Caring for everyone

by Robyn
(NSW Australia)

MY mother has lived with my husband and I for 4 years. She is 85 and very strong minded, although these days is somewhat lacking in comprehension of everyday events. She does not have any signs of dementia.

I also care for another lady of 87 (who is like another mum to us) and she is not as "hardy" as my mum, but accepts most things we say or suggest to her. I am her only carer although she does not live with us. Both ladies get on well with each other.

My husband had a breakdown some years ago and has ongoing treatment for his condition and is on anti depression medication. He does not tolerate my mum, although he tries very hard not to make it obvious as he knows it upsets me. He is courteous and polite and makes the best efforts he can. I can cope with my husband and can cope with the older lady, however my mum is really pushing all my buttons!

She knows better than others, does not listen (even when she asks the question); is very opinionated and does not accept that she is no longer able to do the things she used to do. "I can do it, I can do it" is a standard catch cry and it drives me crazy. There are no BIG issues, just constant daily small things, which drive me crazy. I have learnt to let a lot of things go and I do not argue with her over small,
incidental things. It is just not worth the effort.

I do however, feel that my relationship with her is deteriorating to the extent that I don't want to be around her anymore and I find that very sad, as we had a great relationship before she came to live with us. We may not have always seen "eye to eye", but we got on reasonably well.

I feel guilty that I feel this way, but others have noticed how difficult she can be (both family and friends), so I know I am not being picky. We are at a time in our lives when we should be traveling, spending time with friends, spending quality time together and generally enjoying our retirement. I resent not being able to do these things.

As my mum does not cook anymore, if we go away, she does not eat properly, but if I was to suggest Meals on Wheels, or staying with someone else, I would be told she is not useless and can care for herself. She will then exist on eggs on toast and tin fruits, etc. One sister is not medically in a position to care for her and the other sister and my mum do not get on very well.

I therefore have no respite and if I was to suggest she go into formal respite care, mum would have a fit - she is very proud and that is half the problem I think! Where do I go from here? I am sick of my life.

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I'm in the Same Boat.
by: K

Glad to hear I am not alone. I don't feel I get any gratitude from my Mom and all that we do for her. We moved back home (2 family house) 28 years ago when my son was born. We stayed when my Dad passed in 97'.

Now I get resentment from the siblings who I guess expected Mom not to live this long and blame me for staying living rent free. We pay all the bills except taxes which I wouldn't call rent free. She calls us all day long for many tiny things that she should be doing herself.

We set up her pills but she takes the wrong ones at the wrong time and then accuses my husband of messing them up. She has Parkinson's, high blood pressure and arthritis. She just sits and watches TV 24/7. She is afraid to fall down and falls constantly.

She argues with me that her physical condition is because of her disease but physical therapist says it is mostly because of her inactivity. She would be much better if she only moved around more.

The arguing happens constantly and she tells my siblings that I yell at her. Not sure how I can let things go but I have to or else go crazy.

You're not Alone
by: Anonymous

Reading your story I have total empathy, I have almost the same thing, but I'm single and caring for my mom who sounds exactly like yours! She tries to do things by herself, but she just can't anymore and won't admit it.

I have to cook for her, or she will eat expired food or just strange stuff. I, too, have learned to pick my battles. It just sometimes makes you feel like you're living on an island. Nice to know you're not alone, though!

Caring for Everyone But Myself
by: Anonymous

Yesterday I got into a Big Row with my Dad, Step mom and my Fiancee of nine years.. I started taking care of the folks a month ago and I have my own illness to deal with as I have severe depression.

I thought I could handle it and today for the first time in a long time am contemplating suicide to get out of the situation. I told my Dad this morning he needed to call my Uncle who has plenty of money or so I have heard from my Dad. And that I am not able to take care of four people and he said that was what he was afraid of before I was put into the position of caretaker.

I have sisters and a brother that want nothing to do with our parents so I can't even speak to them. I told my Dad I can't take care of myself let alone three other people and I would die. I am not sure what is going to happen now.. But instead of fighting this morning I told him that and I think he is thinking seriously about me now.

Instead of getting mad I told him the truth about how I truly feel and he didn't yell at me because he knows about my mental state and has known about it for years. Hopefully this will work out for the best... To be continued....

Are You Sure You Don't Live in the US?
by: Anonymous

Hi Robyn,

Your situation sound so much like mine except...and get this...

My mom was the one who was ill but my father has always been the problem. My mother passed away on April 1 of this year, but that was after almost five years of dealing amazingly with the after-effects of a heart attack and two strokes, the latter of them extremely major. She lost her ability to do most things, but never lost her will nor her intellect. Actually, she never lost her humor either. Her last lucid action, two days before she passed, was to make sure that her mail-in vote for President and delegates was processed in time. May I always be that on top of things.

I was the one with the history of depression but, as your husband, I knew when it was time to shelve my feelings. I also knew it was not good for me, nor is it now good for your husband. Please continue to support him.

You mom IS acting impossibly, as my father still is almost two months after mom's death. They are only feeling for themselves, and are not giving one single second out of their lives to consider anyone else. Kind of unpleasant, but it happens.

Try to keep things in perspective; I have a friend who, whenever I kind of go off the deep end, reels me back into reality with nothing other than the truth. You are doing EVERYTHING correctly and your feelings are more than normal. Care for yourself, your husband and others whom you love, but don't drop mom. She sounds horrible, but she needs you more than you could ever know. That's probably her problem; she does not WANT to need.

Please be well, and I send you my love and prayers from Newport, RI, USA.


I Know How you Feel
by: P T

I know how you feel, my mother 88 lives with me (54) and my daughter (27). She has the beginning of dementia, but she still wants to rule our lives. She is always saying nasty things about me to my daughter when I am not there.

I have an older sister who only comes to visit once in a while, but then mother acts "younger" when she is there. My sister of course is good and does every thing right, but I am the black sheep!

Since a while I cannot stand my mother any more, I know she is old, but does that mean she has to make my life a hell? I don't like her any more and I feel guilty, but should I? I could cope if she was only old and keeping to her self, but not like this....Cannot take it any more!

We have arguments and then she says that she looked after me when I was a child(every mother does that) what? In other words I should look after her but she had her life, I have nothing except grief and the moaning and groaning.

She does not want to go and live by herself or in a home, So, until she dies I am stuck with her. While my sister has her life and enjoys her holidays and her family life.... Not fair, I want out but what can I do? I don't love her any more.

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