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Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 09/11/08

I take care of my 85 year old mother.  Truth be told, some days I really don't like her. Don't get me wrong, I love my mother and would do anything to make her life comfortable but she seems so ungrateful.  I never do anything right (even though I do mostly everything for her).

My husband is saddened by the way she treats me (and him sometimes) and thinks we should put her in a home.  Whenever I mention it, she cries and says she is going to do better, and then I feel sorry for her.  After a couple of days she is back to her old self and even curses at me for wanting to get rid of her.

How do I handle this without getting too angry with her?   I am losing patience.

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Name: Roxanna
Location: Champaign, IL
Date: 09/11/2008
Time: 07:21 AM


I truly feel for you. This is clearly a situation of you love the person it is their behavior you do not like. Unfortunately this is not going to change. She is 85 yrs. old. Maybe it is time to turn some of her care over to someone else. A homecare agency, etc.

Name: Granddaugther in Kansas
Location: Kansas
Date: 09/11/2008
Time: 08:02 AM


I take care of my 87 year old grandmother (she lives with my family). She is still fairly independent physically, but she still can't live alone due to her health and mental state at times. There are days she is downright hateful as if the fact she has to live with me is MY FAULT. She lives a good life in a beautiful home in a smaller community, security of knowing there are no worries about being knocked on the head going to the grocery store or worrying about making her bills (she has none now but prescriptions). She has no boundaries in regard to personal space, claims we're 'waiting for her to die', tells people we are keeping things from her (not true...sometimes we've told her and she forgets or it doesn't pertain to her) and there are weeks where there isn't a smile on her face. I'll be honest...there are times I wish she didn't live with's changed our family and it's changed my relationship with her in a negative way. However, I also know that as family, it's the right thing to do. Support one another during these difficult times. If it weren't for me...where would she go? She' been there for me thru the years...and now, it's my time to be there for her...even if I don't feel the love all the time. There are days, I look at her and feel sadness that she can't see the beauty and blessing in living to see another day...especially when I've known several who have had their lives cut short and never got to enjoy their children growing up...including her own daughter 16 years ago. On other days, I see the Grandmother I grew up loving...the one my son can't see any longer (he was 7 when she moved in 6 years ago) and won't have memories's those days that carry me thru. I know her time with me is limited and she'll be gone before I know it...but I know, for me, I'll feel like I've done all I could to make her last few years comfortable. It's made me a stronger woman and makes me recognize that I don't want to grow older and become a bitter old lady. I want to stay active, visit people and try new things! I know it's already made me focus on the daily blessings in my life...from a beautiful sunrise to the kindness of the older man opening to door for me a the grocery store. I struggle with the emotional roller coaster and wish you peace on your journey. Cheers!

Name: Laura
Location: Florida
Date: 09/11/2008
Time: 08:56 AM


There has to be some middle ground- perhaps she is not capable of maintaining a respectful disposition toward you due to her own limitations. But then it should not be "all or nothing" with her care, you doing everything vs nursing home. You need help- she needs elder daycare or other caregivers to come and be a part of her world. You and your husband have difficulty and grief to face, and must care for yourselves and each other as well as for her.

Name: Gary A. Powell
Location: Hawaii
Date: 09/11/2008
Time: 10:21 AM


Caregivers often feel that because the work they do is essentially selfless, exhausting, stressful... that the recipient of that help should react with love and appreciation. Realistically that may not be a fair expectation. Growing old and losing independence in many areas is not something that generates a lot of delight in most people and showing appreciation for being constantly reminded of the process (because they do have to have varying levels of assistance)can easily result in irritation, anger, depression, etc. At some point, family caregivers do need to analyze the entire family situation and may have to make choices that are not "good" for anybody - but are less "bad" for some. Like assisted living, nursing homes etc. But for your own emotional perspective - try to understand that your Mom is not so much expressing her anger and frustration at YOU as she is at the whole situation. If you lower your expectations of positive and appreciative reactions you may be able to handle the situation with less stress and anger. And the same understanding needs to be shared with your husband. Realize though, at some point you will probably need to involve outside help in her care and even consider placement in a setting where her needs can be met and her moods handled with professional understanding.

ame: Barbara
Location: Ohio
Date: 09/11/2008
Time: 05:48 PM


It is so very painful to have someone you care for not show any gratitude for your efforts. I'm sorry that you are facing this. My 86 year old mother is also very mean spirited. I have enlisted the support of a mental health social worker who does home visits. Her first step was to recommend we work with a psychiatrist to review my mother's medications. The social worker is having discussions with my mother about her nasty attitude and this is taking some of the steam out of her angry. The social worker is also providing me with moral support which I badly need. I felt I was at the end of my rope when we took this direction and it is relieving a lot of my anger. It's a tough situation that we are in. I wish it were different.

Name: Oliver T. AŮora
Location: Cangawa Buenavista Bohol Philippines
Date: 09/15/2008
Time: 08:08 PM


I understand yourself and it's not that easy in your situation but you must also understand her side because she is old enough. Maybe as time goes by she will  change and appreciate all your good doings on her side. Just remember you will harvest a good things in the future in all your sacrifices in taking care of her and extend your patience on her. I know that you can handle it because God gave that to you because He knows that you can do your best. I am also a caregiver that's why I feel so sad in your side with your situation but keep up your good job and I'm pretty sure you will be in end up that your job will be done.

Name: judy
Location: clifton park, New York
Date: 09/15/2008
Time: 09:09 PM


I totally understand what you are feeling and saying...My Mom lived with my husband and myself for three and a half years. I have just placed her in Assisted Living because she expressed her unhappiness with living with me, that she had nothing to do here, I had no time to spend with her, she was lonely and needed people her own age, etc etc...She became demanding yet appreciative in her own husband could not tolerate her treating me this way...I am the only caregiver for I have a sister in a group home who is neurologically impaired and emotionally disturbed. She has adjusted well and thank goodness for that but between the two of them it is a lot to take..My adult children were very concerned for me and as they said, You are our Mother and we don't want anything to happen to you, Mom...Now, that Mom is in assisted living, she is complaining that it is not for her, she is unhappy and lonely and that everyone is younger than her. She is 83 and I know that this is not the case....My husband said that it is possible that she will not be happy anywhere and that this could just be the case....I find it hard to take because I so want her to be happy somewhere....I wish you luck, patience and the strength to do what you should. It took me a year to make this decision to have Mom go to Assisted Living and I checked out over 11 places in our area...but I knew in my heart that I was ready for this for it had affected our relationship as Mother and Daughter....

Date: 09/16/2008
Time: 08:09 PM



Name: Rain
Location: Miami, FL
Date: 09/17/2008
Time: 01:14 PM


GOSH...For a second I thought I had written this in my sleep or something. It could be me writing this exact same thing, except my Mom is 87, some days she is very grateful and other days, I can't do anything right, and she whines and cries over everything, and tries to get her way, because..she dying dontchaknow!!! Her doc has put her on an anti depressant and that is helping somewhat - LEXAPRO! Don't get angry, the way I handle my Mom is to be sooooo nice, so sweet, I give her whatever she wants, then I go outside and sit in my car and scream, call my sister and tell her it's too much for me...she calms me down and I go back inside and start over. Shower her with kindness... you'll have time to polish that halo, and get ready to sit next to the Lord when you go.


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