ANGER - Finding it difficult to be graceful


#1

My mother is in her 70's and she's been suffering from severe anxiety and her short term memory is very poor. She's attended a doctor and he's put her through the short term memory test which proved positive. The problem is that she forgets things the minute she hears something. As a result she gets upset and asks the same question multiple times. Today I explained something to her and she asked me three or four times and then a period of 5 minutes elapsed and she asked me again. She asked me the same thing at least 8 or 9 times after this within a 15 minute period. I got incredibly angry and told her that it was driving me mad.

I have a real problem being patient because at the moment I don't get out due to being socially isolated. I haven't worked for a while and I'm worried about leaving home again because I don't think she could cope. My sister has learning difficulties and I've been flying off the handle at her too. I want to be saint-like and not display the attributes of evil which is what I was today. I love my mother and sister but I'd like to show it without giving vent to rage and fury which is hurting me also in feeling guilty which I do deserve.
How would you handle the anger in this situation? I am alone so I don't have any friends or relatives that can help out. I don't think I pray properly; that would be the solution in my opinion.


#2

Sounds as if your mom may have dementia.

In the US there is respite care where caregivers can get a break. You may look online for such in your community - if not, see if someone from your Parish would be willing to come in and give you a break!


#3

Thanks kage-ar. We’re going to see the Doc tomorrow but the thing is, her memory was always quite poor due to stress. However, the tests will show. Her medication is quite strong so it could be that too but we’ll get there. Cheer anyway mate.
God bless


#4

Are there any practical tricks you can use in the meantime to avoid frustrating situations? Such as writing down answers for your mom rather than just speaking them?

I'm not anywhere close to having medical issues with memory, but as a crazy-busy working mother I am quite scatter-brained, so I sympathize with memory issues. I have to write EVERYTHING down - and I have even told my husband that if he has something important to tell me - that it's better if he writes down friendly little reminder notes - it solves SO many little potential tragedies!

Prayers for you and your mother... :)


#5

Thanks Em. God bless you. I actually think she's also suffering from procrastination and I'm not being tactful and loving by not saying 'lazy'. I can empathise on this because she keeps saying she'll write things down but she gets depressed and then doesn't do it. I did the same with learning for work. I just felt not able to do it and then didn't but crosses are borne for a greater purpose so we'll get there.


#6

There's no such thing as not praying properly (unless you get into non-Christian stuff). Prayer is union with God and He wants to know everything. So even if your prayer is "I'm so mad, I hate this, make it stop" it isn't improper. Don't give up on prayer. Make it a priority every moment. Let God know what is going on and what you need. God doesn't need coerced or convinced but He does ask that we ask.

So PRAY "Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God." - Philippians 4. We don't actually have control of our emotions but the 'no anxiety' part can only come through prayer. But God wants to know about your emotions too. Remember emotions themselves aren't sinful, it is only how choose to act on them that can be sinful.

Oh did I mention - PRAY :gopray: :gopray2: :signofcross: and God bless you for doing His work.

Christ's peace be with you.


#7

My mother was discovered to be suffering from Alzheimer’s at age 82. She died in Oct. four weeks short of her 94 birthday.

My first suggestion would be to make sure she is getting the proper meds. Some doctors don’t believe in them and some patients refuse to take them. There was a wonderful improvement in my Mom when the doctor put her on seroquel. She was also fortunate to be with a group of doctors who were doing a study on Alzheimer’s patients and monitored her and her meds every three months.

I’m assuming you are either in your 40s or 50s. Too young to make this a full time job. Your sister may have learning disabilities but is she capable of staying with your Mom if your Mom responds to the right meds?

Yes, my Mom drove me crazy too with the constant questions and the idea I was stealing from her. Got physically abusive. Immediate change with the seroquel. :thumbsup: Even my Mom admitted she was feeling better :slight_smile:


#8

Dear Prodigal,

You are dealing with one of the hardest situations to cope with and it takes both courage and patience. My mother suffers from Alzheimer's and I am so very familiar with the conversations that you describe. Repeating the same question and answer over and over again. It is no accident that caregivers like yourself are at high risk for alcohol or substance abuse. It is hard physically, mentally and emotionally, profoundly so when it is a parent that you are caring for. Your mother is very blessed to have you there to care for her. Many are placed in facilities that do not have the resources or the degree of love that a family member would have for them.

Recently both of my step-children had dental surgery and on the ride home I had the same conversations with them, over and over, too, because of the medication that they were given. My stepson kept saying, "why is my mouth numb?", my step daughter kept saying, "why do I have this gauze in my mouth?". It struck me that these were exactly the kinds of conversations that I have with my mother, too. It helped to remind me that it is just how the brain works. I have to remind myself that for her, each time the question is new. If I'm angry, she doesn't understand and it only adds to her stress, causing her to remember less.

Sometimes I find different ways to answer her, all of them honest, and try to treat it like a game. Other times I've learned to distract her. I have found that, like with 4 yr olds or puppies, it can help to have a few attention-getting items handy. A rosary, a book with pictures, sometimes just whatever I have nearby. Photographs work really well, have some old photos handy, especially older photos of her when she was young. Chocolate works really well for us since Alzheimer's patients have a sweet tooth. I realize this sounds patronizing, but if I can find a way to sort transition to something else and not get angry, it keeps her from becoming stress, too. For me, it's as though my mother is four years old again and she needs that guidance and coaxing that one would give to a child. It helps her to feel safe and happy. Somehow I find it comforting that she is returning to God like a child. There is a sweetness in that.

The anger is perfectly normal and mirrors my frustration at the whole situation. I, too, had family to deal with that complicated everything both practically and emotionally. Being there all day every day feel so overwhelming and leave one feeling trapped and helpless.

There is help. In our area there are drop in day cares for elderly and there are organizations that provide volunteers to give caregivers like yourself a day off.

There are also support groups, particular for those dealing with dementia, or for family members of those who are mentally ill (dementia). Dementia is dementia and Alzheimers just happens to be the kind that gets most attention, but there around many kinds of dementia. It doesn't matter if she's specifically diagnosed with Alzheimer's, the support is there for you. This might be a good starting place: alz.org/apps/findus.asp or check see if there is a National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) near you. Some NAMI sites have online chat rooms for support.

These are perfect places to vent, so that you do not carry all the pent up frustration. Some programs give caregivers a "day off". If you can find a program to give yourself a rest, I pray that you can find a way to do that. Can you have someone sit long enough for you to go out to the movies? have coffee somewhere? You absolutely must take care of yourself if you expect to be of help to anyone else. Please know that you are not alone in feeling the way that you do and that the feelings are normal. Be compassionate with yourself. You, too, are a child of God. I pray that you will be able to find some support.

I often turn to Mary and Joseph, the eternal examples of patience and steadfast love. Grant you, I don't emulate them very well, but it gives me a goal to aim for. I hope that some of this helps. God bless you for all that you do.

May God bless you with peace and comfort during this difficult time and pour blessings down upon you for being there to care for your mother. May He give you the Grace to be patient and loving, even on the more difficult days and help you to see that there is still a whole, beautiful world around you, with sunshine and laughter and Hope. May God continue to keep your mother content and bless your sister, too. May God guide all of your family in their actions and their emotions and may He use all these things to bring each of you closer to Him and may you feel His great love for you.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Maggie


#9

Well said! This is very true. It took a while to find the right combination of meds to help my mother because she sundowns, but Seroquel was truly a Godsend for her, too. :thumbsup: Like night and day! We have to make adjustments from time to time and it took a while to figure out that when her mood changed, I should go back to the doctor. Sometimes it takes persistence, too.

This is partly why the alzheimer/dementia support groups can be so helpful, because while getting help for yourself you can also find out what treatments have worked for others. There is help.

God bless,
Maggie


#10

Thanks aircirt and Mel, I appreciate your advice about Alzheimer’s but from the memory tests that she was given at the hospital and her ability to understand the memories and the context without the specifics it appears as though it’s related to anxiety rather than a degenerative brain condition. It’s more complex that I described because she remembers and then instantly forgets because she’s not thinking, reading, socialising or anything else. I will discuss it with her Doctor and then move forward. I appreciate your advice Mel; it’s the lack of faith in prayer in this instance that’s a bigger issue and thanks for your prayers.


#11

My son, take care of your father when he is old; grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate with him; revile him not in the fullness of your strength.
For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, it will serve as a sin offering; it will take lasting root.
In time of tribulation it will be recalled to your advantage, like warmth upon frost it will melt away your sins.

~Sirach 3:12-15~

I hope this helps. :grouphug:


#12

Thanks ahollars it’s a beautiful quote and one that I will memorise and refer back to. Slainte lad and God Bless


#13

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.