My mother is 87 and I am 61 and I feel so fortunate to still have her with me. She has been through breast cancer 3 different times the last time was 5 years ago, when I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer and had a double mastectomy because of my Mom and her Moms history with the disease. Healthwise at this point she does pretty well but she does have some dementia and hearing loss and osteoarthritis which causes alot of pain for which she takes hydrocodone. I was unemployed after being a travel agent for many years and finally got a job at Walmart which is low paying and overnight stocking so heavy physical work. I have been worn out because of the work and overnight hours but it at least allowed me to be transferred down to the coast of South Carolina where I moved with my Mom in the Fall. I found a used mobile home and bought it and have it in a nice clean mobile home park less than 5 miles from the ocean. This was my goal for my final years to get back to the coast and I have done that. I just got offered a job in reservations at a resort near here which was another goal of mine.
I just get so worn out sometimes and yesterday I just crashed. This morning I am still tired. And then I get impatient. I have to repeat everything I say because of Mom's hearing problem and I try so hard to call her name and face her when I talk so she can hear me and then still I will have to repeat myself or I'll forget to do it because it is so unnatural and then I get impatient. She can't afford a hearing aid and I've tried hearing devices but she won't wear any of them. And if I don't have to repeat something because of the hearing problem I do because she forgets what I said. I'll tell her something one day and then have to repeat it the next. And because she is elderly too there are things she doesn't understand that I have to do or repeat telling her. Television is very important to her but if it goes out I need to be the one to call the cable provider because she will try then she doesn't understand what they say and I have to wind up doing it any way. Or the other night there was a small problem that I would have let go because I was so tired and done another time but she decided she would call and take care of it and at least this time she understood their instructions but this time they needed someone to get up and turn something off and she told me to do it even though I was so tired I could barely get up off the chair. It's things like that that wear me out and then I read about others whose parent have more severe health issues and I feel so guilty. It's like I just live feeling guilty and I get so worn out. Other things I do for Mom is take her to the Medicaid office to get it changed so they will pay her Medicare premiums down here and I need to help her understand that. I have no family support other than a cousin who lives in Texas whose mother is 99 so we can share stories from time to time. And Mom has a friend here who has Alzheimers with a daughter my age who deals with more severe issues in caregiving than I do. I have one brother who lives in another state and very minimal support there because he not only does not appreciate what I do he resents me and communication is almost nonexistent. The resentment and lack of support just make me feel worse. And financially he is doing much better than I and I see my mother struggle so on social security and I cannot help, he could he makes a good income but only helps her on occasion. I just wanted to post something on this forum so I'd be able to share with others going through this sort of thing and we could lean on each others shoulders. Thank you I just feel better getting some of this off of my chest.

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GAGray, just on a practical note, you mentioned going to the Medicaid office. My husband's hearing aids were paid for through Medicaid. Have you asked about that? Do you have a Medicaid case manager in SC?

It sounds like you are in a location you want to be in. Are you taking the job at the resort? Celebrate what is going right in your life. Work with the Medicaid case manager to get some help with Mom.

GAGray, you are not alone. My mother also has dementia and hearing loss. I don't mind so much when she repeats things to me, but I lose patience when I have to say things three or more times to her. The first time is to get her attention, the second is to let her process, the third is so she'll understand what I mean. People say, well, she's old and doesn't hear well, so I should just be nice. We can be nice, but it doesn't make it easier on us. People who say how we should feel about it are not living it. I guess we should tell these people to repeat everything they say 3-4 times for several years, then come talk to us. It is very difficult to do.

My mother has the same habit of calling people about business, then handing me the phone, telling me to deal with something. She can't understand what they are talking about. I think she does this because when she wants something done, she wants it done yesterday. She also does this when people call her. Even solicitors. I so know what you are talking about, gf. I've never been able to find a way to handle it except to sneak out the back door if I really don't want to deal with something. Sorry, Mom, I was outside and didn't hear you. :) That wouldn't be so simple in a mobile home. Maybe you can duck in the bathroom to hide. The only problem is that you also have to make sure it doesn't end up being a financial disaster brewing.

There are really no good answers, but it feels good to be able to talk about it. Feel free to vent here. Many of us are going through the same things.

GAGray - Hugs to you and my heart goes out to you. As Carol said; let go of the guilt - you have nothing to feel guilty about. You are and have been a wonderful and kind caregiver to your mother. So many of us have felt at the end of our ropes. Try to not compare to others - everyone's story is different and difficult in a different way - give yourself credit for all you are doing BY YOURSELF!!!

I can relate to a lot of what you were talking about. One thing, my MIL had difficulty hearing when she was living with us. She had her ears cleaned out - so, we did not think it was that; however - took her to the PCP and he sent her to a specialist to clean her ears. Fortunately, that did the trick. But, I do know how stressful it is to repeat everything when they can't hear and all the other problems as well.

Find any support you can - you are not alone - I understand - blessings to you and take care.

You really have your hands full, GAGray. First, drop the guilt! Yes, some people have it harder than you do, but many don't have nearly the responsibility and they are worn out, too.
You have been caring for your mother for along time, now. Even though she is in fairly good shape for her age, she needs a lot from you. You're trying to work as well as care for her, and my guess is that you don't even get out to do anything for yourself.
If you type into your web browser, you'll come up on the SC aging links. They have, as all states do, the National Family Caregiving Support Program. Please follow up with this program. They may be able to find some respite care so that you can get away now and then for yourself.
Your own health will suffer if you keep up what you're doing, and your mother wouldn't want that. The NFCSP will probably be able to recommend support groups for you, as well as many local resources. You won't feel so alone if you reach out to these people. Please keep checking in on this site, too. People here can relate to how you feel. You do need to take care of yourself.

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