I'm Dealing with a Progressive Disease, Caring for 87 Year Old Mother

by Shari
(Barrie, Ontario, Canada )

I'm 54. Mom has been an alcoholic and was a mean one growing up. I have a gentleman friend and son, and all in one house now. My son is now angry and refers to her as "Old Hag".

I hated weekends growing up, mom would get incredibly drunk, and order me to clean, not do homework and become physical with dad and me.. My brother was hardly yelled at or ordered around.

Mom stopped drinking when my son was 19, so sadly he saw how drunk grandma was one night.

Dad passed the year we all agreed to move. Now every weekend again, is like she is drunk. Mean, aggressive, demanding, hating my boyfriend and ordering him to leave. Foul mouth bringing up the past with so much hate, she shakes and her face is soaked with sweat.

50 years have passed caring for her and dad, 27 years raising my son with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. I have no regrets with my son, except the horrible ways he was treated at schools.

With so much hate between mom and my friend, I have fallen out of love with him. I just hate when he comes home, stress jumps up and I run to keep mom as calm as I can.

My brother just says I made mom move and he knew this would happen. He visits every other year and I become his servant too,

I can't do this anymore. Mom "forgets" her medication often so i either rush her to Emergency or call an ambulance for high blood pressure.

She is so pleasant and sweet in the hospital as well as well as staff at stores., and always hear, "I'm so lucky to have such a sweetheart for a mom".

Since I never got the chance to go to University (and I knew one day my son would become independent), my dream of becoming a Nurse has fizzled.

Since I now have a life threatening disease, I don't want to wait, I want to die now. Perhaps mom would find peace with me gone. This is not the life I so dreamed of.

As a little girl I convinced myself if I just waited things would change and I would no longer be a coward to my mother. How much more do I have to wait? I'm empty.

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Empathy for All
by: NYYoungest

Hi Shari

I feel for you as I have experienced some of the highlights you have....alcoholic mother, mean growing up and the cleaning rampages as kids...mine has a twist - mom is now "sober" or abstaining from drink unless my elderly father (who still insists on driving) takes her out for a drink.

I was divorced mid life and lost everything - business, my kids love, my home, and all the things that shaped meaning in my life. I gave the house to my ex and his wife and he took most of the equity. I took the clothes on my back and went home across the country to care for elderly parents - following my sisters prematue death from cancer.

Mom had advanced cardiac disease and was drinking straight whiskey daily and falling while my dad would put her back to bed with injuries. When I got here it was hell on earth. He was enabling and ignoring it as he always had and defended her alcoholism.

I said I could not stay if she remained drinking and said I would if she went to a program. Upon packing up to go she came to me and said she would. I stayed.

I took her to 12 step and it was tough for her to understand as she has vascular dementia and a lot of damage to cognition from alcohol.

She got more and more sober with a few relapses which is expected and par the course.

She did not evolve much in her core behaviors - users tend to go back to the stage of development they were at when starting the addiction. So let's say it has been like dealing with an immature and undeveloped teen or less.

My father has had mood swings all his life and they have become pronounced with time and denial of the aging process.

Both are exhibiting signs of the highlights mentioned in the article found here.

I do it all and my numerous siblings do nothing - especially when it comes to lending an empathetic ear. I went to counseling and the counselor was useless in that she told me to go to a shelter - and that meeting with her is the same as her counseling a woman who will not leave an abusive BF> which is ridiculous. These are parents - these behaviors are stemming from otherly issues unrelated to a BF who is abusive.

I now go to ACOA for help to know what I can change about myself. Many times it is my perspective as I cannot change my parents. Not only that but it reframes the responsibility I need to take in order to make of the situation what I can...and the wisdom to know what the next best step is in any given situation.

I also know compassion for myself and moreover for them because of their cognitive decline & abilities - is paramount to not losing the joy I CAN possibly experience if I marinate in blame.

It is easy for my siblings to blame me for my parents happiness and I know it is easier for them to do than take accountability....right? They do not live this daily. Nobody does so all the "but its y our parent/s" BS is just ignorance on the part of those who have not lived it.

To you I say, you will know when you have had enough. Until then, do what you can with what you have and weigh out if this is something you can do or must surrender to someone else who is better able to.

None of us want to be a burden to our kids and as the article states, our parents feel like a burden and straddle the difficult & unenviable position of accepting and denying their situation. It does translate as anger.

In my family we were never permitted to express anger - so we turned it inward and became depressed. If we were able to be honest with ourselves and gentle at the same time - we can alleviate some of that depression. Perhaps through yoga, mindful practices of checking in with our state of mind - caring for ourselves. Its not the entire realm of things we can do - but it is something we CAN do to lessen how we perceive as well as experience this stage of life.

I certainly do not have the answers - or you would be coming to me to pray! :)

Nonetheless, I am the same age and live near CAN border in NY. The winters are fierce and long and days are short. It does not help our situation. As the sandwich generation we also have to deal with menopause on top of it all while we age, too!

Women are courageous and strong - and you also have the right to chose how to live your life on your terms.


by: AnonyVicmous

I am the sole carer for my 87 year old Mother
its been six years now, she drinks too much has had a heart attack and a hip replacement, what is so upsetting is when I suggest I need a holiday or a break she gets angry and says you don t do much after all, that is all her shopping cleaning medications washing bill paying you name it...

She has always been anti social and this has now reached epic proportions if any one knocks on the door she becomes worked up.... I am single and now retired I wanted to move to the sea but cannot now do this because of my Mother.

Social services are very little help... I am now suffering from insomnia myself and exhaustion, again My Mother gets angry if I say I am ill or tired

To Shari in Canada
by: Anonymous

I know you did not "ask" for being in the position where you are today. Neither did I. I am 66. my sweetheart of a husband died almost 3 years ago and I was just learning how to be okay with my aloneness when my 92 year old mother moved in "just until she recovers" (so said the nurses and doctors) only to find out recovery would never be in her cards.

I resent the medical staff immensely for their deliberate deceit, but oh well. As I've learned, there are plenty of things and people in life that I dislike and, sometimes, resent deeply. One of them was my mother.

But after about a year I went into counseling and discovered that regardless of my mother's flaws, I am now a "senior" myself and I am no longer the daughter that has to concede to her every wish, demand, criticism or judgement - all of which I spent years trying to offset. I finally did.

Today I know it is not my mother's behavior or flaws that get the best of me because I have finally refused to let her motherly influence effect me as it always did.

She's still critical, judgmental, demanding, extremely vane, but you know what? Those are HER problem, not mine. She can say or do whatever the hell she wants, but it just floats off my back and I move on.

Sometimes the hardest lesson is learning that it is our RESPONSES to people that upset us most. If we can change our responses, it removes the other person's power. Its a really hard thing coming to terms with that, but I'm living proof that it can be done.

Meanwhile, my mother is now 94 and is more needy than ever, but I'm fortunate because my siblings don't hesitate to help me with her care.

I have no respect for siblings who can't find it within themselves to help that way, especially with one of the parents that gave them life.

Shame on them! At least you will know you've done what you could and sometimes we just have to settle for what we know, inside, is right. The way other people respond or act or demand things is their problem.

Just take care of YOU and the rest falls into place.

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