Guilt-How do you cope with it?

fearful fiona

Registered User
Apr 19, 2007
723
72
London
Guilt - hope do you cope with it?

My mother who has dementia and I have never got on particularly well and it is obviously worse with her illness. I don’t live with her because my sanity would be at stake if I did. She is not at an advanced stage, she is just accusing people of stealing things, repeats herself constantly and refuses to take any medical advice because she is very obstinate and thinks she knows better than the doctor. She lives with my father who is very old and has cancer. I have them round once a week to spend the day with me, I do their shopping and their finances. I simply can’t spend more time with them but feel constantly guilty that I am not doing enough. Any suggestions? I know it’s going to get worse.
:confused:
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
70,347
Kent
Hi Fiona,

I`s really difficult becoming a carer, to your mother,when you never really got on with her when she was well.

I was in the same position with my mother, so I do understand. I too used to shop for my mother and see to her finances. I also arranged for a cleaner, once weekly, but told my mother it was free from SS, as she wouldn`t have wanted to pay.

I visited every morning before work and every evening after work, to make sure she was OK and took her medication.

When she needed more care, I arranged for her to go to day care, every day.

Does your mother have any help from Social Services?

There are lots of ways to help, even if you don`t see eye to eye, and you could always make your father an excuse, saying she needs more help for him.

It all sounds very deceptive I know, but you would be acting in their best interests.
 

fearful fiona

Registered User
Apr 19, 2007
723
72
London
Thanks it's good to have someone to talk to. I have learnt to be devious too! My father has carers who "look out" for my mother too which is great. They do have a lot of help in the house which I have organised (cleaners, hairdresser, etc.) I think the great problem is her obstinacy as she cancels any appointments I make with the doctor and is really in denial I think. I don't expect any miracle solutions. Talking Point is such a useful point of contact if only to help one feel less "alone".

Many thanks.
 

pizzapie

Registered User
Apr 25, 2007
6
Stop the guilt its pointless

Here's how to cope with guilt: stop feeling guilty there is no point - it does not help anyone carer or relative to feel any better. And stop trying to behave like superman or superwoman.
 

Natashalou

Registered User
Mar 22, 2007
426
london
Wave

pizzapie said:
Here's how to cope with guilt: stop feeling guilty there is no point - it does not help anyone carer or relative to feel any better. And stop trying to behave like superman or superwoman.

Oh yes..good idea. Wave a magic wand, rub the magic lamp. Lets put in a request for our loved ones to fullly recover, Id like to lose half a stone while the Fairy Godmothers here, and how about a bid for World Peace too?
All about as likely as any of us who feel guilt to be able to "stop" feeling guilty.
Helpful? Chocolate fireguard comes to mind!
 

Áine

Registered User
Feb 22, 2006
994
sort of north east ish
fearful fiona said:
I simply can’t spend more time with them but feel constantly guilty that I am not doing enough. Any suggestions? I know it’s going to get worse.:confused:
hi fiona

it sounds as though you're already doing quite a lot for them. i used to feel similarly guilty with my dad. then i decided that the guilt wasn't so much about how much time i spent with him, but guilt that i didn't have a better relationship with him and that i couldn't cure his dementia. and then had to accept that no one can cure dementia, and the difficulties in our relationship were a joint responsibility over all the years not just my responsibility. that made (still makes) me feel very sad ......... but less guilty.
 

Áine

Registered User
Feb 22, 2006
994
sort of north east ish
Natashalou said:
All about as likely as any of us who feel guilt to be able to "stop" feeling guilty.
yes, i think with feelings it's never as simple as chosing to "stop" whether it's guilt or anger or pain or whatever. we don't get to chose our feelings, the only choice we get is how to respond to them.
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
I think it's a toss up whether you feel sadder when you've had a good relationship with someone who has dementia, or sadder when you've had a bad one. Irrelevant really, I suppose: no one can say "my grief is worse than your grief". I suspect (and this is from someone who had an excellent relationship with her mother) that my grief is less complicated than if I'd had a poor relationship with her, which may, I repeat may, make it easier to deal with. I have my fair share of guilt, but not much regret (except that I wish she hadn't had the strokes of course).

Love

Jennifer
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,235
65
Toronto, Canada
Jennifer, that's true. I've had an excellent relationship with my mother and do think it makes it less complicated to deal with. Not less sad, just less mixed emotions.

Of course I have guilt, less than I used to because time heals everything & I'm more able to beat the guilt monster down. I do have some regrets but I try to ignore them, because it's pointless. However, emotions are slippery little things and not to be governed by our rational minds (some of us have rational minds, anyways, not necessarily all of us:D )

Joanne
 

sophie123

Registered User
Feb 14, 2007
19
Berkshire
With regards to which is better, a good relationship or bad, I see both sides of the coin in my situation. While I never had a good relationship with my mum (who we had to move into a home a year ago), my older sister got on with her much better. For me, she has had a worse time, because she feels like she's lost something, whereas I never had anything to lose. Also, I have managed to deal with all the Guardianship and finance issues with little emotional attachment, while she gives mum all the emotional support that I find hard to give. I know it sounds bad, but it's very hard to create a relationship with someone who doesn't even know who you are. We can only do our individual best, and for now, she has the best of both worlds with my sister and I as a team.

Soph x
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
jenniferpa said:
I think it's a toss up whether you feel sadder when you've had a good relationship with someone who has dementia, or sadder when you've had a bad one. Irrelevant really, I suppose: no one can say "my grief is worse than your grief". I suspect (and this is from someone who had an excellent relationship with her mother) that my grief is less complicated than if I'd had a poor relationship with her, which may, I repeat may, make it easier to deal with. I have my fair share of guilt, but not much regret (except that I wish she hadn't had the strokes of course).

Love

Jennifer
I think all the above is also true when someone dies. I think if you have had a good relationship with someone, been able to say the things you needed to say when you needed to say to them etc then there is obviously immense grief. However, when you have had a 'bad' relationship with them you know that nothing can ever change that and there is more 'if onlys'. I'm not saying that your grief would be more or less bearable in either case, just different.
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
fearful fiona Sure is a waste of energy guilt , but still a human emotion, I done a lot of search on the internet about guilt, found a good web site years back , but can find it now .

I think really if you recognize where its coming from , feel the emotion don’t be scared of it , it help you move on with out it turning into depression , all great in theory but you’ve just got to have the courage to try it out , so now I don’t believe in guilt , who gave us guilt in the first place I ask myself religion , will that another whole subject I better not get into.

Sound to me fearful fiona from what I am reading from your post that you’re doing your best to your ability and that all that counts .

good book to read is Feel the fear , can't remember who wrote it .
 

fearful fiona

Registered User
Apr 19, 2007
723
72
London
Thanks everybody for such great replies. I'm a "first-timer" on Talking Point and I'm so thrilled with all the response. It is all really interesting, helpful and practical. And some laughs too! I will now accept that I'm never going to be Superwoman and that it's OK to raid the chocolate shop.
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
As long as you do it in moderation ,:eek: because as I have read in an AZ book that protect you in the future from getting to stress out :) , so when you ate all the chocolates, Hoover the whole house :) go for a walk, put the music on and dance , dance ,dance .

gosh make me feel tried just thinking about that lol

No never done that before eating in moderation :rolleyes:

Nice to meet you on TP fiona welcome :)
 

Nell

Registered User
Aug 9, 2005
1,170
68
Australia
Dear Fiona,
My relationship with my Mum has always been influenced by the fact that I felt I never measured up to her expectations and never really pleased hher. Because of this I try very very hard now to do what is right for her. I recognise that I'm probably going overboard (woke up last night wondering if I should take her new shoes to the cobbler to have the toes stretched - can't even get away in my sleep)!! However, despite this, I still feel guilty about not doing enough, or for feeling like I "have" to do it instead of "wanting" to do it, or .................. you name it, I feel guilty!!

So I really do understand how you feel. I think Margarita has it right when she says
I think really if you recognize where its coming from , feel the emotion don’t be scared of it , it help you move on with out it turning into depression , all great in theory but you’ve just got to have the courage to try it out ,

As Margarita says you’re doing your best to your ability and that all that counts . That's all any of us can do.

Thinking of you. Nell
 

sunny

Registered User
Sep 1, 2006
598
Hi Fiona

I wondered if there are any other sibling members of family to help you. It sounds as if there is not? You are doing quite a bit already, but you are right it will get worse. You cannot deal with this on your own. Obviously your Dad not being well and your mum having dementia is extremely stressful for you. I found Social Services very helpful and the local Alzheimer's society branch. Also neighbours/carers are very kind. Yes you do feel alone at first, but you really have to admit you cannot cope on your own and ask for help otherwise your own health will suffer with all the worry of it. Also your Mum having dementia, it really alters their personality (and sometimes you don't like them very much because they can quite nasty at times!), however, you are still showing that you care by practical things you are doing and arranging and also the worrying that you do.
I know all here completely understand what you are going through. It can be a nightmare sometimes.
 

fearful fiona

Registered User
Apr 19, 2007
723
72
London
Loved Margarita's reply and good to meet you too, but not sure about hoovering the house!!! Great to introduce some humour into our conversations, we definitely need to laugh about things...
 

fearful fiona

Registered User
Apr 19, 2007
723
72
London
Hello Sunny

and your reply too! Yes all the practical help is there fortunately. One brother who lives a long way away, but does what he can (mostly!). Yes I know about personality changes, but when you never got on anyway, it's just accentuated. Thanks for support, it's great.
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
Great to introduce some humour into our conversations
You so right for me help me to switch off even if its for a
second or to


I don’t know if you have read this before, but the person that has dementia they personality how they was before AZ, became magnetise with AZ


I think the great problem is her obstinacy as she cancels any appointments I make with the doctor and is really in denial I think.
This also happen with my mother, what I did was make the appointment without her knowing and just take her they if she like it or not, but back then it was because she did not want to be diagnosed for for anything, because she new they was something wrong with her , but keep saying she was ok . yes she to was just scared .

You mother different I know, just wondering why is your mother canceling the appointment what is she worried about ? they done the assessment for dementia yes and has all her medication on repeat perception ?
 
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