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Elderly parents

Hard to help Mum when she is so obstinate

9 replies

skyblue11 · 01/06/2013 20:45

Last week took her to the GP upshot is she needs xrays, bloods, mini memory all sorts of stuff. She is refusing the xrays and today her chest sounded real bad, so I called the out of hours GP to get a barrage of abuse from her about how I was giving her more anxiety. I feel so cross with her she's never grateful and I always have to push her to get help, I feel like leaving her to her own devices!
Hard enough putting yourself out with appointments, taking time off work, phone calls, grief and worrying without the abuse!

OP posts:
onepieceoflollipop · 01/06/2013 20:51

That sounds stressful. If a mini memory assessment is being arranged, it may well be there is concern she is becoming confused/showing early signs of dementia.
This can often cause the person to be irritable/abusive, partly out of frustration. So as you probably realise, she is not behaving like this deliberately.

onepieceoflollipop · 01/06/2013 20:51

Do you have anyone who can support you, e.g. a sibling?

skyblue11 · 01/06/2013 21:04

My Dad also had Dementia so I am aware of the personaility changes, she's always been like this though, thinks I am trying to make life hard for her.
Siblings? I have one brother who is disabled, so I support him as his appointee and POA with meetings, arranging support, assessments etc unfortunately all that my mother ever cares about is him, I get no thanks or even acknowledgement at how lucky my brother is to actually have me oversee all his care and worse his crisis moments of which there are plenty!
Sometimes I could scream, I am close to tears most of the time, really emotional, not 100% health wise myself, trying to keep healthy as I have my own family to think about and a job that is stressful too. I have a friend who understands though, so that's good. Unfortunately DH is also quite 'needy' the only thing that keeps me going is my DD and she'll be off to uni soon so I will be so down then, trying not to think about that right now....sorry my post turned into one of self pity!

OP posts:
Deffodil · 01/06/2013 21:10

I have every sympathy. My mother has been like this for years. Its come to the point that,apart from doing her food shopping every week,I just listen to her complaints every day,knowing that every offer of help will be turned down.

onepieceoflollipop · 01/06/2013 21:11

sky that sounds really stressful, especially as your mum has always been difficult. Thank goodness for your understanding friend.

skyblue11 · 01/06/2013 21:18

I was the one who had to make the decision my brother could no longer live at home, someone had to do it, she agrees it was the best thing now but at the time I was the most awful person in here eyes.
It's like he's the child I never asked for and it's 'expected' I now take over his care. I would never wish this on any child, my daughter is an only child which has its downside but at least she's free of this!

OP posts:
Needmoresleep · 02/06/2013 08:49

It sounds awful.

One silver lining for me has been the realisation that I am far from the only one with a difficult relationship with my mother. I spent far too many years accepting that my brother was the golden boy because he was in some way "better". And that everyone else had close nurturing families, a bit like on TV.

Having a difficult relationship with your mother is perhaps something that not many people talk about, expect now when that relationship is reversed and the daughter needs to step up to the plate. Not least because the golden boy brother does not seem to be able to cope, again something that appears to be fairly standard.

On the longer thread I shared my cousin's view that many in our mother's generation are frustrated and angry. They had the intelligence but even if they had the education they were not allowed to use it. Husbands and family came first.

I could have found plenty of reasons to duck out, and the transition where I had to insist I took control was pretty awful. But I am glad I did. As you will know from your brother there are times when you know what is the right approach even though emotionally your mother is reluctant.

I would be guided by the health and SS professionals. If her tests show she needs support and, say, is financially vulnerable, then use that to do your best to insist she hands over the necessary control and that you get the support you need. If she "passes" the tests and is being obstinate, then there is probably not much you can do. (Her symptoms could be caused by something as simple as a UTI.) Save your energy for later. And do if you can, seek advice from the same professionals on your own situation. Some, though not all, were both experienced and wise and helped me get through the transition to getting my mother into an environment where she has as much independence as she can manage whilst being protected.

Having had a husband die of dementia and having been a carer for her son she must be pretty frightened at what the future holds. It cant be easy for you either, knowing what may be coming up.

CMOTDibbler · 02/06/2013 09:01

I think what NeedsMoresleep says about fear is worth thinking about. My dad (who is frail but not any more demented than living with my mother makes a person) has in the past been terribly obstinate and very head in the sand about her. He is not one to talk about feelings at all, but I had a breakthrough when he was talking about his mum and how he used to go as a teenager on his own to visit her in locked psychiatric wards (and this was in the 50's and 60's). Anyway, turns out he was terrified that this was where mum would have to go.
After a long chat and talking about dementia care he has been much more receptive.

Does your mum have any friends or relatives you could rope in for a bit of support on 'got to keep yourself well'? Sometimes it comes better from someone prewarned that this is what needs to be said

whataboutbob · 02/06/2013 21:47

Much good advice from NMS and CMOT as usual. I feel sympathy as I have a father with dementia and a brother with mental illness, and they live together. Fans of Tennessee WIlliams will know that not even he had dreamt up that combo. About 18 months ago I found myself going into work and wanting to cry most days. I was consumed with self pity and the no 1 thought in my mind was " no one else I know has to put up with this shit". I was considering moving in next door to them to become a kind of double carer ( despite living 2 hours away and having 2 kids and a job). An uncle + my GP strongly recommended I went for counselling and that has been very helpful. I realise I was not responsible for creating this situation. I cannot make their lives " normal" and have managed to create some kind of an emotional cordon between their situation and me. I am still very much involved in helping them, I have POA for dad and have pushed for my brother to see a psychiatrist. I visit them regularly, have (again) arranged home help and dad comes to me at least once a month.
You have obviously been a long way down this road too as you have pushed for appropriate living arrangements for your brother, and got it. Easier said than done, but try and stare the guilt down. Ultimately i suspect we on this board would all like to be free of these situations, but we are facing up to our responsibilities and I think guilt is just not justified.

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