I've been helping care for my mother for the 22 years since my father died (she never learned to drive). She's 90 now, but at 80 began having balance problems which worsened over time and at 85 began showing signs of mild dementia which have gotten progressively worse.
I believe she needs in-home care or should live at the assisted living facility where her SIL lives, quite happily I might add. My sisters don't want her to leave her home even though she's extremely lonely and deteriorating mentally and physically. They discourage her every time she brings it up and they tell her how bad it will be.They're both financially strapped and I believe they want to preserve their inheritance. I have no problem with Mother's money being used for Mother's care and neither does my brother, but he won't stand up to my sisters.
Also, I've been the one to take her to doctor appointments for the last 22 years but since she's had dementia, all they do is complain and criticize the medication and treatment decisions the doctor makes. They have strong opinions about what medications they do and do not want mother to take, but they absolutely refuse to take her to even one appointment because it's "my" job. They want me to fight their battles with the doctor and I'm just not up to it anymore. I'm the baby of the family (even though I'm 59) and they feel free to bully me and tell me what I have to do.
Last week, I cut all ties with all of them. I changed my phone number and made it a private listing and no longer plan to do anything I was doing (taking meals for a week each month, taking mother to doctor appointments, picking up her prescriptions, getting her library books, getting her hair washed and nails trimmed.)
Part of the reason for this is because they've screamed at me and complained for years that I'm not doing enough to help and they criticize the things I do. They live closer to Mother (right across the field from her on the family farm). I live almost an hour away. I feel I was pulling my weight.
Neither of them has to spend much time with her. One of them will drop by each day to make a pitcher of tea for Mother, feed her cat, and bring her mail. They don't visit with her - they're only there for 15 minutes at the most unless she has an emergency which is very rare.
All of their incessant phone calls and yelling and complaining to me has caused a lot of friction in my own home and family. My daughter suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and severe depression and she has missed two semesters of college, due in part to the stress at home caused by my dealing with my mother and sisters.
I could handle helping mother if I didn't have to deal with my sisters, but there's no way around it as they live next to her and control everything. Since I cut all ties a week ago, I feel unrelenting and crushing guilt. I'm also sad that I've lost my extended family, even though it's always been pretty dysfunctional.
I suffer from OCD and depression, as well, and was hospitalized 5 times when I was younger. I have some other health problems that I won't bore you with. Suffice it to say that I'm at the end of my rope, mentally and physically, and can no longer tolerate my sisters. But I know if my mother dies while we are estranged from one another that it will haunt me until my dying day.
I've tried just helping my mother and trying to stay away from my sisters and their bullying, but it really is impossible. Mother draws me in by telling me what she's going through and how they're not helping her and I just lose it. I got to the place that I was yelling and screaming at them and saying terrible things - it was all the truth, but I guess some things shouldn't be said no matter how desperate, frustrated, and anger you are.
Oh, one more thing - my mother has frequently told me she wants to get in-home help or go to the assisted living facility and has even asked me to take her there several times, but she always changes her mind. About a month ago, Mother was sick and one of my sisters begged me to find some in-home help for her. I did all the research, made the calls, set up an appointment and she backed out because she said, "Mother is better, so there's no rush."
Has anyone out there ever broken off ties with their family - including your parent - and how on earth do you learn to live with it? It's killing me but I don't know what else to do.