Currently, I am caregiving for the third time. The first was when my now ex was diagnosed with cancer with a 20% chance of survival. We were separated at the time and I moved back in to care for him. It was a long hard 2 years, but he did survive. I moved back out. Then his mother became a hospice patient. True to his word to his father before he passed, my ex was trying to care fot her at home on his own. But he was still recovering himself and it was draining him. I moved back in to help him. She was given 3 months to live. She lived 9 months. I was credited with my excellent care of both of them, although it was draining. After she passed, I moved back out.
Fast forward to today, living with my current boyfriend. We are now caring for his 88 year old aunt. It's been difficult to say the least. Her health is declining. We recently found out that besides being legally blind, having mobility issues and diabetes, her heart is failing. She's been put on blood thinners and the doctor wants to do a pacemaker, and there is danger of blood clots. She has more testing to be done.
Recently, my mother has been diagnosed with the beginning stages of dementia. My father has had 2 strokes, one of which damaged the emotional part of his brain and he now has psychiatric problems. Keeping him on his meds has been a chore. Mom forgets and he just doesn't want them. I am doing my best to look after them from a distance (they live half hour away in their own apartment).
My youngest brother lives close to them, but he's very unpredictable and a major control freak. He's sometimes very good to them, other times completely removed. I have had to intercede several times on their behalf.
Mom has expressed that as she gets worse, she wants to go into assisted living. She doesn't trust my dad to remain stable and she doesn't trust my brother to be consistant. And she knows just what I have been through.
Therein lies the guilt. I have cared for people not blood related. I nursed a man I didn't even want to be with. I have cared for two very narcisstic, manipulative old ladies afraid of dying and angry about it. But my mother? How could I not care for my mother? Who has loved me deeply my whole life? She's never asked for anything but some of my time.
I am 53 and have been waiting for years for my life to start again. I just don't know that I could do it again. Mom is letting me off the hook, but there's so much guilt.