Mom wants all of me...all.

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My older sister (she is 76, I am 72, Mom is 108) and I share taking care of Mom in her home. Sister lives in the same town, I am 900 miles away, but come every 3 or so weeks, stay for 8-10 days so Sis gets a break. Been doing this for 5 years. But Mom wants me and my husband, plus married daughter with 2 kids (who needs me to help with child care), to pull up stakes and move to her neighbor hood so she can see us every day, and I can help care for her so my sister does not get worn out. I am unwilling to do that. Her reason: that's what a family does...stick close. For most of her life her family lived relatively near each other and now she expects the same.


Who's right? Am I truly that selfish to want to maintain my life, home and family (which I have built for 45 years)? Or is my obligation to live up to her expectations? We tried getting in a part-time caregiver to help Sister, but that was a "stranger", not family, and thus unacceptable.


My guilt and anger is reaching a breaking point. Because I won't do what Mom wants, she tells me I should not come back because it's too hard on her when I leave each time. But I can't leave the care burden entirely to my sister, who completely understands and supports my position.


Now Mom is (once again) angry that I am leaving, crying, "What will I do if your sister gets sick or hurt?" Well, we have tried to get additional help, but she rejected that option. For her there is only one solution: I should come and live with her.


What do I do? Give in and leave my family? Let my sister deal with it? I feel catatonic, unable to please everyone.

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She expects the burden to be solely on you and your sister? That's not fair.My dad is 95 with dementia and a plethora of complex health conditions.If aides weren't brought in I would have killed myself.Je doesn't want to accept the fact that he needs help.If you can't accept that reality at 95....your mom has lived 108 years.You and your sister deserve to enjoy your remaining good years.She can accept outside help or go into assisted living.I know it sounds harsh,but you need to put your oxygen mask on.The Boomer generation is always criticized but it's the previous generation that seems to be selfish and entitled.
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She won't accept outside help? She is okay with putting the burden solely on you and your sister? She's had 108 years of life.This is not fair to you.Sorry to sound harsh but my dad is 95 with dementia.Aides had to be brought in or I would have killed myself.Yes,he and his wife resent it,and don't want to admit they need help.When are you going to accept it if not at 95?! He has dementia,and dealing with that is beyond exhausting.She can go to assisted living or accept outside help.Are you and your sister supposed to sacrifice the rest of your good years? They criticize the baby boomers generation but IMO our parents are selfish and entitled.atleast mine are.
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You need to put your foot down! Get your mother into a full time care facility. You and your sister need to catch a break.
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Just go ahead and bring someone in to help your sister. Start small and explain that you are going to "try it out". Then extend the tryout deadline. Going through this with my father right now. I ask him to do it for my sake.
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I think what your mother expects from you is simply unreasonable, You sacrifice yourself enough already with your frecuent visits. You are doing a great job caring for her. You should discuss another way of supporting your sister without changing your whole life.
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Have to chime in here after pulling my jaw off the floor. Wow, 108? Good for her! The manipulative ones seem to last the longest, no? ;-)

She has lived a long life and done things her way. Now is YOUR time, to enjoy your own family. She wants you to help preserve her "illusion of independence". It's an illusion because it's not real - she is NOT independent. She needs others (right now, you and your sister) for this whole illusion to work. That is simply not your job or your sister's job. Bless you both for what you have already done for her.

When you are the one that needs help from others, you don't get to call the shots. You are no longer the one in charge. That is a bitter pill for self-centered people to take, so they refuse to do so. Your mother doesn't care what effect her care is having on you and sis. She is only seeing her own needs. Whether that is dementia or just a lifelong self-centered philosophy, doesn't really matter.

I would NOT try to reason with her. She will not, or is incapable, of seeing your point of view. So don't even try. Just state what you are willing to do. That's it. That's all she gets from you. Sis will need to do the same. Then, with those boundaries in place, you can outline to her what her choices are. They should NOT involve you or sis continuing to be her nearly full-time hands-on caregivers. Those days are over, and she has limited options. This isn't cruel, it's just a fact. You and sis have lives to live too, and she will never see your needs.

Many great suggestions here. I thought MargaretMcKen had some good ones about using the answering machine or voicemail and responding on YOUR schedule. If it's emergency and she can't reach either one of you? She should call 911. Groceries, medication can be ordered and delivered. Cleaning service can come and keep her place clean. Senior transportation can take her to doctor visits. These are not your and sis' duties. You can help set it up, but she is responsible if she is truly independent. If this is all too much for her, then she needs some sort of assisted living, whether in her home or a facility.

Also, having your own "injury" (real or fabricated) that prevents this hands on care is good. Let's face it, in your 70s, injuries that affect your physical capability aren't all that unusual, right? Back, hip, knee and heart issues are very common in the 70s. It's time to watch out for your own health, so YOU can be truly independent as long as possible.

And please don't you or sis feel guilty. I can assure you, your mother doesn't feel one ounce of guilt about what she is doing to you. Good luck, and please let us know how things go.
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It sounds to me as if your mom has reached a stage in her dementia when reasoning is no longer possible. There are only her viewpoint and her needs; nothing else need register.

The best you can do right now is what is best for you and your immediate family. What you feel from your mother now is pressing and urgent; I predict that she will not long remember the present moment.

Bear in mind that you are not just upholding your own life. You are also upholding the lives chosen by your husband, daughter and son-in-law. Your mother's current cognitive level is not capable of understanding multiple viewpoints, nor will you be able to convince er of the validity of other's viewpoints.

Please give yourself credit. Not every 72-year-old would travel 900 miles to help her mother and give her sister a break. Your mother may not be able to take in what it means to travel 900 miles out of your way to care for her, but I do. I will bet everyone who participates in this forum can appreciate what you do. Stick with your family; your mother's troubles will straighten out as her dementia progresses.

Please don't feel that you have to please everyone. The people who should come first are the husband you pledged to love for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. You're doing something wonderful for your daughter when you care for her children. Don't let your mother guilt you into doing something you would ultimately regret.
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Twillie..hire somene to stay with her while you are gone if she’s living alone. Enjoy the holidays with your granddaughter!!
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I spent one night with my 82 YO mother and the next night she took too much insulin. I called EMS cause I couldn’t get her on the phone - they found her unresponsive - blood sugar 27. Now I have her at my house for a few days, she has admitted she was upset because my brother will be working the Christmas holiday and I’m Out of town to be with my granddaughter. Talk about emotional blackmail. I’m going to be enslaved to her. Sorry for what you are going through - build boundaries.
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You'll have to tell your mother that this is just not feasible. You cannot let her run your life, as difficult a thing as that is.
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