Hard Choices

My 95 year old mother has been living with me for 4 years. I lost my husband 9 months prior to her moving in and I had hoped that her presence and helping make to her life easier would be good for me. It worked beautifully ... for her. My life, however, gradually began disappearing. My home - which I had just redecorated - became a shrine for the elderly where nothing blocked walkers and ugly metal grab bars were installed in the shower and bath. Tissue paper boxes cover every table with little garbage cans underneath to catch the used ones which have to be emptied every day.

Half the time the bathroom smells of strong urine (due to certain medications), bowel movements, or old fashioned sprays she insists on using that stink worse than the poop does....

Also, I discovered it wasn't worth having company any more because nobody felt comfortable putting up with her demands for attention. She's very self centered and likes being the center of everything.

She's also always been very judge mental of others, sometimes event sitting in a room and studying what every person is wearing so as to criticize their choices later. I swear when I'm cooking in the kitchen I can feel her eyes staring at my back from the dining room, evaluating every stitch of clothing I have on, then instructing me how to pull my blouse down or over so it is more flattering.

I've gotten used to it and ignore it, but that doesn't top her from saying those things.

I've given up so much of my life caring for her that I have to work really hard to even remember what I would be spending my spare time on if my mom wasn't there.

Oh, jewelry design.
Gardening. Going to see my g'kids or friends. Photography. Kayaking. It really got to me this past year so I told my siblings - told, not ask - that I was going away for 4 days over Thanksgiving. Prior to leaving tho, I of course had to get some things in order for the guest caretakers.

I get to my daughters, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, but am extremely tired, listless. Net morning I was rushed to the hospital with acute bronchial asthma attack. I had to stay in the hospital for 4 days. Now I'm recovering at my daughters because she won't let me go home, thank god.

Meanwhile, my sisters are struggling with mom duty and I honestly couldn't care less. I figure it's been good for them to find out what it's like I doing it 24/7 like I've been doing for 4 years. And I was right - now that THEY know the stress of being our mothers caregiver, they're ready to hire help or put our mother in a home.

I'm not even going home until they get it figure out because my inner reserves are just plain shot.

What offends me the most is that our mother cares more about her own comforts than she does our sanity. I know damn good and well she knows what happened this week with me.

She keeps asking my sisters "what will happen to me? Where will I go?" I guess I'd feel the same way but if I've learned one thing in the past 4 years, it's that my feelings don't count with my mother. She only wants what she wants and at everybody else's expense.

My fantasy is that when I finally go home my mother will not be there and neither will any of her belongings.

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Your Time Now
by: Sadie

I am so glad that you have a daughter who has been able to help you do the right thing for you.

Sometimes it can take a very long time to work out (and then accept) that our parents are not the nurturing supportive caregivers that they should be but instead attack and undermine our self-worth at every opportunity.

I wish you every happiness pursuing all the hobbies and interests that you talked about and I hope you enjoy every minute of a life that has been put on hold for far too long.

You're not alone!
by: Anonymous

My Mom who is a year older than yours, is currently in a rehab facility. They will be releasing her on Saturday due to the fact that she will not cooperate with her rehab.

She screams and yells at everyone. Like with your Mom it's all about her. "When are you taking me home" " You are going to stay with me, right?"

She has been with me since Dad died ten years ago. I suddenly realized I lost the best ten years of my life. Now I'm almost seventy, and it's all behind me. She will be going into Hospice Care after Saturday.

I am hoping she will be just a little more cooperative. She is her own worst enemy, but does not realize it. She has worn me to a frazzle. My own health has declined, as I now have Afib, aggravated by stress.

Like your Mom, she only asks " what will happen to me, if you die" I simply tell her, " You will really be in trouble then!"

I hear ya
by: Anonymous

I hear ya. Being stared at while cooking, waiting for the next criticism or round of nagging. My sister and I call her Buzzkill because she especially likes to ruin things when there is a lighter, happier feeling in the air...which makes me afraid to be happy in front of her.

As an added bonus, lately this situation has been causing what feels to me like irreversible damage to my sibling relationships...instead of supporting me, they breeze in now and then and compete to be the favorite, the best cook, the good one (or something, long stories, we were never really a family)...even the sister who used to understand.

So now I feel like I have no one to talk to in real life. This is my first comment and I'm thinking about going to a live support group next week.

All 91 year-old Buzzkill cares about is food and money. I've asked to have privacy in the kitchen, then I'd be happy to cook up a storm.

But, she won't leave me alone. Like I'm a bug in a jar, waiting to have my wings pulled off.

I hope you're feeling better and your wish came true...

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