I have been watching my parents decline in a nursing home for five long years now. When does this end and when does my life begin?

Asked by

I'm now 62, I have 2 sisters and we've been actively involved in Mom's care from the day she fell and broke her hip (2005). We did 24-hr homecare till we were all getting sick (I had 2 bouts with kidney stones while sleepign on her floor so I cd help her back into bed during the night.) I was workign full time also. My older sis and I have married kids and grandkids; my younger sis has no kids. She has no inkling of time, energy, emotion we put into our families (we both babysit quite frequently, which also requires travel time) as well as to Mom. I cannot handle her expectation around Mom, we're either arguing or not talking. She throws out "it's not about you," which pisses me off. My life has never been about me! We've become so close during all this but it's really fallen apart again. I have the best relationship with Mom I've ever had; she was very abusive of me growing up. I've done lots of therapy and moved on. But I'm so very tired of all this--so much for her, or our, quality of life...

Answers 1 to 10 of 13
So sorry to hear of your parents decline...never easy to watch. They are in a nursing home now, so I hope that gives you some respite. You are probably over there a lot too.
As far as your sisters...the worst and the best seem to come out at these times. In a perfect world, you would all work together equally. I haven't seen this yet.
However, please be careful about one thing...even though your younger sister does not have children, it does not make her any more responsible for your parents. Your decision to have a family (or not) has no bearing on your parent's care. (btw, could your married children pitch in to help?...it's their grandparents too.)

Good luck finding peace and a good medium.
stop complainging be grateful you have help I take care of my 88year old mother with no help be grateful for what you have I wish I had it so easy!
It ends when they die, unless you want to cut yourself off from seeing them, then it can end now.
You know, of course, that it ends when she dies. Now that she is in a nursing home, you should be able to live your own life to a great extent. She is being cared for 24/7, so there is no need for you to feel overwhelmed. I do not see the problem.
Top Answer
Wow, I understand the emotions you are going through. Sorry so many ppl on here find it nessicarry to be rude or just plain mean. You all should look in a mirror and find out what your issues are and not be creul to some one in pain. It ends when you can let it go and no-- that does not mean when mom dies, some ppl have issues for years after their parent dies. You need to heal, with yourself. Find someone to talk to, if you can heal with your sister if not let her go. It is not worth your health and mental well being to have ppl in your life that cause you pain and dispare. It is hard but there are several ppl in my life I've let go so I can be sane. Do what you need to do for YOU. Don't let other ppl make you feel worse with their hurtful words. They are damaged themselves. Good luck!
I agree with Emily, I'm still taking care of my mom at home, I'm an only child. I spend most of my time over there cooking cleaning, ect. while things her go by the wayside. I can't get out and do anything I'd think with a p arent in a NH you should be able to have a little freedom.
Hi, wornout! You have every right to think about yourself and your own life. It is a marathon to watch someone decline in a nursing home, and it's been 5 years for you. There are some things in my life that I allow to go in one ear, and out the other. "It's not about you" would be one such comment for me. You care about and focus on your Mom's care. Why wouldn't you focus on your life? If your Mom has you around to help care for her, rest assured that it is also about you and how you feel each day. Nothing wrong with admitting to whatever feelings you may have. to avoid keeping those feelings bottled up inside you. From time to time, be sure to take a break from visiting your Mom in the home unless you have concerns that she is being neglected or abused. You are entitled to take even the smallest of steps toward re-building your life if your Mom is safely being cared for in her nursing home. When was the last time you did one thing that you really enjoyed? Need not be a major thing. Just one thing - a good book, lunch with a friend, a movie, got yourself a little present like a dozen roses - anything at all, if it reminds you that you are alive and fully engaged in living your life while the sun's shining? You still have time today. Best to you in gaining your life stride and balance. You are doing all that can be done for your Mom. Now it's time to do as much as you can for yourself.
Pray and press on - easier said than done, I know. NO - just putting them away in a nursing home isn't the end of it - there are visits to make, critics to criticize... it's NOT EASY! The bills have to be paid and YES, we aren't "CAREGIVERS" but we are seeing that they are being cared for the best way we know how as we try to live our own lives. IT IS TIRING for all of us - and NONE OF US HAVE IT EASY no matter what the other person may think. We all have our hats to wear and our burdens to share!

Its okay to set limits and to say no - or I can't - or I don't choose to do it that way - or at this time - or whatever the pressure is. I would just say to my sister (or anyone else) that you are juggling a lot of demands on your time including Mom and that you are doing the best you can. If she (they) notice something else that needs to be done perhaps she can find the additional time to do it. Repeat as nicely as possible and as often as possible. You do not need to justify your priorities or your choices to anyone and the TOP priority needs to be to yourself for your own health and well being.
Wornout, for all the things you're having to deal with, at least you and your mother have finally gotten to a good relationship before she dies. That is something to be grateful about.

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