My dad used to do everything for my mom, but since his death she depends on me for everything. How can I handle this?

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You don't mention your Mom's living situation, or her health and cognitive status. All of these things will determine the best way to handle things. If you can provide a bit more information about your Mom and you it would allow me to be more helpful. Do you and she live close to one another? Do you have siblings? Does your Mom have close relatives (like a sister or brother) nearby? Does she still drive? Your answers to all of these questions will have a huge impact on your options.

-- Sheri
Just remember at one time when you were to young to care for yourself you did the same to her. We just have to deal with it and try to have much patience. Do all you can. Try to make things easier for the both of you. If you help her with her bills make sure you are organized with her stuff too. Stay on top of it and you won't get behind and feel overwhelmed.
You will have your really bad days but just remember that in the end it's for the best and you won't have regrets that you helped her all you could.
Help her "learn" things all over. Help her find an "easier" way to do the things she used to that are now hard for her. Make sure you communicate well. I am doing the same with my mom and it takes time (baby steps) but it does work. Some days when she's having a bad day you may feel like you went backwards in your tracks and all you have done was for naught...but, it isn't. When they have bad days now they seem to be worse than what they really are. She has to learn how to do things differently and that's a big step for her. Try to be patient and helpful.
You both will win in the end.
Consider getting a durable power of Attorney so you can handle her legal and financial matters if you think you may need to. It was a a god send to me when my Mom came to live with us when she was incompacitated and needed nursing home care after a broken hip.
As you can see from my profile I am a Home Care Provider, I write articles for The Examiner in the Elder Care Section and I am a daughter in law that is living that out with my mother-n-law. I look at things differently now that we've had that happen to us. My father-n-law passed away 2 years ago and for 9 months at least there was paper work, legal and banking things, cleaning etc...On top of that my mother-n-law can not see well enough to drive so either my sister-n-law or my husband takes her to everything and everywhere she wants to go. It got so bad for a while I felt like I was the widow. Our lives changed as well as hers. He still stops almost every night before he gets home from work and runs back into town on Sunday to take the trash out. If he doesn't stop he calls or she calls here.

I like Carewithhugs advise. I prayed daily for awhile to God to help me stop being angry. About a year ago my mother-n-law started letting her friends take her places enjoying there company. She has one take her to her hair appointment, one she eats out with regularly and has let grandchildren bare some of the responsibilities. She even went on a cruise at Christmas as my father-n-law would never fly or get on a boat. My husband still does a lot but she is getting a new norm for her life. It will take time and God's help. If you are a believer talk to other Christian friends and your pastor. If you are not please seek him.
1 Tim 5:4 But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God very much.
5 But a woman who is a true widow, one who is truly alone in this world, has placed her hope in God.
Not only would it be helpful to know more about the mother's health, but also about gingergirl's health and living situation. I bring this up because my MIL drives my SIL crazy with her unrealistic expectation of an ovarian cancer survivor since 2001 and then goes around town telling everyone what a terrible daughter she had because my SIL does not ever do enough for my MIL. My SIL lives with some very draining complications following her treatments along with having a very dependent husband. I fear her mother is going to drive her daughter to an early grave.

I do not agree that taking care of a parent who drives us crazy is equal to our driving our parent's crazy when we were helpless. Sometimes older parents are not as helpless as they want to believe that they are. Your mother sounds very spoiled by your dad and I'm sorry for your loss. My MIL only misses my FIL for what he is no longer around to do. I have seen a handful of men who did everything for their wives that they actually raised and tended to the children more than mom did.

I hope you find some balance in your life because overly demanding people can kill you if you let them. In caring for an elderly parent we must each strive for a balance of our own self-care while caring for someone else. That's true in spending all day long with little children and babies also. Every parent needs to take a break and breath from fresh air. It sounds to me like your suffocating.
I was totally on board with "carewithhugs" comment, until I read "Crowemagnum." Now I'm second-guessing things. I feel very strongly that we children should now give our parents the care that they gave us when we needed such care. But, Crowemagnum brings up some issues that all of us should think about in trying to get some sort of balance. Otherwise, we forfeit any kind of decent life for ourselves. It's a tough call....I'm right in the midst of it. I will never abandon my Mom, but I have to have a life of my own as well. Quite tricky.
First off no-one said you had to give up your own life. No-one said there aren't some aging parents out there that are very demanding and just being spiteful. No-one has the "whole" story. My dad did "everything" and I use the term "everything" very loosely which many people do. The "day" my parents are from was very different than "today". The "man" did more of certain types of things vs. the "woman". Today I know many men that can't change a door knob on a door. Well, for my mom those are the types of things she couldn't do living alone after dad was gone. He was the main "negotiator" for certian issues in life, now she has to fend for herself. He organized the bills - they would work on them together but he truly handled them and now she has to "learn" it. And today we have so much online and many elders from "back in the day" don't know a thing about doing automatic payments, how statements are done electronically etc. These are many things we take for granted and we have to "teach" the new, helpless, alone parent. Not to mention if this parent has any type of medical ailment that can make daily life a little harder- things like vacuuming can become a major chore and may need to be done by someone else. What about if the memory is starting to fade - does she remember to take all her pills, pay bills ontime, doesn't make it to appointments because it's not written on a calendar. Maybe mom is still fine to live alone, doesn't need assisted living yet but has some small issues like the ones listed - do we put her in a home so we don't have to deal with it, do we grow inpatient and snap at her when something isn't done or forgotton?
We don't know the inside story. If she is being spiteful and demanding and you truly know it then you have to handle that with a tougher skin but still with care - you need to find out why she is being that way. Maybe she's not dealing with the loss very well or maybe that's how she's always been.
In any instance we never want to be enablers we want to be caring, understanding, loving children. We need to try to have patience. We need to open our eyes and ears, step back and try to really see what is happening, be aware. We need to try to re-teach if that is what is needed. Many older parents whether widowed or not can become very stubborn in issues and sometimes it could be harmful to them and it could be a very hard decision on you of what you may need to do. Many of us, the children can become resentful even if you don't want to because of the time it is taking to care for them. Time away from your life. And we have to becareful with that because that can become harmful.
It is a very tricky situation to be in and all you can do is try to do your best. Both the parent and the child (us) will have good days and bad days at this. But if we are honest both to mom and self it should help make things easier.
Yes, balance is needed that goes without saying.
Unless we know the full story no-one can give her an answer that fits best. Hopefully she can take bits and pieces of all of our advice and put it to her situation.
I am in the same situation as you are gingergirl. My dad passed in Sept. of last year. My family lives with her. I see what all of the others are saying about being patient, teaching her different ways, etc. I do pray alot and try to see her through. I do not have a fix all answer but I do know exactly how you feel and what you are living with. Bless you!

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