Caregiving and Time - I feel like she is taking me prisioner and making me her world when I already have too many responsibilitys and other family obligations

by Pamela
(Huntingburg, Indiana)

Caregiving and Time Management

I resent her treating me as if I am her young little child (I am 50) to boss around and jump to what ever she harps on and listen to all the woes and aches and pains every day make me depressed.

She sometimes hurls sarcasm and insults to the technique I use in solving problems, and usually I am in a good mood until it continues to weigh on my day like the demands of (HER) schedule.....I'm only here for her she thinks....

She always needs attention, look at me...or listen to me....and I am too busy to always be a one-on-one entertainer. My blood-pressure has been starting to make me feel real bad physically and my bowels hurt a lot. I think I have repressed anger built up and feel like everyone wants me to do all the dealing with her since I am "after all"... her daughter. I need to get away sometimes and sometimes I need to just be there to keep her happy.

I wish she felt better but she is 70 years old now and has a lot of health issues. She has loss of her bowel function and has a wheelchair.

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Spleen-venting helps!
by: Anonymous

I have been caring for my 90 year old mother for the last 20 months. She suffered a stroke and fell, breaking her leg and clavicle.

On her release from repatriation hospital she could not go home so moved in with my husband and me ( aged in our 60's). We were plunged into the world of doctor's appointments, medication management, wheelchairs, walkers, and 24/7 babysitting. My mother's cognitive function was affected by the stroke and I found this the hardest thing to manage.

Her memory is pretty useless and her ability to understand is compromised, resulting in a need to repeat practically everything you say to her at least once before it penetrates. Over time and with much attention from us, my mother has improved out of sight and now walks around the house without her walker.

Her concentration has improved and she now reads (when encouraged) and does crosswords. She does also sometimes just sit and stare at me as I go about my business. I really hate this but just stew inside! Despite wanting to do our best for my Mum, as she always did for us, the personal toll on our emotional well-being has been pretty heavy and I have had many moments of despair.

I felt guilty that my plans with my husband for a well-earned retirement of adventure travel had gone out the window. He didn't complain but his eyes showed his disappointment. After some family discussion in light of Mum's progress and likelihood of living to 100, we started to think about some form of ongoing respite.

An acquaintance recommended a retirement village with assisted living units where his father had lived. My brother and I suggested to Mum that, by swapping her vacant house for one of these, she might provide a base for herself to allow us some personal time for travel etc.

She agreed and moved in 3 months ago. It is working very well. She is with us now for a 3 week visit which I have quite enjoyed, knowing that I'll regain some personal life when she goes home. She will regularly come to stay with us as long as she can manage the 10 hour drive (she hates flying) but seems reasonably content with her unit.

She does complain about some of the other residents but also enjoys the attention of the lovely staff and "happy hours" etc. I am hoping that we have found a balance to support and stimulate Mum but to still have some life of our own to do the things we want before we are too old.

I have entered my story here for two reasons. One is to help me rationalize my feelings about our experiences of the last 20 months and the other is to send a message of hope to others in "carer despair". Things do keep on changing. There are systems out there that really can help even if they are sometimes hard to find. Talking to other people who have been through similar situations brought the most helpful information for me.

Caring for an Eldely Mother in Law
by: Anonymous

I'm so glad I found this site although I live in the UK. Feelings such as yours I really recognize. My 85 year old mother in law lives in a granny flat with us. My husband works away from home, I've 3 children at different stages from 1st year at school to the eldest in the middle of her GCSE exams and I work part time.

I realize now it was probably a big mistake to move here and bring her with us in 2003. It seemed such a good idea at the time. Her health has deteriorated over time and I know it can't be easy for her, but if I'm honest I really don't like the woman she has become most of the time.

Selfish, manipulative,awkward and its really dragging me down. I could go into a really detailed rant but I'd run out of space. I hate the way she makes me feel about myself.

So to anyone considering it, I do not recommend having elderly parents living with you no matter what pressure you may feel to do so. You will end up fighting to keep sane. Its too close to keep a healthy relationship and if things go wrong you just can't walk away. Its like having another child, and a difficult one at that.

Pretty much the same place as you
by: Vicki

I hear you. My elderly widowed mother (a compulsive hoarder, to boot) has steadfastly refused to meet me half-way in order to make my sole care giving of her a manageable undertaking.

She played the martyr in taking both her father and aunt into her home in their later years. It destroyed the dynamics of her home (my father was displaced in his perceived role as master of his household by his FIL) and left her bitter and regretful of the life that she gave up in care of them. Now she expects me to do the same -- probably in order for her to validate and justify her own martyrdom. I can't do it.

You are on the right track in not taking your mother into your home if your head and heart tell you that it will be a disaster. My husband and I made a mutual pact long ago that neither of our parents would ever shack up with us.

My requests for my mother to ditch her hoard, to get counseling for it, to sell her huge home and property for something smaller (that I can manage on top of my own household) apparently condemned me to "disloyal daughter" status. In her view, a child is EXPECTED to give up all of their happiness, physical and mental well-being, dreams and desires of middle-age in a selfless act of paying back the parent for their upbringing. I chose not to buckle under her guilt-inducing response to my pleas for her to be reasonable in her expectations of me and I elected to walk away from her life in the fall.

If she had succeeded in "taking me down with her" then so many other people (my husband and children in particular) would have been hurt in the process. By walking away from her, only she "goes down" but at least I have spared the other loved ones in my life. That is the lesser of the two evils that I am faced with and the one that I can live with best.

Caregiving and Time - Pamela, I feel your pain!! I am there, too
by: Anonymous

Your mother and mine should be housed together.

Mine is 81, no one is ever as sick, no one hurts as much or requires immediate attention likes she does. Yes, she treats me like I'm her gopher and 12 yrs old. She has no respect for my time, my family or any inclination that I might need to do other things.

I moved her to a Seniors Apartment. She mentioned several times moving in with my family. I put my foot down. I can not live with the Queen of Misery. I told her, all your friends are here - the city she lives in. The constant complaints are depressing. I do not answer the phone when I see it's her calling. If I am home, I screen the calls. At work, I check Caller ID - I let it go to voice mail. I check the message, when I've steeled myself for the latest barrage of misery. I know I can not live with it, it would kill me. It has my blood pressure out of this world, as it is.

I've taken to writing her letters because she will not listen - it's not a conversation, it's her bitching, whining and condescension. It seems to anger her more, so I've stopped but she does at last know where I stand and how I feel.

I have written her primary care physician about her behavior towards me and her erratic behavior towards others. If she feels it's time to put her in a locked facility, fine. I've had three miserable years of her latest problems/dramas. I can't take any more.

We may be their children but we are also human beings entitled to some peace. I am 51, not 12, I deserve respect. She'd be on the street without my help. I'm not wasting another dime on her "issues". At nearly $8000 in the hole, with not as much as a thank you. I'm done. My sister wouldn't/won't lift a finger. I can't go into retirement broke or die from trying to take care of a spend thrift, who doesn't appreciate what she has been given. She has a better income than many seniors, she can budget.

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