Why do I feel like I can't do this anymore?


My MIL's youngest is coming to visit on the 4th. She knew he was coming last week but FORGOT on Monday - denied knowing - she got upset because I mentioned that she forgot.

Then this morning, I vacuumed her apt, (an addition to our home) and scrubbed her floors. I notice her pension check on the desk and took it and wrote a note that I would cash it for her while I was doing errands this afternoon.

She came in and said 'HOW can YOU cash MY check without me signing it???!!! I said my name is on your account and she said "well, now i HAVE LOST TOTAL CONTROL!"

Just a side note - she put my name on her account of her own free will 8 years ago - before her memory issues began (pre stroke). I have paid all her bills for three years - ever since she wrote an $865 check to pay an $8.65 bill. She cashes her pension check and that is her mad money. Her bills, groceries and prescriptions come out of her SS check that goes into her checking acct.

The problem now is that she got upset with me - insinuated that I was 'taking' her pension check. I have cashed her pension check numerous times when she isn't able to get out or the weather is bad. Never have I kept one cent of it.

She said something that 'set me off' and I said - maybe it is time to rethink things. if you aren't happy here - other arrangements can be made. She said YES, LET DO THAT!!!! and turned around and went back to her apt. She has been pouting in there for 3 days ever since I suggested that she 'forgot' that her son was coming.

Her bath lady came and the first thing out of her mouth was 'Well, it looks like the kids are thinking about putting me in a nursing home.' WE HAVE NEVER USED THE TERM NURSING HOME to her. If anything, it would be assisted living.

I went in and of course I was upset - because she was insinuating that we were going to put her away in front of her bath lady. I told the bath lady that SHE was the one who said she definitely wanted other arrangements made. If she isn't happy here - she we force her to stay?

Then her bath lady said to me 'Well, Oldcodger2, just WHAT DO YOU DO here, anyway? Insinuating that I do nothing for my MIL. I have nursed her through surgeries - sleeping on her couch for 2 weeks post surgery, nursed her for 6 weeks pre surgery (another surgery) when she was bedridden - this was PRE BATH LADY - so I did that, including wiping her butt since she was to weak to do it. I puller her upright, put a wash cloth under her foot to pivot her to the commode, then pivoted her back to bed or to the wheel chair. This was 24/7 for 6 weeks. The last surgery - we decided to let her recoup in the swing unit of the hospital until she could be up and around.

I prepare her meals, do her shopping, order and pick up meds, organized her 'calendar' of numerous doctor appointments. There were times when we had 12 appointments in one month - entailing an hour drive each way and for 6 of those procedures - required me to wait 6 hours before bringing her home.

Obviously - all this constitues 'nothing.' I think I am just plain tired of doing nothing and I want to stop. Do I have the right to stop? Sure, I know others have it far worse. But since her stroke in December - it is the memory issues and the snide remarks that have gotten to me. I know I am 'way too short tempered' to be a good caregiver anymore. Is it wrong to think about NOT being her caregiver anymore? Her other two children have left her care to us and basically, it is me - but, I forgot, I don't DO anything - so why should I be upset?

I am sorry, but I am upset. My MIL tells everyone she cares for herself. Thankfully, she can take care of her personal needs. But 90%+ of her meals I cook. IF she tries to cooks something - it is often inedible.

When she came in (she was outside on the patio) she complained of the bleach smell (I used Clorox Clean up to scrub her floors and clean her commode and toilet.) She said "I just scrubbed the floor." I told her it needed it again. The corners were dirty and full of little bugs and there were drips in front of the refrigerator - basically, it needed a good scrubbing on hands/knees and she can't do that anymore.

Often, I will do her dishes and clean her sink (she doesn't run the disposal sometimes and it gets so gross) and basically, just can't clean the way she used to. But, I don't DO anything - I forgot, the invisible cleaning fairy does it :0)

I think I am going to have a stroke myself. I hit a wall 2 years ago and I have never been the same since. If SHE makes me miserable and I make HER miserable - isn't it time to rethink things if possible? Doesn't she deserve that too?

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See an Elder Law Attorney - first hour is free. He will help you sort out legalities if required. Check with your local Area Agency on Aging - ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS. Talk with your family doctor. There is always a way out. Keep us posted on how things go. I have been where you are now. I may end up there again.
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What does a person do when they feel they can't be the caregiver anymore and there is no one to take their place?
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There are some Assisted Living facilities that have a "transitional Unit". That is where my mom is. She is still in the Assisted living with her own room but is pretty. Uch taken care of all day with activities. She is with a group all about the same I. Their dementia/ALZ. They eat together, go on outings together but also participate with the Assisted Living people for entertainment, lectures, etc. it can be expensive so if you don't have long term insurance or a way to pay it wouldn't work but it has been great for my Mom and she seems to be happy.
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lefaucon - do take care of yourself! Make sure you take vitamins - the basics, a multi, some Omega 3's and extra C. It is our nutritional insurance policy. It has kept me relatively healthy so far. Stress is a killer and if we don't get relief - then pretty soon we stop caring - for ourselves!!

It took a while and it took a lot of trouble - but I realize now that caring from a distance is the only way I can continue - for a long while anyway. I hope you are able to get the care you need and heal - emotionally and physically. May you find peace. It is sometimes hard to find. But, keep looking. Do good things for yourself. The best thing I did was start walking - not even very far - but it is a 'mindless' activity - meaning it doesn't take any thought. It settles the mind. Energizes the body. And if it is cold - just bundle up. It still feels good. :0) It is FREE and you come home feeling much better. DO IT!!
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Praise God oldcodger2,
I am very happy that u have put yourself on your own list of who to care for. You need to take care of yourself first.....as my sis and bro and everybody else have told me in the past when I had my own several personal breakdowns. Good that you have backed off on MIL--its not only good for MIL, but GOOD for you too. Do not be as I did, I was in so much stress that one early morning I bashed my head into the side of the door as I was walking [wasn't looking where I was going] and had a mean black eye and cut and bleeding and had to see the opthamalogist and have a CT scan of my head. The bash was so loud that I woke sis up. I was so stressed out that I wasn't looking where I was going. It's still swollen after one month and the bone has not yet healed and the red scar is still there and the bone is calcifying and I think that I may have to see the doctor again. Do help yourself as you are doing now before you hurt yourself as I did. Keep praying to the the Lord.....He has enabled you and helped you this far and He won't stop helping you. I believe He already has by you coming to this site. This site and all the women here has helped me tremendously and I believe that God led me to this site and all of these wonderful woman and I pray for ALL of you every day.
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Yes, I know my MIL is a very sick woman and her physical ailments are the least of her worries now. Yes, her bath lady is long gone. My MIL will NEVER forgive me for that - and takes NO responsibility for what happened that day - when they BOTH came after me with their verbal attacks. But, my MIL is a very sweet person - really sweet - to everyone else and she does sound perfectly normal and I have NO doubt that the bath lady thought she was 'helping' her patient. What the bath lady DID NOT KNOW is what my mother in law had said and done just a few minutes before she arrived - when she was in a rage. I know that no matter what - the bath lady was out of bounds in what she said and did that day and that is why I did report her and did discontinue the services of that Home Health Agency. This is something my MIL will never forgive - she tells everyone I fired her bath lady for 'no good reason' and in reality, I saw 'no good reason to keep her.' Ultimately, due to the recent cuts in Medicare - my MIL would have lost her bath lady anyway - so it just happened sooner rather than later.

They seem to feel that for now she is able to care for her own personal needs and we are allowing her to do that. She has a Lifeline necklace and knows how to use it. She has regular visitors. She is not neglected.

And, yes, I do pray a lot - not only for myself but for so many stressed out care givers who have such an enormous burden. I am so grateful for finding this site and for being able to read so many comments and to know that what I feel and how I feel is not 'wrong' - that I have just as much right to be cared for as my MIL does. So, I put myself on my list. I have backed off from my MIL and realize now that I probably did 'too much' for her and that could possibly have contributed to her anger. But, for whatever reason, what IS - IS - and we have to deal with the situation the way it is now. Hindsight is 20/20.

Thank you all again and again and again.
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Dear Oldcodger2,
Agree with everything jeannegibbs and the women advised above. Also, that bath lady should be fired as cattails said above and report her to the agency and get another bath lady. She shouldn't open her mouth when it comes to family issues, she shouldn't open her mouth unless asked to open her mouth; she's intruding on issues she has no business making any type of comments; its none of her business and she should know better. We had to fire an organization because one of the CNAs turned out to be Dr. Jekly and Mr. Hyde-she was abusing both me and Mom. Sis reported her actions and I hope they got rid of her too.
You're not going to get any pats on the back from MIL. First of all, she is sick, please try to remember that. But YOU need to make the changes or else you will get sicker than MIL. All great advice up there, please try to make the changes one at a time or as much as you can as fast as you can. We do not want you to end up in the hospital! I understand what you are going through as I went through the same thing [though not as severe as your situation ] with my Mom;who is now in hospice [dementia and terminal cancer]. You are doing a fabulous job, thankless job, more than any human can take on. The Lord sees what you are doing, believe me, and He knows exactly how you feel for His understanding is infinate. Go to Him with your tears, anxiety, stress, and everything else. God Bless you.
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She is able to be up and around right now - using a walker. Her diabetes is under control. Her physical health is now fairly stable for an almost 88 year old. Whoever oversees Home Health Services for our state visited her and said 'she no longer qualifies for home health services' - so, they must believe that she is 'safe' and 'able' to care for herself somewhat. They also know we live next door.

Until her next 'crisis' we are back to square one with NO home health services unless we pay for them. Ultimately, it may be better for her because it gets her out of her chair a little.

She was is much worse physical condition in the past than right now at this moment. And with the recent Medicare cuts - her home health and the home health services for many others as well, I suppose, went out the window. It is just the tip of the economic iceberg. It will only get worse as time goes on.

Until something happens where her health takes a turn for the worse - that requires a hospitalization - she does not qualify for any home services. :0( She usually manages a few days in the hospital once or twice a year. :0(

But thank you for mentioning Hospice. If ever her health fails dramatically - I will at least give them a call and check. I would not have known to do that. I understood hospice to be palliative care service n the final year of life. Sorry if my curt answer offended - did not mean that. I thought you perhaps worked for a nursing home or AL facility. For reason we prefer not to mention on this forum, she cannot at present go into an ALF. Maybe in time.

Thank you all............
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Your profile says that she has multiple health issues related to her age and is living with general age related decline due to obesity, arthritis, diabetes, multiple surgeries and medication side effects and slight stroke.

Diabetes alone will sometimes qualify you for hospice, plus mobility issues. You don't have to be on your deathbed. When someone recommended it to me for my mom, I dismissed it for months because I was sure she would not qualify. Then when I finally called she did qualify clinically. She has a heart condition that she has had for decades. They have been a huge help. And if she doesn't qualify, they are much more helpful in getting other benefits than other medicare providers have been.

We use Gentiva.
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She does not have a terminal illness - she just went kind of bonkers - unable to deal with her many losses (home, health, husband, mobility, freedom, independence). Since I still have these things - her anger is projected onto me.
So, I am not sure how the post from Galoshes59 applies to our situation. I have posted that we CANNOT at present put her in Asst. Living OR a nursing home and she definitely DOES NOT QUALIFY FOR HOSPICE.

No, she does NOT qualify for any home services at present. They have done the interviews and Medicare is 'tightening up' and 'cutting back' big time. The same services she has received for the last 2-3 years would now be considered 'Medicare Fraud' if the Home Health company provided them and tried to charge Medicare for them. It is a sad reality we face. It will be worse when/IF we are 80 and need care. Maybe they will include euthanasia as a paid Medicare Service by that time. :0(

She is still considered able to make 'rational' decisions. She just isn't rational when it comes to me :0(

She does not have the funds for Assisted Living and for personal reasons we cannot make that move right now no matter how good it would be for all of us. It just can't happen yet. So things will remain as they are with us making up for the things she cannot do for herself and me doing that when she is not home. Hubby will continue to check on her frequently and friends will continue to help out. We are fortunate to have a strong spiritual family.

There is a bible scripture about a 'friends that stick closer than a brother' and that has proven true in our situation. Our friends have done FAR MORE for her and for us (and willingly) than her own children. We just didn't want to call on them until it was absolutely necessary - but when we did - they came through for us. We try not to call on them too often. They do willingly visit her each week - taking turns. She has no idea how fortunate she is. And we will be forever grateful.

We do most of what we have always done - just differently. Thankfully - she allows her son (my hubby) to be the go-between and doesn't give him any trouble. She lets him know if she needs groceries and gives him a list. She tells everyone that HE shops for her - but I do that too :0( She just cannot acknowledge me in any way. She is very 'sick.'

As long as her physical health remains fairly stable - well, things will be stable here. We will deal with any changes as they come. I am trying VERY hard NOT to worry about what MAY come (and probably will come) later. That would ruin the 'present' which is my gift. I feel as though I have been given a gift. Even though I still do the grunt work - I don't have to deal with her personally and that makes ALL the difference. I know this isn't possible for everyone and for that I am sorry.

For now, we are trying to enjoy our life and we include her once in a while if she desires. She usually says no. I am sure she thinks this upsets us, but I think I am beyond that now. If she chooses not to be here when we have company, or family over - that is her choice. It is HER NOSE she is cutting off to spite her face. She does this a lot. It guess she is happier when she is miserable.

Again - my thanks for all the thoughts and prayers sent my way and I continue to keep so many of you in my thoughts and prayers. We are 'unsung heros.' That's for sure!
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