It's all about loss....
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