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Old 03-13-2007, 05:15 PM   #1
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How common is this regarding family members?

Mom has very slight dementia and one child of hers (my sibling) ignores her for the simple fact that "it's too hard to handle". One of her own siblings is very temperamental with her at times.

It doesn't bother me that Mom has difficulties and isn't the same person she once was. I do much for her and would do anything to help her; somehow others, including her so called friends, have all but forgotten about her or don't care or don't want to deal with it.

Does this happen in other families? I realize, myself, that I'm lucky to have a mother that is still alive for one thing. Not to mention, I doubt I will be as sharp in my 80's than I am now.

I guess it just surprises me how cold people (including family members) can be towards the elderly...do they think they will never cross that road? I wonder.

Anybody that can identify with me, I'd love to read a response.

Last edited by sunnydaze1; 03-13-2007 at 06:28 PM.

 
Old 03-14-2007, 03:33 AM   #2
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Re: How common is this regarding family members?

Dear Sunny, Oh yes, I can identify with you! I was my Mom's caregiver for 5 years and lived with her. Certain family members just withdrew entirely, and as for friends, they disappeared in droves. My Mom used to be an active member of both a church and a senior center. At the center, people stopped sitting next to her at lunchtime, stopped walking with her, didn't invite her to go on group trips. She was just 'too difficult' and was no longer the good company she had always been.

People at church just ignored her. In all those years only one lady volunteered to pick Mom up and drive her to church (after Mom had to give up her car and had to take 2 public buses to get there) - she picked Mom up maybe 4 or 5 times.

After one confusing phonecall during which Mom kept asking the same question over and over again, other far off relatives just dropped her; she was no longer alive, as far as they were concerned.

The best and most loyal people, outside of my brother and myself, were her neighbors! We lived in an apartment house in Queens, NY and people in our building and futher down the block were helpful and friendly at all times. Many were new residents. Amazing. You never know who your real friends are until you are in need! (Let's all remember this when it comes to dealing with others.)

I wish you luck with your Mom; it is a sad disease.

Love,
Martha

 
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Old 03-14-2007, 09:25 AM   #3
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Re: How common is this regarding family members?

I have a brother and a sister who want nothing really to do with dad. My sister won't even speak to him but that's a different story altogether. My brother only wants to see dad when he needs a place to stay. This is the one who CONSTANTLY asks about dad's will. Dad made his will out a few years before the onset of AD and dad made the choice not to include my brother. No one has the guts to tell him so we all just say we don't know what's in dad's will.

Dad kind of became reclusive after his retirement at 59 so he didn't have a lot of friends left. The ones he had have since all died. There is one person who has remained a constant helpful friend. That is my sister's FIL. He goes to my sister's house almost every morning and takes my dad for coffee or breakfast and for rides in the country which dad enjoys a lot.

I'm very thankful to my sister's FIL. Not only is he helping her out, but he's also helping dad maintain some form of socialization.

I think everyone on this board can relate to what you're going through. It seems that everyone has at least one family member who distances themselves from this disease.

Love, Barb
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Old 03-14-2007, 11:23 AM   #4
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Re: How common is this regarding family members?

Hi sunny,

yes you certainly find out who you'ree real friends & family are when diagnosed with alzhiemers! I have 2 brothers who have nothing to do with mum. they say she is just 'putting it on' and she is being lazy. I also saw a lot of differences in family responses when working in aged care.

mum has one sister who is so loving and kind to her, another who is extremely abusive and I have banned her from any contact with mum. now she abuses me, it happpenned again last night.

I think people respond in different ways and for some it is easier to try and ignore what is happening. it is very confronting to see someone with dementia as it means it could be them one day, so it's easier to pretend it isn't happening. or if you can blame the person somehow for thier illness then this also gives an illusion that it won't happen to them. this is classic blaming the victim.

it can be so frustrating for those of us doing the caring! My mum is like a 3 year old. i get very angry when i see people treat her (or others) badly.

there are certainly many people her who have similair experiences with siblings.

take care

lolly

 
Old 03-14-2007, 05:17 PM   #5
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Re: How common is this regarding family members?

Thank you for all your heartfelt responses. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one in my family who cares enough about mom to forget all my own fears.

Apparently, God has given me the strength to put aside those fears and frustrations to help mom when she needs me the most.

Sad part is that she is not that "far gone" yet and she's already being abandoned and blamed for something she cannot control.

Bless you all for dealing with this disease.

 
Old 03-15-2007, 04:56 PM   #6
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Re: How common is this regarding family members?

This may sound cruel but it's not meant to be. Just another thought of mine. I think that for my dad, it's a blessing that he's forgetting those who have abandoned him. He doesn't ask about them anymore. On the few rare occasions that he sees my brother, he's glad to see him but also happy when he leaves. Oh boy is he happy when my brother leaves!

My brother came to stay a few days with us when my dad was here with me. After my brother left, dad said "I sure am glad he's gone. He's a pain in my a$$!".

I am so grateful now that dad has forgotten those who forgot him. I'm sure it hurt his feelings at first but he's ok with it now. And as long as it doesn't bother him, it doesn't bother me anymore.

Love, Barb
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Old 03-15-2007, 08:03 PM   #7
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Re: How common is this regarding family members?

Hi Sunny,
You are so very much not alone in this feeling!
My grandmother lives in Ireland. She is 93 years old and is now suffering for the last year and a half with dementia (lewy body I think). Until she was 90, she was healthy as a horse!
She had 10 children - 6 living in Ireland and the other four scattered in different countries - one of them is my mother. In the last few years she lost 2 of her sons to cancer and this triggered a deep depression in her that I believe led to her dementia and decline.
My uncle that lives with her is single and unemployed and under the circumstances has become her sole caregiver. She has three daughters that all live within a 10 minute drive of her, and another son. There is no need for this care to be all placed on her one son!
My mom tries so very hard to help - she is actually there again now for a couple of weeks. My mom lives her life now by the phone - she calls 3 to 4 times a day and will not leave the house until she has spoken with her mom and brother. I know she feels so very guilty about not being there physically to help.
I cannot describe to you the bitterness and the hatred that has become our family. All the sisters that were so very close can barely utter a civil word to each other. They come and visit my grandmother sometimes once or twice a week for an hour or two. They make it so very clear that they are there to "visit" and not to "care for"......So my mom and my uncle have been sharing the load and it has so taken a toll on them physically. It has also ruined my relationships with my cousins as we all struggle to support "our own mothers" that we get tangled up in the chaos as well. The things that have been said are so very cruel, you could not believe there was ever any love to begin with!
They are just so cold that they know she does not sleep all night, and then of course neither does my uncle! All it would take is each of them to stay one night a week to give him some rest and to give my grandmother some company. But no, they will only think of their own lives. I know it is not healthy to wrap yourself around your loved ones illness but they have no compassion. My moms sisters who once called every week and talked for hours at a time.......did not even call her a few weeks ago to see if her breast biopsy results were okay (she has had breast cancer twice).
My grandmother is the one very thin now thread that holds what is left of our family together. Once she is gone.....I know in my heart that they will all go about their own lives and those ties will be gone forever. Sadly just because the stress of caring will be gone, there are some things that can never be forgiven. Some families bond when things get tough and some are torn apart, that's what's happened to us - it is just so very sad!
So to answer your question, absolutely, some siblings can honestly no matter how much you can not fathom the idea, can actually grow cold to people that they once claimed that they loved, all in the name of illness!!!
I just hope that one day they will all realize that a day will come when they too will need help and that they will understand what they have done when they turned their backs on their family!
Sad that they have no time in their life, for the woman that gave them life in the first place!!!!
My grandmother always used to say "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak"....how very sad and true!!

God bless and hang in there, I know how very difficult it is to manage, but you have a heart of gold!
Carsam

 
Old 03-16-2007, 07:27 AM   #8
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Re: How common is this regarding family members?

I'm the caregiver for my husband, while he has 4 grown children living in the same small town. His daughter tells me, "I just don't feel comfortable visiting with Dad any more. It's too hard. I do 99% of the talking so I don't have to deal with his confusion."

 
Old 03-16-2007, 02:52 PM   #9
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Re: How common is this regarding family members?

Thanks again for your replies. I can't imagine my children turning their back on me someday and have even spoken with them about this. They assure me they won't and could never do that. But one never knows what the future holds.

 
Old 03-16-2007, 03:40 PM   #10
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Re: How common is this regarding family members?

Dear Sunny,

I am sure my kids feel the same way. And yet I am also sure that my sister, if anyone had asked her 20 or 30 years ago, would have been the first to say "I would take care of Mom, I would never let her go to a nursing home, I would have her in my house." And - when the time came - first she blamed me and said it was my ways of doing things that had Mom so confused, and later when Mom lived with my brother she also said nothing is wrong with her, she can live there forever. And when the rehab told us she was not responding to treatment and would never walk again, my sister said to Bill, "well, YOU can help her up the stairs, YOU can take care of her diapers, You can carry her to the wheelchair, onto the toilet, onto the bed etc." Bill was strong enough to look her in the eye and say "Why me? Why not YOU?" and the subject never came up again.

Oh we all have our reasons. Not that we don't love Mom with all our hearts. We just got old ourselves in the intervening years. One has a bad back (yes, the brother who was told he could carry her up the stairs!) and one has osteoporosis, and the one who lived with her for 5 years (myself) got caregiver burnout and had sleepless nights for months, suicidal thoughts, heart and BP trouble, acid reflux, and a number of other symptoms - we just can't do it. We are at a stage where we have to keep ourselves alive and sane for the sake of our own children and grandchildren .. and in order to have something out of life now that we are all retired, something other than 24/7 eldercare. Does this make us cold, unfeeling creeps?

Beyond all this - I am so satisfied with Mom's nursing home that I constantly recommend it to others, and I feel she has a better, more varied and more interesting life there than in her own apartment or in my brother's house. Loving care - no one is ever overtired by lack of sleep because they are on 3 shifts. Always a fresh and well rested nurse.

Well this may count as a rant .. sorry if it is ... just do the best you can and when the time comes that you have to give her care over to others, don't be too judgmental on yourself or all of us who did the same thing.

love,

Martha

 
Old 03-16-2007, 05:39 PM   #11
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Re: How common is this regarding family members?

Hello Martha,
I remember talking you about a month or so ago about my grandmother and your mom......
I am so glad to hear that your mom is in a really good nursing home and that you are so confident with her care, that's wonderful. Such a difficult decision but sometimes, we are just at our wits end.....and it's the only thing that makes sense.
My grandmother could very well be in a home, but in the state she's in, she has enough family that to ask them each to spend one day a week, is really not alot I dont think. To ask my uncle to do every day, 24/7 is insane and there are many times I just want to tell him that it's better for her to be in a nursing home, because he just simply cannot manage. The thing is if he was truly alone, he may accept it, but having so many siblings around him, I think the anger and resentment of putting her in a home when he knows if they would share the caring, that it would not be necessary - this I think is why he cannot do it. And in the meantime, he is completely wrecking himself!
My mom does what she can - as a matter of fact, she flew over right now to be with them for two weeks despite her own ill health. 4 days after she comes back she is due to go in surgery.
I could go on and on.....I just wanted to say I think you were really brave for making the decision to put your mom in a nursing home and I am so glad you have found some peace. It takes a lot of love to care for someone, but even more love to make this kind of decision.

God bless,
Caroline

 
Old 05-06-2007, 07:03 AM   #12
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Re: How common is this regarding family members?

Sounds normal to me! Just when you need them their gone!!! Your situation sounds just like mine. 1 Sis, 2 neices, a BIL and all of Moms friend have all but forgotten her. They don't even give us a rest! People today either just don't care or haven't been taught what to do so they don't do anythng!!! Sad but true! Just keep on keeping on, one day at a time. Be proud that you know what to do and you are doing what is right! I am proud of you. Good Luck!
Laner

 
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