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I've been lurking mostly here since my dad passed away at the end of September after a 20-year roller coaster illness. I am now the sole caregiver for my mom who has more health issues than I can possibly type here.


My mom is very resistant to everything I suggest: moving her close to me (I live 1,000 miles away but have been here with them since MAY!) but to an assisted living community where people can care for her daily; getting in-home care in the short-term; talking to someone about her grief, her wanting to die, her pain.


All of it falls on deaf ears, and she just wails all day long about everything. She had a stroke in 2002, and it really changed her personality. She became timid, fearful, and her emotions know two speeds: 0 or 200mph. Everything is met with the same level of hysteria: she has the same reaction to telemarketers calling that she does when we talk about missing my dad.


All the advice here points to me continuing down the road I'm on: selling the house, getting her finances in order to be able to pay for the assisted living, and finding her a place to live near me. But on a daily basis, she tells me she doesn't want to go, that I'm "dumping her in a nursing home," that she wants to die before any of that could happen.


I have tried to explain that there are people trained and skilled in taking care of her in ways I am not. She fell out of bed recently, and we had to call 911 to have EMS help me pick her up. I bathe her; I change dressings on pressure sores from her staying in bed too long; I get her in and out of bed with the ring of my phone every single night, multiple times.


She is afraid to have someone else do those things because they'll laugh at her. She is very heavy, and her body has been through a lot. She constantly says things about them taking photos of her and posting them online. The self-hatred she feels makes her believe no one could like her, no one could look at her without that hatred she herself sees.


At the same time, she said she knows she has "ruined my life." But every time we talk about how we could work to make it better, for both of us, she says the answer is her dying, where she can be with my dad.


While she's always been a pessimist, especially as it relates to herself, she truly has taken it to a new low. Every single thing is a doomsday scenario, the worst possible outcome. She watches a lot of TV, so she envisions elder abuse, people stealing her money, me running away with her money.... if it's been on a soap opera or Law & Order, she is pretty sure it's going to happen to her.


I'm an only child, and I have literally dropped everything countless times to come help them during both of their illnesses. I moved back in when we thought my dad was very near to a liver transplant in 2015 (he got too sick to have one, so I went home after a year). I have tried to give back to them everything they've given me as parents, because they did sacrifice to give me the best upbringing they could. I do believe I owe it to them to help, and I love them. I care what happens to my mom, and I do not want her living somewhere where people don't help her or make her feel badly about the body that is failing her. She is a good person who is blinded by her physical and mental pain. I know I cannot fix her, but I also cannot get her to try to fix herself.


I am seeing a therapist here to try to work through my grief, my depression at leaving my own life (I haven't seen my boyfriend who I live with since May), my stress trying to work remotely while being my mom's caretaker... but we're not making much progress. I don't have time to grieve or process my own emotions because I'm trying to deal with my mom's emotions.


I know many of you are in this situation, or have been. Any suggestions are welcome. I think I just needed to get it all out here. Thanks for listening.

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As you probably know, the only thing that you have control over in this situation is you. And your behavior.

Children do not "owe" their parents for raising them well. That is a parent's duty for bringing a child into the world.

You don't owe your mother your life, your mental health, your future or your livelihood. You owe it to yourself to prepare for your OWN retirement.

Set a date. Tell your mom that you will be returning home. She is welcome to stay where she is and hire home care or allow you to find her a facility near where you love. Forced choice. No more discussion.

If she wails, leave the room. Don't entertain her misery. It's bad for her mental health to wallow and ruminate like this.

Has her depression been evaluated? Is she getting treatment?
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"I am seeing a therapist here to try to work through my grief, my depression at leaving my own life (I haven't seen my boyfriend who I live with since May), my stress trying to work remotely while being my mom's caretaker... but we're not making much progress. I don't have time to grieve or process my own emotions because I'm trying to deal with my mom's emotions."

Your therapist maybe should be working through your options with you -- no advice similar to what Barb just posted? AFTER the situation improves for you, THEN you can work through your emotions. If you are being awakened multiple times per night, you are experiencing sleep deprivation, right. And that's a form of torture.
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It sounds as though she is going to be resistant and unhappy no matter what you do, so

"Mom, this isn't working for me and it can't continue, I'm going back home at the end of January and we need to have you settled before that. If you can't decide on the options we discussed I'll just pick the one that makes the most sense to me."

Make it clear you WILL leave and that any resistance means she will have to go it alone.

You came in a crisis, the crisis has ended. I'm not generally a hard azz but I don't get allowing a parent's needs to supersede your own - the hard reality is that somebody is always left behind after a death, your mother isn't unique and she can/will survive.
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Have you been in touch with mom's doctor? Have these pressure sores been looked at recently, by a wound care specialist?

You might ring the doctor and ask for a specialized wound care nurse to come out and take a look.
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As others have already said... she is never going to be happy. Her medical issues likely altered her brain, and since she won't seek help for that, it won't change. Even if that weren't an issue, it sounds like she is determined to be depressed and scared. People like that are so draining. Of course she's sad and grieving with losing her husband, who wouldn't be? But it's not just that loss being the issue. Maybe your dad was her anchor, so to speak, keeping her from going to extremes. If that's the case, she is wanting you to step in and be her anchor. She may feel she doesn't need help if she has you to be there for her. Since you've dropped your life twice and stayed with them all this time, she has no reason to think you'll ever stop doing it.

Setting a date to leave, giving her some options, and then leaving is the best thing for both of you.
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Was she evaluated for mental health issues after the stroke?

Sometimes vascular dementia is an outcome after stroke; at least in my mom, the main symptoms were debilitating anxiety and constant misinterpretation of what other people thought.
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MP1976 Dec 18, 2019
She was evaluated post-stroke, but it's declined so much since then... and she refuses to see a psychiatrist. Her internist has managed her antidepressants for years, but they're definitely not doing enough. Her anxiety has spiraled, and nothing helps.

Unfortunately, my mom's health took a backseat after my dad's diagnosis. He was the sole source of income (and health insurance), so his appointments and treatments took priority. She always said she'd do it later, when he was better. But then it got to the point where she became physically unable to leave the house (arthritis and neuropathy in all limbs), and then also emotionally became paralyzing.

We went to the doctor a few weeks ago, and the doctor has all but resigned herself to the situation, too. Reading the evaluation she did for the VA aid & attendance forms was heartbreaking.

All of your suggestions have been helpful. They're all things I know in my head, but my heart is codependent and we've all enabled each other's bad habits for years. I feel so sorry for her. I felt sorry for my dad having to care for her while he was struggling with his own life-threatening conditions.

I certainly understand that I don't "owe" them anything, but I have wanted so much to help them. It is hard coming to the true conclusion that nothing I do will change her attitude, which is the biggest issue of them all.

I marvel at people who overcome the most impossible of adversities and thank god for waking up each day... when what my mom prays for at night is to not wake up. Proof that it is all in your attitude and approach to life.

My therapist hasn't been hugely helpful to this point. She lets me talk for an hour, I visit with her therapy dog (which IS a huge comfort), and then she tells me we need to reframe my negative thoughts. In the 6 weeks I've been seeing her, I think I've determined she's not a good fit, but I wanted to give it a fair shot.

Ideally, I'd just like to see my therapist at home who knows this history and was more constructive in his suggestions.

Thank you again for your responses. Very much appreciated.
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I am sorry that your mom thinks that the people working in an AL will be unkind to her because she is heavy. They will not be, my dad was over 300#s and he was treated very kindly and with great respect. These should be trained professionals that are used to dealing with all body types and medical conditions.

I would promise her that any ill treatment will be dealt with promptly and if needed she would be relocated, make giving the place a fair and honest chance a stipulation. Reassure her that no abuse will be tolerated and there are ombudsmen that ensure that she is being treated properly and to deal with anything that violates her or her rights.

You need to get home and get her set up close to you. She will struggle no matter where she is because of her low self esteem, so heart breaking. My mom's best friend as I was growing up was over 400#s and she thought that no one loved her because of her weight, no matter how we treated her she would say that, even though we all loved her and showed her that love.

Give her a hug from me and tell her that she is worth loving.
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MP1976 Dec 20, 2019
Thank you for that. And for your kind words.

I do feel like obesity is still an acceptable form of discrimination. I've watched my mom be treated poorly most of my life, but I also know a lot of it is her self-fulfilling prophesy. She assumes people will make fun of her, so she comes in expecting it.

But yes, I keep telling her that these are trained professionals, that there is no way she will be the heaviest person they've ever had to assist, that if they are mean and cruel we would find a new place for her to live.

She has told herself that it will be the worst-case scenario for so long, she believes it wholeheartedly. She doesn't see that she is being unreasonable in any way. She thinks I am being overly optimistic to get rid of her!
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Sounds like mom needs a therapist.

Regarding AL, show her the place and the people she can make friends with.
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I don't know how to fix this, I think if anyone did, well, we'd all go to them or be doing whatever they did.

However, it did sound like you are on the right path. There comes a point where you can't do it, and that point is mental (you just can't anymore) and physical (calling EMS when they fall).

It's hard but there are decisions that just need to be made, that are painful, that you may question for some time, but that are also the best / right decision.
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Thank you for fleshing out the story!

If mom has given up, you might ask her and her doctor if it's time for hospice. If mom is truly "ready to go" then she should be willing to formally declare that and forgo curative treatment.

I might bring that up with mom, and see what her reaction is. But in addition, let me reframe this situation for you, since you brought up codependence.

Your presence is enabling mom's codependence. It seems like the only thing that is going to change mom is YOU changing YOUR words and actions.

Can you act, even a little bit; do stand up? Like Miss Maisel?

(I ask this because with my mom, I often felt like I was playing a part, doing a "bit" when I went to see her; I gathered my "material" during the week, rehearsed on the long drive and performed for 90 minutes in her NH room. I played the chipper daughter. I was anything but, but for 90 minutes, I did it.)

So, you need to play a role here. It's called "tough love girl". Here's the outline:

Middle aged soft hearted professional relocates unwillingly but lovingly to help her debilitated mom in the wake of her dad's last illness. Buries dad but can't let go of mom, who sinks into depression, the beginnings of cognitive decline and spiraling anxiety.

Needed: Daughter needs to separate her mother's needs (mental health assistance, cognitive evaluation and a supportive living environment) with mom's wants (only assistance from daughter, remain holed up at home, terror at change possibly fueled by paranoid/delusional ideation).

Script: "Mom, there is going to be a change taking place in January. I've booked my flight back to Chicago; my job/boyfriend/landlord (pick the bad guy to blame) won't tolerate my mot being there any longer, so I must return in order to have (a job and retirement benefits/love/a home)."

"I know that you love me and would NEVER want to hurt me; right now, your choices are hurting me...a lot."

Only you know the situation that mom is in; you need to come up with your own script, but I hope you get the idea. Write it out if you need to, because this is a role that you are not used to playing in this relationship. Role play it with your therapist if you need to, and DON't fall into the "but mom will never agree..".YOU'RE the one in charge here. Mom is a bowl of Jello.

Get a referral for a geriatric psychiatrist from mom's doctor. You need to start here because psychiatrists seem to be the last medical professionals in the world who actually SEE the whole patient, mind, body and soul. Mom's brain and soul seem to be broken and worn down. Getting her on the right medications will be the first step to getting her whole again.

Make the appointment. Get medical transport if she's going to be difficult. She needs much better medication management than she is getting. She DESERVES better med management than she's getting.

On another note; if you need to call 911, insist that mom be taken to the hospital to get checked out. Once there, get the social workers involved and insist that mom needs placement, cannot return home safely (because you're returning to work, etc). This CAN lead to rehab (if mom is in the hospital for 3 nights). Rehab can in turn lead to long term placement.

I know that you CAN'T make mom doing anything; she still has the right to self-determination. But so do you. She doesn't have the right to demand that you enable her charade of independence.

Please let us know how you are doing. We care! ((((((hugs)))))))
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MP1976 Dec 20, 2019
I like you, Barb! Your ideas are actually concrete and actionable. It's refreshing and helpful. Thank you.

Funny note on the acting bit: I have a degree in theatre. So yes, I'd like to think I can pull a Midge Maisel.

The role I play is a more empathetic one, and it's totally backfired. I'd like to just lay down the law and tell my mom to suck it up. But I've watched over the years how she reacts to that, I've watched her delicate mental health teeter back and forth depending on how someone talks to her. So I went in the other direction, cajoling her into doing things by telling her how much we love her, that she is worth more than she knows, that she deserves some comfort and peace (I stopped using the word happiness because it angered her).

We have some legal things that need to happen in January (I have a court hearing to remove my dad's name from the house, so we can sell it), my mom's appointment with Social Security (it taken months to get this appointment) to figure out what her monthly income is going to look like, meeting with the financial advisor once we meet with SS... all before I can logistically take the next steps.

I have a friend's dad who works in senior care narrowing down facilities for me at home, so I've let my mom look at a few of them to get a sense of what we're looking at.

We also have an order written from her doc for physical/occupational therapy, but we haven't been contacted for the assessment yet. We keep calling to check in, but they haven't gotten to us on the schedule.

So... some steps have been taken, but they're only because I've done them and pushed my mom to do her part.

The mention of hospice threw me. She assumes she needs skilled nursing, but I believe with some occupational therapy, assisted living would be ok. She doesn't need 24/7 care (even if she wants it).

The next couple of weeks are going to be extra hard because of the holidays, closures, etc. And us sitting here being reminded that my dad is gone.

In all of this, I also miss my dad. She misses him. Grief has rose-tinted her lens, so she thinks everything was fine when he was here. It was never fine, but it was what she knew.

Thank you for thinking through all of this with me. I am genuinely touched at everyone's responses and words of support. I feel less alone.
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Hang on - if you're only 43, how old is your mother?

And it's less than three months since you lost your father, only three months since his twenty year journey came to an end and your mother was left in free-fall.

I know you already see the irony that it's you who's seeing the therapist!

Barb is right - have you set yourself a hypothetical date for bowing out and leaving your mother in skilled hands?
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MP1976 Dec 20, 2019
The saddest part of all of this is that my mom is 63. SIXTY-THREE! She's been ill for so long that I'd say her body's physical age is probably more like 83.

My mom was truthfully in free-fall long ago, but my dad (as sick as he was) held her together. He hung on as long as he could because he felt it was his job to take care of her.

I've asked her to see a therapist for years, but now that she is on Tri-Care, almost no behavioral health providers take it. She knows she needs it, but she has convinced herself no one can help her so what's the point.

We are working on a timeline. A lot has to happen before I can leave, or move her somewhere. Those wheels are in motion, but nothing can happen fast enough when you're ready to go!
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This is an incredibly sad situation. I feel for you. Frankly, your mom sounds so despondent. I don’t know how you could possibly reach her in the emotional state that she is in. I am sure this is quite disturbing to you. A child starts to feel utterly helpless when they are unable to persuade a parent to do what is best for them.

Parents in this state rarely see that the child has their best interest at heart. They usually feel it’s the opposite case and that they as the parent knows what is best, which isn’t at all true. They are lost in their own despair. It’s truly sad.

Still, please don’t allow your life to be turned upside down while trying to care for your mom. Many of us have fallen into that trap. It takes a lot to realize it and sometimes even longer to recover from it.

Good for you for making suggestions that are helpful to her and suitable for you. If she asks for anything that you find unreasonable don’t hesitate to say, ‘No. that will not work for me.’ Stay strong.

Best wishes to you and your mom.
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Marshall all her financial resources and use them to pay for assisted living, if she qualifies. She may need a nursing home (which offers full time nursing care for people who are too sick and too high demand for assisted living.) Both my parents and my father in law moved to assisted living, but due to their health status, we eventually had to hire skilled nursing staff and in unit caregivers 24/7. That is extremely expensive.

And note that Medicare does not pay for either assisted living or nursing home (except post hospitalization rehab for limited period of time.) Medicaid does not pay for assisted living, only nursing home for those who have almost no resources. People need to be aware of this and save or plan for their own futures.
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MP1976 Dec 20, 2019
Thank you. Navigating how to pay for this is so tricky. Thankfully I've got an elder care attorney & financial advisor that we're working with. She won't be eligible for Medicare for another 2 years, so we need to get things under way via TriCare first.
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Start here:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/psychiatrists/tricare/tx/plano
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MP1976 Dec 20, 2019
Thank you!
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Hi MP1976. I think we all hear your pain.
Let me share with you the best advice I ever received ... from my sister-in-law (a psychiatrist who deals with students with addictions). While being extremely frustrated with my mom, who was increasingly having issues living alone (wouldn't admit it of course) and me living 1000 miles away, I told her about my worries. Her advice was this: you cannot make anyone do anything, it has to be their idea. She said to have a nice talk with mom, explain to her my concerns, let her know her options (she could either move in with my brother or myself). After that ... the advice was to leave her alone to think about it. This was hard. My elderly mom (81 at the time) thinks very slowly, I can practically sit and watch her mind work something out. Maybe because I know her so well. Anyway, my mom eventually started to make baby steps ... said she should move out of her condo, I said 'well if you think so' (not easy to do! i played it cool!). The next month she said 'well I still think I should move out soon', I said 'well, where would you want to move to?' She said 'well I'd have to move in with either your brother or you', I said 'well let me know what you decide' (this took a lot of patience and acting nonchalant). Within 6 months she said 'well I've decided I would like to come live with you', I said 'that's lovely mom, you will have to arrange the move so let me know when you can do all this and I'll fly out to finish up packing and fly back here with you'. FYI, I did this because i really didn't think she meant it. Lo and behold, she did everything herself! Honestly, I didn't think she could do it. So, within a year of doing this 'let her know her options, sit back and wait' scenario, I was flying back home with my mom in tow, with all her belongings in a moving truck behind us.
This all took more patience than I can relate here, but if I've learned anything over the last few years is patience! And it's really paid off. FYI, she only lived with us for about 2 months and I moved her to a rental home around the corner.
Since then, I had to use similar tactics to move her to an assisted living apartment. She had a fall last Dec and I said 'that's it mama, things have to change'. We had some tears, but I told her while she can still manage things for herself we had to move her where she can get more help when needed. This one wasn't easy but ... she did it.
I find I've had to be the 'bad guy' a lot. i have an older sister who's been out of the picture for almost 15 years. I have a brother who only visits every 2 weeks and stays for a couple of hours. While it's been awful being the bad guy, I have to be firm in order to retain my own life. My husband has been wonderful but he hates the fact that my mom uses me a lot (we've gone through a lot through this but we're still together!).
'BarbBrooklyn' has some of the best advice I've read on here! I love the script idea and I will use it! 'tough love girl' ... well said.
This forum keeps me sane and comforts me regularly. And now that you are on this forum I'm sure you'll reap many benefits.
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MP1976 Dec 20, 2019
Looks like I'm going to have to get used to playing the bad guy. But I know you're right, and I know Barb is right.

I feel like I've been a little naive in thinking she'd come to these conclusions more easily, more obviously because she says she loves me more than anyone and wants me to be happy. Those are only words, and her actions say something different (not that she doesn't love me, but that her pain outweighs everything else).

I am thankful for the support here, even in just the last few days. It is going to be a really long and hard road, and I have to be prepared for it all.
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MP, have you ever told your mom how much you miss your life in Chicago, your boyfriend and your job?

I understand the cajoling and the "help me make YOUR life better". Been there. Done that.

It was only after I told my mom that my brother and I were both putting ourselves in harm's way that she "got" what was going on, and what she needed to do.

There are parents here who are lifelong narcissists. They honestly only care about themselves. My mom was not like that. Your mom doesn't sound like that either.

Just some food for thought.
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MP1976 Dec 21, 2019
I tell her daily. It comes out whether I even mean it to. She asks how my BF is, and I tell her he is extremely lonely, he's isolated himself and doesn't see our friends anymore. I mention things that are going on at home that I can't do.

I've let her know that while my team at work is understanding, not everyone else is. When my boss goes out on maternity leave in March, I'll be in the line of fire with our CMO... who is currently WORKING during her own maternity leave. She doesn't get the whole work/life balance thing, so I don't know how it's going to go. And I'm truthfully nervous that I can't keep up with the workload remotely for that much longer.

She knows it's taking a hard toll on me. I've gained weight, I don't sleep, my hair is falling out. I work out daily, I eat about the same as I always have, take my vitamins, etc. But the stress is not a good look on me.

I agree that the old "I'm trying to help you help yourself" tact isn't working. She did say she knew we had to make big changes, and she knew it was best for both of us yesterday. But then she had a meltdown about dying after she could not her slipper on* and nearly fell getting up from a chair.

*She can barely feel her feet, so she can't tell when her slippers (that have traction) are on or not. Her neuropathy is so bad, but the only cure for that is spinal surgery which she will not have.

Thank you for all of the great suggestions. I realize it's just me reading a bunch of stuff that I could find elsewhere, but I feel less alone knowing others get what I'm experiencing.
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Two VERY useful websites:

www.bogleheads.org for general financial questions, portfolio management advice (without the charge of 1-2% for AUM

https://opensocialsecurity.com

Is mom drawing survivor benefits now? Can she delay her own SS until 70?
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MP1976 Dec 21, 2019
We are still waiting to get her survivor benefits started. That appointment is finally on January 2, We've been calling Social Security regularly, but had not been able to get an appointment until then,

She never worked, so she needs my dad's max benefits now. It's a little tricky because he was getting SS disability and passed away one month before he turned 65. So we're not even quite sure what she'll be getting monthly yet.
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If you have been seeing a therapist for 6 weeks and can see no helpful outcomes, it could be a good idea to stop. Simply talking about your problems can magnify them for you, instead of damping them down. I have come across ‘alternative’ practitioners who see regular meetings as a permanent source of income. What could you do with the money that might actually be fun and help you to feel better?

Your own head is telling you that you can’t change your mother into a different person, not unless she will accept the help that’s available. Is that a ‘negative thought? How could you ‘reframe’ it to be jolly? It sounds a bit odd to me. You may do better to accept it, and stop beating yourself up about reality. You are not alone - many people, both on this site and off it, suffer themselves because they can't change someone they care about.
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MP1976 Dec 24, 2019
I agree with you about the therapist. I told myself I'd give it to the end of the year (here we are) to see how I felt. While I don't think she magnifies the problems, it is just me talking for an hour and her not saying anything.
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MP, I haven’t read all the posts but I did happen to notice your Mom has neuropathy in her feet. Is she already on gabapentin? If not, you may want to research it and ask her doctor. My Mom was on it for years for her peripheral neuropathy and actually my dog is on it now for his rear leg arthritis. It’s relatvely side effect free, at least in our situations. Just a thought.
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Isthisrealyreal Dec 21, 2019
My dad was having increased confusion on gabapentin and they switched him to lyrica. So far, so good. Just an FYI that it can react differently for some.
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I don’t have advice as I have trouble” handling” my mom. But my dad and brother passed away I had to put my in an assisted living. And my concern was for her since my dad died. So I know you haven’t even been able to grieve for your dad. And I’m so sorry. My mom is also depressed and tells me cries everyday. But she does love where she lives and is cared for. Your mom got to live her life. Got married. Had you. And you should be able to too. And as a mother of two daughters i would never want them to give up one minute of their life for me. Good luck. Lots of hugs!!
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MP1976 Dec 24, 2019
Thank you for your words of encouragement. I'm hopeful I can find some place that my mom can be comfortable in. It won't take her grief away, it won't take her pain away, but I am hoping she'll take comfort in knowing people are there to care for her in ways I can't.
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Reading your post: You have already made up your mind to place your Mom in an assisted living home close to you. As much as you love your mom, you cannot solve all of her problems. You can just do the best you can do, and stop worrying about how she judges you. Move forward because you have already decided your course of action.
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It sounds as though you are headed toward two choices: Put her in a nursing home, or quit your job/life and take care of her 24/7. If she is by herself she is in grave danger of falling and nobody be around and be on the floor even for days. Every psychotropic or narcotic taken will increase the risk of falling a great deal due to decreased reflexes.

Since she stays in bed mostly you can count on her losing her mobility much earlier which will require around-the-clock care either from you or a nursing home. If possible get her on Medicaid, and see an eldercare attorney about getting everything arranged.
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Your message is classic. Here is one piece of advice: rely on the staff of the retirement home to help you.

They do this all the time. they have ideas.

For a real example: they advised me to bring my mother there for lunch and leave her there.

So I did. My husband cam e along for support. We all sat together at a big table with about four staff members, and when we left, my mom cried and carried on. later I brought her stuff.she had a really rough time adjusting--because she has a really rough time adjusting to anything. but they told me she would adjust and they were right. They told me to stay away for a month--so I did. She adjusted.

Done and done. Now she just sleeps all day. She has been there for about five years.

When we did this, it HAD to happen. My mom was in danger of all sort sin her home. I lived just five minutes away--but does it matter? Danger is danger.

So, steel yourself, and do what has to be done.

Good luck,

Sue
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MP1976 Dec 24, 2019
Thank you for this. I agree they know what they're doing far more than I ever could because they do it all the time.

I'm glad your mom is safe, and I hope mine will be, too!
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Being an only child myself, I have gone through most of issues that were mentioned. I agree with many of the replies you have received so far. You know your mom best and should tailor your be behavior towards your mom in the manner you think she will respond to. Being an only child is hard at times and I have learned that you can ONLY do so much. Try to remember that you need to a maintain a healthy lifestyle, mentally, physical
ly, and happiness for ourselves or it makes it harder to take care of mom. Best of Luck!

Jamey
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"Walk a Mile in her shoes!"

She lost her mate, yes - she's depressed.
You tell her to leave her home - yes, she's depressed.

I told my father that he could stay in his home for as long as he was able to take care of himself. The day came that he was no longer taking care of himself, and I am blessed to have enough acreage and he had enough income that we were able to put a mobile home on my property where he spent his remaining years happily living independently.

Now I too am widowed and I will not leave my home of 32 years unless it becomes absolutely necessary. My deceased DH is in an Urn on my Hearth and I do not want to leave him behind.

It sounds like it's time for you to sit down and really talk with your Mother - not at her, but With her. She might need an antidepressant, talk to her physician. My father didn't but my DH did need Zoloft for his last year.
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MP1976 Dec 24, 2019
I have told her I don't know what she is feeling, nor could I pretend to. She raised me to not be dependent on someone else for anything: money, love, anything. She raised me to be the opposite of her.

But I empathize with her beyond belief. I don't want to force her to do anything, but she cannot take care of herself here. So our options are limited, and time isn't on our side to let her come to her own conclusions about what is best.

Everyone is different, and I'm glad you've been able to care for yourself at your home and can stay there. I wish that was the case for my mom, but given her physical limitations, she needs others to help her.

She's been on antidepressants since I was in high school, but I suspect never the right one. I'm trying to get her to see a psychiatrist on top of her regular doctors because I truly think it could help her see a little more clearly (and optimistically).

Thank you for sharing your experiences with me.
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I’m terribly sorry for the monumental loss of your father.

i understand that you also have ongoing and continual losses, smaller problems that collectively feel like machine gun fire.

You will feel better. Try to slowly conquer your grief, along with the natural unavoidable depression you feel from losing your Dad - by engaging in small acts of kindness to yourself or others. These don’t need to be costly or complicated.

Go to a gym and indulge in a workout, sit in the steam room afterward and enjoy a few hours off. Go to a place of natural beauty - watch animals, a sunset, breathe in some fresh air. Indulge in your favorite ice cream, a spa treatment, buy yourself some soft socks, and just take a break from your Mom and from worrying about the gravity of all these life changes for a brief time. I found that in my darkest hours helping others was my best medicine. Despite my own financial woes, I cooked for shelters, and talked to homeless, and those beaten down by family and life. They helped me also, and we shared and accelerated our collective healing.

Many of us have been on a similar long-term health and family roller coaster. It is especially hard when you were working for so many years to keep your dad alive, working together as a team, and now you feel you have lost and it seems as though there is no fight left to win.

Remember that every day, week, month and year was a victory and you did win. Your prize was more time (the best prize of all). This fight made you strong, resilient, capable, knowledgeable and better. You won! You won everything.

i know from reading what you wrote that you are extremely brave. You flew right into the eye of the hurricane to help others. That says a lot about who you are.

Dont lament about the lack of siblings. They would likely just let you down. With siblings, you wouldn’t be able to make quick decisions, they would fight with you over choices, stuff, schedules... you would be favored because of your commitment and dedication and they would hate you for that, and just stab you in the back to add to all the other wounds you are already suffering from.

Your mom is in the throes of darkness. Give her a big hug and tell her everything will be okay, even if you don’t believe that yourself. Take her somewhere to forget about her troubles. Escape through reading, music, literature. Get yourselves away from yourselves and the suffering you are both feeling. Movies are great for this. You can go somewhere in the dark, live some other problems for a couple hours and escape. Maybe share a laugh or two.

Your tasks and problems seem insurmountable, but chip away at them, one task at a time - they will get smaller.

Remember that this is all two steps forward, one back. Be kind to yourself and gentle and thoughtful. The holidays are even tougher and your loss is fresh. Be patient with yourself and your mom. She will not be in your life forever.

There are many of us what are fighting, or who have fought the same battles.

I promise- everything will get better.
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MP1976 Dec 24, 2019
You are so right. We did win. A lot. For a long time.

My dad was wheeled into surgery in 2002, shortly after his diagnosis, with less than a 50% chance of coming out of it. 12 hours later, he did. He struggled from that day forward with a lot of ups and downs, but he went back to work, he traveled the world (for work), took me with him when he could, and we got 17 years together that we probably shouldn't have... so yes, we did win.

Thank you for putting that back into perspective. I have said these words to my mom over and over, but seeing them written in the way you did hit me.

I think my mom and I are both struggling with movies, music, books... because most of them resonate with sadness or tragedy a bit too much. And comedies feel ridiculous, often belittling people who are depressed or ill.

Music has always been the great healer for me, but in the form of catharsis. I find comfort in the fact that someone else wrote lyrics that sound as though they were written specifically for me... because they, too, went through something similar. All of this pain is what unites us, the things that make us human. So I feel less alone knowing someone musically gifted worked through their pain by sharing a song with the rest of us.

Thank you for your words of support. They're very much appreciated.
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Oh, I feel for you and understand. It sounds so much like I went through when my father passed. My mother threatened suicide for a very long time. I could not express my feelings in front of her because I did not want her to feel worse. It was not unusual for her to call me 10 times a day and carry on and on. I knew she was in deep sadness with my father's sudden death. But this was more then dangerous for me, until I almost cracked. It was then that I knew I quickly had to take care of me and distance myself from her many phone calls, demands, etc. I went back to focusing on my life. Yes I made sure that she had everything needed to carry on with her life and over saw that. When she realized it was time for her to no longer cling to me for everything, she did carry on in a more normal greaving process. Of course tried to lay things on me quite often, but found that didn't effect me. She lived many years after that. In her later years I moved her into a condo near me, then became her caregiver through Alzheimer's, followed by placing her in a memory care home. With her personality, there were more struggles then smooth sailing BUT the main thing I learned and stuck with, was continue to be myself. Take time away from it all, catch my breath and do what ever it takes to try and stay sane. The same I do now as my husband's caregiver through Alzheimer's. Don't loose yourself!! My heart goes out to you and others going through similar. I often use to think.....oh my gosh, did I put you through such difficult times when I was a child growing up?! That gave for a little chuckle!
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MP1976 Dec 24, 2019
The reason I decided to see a therapist here instead of waiting to see my regular one at home was because I needed a place to say how I was feeling without the fear of my mom responding to my feelings with "see, it *would* be better if I was dead." She literally says that if I say I miss my old life or mention something that my boyfriend or my friends are doing without me,

I am trying to go out and do things for myself periodically. I got my nails done, I got a massage, I find cute dogs to pet.

I don't know about you, but I was a good kid. I didn't cause that much trouble, but maybe our parents feel differently about that and end up making sure they pay us back!
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Perhaps you could hire a visiting nurse and a home health aide to come in a few hours a week so your mother gets used to other people caring for her. A physical therapist might be able to help her get more mobile so she doesn't spend so much time in bed. Medicare covers home care to a point.

You have my sympathy but she cannot ruin your life unless you let her.
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MP1976 Dec 24, 2019
I'm working on it. January can't come fast enough to get some in-home care evaluations started.
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You can get a nurse to live with her. To take care of her. My mom put me through a roller coaster ride, dealing with her bi-polar Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde personality.
So I stopped. I pulled back. I think the most important thing is how you deal with
yourself. What boundaries will you have, how much are you willing to suffer
for your mother. When do you take back your life and find a way to balance both, you and your mother, without being miserable and resentful. You have one life and you are to be happy in this life. Mother's have a way of acting like we owe them, even if we are miserable they can care less. It is a control thing. I stopped this
craziness with my mother. She does not like when I tell her how I feel, and will blame me for everything that happens between us. She never says sorry, never is responsible, and just wants me listen to her problems endlessly. Calls me 3-6 times a day, just to listen to her babble about everything that makes her miserable.
I decided not to by a toilet for her. So now she has to deal with herself. And I feel
better that I put a boundary of self-love and self-care for myself. And if someone
else does not like it. oh well!
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I don't have anything better to say than what others have said here. Am in a somewhat similar situation with my Mom although each situation has its' own uniqueness too. Mom fought me on every issue that has come up. So I just learned to forge ahead with what I knew she needed. She was furious when I took her to get hearing aids. Now relies on them. She was furious when I took her to get a walker and extra furious when we went back for a wheelchair which she now relies on completely for mobility after having broken a hip and having surgery. Each time I did not say what we were doing- just took her! While these are much "smaller" issues than moving from her home- your Mom, like mine, has those preconceived ideas that are not correct and once she tries moving closer to your home or being in a care home for lunch as someone suggested- she may discover she actually likes it. Not easy but nothing is with our aged parents, is it? Hoping things will work out much better for you. You are doing an amazing job and have cared for your Mom giving so much. Time to care for both of you now. :)
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MP1976 Dec 24, 2019
I hear you on the furious part. She gets so upset when I suggest we need to make appointments, that we may need to upgrade her from a walker to wheelchair, that she needs care I cannot provide. But she isn't mad at me, she is mad at herself and just cries uncontrollably for hours. It gives her the opportunity to remind herself (and me) that she is a failure as a person. She cannot take care of herself; therefore, she is a failure. She always says things like "if I was normal, this wouldn't be happening." Not that I really know what "normal" is, but she takes every chance she can get to knock herself down a few more pegs.

I guess that is what makes it hard for me to take the tough love approach. I feel sorry for her, that she could feel that way about herself. She doesn't believe she has any value, and so if I say "ok, sure, you're right," then I'm just validating it for her. Sometimes I think she wants me to, to give her permission to die. I just cannot do that, so I keep trying to get her to see that she matters to me.

It's a fine line between "you matter to me" and "I will give up my entire life, job, boyfriend, home to take care of you" in her mind. I think she thinks those two things are the same unfortunately.

Thank you for sharing your experiences and your encouragement.
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