I visit often (two or three times a week.) And, I call my ailing elder parent, my mother, every day.
I am wondering why I do this. I am wondering this because when I call or visit I am BERATED.
I am berated for a variety of things: my ailing elder mother’s condition, her health, the nurse’s cooking, the sub nurse, the other sub nurse, the fact that there are too many people coming to her house, the fact that there are not enough people coming to her house to visit, the fact that she can’t walk, the fact that she feels trapped, and mostly because, “this situation is unworkable.” And this is, somehow, my fault.
Today I was berated because the dresser that was in my childhood room (for 46 years) was removed earlier this summer and replaced with a new one for my ailing elder parent’s live in nurse, who, for three months, had no place to put her clothes. The contents of the dresser were placed into storage bins and into a closet in a spare room.
My mother is “heartbroken” by this betrayal. She is furious that she wasn’t “consulted” and that all of these changes were made “in secret.” She is deeply disappointed in the nurse’s behavior, which is actually my attempt at making the nurse feel comfortable and at home in my mother’s house, in which she has lived since March.
My hat goes off to all of you who can endure this type of insanity from your demented and ailing elder parents on a daily basis and let the ridiculous accusations and hurtful stabs roll off your backs. Personally, it’s not fun for me to subject myself to such daily abuse EVEN though I know that my mother is not in her right mind and that she is not thinking fairly or sensibly or clearly. Each time I call her, I wonder why I have done so. It doesn’t make her feel better to talk or to vent to me and it certainly doesn’t make me feel better to be vented on or berated to. Is it healthy for her to wallow in her frustrated states and obsess about her unfounded concerns, at me?
I have read a lot lately about caregivers and health care professionals who believe that excessively medicating dementia patients is harmful for the patients. I find these theories fascinating and I would like to better understand the thinking. From where I sit, my ailing elder parent seems distressed and agitated about small things-such as: who bought the dresser and why the nurse’s personal belongings are in it-and if her state of mind could be altered and brought to a more peaceful and pleasant place with medication, to me, this seems like a good idea.
As it is now, my mother is miserable. She is making her nurses miserable. And she is making her family worried and miserable. And she is making me miserable. If increased doses of anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication were given, wouldn’t we all be happier?
Or, should I wanna be BERATED?