I have given up 4 months to care for my mother and my sister has done nothing.


I've given up 4 months of my life to take care of my mom. I put my life on hold, took family leave, neglected my sons, neglected me, neglected my friends, and just neglected life trying to take care of my mom since October while my sister never even took any time off.

My mother gave me DPOA Financial and it's been that way since October. I've taken care of everything with little help from my sister. Every time I take a break (3-4 days away) my sister would get sick and have to go to the hospital, as some of you know.

I have all my moms paper work and there is none at my moms house. There are different people coming in and out, caregiver, and she asked me to take it. Now this last week she'd been asking me to bring the paper work back. I finally said OK, knowing my mom cannot even READ now, she will look at something and can't read one thing. Her eyesight has been effected and the doctor knows it. Anyway I'll continue....everytime I am away for a while my mom starts calling me asking me a bunch of questions. I answer them then she calls back with the same questions again and again and again. Beginning Dem/Alz I realize this by reading from these posts. I also realize she's just a shell of the mother that was and although that in itself is very very hard to deal with, I've dealt with it continuing to go over and do what was needed to be done.

Everything that my mom needed I ordered. Everything that needed to be paid I paid. Everyone that needed to be notified I notified. I even alphabatized all her paper work and put it in a nice file cabinet and in a safe deposit box.

Keep in mind that my sister, her husband, and their 2 teenage kids live in my moms house yet I've been the delegated one so everyone else just kicked back. Anyway everytime I am gone for a few days when I return I feel like a stranger in my moms house and I feel my sister is busy undermining everything I do. Well here goes the killer!

Low and behold my sister convinces my mom to remove me as DPOA and make her DPOA. Can you believe it. But although I am very dissapointed in my mom I know she is being manipulated and handled but I am going to look at it this way.

They need not bother calling me when she goes to the hospital. I won't fill in. My mom need not call me when she THINKS no one is there with her, I will not respond. I will not answer my phone.

I have made myself sick, literally sick from all of this. I actually now know that one can become sick yourself just from doing so much for that "special parent". I do not plan on being sick anymore.

I've been complaining about my sister not doing anything for a while on line here but now the ball is in her hand and I am passing the batton on to her. She can have at it and I will become the complacent one. I will become the one that has been talked about and been called the deadbeat. I will take all this in stride, although I am hurting at the thought that my mom has agreed to this. I am truly hurting.

I'll allow about 3 days to hurt and then I'm gonna pick myself up, get back in shape, and get back to work. I'll let my sister take care of all of this and I will feel no shame about it.

Now don't think I'm not rulling out praying because after I finish this bottle of wine, I'm gonna open up my Bible and ask God to remove this malice I have in my heart. Gonna ask him to give me peace, gonna ask him to show me how to forgive and forget. Oh I'm gonna fall down on my face and pray because no matter what no one says there is power in prayer.

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After nearly 26 years of caregiving my 86 yo mother, I have to agree with the others and say, "Run, don't walk!" It doesn't get better . . . love is bliss, but doesn't cure all, believe me.

Know what, Delia. That statement does not help. It may be true, but there is no experience shown...in your short two sentences...that you have actually done this.

When one is in the middle of years long caregiving, situations come up that are not just "the situation," like a situation from years ago that is congealed into a single story. These people and situations are unfolding, changing, tripping us up, sabotaging our efforts, putting us on the defensive. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, next year.

Here are some tricks I've learned from various sources to keep going in spite of the highway spikes others throw in your path:

Whoever the other is, "pray for the magnitude of their soul" or ask blessing for the magnitude of their soul. So the other(s) grow into understanding of what is really important, fair, just, kind. One might imagine their soul is far away from their words and actions, from how they decided how to act. So, pray their soul grows to be more in contact with what is truly important in life.

By doing this, you do not deny your own common sense that they are wrongdoers. At this point, you don't have to love them, or even to like them. But it is a form of blessing or wish that is for their own interest, and ultimately for yours and the person you are caring for. Best for the situation, and you are not fooling yourself bestowing a blessing you do not really feel.

Another approach. "Pray for divine intervention for understanding." Must be willing to get understanding for yourself, of course. This allows one to "let go and let God," to put this situation "in God's room," and keep going without overly concerning yourself with the other. And you open yourself also for insight and transformation. Meanwhile, annoying thoughts about the person is somewhat off your plate.

Story: A man and his son are driving their wagon to market, when a man in a carriage drives madly past them, whipping his horses wildly. The man and his son are driven off the road, and their wagon almost overturns. As they pick themselves up from the ditch where they have landed, the son is about to hurl curses and insults after the wildman.

But he hears his father yell after him, "God bless you, son. God bless you!!"

The son is shocked. "Father! Why did you bless that man. He almost killed us!"

"I know," said the father. "But if he did not go forward in life without a blessing, especially now, he would be an even greater danger to others."
Taking that up a notch, wish even for great fortune, new job, new love, trip to FARaway land...for those bothering you. Not punishment. If they are so involved in their newfound goodies, they will not bother interfering in your life. Or perhaps feel secure and unstressed enough that they have more ease in actually helping. Perhaps they'll feel generous...or that nice offer from Argentina or Moscow will sweep them out of your life.

Little things like this, one can actually do. Growing into a totally forgiving being, turning the other cheek over and all the time that is hard. Admirable. Maybe we grow into it.

There is a new book out called "Spiritual Bypassing" by Robert Augustus Masters. He criticizes the New Agers who keep holding on to platitudes, spiritual posturing, wishful thinking. This goes for the religious as well...Rapture anyone? (today's the day...or not).

It is time to do the hard work of really working on oneself and not dreaming one's problems away. Doing these sorts of things helps dissolve the bitterness of dealing with the injustices/unfairness we often face as chosen caregivers.

You shall not bear any grudges against anyone but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. God Bless You and be strong she is still your mother regarless.

Oh, but in ONLY they really KNEW what you were going through...they would CHANGE and offer to help. REALLY. Seriously.

Alzcaregiver, thank you for all the great suggestions. And bless you for all you are doing for your own mother. That must be unspeakably hard some days.

And, yes, hardships are all relative. We've been on this path for so many years, as well - starting with my father, who kept our whole world in an uproar continuously. Dealing with "just" my mother is nothing compared to six years ago. It was so tangled up that sometimes my brother and I look back now and laugh at all of the drama with all of the family members chiming in telling us what we should do, but not helping.

Someone should put the word out that if you can't help a caregiver, for pete's sake, don't criticize. Of course everyone on this site knows that already.

Thank you again.

See if rather than spend time with your mom while in the room, to go with her to these events. If she gets 2-3 residents who will visit with her, or she with them, she will be happier. You might also find a nice digital photo frame, some even send photos wirelessly. The action of the slide show might keep her occupied, and if a new photo comes in every hour...or three at once, then two in an hour...even of mundane images...sent from your cellphone.

If this cross stitching becomes also a matter of making a gift for one of the more lonely residents, then she has a meaning. About a year ago, when Mom was finally without dentures, I made up the "kissy photo project" with the neighbors. I would bring mom over, dentureless. They'd make a big deal over her, with posed hugs and kisses (they do that anyway, no need to pretend). Big smiles. I made copies of photos, one set for Mom, one for them...and another excuse to visit. To make present of the photos. Take more kissy photos. Make more sets. another excuse to visit. More kissy photos...more printing sets...and on and on. Probably 6 times we did this. It worked.

Parlay one thing to the next. Go to her most active activity, and take photos, make prints and have her deliver them at the next gathering. Make a bulletin board for them perhaps. Something to get continuity in your mother's life THERE...without you so much.

Good luck,and hang in there. By the way, i am with mom 18 hours day, every day. Sometimes 24 hours day. She is totally dependent. We live in the same room, the living room. nine years now. Alone. For past 1.5 years, have had respite care 6 hours day, now 7 days week, but I am here 3-4 hours of that doing things here.

So...hardships are relative, I find. Some caregivers are pissed off when they have to interact with their parents once a week for a few hours. Some siblings feel put upon if they have to show up once every six months to help for a evening.

Your situation has been on my mind since I read about it this morning. I just remembered something that a wise social worker told my mother years ago when she was caring for her mother and was ignoring the rest of her family and her own life. My grandmother was being cared for in assisted living, but Mom spent every waking moment there by her side trying to make her happy.

The social worker said, "This is your mother's life now. The only thing that could make your mother happy is to be 40 again - with a family and responsibilities of her own. You giving up your life is not going to make hers significantly better. Find a balance in what you can provide for her without giving up the other blessings in your life."

I wish Mom could remember that now that she's pulling on me even more than my grandmother pulled on her. Now all I can realistically hope for is that I can remember it if someday I'm unable to care for myself and my daughter must help me.

You do have a life too. You've been a caring and responsibile daughter. I know it is difficult to let go emotionally and quit "owning" all of the responsibility - I'm not good at it myself. But do what you can and try to let the rest go.

I, too, have one sibling. My mother (with long-term issues with mental illness and now dementia) lived close to my brother for several years in assisted living. Now she lives close to me in an assisted living and he's hundreds of miles away. I've always had the responsibility of handling my parents' finances, but thankfully, I am blessed beyond measure that they had the resources for mom to be in assisted living now that Dad is gone. I am aware every day that we are blessed in that aspect.

My brother tells me that I definintely got the worst end of this deal because now Mom can no longer entertain herself, can't remember who anyone is, but me and now calls me every day to tell me how bored she is.

Even writing that last sentence sends me into an emotional frenzy. I go from pity that she no longer has purpose, to dread that it could happen to me someday, to aggravation that she is bored while just keeping her (somewhat) upright and alive has become my main "hobby". I'm never bored. I spend too much time trying to figure out how to make her happy, when even I realize that it is not my job. But somehow we get pulled into it.

It's certainly frustrating that I spend so much time trying to figure out what Mom can possibly do (like cross stitch, puzzles, rug making, scrapbooking, and on and on and on), buying these things and trying to help her figure them out plus keeping her finances in order and insurance and conferences with her doctors and therapists and yet all that counts is when I'm sitting right there in her apartment with her. When I'm not there, she thinks I've forgotten her, when the truth is that she is never more than a minute out of my thoughts and I never go a day without taking care of some aspect of her care.

Yesterday my husband and I went to see her and I took everything she needed to cross stitch. She was so excited about it and it actually came back to her how to do it (however, today may be another matter). She was so content with both us us held hostage while she sewed.

When it was time to go, we walked her downstairs where there was a birthday party for residents with live music. The social director told me how much they enjoyed Mom. I looked at the schedule of activities and the social director confirmed that she was showing up for almost everything going on. Then several of the residents came up and talked to her and said how much they enjoyed being with her and I realized that just like her memory of her family is gone, so is her memory of having done anything 30 minutes earlier.

But, no matter, the guilt is unending although unearned. You try not to buy into the feeling that sacrificing yourself and your life is the only answer, but when they truly believe that you are the only one who can make them happy, it's hard to keep perspective.

My daughter keeps telling me to pace myself - let the guilt go and try to have as much of a normal life as possible now, because there will come a time when she really will need much more of me. While I can understand what she's saying - because this could go on for years, doing it is another matter altogether.

TRY,TRY,TRY hard not to feel guilty and i agree run and run fast. i have been care giver for both my step father (who passed in august) and my mother for 8 yrs. i alone cleaned their entire house out of pictures, documents etc. i felt devastated to go thru two peoples lives that i loved and decide what should go-which was most of it because it was junk to me but to them it held value. pictures of once young, vital people living their lives... pictures of all of us together at holidays. my mother is 90 and thinks she is 13. she is obsessed with makeup,her hair and even goes to the laundry room and steals others clothing like she is at a shopping mall. she never calls to ask about any of us... it's all about her. she has "lists' of things she wants. i can't just visit i have to take stuff to her or take loads of crap she accumulates (clothes she has stolen or trinkets won in games) back home. she also makes crafts that she is so proud of and it saddens me that she is so excited about something my 9 yr old grandchild would be excited or even think goofy! there is so much.... people, relatives included have not a clue. both my siblings live out of state so they don't really think about it. they call her once a week to talk for 5 minutes and think she is fine! my sister lost her husband to cancer two years ago and was caregiver to him. and while i understand how hard that is... one doesn't realize what the role reversal does to a child that now treats their parent as their child. you will feel as you don't do enough, you do too much, you get sick of taking your vacation days to handle medical and financial stuff. and just wait if you have to go to medicaid when money runs out.... the rules and regulations are tedious and mind boggling! so once again i agree... RUN RUN RUN AND DON'T LOOK BACK you could end up hating your mother and your sister.

During this Thanksgiving season I will say, as I have always said,
"Be thankful for all that you have, as well as all that you don't have (that you don't want anyway!)"

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday!

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