Mum, 92(41 Posts)
How do people cope with an elderly mother? I love her but am beginning to resent the amount of time I spend with her and then hate myself for that. I'm retired now and sometimes feel my life is slipping by and that I can't do the stuff I wanted to do because of her - and then I feel terrible for thinking it I have two brothers who live away, and a dd with a life of her own, so not much respite. Would appreciate words of wisdom please!
How much are you doing for her? My mom died when I was 24 (she was 54), so I've not had the experience of caring for a parent, really.
Do your two brothers help in any way at all or even keep in touch?
Sorry to hear you are in this situation. Does she have a social worker? Would she consider going into a care home or sheltered housing?
I don't know. My mother's 95 and I'm an only child. I wish I had a sibling to share the burden, especially as my mother and I have never had any emotional bond whatsoever. You sound a hell of a lot more fortunate than I am.
Similar to previous pp, my mum died at 53 so no direct experience.
What exactly do you do and can any of this be passed onto paid agencies? Does she live alone? Have you discussed your difficulties with your siblings?
My friends mother is in her 90s but she has a job where she travels 10 or so days away a month. She has a carer twice a day and someone comes in to give her a meal and a cup of tea and put her to bed. They get so much help from the council and the rest they pay for themselves. Could this work for you.
Would you rather she was cared for by someone else? Can you afford to pay for this?
If looking after her stops you gong on holidays etc, could you get respite care?
Lots of questions. Is she living with you? Close by? Does she need assistance? Would she be happy to go out and meet other elderly people?
Are there volunteer organisations in your area?
Could you invite other people in, of around her age?
Not yet me personally, but my mother had my grandmother at home and it drove her and my dad crazy. Eventually she went to assisted care, but by then she was 10 years older than your mother.
At that age she was still living alone.
Although not me, my mum cares for my grandma who is 99. I see the strain it puts on my mum and how she can never fully relax as she is always conscious of making sure grandma is ok. She also has two brothers who help in a way but do not have the daily battles my mum does.
Is your mum still in her own home OP? My grandma was until 4 months ago when after breaking her hip she had to move into a home. In some ways, maybe selfishly but I understand that, my mum prefers this now. Previously my mum was worried about grandma being alone overnight, preparing food etc. My mum would spend hours each day at grandmas house doing jobs, preparing meals, tidying and as company. Now grandma is in a home my mum can relax slightly knowing she is supervised overnight/to the loo etc and my mum was able to take a holiday for the first time in many years. (Her brothers had been in numerous holidays in that time).
Op I feel for you. One thing I think my mum was guilty of was not telling her brothers how much she was doing for grandma. I and my father have encouraged her in recent months to be more open and to sit down face to face with her brothers instead of relying on texts/phone calls where things can be misconstrued. This has helped enormously.
I know it can be a burden OP and all I can recommend is take one day at a time and do not be afraid to ask for help. You need to look after yourself too.
Hugs and hand holding.
All the above questions - lean on paid care even if it costs your mum money ( after all she's not saving her pennies to travel the world or skydive now is she !). If she is not well off then the state will support her but if she has some savings my advice is to forget soc services and find and pay privately for care - the service will be more reliable, consistent and do what you/ mum think they need to do, not the bare minimum to keep her going.
Otherwise.... This too is a phase that will pass.... Survive as best you can.
Come over to the elderly parents forum we are really friendly
Btw I have my 92yr old dad to care for. Sis is in Spain. Yep he's in a care home but I take him out ( that does still add value to his life like nothing else can - he really can do nothing much bar eat and sleep - but it's like taking out a small child ). I am the 2am " can you meet him at a&e" or the 7am " he's fallen in the night but he's ok, just informing you" person etc etc.
I'm jealous of you being retired. My parents were too old when they had kids - I didn't know it as a child, they were great parents, but I'm middle aged with kids still at home and a very full on job as well. If they'd had had me 5yrs earlier it would be so much easier as I'd have no kids at home and probably be cutting back on paid work!
I am sorry. I was in a similar position after my mother moved to live near me. Increasingly took up more and more of my time. I had teenagers at home, an absent partner and was about to start a new job. She died suddenly. What a shock.
But she did me a huge favour I wouldn't have been able to cope with it all. Miss her terribly though.
PS the thing I really wanted was for someone else to cook the
Sunday lunch !
I really don't know.
Do you have any contingency in place - social services, carers, meals on wheels etc?
Does your Mum respond well to the suggestion of other people helping out? Mine certainly wouldn't.
My mum is 77 and already pretty high maintenance, even though she is fairly capable on a day to day basis and has my dad around. She is very anxious and emotionally challenging and an increasing number of physical health problems that need investigating have made those aspects of her personality much worse. Dad can't really cope with her when she has a bad patch and is no longer able to drive so I'm frequently having to take off work at the moment to support and transport her re various hospital appointments and procedure. This week I've spent 4 days with them as she had a minor op and needed support before and after, and had a health scare a few days later (which was great fun as she's bordering on phobic about hospitals and I couldn't convince her to go in and get checked out). Have also had a stinking cold, been trying to work, keep on top of house stuff and spend time with my 12yo DD (poor DH has pretty much given up trying to get a look in unless we're on annual leave from work).
TBH when I read threads like this and think of the possibility of another 15+ years of it, I feel utterly terrified.
Well, some of these replies are helpful
FWIW, OP, I don't envy you. It sounds really, really hard
This is one problem of the increasingly elderly population. At some point there are many pensioners taking care of their elderly, when they start tobneed some care themselves. Certainly to rest.
Well, some of these replies are helpful FWIW, OP, I don't envy you. It sounds really, really hard flowers
This one winning the prize for the least helpful.
Sort out what you can do and are willing to do. What do you want to do with your retirement? When are you going on holiday this year? Are your brothers retired? Do you or mum have funds to pay for care? Make yourself less available. Be ruthless with adult social services about your mums needs.
Sympathies - it ain't easy, and it ain't rewarding in the way any other caring can be.
Eldercare is often said to be the opposite of childcare in all the ways that matter - that makes it hard. The most important thing that every expert agrees on is the one thing carers don't do - look after themselves. Get some help, get some time out, and get something nice into your own life as a matter of priority. If I sound tough, I am - saving yourself matters, not least to your mum.
Paid care has made the difference to me. I had two very hard years - and the resentment built up. Th effect on my health and finances was huge.
Then Mum went into hospital - stayed several weeks - dementia became very evident so hospital refused to discharge without a care package in place. Mum refused, insisted she was fine - but didn't really have the choice. It also brought my brothers into the picture and they finally recognised how much she was struggling and how hard it was for me.
I have a wonderful nursing care service. They pop in every day. They prompt Mum with medication and have a chat, they tell me if she is unwell or having problems. If she leaves the phone off the hook I can call them and they'll check on her. If she has a hospital appointment they can take her. I still phone every day, I still have to sort everything out, I still visit weekly - but it is not the same. It is not cheap but Mum is paying. It was costing me a fortune in shopping and petrol and time off work so this is actually cheaper.
Good luck OP - it is a very hard thing to do.
Not wanting to start a bunfight but people pouncing to state that they are envious of the OPs position because they are an only child/have a dead mother really ARE unhelpful. At least I was sympathetic!
I'm an only child and tbh it does add an extra layer of 'bucks stops with me...' pressure, but the upside is that there are no arguments to be had about any action that needs to be taken, and I know plenty of people who have siblings that are bugger all use wrt caring for elderly parents.
No-one is saying they have it harder, it's just the same experience from a slightly different perspective.
I'm very fortunate that my dad's still around, mum is physically capable if not particularly well and only in seventies. I'm sure that makes people in worse circumstances go , but they won't have first hand experience of trying to get a deaf, anxious, hospital phobic, elderly control freak into hospital for a procedure involving sedation, tubes in unfortunate places, cannulas/blood tests (the anxiety makes her already poor veins close down almost completely) and enclosed spaces (did I mention the claustrophobia).
That said I'm very grateful that I haven't yet had to deal with bodily functions
by the skin of my teeth or dementia notwithstanding the pending appt with the memory clinic so who knows
What exactly are you having to do for your mum? I do understand that even if you're not having to do much that's physical it's still a strain taking on the responsibility for an elderly parent. I'm doing that at the moment, and I know I'm lucky in my mum's attitude and health and have a lot of support myself, but it's still a bit hard.
I know two sisters who share care for their elderly mum with dementia with full time support from personal assistants and carers from an agency, and don't have to pay a penny of their own money towards it; I also know people who have only outlived their own elderly parents by a few years as the strain of looking after them caused them so much harm.
It is incredibly difficult but no two cases are the same, that I do know, which is why you can never say someone else's position is fortunate.
I am becoming increasingly anxious about my mum who is in her late sixties and is caring for her mum (94 this year) and her aunt (93 this year). Both living in their own homes. Both fairly well, mobility a bit dodgy especially for aunt, memory lapsing a bit but not incapable of living alone, but still there is a huge amount to do. Hospital and doctor appointments, dentist, she is trying to sort out power of attorney for her mum. They have a cleaner but particularly aunt are very resistant to getting any other help because they expect my mum to do it! She has a sister but she lives away as do I and my sister who lives close has a full and busy life and quite rightly my mum doesn't want her to be tied by this. If I lived closer I could do a bit but I work full time and have three kids so have v little time. I'm thinking I may need to intervene to support mum though and insist they get some more paid help.
Join the discussion
Please login first.