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Hard to cope with it all

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Old 11-14-2011, 09:22 PM   #1
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Unhappy Hard to cope with it all

I am new and just getting aquainted with the board. My mom was just diagnosed with Alz. and I also see the dementia with the delusions (but this has been present in her mind to a certain degree since I was a child and now I am in my mid 40's). Her dad was the same way. I have never felt close to her and I am very frustrated because now that my mom needs help both my siblings are "unable" to help her. Funny thing since they both have received so much from her (me too). It is just amazing how they do not seem to realize even if they do not want to, they morally need to help her. On the other hand, the most difficult part is knowing that you can't rationalize with her, yet her delusions make her life so miserable and us too. Even though she is capable of having a conversation 90% of the time is centered in her delusions and how she targets those around her who want to help her. I wish, things were different, her "normal" stubborness/strongwill which at one point meant resilliancy is now a true hinderance; as well as; her other ways are now magnified and truly insuferable. I do resent being the only one handling it all (although one sibling plans to take over at retirement in a few months). My other sibling decided to move far away (in search of personal gain) even though it was clear my mom needed help... a lot more than one person can provide. The selfishness, drives me CRAZY , more than my mom's illness itself. I hope this venting is not tiresome.

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Old 11-14-2011, 09:46 PM   #2
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Re: Hard to cope with it all

Hey Losttata -

Welcome to the boards. So sorry for what you are facing. Your venting is not tiresome. We sooo understand here Sorry that you are the one holding the bag for your mom. Seems to be a common theme in families. Doesn't really seem to matter how many siblings there are - it usually comes down to one (or two if you're lucky) who step up - shoulder the responsibility - do the right thing and look after their parents with the love and resolve (and tenacity) that it takes to face this horrid illness.

I have two sisters yet 99% of it in my family falls to me (and I'm the youngest - go figure!?!). I know others will post with their support and great suggestions, but I know I'm not alone in suggesting you get some support going for yourself. I don't know if your mom is living with you or not as you didn't say. Let us know how you're doing. This can be a long & winding road and I'm truly sorry you are having to walk it.

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Old 11-14-2011, 11:17 PM   #3
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Re: Hard to cope with it all

Hi losttata,

Welcome! You're not being tiresome, darlin'--that's why we're here

Your family situation sounds so much like mine. I'll spare you the details tonight, but boy do I understand the anger, resentment and frustration!

You are not alone, and I'm glad you found us. Stick around


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Old 11-15-2011, 07:29 AM   #4
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Re: Hard to cope with it all

Welcome Losttata. Sorry you needed to find us but glad you did. Venting is what we do best here and it is never tiresome. It is how we release the stress caused by this disease. Yes, we do understand. As Kren and TC said, you are not alone in this. I have a very similar situation. Having been in this situation for a long time I can tell you that you don't need to add the anxiety of sibling conflict on top of the stress of dealing with Mom. Mom has no choice. She can't do any different. What she is doing now is a result of the disease and she needs to be your focus. Your sisters are making a choice. It may not be the choice you want them to make but it is their choice. You are also making a choice to do what you are doing. That being said, you can not dictate their choices, you can only control your choices. I have found that I have to accept my sister's choices just as I have to accept the way Mom is. The only thing I control is how I react to their choices. For my own peace of mine I had to accept their choices and let go of the related emotional distress. If they help... great! If then don't then it is for them to shoulder that responsibility. It is not for me to judge or correct them. I am way too busy taking care of Mom

Many bristle when I mention forgiveness. But forgiveness is not for others, it is for ourselves. Forgiveness is nothing more than putting aside the emotional turmoil that takes over our lives. It is not condoning their behavior. It is allowing ourselves to go forward without the emotional baggage. Then we have expectations. As long as we expect something different we will be wrapped in emotional disappointment. That leads us right back to anger which causes stress and anxiety. I put away what are truly unrealistic expectations. With no expectations, there is no disappointment. So it's not up to them to change my life... it is up to me

Yes, this job is difficult but it is not impossible to do without their help. You just have to set yourself up for success. You need to find help. If the siblings are not willing or able then find an adult day care, home care, or even a facility. There are many options but know you need help of some kind. And you have to take care of yourself as well as your Mom There is a great book.. "Coping with Alzheimer's: A Caregiver's Emotional Survival Guide" by Rose Oliver and Frances A Bock that is a must read. Many books can tell you how to deal with your Mom and this disease, but this is the best book I have read on how to deal with yourself and this disease!!

Is your Mom living alone, with you, in a facility of some type? When was she diagnosed and how far along in the disease is she? Is she still driving? Does someone have her durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, living will, and other necessary legal documentation? Who is helping her with her financials... bill paying etc? Is anybody helping her with medication? I know that is a world of questions but those are things that need to be dealt with

At first it seems overwhelming and is definitely a scary diagnosis. Just know that many have survived this disease and many are working through it. It is doable!! And you can do it too!!

Hope to hear more from you......

Love, deb

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Old 11-15-2011, 11:11 AM   #5
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Re: Hard to cope with it all

Deb is right, don't stay angry about your siblings. Each sibling has different relationship with the parents and you just do what you can do on your part.
Don't judge them as selfish or what because they have their own reasons to do what they do. You are closer to your Mom so you do the hard work...
One sibling will help you after she retires so it is good.
To have family together takes a lifetime of practice and habits. You cannot ask the family to be close the last minute when the elder gets sick suddenly. It takes some time for the siblings to realize what is going on.

It is more important that you do what you can do. If you can, delegate them to do some part of the job. If you need help, get professional caregivers who can help you to care for her. If it is hard to be at home, get a nice facility with reputation and get your Mom the help in a good home with your visits.

It is always shocking and harder in the beginning because you had never done this before.
Please feel free to vent here. Whatever you do, we don't judge. Just do what you can and take care of yourself.

There is an article that says the caregivers' stress can make the caregiver sicker with lower immune system. So reduce your stress and get help.


Last edited by ninamarc; 11-15-2011 at 11:12 AM.

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Old 11-15-2011, 02:15 PM   #6
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Re: Hard to cope with it all

so sorry to hear this. its an awful disease. my brother did not help and i became angry with him. i now know that it was wrong of me to get angry. we are very close now and my mom is gone now for over 2 years. stay away from the negativity it just doesnt help. concentrate on you and i know how hard it is. always vent here because we all need each other. debbie

Old 11-15-2011, 08:25 PM   #7
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Re: Hard to cope with it all

What everybody else said and then some...

I know it's hard, but you're going to have to find a way to let it all go. You can't dictate morality or tell your siblings how to live their lives, and you wouldn't want them to do that to you, either. Your anger doesn't hurt them--but it will eat you alive.

I have one brother. My mother always thought he hung the moon. She hasn't seen him in months, and probably wouldn't even know him anymore. When he calls me now (rarely), it's usually for advice, and he doesn't even ask how Mom's doing.

Trying to force my brother to be the "devoted son" would be like trying to keep the sun from coming up in the morning. Can you say counterproductive? So we have an unspoken understanding--I call him when something major happens, and he defers to me on "mom matters." That way he can keep up the appearance of being involved, and I can do the DNR/Do Not Transport/POA dance without worrying about him challenging me. It's a win-win, and he's not down here every minute, slamming it on the table and telling me I'm doing it wrong.

My Mom was a royal piece of work long before the dementia, and always believed (still does) that I was put on this planet to comfort and take care of her. And I guess in some ways I was. At any rate, I made a promise to myself long ago that I would be there for her no matter what. I made my choice and I'm sticking to it.

I'm not going to tell you it gets easier as the disease progresses--it's still hard--but it's different. You figure out ways to cope. Once I accepted that my "real mom" was gone, a lot of my resentments went with her. For us, it's too late for all that. I had to let it go. And I'm just too tired and too busy most days to worry about what my brother is or isn't doing. Sure, he can still **** me off like nobody else--that's my bro'! But I don't have the time to dwell on it

Hang in there, and don't worry--you'll find your own path, the one that works for you. And we'll be here cheering you on


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