I've been doing things for my mother for almost a year now, no help from my siblings, and it's been rough. I was willing to "do my duty" as I've done this before.
It's a winding road of a story, but I'll give a short version distilled for local charities. I can expand from there, but I am trying to avoid ad nauseum venting.
It's not a question of being willing to help, but rather that all parties involved have made it impossible with short-sighted crisis management and an attitude that I am the house servant. So, I can see that I've got to go. I'm packed up and I could be gone in three hours. It's been a heart-wrenching, stomach churning, hair-pulling-out journey, but I've had to admit that it's done, and it's time to look forward to the next phase of my life. Staying won't do me any good, and there's nothing I can accomplish now.
I live outside of New Orleans proper. There seems to be precious little resources. This is the message I've sent to a few charities. Thoughts?
I am being held against my will in my mother's house, forced by her, and my siblings, to wait on her hand and foot, and suffering food and health insecurities. While I am certainly not being beaten per se, or being held in chains, I am being threatened with homelessness and poverty.
I had been living here in my mother's house when my step-father passed away unexpectedly. My mother has a number of health issues stemming from various unresolved substance abuses. I stepped into the role of doing the housekeeping and personal things for her with the implication from her and my explicit statements that I was willing to take a little time to help her get over the shock, get her through the financial stuff, et cetera until the situation stabilized. After that, I stated my intention to resume my life as it was before he died.
Once she got her social security and pension monies, it seemed to me that she was stable again. I tried to make the transition with her to resume my life. Suddenly, she couldn't be left alone at all, though my stepfather left her for the better part of a day, several times a week. She demands to be waited on 24/7/365. She won't provide me anything other than the basics, and will not buy me food if she mismanages the budget. I've had to go as many as three days with no food. If I try to leave to go get food she tells me that "I better not come back".
I've been in this situation for eleven months now! I've tried to get respite care, but she won't fill out the paperwork. I've begged my siblings, but they refuse. My brother lives across the street, refuses to take a shift, but is ready to storm over to be her "enforcer"; he's much bigger and stronger than I am, ill-tempered, and has a lot to say about how I'm "the caretaker", how I need to "step up to the plate", and has been physically threatening. My sister also refuses, saying ,"this is your job now".
I am mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted! I have been on-call 24/7 for these eleven months. I have various mental health challenges, which I was in therapy to resolve, and making good progress.
There are three things I need to know to start. The first is I need to know if legally I *can* leave. While I have never signed any legal document of any kind, and I don't have a POA, MPOA, guardianship, conservatorship, et cetera, I am concerned that I would be accused of some sort of abandonment. I am fairly sure that she's considered competent, but I don't know that with 100% confidence. I am sure she's told her home health people I am the caretaker but when I talk to them I always emphasize that "I'm just the maid". Second, I need a place to go to. I don't know what's available to someone in my situation, but I can't just leave this house with no place to go. Third, I am going to need some resources to get food, therapy, et cetera.
thanks in advance!