Stressed out only child.

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So not sure there are a lot of folks in my situation. My mom is widowed for 21 years now - she just turned 91 I am not even 54 and my husband 57. I am an only child. We do pretty much everything for her so she can stay in her home, clothes, food, repairs, doctors appt, etc. my mom does not appreciate what we do for her and continues to be reckless with herself and car which always then involves us to pick up pieces. Lately my mom is always picking fights and saying horrible things to us that you wouldn't wNt to repeat. I am about done - we just has a daughter get married and mom came (I bought everything for her do she would look nice) but wanted to dance get up and around without a cane and complain - she pretty much ruined the experience for me. Not sure I could forgive what she said to me and don't know what to do. She's been the third person in my marriage for 33 years and hubby is sick of it to! I tired of all the ups and downs with her. Both of our children are married now with good jobs (no grandkids yet) but we have no life because if her and she doesn't even recognize it. When she was my age she didn't have to take care of parents, etc. she has 4 sisters to help with everything, even my wedding. Does anyone have advice for this very stressed only child. I feel like she is making me sick with stomach pains, etc lack of sleep because of her problems. Thank you.

7 Comments

Whose house is it, yours or hers? If it is her house, move out. If it is your house, move her to a retirement home.
The million dollar question here is the one thing you didn't talk about - money. Can your mother afford paid help? Can she afford assisted living? Or, did you and hubby get roped into this arrangement as a means of cost containment, because you mother couldn't afford to hire out for her errands, cooking, shopping, etc?

Your mother is not going to change, except to most likely become needier and more demanding. Your unhappiness and hour husband's is not going to improve as long as things stay the same. So it's time to start thinking about alternatives. Your mother doesn't want to leave her home. So can she hire help to do the tasks that you and your husband are doing for her now? If not, are there public services available in her community to help seniors at home who can't afford to pay for help?

I'm in somewhat of the same position you are, trying to extricate myself from ongoing responsibility for an elderly parent, but my mother is much younger than yours (85) and not quite as difficult. Also, I don't see her as often or do nearly as much for her as I once did. In our case, we got a female friend to move into my mother's house and provide a lot of day-to-day help in exchange for free rent. That's working great, but I (and my local sister) still take mom shopping and to doctors visits, and I do some house repairs as well, only stuff that's too minor to call a handyman. It's more than I want to do but much less stressful than it was. It may be the least of the evils in our case, because if we convinced my mother to move to assisted living, my siblings and I would be on the hook for most of the bills, which none of us can afford.

Start brain-storming with your husband and looking at what's available in your area. Good luck!

Thanks for all the feedback. My is in her home doesn't have two nickels to rub together barley getting by. I looked into meals on wheels and area on aging and she didn't want that but may have to revisit that just to have someone else come in. She was driving around her town but ran something over that busted a tire that can't be fixed and the car must be junked so now she is house bound too, which she hates, hates the most! Ugh!
cosmicgirl - you're in a tough situation, no doubt about it. My heart goes out to you. With an impoverished and needy parent, the choices available aren't optimal. I think the first step is to convince yourself that your mother is not entitled to have all her wishes met and preferences catered to, not when it comes at your expense. If there are any public services available in your area, your mother can't be forced to use them, but you have the right to decline to perform services that she could get for little or not cost through a public agency.

Also think if there are any tasks that you are performing that fall into the "nice, but necessary" category. For example, I refuse to go to my mother's house to fill her bird feeders or put her flag out for national holidays. It would be nice for her to have those things, but I have enough to do with the grocery shopping and doctors' visits, as well as changing light bulbs, fixing toilet seats and all the other little household tasks that really are necessary for her safety.

Try taking a mental inventory and try to eliminate those task that or inessential and ones that make you the most resentful. I stopped cooking for my mother because I was the only one who ever did it (I have 6 siblings, two of them local) and my mother doesn't care for healthy meals, so she complained a lot unless I catered to her richer dietary tastes. Now she eats a lot of frozen meals and take-out. It's not good for her, but I had to let go of that. It reduced my feelings of burden a lot just to not have to cook her meals.

I know these are little stop-gap measures, but maybe they could provide you and your husband with some relief in the short term. Your mother is 91 - she won't be around that much longer. Hopefully you and your husband will still have your health when you finally have your freedom, and you'll have the chance to do all the things you are sacrificing now.
Are there public senior buses? Where I am they cost a dollar and take you to hair appointments, store, seniorcenter. I got a card for my father and he refused to go anywhere! But that was his choice, too bad because he would have had the freedom. (he used me to death instead)
She doesnt know how to travel by anything but car, so I would look into this to keep a sense of independence- its cheap.
People told me here on the forum that " You do not OWE your parent" I agree also with what Carla did, cut out all but the essentials. Lean cuisine is delicious and small enough for lunch and dinner.
My mother wouldnt use a walker, But a "rollator" with the seat and container underneith she liked because she could use it when we shopped to put the bag into. nothing could convince her to use it in the house though and she fell alot.
Years ago, I worked for a daughter and she would give me a grocery list and I would shop for her parents. I would also drive them to the library and senior center once a week. There are companies that do this now-a-days.
I recommend that you call your Counties, Area on Aging, and find out what services are available to her, and give a list, with numbers, that she can call, like DIAL-A-RIDE, MEALS ON WHEELS, her local Senior Center. Handyman, senior helper services, they will have a lot of info for you. Then tell her that she will need to begin enlisting some of those resources, as you are getting burned out, and need to focus on your husband and home! I'm so sorry you are in this terrible situation, and I understand, as I'm in the same situation! Good luck and keep coming back for more idea's! We all learn from one another!

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