My mother has been staying with us since Easter. She has a history of severe depression, but has been getting steadily worse over the last 2 years and I finally forced her to go see a doctor. He said she had the brain of someone in their late 80's. She was only supposed to be here a week and we're going on week #4.

My brothers (I have 4) all live in her hometown, along with her husband. Her house has always been cluttered, but lately it has really gotten away from her. I realize now she just isn't capable of cooking, cleaning, etc. Her husband is very lazy. I just don't know what to do.

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Get in touch with Social Services in your mother's county. A social worker there can explain not only what is available in the way of county-run programs, but other resources available in the community as well. Do you live in the same state as your mother? Perhaps you could speak to someone local. Ask about that.

Perhaps among them your brothers can get the house thoroughly cleaned and organized while Mom is with you. Then a weekly homemaking service could be used to keep it that way. Meals on wheels might be an option, or frozen dinners that even lazy husband could microwave or heat in the oven. Relieve your mom of the tasks she is having a hard time doing. Perhaps she would also benefit from and adult day program a few days a week.

Talk to a social worker, then talk to your brothers. If you all work together toward the same goal, maybe Mom can stay in her own familiar environment for some time to come. When you get that set up, also start thinking about down the road, when she may not be able to stay at home.

And welcome to the world of caregiving. You didn't even apply for the passport, and here you are!

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