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Care & carers

Fed up and feeling resentful today

(48 Posts)
Washerwoman Thu 04-Feb-21 23:39:20

Just that really.Mum is very old and frail.I have siblings who help too and after a long time we eventually got mum to agree to a carer several mornings a week.So it's not all down to me.However anything and everything we do is met with resistance.All we have tried to do is help mum stay safe and in her own home.
We now have a rota for taking an evening meal.She wasn't eating properly and her fridge was getting in a state.Her eyesight and mobility mean she is truly housebound.
But it feels never ending and totally frustrating mainly because she really resents having any help.Won't wear her panic alarm. Refused a Covid jab initially until I really got firm point of the out it was to protect us and her carer as well as her.And I was not prepared to nurse her if she got it.Harsh but I've had enough lately. It really started several years ago when my dad got ill but she refused any help,and yet would cry when you went saying eg what a terrible night she had had with him.
And so it's gone on since he died and she's got frailer herself. One minute telling you how she's struggling with her hip,eyesight etc. Then any practical suggestions to help met with 'stop treating me like an old lady.'I know very recently it's the onset of dementia making things worse .But tbh she always was stubborn and had a bit of a martyr syndrome.
I know I won't always think of her this way.But tonight I feel my relationship with her is soured.It is my turn to go again at the weekend and tbh I just feel like saying sod it tonight.Traipsing out this evening to shop for her,especially with Covid masks etc and taking a home cooked meal to be greeted by 'why have you come.' You all think I can't look after myself' It feels so exasperating.
DH and I also keep an eye on his very elderly aunt.And she couldn't be more different.Sensible about she can and can't do now.Gets on with what she can do,asks for help if she needs it.Always pleased to see us.It is a pleasure to visit her.I find myself looking forward to my visits and chats with her,but dreading going to my own mum.
Mostly I roll with it.Tonight needs to vent somewhere so I could get unwind and get some sleep .Thanks to anyone reading.

Ro60 Thu 04-Feb-21 23:47:16

Yes especially hard at the mo. Mums cleaner not coming & she could run the hoover round but won't until I suggest it needs doing. First lock down I didn't go in until quite late on & then realised I needed to help her. She still won't let me vac. & tells me off for telling her what to do.
Sleep well x

Shandy57 Thu 04-Feb-21 23:48:25

I am truly sorry your Mum is reluctant to accept she needs your help. My aunt is buying Wiltshire Foods, it's on a when you want them basis rather than a subscription, is this something she would consider? Your visits could then be with a bunch of flowers for a chat, rather than delivering a meal?

NellG Thu 04-Feb-21 23:48:37

I hope you manage to have a restful night. I often think caring for family is the hardest thing people do. You are allowed to get frustrated and tired and exhausted - you are allowed to say 'sod it'. All of those things let you carry on rolling with it. All my best, flowers

nanna8 Thu 04-Feb-21 23:51:03

What can I say ? From what you write she is frightened of getting more and more frail and unable to cope and taking it out on you. It sounds as though she does respond to a bit of a straight talk so maybe you could actually tell her how she is making you feel? She may have no clue what she is doing to you. Maybe lay down a few basic rules that she shouldn’t criticise all the time if she wants your help. I don’t know how she would respond, of course, or how much dementia is contributing to her moods. Can you get any emotional help- is there an Alzheimer’s society there who could give you support and tips as to how to cope? Hope things improve, come what may.

MissAdventure Thu 04-Feb-21 23:52:26

You have my deepest sympathy.
My mum drove us to despair with her independence.

She seemed sometimes to get pleasure from causing upset, but I know that wasn't really her.
Whatever it was, I didn't like it much.

Nannytopsy Thu 04-Feb-21 23:58:09

Washerwoman you have my sympathy. My mum had macular degeneration, awful back pain and having suffered a major stroke at 33, was pretty disabled. When Dad died she was in her 80s and decided this was her time and oh dear she could be hard work! She lived in a huge house with minimal heating. We had to take meals like you, and go and clean as her cleaner just talked!
At times she was sweetness and light and so grateful, but I did spend an awful lot of time on the M6!
You know that this situation will not last for ever but you are struggling today. Disarm her with charm? Distract by talking about relatives/happy times/good news stories? Can RNIB help with little things to make life easier? Mum had a speaking clock, a buzzer to say when her cup was full, so she could make a drink etc.
I do feel for you and you need to think of yourself. Buy a bunch of flowers tomorrow.
Good luck my dear.

FarNorth Fri 05-Feb-21 00:02:47

Perhaps your mum needs to have some boundaries set now.
Tell her you've come to make sure she eats, or whatever the reason is, and you're not going to listen to complaints.

The ready meals idea sounds good. Then even if she needs you to heat it up for her, that will be a lot less bother for you.
Parsley Box is one I've seen advertised which sells meals that can be kept in the cupboard (not fridge) and you don't need a subscription, just order what you want.

Have a rant here if you want, though. It must be so wearing to have to keep dealing with someone who has that attitude.

GrannyRose15 Fri 05-Feb-21 00:03:05

So sorry you are feeling like this, Washerwoman. It can be very hard looking after elderly relatives and old people aren't always sweetness and light. Some can be be really contrary and b------y minded. It sounds as though you really need a rest. Could one of your siblings give you a few days off so you can have a little time to yourself? Or could you make two meals at a time and leave one in the fridge for the next day.

Your mum really is lucky to have such a caring family but I know people don't always appreciate what they have.

Lockdown is so difficult for everyone and limits our chances of having a change of scene or a rest. Can you perhaps lose yourself in a book or in a tv programme for a while. It's rather racy, but I've just finished reading the first book in the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn. If you don't mind the saucy bits it will take you out of yourself for a while.

And alot of us on here have just finished watching The Drowning on TV. There was much speculation on a Gransnet thread about how it would turn out.

One thread I would suggest you look at is the Favourite Poem thread. There are some lovely poems suggested on there - some I'd never heard before. And some that made my cry.

Even if it's only for half an hour try to do something for yourself. I'm sure you'll feel better for it.

Washerwoman Fri 05-Feb-21 00:08:49

Thanks for all your kind words.
Meal delivery service wouldn't work for mum now. I used to leave ready meals and home cooked meals and find them in the bin or left out and she would just eat handfuls of cereal or crisps.Turned out she was very anaemic.So the only way she eats properly is if we stay and sit with her .Then she scoffs the lot.
She really is getting worse and somehow as her daughter I bear the brunt of her obvious frustration and confusion.
I am going to get in touch with Age Concern or some support system.She hasn't officially been diagnosed with dementia.Even the suggestion of seeing a doctor when I suspected she had anaemia got me in trouble for' making a fuss ' and being bossy. Anyway night all and thanks again.

MissAdventure Fri 05-Feb-21 00:13:31

Sleep tight. flowers

Washerwoman Fri 05-Feb-21 00:23:44

Ps just seen another couple of lovely responses .I'm very lucky really in that I have a very supportive DH and family of my own.Even though our DDs can't visit me or her with Covid restrictions they are great at keeping in touch and having a good matter,as are my closest friends. The Drowning is next on my list of things to watch.I walk our dogs,sometimes miles,each day.And can be in our garden for hours when the weather permits..And have become a jigsaw junkie this winter. Like gardening it really makes me switch off.In fact I've just got a new one to start so that should restore some equilibrium !

Erica23 Fri 05-Feb-21 08:07:34

Oh Washerwomen i so resonate with you and others. It is so very hard caring for someone. My mum is also very old, she broke her hip two years ago, has macular degeneration, back pain ,hip pain nausea and dizziness, angina, a fib, and high bp.
Trying to get her to eat is a big battle, it’s all we seem to talk about. She told me yesterday not to bring any of my home made meals she doesn’t like or want them, quite hurtful actually. All she will eat is salad and sandwiches.
I feel like giving up im an only one although thank goodness she has carers three times a day, but she’s threatening at the moment to cancel them as she has just received a backdated bill, goodness knows what will happen then as she keeps falling and has had two hospital stays this year. She refuses to wear her wrist alarm as it gets in the way.
I haven’t any answers, but you have my sympathy. I feel as if I’m going mad, I can’t relax and it’s affecting my mental health so much. We’re looking forward to the end of lockdown then we can escape for a short holiday. Good luck flowers

Washerwoman Fri 05-Feb-21 09:02:59

Oh dear Erica.And going through it on your own.Although at times getting agreement with siblings as to how to proceed can be frustrating.I had to really push for Powers of Attorney, and when mum did agree they said they would sort it as at the time I was working,helping with DGCs and doing her cleaning, showering etc.Guess what ?Turns out they only did the Finance one and not the Health one. Didn't think it was necessary,and didn't tell me.And now she really hasn't got capacity.
I hope you get your break.We're booked for a week away in late spring.Only in the UK but who knows if that will happen.I thought I wasn't too fussed as long as I got a few days off from mum,but now realise a complete change of scene would be great.
Take care of yourself the best you can.And all you other carers out there .

JaneJudge Fri 05-Feb-21 09:18:40

I can't really add to what everyone else has written, it is hard work and it is even harder when the person you are caring for is so stubborn. Have you have you had a look on Carers UK? The support differs wildly from area to area but it is worth looking into as I am lucky enough to have a very good county one. I'm not heavily involved but I go to an art group through them - under normal times- and it really makes a difference to my own wellbeing. So it might be worth looking into? I think the most important thing for me is being with other people who just 'get it' and there is no judgement at all. We don't all sit in a circle polishing our halos wink

BlueBelle Fri 05-Feb-21 09:22:41

Do you know washerwoman I think it s something to do with being a woman and always being in charge of your own little domain
My own mum became resentful of all the help she needed and at times saw me as the enemy even the ‘other woman’ when I tried to help dad (she had Alzheimer’s ) I remember one evening Dad calling me up to say he felt unwell I rushed round let myself in and mum went oh here comes Florence Nightgale and sat with her back to me all evening while I sorted Dad out but she and I were fairly good friends ( as long as we weren’t together too long) and having seen notes after her death that she had jotted down she praised me to the hilt calling me ‘her rock’ my Dad was the opposite so compliant and easy to handle
When my daughter was nursing she used to say on the whole men were much better patients as they did what you told them to but women always thought they could do it themselves

It’s a very difficult situation washerwoman I was an only child too
Do what you can in the best way you can but don’t hit your head against a brick wall it’s your life as well as hers

Oopsadaisy1 Fri 05-Feb-21 09:37:49

I feel so sorry for your situation, it could have been written by my Sister in Law when her Mother (my MIL) had Vascular Dementia, this was thankfully, before Covid and she had an awful time of it.
But she hung in there with no help, apart from the carers , who MIL hated, until MIL was so ill that she couldn’t be left on her own.
The Hospital then stepped in and said it was a care home or she would have to stay in hospital.
SIL still feels guilty especially as MIL died during Lockdown last year.
I’m sure your Mother appreciates what you are doing and if she was well she would be mortified by her behaviour to you, all I can say is Well Done and try to take a break as soon as you can.

Witzend Fri 05-Feb-21 09:39:20

I do really feel for you - old people can be an absolute b*gger, can’t they? No apologies for saying that - we’ve been through so much of it, and stubbornly refusing to have the necessary help - and then complaining that they need help! - is often the worst.

We have frail, elderly neighbours who are basically lovely, and I’m v fond of them, but she wails that she can’t cope - but persistently refuses most of the help her son tries to organise. ‘I can do it!’ But a lot of it is just too much for her now.

I do agree with whoever said it’s more likely to be women refusing help - men are much more likely to be perfectly relaxed about a female help.

My FiL with earlier stage dementia continually asked why he couldn’t go home (he was staying with us) with ‘a woman’ to live in and do everything! He had the quaint, old fashioned belief that some poor soul would be very grateful for bed and board - no salary! - in return for being his cook-housekeeper.

Oddly enough his younger sister - no dementia - thought exactly the same when she became unable to manage. And was most put out when the odd person she actually asked, basically said, No way!

JaneJudge Fri 05-Feb-21 10:09:05

That is really interesting re men v women thing. I think it's true you know. Even my Gran who was really quite lovely could be quite nasty about her carer who used to sit with her for most of the day. The carer was lovely too but my Gran used to say 'don't give her any of those biscuits/sweets, she is fat enough as it is!' and other personal insults to the poor woman's face, yet she missed the carer when she was on holiday and behind her back was as complimentary as anything about her! confused

WW010 Fri 05-Feb-21 10:22:52

You have my sincere sympathies. Agree with all said previously. I do think it’s a combination of frustration, fear and control. Controlling what she eats, says and does is her way of hanging onto her ‘self’. She’ll know she’s being difficult. A counsellor told me that just because my mum said something nasty didn’t mean it was right. I could let it wash past (not always easy). Venting is good and this forum is great for that. A guy I knew (long time ago) told me I had to learn to speak ‘pensioner’. When they say something daft just agree. Smile and nod. You could try backing off a little. Let her eat crisps. Just keep a discreet eye on her health. Once she knows she has a bit of control she might ease up? 🥴. Other than that I’d suggest installing a punchbag at home. 🥰. Good luck. ❤️

maddyone Fri 05-Feb-21 11:09:27

Washerwoman you have my sympathy. I have a difficult and controlling mother too. She is 93 and has been stubborn all her life, so she isn’t going to change now. Probably your mother is similar, and so given that you can’t change her you have to let it go. My mother refused carers until she fell and was taken into hospital with a head injury. Even when the hospital tried to arrange a care package for her, she refused to have it. Eventually they were able to persuade her. She now has carers four times a day, but we don’t know what will happen when she has to start paying for them in three weeks. Prior to going into hospital she was dirty, not getting dressed, complaining she was ill (she wasn’t, it was attention seeking) she wouldn’t eat properly, choosing to eat biscuits or toast, but would eat well when brought to our house for a meal.
When I was telling a friend about it and worrying about it, my friend said that we’re just living too long now. I think she could be right. I’m sure nature was never meant to have people in their late 60s and 70s trying to look after people in their 90s alongside providing childcare and support for their adult children and grandchildren. A controversial view I know, but maybe my friend had a point.

Madgran77 Fri 05-Feb-21 11:23:59

I dont agree about the men/women bit! My mother, a strong and independent woman, was entirely realistic about her situation and needs/realities as she got steadily older and more helpless. My father, a lovely kind man, was completely unrealistic, difficult and a pain in the back side about the realities of his situation. Interestingly his "baby brother" who is now 90 years old, and a kind gentle man, is being equally difficult and unrealistic about his present circumstances and causing huge hassle for everyone!!

Washerwoman I sympathise and your feelings of understandable resentment resonate. I do wonder if some straight talking is the way to go as in:

"What are you doing here?" "I am here with your hot meal because if I dont bring it you don't eat properly and that made you anaemic last time!"

"Stop treating me like an old lady!" ""I am responding to what you have told me is the reality of your position now. You told me .....! I am suggesting ***as a solution. That is not treating you as an old lady, it is suggesting a solution to a problem you told me you have!"

I found that model , used for all such interactions with my dad, got through at least partially!! It is with my uncle too. I also would dig my heels in about how much of a solution I was able to be, as long as it didnt put him in physical danger.

Sorry you are facing this. flowers

maryrose54 Fri 05-Feb-21 11:26:42

Washerwoman I do feel for you. MiL is 90 and lives alone, never going out. She uses a walker, can hardly walk at all and is frail although at the moment is quite sharp and stubborn,and refuses to consider going into care or having a carer in.She has a panic button in case of emergency. DH and his sister take turns to pop in daily and so far it has worked reasonably well. Yesterday morning SIL popped in to find MIL on the floor where she had been since the night before. Couldn't use panic button as was lying on it and she can't move if on the floor. We dread to think what might have happened if SIL hadn't arrived and called ambulance. No damage done physically but this has been a wake up call with regards to her future.

BlueBelle Fri 05-Feb-21 11:35:35

Theres never a complete fit madgran I was talking about on the whole not every single person

Here’s a thought what are we all going to be like ???

I have been on my own so long and having to do my own stuff and I try to be really accepting of my daughter’s (the one who lives near me)advice but I sometimes find myself thinking I want to do it my way, on the whole I do listen as she’s nearly always right but will I always be this rounded or if I was to get dementia would I kick my heels in and return to the ‘I m in charge me’ stance I hope not

25Avalon Fri 05-Feb-21 11:37:58

Washerwoman it sounds to me as if your mum is suffering from early stage dementia which will make her even more difficult to cope with. They don’t like to admit anything is wrong and get angry if you suggest there is, and they don’t eat properly which is the most worrying thing. Maybe talk to her GP. Also have you spoken to the Carer and discussed this with the rest of the family? Meanwhile try to keep your chin up. You are doing your best and being a good daughter. Mum is lucky to have you.