Toulouse From Switzerland, joined Apr 2005, 2761 posts, RR: 57 Posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 2665 times:
So here I am again posting about some personal concerns, but this issue us really starting to nag me and would appreciate any advice from any of you, and especially real-life experience from any of you how have already or are going through this.
Bit of recent background:
Some of you may have already read my threads con the death of my father in April of this year. I also posted a thread in July when my mum took an overdose trying to end her days. As a quick update on that, she spend 3 months in a psychiatric hospital in Dublin and was released about three weeks ago. First week or so seemed ok, but things are going down hill again.
Some "less" recent background.
My mum is 75 and has generally had good physical health. She became quite depressed after the death of her own mother just a couple of years before I was born. I am now told by my sisters (I'm the baby of the family with 12 years between me and the next youngest) I more or less saved her and the marriage which may have been on the rocks (on this note, in my lifetime I only saw very deep love between my parents). But well all know how much of strain depression can be on partners, family etc. Nevertheless, I think my mother never fully recovered from that nor was she correctly diagnosed.
My mother spent her whole life as a "house-wife" and was very dependent on my wonderful dad who took care of all the financial side of things and major decisions (my mother is in no way dim, just never really bothered getting involved). The past 15 years she took to be and spent an awful lot of time in bed, which my dad didn't like but never really pressured her. She is, and always has been a very timid person and a pretty bad eater. My dad was diagnosed with a rare disease in 2000 and managed to live nearly 6 years much to the surprise of the doctors, yet he was on oxygen and his final two years was on it 24 hours a day, and his last year or so was totally restricted to bed. We don't think mum ever accepted his illness.
As a side note, just like to emphasise I have always had a very special relationship with my mum and dad and spent a lot of time with them and many holidays abraod just the 3 of us as I was born so late on and my dad retired early when I was about 7, thus spent a lot of time with me, and to be honest he did many of what would be considered mum's duties.
So anyway, sadly dad passed away on April 24th just as he had wanted to, at home while asleep went into a coma and only lasted some until the evening of the morining my eldest sister discovered he was in a coma when trying to wake him for breakfast.
So mum was obviously very down, after being 52 years with my dad. In late July she took a major overdose, and again much to the surprise of the doctors, survived. She then spent 3 months in a psychiatric hospital, when she arrived she didn't do much there nor did they seem to do much with her, and suddenly she commenced an awful deterioiration, to such a point she was put in a closed ward and they started the rather contraversial ECT (electro convulsive treatment) on her. They stopped after only 3 sessions as she improved, but only improved to the state she was in when she was hospitalised. They seemed happy with this in the hospital and all of a sudden she was released, much to quickly in our opinion and that of our GP.
She went home and was eating well again, getting up early every morning and going to bed at normal times for the first time in years. Doing a bit of house-work, going out for walks with her cousins (something she hadn't done in years). And then it all started to go down hill.
My youngest sister (12 years older than me) lives at home and takes care of her as her care-taker paid by the state. Now while she does a great job, my sister is very sociable while out, but at home she's always been very introverted, possibly typical of a spinster well into her 40's. She doesn't chat much, keeps to herself, and reads alot and watched tele at night in her own little TV room. My eldest sister is a great support, but as is normal has her own life. I am living abroad. And we have a brother, but he doesn't really enter the equation.
My mother is very down again, and back in bed the past few days and has stopped eating. My sister's are talking about her being hospitalised again and suggesting a residence for the elderly. My younger sister has organised for me to meet the pyschiatric nurse who comes to visit her on a weekly basis (more or less).
Now I have my own opinions, but I don't want to appear to take over and want to be careful as I understand that as I live abroad, I'm not there all the time like my sisters.
My younger sister goes from feeling bad for her to just plain pi**ed off, which I understand as she's with mum 24/24, 7/7.
My elder sister believed we must be harsh with her and treat her like a child. This, while I usually agree with this sister, I disagree with... she's our mother, and she's not crazy. I think she's just miserable (sorry forgot to point out that after the ECT she now has amnesia covering all the time from the ady after dad's funeral right up until about 2 weeks before she was released from hospital. I mean, she was with her husband, our dad, for 52 years and they were ALWAYS together, the only time they were ever separated was when she was in hospital giving birth to all of us. And she was so very dependant on him. Now he's gone, and I understand how alone, how scared and how miserable she must feel.
I honestly feel that she needs encouragement. My sister who cares for her should maybe spend more time just chatting to her, bring her for a walk (which she never does, that's done by my other sister, brotherinlaw and cousins). I know my sister needs her own time, but maybe an hour in the evening watching TV with her instead of retreating to her own TV room upstairs (mum sleeps down-stairs). I also disagree that we should be shouting and ordering her what to do. And most of all, I DO NOT like the idea that she may end up in a hursing home, which I know she doesn't want (nor would dad have) and that she doesn't really need it.
My wife would be open to her coming here, but it's not really practical as our house is already a bit small and we need to extend, but that will take time (due to €€€'s). What should I do? What can I do? Please give any suggestions or share your experience.
I'm a firm believer that we owe it to our elderly parents to be there from them in old-age after all the support they've given us, as we'll all be in the same situation at some stage.
Itsjustme From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 2831 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 2631 times:
Quoting Toulouse (Thread starter): I'm a firm believer that we owe it to our elderly parents to be there from them in old-age after all the support they've given us
You are 100% correct here. And that is why you have to put your worries of "taking over" aside and do what is best for your mom. I moved my elderly mom into my house until her health deteriorated to a point that I could not give her the 24 hour monitoring and care she needed. But, while I was caring for her, I encouraged her to spend time with other seniors who shared her interests. Fortunately, there was a senior citizen center not too far from where we lived and, with my encouragement, she spent a few hours there each day. You would not believe the positive effect it had on her. So, go with your gut instincts and do what you feel is best for you mom. Not only do you owe it to her to be there for her, it's simply the right thing to do.
CHRISBA777ER From UK - England, joined Mar 2001, 5964 posts, RR: 61
Reply 3, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2615 times:
Hey Toulouse - nice to see ya - been a while buddy.
Sorry to hear of your problems - you always struck me as a really nice, caring, geniune, honest guy and its people like you always seem to have the big problems in life. Stick at it fella - your Mum can only get better, but its something she is going to do, and not have someone do for her - and its up to you and your sisters to make that easier for her, not to force things.
As regards this - I think - Spend more time with her, and perhaps take her on holiday somewhere warm and inoffensive?
What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???
LTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13504 posts, RR: 17
Reply 4, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2609 times:
Your mother is suffering from depression. It needs to be treated, but still it is a difficult mental health problem to deal with.
I would suggest that you and your sisters seek a support and counsuling group at your local hospital or government health agency to help you deal with this stressing situation you are in. By understanding this problem she has better, you can be more helpful to her and keep your sanity and health as well.
SA7700 From South Africa, joined Dec 2003, 3431 posts, RR: 25
Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2600 times:
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IMHO treating her like a child is not going to solve anything other than to foster a possible resentment towards the person who is treating her like that. Her depression symptoms may also take a turn for the worse. What your sisters need to understand is that she is still a person in her very own right, albeit very fragile and emotional. She has the right to grieve and no one can expect that she will overcome her grief within a mere few months. Each person handles grief differently and we have to grant each other the space in order to try to overcome it.
I am still trying to cope with my sister's suicide (3 months ago) and it is one heck of a seesaw ride. Some days are bearable, but sometimes your emotions can totally overcome you. Granted, I do not have thoughts of ending my own life, but I sought out professional help from a qualified therapist, who are still helping me on this bumpy road. If your mum could be encouraged to talk to someone or just start to write about her feelings, I think it would be a step forward.
When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
Very well done. I would also really consider having her here, my wife is "ok" with it, yet there are two downsides: our house is small already for myself, wife and junior + thefact I work from home, and extensions are planned butthey're still a little down the road. Secondly I'm not sure if a move at her age to a foreign country (as I live in France) is such a good idea as she doesn't have a word for French, yet I know she'd be much better medical attention here than in Ireland.
Thanks a lot Chtisba777er. I have been around, we just haven' bumped into eachother for some time. Anyway, with the exception of this issue, life is certainly looking brighter after a generally dismal 2005 and 2006 (except of course for the birth of my first child!).
Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 3): As regards this - I think - Spend more time with her, and perhaps take her on holiday somewhere warm and inoffensive?
I agree, and am heading over to Dublin next week planning on spending some quality time with her, getting her out of the house etc. I was already planning on bringing her over next spring to visit us in Toulouse for a while.
Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 4): As regards this - I think - Spend more time with her, and perhaps take her on holiday somewhere warm and inoffensive?
As above, it wa sone of my plans, but at the moment, from what I'm hearing, my sisters feel she'll be in hospital again soon...
Quoting SA7700 (Reply 5): IMHO treating her like a child is not going to solve anything other than to foster a possible resentment towards the person who is treating her like that.
I full agree with you SA7700. It is nice to hear that as that is my one main area of disagreement with my sisters.
Quoting SA7700 (Reply 5): I am still trying to cope with my sister's suicide (3 months ago) and it is one heck of a seesaw ride
Yes I remember that. I hope you're doing well. I have a feeling what it's like, yet perhaps the sudden death of a sister/brother is harder than a father as in my case (as with the nature of things it's usually the parents who go first). Good luck friend.
What I hate to say is that you need to realize that your mom is already dead. If you are lucky she will embrace the moments of lucidity well, but most of your time between now and her literally dying will be spent agonizing over what to do with her and how she does between now and then.
My road took over 15 years of watching a brilliant woman go from social butterfly, to recluse, to alcoholic, through demensia, and finally death. The last few years of my grand mothers life were terrible I don't know to feel more sorry for her or my dad and my uncle.
We had a memorial that was more about celebrating her life then remembering her final years. It was soo odd seeing people laughing and sharing fun stories about her with very little in the way of tears. We realized then she had died long ago, and her physical passing was the end of her suffering. Death was good for her as it is for most people (I know of) who go into their twilight years without the things they had dedicated their lives to.