A Bad Situation Gets Worse

For the first few weeks, as mom was settling into her new home at the Care Center, I spent everyday with her. Dad had always been the “social butterfly” of the family, and it was difficult for mom to make friends on her own. She wouldn’t even go to the dinning room for her meals. She insisted on eating in her room saying she didn’t want everyone looking at her eating because her hand shakes so much due to her Parkinson’s. Every morning, after I took Shantel to school, and stopped by our Adoration Chapel at our church, I would go and try to help mom ease into her new environment. I would push her around the facility in her wheelchair and take her to the activity room. I tried to get her interested in participating in arts and crafts offered at the center but she would say “that is just dumb stuff and I don’t want to do it.” Bingo was offered twice a day but the only way she would play was if I sat with her and played as well. I hate playing games, but I did it with the hopes that soon mom would feel comfortable enough to play with the other residents and not need me sitting with her. I would try to help her engage in conversations with the other residents thinking mom would warm up and make friends with someone but the more I tried the more mom seemed to get agitated with my efforts. She told me those people didn’t want me bothering them and I should just stop trying to make friends with them. Finally, after months and months of this same routine, I told mom if she didn’t want to try to make friends and start participating in some of the group activities, I wasn’t going to waste my time coming up everyday and she could just sit in her room and be a lonely old woman having a pity party for herself. I realize that may seem harsh, but sometimes it is necessary to put up and enforce boundaries with loved ones or they will suck the life right out of you and bring you down to their level of misery with them. I love my mother, but I know her well, and know if I let her that is exactly what she would have done with me. I have come to believe that some caregivers tend to give into their loved ones demands because they feel sorry for them and/or the condition they are in. Now, please don’t misunderstand me here, I would never mistreat my mother, or anyone in my care, but there is a big difference in being firm on your boundaries and mistreating anyone. Have you ever found yourself in a situation like that and if so what are your thoughts on this?

It took a while, but mom finally decided she would start participating in bingo. When I arrived for one of my visits, she was beaming with pride to tell me that she not only played bingo the day before, but she actually won three games! I told her how proud I was of her and we had a nice visit that morning. And, guess what? When it came time for bingo that day, mom actually asked me to take her to the activity room so she could get a good space at the bingo table. When we got there she turned to me and said “you can go now, I’ll be fine”. This may not seem like much, but for my mom, it was a huge change in the right direction. We were finally making progress!

As time passed, my brother, Stephen, continued to fester in his discontentment over mom living at the Care Center. On one of my visits with mom, I asked her if she would like to come home for a few hours for a visit and go out to lunch. She told me I needed to call Stephen and ask him about it. I asked her what Stephen had to do with her coming to my house for a visit or her going out to lunch with me? She told me Stephen had come to visit her and told her that dad wouldn’t want her to trust anyone but Stephen, and she needed to make sure Stephen knew everything that was going on with her. I didn’t say anything to mom, as I didn’t want to upset her, but when I left the Care Center that morning, before I even left the parking lot, I called Stephen to ask him if he told mom not to trust anyone but him etc… He exploded again, and started calling me every nasty thing he could come up with. He said I had no right to question him about anything and said “you know you might have power of attorney over mom, but you don’t have any power over me.” I told him he better never tell mom she couldn’t trust anyone but him and reminded him he wasn’t the one going to see about mom everyday, that would be me. Then I told him if he continued to cause problems I would have the Care Center stop him from coming to see mom at all. He continued with his filthy language and I told him my own husband doesn’t use the kind of language with me and I certainly wasn’t going to tolerate it from him. I told him I was ending the conversation and hung up the phone.

Next: Taking Sides

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gotham girl
    Apr 15, 2012 @ 16:29:41

    Just when you think things can’t get any worse! Family dynamics…xoxo your frissy


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