Friday, December 29, 2017

This Week

It’s Friday once again. The last one of the year. A year that many people will be glad to bid farewell to. I have a few thoughts on that but I will save them for my final post of the year that I will share this Sunday.
The two best things that happened this week were 1) my younger daughter arriving from Ottawa on Sunday and staying with us for a couple of days and 2) the rest of my family coming over on Christmas day for lunch. The company was wonderful, the food was great and the memories we created are priceless. I’d been worried when I got up that morning that they wouldn’t be able to make it because it was snowing, but it wasn’t severe enough for them to cancel. For this I am very grateful.

The worst thing was my mother not joining us. She has not improved since her fall in June, at least psychologically, and aside from medical appointments, she never leaves the house. Over the past few months her doctor has personally examined her numerous times and he’s also sent her for a series of x-rays, blood tests, scans, etc. He has found nothing medically wrong. It has become very challenging dealing with her as her demands grow, particularly for my brother who lives very close and does the majority of care. No matter what approach we take, nothing is working. No matter what suggestions we make, they’re all refused. We suspect that she might be suffering from anxiety and possibly depression but because she refuses to even consider that, we can’t get her evaluated or treated. We’re out of ideas. For those of you who have dealt/are dealing with a difficult elderly parent, I’d love to hear your thoughts, opinions and suggestions.



Last week I wrote about the car dying on me and having to call for assistance. Well, we changed our car battery and that’s the end of that. And thank goodness we did because a few days later the temperature took a dive. It is flippin’ cold and it will be for several more days. This morning I woke up to a temperature of -21°C (-6°F). No way would our car be starting in that weather with an old battery. Sunday night we’re going to be bringing in a very frigid New Year! How’s your weather. Can you send some warmth our way?


I have some art to share. Some old, some new. After the holidays I’m going to get into a normal routine that will include time for drawing. For now there’s this:





How was your week? Do you have any plans for the New Year? Depending on how we feel and the weather, we might go out for dinner. I’ve had my party years and now I like quiet celebrations. How about you?

That’s all for today. I’ll be back on Sunday to say goodbye to 2017.

Have a lovely weekend!

45 comments:

  1. Thanks for the laughs and your art is beautiful. Sorry about your mother's problems, no easy answers.

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    1. Indeed, Christine. There is no easy answer to this.

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  2. We are dealing with almost identical circumstances with our mom. She is 89 and has a history of Borderline Personality Disorder. She and my dad live out in the boonies, 45 minute drive away. Her anxiety and depression are over the moon but her paranoia makes it difficult to treat. She looks at each of her prescription pills with a magnifying glass to make sure none of us is poisoning her. My dad has Parkinson's but Mom believes his tremors and disabilities are just to irritate her. Three days ago I got a message on my cell; she was crying and begging for help. I tried calling her back for 20 minutes, waiting for the Guy to come home to drive me (I had a glass of wine, which I almost never do anymore because I never know when I have to make the drive on a minutes notice). She finally answered the phone and the 'emergency' was that Dad wouldn't put Christmas music on the television because they had cancelled their Direct TV a month or so ago.

    Like your mom, ours refuses to make any changes. We buy all the groceries, take them meals, have stayed with them, insisted that they move closer or in with one of us.

    My sister is going to move in with them with the understanding that it will be short term while we help them pack up the house and make changes for selling it. They will find another house up here, close to either of us sisters. It is difficult being with Mom for any length of time, so when sister needs a break, she will go back to her house and I will stay with folks.

    Our presence will also be protecting our dad from Mom's psychological and emotional abuse. After 70 years of marriage, he has developed a little bit of Stockholm Syndrome.

    Wow, that came pouring out! Simply said, exhausting to handle. Good luck.

    Our solution is that my sister will move in with them with

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    1. Toni, it sounds like you have a much bigger struggle. And with two parents to look after, I can't imagine how difficult it must be. The plan for your parents to move closer sounds great. At least they'll be close enough that you don't have to deal with that drive. My mom is not good with change at all. She likes things a particular way and if they're disrupted her anxiety rises. Lately, if she doesn't get her way with something that she feels will bring her comfort, she spins out of control. Sometimes it seems like a temper tantrum. I understand some of her fears and worries, but I also make sure I don't feed into them. I also keep healthy boundaries going because in the state she is in now, she'd readily cross them. After the holidays my brother and I will sit down with her and discuss the situation. We have to find ways to handle this situation that will be comfortable for everyone. I'm not sure how that will go and I suspect that she will put up a lot of resistance. Fingers crossed!

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  3. I love your bird drawing!!! :) I'm sorry about your mom Martha...as we all know, you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped right? For years, I refused to believe I had anxiety, but I hit rock bottom and had no choice but to see a doctor. I hope your mom sees that she can get help if she'll allow it. Depression is tough because it feels all so hopeless and you can't find motivation to get help either. But on the bright side, I'm so happy you had a great holiday with most of your family.

    The weather is insanity, I can't handle it. Frozen eyelash weather. It's going to be a cold winter!

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    1. Many of her generation do not handle mental illnesses well. The stigma still exists around it. It's very frustrating to see her in this state but if she is not willing to consider different ideas of what might be wrong, there isn't much we can do.

      Oh, this weather... I can't stand it either. Winters become more and more unbearable as I get older. I am soooo looking forward to the spring!

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  4. Depression is the elderly is so common. Because of confidentiality, most doctors won’t speak to family without her consent but if you are able to talk to her doctor without her there that might help. How old is she and is she able to make decisions regarding her health or is she getting confused? Have you had her Vitamin D tested? Have you considered getting home support in to help lighten the load for your brother? Home support can get poeple to do all sorts of things family can’t do, like take medication.

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    1. Birdie has some good advice. Mom's Vit D was super low. Dr. started her on Vit D and we saw a big change. Both Mom and Dad take sublingual Vit B12 and that gives them energy to get outside for some light yard work. Much improved moods after starting the B12.

      Also have to make sure they open the drapes everyday and let in the light. Dad's depression lifts when Mom lets the light in!

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    2. Birdie, thank you for the suggestions. I actually never thought about the vitamin D. I'll make sure to mention it to her and to my brother, so she can be tested. Since she's not going out, it's possible her levels are low. And I'm not sure she's getting enough in her diet. As for home care, she won't accept anyone into her house. She says she doesn't have the physical need yet. We were thinking more of an emotional/mental need. Perhaps someone that will encourage her to step outside, even if she just walks half a block. She's 80 and there is no confusion yet. The problems we are experiencing are mostly of extreme dependency and inflexibility. And if she doesn't get her way, anger and frustration. And, of course, guilt tripping. I'm immune to it but my brother is more sensitive. My mother is typically a soft and kind woman, but her fear and anxiety make her behave badly.

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    3. Toni, no issue with letting the light in. My mother has blinds and curtains open wide every day. She cannot stand when it's too dark in the house. Thank goodness for that, at least!

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  5. Good way to trap wonderful company - they can't leave; car won't start. Ha!
    Glad you've had warmloving family time, Martha.
    Happy New Year!

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  6. Just love your bird, it's such a wonderful colour.
    So sorry to read about your Mum, I see others have suggested a few ideas. I do hope things may improve.

    On a positive note wasn't it good for your to have your daughter and other family members with you for Christmas.
    We had a wonderful few days spending time with family, and we were able to see our children and grandchildren plus great nephews and nieces too ... a wonderful time for which we have so many great memories to cherish.

    Sending my good wishes for the last few days of December and a Happy and Healthy New Year to you too!

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thanks for your kind wishes, Jan! Yes, the family gathering was wonderful. It had been years since we hosted a gathering during the holidays, so we were extra happy about this! Here's hoping for a healthy and happy New Year!

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  7. Even if your mother has anxiety, I highly recommend AGAINST any drugs for it, especially in the elderly. Why?

    1. it is very easy to get hooked. It's been proven (and I'm an example) that even the lowest dose, taken once a day, for as short a period of time as 9-10 days, can cause one to become physically addicted, and it can take 2 horrid years to taper off. Even worse,

    2. evidence it leads to dementia in the elderly.

    I'm sorry about your mom's condition. My mom refuses to leave her house now too, except for doctor's visits. It's sad when they choose to sequester themselves for no authentic reason, other than stubbornness. :(

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    1. Thanks, SW. Important things to consider here. I don't see her taking medication at this point, anyway, since she is convinced that it is not a mental health problem. I'm not sure where we will got with this.

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  8. Love your sketches and of course the parakeet! nice job. Unfortunately (or fortunately tongue in cheek I guess) My parents passed away before they needed to be taken care of by me or my sister. My mom (i miss her so much) passed away when i was a mere 35. My dad in 2001 at age 78. My husband's parents also passed away before they needed assistance. so I'm afraid I have no advice or suggestions. I hope for the best for you and your brother in finding out what she needs. Sounds like u had a great holiday!

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    1. Oh Sandy, I'm sorry to hear that. You lost your parents very early, particularly your mom. This is all new to me with aging parents. I don't think any of us are prepared until it happens.

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  9. Hi Martha,

    Good that your daughter and most of your family were there for Christmas lunch.

    I'm so sorry to read about your beloved mother. She needs to discover resources that are conducive to her mental and physical well being. This can be a tough situation to contend with your mother is probably quite scared about finding herself in what I call an uncomfortable, comfort zone. I know how difficult it is for me to actually go out and I have to muster up the strength to even go out. Your mother needs continued, gentle support. In so far as medication, for I've noticed a comment above stating to be against medication, medication can be vital in helping some people. If a person considers using medication, it's always advisable to consult the prescriber as to what possible side effects may occur. I wish your mother well.

    Loving your art in the land where cars don't start.

    I shall be spending New Year's alone but that's okay because I'm comfortable in my own company.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Martha.

    Gary

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    1. Hi Gary, thank you for your support and advice. I really appreciate it. Her doctor subscribed medication sometime in the summer and we were hopeful. But because she refuses to accept that part of her problem is a mental health issue, she took her pills once or twice and then said they were killing her, that she felt really sick. We believe it was a psychological rejection but her doctor told her to stop them because her negative response was so severe. Not sure what we can do right now. It's become a very difficult situation, especially for my brother. He's away now but we'll talk when he returns and figure out a strategy. Thank you for dropping by and Happy New Year! Wishing you all the best for 2018!

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  10. Your drawings are wonderful, Martha. I see your skills developing more and more - that's what comes of regular practice. I'm glad you had your daughter for a few days and had a good time with your other company too.

    I'm sorry to hear about your mom. Mine went through a few years where she was very hard to please and was short with us all the time. She didn't seem to care about anything going on with family. We suspected she was feeling down about getting older - realizing that her years are numbered. Perhaps your mom's fall has made her think about old age and infirmities as well. After a few years of being that way, our mom started to come out of it. Maybe she realized she was still standing, so to speak, and didn't feel so much like her life was over quite yet. Her thinking skills are failing now, although she still lives on her own and manages her routine okay so far, and I've been noticing that she seems to be actually mellowing now (which is a very welcome relief). She was quite pleasant to have around this Christmas, and much easier to please. I know every person is unique and this may not be your mom's issue at all, but I thought I'd share it in case it might be of any value. I know the sadness you feel, and the frustration, and I hope your mother's mood changes soon. All you can do is try to be patient, and love her through the bad times as you would through the good. Easier said than done, I know. I had to distance myself somewhat during those years for my own mental health. I was available when she needed help, and I tried to keep in regular contact, but I gave her a wide berth at times, and I learned to bite my tongue a LOT. I still have a list of responses taped inside my cupboard door by the telephone. [It reads: If comments are arguable but harmless, respond with "hmmm", "could be", "maybe so", "that's possible", etc. If comments are too critical or hurtful: Don't say anything. Change topic at first breath. Repeat if necessary. Don't make it into an argument. It won't help.] Maybe those would be helpful for your brother if he is bearing the brunt of the interaction with her. I truly hope your mom feels better soon. She can't be very happy feeling as she does. She may ride it out on her own (people of a certain generation are not accustomed to asking for help) or she may get to feeling so badly she will finally accept help. You might need to help her start the conversation. Please feel free to talk, vent, discuss at any time by email (newjennyo@gmail.com). Hope something in this long, long comment might help! Just know you are not alone and others are rooting for you.

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    1. Hi Jenny, thank you for this! Yes, this helps very much. Things are very bad right now and I'm not sure what will happen next. Or what the right way to deal with this is. I've mentioned to my brother that we should consider going to a counsellor together to share our thoughts, concerns, worries and even our frustrations. Perhaps it'll help us find solutions or strategies. My mom has become angry, aggressive and even nasty at times with us, especially when she doesn't get her way. I know it comes from fear and worry and isolation, etc., but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with. I may very well email you at some point to expand on this. Maybe after the holidays. I'm feeling a little tired lately and I can't seem to find the right words. Thank you for your offer. I really appreciate your support!

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  11. It's darn cold. Outdoor New Year's Eve celebrations are being cancelled.

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    1. I know! How sad. The weather is just too dangerous for outdoor activities.

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  12. I am glad you had a nice Christmas. I am sorry your mother isn't doing well. I think an antidepressant may help, but that dioesn't sound like an option if she won't hear of it. Does she have a cat? They are wonderful companions. Very nice drawings. Have a nice weekend and a happy, healthy 2018!

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    1. I totally agree about the cat! Unfortunately, she's not a cat person. It's too bad because she'd have some wonderful company. Happy 2018!

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  13. Sounded like wonderful gatherings with your family for Christmas, Martha! I so agree with how fast the year went; blink and it is almost over! Loved your cat drawing.

    No clue on how to help your mom, but sorry you are all dealing with it. My mom was 85 when she passed and in okay health until her final 6 weeks. She got out and about as she could, she was just ready to die; she wasn't depressed, she was just ready to move on so to speak, felt she had lived all she wanted to live. My in-laws I didn't have a really good relationship with them so I just kind of stayed out of what hubby and brother in law had to deal with. I would offer support to hubby, but I wasn't hands on in the care in their older age. It is a hard time though to adjust to almost being the parent to your parent.

    betty

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    1. It is very hard, Betty. I think the worst part of it is not knowing what approach to take. Or rather, not being able to find an approach that works. So far no matter what we've tried, we've failed.

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  14. I love your drawings and the fact that you're making more time for them. Can you not ask the doctor for an anti-anxiety med to see if that helps? I'm really sorry about your mother. It must be incredibly hard on her too. I hope you'll have a warm and cozy ringing in of the year.

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    1. We did discuss this with her doctor but my mom is resistant to any type of mental health treatment. She doesn't believe she has that type of problem. The only way she'd take an antidepressant is if she didn't know that that's what it is. We will see what happens.

      Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you a healthy and happy 2018!

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  15. My maternal grandmother is naturally very difficult to work with even in good mental and physical health. I can only imagine what would happen if she progressed to be like your mother's state, she's pretty old now so it's only a matter of time probably.

    Hopefully you'll will find something that works.

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    1. Thanks, Adam. We will continue to work on it and hope for the best. It's not easy!

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  16. It does sound as if your mom is suffering from depression and anxiety and maybe agoraphobia. Would it help if your family went together to talk with her? You don't want her to feel cornered, though. Although a doctor can't diagnose a person who hasn't been seen, the doctor should be able to advise you on how to handle the situation. The year did go by in a blink, didn't it?

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Agoraphobia has been the topic of conversation lately. And depression and anxiety is something we have been discussing for months. After the holidays, my brother and I will visit at her place and discuss a few things with her. We don't want her to feel cornered and we'll try our best to put her at ease. But we do have to talk about a few things and see if we can reach her. Even if we can't, we have to discuss care that she needs and how we will handle it. We may need to bring in outside resources for some things. We shall see.

      Happy 2018!

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    2. I'll pray that the conversation with her goes well.

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    3. Thank you, Janie! I appreciate that. Fingers crosses that it all goes well.

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  17. We are going to a Chinese restaurant, just the two of us for an early dinner. Then we'll pick up a few groceries and head home.

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    1. That sounds wonderful! We are thinking of going out to dinner and a Chinese restaurant sounds nice. It's something we haven't done in a long time. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

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  18. Oh Girl, i am so sorry about your mom, you have tried everything, now you must let her decide when she wants to get better. It's hard, I know. Love your heading, glad it was the battery and happy new Year Girl xxooo

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    1. Thank you, Lorraine, for your visit! Yes, it is hard. We are trying to accept it. Happy New Year! It's wonderful to see you here.

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  19. hahaha this loveliest parrot looks annoyed

    you are amazing at your skills Martha!
    i loved you art sooo much!!!

    yes i have dealt with almost same behaviour of my mother in her last year but she was physically ill though and out of control due to her psychological complications that blended with her physical health .

    this is so hard because we love our parents and on same time our own personal and health problems make us less brave to face all with wisdom and patience but believe me still these are precious days when you still have her front of you and i wish and pray no child will have regret that he or she misbehaved while hsr parents were not in their senses

    -21 ?
    this is tooooo scary to even hear i felt my bone stuck and frozen while reading this

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    1. You noticed, Baili! LOL Yes, the parrot does look annoyed :)

      It is hard to deal with my mother these days and I am trying my best. I don't know where this will lead. I do hope we can help her somehow.

      It is extremely cold lately. I don't think you'd like it!

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  20. We were sick all ding dong Christmas and New Years but ... things are getting better now and that's a wonderful thing. I'm excited to get back into my lab and make lots and lots of videos.

    Happy 2018!

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