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How do you deal an elderly parent who isn't the person you knew?

My mom is 86. Her life for the past 10 years has been all about dealing with pain. She's on ALL kinds of painkillers. Please don't tell me she should go off them - I agree with you. But people of her generation often believe that doctors "fix" everything and there is no dissuading her. So whether it is from all the opiates or just old age, my mom is not the same person anymore. What coping skills have you used to deal with similar situations with your relatives? BTW, she doesn't have any dementia-type issues yet (thank goodness). Also, it is interesting that cafemom doesn't really have a category for dealing with parents, but so many for dealing with children. Most of us have both!

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Asked by Whimsee at 11:00 PM on Mar. 9, 2011 in Relationships

Level 13 (1,029 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • Good point about CM needing a category for parents.

    I kind of know what you mean-but a lot of my grandmother's issues are really her being stubborn. But she does have that mind set that doctor's fix everything. Unfortunately, she also thinks they are all mindreaders and doesnt realize she has to tell them all of her symptoms, even if they're embarrassing and she also doesn't tell them when she messes up her medications.

    I would say you kind of have to start accepting that your mother is a different person now. Its just another stage of life. Kind of like when you grew up and realized that your mom was only human and made mistakes, if that makes any sense. I hope you have a good support system to help you with this!

    Answer by metalhealthmom at 11:05 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • My parents are in their 80's as well. It's very difficult to deal with and often times calls and visits are confusing and sad. Lucky for me I have two controlling sisters that argue over handling things so I am left with the less important things like conversation and comfort.
    It's sad they have begun to understand they soon won't be able to take care of each other and my father recently stopped driving. They both take loads of meds and it's very costly.

    Answer by chgomom at 11:08 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • I can totally empathize AND sympathize!! We moved in with my MIL (73 and disabled) a few years ago to take care of her. It has been interesting to say the least. I've learned that sometimes you just have to play the parent without them realizing that is what you are doing. She is also of that generation that believes doctors ALWAYS know what they are talking about. THAT drives me IN-FREAKING-SANE!!!

    It not easy and but the way I see it, they took care of us, now it's our turn to take care of them. They put up with our hatefulness, moodiness, tantrums and all the hell that we put them through ... I figure we can put up with it from them for a little while.

    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 11:29 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • OMG! I was thinking the same thing about a category for aging parents. I think we should reccomend Cafe Mom into putting a category for this. So many people are living longer and as caregivers and spending time with sick, aging parents it is a major issue for me right now. It is hearbreaking dealing with this on a day to day basis.

    Answer by mamacita69930 at 8:26 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • I caregived for a month and it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life.

    Answer by mamacita69930 at 8:26 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • At 86, why does it really matter if she is addicted to pain killers?? If you can't solve the source of her pain, the pill is the next best thing. My mother will be 92 this May, she lives with me, and she is addicted to sleeping pills, I have taken over administering them, but at her age, who cares what she is addicted to???

    Answer by older at 8:27 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • There is a group It doesn't look very active, but 2 or 3 of you could fix that. 


    Answer by LoveMyDog at 8:32 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • Thanks lovemydog.

    Answer by mamacita69930 at 8:36 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • I think that you are doing a wonderful job embracing her age and what she is going through. I would continue to find support from those who understand to make your transition better. I just visited my grandparents last weekend (70+) and they are slowing down and to see them getting older is a big thing for me because they are very dear to my heart. I have learned to embrace where they are at this stage in their lives and make the best of my time with them because we all have to prepare for what is to eventually come...

    Answer by MrsJStearns at 10:18 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • I have been there! the most important thing you can do is to continue to treat her with dignity and respect, just as if she was still the same exact woman she was before the medicine and the old age! My sweet grandmother turned into a child and then a baby right before my eyes. It was so hard. She didn't remember me and on top of that she didn't even like me! Before that I was her world, her only grandchild and so spoiled! I just loved her through it and when she passed it was a relief, because I knew she wasn't happy and was much better off. Good luck though!

    Answer by JackieGirl007 at 12:44 PM on Mar. 10, 2011

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