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thoughts on dealing with elderly mother
January 7, 2006
9:10 pm
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nevergivingup
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does anyone have any help on living with my elderly mother?

we were never that close. she ridiculed me my whole life. i could never do anything right in her eyes. she's still ridiculing me and my life now but all i do is not talk with her too much.

can't trust anyone like that so if it's a mother you keep the relationship but don't trust too well with things that are important and vulnerable.

i may be older and deal with it better but i surely don't want to expose myself to the putting down ever again if i can help it.

she's 93, great mind, frail body, arthritic knee and won't go out.

she won't let me take her to the doctor to renew her high blood pressure meds. her ankle is swollen and she says it's ok, it doesn't hurt, it's the shoe and the other ankle is fine so she's ok.

the last time her doctor told her even though the blood pressure was normal she still needed to take the meds to keep it that way. she tells me the doctors don't really care.

she wants a doctor to come to the house. i don't live near where she used to live and i don't know any doctor to come to the house.

don't know how to make her life good. i think no one ever could. my brother passed away several years ago and he was her favorite but she cut him down all the time too.

i'm all she's got.

what do i do?

January 7, 2006
9:13 pm
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feline
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We have nurses here who will come to your home and bath those who are unable to help themselves etc. Go to your family doctor and ask what community services are available for the elderly in your region.

Big Hugs

January 7, 2006
10:00 pm
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nevergivingup
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my mother is not open to any of that. she fell in my shower a few weeks ago and now takes sponge baths.

she has difficulty urinating on the commode and my daughter says the bathroom reeks. we try to keep it clean but it does get a bit out of control. it's not too bad yet though.

i work, commute to work so i get home really tired. my job is stressful and all i want to do is rest and relax at night.

i'm a single mom with one 17 year old left at home. my daughter has school, sports, a part time job, and a social life.

we can't cater to my mother as much as my mother would like.

she's criticized my cooking, my female friends, the fact that i go to church, the fact i don't have a man in my life, and that i've gone on a few dates with different men and criticizes that i can't keep them. that's totally not the case, they just weren't my type so i don't go out with them again but my mother just thinks i'm not good enough.

one old male friend keeps coming back but i don't want anything to do with him romantically and that's the one she's hinted to that i'm not that great.

i like to talk about feelings and face reality but she creates her own reality and thinks i'm weak.

she's a pip this one. it was the same when i was growing up. she always went for the jugular.

she won't give an inch, ever. i took her to the podiatrist, the hair dresser. i buy her whatever she wants or needs. she refuses to take the medicine to control her high blood pressure and i don't have much sympathy for her and feel guilty for it occasionally.

she's spoiled and mean spirited to those close to her. others like her because she is very smart and conversant.

now that i said that i'm thinking i'm the mean one. but i walk on eggs and always have.

sorry but i don't know how to accept her and be warmer.

i will call my doctor and see what is available to help her.

before a family friend passed away the woman wore diapers, took medicine, went to doctors, and wouldn't walk anywhere. my mother helped her as much as she could but every time i talked with my mother she always had a disparaging comment about the woman. she even complained that the woman would make friends even on the bus and become good friends with the people. she always said things as if they were horrible things to do implying that my mother was far superior in every way. the woman passed away a few years ago and now my mother says how wonderful she was. the woman was a warm and sincere person and i always admired her but my mother would talk behind her back so to speak.

my mother would even ridicule my father his whole life. i hated hearing all of that. he had an accent, talked about work and all the details and she would shun him, she would give the silent treatment whenever and to whomever she wanted to. it was a horrible, horrible way to grow up.

her drama while i was growing and even now is to hear her say 'why am i living, i want to die'. i hated growing up like that. i hate hearing it now and it has no effect on me but i haven't sympathy for her.

she wished me in vietnam when my brother was there because he could die there and i should be there.

she called me a whore but i was a virgin.

sorry again, i shouldn't vent. but the pain is still there.

she'd talk to my brother and make him upset. he'd call me and cry. in fact that was the last conversation she had with him. he never got to talk to her again because he just happened to die suddenly shortly thereafter. he loved her and was so good to her.

i had better stop.

i had a b/f, was anxious about my mother moving in with me and after around six months he gave up on me. it wasn't worth it to want to get married and have to live with us both. that's making it simple but that's a big part of it.

i'm obsessing. got to stop. i've got issues from forever. trying to deal with them. i have started to go to a therapist around two months ago. i tried coda meetings but they're too far and i share my car with my daughter and haven't a car all the time when i'm not working.

i'm ok. she'll be ok. it'll work out. so, so sorry to go on in random directions.

January 7, 2006
10:13 pm
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nevergivingup
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don't know if i'll ever be healed. need to not give up.

need to go to bed. tired. cleaned a lot today which is good.

thanks for your suggestion. i'll call my doctor for some direction.

January 7, 2006
10:27 pm
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feline
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My experience with the elderly, limited tomy grandparents, is that they get more childlike and demanding the older they get. They can become a bit like spoilt children. Please contact your doctor they are there to help with all sorts of things.

January 8, 2006
12:47 am
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Matteo
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nevergiveup,

Your mother sounds very much like mine. Always better than everyone else, always superior and criticizing everyone, especially me. Do you actually live with her, or intending to do so?

I would say you don't need more aggravation, and frankly in my opinion you don't owe it to her. What she was and is doing to you is an abuse, and you should separate yourself from her as much as possible. You said that others like her, because her mind is bright. Then there is no excuse about an old age causing her abuse towards you.

I would provide as much professional help for her as possible, no matter she likes it or not. If someone will frown upon it, let them take care of her, and see what a sweetheart she really is. After a whole life of enduring abuse you need a break and to take care of youself; remember that you still have a child to take care of and you don't need a nervous breakdown because of your mother. No need to feel guilty about it. Take care.

January 8, 2006
2:32 am
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nevergivingup
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thanks so much for that, matteo. it made me cry.

i've tried so hard all my life but the hurt is still present. i married someone like my mother and couldn't leave for years. i filed for divorce after 25 years. been divorced for 5 now.

that marriage was a marriage from hell. i had 5 children. worked the whole time. cared for the children. treated so badly. i don't know why i allowed it.

now i'm back full circle with my mother and i feel trapped.

i need to get better.

i even ruined a relationship with someone i met (and fell in love with) because i obsessed about my mother coming to live with me. he couldn't take it.

she's been living with me since the beginning of nov. and it's not been good. i go to work most of the day so it's less time i'm home but i've got so much to shoulder and i can't do it all. want to be in a hole. i fight it every waking minute and know i need to get better and deal with it all. i started therapy in nov. and i'm reading self help books. i need more and constant. don't want to become as desperate as when i was married.

thank you for caring. it's all i want i guess. it's a release to hear you care about me.

January 8, 2006
2:33 am
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nevergivingup
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i need to try to sleep again. thank you so much.

January 8, 2006
3:23 am
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Cooper
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It is hard taking care of an elderly person especially when it is someone as close as a parent.
My mother is disabled, she is hard to get along with and will not do as I tell her she needs to do. Of course, why would her daughter know more than she does? It doesn't matter that I am a nurse and see how she makes things worse for herself and it hurts me to the core that she will not listen. She doesn't take her meds like she should, she listens to other people and "old wives tells" more than she does me.
I finally had to put myself away from it as it was driving me crazy. I have a nurse that comes in two to three times a week to visit with her. She loves the special attention she gets from this woman. It is harder to criticize someone you don't know or not close to you that is taking care of you.
I thinks sometimes they just get tired of living and feel they are a burden on us. Sometimes they feel better if we talk to them about death and dying as they feel at peace that we have accepted they will not be here forever.
No matter, it is difficult to lose a parent regardless how close we are, we have the need to take care and be there for them, even when we feel they weren't always there for us.
Good luck and hope things get better for you.

January 8, 2006
10:17 am
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Matteo
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nevergivingup,

You are welcome. I think it might help you reading the thread "curing narcissism" from the beginning, it might be helpful to you in finding more about yourself. Hire a nurse for her and try do distance yourself emotionally as much as you can. Take care.

Cooper,

Good idea with the nurse. No, we don't always want to be with them, no matter if they were there for us or not. I am so grateful that my mother lives far away from me, but even if she didn't, she would not be my priority. I was always the last one on her list, and the worst one, so she is not in front of my list, either. She is very manipulative and she is the sweetest "loving" mother when she needs something; when she gets it, she turns around and bites - not to mention when I don't provide what she wants. Yes, it would be sad to see her old, fragile and dying, like any other human, but I really don't have any special warm or guilty feelings around her in regards with that.

January 8, 2006
10:32 am
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Mishy2sons
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It is so hard dealing with this. We went through it with my husband's mother, who was much as you have described yours.

There are lots of things going through your mind just now. You have the pain of having had a life long struggle with this woman and now you see she is in the final years of her life and it is never going to change. It is so hard to let go of hopes for a healthy mother-daughter relationship.

You might want to consider some counseling to help you process or let go of some of this pain.

About her physical deterioration: You cannot be expected to provide the help she needs. If she will not accept home assistance, you may have to consider an assisted living facility (nursing home) whether she likes it or not.

In our community we have visiting nurses but also volunteer groups that visit the elderly and help provide attention and care. There is also a meal service called "Meals on Wheels." I think there is a fee for it, but the meals are delivered by volunteers to keep the cost down.

Some of her nastiness may be due to her lifelong difficult personality and some may be the result of early stages of dementia. Hard as it is, try not to take it personally and let it hurt you.

Even though your relationship is strained, you are still her daughter and you want to do what is best for her. Struggling with her care at home and wearing yourself out is not what appears to be best for either of you. It seems that she needs more care than you can provide.

January 8, 2006
12:26 pm
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Anonymous
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I think if you are ABLE to be there for her - GREAT - but if you aren't - don't beat yourself up for it.

Because she is stubborn and won't accept help - you need to keep her well being in mind and do what you can to go over her head - cuz she isn't in the right state of mind to help herself.

She may think she is - but she isn't.

Anyway - call her doc - as you said you were going to - and tell the doc that you are powerless over her - and what is going on - in great detail - don't gloss things over. They have heard this before - this story isn't new to them.

What generally happens is the doc will advise social services to get involved - and they will send someone out to interview here and determine her state of mind. The doctor will be required to submit a physical report as well as his opinion of her mental state of mind. They also look at the living conditions, so if her bathroom reeks - leave it - let them see how she really lives without intervention.

Then they will decide a course of action for her. And if you do not want guardianship, they will get an "objective third party" to look over her and help her with her medical situation and her finances. I would suggest you petition to deal with her finances if you can handle it - cuz a third party WILL charge for those services.

And once someone else is in charge, the pressure is off you - they can deal with her beligerance and stubbornness. And they are trained to deal with it - so they won't take it personally.

Your mom may get angry with you for getting intervention. But know in your heart it is for her own good, and that no matter what, she is going to be angry - so better to know she is well taken care of and know you are doing the right thing.

My parents and I had to care for my grandma and it got difficult and we had to become the parent to her - and deal with her abusiveness, which is not uncommon in dementia cases, which happens with progressing age.

Your mom has always been abusive to you - but know that as she gets older, she will get MORE abusive - but you need to separate the two - becuase the abuse NOW is from the age and dementia, and probably little to do with past abuse.

January 8, 2006
12:40 pm
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Matteo
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alicat,

Very good advise - as usual! But she's spoiled and mean spirited to those close to her. others like her because she is very smart and conversant. No Ali, this is not dementia, this is her old abusive self. Not all old people have dementia, some are bright and witty to the end, and you are right, some are more mean than ever.

January 8, 2006
12:46 pm
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Anonymous
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Yes, matteo, it is her old abusive self - but sometimes, as they get older, it's easy to cross back and forth between dementia and plain old nastiness without notice....it's hard to tell.

My grandma was always abusive to the family too - and "polite" to others.

part of it is that she was familiar with us - she was comfortable yelling at us - and scared to yell at strangers.

it was still dementia.

when she started getting nasty to the nurses, the ones she loved most, we know the dementia had progressed to higher levels.

my grandmother was always "mentally" racist - she was racist, but wouldn't be racist in front of anyone but family members. well, we got some nurses that weren't caucasian and oh boy, was she mean to them. she wasn't racist, but she was not cooperative and nice either. and once they were out of earshot, her mouth runneth over. I have never seen my grandma be that mean or ugly.

old age changes alot of things for people.

January 8, 2006
1:36 pm
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Mishy2sons
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My husband's mother was always verbally abusive to the family and often even to strangers, but later in life she suffered the effects of alcoholic dementia and was worse! She was always mean, but dementia made her worse. Eventually she forgot who we were and was still mean to us.

January 8, 2006
1:54 pm
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nevergivingup
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your thoughts are so good. it's a complicated problem. old age, natural meanness, maybe they're intertwined.

superiority feelings. they're inferiority bursting at the seams. had i known this as a child or teen i'd have lived my life better instead of succumbing to her horribleness.

i know it better now but i've got to deal with it.

couldn't sleep last night. before my daushter went to bed last night she told me to not even ask my mother and buy her depends.

i thought here's my 17 year old taking charge instead of making excuses. she's looking to me as the parent to know better. she even said maybe she should live elsewhere if the depends doesn't work.

we're both afraid of my mother not being able to use the stove. she may start a fire. she can't open a soup can i leave for lunch. she hasn't the strengtth. there are so many things.

when my mother has a good moment she's said once or twice that she's sorry she can't do so much around the house. i don't mind doing what needs to be done. in my adult life everything has always fallen to me anyhow. it's amazing what i've had to do without support.

someday i want to do mostly for me. i know it's close but hell, a whole life ignoring what i need. darn, it's getting to me.

sorry, got to stop.

need to shower and get out. it's cold but sunny right now. love the sun.

frustrated.

i'll try the depends and if and when that won't work i'll have to see what else.

i'll call my doctor this week. i'll take off a day from work and drag her there. she won't go to the immedicenter with me after work. she says it's too dark at that time. she's got every excuse. she says she'll ask my daughter to take her after school. i think it's because she doesn't respect me or want to give up control to me, her daughter. my daughter has sports after school and she doesn't have a car. i have the car for work.

difficult person always. my dad was so good to her. i don't know how he did it and not be angry. he was so decent to everyone. how did he do it without animosity? i had to not be so close to him because she was jealous my whole childhood and forever. what a shame. but it never separated me from him in our hearts. that's one reason i don't hate men. i have trust issues but that's because i chose the totally wrong person to marry. he was the male conterpart to my mother. i believe they're both narcisissts.

i have read the thread on N and i did meet one man who admitted he was diagnosed one. i never saw him again. not healthy to do for me. i'm not a whipping post anymore.

but this is still my mother. i can't find love for her but i feel responsibility and obligation.

goodness. i've got so many issues too as a result of this.

sorry, sorry to go off like this.

got to get out.

January 8, 2006
2:21 pm
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Anonymous
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There are support groups for caregivers of elderly parents - cuz the overwhelming feelings you are going thru is NORMAL.

And honestly, the doctor or social worker can hook your mom up with "visiting nurses", who come to the home on a regular basis (as much as a few hours a day) and will help her bathe, will help her to the toilet and help her get dressed and fix meals, some even help clean. Insurance usually pays for this.

EVEN IF your mom won't go to the doctor, you can still call the doctor, or your local social services, and get referalls for agencies that can take the burden of caregiving off of you.

I live in CT, and in the phone book is the blue pages, which is all the governmental numbers to call - and in our town, county and state, there is a number for the branch that deals with elderly services - and it's labeled just like that. And I called them for my gram and got the ball rolling. They sent someone out to see how my gram was mentally and physically and then got the appropriate agencies involved and dealt with the insurance companies and everything.

Check this out - this burden is TOO much for one to carry alone...and there is help out there.

You don't need to be "hand's on" to still give help and support and meet the responsibility and obligation.

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