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I'm turning into Kevin the teenager!

Yorkshire Girl

Registered User
Jul 16, 2014
21
How do all you lovely people stay so sane and caring?

I know that, compared to most people here, I still have it comparatively easy. My mum was diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s last year, it is still mild and she is fully able to live independently in her own home (the family home of over 45 years). But she hates living alone and is going slowly down hill and after a couple of melt-downs at the end of last year we have started a new routine of nightly phone calls and more regular visits. We go down to mum’s once a month (she’s 200 miles away) and in between she comes up to us once a month (she is still able to catch the train and gets free first class train travel). So she sees us every other weekend. She really likes this and I think it is helping her cope with the illness.

The trouble is I think I am turning into Kevin the teenager (well a 40-something version anyway). I am struggling to cope even with this very low level of helping to look after mum and I’m terrified that as her condition progresses I won’t be able to cope. I already find myself snapping at my husband and feeling constantly stressed and irritated after getting off the phone to mum. I’m concerned that I will end up alienating my lovely husband (who, bless him, is completely on-board with helping, and regularly drives me up and down the road to visit mum) and jeopardizing my job (which I love). I love and care about my mum, but I always feel that I am doing things for her out of duty and guilt rather than an in-built desire to care for her.

Even writing this makes me sound like the most selfish so-and-so on the planet so feel free to tell me to get a grip, but how do you all cope especially when the caring becomes more demanding? Is there anything I can do better or differently to help all of us (mum, my husband and me) cope with this? Sorry, I know I’m being pathetic.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,517
Kent
Hello Yorkshire Girl

You are not being pathetic at all. You are having problems with the present changes in your life caused by your mother`s illness and are looking ahead, fearing even more demands on your time and your emotions.

There are a couple of things you could do to pave way for the future.

You could make enquiries from Social Services about the level of help and support available in your mother`s area when she gets to the stage when she may need it.

You could drip feed your mother with regards to her making a mover nearer you, possibly to a retirement complex of assisted living accommodation, saying how much better it will be for everyone if she lives nearer to you.
 

florabunda

Registered User
Nov 13, 2014
24
Hi, Yorkshire girl. You are not being remotely pathetic. It is very hard with your mum living so far away, so. yes, try to persuade her to move. It helps if you have POA. Unlike you I don't particularly like my mum, but like you I care out of duty and guilt. It has helped me to be clear about my boundaries; when I will and won't see her, how often I will ring, etc. Luckily she has the money for me to organise carers and day centre, so I know she is being looked after. Just remember that you are allowed to have a life. Do a little bit more for your mum than you really want to, but not so much that it drives you crazy. And get all the help you can. Good luck!
 

sistermillicent

Registered User
Jan 30, 2009
2,949
You are not pathetic. You are torn in two, or maybe more parts than that, perhaps resenting your mum for needing you when your family needs you, or maybe you are not as kevin-ish as I was (am).

If I had the time again I would have no hesitation whatsoever in spending far more time with my husband and son and not taking my eye off the ball at home. Because in all this it is not what has happened to my mum that has caused me untold grief but what has happened to my son while I wasn't here.

See if you can get your mum to move closer to you. Don't spend time away from your family.
 

Chemmy

Registered User
Nov 7, 2011
7,591
Yorkshire
Hi Yorkshire Girl

You're not turning into Kevin; you're just being honest.

I made a similar confession to the rep from the local Alzheimers Soc about my mum (whom I loved dearly) as I was distraught inside at how intolerant I felt towards her. When she told me that many relatives felt the same (and confirmed years later on TP) I wept with relief that I wasn't a bad person for thinking such horrible things.

Let it all out on here and btw, I'm with the others on this - your boys and OH should come first. They will be around long after your mother.

I would move her nearer to you asap too. My mum was 120mls away but I had a cousin nearby who was my eyes and ears until Mum moved into care. Without her, it would never have worked. I then spent 8 years scuttling up and down the A1 to visit her. If there had been a suitable CH nearer me at the time, that would have been a much better option in hindsight.
 

Optomistic

Registered User
Jul 24, 2014
123
Manchester
My husand has early onset alzheimers and i cope at the moment but you do fear the future. I have spent a lot of my life caring my grandma had dementia in my teens and i looked after her helped my mum. I looked after my mum and dad for 8 years until they died and now im caring again.

We have had 20 years care free but its got to be done problem is im getting older now.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,816
Chester
I can really identify with these feelings. I have been snappy with OH and kids since I realised mum had dementia with a major crisis last xmas.

I have moved her into assisted living near me (returning to her house wasn't an option) and I have tried to only visit once a week, so she settled in and wasn't too dependent partly, and partly I am clearing her house 200 miles away (long story but hoarder for decades before dementia took hold) which is taking longer than I hoped.

Being stretched dealing with mum, a teenager going through severe bullying at school (now resolved) at the same time and a 9 year old who is dyslexic, so needs a lot of support every evening really really stretched me, so that I was very irrational with my family and snapped when I shouldn't.

I have weathered the recent crisis when she was admitted to hospital with pneumonia much better than I thought I would emotionally, so it has got better - I know it is a roller coaster and there will be a lot more to come.
 

Yorkshire Girl

Registered User
Jul 16, 2014
21
Thank you everyone for responding. Sometimes juste feels better to be able to write thins down and to know I'm not the only one feeling like this.

We travelled down to mum's last night and, although it was a hassle travelling through howling gales late in the evening I think it was well worth it. This morning mum and I had a meeting with the local dementia volunteer people. They were lovely and have given us plenty of things to think about. Mum is going to give two of their sessions a week a go and is up for going on their monthly outings.

Quite a few people have mentioned possibly moving mum nearer us. At the moment we are resisting this because mum can still go out on her own and, having lived where she does for over 40 years, she knows lots of people and most of the neighbours look out for her. I'm worried that if she moved nearer us she would know exactly 4 people (including us) and wouldn't be able to get out and about as much as she does at the moment.

Thank you for letting me moan - it's so hard to know what to do for the best, but I'll keep trying to muddle through.
 

Pickles53

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
2,474
Radcliffe on Trent
Yorkshire Girl;1047364 Quite a few people have mentioned possibly moving mum nearer us. At the moment we are resisting this because mum can still go out on her own and said:
I agree totally with your reasoning YorkshireGirl. I only thought it made sense to bring mum away from her local area when she could no longer go out and when I realised that hardly anyone was coming to see her anymore. At that point she had zero social life anyway apart from when I was there. Sadly by then she could not have managed in any kind of sheltered housing so the move was directly into residential care.