It's all about loss....

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I have had the most stressful months of my life and I fear that there are many more to come. My mother moved across country a few years ago to live near me and my husband. She has her own place and can still do many things for herself, but I can see that her current living arrangement may be short lived.
I suppose it was a naive thought, but when she moved here I thought that we could "re-connect" and enjoy our time together. The reality is that she sees me and my husband as unpaid errand people. It is not that she doesn't appreciate our help, but she sees no other use for us other than for meeting her everyday needs. I work full time. I have my own business so my mother thinks that I can drop anything I am doing to attend to her needs. She has no repect for the work I do or the business I built on my own.
Everyday I see my once vibrant and active mother shuffling along, unable to do the things she once enjoyed and it is painful. She, however, is from the "tougher" generation and seems to adapt to the loss of mobility, etc.
I have a brother (my only sibling) who offers no help and can barely take care of himself. His only interest was in my mother's pocket book until I finally took legal action to keep her finances safe. (btw, to all of you out there who feel uncomfortable keeping mercenary relatives away from your parent's finances...act IMMEDIATELY: set up a revocable trust with you named as the primary trustee, check all bank accounts, and see a lawyer about property and other financial issues. Parents tend to protect the "needy" sibling and will not tell you that they have been giving them money.)
To make matters worse, we just moved to this area and I have no longtime friends or relatives here. I have tried to make new friends but, at this time in life, it seems that people our age tend to "circle the wagons" and only associate with their adult children or other family members.
My life is a series of visits to the doctor and dentist (I am NOT at all a medical person and doctor's offices and hospitals truly nauseate me.) A few weeks ago my mother had an medical emergency and I was left to juggle my work and her care all alone. I thought I was going to have a serious meltdown.
My friends, none of whom are caregivers, write me chirpy little notes that say, "...sounds like everything is going well..." My best friend of 30 years just decided to stop communicating with me after her adult children moved back home. This is after I held her hand through divorces, kid problems, surgeries, and her husband's many illnesses.
I am just drained in every way possible. I feel like I live in this foggy bubble watching all the happy people passing by.
I am not sure what I am asking for. Is this the way it will be until my mother passes? Am I just overreacting? I am of no use to anyone in this state. Everything I read says "take care of yourself." How do I do that when there is no one else who can pick up the slack? My mother cannot afford in-home care and assisted living centers are a joke. They are so expensive and extra services are charged "ala carte."
I guess my real question is where should my mother live when she is no longer able to care for herself? We cannot live together...I think we both agree on that. There seems to be a big gulf between living independently and expensive assisted care. Has anyone found a more humane solution to living arrangements for their elderly relative? thanks

5 Comments

Lilliput, hugs to you. Don't have any magic answers, but do hear the cry of your heart. Know you're not alone.

We have two in nursing homes, and one in subsidized housing. It works for us, and them.
SecretSis:
What is subsidized housing? I fear that my mom would not qualify...she always seems to be just bit over the limit to qualify for anything. I wish that Medicare would allow some in home care on a regular basis....then I could take care of the rest. I am of the opinion that our government is perfectly comfortable allowing female relatives to sacrifice their lives to care for elderly parents and even in-laws....
Thanks for your kind words...worked wonders for me today!!!!
Mom lives in a Senior Apartment, that is "income regulated." She makes real good income from SS and Pension, plus an annuity, but they use the joint annuity for my Dad, so that's not included as Mom's income. Still... We got her an apartment for less than $500.00 a month, everything included, which is cheaper than keeping her in her home, paying gas, electricy, water, etc. So I'm floating both and making ends meet. Instead of Mom living 200 miles away, she's now one, and I can be there in a heartbeat.

Yes, we sacrifice ourselves, and they look questionly if we try to reimburse ourselves through our parent's income. I put in 8-12 hour days, and sometimes more, every day. It's a constant chore, and expected, by the sytem, without much compensation to a family Caregiver. We do it for love, but they don't mind paying someone else to do it, at our loved one's expense. I am not pleased with the current system.
Is your mom the spouse of a Veteran? check into VA Aid and Attendance benefit for Home Care up to Nursing Home including Assisted Living. I completely understand and commiserate with your situation. Subsidized housing is a great option and you can gather all the information by going online.Some Free referral services will send you all the options in your area. Try it and then you wll have alot of info at your fingertips.
Heidi: I do remember checking on veteran's benefits awhile back...even called the direct number. Again, I was told that Mom did not qualify because her income was too high (?????) I responded with, "does she have to be destitute before she can qualify. He basically said yes. Then he smuggly implied that I should be picking up the slack....wow! what insight....why didn't I think of that??? He said that his wife is taking care of HIS mother and father and it works out just dandy.

I firmly believe that as long as there is a male president in the White House, those of us who are fulltime caregivers will never receive empathy or the help we need (pardon the blantant sexism...but I am just too tired and too angry tonight to be PC)

Thank you so much for your suggestion...I will try again, perhaps get a better representative on the line :o)

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