This post is a request for advice but will probably turn into a whinge. For that I apologise in advance.
Nobody chooses to be an unpaid carer - it's something that you just get landed with, often as your parents get older. It helps if you love your relative, which unfortunately I don't. My mother, who is now 93, has never been a great parent, but I try very hard to put the past behind me and forgive her for that. As her mind degenerates and she becomes more and more deaf, I'm finding her harder and harder to deal with. She isn't actually at all in bad shape for her age, eating and sleeping well and still walking about the shops and going bowling once a week. But the following behaviour is hard to deal with:
- She keeps telling me that she doesn't feel well. When I ask her what's wrong, she says she doesn't know. As her health seems to me pretty good for her age, I tend to put this down to attention-seeking, that she has always been a master of.
- She can't help being deaf, but being dyspraxic, I find it very difficult to get the volume of my voice right when speaking to her, such that I'm often accused of shouting. Her hearing aids never seem to work.
- She always does her best to make me feel that I'm not giving her enough attention. This I know is very common in older people as they lose control of their lives (often to their offspring) and is a form of manipulation. I have to work very hard not to feel guilty, to manage her expectations and to get on with my own life.
- She and my father (now dead) separated in 1965 and she has always since tried to treat me as a surrogate partner rather than a son.
I do get some help from a great local charity called Connecting Carers, and am also in the process of finding her a friend through the Befrienders charity. My own mental health is improving after 6 months on a prescription of fluoxetine, and although I've come off the drug during the past few days, I'm a bit worried that my old dear is going to drag me down again.
Has anyone else been in a similar position and if so, able to offer any tips?
Thanks and regards
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