My Mom, bless her heart, is 88 1/2 years old and a widow. She is in pretty good health, although she has back pain and no longer drives. I am one of three daughters and I live very close by. Needless to say, I do most of the things she needs help with. One sister does virtually nothing (she lives 25 minutes away) and the other, in New Jersey, does come about 2 weekends a month. But Mom doesn't like to ask her to do anything! She only feels "comfortable" with me. That's what she says when she's in a good mood! When she's in a bad mood (not getting instant compliance from me), she puts a major guilt trip on me. I am a widow as well (age 65) and I have a very active life. The problem is, Mom seems to constantly need something -- from nail scissors, to envelopes, to stamps, to socks, etc. I no sooner get some things done, and she's already mentioning more things. I've pretty much limited myself to helping her two afternoons a week, but as time goes on, that is becoming increasingly difficult. She is just completely dependent on me, and I cannot meet her needs the way my Dad did on a daily, constant basis. I think he did more than I ever realized. I have tried to tell her I need to socialize and pursue my own life, but she only gets angry. I am just tired of the whole routine, and I don't see it changing anytime soon. Any advice would be appreciated! I also wonder which of us siblings gets to decide when it's time for Mom to get paid in-home care or assisted living. Mom, to date, refuses (although she's financially able) to hire anyone to do anything, except a house cleaner she's had for decades. She is extremely stubborn. Do I ever get to say, "That's it, I need help."? I know I am not alone in this dilemma! Thank you all in advance and happy holidays!

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Absolutely you can say it. But that doesn't mean you'll get help. Even when I hired outside caregivers to help, my dad did nothing but complain to me for hours after they had gone home. I thought he was rude to them until one day when he didn't know I had come home and I saw how nice he could be. When I said to him that I was glad he was so nice he said well I wouldn't be mean to them. Great - not to them but to me?? Good luck and hang in there. Linda

Yes, you "get" to say that. You get to insist on it. Have a conference call with your sisters or talk when your out of town sister is home.
Approach your mother together, if possible. Let her know that you will continue to help her out but that she needs more care than you can give. Then let her choose between in-home care or assisted living. As she digests that thought, she may opt for some in-home care. Be prepared for her to complain about that help, too. It's something to do. Complaining can become entertainment of sorts. You'll have to develop a thicker skin and detach from her complaining. Please look into in-home care and work on your sisters to support you. If they won't, line it up yourself.
Take care,

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