i need some tips on being patient with an elderly parent. she says the same things over and over again. i tell her how to take her medicine over and over again until i get really angry and lose all of my patience. i don't want to be like that but can't help myself. any suggestions on how to deal with the situation? i've prayed about it and tell myself i won't do it again but somehow it always work out like that.
My husband and I, with our two dogs and OUR two cats are currently living in a 12x16 foot uninsulated Florida room (just peachy in our 90 degree heat) with a portable AC unit. I just cannot wait until winter :) Mom keeps trying to feed the cats dog cookies and visa versa. She doesn't understand why the cats don't like six inch dog bones! But the dogs do love the Friskies.
And to top this, according to Mom, she HAS NO PROBLEMS! There is absolutely nothing wrong with her, she can drive if she wants to, and despite all the credit card companies and utilities calling for mulitple late payments, has everything under CONTROL.
Anyway, the only way to deal with the issues is don't!!! Just take day by day. And keep a great sense of humor. Learn to laugh at most minor things and learn the phrase "oh Really" with meaning when she tells you the same story for the tenth time that week. Keep a large calendar she can read and write down reminders and highlights of the day as if they were appointments, like "go to Grocery store", "get hair permed", etc. (yes, two days after her hair perm, she claimed she hadn't gotten one and needed to make an appointment) Don't use the words "don't you remember...." or "you need to....", because she doesn't remember and she doesn't like a bossy daughter-in-law. Allow yourself a daily Calgon moment and pat yourself on the back every evening for doing such a marvelous job (even if there were three temper tantrums and the dog is throwing up from all the cat food) ,
When I feel that level of frustration coming on I step out for a few minutes. Sometimes I have to walk away many times in a short period of time.
My mother was not the best Mom. She has always had an issue with anger and now it is ten fold. But what are we going to do about it? Not much, just try to keep your own mental health in check
When I was raising my children, I had a plaque in a hallway that said, "Lord, give me patience, RIGHT NOW!" Is that the prayer you need?
You moved back to Alabama when your mother needed you. Why? Can you sit down and make a list of the reasons you thought this would be a good idea? Do you still think most of those reasons are valid? If so, I would think that would help provide some meaning to what you are doing there.
Taking care of my husband through his dementia journey was extremely difficult, frustrating, and fatiguing. It was also always very meaningful. It was, in fact, probably the most meaningful thing I have done in my life. I knew why I was doing it, and all the reasons stayed valid.
So my first advice to you is to be very clear about why you are doing this at all. If those reasons don't provide meaning, then I don't think you are going to find it.
(I never found meaning in why my dear kind husband ever got dementia. I did find meaning in my own behavior.)
My second piece of advice is to polish up your acting skills. Ask yourself, "How would a patient person respond here?" Then act accordingly. Pretend you are auditioning for a play, and you have to demonstrate to the casting direction that you can act patient. This sounds silly, but I'm serious. You want to be patient? Act as if you are patient.
When you have just heard the same story four times and you don't think your acting skills will take you through the fifth, leave the room for a bit. "I'm sorry, Mom, but I need to get my sweater right now. Will you save this story to tell me when I come back?" (Notice that the patient actor did not say, "I have to leave this room or I will do something I will regret if I hear that story one my time!!"
I wish your mom were a brilliant conversationalist. I wish she had interesting new things to tell you about each day. I wish her stories weren't so self-centered. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. We have to deal with the hand we are dealt, not the cards we wish we had.
Figure out why you are doing this.
Act as if you had patience.
Limit your exposure to the situations that try your patience the most.
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