My mom is my dad’s full-time caregiver. She promised that she wouldn’t put him in a facility; however, her health is declining now from taking care of him. What can she do?

Asked by

My dad has Parkinson's Disease, along with a lot of other health issues. He's in constant pain, and is wheelchair bound. Dad is up all night due to the pain, etc, and needs help going to the bathroom, turning in bed, etc. Mom is the primary care giver, 24/7. She promised dad a long time ago that she would never place him in a facility. Needless to say, mom gets close to no sleep every night. Her health is declining as a result of her taking care of him. I've offered to come on a friday night to help, as I can't be awake and go to work. I was turned down, because dad wouldn't feel comfortable for me taking him to the bathroom, and I wouldn't know what to do. Mom is rapidly becoming frustrated, and I'm afraid somewhat nasty as a result.

Eventually, mom will need a surgical procedure due to all the lifting she has to do with dad. I stop by every day after work, and on the weekends, and run some errands for them, as mom can't always run out.

I've gotten Hospice involved, but they don't help out at night. In order to get some help at night, we'd have to get a private nurse. My folks, financially can't afford it, and unfortunately, with two children in college, I can't either. The hospice people have suggested respite care, where they would place dad in a facility for a week, so that mom could get some rest. But mom has refused.

I guess aside from venting, I'm looking for ideas and or suggestions. I'm considering the health of both my parents. I'm at whit's end, as I don't know where to turn for help. We're all stuck between a rock and a hard place.

In between it all, I have to see my physician to see if I need anti anxiety or anti depressants because of all this. How do you tell your parents this?

I appreciate any help or suggestions anyone has to offer.


Answers 1 to 8 of 8
Top Answer
My mother is currently dying of cancer and my dad is going though the same thing that your mom is going though right now. First of all, have hospice get your dad some sleep aids to keep him asleep though the night. Then have hospice get them a portable potty so that he doesn't need to get him self all the way to the bathroom. Then you tell your mother that if she hurts herself doing all the lifting etc of your dad, that she'll be unable to take care of him at all, and he WILL have to go to a nursing home. So she needs to put her pride or whatever it is that's keeping her from asking for your help aside, and then you step up when you can.
I'm sorry to hear about your mom and dad. Though I do appreciate your answer. We've tried the Sleep aides, but don't help dad, in fact, they make it worse. All they manage to do is drug him, and make it more difficult for him to stand to get to the bathroom. Hence, making it more difficult for mom.
Dad has the commode, and a urinal, but 'doesn't like them'.
As far as mom doing the lifting, she has no choice, because dad, especially at night, move his legs, and is basically dead weight.
I'm caught between a rock and a hard place. I find myself yelling at mom sometimes, because they want one thing, but complain about it. They can't have their cake and eat it too.
I can't help but resent my parents for not preparing themselves somewhat for this, and leaving it all on me. because they expect me to take care of everything.
I understand being at witts end, the frustration and resentment can really cloud the issues. Have you spoke with hospice about having a social worker or someone from your local area counsel on aging speak with your mother about the fact that she is risking both her and your dad's well being. I know you are trying to convience her of this, but for some reason being her daughter makes it easy for her to dismiss your concerns as either meddling in her ability to care for dad or resenting and fearing that she can no longer manage his care herself. (Denial) After years of marriage this is hard on both of them even if they do not realize it. She is tired, frustrated and angery and unforunately the more you try to make suggestions or offer help the more defeated you feel. Believe me I've been thru it time and again with my mother. Try defusing the situtation by looking for resources to not only get the support you need but to talk with mom about her needs, it maybe a slow process. Take care of yourself, you can not take care of everything that they need because to be honest what they think they need will change on a daily basis and you need to do what you can and leave the rest to hospice, that's their job, if not you will get more resentful, then feel guilty, then get angery, this will not help you or them. Start trying to find other agencies or support groups in your area. And keep coming back to this site there's alot of good support & love here.
Hey. So sorry you are in such a predicament. I can only imagine, and try to sympathize, as I have no situation like yours in which to relate. That said; I do have a tendency to make others' problems MY problem. Sounds like, due to being a loving and caring daughter, you are taking this on to your own shoulders. Your mom is making a choice. Yes, that choice is hurting her, and may actually shorten her life. But it is her choice, both to make, and to live with. It sounds like you are doing absolutely everything you can to help and make things better. There is simply nothing more you can do, until asked.
The Colonel, for whom I worked until he died on February 20th, used to be very proud and reluctant to have his kids help him in the bathroom. That changed. People do change. You may see both of your parents turn to you for help, and it may surprise you. I was amused at how the Colonel went from absolute privacy to asking me to be sure I wiped his butt really well. Somehow, when the need became that great, he put his pride aside. Your parents may do the same.
If not - please do take time to allow yourself to relax and be at peace knowing that the capable people who raised you and helped you become such a giving person, are making choices they feel are best. We see the hurt and want to fix it. You may not be able to fix this one - yet. Patience. Your parents are blessed to have you.
Not an easy question! Some thoughts, rather than considering a nurse for the evenings, what about a male certified nursing/home health aid? Or a nursing student who lives in your area (male or female) that is looking to make a few extra dollars. They can study while your Dad is sleeping yet be available to assist. If you are married, would your husband consider doing an occasional "shift"? Are either of your college age students male? How about one of them taking a shift? Learning to help family is always a valuable lesson. If you belong to a House of Worship, perhaps a note on the bulletin board will bring a male college student looking to make a few dollars into the mix. I am fortunate that the continuing care community where my Mom lives has home health aides available at an extra cost. BUT I found an out of work friend that was happy to help. I offered her half of what the agency was asking so my care dollars go twice as far.
As far as him refusing to use the commode/urinal, I agree with the previous poster --- have the hospice nurse review it and insist. It is another loss of skills for your Dad but sometimes we have to overrule our loved ones. They aren't able to see what the illness is doing to everyone, not just themselves. Good luck
When people become older and lose health and independence it gives them "tunnel vision." They panic and insist on things that, in the past, even THEY would consider unreasonable. Your father's pride and modesty do not outweigh your mother's need to protect her health.
I am afraid that some "tough love" is called for here. I understand the part about parents not wanting to listen to their children. Perhaps your mom's doctor could speak with your father and let him know what the lifting, etc. is doing to her health. My mother has no clue about the toll caregiving has taken on my health. So I had to make changes as needed. I hired paid caregivers to come by twice a week and that has made a big difference.
Is either your mom or dad a veteran? I just learned this week that you can apply for benefits that can provide some in-home care. You need to show that your dad needs assistance for most of his ADLs...I am sure he can qualify.
good luck...changes need to be made...I hope you find the right solution.
thank you all for your help and advice. I very much appreciate it all. It is all landing on my shoulders, as my brother has pretty much washed his hands of the whole situation. Whether it's his way of dealing: What I don't see, I don't know, or he just feels that I'm going to deal with everything. I've even mentioned getting together so that we can discuss things, and he sort of blew me off.
Some days are better than others in dealing with it all. I'm dealing with two very stubborn people here, making a bad situation even worse.
I will continue coming to this site, as it helpful, and I do appreciate everyone's advice. I validates that I am doing all I can do under the circumstances. Is the guilt still there? You bet! But I'm trying to learn to deal with it, for my sake, as well as my family's.
Again, thank you all, and keep the advice coming! :-)
My mom is no longer able to really speak cause she's too weak, but two days ago she could. She turned to me and said 'who would've thought it would be like this?' So I know your knee jerk reaction is to 'resent' your folks, but believe me, they never expected it to turn out like this. Sorry.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support