My 87 year old mother lives with my husband and me. About 2 years ago she was diagnosed with osteo-arthritis. Since then it's been down hill. Growing up she was a good Mom, catered to me, even spoiled me. We were very close. But now, I hate to say this, but I don't know this woman and the loving Mom I had is gone. She is self centered, self absorbed, uncooperative and entitled.

Dementia is not an issue at the moment (she was tested). Granted she may be undermedicated for pain, but her Dr. is hesitant to prescribe arthritis medications due to her kidney function. So he recommended OTC meds, which don't really help a great deal.

Anyway, I understand she's in pain but my husband and I have done everything we can think of to make her life easier. We've bought her shower chairs, a new bed, pillows, blankets, a transport chair, a walker, a freezer (she will only eat Schwanns) and yet she finds fault with all of it, "The pillows are too hard, the blankets are too scratchy, the shower chair isn't comfortable..." etc.

The final straw was yesterday. We took her to a podiatry appt. We put her in the transport chair, thinking it would be easier to wheel her out of our apartment to the car. As soon as we got out in the hallway, she starts screeching and crying. Granted the med supply company forgot to give us the foot rests, so I understand she was initially upset. I suggested she lift her feet. Instead she continued to screech until I went and got her walker. Walked her to the car, she needed assistance getting her legs again, more screeching. At this point my husband and I are thinking "Great! The neighbors are going to think we're beating the crap out of her."

After the appointment she came home and got on the phone with a friend and was laughing and having a great conversation. She had no remorse or apologies for the way she acted going to the appt.

My husband and I were miserable all night. We were both mentally drained and really didn't interact with her (except to give her dinner) for the rest of the night. Once she was in bed, we were able to relax.

The thing is, we have sacrificed time, energy and quite possibly our marriage and she couldn't care less. We haven't gone on a trip or even out of town for a day trip for over 2 years. We are stuck at home with an ungrateful woman.

As you can see, we're both spent, emotionally, physically and mentally. We've had the VNA come, but even they couldn't deal with her.

I just needed to vent. It's been a tough two years and an even tougher 24 hours. Not sure how much more we can take or how much more my marriage can take.

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Now is the time for you to put mother in her place. Stop playing her games. Not only will your life be ruined, but so will your marriage.
Explain to her that she needs more care than the two of you can provide because her conditions are too serious. That you and your husband have been looking at nursing homes for her so she can get the care and pain management she needs.
I can all but guarantee that she will cut her crap by half and her 'performances' in public will be greatly reduced as well.
Also, you and your husband will be taking a vacation so plan something now. Your mother will be going into a care facility for respite care. No discussions and no arguments.
She is dependent on the two of you not the other way around.
You and your husband are not the only people on earth who can take her to a doctor's appointment. Or who can help her bathe. Or run her errands. I did this as work for 25 years. Get her a homecare aide.
When she complaina about the pillows, blankets, or anything else your new response is: Too damn bad. If you want better get it yourself. See how fast she stops complaining and making your lives miserable.
My mother is like this. Less now than before. She'd complain about every meal that was put in front of her. Even if it was her favorite. Until one day she made snide comment about the supper. So I collected her plate and threw it in the garbage. No supper that night. The complaining reduced greatly and fast.
You cannot allow her to call the shots and run your lives. Put her in her place. You never tolerate an ingrate. Not for one moment.
Helpful Answer (22)
Reply to BurntCaregiver
Jeancarolmo Aug 8, 2022
You are a care giver that should be avoided at all costs. Elderly abuse comes from people like you. If you don’t die first, your time will come, a d Karma is ***.
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If you're just here to vent, vent away! If you're also here to find advice about how to get out of this untenable situation you find yourself in, you'll get that too.

If your mother is able to act nice & laugh amicably with her friends on the phone, then she's also able to act that way with you and your husband but CHOOSES not to. It's that simple. I'm sorry she has osteo-arthritis. So do I, real bad in fact, yet I don't take my pain out on my husband or my children; it's my cross to bear and I don't expect others to bear it FOR me. That she chooses to age without grace or dignity is not something YOU should have to deal with any longer. Why give up your lives and your marriage for this? It's not like the woman has terminal cancer and is in true need of your attention 24/7, for petesake.

Get mother placed into a lovely Assisted Living residence and have her pay for others to deal with her histrionics. Let her order Schwann's food to be delivered to her apartment so she can pop whatever she likes into HER microwave and cook it herself if she chooses not to eat the food prepared for her at the ALF. She'll have other seniors her own age to kvetch with and to socialize with all day long, and best of all, she'll be out of your hair. You can sign her up for the in-house doctor who she can see to her heart's content w/o having to leave the premises, so no 'transport chair' will be required at all. Staff will be available to her 24/7, too, so all her needs can be addressed.

My parents lived in a beautiful ALF for nearly 7 years, Memory Care for the last 3 for my mother. They had a great life and I was able to preserve my relationship with them and with my husband as a result. I did not have to sacrifice my life to be a hands on caregiver to an ungrateful and complaining woman *which my mother was also* so it was a win/win situation.

Wishing you the best of luck taking your OWN lives into account now and not focusing on JUST your mother's life. There are THREE lives to take into consideration here, not just ONE.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to lealonnie1

It's not going to come as a surprise to you that all of us who respond will tell you it's time for mom to move out into some kind of different living situation. You'll never change HER, you can only change YOU.

A 'sreeching' elder--OMGosh--my MIL would do that. IF you could get her to go to the dr in the first place. Difference is, My MIL still lives' alone. She creeps around her house, pushing a kitchen chair around for balance and won't use the walker b/c it 'makes her look old". DH told her that using a chair makes her look DEMENTED and that went over just the way you think it would.

She WANTS to live with her daughter and her DH. And there is NO WAY on earth that is going to happen.

You need to prioritize your life--many marriages do in fact break up over the care of an elder-esp when the elder LIVES with you. My SIL and BIL have told MIL that there is NO WAY she can live with them. Period. NO being a complete sentence.

She messed up your day, and then she's home, chatting to friends and you and DH are wasted and angry. She seems incapable of having compassion for you.

Start looking for the living arrangements that are best for her. Independent living, a NH, and Assisted Living--whatever fits her budget.

PLAN that she will be furious, and then you won't be surprised when she is.

You cannot change her, and trying to is a waste of time. She sounds pretty content with the status quo.

Making the 'move' with love (if possible) is best, but she will be angry. Plan on that and if it doesn't happen--good for you!

When caring for relatives starts to impact your life and relationships negatively, it's past time for the discussion of 'what are we going to do with mom'.

I hope you didn't make that promise that you'd never 'put her in a home'. My MIL extracted that promise from her kids, but I don't think they will be able to keep it. Her next big fall will have her moved to AL. She just doesn't know it.

Good Luck.
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to Midkid58
NewEnglander Aug 2, 2022
Thank you for your response. You are so right on so many points.

No I never told I'd never put her in a nursing home. When she was in better health and we had a better relationship I used to tease her, as a joke, that I was going to call a local NH. We would laugh. I'm not laughing anymore.

Besides, she has no money so getting her in a nursing home will be challenging. We have a county home, but the waiting list is very long.

What I failed to mention was that my husband (her primary caretaker while I'm at work) is not in the greatest of health either (valve repair 3 years ago, Atrial fibrillation which is getting worse etc.). So I guess our only option, at this point is to simply provide her food and a remote control. Maybe that will be easier for us. The rest is up to her to figure out.
I'm going to address the transport chair issue first - it may seem like a simple matter for her to hold her feet up, but when you've lost significant muscle tone (and anyone that age has, no matter how fit) plus there is pain from arthritis lifting your legs for an extended period of time or even just holding up your feet isn't all that easy, in fact it may well be impossible.

As for the rest : I think there is a real disconnect between your expectations and her needs. No matter how loving and caring you have been she no doubt feels her loss of independence and her increasing physical deterioration keenly and is not willing/able to make the effort to age gracefully. It's OK to decide you can't continue this way and to help her find a placement in a care facility, but if you are determined to have her live with you then you need to grow a thicker skin and not stress so much over her Negative Nelly narrative. You need to learn to respond that yes, getting old sure sucks and you are sorry her life isn't easier, THE END.... stop pressuring yourself to fix everything.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to cwillie
LittleOrchid Aug 8, 2022
Oddly enough, my mother actually preferred to NOT have the footrests on her transport chair unless we were shopping or walking in a garden or some other longer event. Her joints would no longer reliably support her, but her legs were very strong from many years of working, hiking, and gardening. I do believe she was in a very small minority. For her, though, if she were going to an appointment where she would need to get out of the transport chair, she preferred not to have the footrests in the way. I think that you are right that, as we age, most of us will suffer from some form of arthritis and various muscle and joint pains. How those affect us and how we deal with those pains are very individual.

"As for the rest"... I agree with you in most of that, also. As caretakers, there is only so much that we can do, only so much that we even should do. As I age I am constantly adjusting my own expectations of myself and adapting my surroundings and my life so that I do not become a nuisance to my children. One thing for sure, whatever else happens I will NOT move in with either of my children. I think that if my mother had actually cared for an elder--even a little bit--in her 60's or 70's she would have had an entirely different attitude.
For someone's personality to change, there is a problem. May be she is in constant pain. As we age, there is some cognitive decline. I would ask her doctor for a name of a pain management specialist.
This doctor can help regulate her pain meds and OTC so they work together. My daughter says you can take Ibuprofen and 2 hrs later take acetaminophen. They are 2 different types of pain killers.

Think it maybe time for a sit down with Mom. Tell her that you both are tired of catering to her. That she is self centered, self absorbed, uncooperative and entitled. That just because your her daughter, does not mean she can abuse you. I am not beyond a little threat, "Maybe you would be happier in an AL because you don't seem happy here. You seem miserable and you are making our lives miserable" If she starts to scream and holler, tell her sorry but things have to change and it has to be her. Tell her to think about it, and leave the room. Let her cuss and cry. She is acting like a child.

Are u renting that chair or did u purchase it? Either way, they needed to provide those foot rests. Wheelchairs come with foot rests.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to JoAnn29
NewEnglander Aug 2, 2022
We (actually Medicare & Mom's health insurance) purchased the chair. We called the med supply place and they said "Oh that chair should have had foot rests with it. Oh wait, here they are behind the counter." Idiots. Anyway, I didn't have time to get the foot rests before her appt.

You're right about her acting like a child. I contacted my Mom's BFF (they've known each other for 70 years) and asked her if Mom was always like this. She said they had fun as teens but as the years went on she saw the selfish come out in her. She said it's really bad now, that's why she doesn't call her every day anymore (they live 2,000 miles apart now).
Pain changes people. Frankly I would tell doctor she needs to be properly medicated to manage her pain. Why make her suffer in pain to prolong her life like this? So what if proper pain management shortens her life by a few years. At least her remaining time will be made more comfortable.

Now for her acting out when things aren't going her way that requires behavior modification from you and husband. Stop catering to her. If she doesnt like this or that she can get an alternative herself.

If she makes a scene like when she was being taken to her appointment you simply don't take her to appointment or you have her arrange alternative transport to said apppintment that is not you. Mom is only doing what she is allowed to get away with. Time to stop letting her get away with this unacceptable behavior.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to sp19690
BurntCaregiver Aug 6, 2022
You're spot on right about the appointments, sp19690.
I find that it's better all around if I do not take my mother to doctor's appointments anymore. So I've all but stopped taking her. I'll give whoever does take her a ride and will pick them up, but I rarely go myself. This has improved things some.
She doesn't give "performances" and make unpleasant drama scenes when someone else brings her. That's reserved for me. Her greatest pleasure from giving a performance to a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional was when they'd tell me off and carry on about being more kind and compassionate to her.
I'd do the same thing she always did to me when I was a kid. I got punished whether I actually did something or not. It depended on whether or not she needed a scapegoat for something that day. 'You're going to bed with no supper'. Sometimes giving a 'performace' could be more important than me making her a meal. I'll make her a sandwich or she can fend for herslef while I sit down with my man to a home-cooked meal. The leftovers go straight into the dog's bowl. People have to respect themselves enough to let others know, their auacceptable behavior will not be tolerated.
Did some of these other posters not read that this woman has no savings and only social security? Does she live in a state that has an indigent care assisted living program? There is no such thing. Assisted living is expensive!

The mother also does not sound like she would qualify for nursing home care. Really folks, you can’t just pop someone in a state subsidized or private nursing home just because you are embarrassed by her behavior in public. This woman is mostly ambulatory and does not suffer from dementia. Nursing home licensing requirements limit admissions to people who meet level of care conditions. And in almost every state, assisted living is private pay and out of the financial reach of the inconvenient, but otherwise completely lucid but angry mother.

I have a feeling that the mother would jump at the chance to be out of her daughter’s home if she could afford it. I also strongly suspect ample hostility and resentment on both sides because everyone is trapped by circumstance.

The daughter has indicated that her mother was once a good parent. Does that not count any more? What does “entitled” mean? Give some examples.

Anyone would scream if their feet were being dragged backwards in a wheel chair. Why would anyone use a wheel chair knowing there are no footrests? It’s downright cruel. No wonder she was “screeching!”

I see a couple of caregivers who are seething with resentment, possibly from the first days following the mother living with them, especially the husband. If the money from the sale of the house is gone, who spent it and on what? Who says the mother isn’t paying for her care? Is she paying the caregivers or isn’t she?
If these folks are stuck with her mother, at least enroll her in an adult day care program and get out of each other’s way during the day. In the meantime, see if you can get some affordable goal directed, time limited family counseling from your local community mental health center. This family is at an impasse because neither the mother or the caregivers want to live together but they are stuck with each other for financial reasons.

And, as usual, some of the people who post on this website quite obviously hate old people and cannot grasp that the caregivers point of view may not be entirely valid or that the person being cared for is still a human being with rights and feelings whose point of view is being completely discounted.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Chellyfla
Beatty Aug 8, 2022
I no longer feel the need to read further. You summed up the situation the OP described in such a clear & reflective way.

Up to the family to decide how to move past their inpasse now.
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When you got married, you created your own family, one that's supposed to take precedence over your family of origin. As a middle-aged mom of two adult kids, I have already told my kids again and again that I will NOT ever live with them and put that burden on them. Parenting is supposed to be a one-way street: you raise and love your kids and send them out into the world to live their own lives. If they're close to you, lovely. But it is NOT YOUR JOB to sacrifice your marriage, livelihood and mental health to take care of your mother, especially when she's so ungrateful.

I would sit her down and tell her this isn't working and she's going to have to find another situation. You can help her find one, but give her a deadline (soon). Then move her in, visit when you can, and save your marriage.

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to TeethGrinder65

You and your husband have sacrificed time, energy, money and emotion on having your mother live with you. But.

I just deleted a bunch of stuff because someone else just posted about not criticizing people who are doing their level best, and I agree.

So try this instead:

In particular, about half way down the page, there's a bit about developing skills.

And get hold of that med supply company and box their ears - you do not, ever, use a wheelchair without its footrests.

There are no podiatrists who do housecalls in your area? I'd check, there should be.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Countrymouse
NewEnglander Aug 2, 2022
Thanks for the link. The VNA suggested this link as well. I've also got some feelers out for caretakers and respite organizations. I appreciate it. And yes, the med supply company will be hearing from me.
Sorry you are dealing with this. Had a similar situation with my mom, and thankfully we got her into a great nursing home almost 2 years ago.

Getting in touch with an elder care attorney in your area (you can use your mom's SS income to pay him/her) OR your area agency on aging to start the paperwork so you have 1) a durable Power of Attorney to take over on financial and other decisions if and when needed (may not need it yet, but best to have this done in advance of the need), 2) get an advanced directive for her so you are her "medical agent" and can make decision if and when needed, 3) work through what needs to happen to get her qualified for Medicaid coverage of long term nursing home care (there are lots of rules about spending down, and there is a 5-year look back provision which means if she gave away lots of $ it could be an issue), 4) work out "on-line" stuff (so you have access to her accounts and can pay for thing including the nursing home's "costs of care contribution" amount (once qualified for Medicaid, each state requires the resident to may a monthly payment to the nursing home out of their Social Security and/or other retirement accounts if one has others such as pension) but this is all easier to handle with "on-line" accounts for both the bank and anything else and 5) this sounds terrible, BUT: if for any reason she ends up in the hospital (a fall or other thing) over night; the social workers at the hospital can help find a nursing home (first typically as a "rehab stay" but make sure the facility is Medicare and Medicaid qualified FIRST and have her go there for a stay) BUT MAKE SURE to tell the social worker 1) it is NOT safe for her to be in your apt alone, 2) you cannot care for her and 3) when signing the "rehab facility's" admission paperwork MAKR SURE TO CHECK the boxes "NO, you personally will not be financially responsible," and "NO, you personally will NOT take her back," and "Yes, you will work with the facility to get her Medicaid Long Term Care qualified." You need to be clear with that it is "unsafe" for her to be alone in your apt and "you cannot care for her." These words someone trigger words are necessary so that the state can step in and Medicaid may be an option.

Also, not sure how the "dementia test was done" but if not done by a geriatric specialists (sorry many GP just do a simple quick "clock test") it may be off, did they do a full battery of neurological tests, scans and review of ADLs and IADLs? Once my mom landed in the nursing home, the geriatric board certified neurologist who also is a psychiatrist and her geriatric internist (also board certified) confirmed the dementia I had long suspected.

Your mom is 87 and this is NOT going to get easier. Setting boundaries now, what you can and cannot do (you cannot do this type of care 24/7 alone) and start taking the steps to provide the care she needs in a facility so you can get your life back.

Good luck, this is not a easy journey.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Sohenc
Clairesmum Aug 11, 2022
Really good information and instruction about what to do and in what order. Worked as an elder health nurse and in adult protective services. Those situations were often overwhelmed and exhausted caregivers who had done their best for so long and just couldn't do it anymore. Getting documents in order, and then contact the local COA to find out about care providers for home care is a good idea. Also, the local area agency on aging (the COA or health department will know which one) can provide home care services and assessment of clinical eligibility for Medicaid (once a Medicaid application is ready to submit.) And Medicaid starts on the date that they receive the application, and they have to give you time to submit more documents when they request them. So a mostly ready application is good enough to send in.
A patient who is receiving Medicaid and needs nursing home level of care can receive more services at home and that relieves caregiver burden quite a bit.
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