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Feeling guilty

(45 Posts)
Katyj Tue 21-Apr-20 15:24:44

Hi, as you may know I have an elderly mum who lives alone in sheltered housing. She suffers from a heart condition, mobility problems anxiety and depression. Normally i visit 3 of 4 times a week,take her shopping, Drs appointments etc etc, at the moment I’m trying to distance myself a bit so only going twice taking shopping etc. She’s upset me today by saying I should be going everyday, says she’s lonely, she needs the dr to come out because she’s experiencing dizzy spells, this is likely to be bp problems again.
What should i do I’m trying my best, not seeing family and grandchildren, trying to keep everyone safe. I know there are no answers it’s just so upsetting to know she thinks I’m not doing my best.

Hithere Tue 21-Apr-20 15:31:14

How about using zoom, Skype, ft, etc?

Katyj Tue 21-Apr-20 15:36:12

Hithere.Thanks for replying, she cannot use anything technical she has short term memory loss, and sadly at the moment can’t use the phone very well because of hearing problems, although I do ring each day, she ends up cutting me off because she can’t hear.

EllanVannin Tue 21-Apr-20 15:42:44

Is there a facility on her phone where she can increase the volume ? There is on most phones now.

Grandmafrench Tue 21-Apr-20 15:48:31

And are you doing your best, Katyj ? I bet you are. You're struggling to balance a very difficult situation - you're not seeing your own DC's or GC's, presumably, and you won't be at all happy with that but you're trying to put your own feelings aside because you are determined to keep everyone safe. It's possible that your Mum is at risk if you are still seeing her. Problem is she is refusing/unable to understand that we are all having to make huge sacrifices in order not to become at risk from this awful virus. She is naturally lonely and missing company and you are her entertainment and probably the highlight of any day. She is spending all this time alone with her thoughts and may be quite depressed. Hopefully she has a 'phone? Get others in the family to phone her regularly?

If you are concerned, then maybe a Doctor's visit might be an idea. It may sort out some new tablets necessary and give her the chance to hear what her GP has to say about the situation and your inability to visit so much. Possibly it would put your own mind at rest.

You will guess I've been there! I know how distressing it is when you feel you can't do right for doing wrong, but this is a case when perhaps it's your decision which counts here. I suspect your Mum has no real concept of what has happened or the difficult situation which exists for all. She's not being singled out or abandoned, it isn't your choice to see her less. Good luck with it all. Stick to your guns, don't feel guilty.

Hithere Tue 21-Apr-20 16:01:08

Can she text using a cell? What if you send her pics?

Katyj Tue 21-Apr-20 16:12:45

We’ve tried to teach her to use a mobile phone, but because if her memory problems, she forgets how to do it, same with the landline, the phone has a button to increase the volume, but doesn’t know how to do it even when prompted.
Thanks grandmafrench I may have to get the dr involved I’ll see how she goes over the next few days.

AGAA4 Tue 21-Apr-20 16:19:22

Katyj. What a difficult situation. You have to do what is best for your mum and your family. It seems your mum doesn't understand the implications of what could happen if you visit,
that you could pass on the virus to her.
Sometimes we have to take on the unwanted role of parent to our parents and make an unpopular choice for their own good.

Katyj Tue 21-Apr-20 16:36:40

Yes that’s very true AGA I feel like we’ve swapped roles, I’m trying to keep her safe. It’s taken me many months to persuade her she needed a new phone, she won’t spend anything on herself, I’m just waiting for them to arrive, she has 3 or 4 phone calls a day from family and friends, but she complained today that everybody seemed as if they didn’t want to stay and chat, but it’s because you have to shout at the top of your voice, it’s very waring and painful after a while.

Katyj Thu 23-Apr-20 15:24:34

Just an update. Mum phoned the dr this morning , mum couldn’t hear so she phoned me. She needs her bp checking ,the only way this can be done is for me to go buy a bp monitor, I then have to take it three times, and leave the readings with the receptionist.
Mums now refusing to buy one! Says she shouldn’t have to and the dr should come out. Honestly it’s like banging my head against a brick wall, I’ve just given the whole day up trying to sort this out !

AGAA4 Thu 23-Apr-20 15:39:52

This is very hard on you Katyj. Parents can become very unreasonable and childish and make life difficult.

I hope that something can be sorted out re. BP. Would the doctor let you borrow a bp machine?

V3ra Thu 23-Apr-20 16:08:10

As she's in sheltered housing are there any carers who could pop in and turn the volume up on her phone, or even check her blood pressure?
If the only option is to buy your own machine and she refuses to pay for it, get one anyway and say "Well that'll have to be your birthday/Christmas present then." And mean it!
One problem at the moment is that the really elderly haven't been out for weeks and have no understanding of the effect of the restrictions on everyone's day to day activities.
My Dad's 89 and he's struggling to keep his spirits up at the moment as well.

Luckygirl Thu 23-Apr-20 17:07:36

Please don't feel guilty! - it is a very unhealthy emotion and very draining and seems to go hand in hand with caring for someone. You are doing your best - you can do no more!!

If she has some short-term memory loss she may forget when you last went.

Katyj Thu 23-Apr-20 17:40:58

Thank you for your replies, I’m fed up of hearing myself now. I asked the dr if it would be possible to take her in, they have a room with a bp machine in there for general use, but she said no, the doors were locked they were only doing phone consultations. I think it’s going to have to be an early birthday present, annoying because she has plenty of money and I’m furloughed at the moment, I think their only about £30 so not the end if the world.

silverlining48 Thu 23-Apr-20 19:10:23

Ours cost £15 from our chemist. Works well and is a good idea to have one at home.
It’s very hard, I do understand, having been in a similar situation.

Americanpie Thu 23-Apr-20 19:26:40

Please don't upset yourself. This happened to me when my sister was having chemo and was forbidden from seeing our Mum who was MRSA positive. I went every day to see her and after six months my sister was able to visit as well, with me. I had tried to explain my sister's absence but Mum didn't get it. She accused me of not seeing her for months and said she was glad my sister hadn't let her down! You are doing the best you can in an extraordinary situation. Take heart and I hope it all goes well for you and your mother.

Katyj Thu 23-Apr-20 19:49:20

Mum still adamant she’s not buying one. Apparently her friend lives over a mile away and is self isolating because she has chronic asthma aged 93 ,has a bp monitor and is calling tomorrow to take mums bp. You couldn’t make it up.

Hithere Thu 23-Apr-20 20:08:50

Even if you buy her a BP monitor, do you think she will use it?

Looks like she has her mind set up she doesnt need it or want it

If that's the case, I wouldn't waste my money

Grammaretto Thu 23-Apr-20 20:37:18

I bought a BP monitor from Boots . It was about £30. What a shame the surgery has closed. Ours are being kept open with special precautions.
It must be extremely wearing for you Katyj

It's a shame that our old people are having to live through this. My in-laws are in their 90s but they have eachother and also my BiL has moved in to look after them. He is a saint.
Please don't feel guilty, just keep talking to her..

Grandmafrench Thu 23-Apr-20 22:48:34

I feel really sad for you, Katyj. I think that maybe you are going to have to lower your standards and your expectations, because lots of times I'd guess you are struggling to achieve the impossible. Your Mum has short term memory loss which is a massive problem if she lives alone. Sheltered housing - sorry, it always sounds like the perfect solution in terms of safety, but you still have the battle that she is alone a lot of the time and therefore with her inability to grasp important concepts and insistence that she will do what she decides, and then her failing to understand and remember what she's told or what she hears, you probably feel sometimes that herding cats would be easier! She has 'hearing problems' - maybe you mean that she won't wear her hearing aids or even doesn't have any! Everyone has to shout. Isn't that hateful - and exhausting and she probably has no idea of the effect that she's having on you all with that. Maybe she insists that there's something wrong with the 'phone, and she gets only half of the conversation and constantly gets the wrong end of the stick. She is inclined to be difficult - that could be because she might have early dementia or she is just being cranky and determined to hold on to a bit of independence for as long as she can. She gets ideas that you can't change - like the plan to have an elderly and vulnerable friend to visit her in lockdown. Can they actually manage a blood pressure monitor between them? I doubt it. My elderly Mum couldn't even cope with a 'phone: sometimes she couldn't answer it, wouldn't answer it, held it the wrong way up, went off to do something else, cut herself off by squeezing the wrong buttons....and on and on. All of this you are trying to correct, at the same time as trying to keep up her spirits and arrange for the family to be supportive. Actually, with all that is going on in life at the moment, a total nightmare for you - because as you attempt to "fix" one thing, something else goes wrong in her life.

Give yourself a break. You are/we are (I reckon) the last of the "sandwich generation" : caring for an elderly parent, looking out for and helping adult children, caring for grandchildren. Not a lot of time in between left for you. Try not to feel overly responsible, just attend to the important stuff and as you see it unravel, you need to just step back a little. There's no way that one little you is going to be able to fix everything. It seems you are on the ball for a lot of the time. As long as she's safe in her own home, as long as she or you is able to contact the Doctor - whatever input that offers at the moment - and there is a warden or manager at the sheltered accommodation on call if she needs it, you can't do much more. As for the other stuff, as someone said earlier, she possibly will quickly forget who and when visits and calls are made. So however you try to jump through hoops to make her happy, you are possibly going to not get the results that you want at present. I lost my darling Mum last summer at a tremendous age. If she was alive now, I would be totally desperate - her in the UK, me abroad, unable to visit her wherever I lived and her completely failing to understand what life had come to. I hope above everything that this situation doesn't impact on your life to such an extent that you only feel guilt. That would be crazy now and would be such a waste of all your shared memories and your final years with your Mum. Deep breath, and believe that it will be alright - but if sometimes it's not then at least you know you're doing the very best you can. No one can do more than that. Sorry for such a lengthy post. Good luck and stay safe.

Hetty58 Thu 23-Apr-20 23:00:12

I'd write her a letter to explain why you are visiting less often. Say that it's to keep her safe and well - because you love her and want to look after her.

Ignore her protests as it's understandable that she has trouble adapting to change. Don't take it to heart. Contact the sheltered housing warden and ask that she's regularly checked on.

Katyj Fri 24-Apr-20 05:53:17

Thank you so much for putting thing’s in perspective, sometimes I can’t see the wood for the trees. I had a phone call at 10 pm last night,from one of mums neighbours,he’d had a call from her to say she was worried about her bp and did he have a monitor ! He went over and took 3 readings which were all high averaging 185/95 he was then worried and called me, he is shielding his wife at the moment who has asthma so shouldn’t have been there at all.Of course I thanked him, said I would be there today. I am so cross with mum, she really doesn’t understand at all or doesn’t care, not sure which. The sheltered housing doesn’t have a warden, only an alarm system, she does have very good neighbours that check on her, but obviously mostly keeping their distance at the moment.Every time I visit which is 3 or 4 times a week I’m told it’s not enough and I should be there every day . I do need to take a step back, it’s causing me a lot of stress,and after all there is only me, I have a husband , young grandchildren and work part time. I need time out too. Thanks again.

NemosMum Fri 24-Apr-20 10:17:33

Katyj - what a difficult situation. Realistically, your mum is not going to change her mind - she can't, because she is no longer able to understand and take into account the full range of facts and consequences. You can though! One way to gauge what to do is to think "What is reasonable under these circumstances?" Then do whatever that is AND DON'T FEEL GUILTY! Here's the difficult bit: you are an adult and you don't need her validation for your action - you have to validate your own behaviour. It's hard, but you can do it! Good luck and stay strong!

polnan Fri 24-Apr-20 10:19:35

don`t really know what to say here, not just the elderly going through this,, not just the elderly with memory problems,,
oh dear,, I suppose I am "elderly" and my family don`t visit me..
I live alone, well not true, I have my cat,, and worry about dying and my cat not having food,, I am sure it would take my family, best part of a day, to realise that I hadn`t communicated with them... even then...

so I think Katyg, I think what I am saying is.. please do NOT feel guilty, you are one amazing person, so you happen to be a daughter,, and yes, most daughters, appear to do more than most, sons....

Katyg you are doing what is right, you have to isolate yourself from your mum, you are protecting her,,,

I am surprised the surgery not making other arrangements if patients can`t video/phone,, seems hit and miss, like most everything else in this country

you are a good daughter Katyg.

patricia1958 Fri 24-Apr-20 10:22:53

Don't feel guilty you have to think about yourself as well I used to live in sheltered housing and all the help your mum might need will be there for her she is probably feeling a bit lonely because everything has had to change remember your mum has more help on hand then you do