My family and friends don't understand why I'm sad and anxious watching mom's gradual decline.

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I have been living with and caring for my mom who is 88. I am filled with sadness and anxiety watching her gradual decline. My family and friends do not understand my feelings and are telling me I am focusing on the negative. I find it hard to be positive about my once active mom who is tired, takes naps during the day and has a hard time walking down stairs. How can I get away from this sadness and enjoy what I have. It is very hard for me. Do any of you feel this way, and remember I am living with her and very close to her. Thank You

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September 21, I truly understand your feelings. Those of us who chat on this website are the only ones who can understand. People are always telling me that they understand what I am going thru but this is a situation that is only understandable to another person with the same issues. There just aren't many answers. I just take each day as it comes, enjoy the good ones and cry in the bad ones. My mother was diagnosed with Hair Cell Leukemia in 2003. She went thru chemo and did fairly well until she became very ill and was diagnosed with Potts Disease (infection in the spine) caused by a very low immune system. Bacteria in her body(which we all have) attacked the vertebrae and reduced them to mush. After 3 major surgeries to remove vertebrae, each of which the doctors said she might not make it thru, she was left bedridden, on a feeding tube, unable to do anything for herself. In the midst of that, my daddy got sick, ended up in nursing home because I couldn't take care of both of them. He died 9months later. I still have a lot of guilt and dislike for nursing homes. I quit my job, lost my health insurance, and most of my life as I once knew it. I don't regret my choices but , yes, your emotions do get the best of you at times.
Although I do not live with my mother and am not not as close as you and your mother are, I do understand the sadness within my own experience with my 78 year old mother whose physical and mental health has nose dived since February.

I see and hear similar sadness and anxiety in my step-dad who visits her daily at the nursing home and then goes home to spend the rest of the day by himself in their house moving around in his wheel chair. I am glad that his doctor has put him on an antidepressant which helps him a lot.

I am an only child and my mother gave me both Durable and Medical POA for her. I've since learned there are 5 tax years which my mother and step-dad failed to file.

Have you looked into what social services related to the elderly can assist or give you advice about?

Have you talked with your doctor about your sadness and anxiety?

The emotions that we are all living through is part of that developmental transition where our relationships with our parents go into a role reversal where we are like the parent and they are like the child as well as we are moving into being part of the older generation ourselves as my therapist once put it.

There are not any pat answers for each person must find their own way to get a break from the sadness and enjoy what we have both with our loved ones and apart from them so that we can get some fresh air. I don't think self-destruction in caring for someone else is good nor something a typical parent would want their adult child to do to themselves while taking care of them.
I also have durable poa for mymother and handle all her financial and medical needs. In checking to see what services are available for me as caretaker, I have that the answer is: very little. We as caretakers are the forgotten. But I handle things as well as can be expected I guess. Some days I do really well, some days, not so good. I don't regret anything I am doing but as an only child, kinda, it is really a great responsiblity. My situation is complicated by the fact that I was an only child for 24 years and my mother had a baby at the age of 45. My sister is now 38 and has been petted and allowed to get away with being lazy and immature. She has never been made to take on any responsiblity. My mother cleaned her room, made her bed, wash and ironed her clothes, prepared the meals, etc. My daddy took care of her car(oil changes, tires, etc), and made sure all car problems were taken care of as well as telling her every step to make. Now guess who is left to follow their lead. She has never married and never will because,"No man is going to tell her what to do!!". Do you see how immature that is. Who has told her all her life what to do!! She is the only help I hae with, though, because she knows how to handle the feeding tube, crushing meds and putting them thru the tube, changing ou mother, etc. No one else will do all of that as well as she does because she is her mother, too and she loves her. Oh well, I here Mama now. Gotta go. Have a great day.
ginger123,

Why is it so classic that the sibling born surprisingly late and often only children born surprisingly late end up spoiled and lazy like your little sister? I have seen and heard so many of these stories!

Is there is any thing social services or like home health care people can do which will give you some free time?
We have home health and they provide an rn to come once a month to change her feeding tube and to do anything ordered by her doctor(bklood tests, urinalysis, etc.) They will also send a cna to bathe her every other day. I stopped the cna from coming months ago because they never come on any schedule. It might be 9am one day, 2pm another day, etc. If my mother has had a bad night, Idont want ANYONE to wake her or me up at 9am! Besides they weren't doing a very good job, just a fast job! My mother falls thru the cracks for any other help.
I hope you reported that bad CNA. My brother in law does that and he stays with the same person every day of the week. He's on time also.

My mother and step-dad made the mistake of hiring a person privately instead of with a bonded organization which her long term home-builder care rider on her long term health care would have paid 80% for. They ended up loosing around $12,000 via check fraud of which $8,000 was regained by the bank.

I wish that my mother had let me know about her long term health care several years ago when she bought it in 1996 so that I would have known then what it covered. It is helping with her nursing home,but that's only becase I found it in a drawer.
I can truly relate to you and your feelings about your mother. I to feel those feelings I see my mother decline all the time. I see the stress on her face and it makes me cry. I do not know how to be happy anymore. She has always been my life. I don't know how to stop feeling so bad.
She recently hurt her back trying to care for my father who hasn't treated her like he should. She tells me she is giving up. I don't know what to do the dark cloud follows me too. Your not alone I love my mother so much that it hurts me so.
Thank you momneedshelp for your feedback. It is sad to say that I do not feel enjoyment anymore when I am with her. All I feel is sadness and anxiety and want so much to feel happy that she is healthy and can care for herself. I no longer feel happiness when I am home or when I am out. I have a deep love for her so maybe this is the reason I'm unable to handle my sadness. I saw a psychiatrist last week who is trying some new medications but truthfully I don't feel that any pill can help me. No pill can mend a broken heart.
september21,

Medications cannot mend a broken heart but they can help with your anxiety and depression. It normally takes about 2 weeks for these medicines to work. Your overall lack of enjoyment in life as a whole is a very clear sign of depression.

While my mother has not said it, I can see the signs that she is giving up. The stress of all of this is playing havoc with my Bipolar II (the depressive kind). However, I do have other things that I can chose to focus on which is not always easy. I'm an only child and my mother was a single mom who basically absorbed me into herself to meet her own emotional needs. Thus, there has been a very strong sense of connection there which I'm working through with the help of my therapist.

Medicine works best when combined with talk therapy as well and I suggest this for both yourself and for momneedshelp. As adults, we must have a life and the ability to find happiness in life apart from our parents as seperate unique persons.
Tonight, I went bowling and became completely absorbed in that for an hour and a half. It was a great break from not only caregiving, but everything else as a whole that is on my plate!

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