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How to help a difficult parent

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Ellie7, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. Ellie7

    Ellie7 Registered User

    Apr 9, 2015
    2
    West Midlands
    Hi, I really glad to find this forum. I am a "carer" although I don't live with my mum who has dementia. I am writing to ask if anyone has difficulty with a parent with Alzheimers who is really difficult psychologically. The problem is that my mum has always been really difficult to deal with and I have always had to give her lots of emotional support, right from being a child. It is really hard for me trying to do things for her as she resists help, won't wash or allow anyone to wash her (she has a carer who is really good but can't do it either). She can be really abusive and violent, and although I am sure this is exacerbated by her current condition, it is really difficult for me as I have had to deal with her very difficult behaviour all my life and I actually can't cope. I am not really sure what to do, I visit her every week, but am finding myself getting ill regularly, not being able to visit (all her needs are dealt with by the carer etc) but I feel terrible. I am not an only child but have a brother who does virtually nothing and is also abusive back to me and we have no family. Sorry to rant but I just wondered if anyone can offer me any advice. I have had some advice from carer support but I feel I need someone to do more physical things to help my mum, which I just can't do.
    thanks, E
     
  2. Essie

    Essie Registered User

    Feb 11, 2015
    566
    Hi Ellie and welcome to TP. I'm sorry you're having such a tough time - and that it apparently has never been that easy for you with your Mum (or your brother) that's a lot to deal with year after year. I sense you're still in a place where you want to make everything 'right' with your Mum but that's a big task and may not even truly be possible - do please think of yourself as well in all of this. You have made sure that Mum's needs are taken care of by the carer and that's great - many people don't have that level of input so you have done your best and achieved that.

    There are many threads on here of sufferers not wanting to wash/shower/bath - it is a very common problem with no easy solution so don't beat yourself up about that. Is the care provided by SS - if so you could discuss your concerns with them and see if a higher level of care is available?

    In terms of practicalities do you have POA sorted out yet? If not I would put that in place asap especially if future issues over money/care etc. may result in conflict with your brother.

    Lastly do remember you don't HAVE to be involved to any level that makes you unhappy - whether with your Mum or your brother - as a decent person I'm sure you want to do 'the right thing' but it sounds like you've done an awful lot all your life and there is no magic wand that will make it all OK - the difficult relationships you have as a family will, more than likely, just carry on like that so do be careful about much more you take on, think about yourself too.

    Very best wishes.
     
  3. Ellie7

    Ellie7 Registered User

    Apr 9, 2015
    2
    West Midlands
    Thanks so much

    Hi Essie
    Thanks for your reply, it's really thoughtful of you and has really helped. Also its good to hear some practical advice as I often feel I don't do enough (although I am wiling to do everything - be a full time carer etc but just not possible due to how my mum relates to me). I think you are absolutely right that I am still trying to make things right and perfect re my mum and it is very hard to accept that won't happen.

    I will have a search for the threads re the washing problem, as that is my biggest worry and a real trauma for all of us involved as it is terrible when my mum goes into hospital and they comment on how dirty she is. I have told SS numerous times and they just say you can't make anyone wash, which is true but I feel there must be something that can be done. I have another meeting with them on Monday.

    Thanks again for your support and advice, it really mean a lot. E :)
     
  4. Essie

    Essie Registered User

    Feb 11, 2015
    566
  5. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    #5 Angela T, Apr 10, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015
    It is hard caring for a difficult parent, and we need to look after ourselves too.

    My mother has been abusive all my life, but as the only daughter I now have to organise her care, visit her in hospital etc...

    I have worked on this, and am now able to be there for her - I am happy to do it, but I try not to get overwhelmed. It is SO EASY to get overwhelmed, and we have to recognise that we cannot solve all the problems, we have to accept the illness, and what it does to our mothers.

    It is hard for them, and hard for us.

    If you feel you cannot cope, perhaps you should try and get some help...?

    I felt I could not cope when my mother was first diagnosed... and I got help, I saw an osteopath, an acupuncture doctor... It has helped me take a step back...

    Resistance to washing is part of dementia - my mother was not clean, and refused to wash - but now that she is in a NH, she is washed, and so are her clothes, every day.

    Take care,
    Angela
     
  6. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    1,162
    Why should you feel obliged to do this just because of your gender?
    When my father was still at home his vicar asked to see me. Amongst other things, he asked me if I could come over to look after my father for one week a month. (This is in another country, involving planes, passports etc.) -- Er, no. I do have a life and my father did refuse to return to the UK when I asked him…
    Afterwards, I was so angry. Would he ask that question of a man? You bet he wouldn't.

    Ellie - in my experience, dementia makes everyone difficult. If the starting point was not good, it ain't going to get better. You are not someone else's puppet. You are not a less good person for setting up some parameters. Decide what you are able to give; decide what you will put up with and what you will not. And don't feel guilty. There's absolutely no reason why you should.
     
  7. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Hi Redlou,

    I didn't feel obliged to step up for my mother because of my gender, I did it because there is no-one else to take decisions. I really felt I had no choice.

    My 2 brothers died young, which is why I didn't put "as the only child" - I don't feel I am an only child, but in effect there is no-one else to take these decisions.

    I am happy to be there for her, she is actually being nice to me - I think she senses I am helping her, and she is grateful.

    I agree totally that it is not right to expect daughters to step, up, and not sons... and yet, it seems that that is what often happens... even daughters stepping up for their mothers-in-law, when it really should be the sons looking after their mothers...?
     
  8. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    1,162
    Ah - sorry - didn't mean to bruise your feelings through not comprehending your unique and demanding circumstances.
     
  9. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    #9 Angela T, Apr 10, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015
    Thank you RedLou...
     
  10. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Thank you, RedLou !

    Don't worry - you didn't bruise my feelings, and I agree totally, I think I would have found it hard, for example, to step up for my MIL just because I am a woman !

    I was not at all happy when I learnt of my mother's Alzheimer's - and knew that it would be down to me... it felt very unfair having to support an unsupportive parent...

    She has been difficult all her life, and never got over losing her sons - which also explains why she was not nice to me, she resented my being there, instead of them.

    Each situation is so difficult. I am feeling slightly (!) overwhelmed at the moment, with sorting everything out (health and finances) from a distance since I live abroad, but I would rather be in my shoes, than in hers. That is what I tell myself.

    No-one deserves to end their life like this.
     
  11. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    1,162
    Oh, Angela, bless you. I empathise with your problems sorting out these things from a distance.
    I do find myself getting angry and resentful although, thank goodness, whenever I see my father in person, compassion always kicks in. But then my father was a decent chap, if undemonstrative and awkward, all his life. To do this for someone unsupportive is amazing. I doff my metaphorical cap to you!
     
  12. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    441
    I also empathise with you all and know how hard it is to try to help a mother who has been difficult selfish and lazy all her life, and is never appreciative of anything we do for her.
     

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