I've been caring for my mother, 97 and my Aunt, 95, for five years. My brother lives out of state, and is retired. He is in good health. He owns my mothers house and comes periodically to visit at length. I am a lifelong survivor of depression, and I work half time. I am constantly challenged financially. I live a life of being constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and alone. I've pretty much lost everything in my life except my job, which I love. As care needs increase in my mom, (my aunt has allowed me to hire caregivers as she lives 60 miles away) has more demands, but refuses to hire help even though she can afford it. I have discussed this with her at length at different junctures, and her reply is always that she is concerned I will get sick, but she doesn't want anyone else to help her. My brother constantly counsels me to "just don't do it", but then I have to abandon my mother to take care of myself. She is, inside, a very scared little girl. How do I just not help? My brother and mother often find things to criticize me for, but they do nothing to lighten the load. I do what is important medically, make sure they have what they need, personal items, clothes, emotional support etc, get the bills paid, and tend to them in emergencies, broken hips, pneumonia, cellulitis...you name it. I interface with the nurse and administration at assisted living to make sure she gets the best care. Mom and Aunt get to all their appts. and I keep a close eye for infections and changes in their well-being. What am I supposed to not do?
My brother comes to help some years for a few weeks or months, but he does what he wants and simply doesn't do the rest. I have tried offering a list of things, encouraged mother to call him for help, and thanked them profusely for everything they do. But they treat me like I'm somehow not doing a good job, and making a lot of wrong decisions. This year I'm not expecting anything and not asking for anything, but am offering them things to do that would help..
I understand I did not choose to be a caregiver and there is resentment there, but I've tried to come to terms with that. I have reached burnout once, my brother took over for four months, then left without making other arrangements, or even talking to me about it, and there was no choice but to resume caring for mother. I have gained a lot of wonderful things from caregiving, but I'm still angry too much, I don't think there is any hope of more help, I just need to find a way to think about this that leaves me with a sense of well-being, not despair.