It’s not all about you mum!
I have huge amounts of patience. I will go over and over explaining things to mum. An example is when she finally started a Home Care Package.
I have stayed calm through all the accusations of taking money from her, taking and not returning a summer dress – mum is size 18 and I am size 12!!!, why have I taken out of the unit…whatever else she has actually misplaced. Look I could go on and on all the incredible frustrating conversations and actions of mum. And the regular criticisms.
However, for the first time, I lost it with mum.
After so many explanations about a package, verbal and due to not only her hearing issues, but also confusion, I have so many times typed in large font and dot point explanations about the benefits of the package. It helps mum stay at home. It helps me to help mum.
Mum rang the care provider.
Mum told the care provider not to send any more carers.
Mum cancelled the Home Care Package
Mum then postponed the Home Care Package for 12 months.
I picked mum up, took her to the doctors. Took her to the hearing aid specialist.
Mum didn’t tell me. Not a word.
The Care Provider rang me and told me.
My brother is away for 4 weeks. Mum refused to go into respite care whilst he was away. I have no back up support – and anyway he is often not well to assist. I had carers for an hour one day and an hour and half another day booked.
A week before mum had a fall. She injured her left hand and it was heavily bandaged. Mum is left handed.
I had make a wide variety of meals, veggies, desserts. I cut everything up, separated froze…all to make it easy for mum to eat.
Mum cancelled everything, the carers booked to support me. The Home Care low level package – we are still awaiting approval of her ACAT assessed High level Package.
Mum even wrote letters and cancelled, then another saying to postpone.
I was so angry and upset.
I lost it. I know there is such as thing as elderly abuse. I am not a shouter. I don’t lose my temper. I am patient. I do so much for mum. But I need some support.
I swore. I used the F word a few times. I was so upset. I told her it’s not all about you mum! I have a husband. I have adult children I support. I care for my little grand children 3 times a week. I am trying where I can grab some me time, do something for me.
It’s not all about you mum.
No, I can’t be here 24/7. No I can’t be here everyday.
You ring me, and demand I come around immediately. I recall there was a message she couldn’t understand on her answering machine. She thought it was urgent. I went around. She had deleted the message and in her mind decided what it was about – it wasn’t.
You ring me mum – the latest with another fall, crying and saying Oh there is blood everywhere, I need you to come now, and I need you to get my breakfast and do my washing and dishes. Clean your false teeth! I go around. That day fortunately the carer was also coming. I left her to do the washing and dishes.
I am exhausted mum. For the first time ever my blood pressure is elevated. Never had a blood pressure issue before. Ever!
I walked out. Angry.
The next day I saw her doctor and explained the latest incident. An aged care professional recommended to me a couple of years ago, to have one on one appointments with mum’s doctor to keep him informed about her behaviours. Her behaviour, decision making, short term memory of truths and untruths that she makes up and then believes. I finally got through to her to keep the package active or she would also lose the cleaner who she really likes, that comes once a fortnight. So thankfully the package remains active. I explained the Care Provider would be taking $’s for Administration/Case Management from her govt subsidy account every time she rings and makes such changes. That means less $’s for her when we really really need it.
I feel emotionally and physically spent at the moment.
For the first time, due to mum’s behaviour and on the doctor’s recommendation, I have booked a carer and a car on Monday to pick mum up and take her to the doctor for her wound bandage change. I would normally do this. Instead I will go to the gym and do a Pilates class.
Mum needs to go back to the hearing aid specialist for a new mould. I will again ring for a carer and car.
And I will go to they gym.
I have put on so much weight as I have put carer duties before my fitness and health level. Or have a massage.
Mum’s it’s not all about you. And one of the positive result of you cancelling and postponing, is that I am now going to take care of myself better.
The doctor has told you a number of ties, that it is time. Time to look at going into aged care. I agree. Especially after a few weeks ago, burning a chop, not knowing even though the unit alarm was screaming. The neighbours were they ones who rushed in. Mum doesn’t wear her hearing aids when at home and not expecting anyone.
I agree. I know you want to stay at home in your unit mum. I know you have told me and the doctor that you will commit suicide and take your sleeping tablets. I know you expect me to be the on tap carer. I feel guilty every time a woman tells me how long she cared for her parent – even at their own home for years and years. I feel I don’t do enough compared to others – I have it easy.
I need a life. I have felt so isolated.
I will continue to love, help, care and support you as much as I can.
But it is time. Time for you to enjoy the safety and care of an aged care home. Time for me to be free of feeling on call 24/7.
I am glad you did what you did mum. Because finally I stopped and realised. It has been all about you. I put so many of my own needs on hold. I closed down my celebrant business. I come when you call.
Now mum, it’s about me too.
After a couple of long, emotional weeks, as mum struggled with her health and I struggled with the hours and stress of caring – mum said “I need a hug! I just need to be held and hugged!”
We hugged tightly.
We are on this journey together. One which we know will end. When we don’t know.
We do know that there are many ups and lots of downs and struggles to go through. A hug. A simple hug between a mother and a daughter. A memorable moment in time.
It made me thing about touch. No matter our age we all love to have our hand held, our backs rubbed, or the feel of a warm embrace. How often to we go long periods without touch, without a healing, reassuring love.
Seniors who live alone often do not experience the simple act of touch on a daily basis. The reasons vary: spouses and close friends have passed away, families live in other states, or physical limitations may affect activity and contact with others.
In our busy lives – it is often easy to forget to show feelings of affection. For the elderly – and single people – a loving touch can make a big difference in their lives.
When we are with our partners – kids well and truly having left home, or as an elderly person living alone. How often do we stop – reach out and touch each other. Hug each other. So much care, support in that hug. It means, you are not alone. I feel your pain. I feel your struggle. I am here for you.
According to researchers at Ohio State University, hugging and physical touch becomes increasingly important with age. “The older you are, the more fragile you are physically, so contact becomes increasingly important for good health,” University psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser told USA TODAY. Studies have shown that loneliness, particularly with age, can also increase stress and have adverse health effects. By hugging someone, we instantly feel closer to that person and decrease feelings of loneliness.
I feel uplifted each time I see my grand daughters and we hug. I will often reach out to my daughter and give her a hug. And my son – he is like hugging a big teddy bear. But I am reflecting, not enough. A hug also says I love you. I am proud of you.
A hug provides solace, safety and tenderness and an overall sense of wellbeing.
Touching someone you love often conveys a message in a way words cannot.
So although I am so busy, I must now remind myself, to reassure mum, by giving her a hug when I see her. It will help both of us in this journey with ups and downs, together.