My mother who is 89 moved in with my husband and I alittle over a year ago. She is healthy but her eyesight and hearing is poor, even with her hearing aids she can't hear well. I am at the point where I can't even stand being in the same room as her. I am overwhelmed with grief over this. When I was in my 20's and 30's we were very close (we did not live together) and always promised her I would always take care of her. Now I am taking care of her and I'm so unhappy. We've had "the talks" where I had to set boundaries and tell her she already raised me and didn't need to know everything I'm doing and everywhere I'm going and when to wear a jacket and when to comb my hair. She also gets very upset when I spend a day with my husband (on his day off) and she is not invited. Mom is very sarcastic and will also say what's on her mind.She is manipulative which I've tried to stop her from being and sometimes negative. I feel guilty because I feel the love I had for her is no longer there.Is it because my world has been turned upside down now that I no longer have my privacy and can no longer do what I want when I want? Do I resent her being here? I know I am burdened with the feelings of not wanting her to be alone too much, not wanting her to eat alone,etc. but she does not want to make new friends at church and she just basically wants me all to herself. I'm 57 and have MS and don't feel well most of the time but when she walks in the room I tighten up, put up a wall and just feel like I'm burdened because I feel as her daughter I should be focusing on her and her needs. I try to take care of myself, exercise when I feel up to it but lots of time I hide in my room just to get away from her. I just don't want to be around her and it's killing me. As I write this I am in bed, sniffling because we had a little fight, she said something sarcastic and I got mad and snapped at her, then she cried. So I ended up going to my room, getting into bed and cryed. Why don't I like her anymore? My 30 year old son said I need to find her an apartment but I just can't. I promised her I would take care of her but I know she sits in her room and is lonely. Why can't I bring myself to feel sorry for her when all I feel is burdened and guilt?
The answer to me seems so simple -- un-nail their feet from the floor and move to a community where people are the same age. If we change our thinking, we would just see this as another milestone of life. The way it is now is that a family caregiver often has to donate the years they would be going overseas or our RVing to staying home taking care of parents. If they don't do it, they are called selfish for not taking care of the parents. With lives going upward to 100 years now, we really do need to change our thinking on things. In the old days, elders tended to do okay until they were taken by something like heart attack or stroke. Now they can have that same event and live another 10-20 years. It is too much of a commitment from a caregiver to satisfy their parent's desire to not move. Really, if we consider the trade-off, it is most unfair. Why should someone donate 10-20 years of life so their parent doesn't have to move? (You know, I feel selfish saying this. I'm still caught up in the old logic that kids need to make their parents happy, whatever the cost.)
Lifestyles have changed from the days of old, where people had big houses on their country farms and elders died young. Still we are stuck in the old mentality of caring for elders. What I would like to see the baby boomer generation do is start breaking away from this old model that doesn't work anymore. Senior living communities sound marvelous -- social interaction and looking out for each other, freeing the younger people from having to tolerate the warm temperatures and things that often go with aging.
Still don't know how to fit dementia into the rosy picture. It is happening so much now. The villages they have in Europe (Denmark? Holland? I forget) sound wonderful, but I don't think the US would spend that kind of money.
If it doesn't, placing her in a clean place that dignifies her is also you taking care of Mom always. Then you get to take care of YOU always.
So TAKE care of her! Do you think she's happy in your home knowing darned well she's making you miserable? She's miserable too!!
At 89, one would think she'd be ready for assisted living, not an apartment; certainly if not right now, in a year or two highly likely.
Put all of your frustrated energy into exploring options for you mom - assisted living facilities. You think that's some kind of PUNISHMENT? You are sooo wrong.
Right now, even aside from knowing she's an intruder in your home and making you miserable, she's socially isolated. Probably allowed very little choice in the big scheme of things.
In an ALF, she'll have a menu from which to choose her meals. She'll have people her own age to gossip with and talk about. She'll have plenty of stimulation in the form of social programs to attend or not as she chooses. Don't want to hear the Frank Sinatra impersonator tomorrow afternoon? That's okay. Wait for Monday. They're having a magician. Don't feel like taking a nap? Go sit in the common room and people watch for a while.
Does it take some adjustment? Of COURSE. My goodness, an 89-year-old doesn't even want to change what cereal she eats in the morning. But I predict in no time at all she'd be much happier than she is at your house.
And so would you.
When you have all the information, have a talk with her about it. Take her on a guided tour of the facility you've selected. Maybe arrange to go on a day they have a program . . . have the Admissions Director introduce her around, etc.
Assisted Living isn't a snake pit. It's a wonderful opportunity. Why are you torturing yourself?
Here is what well-respected therapist Pauline Boss has to say about that subject, in her book "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia" (This particular passage is not specifically about dementia.)
"Taking care of someone who years before was abusive or neglectful of you is beyond what is expected of you. Caring for a family member who was or is physically or psychologically abusive is dangerous. Feeling as if you want to retaliate is also dangerous. These are justifiable reasons for NOT being a caregiver."
Does she then suggest you just walk away? Not exactly:
"Each case is different, but with most, I encourage some kind of continued management -- often through a social worker -- to make sure that the caregiving team or the nursing home professionals are treating your family member well. This may be the best you can do given your history together."
I think you are doing the best you can do, Rkello. I am hoping this professional's opinion will help you ditch the guilt and shame.
I am trying to keep going......but mom is going along same as usual..all her usual troubles but nothing about us..
So I say again..take care of yourself!! love her but try to get some support before your health breaks...
When I was younger I thought it would be great to have my parents live with me. Gosh, I would still have my career and it would be like "Father Knows Best" coming home to a cooked meal, clean house, and mowed lawn. I never pictured my parents being in their 90's. I never pictured my Mom being almost deaf/blind. I never pictured my Dad never driving again. I never pictured them always napping. Gone are the great conversations. Now Dad likes to tell stories of his childhood/college years which I have heard 100 times, and to converse with my Mom I am lucky if she catches one word to even know what the subject matter.
I had never promised them that I would take care of them when they got older, they probably assume I would since I am an only child. They are still living independently in their own house, but I know some day that will change. How I wish they would move now into a retirement community [lot of really great ones here in my area] so that they can get use to the place and to meet new friends... look at all the new ears Dad would have for his stories. And my parents would have MORE control over their lives instead of always depending on me to fulfilled their outside needs. And my visits would be QUALITY time, instead of being an errand person.
If your mum is just "old and crabby" with no real health issues then suggest AL as you are not in good health and this will make YOU worse. I had a stroke in Jan so ive HAD TO let alot go for my own sanity. I promised myself id have my own house a great man and a few kids at this stage of my life but it hasnt happened so dont eat yourself up with "promises" no matter where your mum is you can still be a loving daughter to her but having her living at your home is just not working out so maybe start looking at an alternative. This is going to get worse not better so think ahead wouldnt it be great if she was around her own age group and you could take her out and spoil her like some daughters get to do.
I am DONE and mum needs to go into a NH soon and i cant wait to "visit" her and try and be her daughter again as right now im a miserable, stressedout, depressed, fat unhealthy, sad woman who cant do this anymore. If you asked my friends to describe the person i was before this crap? funny outgoing always cheered others up game for anything slim healthy always travelling yep the "world was my oyster". Now im a sad old "CAT LADY" and only 48yrs old.
Yep give me an animal anyday now thats "unconditional love". Have to go now "mothers calling me" from upstairs shes no hearing aid in and dosnt matter how loud I scream up she cant hear me then shell say "dont you dare shout at me like that".
Honestly though this caregiving really is a "HOOT". NOOOOOOOOOOT