How can I get mom to accept outside help?

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I can relate. My mom does have outside help coming in for physical therapy, etc. through Visiting Nurses, but she simply will not budge on getting outside help with other things that I'm having to do every weekend (grocery shopping, taking out trash, laundry, errands, and on and on). I am an only child and there is no other support from family. I'm it.

I just got off the phone with her and asked her if she has made any calls about this (I've been asking for weeks). Nothing. In fact, when I asked about it again she said it was too upsetting, said she didn't want to talk about it tonight, and hung up. I waited a few minutes, called her back, and told her I needed a break this weekend and that I wasn't going to be able to come on Sunday. I told her I would come if she absolutely needed me to, but that I desperately need a break. She said she was okay with it. But now I'm feeling guilty because the laundry won't get done, the trash won't get taken out, and the groceries won't get purchased. I have concluded that she's perfectly content to have me continue to do everything without help. So if she's okay with me taking an occasional weekend off, that's okay. If not, maybe it will motivate her to finally hire help.

Having said all this, I feel guilty now.
Don't feel guilty. We all need time for us, although I'm better at giving this advice than taking it. Mom lives in my house, but in her own separate apartment, so I can't get away as easily as you can (not to mention that she's too unsteady on her feet to leave her here alone). Mom also has the nurses etc, but my biggest concern for her is socialization. She's so ugly to me so often that I tend to avoid her or make the necessary visits very brief. She complains constantly that there isn't anyone to talk to, but when I took her to adult day care she hated it. My sister (who lives 2000 miles away and is no help) says mom has always complained and I might as well get used to it!
Don't feel guilty. We all need time for us, although I'm better at giving this advice than taking it. Mom lives in my house, but in her own separate apartment, so I can't get away as easily as you can (not to mention that she's too unsteady on her feet to leave her here alone). Mom also has the nurses etc, but my biggest concern for her is socialization. She's so ugly to me so often that I tend to avoid her or make the necessary visits very brief. She complains constantly that there isn't anyone to talk to, but when I took her to adult day care she hated it. My sister (who lives 2000 miles away and is no help) says mom has always complained and I might as well get used to it!
Top Answer
Thanks re: not feeling guilty.

It sounds like you have more reason for burnout (especially since she lives with you), but I guess each situation is different and everything is relative.

Some weeks, like this one, I've just been run ragged at work. By Friday I'm too exhausted to do anything. Saturdays I usually end up running around and doing the necessary things for my household, and then Sundays I drive 40 min. each way and spend the better part of the day taking care of her household chores, etc. And then Monday rolls around and the workweek starts. It's like a treadmill I can't get off of.

So even though I feel guilty, I'm going to set aside some much-needed time for myself this weekend. She has listened to me express my burn-out for weeks now, and I keep asking when she plans to inquire around about help and hire someone for 2 to 3 hours a week. She's perfectly capable of making the phone call and she has the $$ to hire help, she is just refusing to do it for some reason.

So I guess she'll have to make her own decision based on my availability and what I'm able to do from here forward. I know that the care/responsibility is only going to increase from here, so while I can, I need to take time out for myself when I can and not feel guilty about it.

That's easier said than done, though.
I hear you about the money. Mom is 92 and lived through the depression, so parting with money is frightening for her. But after some strokes, loss of vision, problems writing (as in checks and bills), I handle her money now and I spend it on her! I can't imagine keeping your schedule, and you are right that each situation is different but still just as stressful to the caregiver trying to cope.

Anyway, take the time for yourself while you can and enjoy it. The world won't end if her trash doesn't get taken out, and if you live in a big enough town you can probably get groceries delivered to her house.

Hang in there! I'm off to get some much needed sleep but I'll be on tomorrow evening.
Thank you so much for responding and listening. It helps just to talk about this to other people who understand.

I wish I was able to take a more active role in her finances—I'd do the same thing and spend it all on her! She is still very independent in many respects (and stubborn), so I will not step in until she needs me to. I do have power of attorney, though, so she knows she can ask me to help if needed.

I hope you get some rest tonight!
Look at you, txmaggie! Participating already ~ I proud of you! So glad to "read." You're right to tell jennygc not to feel guilty. That is also easier said than done, but very important. This is the "permission place." We get to vent, cry, laugh, and unload all our troubles of the day. And our fellow caregivers understand. It's very cathartic writing it out, and bouncing ideas back and forth. And if we've done our best, and set some healthy limits and boundaries for ourselves and with our loved ones, it is a good day. Not always trouble-free, and never perfect. But good is enough, some days.

My Mom used to complain a lot more than she is now that I'm setting more boundaries. I let her know when she's reached my limit, and if it's too much, walk out. I don't deprive her of something she needs, but refuse to be a pin cushion when she's venting awful complaints to me, about me, etc. Yuk. I hang up the phone, or walk out the door. But I always check to make sure she's got milk, and medications, etc. My Mom's a "princess," but I am not a serf. I told her I have needs, too, and have limits. I love her, but not at the expense of my own health. I do get help for her, and tell her, sorry, but there's no discussion about it. I can't do it all, but here, here and here is what I'm willing to do. That I am not. And she can't, so if she wants it done, here are the options. (Give two alternatives and let her choose.) Be loving, but firm. And be consistent.

I've even gotten to the place where I tell her I will be gone from this time to that. I tell her to call if she needs something. And if she has an emergency, call 911. I mean, I'm not a nurse! I am a daughter, and I have a husband and a child. I am willing to help, but the wages are non-existent and she gets much more she pays for (so to speak). I need to live, too. I moved her out of a too big home, into an apartment in a senior complex, where she can go to potlucks, church, the hair dresser, or listen to musical groups come in. She loves it, and I don't have to be her entertainer or Social Director. She finds rides places from the other ladies, but I do her shopping and take her to Doctor appointments. I don't always want to, and at times let her take the bus. (It's free for seniors.) She doesn't like it, but beggars can't always be choosers. This gives her some independence, and freedom and flexibility. And it gives me a break. Some people go to the Senior Center for lunch, music programs, gentle exercise, etc. When she's not feeling well, she stays home in bed. I don't feel guilty about that; it would be the same for me if I were sick. And I wouldn't demand someone cater to me! Though, I am grateful for everything people do for me.

My mother was being very ugly to me. Always complaining, and such. I told her stop, and walked. My sister told her to stop. (That God for the moral backup!) And I tell Mom that things will go for her according to how well she treats me. I'm not being mean, but setting healthy boundaries. I am her legal Guardian, due to her mental condition, and she needs someone to help her with boundaries, because she doesn't know how to set them. Her judgment is failing and poor. So someone has to make the day to day difficult decisions. At first, I didn't know what I was doing. She was always so angry and combative. But I am learning to dodge and stand against the hurling insults and complaints. I too have short visits with Mom, because she's just not pleasant to be around most of the time. Funny. She goes out and does things with the ladies around her building. I doubt she treats them the way she treats me. (Or else they'd go away, wouldn't they?) Anyway, it's a deep valley and a steep climb, but we get stronger with practice and it gets easier with supportive friends. After some tough struggles, I am finally learning how to find joy in the journey. You will, too.
SecretSister, it sounds like you have learned a lot about setting boundaries and are comfortable doing that. I am more comfortable than I used to be, but it seems that I'm plagued by guilt when I do take time out for myself. My mom was in the hospital for a month and got used to pressing a button for services, etc. I'm very grateful I have help now, but shudder to think about what happens when Medicare no longer foots the bill for this stuff.

Anyway the following from your post is very helpful—especially about the fact that we are not hired help or serfs:

"My Mom's a "princess," but I am not a serf. I told her I have needs, too, and have limits. I love her, but not at the expense of my own health. I do get help for her, and tell her, sorry, but there's no discussion about it. I can't do it all, but here, here and here is what I'm willing to do. That I am not. And she can't, so if she wants it done, here are the options. (Give two alternatives and let her choose.) Be loving, but firm. And be consistent."


Tonight, after finding out that my mom still had not made any calls to inquire about additional help with these items, I just knew I couldn't go over there Sunday without being angry and resentful. It apparently doesn't matter to hear (or is going in one ear and out the other) that I am absolutely burned out. So it's better that I don't go over there this week.

It will become more of a priority for her to make the call and hire some occasional help once I'm not making myself as available. If this involved her time and the roles were reversed, she would have already made the phone call.
You know, jennygc, (or should I say jenny?). I was thinking. Maybe your Mom can't make that telephone call. Maybe she's stuck. Maybe she doesn't know who to call, or is scared. Maybe she needs some suggestions. Maybe she doesn't understand her own needs. Or maybe she is embarrassed. I don't know. It's only a hunch. Maybe she needs you more than you know.

My Mom told me she knew she needed to move out of her home of 52 years. (Dad had recently been placed in a Nursing Home last summer.) But Mom couldn't do anything for herself. She didn't pack a thing! I kept thinking, how rude, or lazy, or thoughtless... But someone suggested that Mom couldn't, is why she didn't. And that's why she let things go in the house, and piles accumulate. She just couldn't even make the simplest decisions. I think depression does that to people. So, perhaps it could be that way for your Mom.

I can't say I'm comfortable setting boundaries. I am just beginning to learn about it. I know I've heard of it for a long time. I used to read about co-dependency, and not "get it." I think I was stuck there. But here, I've learned from some of the other ladies and gentlemen who post. As they share their experience, strengths and hope, it encourages me to try. I think you'll find that, too. I think I've learned a little, but feel I have a long way to go. Moms can push our buttons, you know.

Mine was recently diagnosed as having a "Personality Disorder." I'm not too convinced about that, exactly. If being selfish is a "disorder," then we're all "sick" sometimes. But I was told by her physician that she won't like me setting limits, but to do it anyway, and that she can't. He said I have to do it for her. Sick, scared, or whatever, sometimes they, and we need help. And I got tired of her anger and bitterness and complaining. But I'm it for Mom. No one else can help like I can, who is able or willing. (I could hire someone, but would care like I do, and who would watch them???) So I decided that I'd find a way to do what had to be done, and wouldn't let her destroy me emotionally while I'm doing it. No sense giving her the power over my emotions. Seeking answers reaps benefits. And those who have "been there done that" know more than me, like some on these threads. What a wonderful place to find answers, encouragement, support, and get a hug or two now and then! What joy!

So, try some things, till you find what works for you. I pray you'll be as surprised as I am some days. It has been beneficial in the short amount of time I've practiced. But each situation is different. And I pray not to become embittered, harsh, angry, or resentful. I get short tempered easily when I'm tired, so I do much better when rested. We have to get some. I ask God for help, because he made us and knows us better than we know ourselves. And all wisdom comes from him. I ask God to help me forgive my Mom when I feel angry toward her. I ask for wisdom and discernment, and understand when things are tough and the way seems unclear. I ask sometimes for patience, and for grace. We love because he first loved us. And he loves us enough to teach us, and show us the way to go. Without him, I'd be lost, proud, arrogant, and selfish. He gives mercy and grace, joy and strength. We need these every day. Our loved ones need these things, too. Happy Caregiving!
One more thought, how can they respect us if we don't respect ourselves? I mean, if we forgo all pleasure, and become dull and angry, and don't care enough about ourselves to care for our own emotional and physical needs, why would/should someone else? And even if they don't, and we do, at least someone is caring for us. LOL And even if they never do care about us as much as themselves, we can care for us and them, by setting boundaries that are good for each. And I've decided I need some joy in every day. So that's the plan. Thanks for your compliment, but please give the credit to God. If I say something wrong, you can place the blame on me.

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