Linda, daughter

(Alta Loma, California)

Mom was 82 when she moved in with us in CA. She's now 85. She lived with us for 2 1/2 years. She suddenly threw her clothes in the car and headed back to Bullhead City, AZ in a huff over a year ago.

We were good to her, but we had no clue what was wrong. We tried to get an answer as to what was happening, but nothing made sense. We provided her with everything she needed; home cooked meals, a pretty, remodeled room and we took time off work to take her to the doctor. In short, we tried to make her happy while she was here.

I worked full time and she was probably lonely a lot, since I came home tired from teaching all day and needed some space. Now, she seems to hate me and blames me for everything. It is not possible to talk things out rationally or sequentially to resolve her feelings towards me. She says," Oh, you just don't like us old people, and that's the way it is, etc." She tells others we stole from her, she has given away things we gave her, and constantly complains about her health.

Mom and I have begun to argue and she seems to hate me. In the little time we spend together, our communications are horrible. For many years, I took care of her and made sure I took time off work to take her to see family in Texas, Oregon, WA, etc. We took her on family vacations, included her in our events, and helped her financially each month.

Although funds were limited, we even bought her a nice car. Now she refuses to have anything to do with some in my family. She dislikes my son, her grandson. Just last year, we helped her get a better hearing aide, but her hearing is still severely diminished. She has many ailments, has only one arm since birth, and we don't know how to help her.

She gets some help from my brother, who tries to go by and visit her several times a week, but she lives alone in a small retirement trailer in Bullhead and has little contact with anyone. She still tries to drive short distances, but thankfully, is slowly giving that up.

My sister in law tried to get her Meals on Wheels, but she decided it was "garbage." She has medication for anxiety and depression, but since she left here, I don't think she takes the right combinations or follows the prescribed instructions. There are many activities for seniors where she lives, but she won't participate.

She had many family and friends at one time, but everyone is gone. I am in deep heartache and feeling rejected and confused. I'm sure she is feeling the same. I need to find some peace of mind for us both before it's too late. We have had many angry outbursts.

I try to understand but she seems to want to cut me to the core as if I am the target of her frustrations. Any suggestions would be so appreciated.

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Many Care Giver's share your story.......
by: Anonymous

I have cared for my husbands mom for 7 years. All was well until her health failed. She is unable to drive, walk w/out a walker, do her own housework or cook most of the time. She is unable to care for her finances, appointments, medications, etc., etc. She lost her husband, home & most of her friends as well as her health & hope for anything except a resurrection.

I found this essay elsewhere on this site - it explains things PERFECTLY - AND I QUOTE:

I finally figured out why we can never do enough for our aging parents. Because we can't give them everything they've lost in their lives and that's what they really want.

They want health, their spouse, old friends, spontaneity, freedom, independence. We can't give them any of these things because they are gone forever.

We have become the gatekeepers. We are their portal to the world. They live vicariously through us. Whether we like it or not, we are the ones who say, 'yes, I can take you shopping for shoes today' or 'no, you have to wait until Friday.'

Mom may not even want another pair of shoes. What she really wants is the ability to get in the car and drive to the store whenever she feels like it and buy whatever she wants without having to ask for it, and I can't give that to her.

Whatever we do for them is like sticking a square peg in a round hole. It's never going to be a satisfying fit. Everything she wants is now my responsibility and under my control. I don't want this job. She doesn't want this job to exist. But that's the way it is.

I have my list of losses in this situation and she has hers. It seems the more independence and freedom she loses, the more I lose too. The trick for us is trying to turn a lose-lose situation into a win-win situation.

This person 'nailed it' in her summary.

Everything has gone down hill for the last 3 years. She suffered a mild stroke in Dec. 2011 & things really went South then. Small strokes can make BIG changes in personality.

My mother in law was never surly or mean - but she is now. Her anger is directed at me primarily.

We have now decided to place her in an Assisted Living Facility. We cannot reason with her - and I can no longer be her caregiver 24/7. I am worn out.

It is time for a change. She deserves to have peace in her final years on this earth. Since she cannot reason - we cannot help her understand what she does & says that hurt me. If she does not understand what she is doing - she certainly can't stop. We only know the party is over.

We will still care for her and visit her and make sure she is well cared for. But, I just cannot be her primary care giver any more.

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