to Dad?" And I decided to look for caregivers to stay with him during the day, fix his breakfast and lunch, showers etc. and I take care of him in the evenings, fix his dinner, get him into bed etc. It helps a LOT. I use his money to pay the caregivers and at first it was just a couple of days a week, but as he has advanced to stage 6, he has care all day everyday. So, to recap: Yes you will feel resentful and grouchy, I think most family member caregivers do. You need to stop feeling guilty about it, and it will help you to put it in perspective. You need to get some help with Mom and get some 'me' time back. Evaluate her doctor's visits, does she really, really need to go as often? It drove me crazy with my parent's doctors, they wanted them every month or three months. I put a stop to it, I started taking them when they needed to go, not because the doctors needed to put their kids through college. And half the time they would get sick BECAUSE they had been at the doctors office.Reducing visits helped a LOT. Okay, my friend, I hope this helps you a little. You are a blessing!
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olegrumpy - I totally relate to the resentment you feel over helping so much and having nobody to help you in return. I feel that too. The relationships with our parents lose whatever degree of reciprocity they may have had in the past, and helping them becomes an unmitigated drain. For five years I have been providing a critical service to my whole family (in my view) at great cost to myself, yet none of them are there for me. It does cause a lot of resentment. Even if it's just you and your mother, the all-give, no-take nature of the relationship can get very wearing over the long term. Wish I could help, but I can only empathize.
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Since when did loving someone make their everyday chores fun? This happy-clappy notion that 'doing it as for Thee' gives any task, be it never so mundane, a golden glow is purest tosh.

I found accomplishment of same to the highest possible standards and in the shortest possible time relieved the tedium to an extent. But why do you dislike doing them? Because they *are* tedious and humdrum. What kind of Stepford Caregiver did you want to turn into? :)
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Hello again from olegrumpy.
I will try to answer some of your questions / comments in this post.
I have been helping with my Mom for 8 years now, but the last 2 have been a lot harder. As she ages, I have to help her more. I think that I resent doing so much, is 2 things are factors here. If I need help with anything, I have no one to help me, and I don't find pleasure in feeling obligated to my Mom so much. Oh, and there is the issue of her not always being very nice to me when she was more independent. NOW that she must depend on me, she is much nicer to me now. Sometimes, I wonder if she is only tolerating me now, because I am her housekeeper, mail lady, trash hauler, chauffeur, and sometimes...cook. I could go on with more details, but this about covers everything. (Oh, and her grocery shopper, too) Mom used to shop until she got too dangerous riding on the "Shopmobile." She would back into people, and not even know it. When she ran over my foot, that is when I decided that I would not get steel toed shoes just to take her on this expedition!
As I have already stated, I love her dearly. I just with someone else would pick up the slack a little. But there is no one. My brother is now very sick, and my sister lives in Tennessee.
Oh, and one more thing to mention. I DID tell my Mom that when the weather gets worse, I will only get her mail for her every other day. (she mostly gets JUNK MAIL anyway) Yes....she does look forward to getting her mail from her mail lady....ME!
I FEEL that she is so nice to me now ... because I am so useful to her. Thank you for all of your comments. I appreciate them all!!
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I understand how you feel. Many of the tasks you mention are tedious and you probably do them at your house, too. It becomes a burden and a chore to shop, cook, clean, do Dr appointments, and errands for mother. Then we feel guilty for feeling this way! I suggest getting more days away from mom to refresh your spirits. Get a little help as others have suggested.
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1. Because it is sad that she needs the help now, and 2. because that is a LOT of work and you have so much less "me time"!

Sounds normal to me. And getting some outside help frees you up to take better care of yourself and have the time you spend with mom be more rewarding than just chore after chore.
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olegrumpy, make a list of every single thing you do for your Mom.... ok, now cross off half of those items.... and cross off some more. Now you will only do what is left on your list.

Oh how I wished I would have done that with my parents, who are in their 90's and refuse to move to a retirement village. What I was doing was enabling them to continue to live in that big house. Heck, why should they move, I was doing THEIR work, yet it was THEIR choice to continue to live there.

I am a senior myself and I still have my career where I can set my own hours. When I come home in early afternoon, I sit down and the next thing I have dozed off. I look around my own house and see there is a lot of things I have to do but what would I do, drive down to my parents house and drive them here, there, and everywhere...

Run to the post office to pick up their mail because they don't like using the mailbox in front of their house, afraid someone might steal their mail..... run them to the grocery store where instead of being in and out in 30 minutes, 30 minutes means we are only in aisle 5 of 30.... eventually signed up with Peapod for grocery pick-up.... doctor appointments every other week it seemed like, etc. No wonder I was exhausted and I still hadn't vacuumed my own rug in weeks :P
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There is a lot of great advice above.

I might also try to garner as many other resources that are available to help with your mom's needs. You don't have to do it all yourself. Resource it out. Delegate as many duties as possible. If you can do that, then the times you do go and visit, you can actually look forward to a leisurely visit, chatting, and having a cup of tea, etc.

Check with local places for free services, like Meals on wheels. Depending on her income does she qualify for any other in-home help with housework or laundry? With shopping...can you order online and just pick it up at the store front? Or pay someone to do it as suggested by ADcaregivers.

What if you explained to mom that you want to increase your energy and quality time that you spend with her and this is you plan? Once she sees you perk up and be happier, she might really like it.

I would suggest that you forward her mail to your house and then take it to her once a week, but seniors love that mail and I bet she looks forward to getting it everyday. I might hire a trusted person to help with that so you don't have to visit her everyday. Though I would call her everyday due to her age.
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I suggest you find a talented person, e,g, personal assistant, to help you with a variety of tasks. Somebody suggested offloading what you resent doing on to another person. You need someone who is more than a normal caregiver and a housekeeper. You need a jack of all trades. You might find a retired person or empty nester who is willing to become a "personal assistant".
When I started my dementia care business, I was doing it all, grocery shopping, errands, doctors appointments. One day, when I was grocery shopping for the fifth time that week, I realized that I could not do it all anymore. So I hired a person who just grocery shops, it was a huge relief. Actually, she does a better job faster. I
I do suggest you find one person. They could come 3-4 days per week for a 3-4 hour stint. If they are self-directed, you would be amazed at how much they could do for you.
If you hire someone, put them on probation for the first two weeks. Then reevaluate. If she does not perform, then move on.
Good luck and let us know how it works out for you.
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I have a few thoughts about this. I think nobody enjoys doing gruntwork, especially doing someone else's gruntwork, where you receive no direct benefit from it. Especially when you have to do it repeatedly day after day and week after week without respite, and especially when it becomes expected and taken for granted because it is necessary for the other person's wellbeing. Then it becomes an obligation rather than a choice, and that feels lousy. That feels like something being extracted from you by force rather than something you're freely giving.

For me, "freely given" versus "obligatory and expected" makes all the difference in caregiving. When you feel you're giving something freely out of love, you feel good about yourself and the other person. When you feel you're stuck doing x, y and z whether you want to or not, you feel less good about yourself and much less kindly towards the other person. That's my experience, anyway.

I care about my Mom, but I wouldn't say I LOVE her, so that makes it easier for me to feel resentful. Also I had to move to a location that doesn't suit me for a number of reason, and give up other plans and goals in order to help her. So every time I have to show up to take her shopping, run her errands, clean up her kitchen, change her bedding, etc. I feel resentful that she didn't make any other plan for her old age besides turning me into her personal drudge.

My only suggestion is this: accept that keeping your own resentment in check is critical to the ongoing feasibility of this arrangement, and do what it takes to make that happen. Vent here or to friends or in therapy, and limit those activities that create resentment for you. Urge Mom to get other help, especially if she has funds to pay for it. My mother has a housecleaner that comes in every few weeks, and that reduces the housework I have to do when I'm there. I agree with what Babalou said above - try to offload as much of the daily grind to paid helpers as you possibly can.

After that, draw some boundaries around your involvement. Does Mom really need to have her mail brought in and her garbage taken out every day? How about every two days? Our parents are used to having things done a certain way, but maybe they need to accept some changes when it's someone else's time and energy being consumed to make that happen. There comes a time when we have to draw a line and say "You'll live" and "Beggars can't be choosers", just like they told us when we were young.
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Do you work? I find that when I get home ( I'm 62) I need down time to decompress, to close my eyes and re-group. I couldn't possibly do another part time job right afterwards, if it involved being congenial and cooperative and responsive. Perhaps that's why you're grumpy.

It's great that mom can live alone at 91.....or is it? She relies on you, it seems, for survival and companionship. Not such a good plan, going forward. Have you made plans for taking a vacation? Or if you slipped and fell, and needed to be housebound for 2 weeks?

Get mom some outside help. Cleaning certainly. Get a teen aged neighbor to do the trash for some pocket money. Arrange meals on wheels.

And if she's got funds, take some tours of Independent Living facilities. One with 3 meals housekeeping and a doctor who calls in once a week or so to see private patients.
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Oh and before I forget - don't for heavens sake suggest you join forces - at least not until you have read a lot of posts on here and seen what can be involved. Just in case she should suggest it as a good idea and in a moment of weakness you think oh yes that would make sense!
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not take to her ^^ Talk sorry
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Ole grumpy (love the name by the way - that would fit a lot of us in here from time to time) Caregiving is stressful - its certainly the most stressful thing I have done (apart from trying to sell a house at the same time)

Lets be sensible here. Are you grouchy ONLY when you go to see her? Of course not and it is OK to resent having your life dictated by someone else. not many of us would see it as the 'privilege' that quite frankly I have never gotten my head round. Your mum is doing really well to be able to live alone at 91. Do you HAVE to go EVERY day? Could a neighbour perhaps take in her mail and microwave a meal for her from time to time? Would it be worth paying a carer to come info half an hour to do that or perhaps a companion for a while to give you at least one day off a week - even the hardest working of people has to have a break before they break under the strain. Even a cleaner so you sdont have to do that. If your mum is competent and can understand then take to her tell her you need a break. She won't understand because 'in her day' things were different and they were but times they have a changed me dear - take steps to get some respite or you will stay ole grumpy for a long while sweetheart xxxxx
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This is really a complex issue and I've noticed it in myself. I am thinking a certain way like a good caregiver would. But I am acting in another way quite a bit after six years of caregiving. It's like my personality has split. It could be that one is how I think I should feel and the other is how I really feel. Since you've noticed it, also, it may be common.

Our elder parents do need help. I think we want to provide it. Maybe we have to come to terms with the side of us that resents doing it.

How long have you been helping your mother?
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