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Carenotes

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 - 12/30/09

 
My Mom is 94 and a miserably unhappy person.  She lives alone; hasn't made a friend in years. She is lonely (has a part-time caregiver, as well as me, her only child).  She has macular degeneration and is hard of hearing. She says she is sick, but won't follow the doctor's directions or take her pills half the time.

I love the holidays, she hates them.  I try my best to please her, but it is never enough.  I am almost 72; I try to keep active.  I also have RA, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.  I have tried to explain that her anger hurts me physically.
 
Last week, I took her to the doctor ("They never do anything") and then to a beautiful nursery.  It was a wonderful afternoon.  The next day, she was in a dark mood and said that I was sullen and who knows what else.  I waited a few days, then called and asked her to dinner. After saying “No,” she said she thought I should apologize. I did and then asked her if she wanted to apologize; she hung up on me.
 
I haven't spoken to her since.  I feel guilty; I hurt all over.  I try not to think about it.......but it doesn't really work.  I am venting to you because my husband and friends are tired of hearing about it. 
 
Does she have the right to make my life miserable? 
 



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Name:
Location:
Date: 12/30/2009
Time: 06:07 AM

Comments

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent," Eleanor Roosevelt once said. I'd like to expand on her insightful words by adding, "No one can make you feel bad without your consent." You, dear caregiver, are master of your own mood. Your mother is down. She, like many her age, is depressed. There are many things you can do to help her with this, including meds. Yet, you still might not be able to control her mood or make her apologise to you for her transgressions, as you see them. You, however, can control your own temperment. You can choose to be joyful or not. You can do things that make you joyful or you can bathe in a pity bath. You choose. My elderly dad lives with us. He is 90 and suffers from dementia to the degree where his days and nights are confused. Is it frustrating? Of course. Does he get moody? Yes. Do I sometimes feel resentful? I TRY HARD NOT TO! He doesn't want to be in this shape. He didn't choose it. Friends do vanish as one approaches the final stages. Of course. So, when he is moody, and when I feel confined, I say, " Dad, put on your hat. We are going for a drive. " I then put on his hat and get his arms through the sleeves of his winter coat, and I fetch his cane, and I tuck him in my car all the while listening to complaints. And, we zoom off. As he looks at the traffic and the children and the 'whatever', he reminisces. He tells me the same stories he has told me a thousand times before. Yet, I don't mind as much. His mood lightens. We see some new things that we enjoy for that moment. Maybe we stop for an ice cream or a burger or some bbq. Sometimes, we can't go outside. Then, we sit and try to do a cross word together. That is good too. Together is the operative word. Let the elder feel that you want to spend time with him/her. I know, dear person, this is not always the case. But, if you put on a smile and stop complaining, things get better! So , as the song says, put on a happy face! And do ask the family doc about anti-depressants , too,-- for your mom. E. Hoffman (staff writer and caregiver 24/7)


Name:
Location:
Date: 12/30/2009
Time: 07:58 AM

Comments

The mother/daughter relationship is often a hard one and if it has not resolved itself by now, it probably never will. Your mother is 94 and sounds very depressed, bored and probably also has some dementia. Do not feel guilty and get so stressed as it is not good for your arthritis; Try not to be hurt as if dementia is involved, she really doesn't have any control over what she says. You cannot change your mother and you will probably never be able to "please" her. Do everything you can to be sure she is safe and comfortable, visit her several times a week for short periods, try to re-direct her thinking by changing the topics when she gets irritable and remove yourself when necessary. Sometimes an old photo album can help bring up pleasant memories and stories. Do not beat yourself up that you cannot make her happy. You can only do so much and need to focus more on YOUR life, (but I know that it is hard to distance yourself.) If you can, talk to a counselor to vent. It can really help and not put as much stress on the other family members.


Name: Sandy
Location: CA
Date: 12/30/2009
Time: 12:16 PM

Comments

In response to your responses, thank you. My Mom is on meds when she feels like taking them. I am a joyful person, I guess that is why I try to make her happy. By now (72) next month I SHOULD realize she isn't going to change. We did have a very nice Christmas with my daughter and her husband. They listen to her complaints (repeated over and over, mostly about me) but they realize that what she says isn't true. So we go on and on. I am soooo fortunate to have a remarkably understanding husband and many, many friends. I have tried hard to wave a white flag and have a truce, maybe it will work. I am working on trying to get her photos organized, however, she isn't able to see real well and there are many that I don't recognize, but I will continue to work at it. Wishing all of you a Happy, Joyful New Year. Sandy


Name: Tom Buske
Location: Ukiah, Ca
Date: 12/30/2009
Time: 01:42 PM

Comments

Dear Friend, Go to your bookstore and or library and get a copy of the book, Co-dependent No More. This will bless you.


Name:
Location:
Date: 12/30/2009
Time: 05:03 PM

Comments

She has no right to make your life miserable. Start living your own life. Good luck. Lou Henderson Maxton. N. C.


Name: Jim
Location: Maryland
Date: 12/30/2009
Time: 11:13 PM

Comments

She does not have a right to make you miserable. The problem is you are letting her do it. She is 94, yes… old, yes… and all her friends have died, yes… you are her only child and therefore you are the only one she has to make miserable, yes… in other words she wants to die, perhaps alone. You do not know that. I am not a doctor but I recommend that you let her do that. Since the two of you have not talked for a while, let it be. If she ever grows up, calls you, and asks to talk then, and only then, will you have a relationship with her and you will always have to be on guard to not let her pull you into the old relationship. We have a woman much like your mother living in the nursing home where my wife lives. She came in the first day and foul-mouthed every resident and called the staff niggers. Her own daughter had to put her in a home because she was foul-mouthing her to the point that she did what you have to do. Visit on holidays, if it fits into your schedule. She is 94 and you have 20 more years to live, so don’t waste those last good years on her. Mother Nature puts an automatic disconnect that occurs between parents and children when they reach a certain age, which is how it is supposed to be. So disconnect yourself and she will either finish her job of raising you and push you out of the nest or not. You have no control over that. You know, absence makes the heart grow fonder. She’ll call again. Maybe tomorrow? Maybe next Christmas? You have to be strong enough to wait until she does and be ready for her to never call you again. A leopard cannot change its spots. Trite but true.


Name:
Location:
Date: 12/31/2009
Time: 02:58 PM

Comments

I agree with the other responder that your Mother is not going to change. I've found with my father-in-law that I will not allow him to verbally abuse me. When he "acts out" this way, I firmly call him on the carpet (just like you would correct a child) and then I back away and let him stew in his own juices. He is in an assisted living facility, so all of his needs are being met. Seniors actually can become more childlike as they age and the same tips you would use for a child will work with them. I've found that after a week or two of a break that he appreciates me more and things move on a more even keel. As a caregiver, I have fibromyalgia and know what the pain is like. The stress can be the undoing of you. All too many times caregivers put themselves at the bottom of the pile and you just need to look after yourself. If extra caregivers can be hired to assist her so that you can take a break, please do so. I have a friend whose mother is 87 and he said she is "just plain mean" and when we asked if this is something new (thinking it was related to her Alzheimer's) - he stated that she has always been mean and nasty. So sometimes the behaviors will just intensify. I know my father-in-law's father was a mean, mean man. He use to beat my father-in-law. So I know that sometimes folks are the way they are due to the environment they were raised in and you can't expect them to change at this age. I just also try to remember what it must have been like for him to be raised in such an environment and I tell him verbally that I love him. I know he never heard that from his father and let's face it, we all want to know that we are loved. Hang in there.


Name: Glenda
Location: Australia
Date: 12/31/2009
Time: 08:55 PM

Comments

Your mother does not have the right to treat you this way, and someone needs to tell her, from outside the family. Being under such pressure from her, and never doing the "right" thing is taking its toll on your health. Have a break from her for a while, and maybe get the doctor to speak to her about it, and the carer to reinforce that she should not treat you with such disrespect, and should be grateful for what she has had, and still has,or you can not cope with seeing her. She may then change a little. I too had this same problem, and had a husband dying with leukaemia at the same time. My mother once said to me, when she wanted to take me to the shops and I wasn't able to, "Well!! I wish he would make up his mind and die, or go back to work, so that you can take me out!!!!"(and saw nothing wrong with saying this) Her comment after she realised I was upset was that I was a very weak person for being upset over anything she said.


Name: Melody
Location: Cleveland
Date: 01/01/2010
Time: 05:12 AM

Comments

Who is going to care if you sacrifice your life for this nasty woman? Get her placed into a full time care center and move on. She may be your mother, but only you can allow her to be your jailer.


 

Name: OccammaOrarty
Location: Canada
Date: 01/25/2011
Time: 11:47 PM

Comments

You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material



 







 

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