I have been caring for my 89 year old mother for over four years in my home. She had open heart surgery during 2011 and I spent my time as her advocate staying at medical facilities to ensure that her recovery occur. I am now 65 years old and thankfully I still work full time with CNA assist for parent. I feel as though my life is empty. All I do is work and she is my second job. She is fragile but no dementia. I am depressed as things will only get worse and she could live another five years. She depends on me totally. She has a son who is married and lives out of state. She adores him. I have no family help. I do tracheostomy care every morning before work and on weekends. I plan on seeing my therapist in near future. I try to keep up with my health but I just am angry that I can make no plans for my life or retirement as I am stuck. I wil not put her in a nursing home as that would be the end. I would spend all of my time there as I had done for 18 months at facilities during her recovery. Perhaps the saddest part is I have spoiled her all of her life. Took her on beautiful vacations and bought her a mobile home and a car. My father died in 1989 and she had a great life afterwards due to me. At my age I was taking her on trips and she had it all. Now my feelings for her have changed due to resentment. She constantly complains about everything. She is narcissistic and really feels like my taking care of her is my lot in life. I hope my health holds out. My career offers my only escape. My lease is up this July but I can't make any plans as she has a nice room here with big screen tv and all of her doctors are here. My best friend and partner is leaving next week to help her son. She has been such a help since living with us. No idea when she will be back but at minimum will be give six months. I know there is nothing right now that I can change. I will just keep my distance as best I can and try to figure something out.

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As a followup, one of the hallmarks of clinical depression is feeling "stuck" on a hamster wheel with no options...only you can change this situation, by stepping off the wheel.

You feel you can’t make plans for your life or retirement, and are stuck. Only if you allow yourself to be. Please allow me to be rather blunt and hopefully help you break through the mental barrier that seems to exist.

Assuming you live past the death of your mother, you have a life then. Start planning for it now, and start planning for your retirement. There's no question in my mind that caregiving creates an intense focus on the present, and it's difficult to think beyond that, but there will come a time when that situation is a reality. And being prepared can help you think beyond to a time when your mother is no longer with you.

It’s hard to project life in 5, 10 or more years, but it can serve at least 3 purposes:

1. It can help you realize that you’re not as stuck as you think you are.

2. It can elevate your mood.

3. It can put you on a stronger financial and emotional footing for when you do retire.

Other issues:

1. How is a nursing home an “end”? By adamantly refusing to consider it, you severely SELF LIMIT your options.

2. You wrote that if you put your mother in a nursing home, you “would spend all your time there as you did for 18 months” during a recovery.

That statement speaks volumes to your approach, including allocation of your time and the lack of balance. You chose to “spend all your time there”. Did anyone force you? Did any of the staff counsel you that it's not healthy to "spend all your time" at the facility while your mother was in recovery?

3. You wrote that you have spoiled your mother all her life. That may be so, and apparently you feel that it’s impossible to change at this stage of the game. If you did spoil her, is it her fault? There are 2 people in this relationship.

4. You wrote that your lease is up but you can’t make plans b/c of your mother’s nice room, and proximity of doctors. Are you saying that there are no other places in your area to rent that are still close to your mother’s doctors?

Do you realize the trap you’ve created for yourself? It goes something like this: I’d like to do x, but I can’t because of y, and y is unchangeable.

You like you think Beethoven took a similar attitude toward composing when he discovered he was losing his hearing? No, he continued to compose.

If you're not familiar with Stephen Hawking, do some research on his life before and after ALS began to develop. I can't even imagine living with that horrific disease, let alone continue to work and create.

I do think therapy would be helpful to find out why you have sacrificed your life for your mother, find yourself now in a position of living up to the demands you’ve created, but resent it. We humans are complex, sometimes mysterious creatures - it would be nice if we came with manuals to help us figure ourselves out.

As to your best friend leaving, and your comment that right now there is nothing you can change. Well, if you feel that way, you may as well give up now and resign yourself to unhappiness and resentment for the rest of your life.

I wrote that I intended to be blunt, and I think it’s appropriate to give you a good cybershake and help you realize that you have made your own choices, you’re unhappy with them, but only you can change them.

I think you really need to assess what you want out of life and decide if you're up to making the changes that are required, or will you continue to be unhappy and feel as though life has passed you by? You're the only one who can make that decision.

Babalou, I very much agree with you. I took the little tour at the NH near us and my eyes filled with tears when I realized how much better life could be! The residents were very well cared for and amused with activities. The professional caregivers on staff were well rested and cheerful because they work in shifts. I am tired and worn down from 3 years of caring for both parents at home. The whole place smelled like freshly baked cookies because they bake them every hour and even gave me some to take home. The outside world and it's demands don't stop just because mom and dad need our care at home.

I think that we all make decisions in life that we later regret. Doing good things for your mom was a positive. I'm religious, so I think that God rewards that kind of thing.

I would think that doing good things would bring you some comfort. Regardless, I would let go of the resentment of your mom, as it isn't going to harm her, but only you. If you can't see your way in doing that, then I would contact a counselor to help give me some more insight and tools. Professionals know how to help us sort through things like that.

When we have a lot on our plate, things can seem overwhelming and joy is difficult to find. Why not get out from under the pressure by finding a place your mom can be cared for and see if that helps. You could then see her and just visit, without being so responsible. If your time is focused on something other than her, perhaps you wouldn't feel so resentful.

In the scheme of life, there are worst things than spoiling a parent. There are many great things that may be in your future. Maybe with some rest and relaxation, you could see fit to make some plans for things you would enjoy.

I noticed that your Username is Musiclover. That speaks to me, because I love music more than most people. Whenever I am down, I turn to music as it feeds my soul and gives me both solace and encouragement. Is music your passion? Have you enjoyed it lately? I'd give it a try.

Music, I hate to say this, but this is a CHOICE that you've made. Why would a NH be "the end"? Why wouldn't you be able to allow them to care for her and visit once a week? Because it wouldn't be perfect? Very little in life is. I'm glad you are seeing your therapist soon; what would happen if you died, or you became ill? Your mom would be in a NH without you as her advocate.

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