My mother has health issues as a result of having 2 strokes. She moved in with me unexpectedly 4 years ago. I am single & recently unemployed (as of June 2012). I have 3 siblings, all with 2-income households. I live in a one bedroom apartment & sleep on an air mattress in the living room so that my mother can sleep in the bedroom. All of my nieces & nephews are 18 years old or older.
My mother has 4 children & they all live within a 20 minute drive, but never visit or invite her to visit. All she gets are phone calls 2 or 3 times a month, telling her about their vacation or their new car. I feel horrible going out without her because if I don't take her anywhere, she'd stay in that small apartment all day. Now without a job, I can't afford to keep up our regular movie & dinner out night.
Whatever social life I had is over because I'm too embarrassed & depressed about my living arrangement & financial situation. The difficulty in finding a job doesn't help either.
I find myself so angry at my brother & sisters that I think that maybe I'm just being extremely selfish......or that since I don't have children that I SHOULD be the one that takes on caring for her. I haven't seen or spoken to my brother & one of my sisters since January. The other sister keeps telling me how grateful she is that I'm caring for our mother & that I need to go out. She still never offers to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy or take my mother to a doctor's appointment or the grocery store. If something were to happen to her, none of them would know unless I told them.
I end up feeling incredibly guilty for their lack of interest in her well-being.
Before, when I saw an elderly person shopping alone in the grocery store, I'd say to myself, "Where are his/her children?" Now I see that that would be my mother if I were never born, because my siblings just don't seem to care.
Am I the only one that has this going on????
So, yes, we do it because we have that much love and respect for our mothers. Some days it does takes its toll on our minds & bodies, but I think that it speaks volumes about our hearts & souls! YAAAAYYY CAREGIVERS!!!!!!!
Before the strokes, she had always been a very self-sufficient, strong-willed person. My father always said that she was "too feisty for her own good". After the strokes, she was no longer as outgoing because her physical limitations sometimes frustrated and/or embarrassed her. The doctors said that, even though she shouldn't live alone or work, I should let her do whatever she feels her body will let her do. Because of the memory issues, we've agreed that she only cooks when I am home. When I am at work (or when I find work to go to LOL), she reheats leftovers in the microwave. She bathes on her own, but, again, only when I am home (usually at night). The ritual of taking her medication is not part of the short-term memory anymore, so she can remember to do it on her own (I still check the pill organizer to make sure though). Sometimes I watch her doing things in 7 or 8 steps that it only takes me 1 or 2. She sets the table practically one item at a time because she's so wobbly & afraid to drop or break anything, but she's happy just to be able to do it.
My anger towards my siblings comes from the fact that, in their selfishness, all they know is how much help she needed immediately after the surgery when she had a walker or needed someone to help her hold the fork & find her mouth. Once I remember my sister telling me that she thought that my mother could probably do more than she wanted us to believe. They really don't know how much she has progressed. Sure, I've been in a financial dilemma for a while, but I'm surviving. I have enough faith in myself to believe that I will be able to get back on my feet. It would just be nice to have them want to help.....or offer to help. It's a shame that when, on the extremely rare occasion that she is with one of my siblings, I worry that they'll get frustrated with how slow she walks, or they won't stand behind her on the stairs in case she loses her balance.
They basically know nothing about her as she is today. Yes, the stroke changed her. But it seems as if they treat her as if she's less than the person they remember. I, on the other hand, see her with a few new characteristics added, not taken away. It hurts me to know that she's not getting back the love & attention that she gave each one of them when they needed her.
I do stress out about taking on the responsibility of caring for her & I sometimes cry about not having the freedom to just go away for the weekend, but I'm mostly just grateful that she's still around to need my help. She would have kept having strokes until she died had it not been for the brilliant doctors that thought it was odd that an otherwise very healthy woman had 2 strokes so close together & decided to just check for a particular condition. She was very lucky & I really try hard not to forget that.
It's just good to be able to come to this site & just let it out. I have registered her at the local senior center & I'm working on getting her to take a class or go to an event. I just have to convince her that no one at the center is going to look at her crazy because of the way she walks & talks. I think that's what she thinks my siblings think.
So, I'm not at my wits end.......just stressed and frustrated. Just needed to get the thoughts out of my head.....down but not out.
Still glad I found this site and still appreciate you all for listening :)