My Mum

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
Im not totally new but haven't been here for a while. I work full time and care for my 86 year old mother and im having a really hard time at the moment. She's demanding more of my time in a little boy that cried wolf way. Im so tired I can't sleep.
Hi Linda, I had a similar problem. The more jobs I did, the faster they came at me. In the end I had counselling to help me avoid jobs, to choose one that mum said she wanted me to do, and then do it as slowly as I wanted. When inevitably another job came, I'd say "You asked me to do this, so let's get it finished first before we do anything else".
Do you live with mum?
Does she have any outside carers?
Can you give us any examples of what is annoying you most?
Linda, sadly, do you think dementia may be setting in? Once it does, then they become incapable of realising let alone appreciating, what you do for them. When it happened to my MIL the one thing I found hardest to cope with was that she never ONCE said 'thank you' to me! She said it if I offered her a cup of tea or a biscuit, but not that I was rearranging my entire life to look after her!

It wasn't her fault, her mind was failing and she just did not take in what I was doing for her.

Even without dementia being in the frame, however, I often think that the 'very elderly' - those over 85 is the classification - are almost 'elderly toddlers' - they just don't really understand how much 'hard work' they are. We wouldn't expect a three year old child to know how much we do for them, and I think it's the same with the 'very old' sometimes.

I used to say of my MIL 'If she knew the hard work she was, she wouldn't be the hard work she is'......

It can be useful to put their 'elderly behaviour' into the context of what they've 'always been like'. If your mother, say, has always been 'demanding' and 'expecting you to do what she wanted' etc, then she is, alas, unlikely to change with age, only get worse.

So, how much 'worse' do you think she is now, than when you were growing up, etc etc? That can help identify whether its a problem of her 'extreme old age' or just her natural character, and her becoming 'weaker with age' so more reliant on you.

Do bear in mind how frustrated and 'angry' the elderly can become as their own infirmities increase. They can start to 'use another person' as their arms and legs etc to do the things they can't do any more for themselves.

Finally, do allow for her 'fear of death' perhaps, if her 'demands' are health and safety related. If she thinks she has double pneumonia when she only has a sniffle, it might be because she's scared it will carry her off, and that may exacerbate her reaction to it.
Hi Linda
The sad thing with aging is that it doesn't get better or improve, and you were exhausted when you first posted over a year ago. It sounds like Mum is deteriorating and her crying wolf is either asking for help or for attention. Is she at home alone while you are at work ?
No one person can care for another alone 24/7 and it sounds like now may the time to get some kind of external help, perhaps a day centre, Carerworkers coming in, or even residential of some sort. You need to share the load.
If you are thinking of giving up work, please don't. It only works for the very very few, most of whom have lots of family support. General opinion on here is its better to pay for help, than pay with your self-esteem, social life and future employability

What support do you get currently?

Thank you. All good points which have already crossed my mind over the past few months. Mum lives alone and has carers 3 times a day. She refers to them as the staff and criticises them as obviously they don't do things as well as I do!
I am under no illusion that they are perfect.
I have one teatime off a week when I can go straight home from work on a Thursday. She has found a reason to call me on 2 out of the last 3 which wasn't an emergency and could have waited until Friday when I spend all afternoon with her. When I try to say no to her its always the what if on my mind that has me drop everything and go.
Then leave your phone at home, or put it on silent and put it in a drawer. Make sure mum has a lifeline so that in case of genuine emergency she can call for help. Social Services can arrange for one to be fitted. If mum refuses to use it in attempt to get you to "heel" again, just tell her it's there, and her choice whether or not she uses it. From now on YOU WILL NOT ANSWER CALLS AT WORK. Phone calls are a common problem, I worked from home writing a magazine, which was quite technical and needed all my concentration - about old lorries, read by many experts so it was vital it was absolutely correct. After mum was widowed and lonely she would ring for a chat about nothing in particular. She nevef respected my work or how vital it was for our income. The answerphone was vital. I would listen but not call back until it was convenient.
She has a lifeline and is able to use it.
She can't work the phone to call my mobile so gets the carer to do it for her.
The messages on my home answerphone are so pleading I cant ignore them because of the big what if? That's what I need to get over.
In that case, tell the carers that you are no longer allowed to take calls at work, and still have it on silent! Discuss this first with the care supervisor, so she understands what is going on.