I am an only child, 63 years old. My 87 y/o mother recently (about 3 months) moved into a wonderful retirement home 10 minutes from my house. She is in mid-stage dementia and declining. I now deal with daily dilemmas from depression, loneliness, can't work the remote, doesn't like the cable, can't log into the computer, my leg hurts, my hip hurts, wants to constantly go to a different Dr. for ailments, asks me everyday if I'm coming over, etc. I have tried to set limits but I am just running out of energy dealing with this everyday. We live in a small town with few medical specialists and I have difficulty getting advice. My heart breaks daily seeing her unhappy and in discomfort but I am exhausted trying to keep up. I have already taken over her finances and accompany her to all Dr. appts and most shopping trips. But she doesn't want to partake in the activities unless I join in so she stays in her apartment most of the time. She cries when I leave and tells me she wouldn't know what she would do without me. Now she has begun to fall. So far nothing too bad and she has immediate help where she is but I don't know how far to let this go before she will need assisted living, which I know will just send her farther down emotionally. And yes, we have recently put her on anti-depressants. It's too much for me to carry sometimes, I don't know how to help her and I know it's only going to get worse.

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My dear, in Special Education circles we say " meet them where they are"

What are your mom's needs, as determined by the AAA or someone her doctor sends to assess her?

What are her assets?

Do you need to being in more care? Or is she fine when a family member isn't there?

Dear Gigi,

You are a very loving and caring daughter and it is only natural to feel worn out. It's hard when we try to be everything to our parent. I never wanted to see my father unhappy either. I think you are doing the best you can and the others have given very good suggestions.

I would also suggest this article I found called "Rescuing, Resentment and Regret" I know how much I wanted to rescue my own father and mother. I think its important to recognize this feeling of being burned out. Its time to step back and take care of yourself. Otherwise the resentment and regret will be poison.

Thinking of you. Please know we are with you.

I agree with Daughter. You can't make mom happy at this point in her life. She's unhappy with where she is (age and infirmity) and there's nothing you can do to change that. My mom had some form of dementia and sat in her room 99% of the time. I worried about her isolation but I finally had to accept it was her choice to live that way. She was in independent living and had people everywhere. But I think she understood her brain (memory) was broken and it made her nervous to be around others.

The thing is, if you're always there, your mom doesn't have to integrate into the community because she's got you. It's like if a parent stayed with a small child in school - they'd never play with the other kids if mom stayed. So give your mom some time to find her own way in her new facility. Back off and visit less frequently. You've got her safe and cared for and she's got someone who loves her - she's pretty lucky compared to most of the seniors out there. So instead of looking at what's missing, look at what she has - a loving daughter and a good place to live and pat yourself on the back. And take care of yourself. Your health and happiness are as important as mom's are. {{{Hugs}}}

First off, I think you have to gain some acceptance of the situation. Accept that your mother’s time of being happy is past. Unfortunate as it is her life is on the decline, you both know it, there’s some sadness that comes with that but acceptance is also very important. The serenity prayer wisely says we need to accept the things we cannot change. Nothing you’re going to do wil fix the situation or make her happy. I’d advise starting with taking every other phone call. In a true emergency someone will get in touch with you. Don’t feel you have to answer each call. Then go to limiting the days you visit. If she chooses to sit in her apartment with no interaction that’s her choice, it’s not on you, remember you can’t make her happy. Line her appointments and shopping up on just a few days a week. Keep some days for yourself.
You’re very correct in saying her needs will grow and she will need more care. Assisted living will be a great help to you. Start now in backing off some so when that time comes she will be able to navigate a change without complete dependence on you.
You’ve been a great daughter to her, now be a friend to yourself. It’s okay to be both

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