Hello. I am the primary caregiver for my widowed mother, who has breast, lung and brain cancer. The surgery to remove a tumor from her brain has resulted in what I would call mild dementia - confusion and some bouts of anger.
I have been with her for virtually 24 hours since the surgery on October 16 of this year. She has recovered to the point where she can walk, prepare food, converse, clean, etc. If she used the proper aids (a cane, a walker), she COULD live alone and take care of herself with visits from me and home care aids. When we are not there, she could also have an accident or start a fire if confused (and she does not want to be seen with a walker - I'm going to try to convince her to carry a cane).
I have been living with her (moved into the family home - just me and her) since she left the hospital. She does not want a home health care aid helping her. She was fiercely independent before the surgery and even more so now. Lately, she has fits of anger - unjustified - that come out of her confusion. (e.g., accusing me of mishandling her medication; upset because she claims that I left garbage in the sink (though she actually did), and so on.).
My epiphany is this: I had become so overprotective and yes, controlling, that I gave up my own existence to focus on hers for 24/7. Today, for the first time, I realized that doing this has filled me with resentment, anger, stress and frustration. I want to live my life and care for her at the same time.
Therefore, I decided that I must let her live the life she wants, provide the best care that I can to keep her as safe as she allows me to, and be prepared to deal with whatever may come. This means that, for example, when I have to go to the store or run an errand, I will invite her to join me. If she refuses, I will accept her answer and accept whatever may happen when I am away. She has told me when in a semi-lucid state that she would not take unnecessary risks when I am not there, but there's no way to know what she sees as risky.
If her condition continues to deteriorate, I do have the legal authority to place her where I think she will be most safe (I just hope I recognize when that is), but for now, this is the compromise with myself that I have come up with.
Is this an acceptable solution? All perspectives are welcomed.