Anyone else caring for a physically healthy but psychologically ill older parent?

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Last year, after my father died, I moved my mother in with me. She's 71 and physically very healthy but is a paranoid schizophrenic-- everything is always negative, people are always out to get you, etc. I'm an only child and work full-time as a middle school teacher. Between caring for mom at nights and on the weekends and caring for my 100 students during the day, I feel like I'm about to snap.

This morning, I woke up to my mother complaining about how she's not happy and everyone here is mean to her (because she gets strange looks when she wears mismatched clothes and an old wig atop her head like a hat), etc. And of course, as she sees it, she moved here to help me because otherwise I wouldn't be able to afford a house. Truth? She can't live alone because of her mental illness and emotional immaturity. But she can't see things rationally. In her mind, she moved here to be with me not for me to take care of her.

My entire life revolves around her whims. She won't go anywhere on her own, sits at home all day and then wants me to entertain her at night. After 18 years of living on my own, I now have no time to myself. My health (mentally & physically) is starting to suffer and I see no end in sight. HELP!!! At least tell me I'm not alone, please...

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Ladybard. See if your area has a "Community Services Board" and see if they can give you guidance; assign a therapist or refer you to a geriatric psychiatrist. This will help you get accurate diagnosis and baseline. Document behavior, delusions, hallucinations, anything relevant as best you can including dates. Send this to doctor ahead of time confidentially so they can make their assessment with alittle background history as well. You may be able to get them to help you get her placed; or they may recommend some level of care or supervision.

Once you have that, maybe you can get them to help you approach options with her and get her moved to appropriate care or get her to comply with getting aid/supervised care for some hrs day and/or night to give you a break at least. Make sure you tell her if she doesn't comply with the supervised in-home care (if thats what it takes) she will have to move to a facility to handle her needs.

Other option, is to just start visiting places, getting referrals and tell her you can no longer meet her needs and this is best option; then move her.

This will only worsen and her level of care will increase; you likely will not have skillset nor time to meet those needs. Don't feel guilty, don't beat yourself up (been there, done that) and it doesn't solve anything and certainly isn't in their best interest.

Believe me, I"m still fighting this and it isn't over for me. Wish I had gone with earlier instincts and moved my mom in to care facility. I am not full time caregiver, but managing skilled care long distance is maddening and impossible.
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Ladybard, Mom has never been diagosed with paranoid schizophrenice but she acts just like that. She was recently in a geriatric psych hospital and they said she was suffering from psychosis, Alzheimer's, depression and anxiety. Another Psychiatrist said Alzheimer's, depression and Sundowners. I think she has always been mentally ill in some way, but I can't seem to get a diagnosis that goes along with that. I don't think others see it because she acts differently around other people. I do understand. My Mom is 91 and has always been manipulative and narcissistic. It is a pain in the you know what when you live with someone like this. I am so sorry, but I do undertand completely.
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You are absolutely not alone. I have a similar situation with my 86 y/o mom. I had her in a living center when my husband was battling cancer. Then brought her home when he passed. She's not very compliant with her meds and they don't work well anymore. I'm afraid I may have to put her back in the living center. She's starting to get violent sometimes. Her home health nurse told me a while back that people with her condition do better in a controlled environment. Do you think you can get her in a living center or some kind of group home? I don't see how you manage working full time and caring for her. I don't work and I struggle with it. You've got to maintain your health or you won't be any good to her or anyone.
I moved across the street from my mom a few years ago (she actually owns this house) to help care for her after my brother died who was living with her. My dad actually built this house for me to live in one day before I finished high school but I wanted my independence so I moved a few miles away. I still have my own house there but she makes it sound like I have nothing and am mooching off her. She even tells me that's her house too. I know the deal but sometimes I wonder if others believe all this that don't know the facts.
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Ladybard, you are not alone. My heart goes out to you. You, your (spouse and children?), your students, colleagues, friends -- they all deserve you in good health, good spirits, and of course -- happy. Your dad was likely "protecting" her from the world, but you do not have to do that. Have her evaluated ASAP and in true form (quirky clothes, odd behaviors, ect). Document everything you have been doing for her and give proof of why she is moved to your home (for her benefit, not yours). Get documentation from where she lived too -- any police, medical, neighbors' comments, about her behaviors. It sounds like a lot to do, and if possible, schedule ahead as much as you can and let your employer know that you will need a few personal days to get some documentation together and talk w/ professionals. The hardest days to deal with are the "knee jerk reaction" days when you have to suddenly take a day off because of your parent's crisis Don't let her drag you down. Consult w/ an elder law atty and geriatric social worker. She will likely need to be under the care of a specialist -- let it go, be involved but not 100%. Best wishes.
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