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Our elderly parents and patience .... help me.

Discussion in 'Other Discussions' started by Scarlett O., Aug 4, 2015.

  1. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O. Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    May 22, 2002
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    I witnessed both sets of grandparents and a great-aunt slip into confusion - some more so than others as they aged. I also watched my mother and father patiently treat them with dignity and respect.

    I praised my parents for that - to their faces - when we had to go through those ordeals. I also treated my grandparents with great respect and talked to them gently and with patience when it was my turn to spend the night or sit with them. Their confusion never aggravated me.

    I watched my mother's sister lose her cool over and over and over and I hated that.

    I have counseled many people to try the gentle approach, ignore the repeated statements like me and my family did, and to be patient. It isn't that hard.

    Well, now it is.

    My parents, my father due to nerve deafness and my mother - due to I don't know what - are not communicating well with me. I have to repeat things. My mother will say something - I will correct her - and she will get mad and declare that she didn't say it that way and I find myself bound and determined to set her straight. I am turning into my aunt.

    It's about to put me over the brink. I have zero tolerance and it's making me mad at myself. I had more tolerance than anyone in my family with my grandparents and that's why my mother used me alot to tend to them when she could not.

    What's happening? Some is wrong with me - I readily admit that. I snap like a twig at my mother.

    And I hate it.

    She doesn't have dementia, but she isn't listening to me or others.

    Why am I so suddenly the Grouch of the South with her?
  2. annsni

    annsni Administrator

    May 30, 2006
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    Because you don't want to see your own parents decline. Have you thought of getting them to an audiologist or ENT to see if hearing aids might be an option? I know my daughter is studying to be an audiologist and one of the first classes they had to take was a counseling class - because SO many people are in denial that they actually have a problem. :(

    I'm sorry you're so stressed. Make sure you take time out for yourself or else you WILL explode! ((HUGS))
  3. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Aug 23, 2002
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    I was watching my SIL interact with my 4 yo granddaughter in an episode where he lost his cool - and was quite critical of him.

    Yesterday I got to manage the wee tike... it takes a Christ-likeness to hold up well... and there were times when I didn't.

    We see 'pictures' of a cleanly clothed Christ sitting patiently with well behaved children surrounding him and wondered why the disciples were peeved. Do you think that the children may have been a bit more unruly? And Jesus was still patient!

    My parent too are beginning to show signs like you mention.

    I guess I still have to learn to have the patience of Jesus toward needy people - and towards my elderly family members whose role in life is changing.

    I'll be praying for you. ---> ...pray for me!

  4. wpe3bql

    wpe3bql Member

    May 15, 2015
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    My own late mother (1913-2003) suffered from oncoming dementia for approximately the last dozen years of her life. During that time period the younger of my two sisters took it upon herself to care for our mother.

    I couldn't do much for her mainly because I was on active duty in the military during much of that time. It'd probably take, literally, an act of Congress to allow me to be with her more than two weeks at a time.

    My brother was some 2500 mi. away, & he had his own set of medical problems with which he had to contend. My other sister lived about 120 mi. from my mother, but at age 60+, she also had physical problems too (& now at, age 80 her physical problems are much worse).

    Thus it fell to the younger of my two sisters who was in her early 50's when it was determined that our mother was exhibiting signs of decreased mental capacities beyond just being some 80 YO when it became apparent that she would need more attention beyond what any of her children could offer.

    My sister had a rather well-paying job with the USPS for which she'd worked since about 1962. She was a postmaster of a fairly large community near Philadelphia PA. Due to her long tenure with the USPS, she was able to take an early retirement that was probably better than most people of her same age.

    Both she, my BIL, & our mother moved to a community that was primarily zoned for people ages 55 & up. My mother was the first to move in her new double-wide house because she was able to sell her house--our old family homestead that'd been around since about 1936-37. Our mother already was in no shape to maintain our old 2-story home on her own, & fees for housekeeping, mowing lawns, shoveling the sidewalk, etc., took its toll on her little pension. She moved in her new place before my sister & BIL could sell their house & deposit the sale's proceeds into that senior living community's construction account--something that community required before any dirt was turned on their "extended" double-wide located next door to my mother's smaller double-wide.

    It was about a year after all 3 were settled in that my sister noticed that my mother was doing things that didn't make much sense. Her weekly grocery list only consisted of a loaf of bread, a small jar of peanut butter, a dozen eggs & large carton of ice cream--every week it was the same. Other not-normal mental & physical signs began to appear as well.

    The housekeeper my sister arranged to come by on a weekly basis wasn't able to put up with the ever-increasing amounts of clothing (some dirty, some not) that began appearing in very unusual places (behind the bed stand, under sofa seat cushions, etc.). When the housekeeper questioned her about why she stashed these (& other items like clocks, unused light bulbs & the like) where she did, my mother would accuse the housekeeper of either lying to her about finding these items where she did, and even stealing things that were merely misplaced. Any housekeeper can only take so much abuse like that. She not only told my sister, who by now had Power of Attorney (POA) for our mother, that she was quitting & would tell all the other housekeeping services not to go to our mother's house. The company through which the housekeeper was dispatched told my sister that they couldn't allow their people to work any place under these circumstances due to concern for both party's safety.

    They weren't equipped to deal with this sort of thing, & they told my sister that there was a company who had therapists trained to deal with circumstances in which our mother was in, & getting increasingly worse. With a much higher level of care that our mother required would also mean a much higher bill for the therapist & the porter who had to stay with the therapist. My sister just didn't have the funds to do that for very long. Thankfully there was a church-sponsored nursing home nearby, & eventually that's where she put our mother.

    She seemed pleased with this arrangement because many of the people who were residing there she'd known due to her living in our hometown for some 60 years. Many of her down-the-hall neighbors were friends/acquaintences/fellow-workers. There were 2 other factors in her favor here: My uncle (her BIL) also spent his final days at this nursing home only a few years prior to her arrival, and the head of the grounds-keeping dept., was one of her nephews (my cousin). He'd always try stop by her room every day.

    Our old homestead was located just "down the hill" from the nursing home & we could see it from our back porch. As a child growing up, she'd often point to the nursing home & jokingly say, "There's where the really old people live," never realizing that a few decades after that, she'd be one of those really old people herself. In fact one time I remember strolling with her on the nursing home's shaded yard. She said, "You know what? The people who live here really aren't as old as I thought!"

    Anyone looking in from the outside would probably think that most things were fine with my mother, but if you looked closer, under the surface, you'd come to quite a different conclusion. My mother never took acting lessons, but IMHO she deserved an Oscar for her performances to the outside public.

    She'd be all smiles & sunshine to the outside world, but when she was alone with my sister, she'd often change into raging monster--screaming at the top of her lungs, throwing things at her & practically pushing her out of the room almost every day.

    God must have given my sister nerves of steel to endure this abuse. She knew that our mother wasn't in her right mind due to dementia. She just went on knowing that there was little anyone to do for our mother. I'm not sure I could have stood the abuse that she did for as long as she did.

    I could go on, but I'll just add this. Was my mother saved? To this day I can't really say. She was always a giving, caring person, not only as a mother to me & my siblings, but to her 7 grandchildren & 5 great-grandchildren.

    She worked along side many people at the suit coat factory for 30+ years, achieving the position of final quality control of all the men's suit coats that were shipped out to stores all over the US. (The coats they made were part of a national mens' clothing consortium that also included Arrow shirts & ties.) She volunteered to serve along with my father as Secy.-Treas. of the Ladies' Auxiliary of our town's volunteer fire dept. She was as active as a wife/mother could be.

    She'd insist that I mow our aged, handicapped next-door neighbor lady's rather large yard & shovel all the snow off her pavement, or take a daily meal over to one of our shut-in neighbors all for free because,"That's what neighbors are supposed to do!" Morally she was as good as any person I knew, but being moral per sedoesn't mean you're saved (see Mt. 25:31-46).

    Many times, even before she got dementia, I witnessed to her about not relying on her good works alone to save her, & each time she'd say something like "That's just what you Baptists believe! Don't try to convert me to a Baptist! I've got my church & you've got yours. when I decide to convert to a Baptist, I'll let you know!"

    What do you do in a case like that? All I knew to do was to pray for her, which I did & asked others to do so as well. Hopefully the HS took something I said to her & did what only He can do.

    The saddest phone call I got was 2 days before Christmas, 2003. My sister called to tell me that our mother died that morning.