At the End of My Rope With Taking Care of Mom

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Since my mother fell and broke her hip last Sunday, I am trying to take care of her needs while she is in rehab, keep her clothes washed, take care of bills and insurance matters and all I get is
"constant flack" about how much she wants to go home and does not want to be there. I dont think anyone would prefer to be in a rehab center but we would "man up" or "woman up" and do what we need to do to get better. Not the case here. Mom tries to convince everyone she can get better at home. This would be true if she had 24 hour care, however she only has caregiver's during the day. This is such a thankless job. I do not expect a thank you however I do expect so respect and not to be critized for everything I do. I am very frustrated and had a panic attack today. Had not had one in awhile. Between issues with my job, my family and dealing with my mother, I feel that I about to lose my mind. I have no family that will help or is willing to help. I am frustrated to the point of despair. I can tell I am starting to show signs of depressions again. I was applying to return to school when she broke her hip and that has been placed on hold for now. My siblings have moved on with their lives and are living with their families, having babies and not having to deal with the "mom" stuff. I just do not feel I can continue to deal with this all. I have missed so many "firsts" of MY kids that I cannot count. This is something I cant get back. Thanks for letting me vent. My sincere hope that no one has to go through this alone, without support. I do not think anything can make you feel more alone than when you are sitting in a surgical waiting room by yourself and realizing you are the only person in the world this person has. It is not a good feeling for anyone.

20 Comments

My mother broke her hip about 2 months ago and I chose to leave my job so that I could bring her home and take care of her. My husband and I have had to make a lot of sacrafices, but I just keep reminding myself that Mom has always been there for me. My mother has dementia, so it is twice as frustrating. I know I vent on here a lot, because there are a lot of days I wonder what the heck I got myself into. My sisters promised me help, but I have had both my parents almost 2 years now in my home and I am still waiting on that help. I have had issues with depression and anxiety in the past, so I know what you are going through. In the beginning I worked full time and paid someone to look after my parents while I was gone. I knew when my Mom broke her hip that I could no longer continue doing it all. Luckily my husband is very family oriented and has been great through all of this. I guess you reach a certain point where you have to step back and make whatever decision is right for you. I don't know what other caregivers may say, but caring for elderly is a thankless job. As people age their minds start to go as well as their bodies. I just try to put myself in their place and wonder how I would feel if I got to the point that I had to depend on someone else in order to survive. It must be very hard for them. Good Luck!
Allow the 'rehab' center to help your mother, and when she complains about 'wanting to go home' please tell her (calmly) that you will go and speak to the doctor RIGHT NOW!! Then if you can have the doctor explain to her why she cannot go home until she is doing much better.

You really shouldn't feel like you are the only one doing this 'alone'. So many here are doing the same thing, and you should be asking for help from ANY family you can. I have a brother that is just like your sister, and quite frankly, since my mother has passed, I doubt we will speak again. Sad, but true. I have not need for his drama anymore.

So take care of the most important issues and let the rehab center care for your mother. God Bless
Maybe it's time your mother move into asst living or adult foster care or some such place. But I can address the part where she is constantly whining about going home. My mother-in-law also fell and broke her hip sending her first to the hospital, then a nursing home for rehab. At first when she was at rehab she'd try getting herself out of bed alone and fall again. They had to tie her to her chair till she learned to ask for help first. But really I couldn't blame her for whining about wanting to go home. I would whine too I suppose. I stopped arguing with her, reminding her that she HAD to be there, that she couldn't go home etc. Instead I started agreeing with her. I'd tell her 'I wish you could go home too' or 'I know you want to go home, I wish I could wave a magic wand and make your hip heal'. What I did was just validate her feelings. Maybe that's all your mom wants to hear, is that you ARE hearing her, and you KNOW what she wants, that you wish you could make it better etc. It'd be like going to a foreign country and no one knows what you're saying or asking, then suddenly someone speaks up in your language and you know you're going to be heard. Doesn't mean your mother should be living alone ever again, but maybe it'll stop the whining for now. That's all I help you with. Sorry.
My mother broke her hip about 2 months ago and I chose to leave my job so that I could bring her home and take care of her. My husband and I have had to make a lot of sacrafices, but I just keep reminding myself that Mom has always been there for me. My mother has dementia, so it is twice as frustrating. I know I vent on here a lot, because there are a lot of days I wonder what the heck I got myself into. My sisters promised me help, but I have had both my parents almost 2 years now in my home and I am still waiting on that help. I have had issues with depression and anxiety in the past, so I know what you are going through. In the beginning I worked full time and paid someone to look after my parents while I was gone. I knew when my Mom broke her hip that I could no longer continue doing it all. Luckily my husband is very family oriented and has been great through all of this. I guess you reach a certain point where you have to step back and make whatever decision is right for you. I don't know what other caregivers may say, but caring for elderly is a thankless job. As people age their minds start to go as well as their bodies. I just try to put myself in their place and wonder how I would feel if I got to the point that I had to depend on someone else in order to survive. It must be very hard for them. Good Luck!
The reality is when they get to be this age, they are like kids again and all they can think about is what they want, not what's best for them. That's why we're here. Keep your chin up and try to let her complaints go in one ear and out the other. Been there, done that and hope we don't have to do it again.
Thank you all for the comments. It helps alot to know that I am not out here alone. My sister does not speak to me now and barely speaks to my mother. She has seen my mother once or twice in 2 years. My brother just ignores me anytime I ask for help. My dad passed away in 2007 and it was a traumatic situation. It was alot to go through then. I have spent my whole lifte "taking care" of my mother and I am tired of being the one to take care of it all. It is affecting me physically as well as mentally. My mother does better if I am not around with the rehab center and the staff. I feel guilty for not being around all the time however she does do better with strangers than with me..
Did I mention my mother was only 59 when she had the first stroke and she is only 67 now? She has had and lived a rough life.
I had one of those days not too long ago - just over the edge with the constant criticism from Mom - she publicly called me an idiot. It was for bringing her new shoes into the PT area, as apparently everyone should know you can't change into new shoes with other people around.

I felt real sorry for myself and real put upon. I was in tears. Mom then complained that I was embarrassing her.

When the facility admissions director noticed she wanted to talk to me about it. She gently suggested I not come to visit on those days when I was already having a a bad day and feeling stressed. And she listened to me explain that my mom had started criticizing and belittling me when I was about 4 or maybe 5 years old, and basically never stopped.

I tried not to react to what she told me next - she apparently had been through the same thing with her mom - she said "It will be better when your mother dies." It seemed like such a wrong thing to say, a harsh thing to say, but I could not disagree. Mom has always always thought the way to help someone be a better person is to criticize and tell them everything they are doing wrong, and she does not do it as much to others because I am the one she cares about and still feels a duty to make me perfect. Not having a steady stream of criticism in my life will be a relief but I wish, I wish, I wish there was a way for that to happen without losing my mom. If that makes any sense. And as harsh as it is, that puts it in some perspective. If I care about mom and our relationship, and about the quality of whatever time we have left, I must find the best way possible to overlook and limit the effect of the ridiculous criticism as much as possible. Its either that or become just like everyone else in the family who just avoid visiting her until I pretty much push them into it.

As I read through this thread, I see so much honesty and I feel for everybody on it. This caregiving "journey" can be so so hard. There have been times I have thought to myself: "This is a thankless job" and cried myself to sleep that night. Then things get better for a while and I get a "rest period". (Thank you, God, for rest periods.) Kdtiller, you mentioned the words "thankless job" and it is good that you can get that out here. To just openly express yourself. It has nothing to do with how much you/we love our parents. It has to do with caring for a person whose mind and body are deteriorating, and in many cases the elder cannot think rationally any more, or at least part of the time. This is so draining for the caregiver. Just know that you have my sympathy, understanding, and support. You and the others here are wonderful to be so faithful to your parents in their "hour of need." I believe caregivers will be duly rewarded in Heaven one day.
Kd, Been there for a long time myself. My mom is 90 now & it's been about 12 yrs that I've been the imperfect servant.
At some point I became the critical one. (My mom is quite lazy, self absorbed and spiteful). She came looking for an argument & got one in me. She is rarely critical now as I have taken over that role to some extent (less now). I gave her a "dose of her own medicine" for a time and the tables turned. Never too old to learn! A narcissist will always be a chalenge but the dynamics will & do change on a regular basis.
I've tried many avenues out of desperation. Some have worked and some have not. It's a question of control...you don't want control but you also don't want to be controlled. She doesn't want to give up her control, but her decision making is no longer rational.
If you want the battle to end you must be the one to take control as much as you hate it. There will always be small skirmishes but to a lesser degree. Allow her as much control as possible but not to her own hurt or yours. Set some boundaries & stick to them. Chances are she does not respect you at all now & will not until you lay down some rules. As the NH worker said, don't see her when you're already having a bad day....walk away when she wants to poke at you. Don't allow yourself to be an aggression outlet.
This won't be easy but is less painful than being walked on constantly.
I wish you all the best.

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