Mom's Aging Experience

Mom's world is slowing shutting down. She has macular degeneration and an on-coming dementia. I've been living with her for almost three years and I can see the subtle decline.

I came to be with her because she no longer had a driver's license and it was getting difficult for her to get rides to doctors, stores, church, banking, post office, etc. When I first came, she wanted to go everywhere with me to do all the errands.

She was still interested in going to church and she was still able to take walks around the neighborhood. She could write checks, read the newspaper, and keep track of her appointments.

Now, she can no longer do any of that. Sometimes carrying on a simple conversation is next to impossible. I feel sad because talking is almost the last thing we can really do together. And now that is slipping away too.

Recently we were talking, and I was repeating the same thing over and over. She would ask a question, I would answer it and seconds later she would ask it again. When I asked her if she understood or even heard what I was saying, she told me that sometimes things I say just fly right past her. She made this little butterfly motion with her hand in front of her face. And suddenly that put it all in perspective.

I could visualize the words coming at her, and she hears the sounds, but she can't quite put meaning to the words and she literally sees them go past her in the air, not stopping to settle in her brain.

Her vision is closing out the physical world and her brain is closing out the mental world, and I can only stand by and watch it happen.

I came into this situation three years ago, angry, frustrated, and resentful. In watching her struggle in her decline, I have come to grow in compassion, understanding, gratitude, love, and acceptance. I realize that, for the first time in my life, I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be and why I am here doing what I'm doing.

We all experience the beginning of life when babies are born. We watch them grow through all the familiar stages. But really being present for the end stage of life is a gift not to be missed. If I want to truly experience all the lessons life has to offer, I will embrace this time as an opportunity to grow spiritually and I will listen and learn from it.

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When Asking Does not Work
by: Anonymous

Not Bathing Or Not Cleaning Her Living Area Is Likely A Indicator She Is In Pain, Lots Of Pain.

Assure Her She Had A Legal Right To Stay In Her Own Home As Long As She Desires So Long As She Is Able To Tend To Basic Health Related Needs Such As Bathing..

Assure Her That You Are On Her Side. Then Tell Her That She Must See A General Practitioner Doctor To Get Set Up With Home Health To Assist Her With Bathing And Things The Law Says She Must Do In Order To Stay Home.

Assure Her You Will Fight For Her To Stay Home And Do What You Promised. Home Health Will Be Free. Be Gentle But Make Sure Your Voice Is Gentle But Your Words Make Clear It's Not A Plea, It's Going To Happen Or You Will Be Forced To Make A Call That You are Required By Law To Make Or You Can Be Charged With Abuse And Neglect.

I Learned This From Our Elder Affairs Attorney.

Mrs Moe
by: Melinda

My mom is 86 years old and has not bathed or washed her hair in over a year!!!

I have talked to her calmly about this and asked if I could bathe her and wash her hair for her or get an aide to help her but she refuses. She reeks of perspiration and her house smells the same way.

I am so distressed about this. I totally understand her fear of falling. She is soooo obstinate. Please help me.

I Don't want to Look after Mum and Dad but I Do
by: Eve from UK

I'm 55, my Mum is 80, my Dad 82. Mum has many illnesses and needs constant care. Dad recently had a heart attack.

I'm single, no children. I've worked part-time for the last two years because I'm primary care-giver for my parents and can't cope with my demanding job full time on top of caring for them.

I have two sisters and a brother but I'm the single one, the one with no life, no husband, no children so I'm the one the others allow to give up my life to care for Mum and Dad.

I don't want to be here, I wish I was dead. I wish I was never born. I have no life of my own.

First Post from Joan
by: Joan

The Original Post I Made About My Mother In Law Shames Me. What I Really Meant Is, I'm Tired Physically, Afraid & Finances Are So Tight. I Don't Always Know How To Comfort Her. I Have Been Unable To Get Her To See A Primary Doctor. I'm Shamed For The Words I Wrote.

by: Joan

17 yrs ago my Mother In Law sold her house out of state, bought a double wide trailer, put on our land in FLA to avoid institution due to alcoholism - Doctor's orders. During 17 years my husband had 3 heart attacks & massive stroke.

My health has declined equally.. Lawyer said we live in her house I could be charged with criminal neglect & abuse as I can't run to MANY doctor appointments with her, husband & self.

I can't clean her filthy bath room, cook 3 meals daily for her, etc. She refuses to get a primary care Doctor. She sees heart Doctor 2 x yr & eye Doctors (2) twice month (4 x month). My primary said it is imperative to our life span to not live with her.

His siblings HATE me. Husband can't speak. I think we can move out, then call police & report her unsafe. My fear is she will con them into thinking I am just trying to get rid of her. I am fighting for my life. Any ideas, please write..

No Good
by: Anonymous

My mother is suffering mentally and physically, and I have to watch. She is confused depressed and scared. I cannot see any good in this at all.

I hear you
by: Nadia

Hello from South Africa.
I too had to go through what you are experiencing. My Mom also suffers from macular degeneration and Dementia - 6 years now. She has become too weak for me to care for her on my own so I had no alternative but to place her in a frail care unit a month ago.

The hardest for me was not to be able to have our normal chats anymore, we used to do everything together.

I wish I had just a little bit of your strength to see the good in what is happening, you are amazing!

My prayers are with you as you go through this journey and I hope that you gain wonderful little moments with your Mom and keep up with the positive thinking!

I'm sorry to hear about your mother
by: Anonymous

It is difficult no matter which parent you have to care for. My mother has macular degeneration and is now legally blind. She also can't hear but her facilities are still about her. So much so that she complains about everything!

I recently told my brother to stop giving my mother the receipts for the groceries she scrutinizes it from top to bottom with her magnifying glass catching everything.

We told her don't worry about it, she says that might need that dollar some day, and tells us about the great depression. We tell her don't forget mom we are paying for the groceries.

No matter how much some days I think I can't take one more complaint, I would miss it if she were suddenly gone.

Just remember her the way she was not the way she is! Your mother is still in there, she just can't express it. I know that is easier said than done.

There are support groups if you need some else to talk to. It is very very hard some days I think I can't make it another day. That is where my brother comes in and help to give me a few days off.

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