New here and just needing a bit of advice

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Hello everyone,
I've finally bitten the bullet and decided I need a bit of support. I'm an only child helping to support my elderly mum (she's 86) and whilst she's relatively in good health physically-she lives alone and has friends she meets up with a couple of times a week-it's her mental health I worry about. Her negativity about everyone and every thing is driving a wedge between us. She constantly complains about the world around her, has no boundaries when we are out shopping or on trips to the Drs and constantly criticises people including me. It's getting to the point where I no longer enjoy her company and there is very little of my mother left. She's very self-absorbed and can't think about anyone else and thinks her life has ben awful when in fact she's had a happy long marriage, good health, a loving daughter and an active life. I worry that this terrible negativity may be a sign of developing dementia at worst, depression at best-she does look vague sometimes and is starting to forget things we've done and places we've been. She constantly makes me feel guilty if I haven't rung her on time or want to go on holiday or have some time with my partner. My dad died in 2004 and he was her life-she still can't talk about him without crying -we both miss him every day. I don't know what to do and feel so guilty but when she's been nasty to me I just come home and cry. If I challenge her behaviour towards me she just sulks and cries and tells me I've upset her. Please can anyone advise me what to do and if I should be seeking some support for her-this is difficult as she's already bitten my head off when I suggested she need a hearing test and some support with her walking.
There could be many reasons for such changes...
Do you think you mother totally grief for your father?
Sometimes there is a delayed response/s which manifest much later.
Has the daughter mother role changed. ... ur_changes ... entia.aspx
Unfortunately, for some of us as we get older. We feel life is passing us by.
Sometimes we have to be firm and be clear. That negative behaviour is unexceptionable. Set boundaries!
Expect to be treated appropriately.
Regards the hearing test. If you have never had one perhaps you could arrange one for you. And try encourage you mother to take one when you go. A G.P. referral re: NHS.
Hi archibig
It's difficult on both sides when the roles change and the parent becomes the child, but that is essentially what happens. Mum will be needing more help and direction but like a toddler will fight every restriction or suggestion from the parent (that's now you!)
Likewise you will have trouble adjsuting to being the parent after years being the child
You may well be right that there's either depression or dementia or both bubbling, but it's unlikely Mum will ever acknowledge that

I agree with sunny, set boundaries and be clear. You don't have to take it silently but reply calmly and assertively. It is like parenting a toddler, they need boundaries and hugs. Somethings you will accomplish through subterfuge, perhaps make the doctors appointment but say you are going for another reason etc. Tell stories about how a friend's mum fell and wasn't found for days, or got wedgd in the loo - that one got my mum to wear a call pendant. Don't be afraid to be inventive, we call them kind lies.

Under it all Mum is probably frightened of whatever lies ahead. See too my reply to Kay's recent thread

Counselling specifically aimed at managing your mum could be life changing for you, it certainly was for me. If mum is rude to you when at her place, just put your coat on, and leave.
There is a term here of "elderly toddler", not a term I especially like but it's a simple way of describing many elderly. It's well recognised that the over 85's lose the ability to see how much others are doing for them, they become increasingly self focussed. Don't think it's just your mum, it isn't!
Hi Archiebig,
That's a heavy load you are bearing alone and it's great you are venting your 'spleen' here but on the other hand I can appreciate your mothers 'gripes'. Not playing 'devils advocate' but I appreciate her feelings because the reality is that the world is not as good as it was from a myriad of perspectives. I can recall my parents complaining that the changes were not real improvements at all and neither were fools, Dad managed several butchers shops and Mum was a teacher, neither had dementia and reality is they were fairly balanced and aware.
Now I am older....quite a lot older actually......and find myself appreciating their opinions....far more than I did and I miss them both so much even after many years. I truly hate the changes being forced on us under the guise of 'Improvements' no matter to whatever service it is applied to, the fact is it all costs money and we (the tax contributor) pay more for less services and yes I do bitch and complain because if you don't you become wallpaper and painted over, ignored, however you want to put it.

I have had issues because my situation is far from ideal and I've let off large amounts of steam on these forums as I thought I was the only person suffering, then I found that so many others had a far worse time than me and I did an appraisal of my feelings/needs/desires. It seems that like me, you are between a rock and a hard place and making decisions is just so hard....should I do this....should I do what your heart feels is right, but do listen to others who have had similar experiences and make your own decision based on YOUR reality not that of others, no one can replicate your dilema but much input can change your perspective.

Sorry if this was a tad involuted but started at 4.10am today so now a little wasted....being polite of course.

night, night all.
Hi all
Thank you for all your support it's good to hear others advice and kind words. I'm going to try and set some behaviour boundaries though this is going to be hard as it's like undoing behaviour that's been happening for years as I've let mum get away with talking to me in ways I wouldn't accept from anyone else. I do feel sad for her as her soul mate has gone and my Dad was a wonderful man-a huge presence in everyone's life. But I so want her to enjoy the time she has left and feel at the moment she is wallowing and bitter. I try to get her out as much as possible to the theatre, on walks, to the cinema and lunch every Sunday. I involve her with my partner and his children though she appears to resent the time they take up n my life. I take her on holiday every year but she just seems to moan about everything and everyone around her. I find myself losing patience as I work closely every day with terminally ill women some of whom are in their thirties and forties and may never see their young children grow up. I want her so much to find some serenity.She has been so lucky and still is to be so active at 86 but I do understand and empathise with her situation. I'm finding all your comments immensely helpful so thank you all.
Caz x
Give up any idea of "making her happy". I spent years trying to please my mum, but towards the end of her life she was only able to focus on what was wrong in some way. Recently I tried to think when we had a laugh and joke together last, but I just couldn't remember doing that in recent years at all.
Dad was 78 when he died, my husband died suddenly when he was 58, yet mum would still bleat on about how she was short changed. One day I lost it and reminded her that my OH died 20 years before her OH, and that she was NEVER EVER to say that to me again. This just shows how self centred the elderly can be.
Yet my mum was always kind towards me, I always knew she loved me, but somehow this self focus over rode that.
You won't change your mum's behaviour, or your own towards her, overnight.
Start by reminding yourself that the only power she has over you is the power you let her have. Keep repeating this until you start believing it. You are NOT a child any more, although you will always be her child. There's a huge difference.
Start by working out what three things wind you up the most. Share it with us and we can then say how we dealt with it.
Then develop some stock phrases to use. "You are so lucky..." Most of all she is so lucky to have someone living near enough, and caring enough, to try and support her. Maybe think of a neighbour who has no one, to compare with.
Don't always make yourself too available. After I had counselling and learned how to manage mum, I discovered that many of the jobs she had "Saved!!" for me managed to get done by someone else! Some were forgotten about completely. It wasn't really about the jobs she wanted doing, it was about getting me there. Unfortunately, I was never allowed to just make a social visit, there was a list of jobs in the pocket of her recliner I was given immediately, so I would have gone to see her more if it wasn't for the jobs. (I also have a son with LD and at the time was waiting for, or just had, two knee replacements).
Hi Archiebig
There are some people who like to "wallow and be bitter". I've met a few and they seem to derive pleasure from being so. For example, my neighbour always dashes over to give me bad news but never has anything good to say. Maybe Mum is one of those?
Anyway, you've given her plenty of opportunity to change or improve and she hasn't. So, like the very wise BB says leave her to it. Do the minimum you feel is necessary for physical health and safety then leave her to her own devices. If she doesn't have you to moan at she'll either have to find someone else or stop moaning. She is an adult and can choose how to behave.