My Mother is driving me crazy! She is repetitive, angry and refuses all offers of assistance or care. I work full time and am raising two children. What am I supposed to do? I can’t be there for her all of the time.
Tearing My Hair Out in Newtown Square!
Dear Tearing Your Hair Out in Newtown Square,
You are not alone! As your parent ages, she is aware that she is no longer as independent as she once was. Your Mom realizes that she is becoming forgetful and the idea of even asking for help let alone accepting it is very scary. Your Mom still thinks of you as her baby. So, she becomes angry, stubborn and demanding of your time and attention.
So what can you do? Try to identify the cause of the anger. In most elderly individuals, behaviors are a symptom of distress; usually fear.
As a Caregiver it is important to not take it personally. Try talking to your Mom to determine what is most frightening to her. Is it her memory loss, chronic pain, the loss of independence, the loss of friends or just getting old. Once identified, consider the steps necessary to alleviate that specific fear. It may be helpful to hire an in home caregiver to give you a break. Seniors often reserve their worst behavior for those they are closest to: family members. The bad behavior rarely surfaces in front of a stranger or someone with a medical background, such as a caregiver.
In this instance, the hiring of a Registered Nurse Geriatric Care Manager would help you in the creation of a Plan of Care to meet all of your Mom’s care and safety needs. This “Daughter For Hire” can sit with you and your Mom to come up with specific tools and ideas to ease the Caregiving process and keep your Mom safe, cared for and happy.
Caregiving is an exhausting task. Give yourself permission to take a break, permission to hire someone to help your Mother and permission to step away (briefly) when things get tense. Call on the help of family and friends to assist when appropriate. Most importantly, give yourself a hug…you are there for your Mom and that is half this battle.
Very truly yours,
Janice Guckin Barry, RN, Dear Nurse