I am 76 years old and one of the primary care givers for my 97 year old mother. Mom has dementia and needs 24 hour care. My much younger sister is adamant about keeping Mom at home as long as possible. I worry that at my age something might happen that would leave me incapacitated (heart attack, fall, etc) and Mom wouldn't even be able to call 911. I am in fairly good health but would not be capable of lifting her up if she falls. My own doctor has expressed concern about my being a full time care giver at my age but my sister, who has managed Mom's finances for decades, insists on the two of us continuing to care for her. Every week when I leave my wife at home to go take care of Mom I have mixed feelings. I am grateful to be able to help but I regret leaving my wife alone for several days at a time in our rural home (40 miles away from town!). I think my physical condition is holding up pretty well but emotionally I'm getting worn out.

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I'll be blunt here. Your "much younger sister" who manages Mom's finances is thinking that Mom will die soon and wants to preserve the inheritance. And that inheritance will come at too great a cost to YOUR physical health and emotional well-being.

Granted, this is pure assumption on my part, and thus I could be full of hooey, but I've seen this kind of situation too many times.

Follow your instinct, and act on it. Make a decision that's right for you - and your dear wife.
Helpful Answer (20)
Helenn Jul 2021
I agree with you peewee …
your younger sister could be guarding her inheritance…. Why don’t you write the cheques and have her do the grunt work …
use inheritance to take care of your mother .. it’s her money after all
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No, you are quite right. You should no longer be doing this. Tell your sister that you have resigned now from this care and that your Mom will require placement for her safety and for your own well being. You are risking yourself, and your post to us tells me that you fully recognize that. Please for your own sake don't continue to do this. I would not discuss, and I would not argue. I would put in my "resignation" effective (and give her the date). Period. Full stop.
Helpful Answer (19)

"My much younger sister is adamant about keeping Mom at home as long as possible".

I want to unpack that sentence.

Firstly, Sister can be *admament* about what SHE chooses to do. Not for you.

You may choose to move to New Zealand. Or sail off on a round the world yacht tour (yeah I know... Covid.. joking 😁) Your life decisions are yours to make. My DH has sisters like this. They mean well, dress it up as caring, but always attempting to be The Boss.

Secondly, *keeping Mom at home*. This does NOT mean YOU have to be the one & only person in the world who can provide the hands-on care required to support that. Home care agency can be employed etc.

Thirdly, *as long as possible*.
What does that really mean? (I think I posted a question once about this).

Possible. Definition: able to be done or achieved.
Does NOT mean forever. Certainly not until Mother's or your death.

It could mean until it does not suit all the involved participants any more... Which is when? Now.

I am a little harsh maybe? But hopefully have given you 3 ideas to turn over to think about. To lesson any guilt. To see that any plan needs to suit ALL of you in it. Not just Mom & Sister. YOU matter too.

If they are reasonable, they will understand this when you put it into your own words to tell them.
Helpful Answer (17)
dlpandjep Jul 2021
Double post....
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My Dad is 95. I was trying to take care of him in my home but I'm 70 and it was taking a toll on my mental health. His doctor recommended skilled nursing home. He's only been there for 2 weeks. On his good days, I feel guilty, but we had a health issue yesterday and instead of calling an ambulance (that I would have done with him at home) the doctor and nurses at the facility took care of him. The place is only a few minutes from my home, so I'm stopping by every few days.
Helpful Answer (16)

You need to make decisions that are best for you...not your younger sister.  Why don't you suggest that the two of you trade roles for a year.  Let her do the caregiving and you write the checks.

Many many times the caregiver passes before the person they are caring for.  The mental and physical obligation and stress takes a lot out of a person.  These are your golden years and should be spent with your wife and family.  It's just a matter of time before you or your wife deal with your own health issues.   If it were me I would have a sit down with the younger sister and tell her other options need to be put into play.

I worked with a guy who retired to take care of his wife with dementia.  It aged him horribly and he ended up passing and his wife had to be placed in memory care.  What was the point of his "sacrifice"?  His life was shortened and she ended up placed and alone.

Make good decisions for yourself and your family.
Helpful Answer (16)

You are not required to martyr yourself, and you will if you don't stop doing this.

Caring for your mother means getting her the care she needs, not necessarily providing it yourself. Your sister should be ashamed of herself for not recognizing the toll this is taking on you and your health.

It's time for a come-to-Jesus meeting with Sis to find a better solution that sees to Mom's needs without sacrificing yours.
Helpful Answer (15)

Turn in your notice. You have control of this situation. Tell your sister you will visit mom, but you will no longer leave your home for three days a week. Sometimes when our parents live so long, we have a false since of our own mortality.
My oldest brother died three years before my mom. They had been very close all their lives but he had health issues and decided to live his last years on his own terms. I think he made the right decision.
No doubt your sis means well but she will need to spend some of moms money on a caregiver. You very well may live to your moms age but at what capacity. These are the best days you have left in life. Visit your mom, help sis find a facility or caregiver but give her notice.
Helpful Answer (14)

I have read through the answers and agree with them. The only thing I have to add is that your sister insists on ‘keeping mom at home as long as possible.’ You and your sister have done just that! Try to feel good about the fact mom is almost 100 years old and it’s only now that she needs outside care. It’s time to do that for your well-being - but that decision doesn’t minimize all that you’ve done leading up to this point.
Helpful Answer (14)

Oh my gosh, I cared for my mom for 15 years in my home. My brother stepped in for the last year and a half. Mom recently died in a hospice house with end stage Parkinson’s at the age of 95.

I am nearly 66 and my brother is nearly 70. We were absolutely exhausted during our caregiving days! Caregiving will either cause or add to existing health issues.

Mom spent the last month of her life in the hospice house. Hospice care was truly a Godsend! She received excellent care and died with dignity and free from pain.

There will come a time when your mom’s care will exceed your capabilities. Do NOT wait until that happens. Tell your sister it is in your mom’s best interests to start looking for a facility now. Tell her that it is also in your best interests to look after yourself and your wife.

I am sorry that you are struggling with this. It’s very difficult to endure. These are your golden years to enjoy with your wife.

What will your sister do if decline being your mom’s caregiver? Nothing is worth risking your health for. I do hope that you and your sister can work together on this situation. Wishing you and your family all the best.

Keep us posted. We care.
Helpful Answer (13)

You will feel guilty, and you'll miss your mother's presence at home if you decide to place her in a facility. You're sister will be upset with you too. If you decide to continue caring for your mother the mental exhaustion will continue, and soon you'll become physically exhausted. It's a two edged sword. You're Mother has less years ahead of her than behind her. It may FEEL selfish, but please enjoy the time you have left on this earth with your wife. It's a conscious decision at this point which makes the guilt stronger. Even if circumstances forced your hand, you'd still feel that same guilt. I'm a health care worker, and I've had lots of patients placed in a facility themselves due to medical declines after caring for parents and/or spouses for years. They've always regretted NOT putting themselves first and advised me not to do what they'd done(32 years and I've never had one person tell me it was worth the health issues they suffered as a result). I never forgot that advice. I'm 50 y/o now, with parents in two different states. Both of my parents have Multiple Sclerosis. I told my parents long ago what my line in the sand would be since I knew their prognosis. That line was crossed after they both were positive with covid within 3 days of each other. They are now completely bedridden with moderate dementia. I had to place them both in a facility (I cared for my Dad the last 4 years prior to his hospitalizations) I felt guilty and I grieved. As I said, it's a two edged sword because I would literally kill myself or go crazy if I tried to care for either one them at home. So, no matter what, you will feel guilty placing your Mother in a facility either by choice or by circumstances. Please, please do not wait until your mental or physical health start spiraling downward. Do heed the warning of others who kept going despite of what their body was telling them. Sir, enjoy your life, and know you've done right by your Mom no matter what you decide. God bless you.
Helpful Answer (13)

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