My Dad died, my Mom moved in, and now I am angry all the time. Any advice?

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My dad passed away from throat cancer in Feb, just 4 months ago. Me and my husband had to help financially his whole last year of life because he couldn't work. We moved to another state 5 years before, so we were doing this long distance. We were the only ones to visit and try and help ( 1 sister who only lives a couple hours away went TWO times during this time ), so I was already getting angry with my 4 sisters because they did nothing. One never even bothered to call for at least 8 months after he was diagnosed with cancer. Me and my husband had to pay for his cremation and funeral service ALONE because they had no Insurance. 1 sister didnt even bother to come to the funeral. It wasn't convenient for her.. My mom had to come live with us because she cant afford to live alone. ( of course nobody else offered or even cared )
Im angry all the time now. I already hated being 1300 miles from my home, now Im 1300 miles from home and my mom is stuck with me.
She dosent have an independent bone in her body, my dad took care of most things. She is 72 years old and perfectly healthy. She has no friends here and really no desire to have any. She has always been a kind of a cold person and often says things that hurt. Most of my sisters don't even call her, much less worry about her future.
I feel guilty because I HATE HATE HATE this situation. I feel like my whole life is ruined because I cant do anything now without having to worry about my mom. It feels like I have a toddler. Me and my husband never got to experience empty nest syndrome yet ( have 1 last kid living with us ) and now the realization that we COULD have 30 more years of having to take care of someone is hitting me HARD. This is not how I thought my life would turn out.
My mom doesn't drive so we cant leave her alone and go visit people in other states ( that's where all our friends and family, including 2 of our adult kids, live....in other states ), also we cant afford to pay her travel expense too and lord only knows the GUILT I feel if I try and do something without her now. Me and my husband have only went out alone 2 times since she moved in.
I feel GUILTY because this is my mother, but Im so resentful now that its eating my soul alive. Me and my husband have been married for more than 25 years always had a great marriage but Im scared for my marriage now. Im scared about all the responsibility that has been dropped on my lap .Im scared that I am all alone in this with no help from my sisters. Im scared that I cant possibly do this for YEARS because its only been a couple of months and its only going to get harder as she ages more, and gets nastier. I have laid in bed and actually thought I would rather be dead than stuck like this.
I need HELP !! this anger and resentment that is building up inside me and affecting EVERY aspect of my life is scaring the hell out of me. I feel like it is eating me alive and Im about to disappear...

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You have every right to be angry. You have every right to reject the guilt card whenever she tries to play it. Logistically, you are dealing with a toddler and you must be firm when a toddler tries to get their way.
Contact Montgomery County TX senior services and get her on a waiting list for nearby low-income senior housing. Do the section 8 housing application.
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Sorry to read that there have been so many changes in your life so quickly. And I'm also sorry to learn how frustrating and overwhelming the situation is - I think that's normal under the circumstanes.

I am confused about the living arrangement though- you wrote that you're 1300 miles from home and your mother is living with you. Are you still living with your husband and your mother has moved in with you, or is there some other arrangement? It just helps to clarify to know what the living situation is.

First, I would try to find a support group for caregivers so that you have someone to talk to on a regular basis, and share and console each other. Try local hospitals; sometimes assisted living facilities also sponsor support groups. This will help take the edge off your anxiety and feeling of being trapped. If you can, perhaps you can meet outside of the regular meetings, or arrange to have someone you can call when you feel really upset.

Second, I hestitate to be so frank but it seems as though your siblings aren't going to help, so I would try to get over the resentment that must bring. Been there, done that, and I feel a lot better accepting that it's just me. There's also another advantage to not having siblings involved - you don't have to make joint decisions.

Third, how does your husband feel about this? Does he support you?

Fourth, I think it's not unusual for women from different eras to have been so reliant on their husbands. I think you'll have to teach Mom how to do some things for herself, bearing in mind, however, that she's just lost her husband of probably several years and is probably still mourning and perhaps not able to initiate some of her care on her own.

Fifth, spend some down time just to list everything that you anticipate will need to be done for her, determine how much she can do, then develop a plan to gradually teach her how to do those things. You may have to go gently, but firmly, emphasizing that you can't do everything and need her help, IF this arrangement is to work out for both of you.

Some women never paid bills. so they're not even familiar with those basics.

Sixth, as to her cruel comments, you'll have to tell her that they hurt, that you won't tolerate them. If she continues, just leave the room, leave the house, or go and repeat that you won't tolerate verbal abuse.

Seventh, I'm not convinced that you can't leave her alone just because she isn't driving. My father is no longer driving but still lives alone, but we've talked to the neighbors who will call me if something is amiss. His church friends also would contact me.

Eighth, institute some backup procedures. I got a medical alert pendant for my father, so he has 24/7 monitoring if anything happened.

Get a lock box for your door, let a trusted neighbor or the local PD know the combination. If anything happens, they can get in and provide emergency care.

Lastly, regardless of what's on the agenda today, take some time out for a walk, stroll through the garden, cup of tea, or whatever relaxes you. You're overwhelmed right now and will think of solutions if you can just get some time to yourself.

I don't intend to sound preachy, but I think your feelings now are not an abnormal way to feel, and as time goes on you'll develop coping mechanisms and plans, including how to have your own time with your husband yet keep your mother safe. Everything's just overwhelning right now.

It's hard to do this, but try to think of ways you can turn around the trapped feeling to one of helping, with your mother's cooperation, so that all of you can go forward with more positive feelings. It can be done - I've done it (but it wasn't easy) and I know others have as well.

Good luck and don't forget that "me time" - now!
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My mom was in her mid 70's when Dad went in NH. She was clear minded and ambulatory at the time and was living on her own just fine. She'd go to lunch with friends, they took her grocery shopping. My sister helped her with house things. But because she didn't like being alone, and didn't like the changes needed to create this new chapter,(get a yard person, get someone to clean every couple weeks, use senior van service), she gave up her independence far too soon. She gradually moved in with us and thinking that we were now a package, began refusing to go with friends unless her daughter went also. So she cut herself off from her social life. We became her social life. She stopped making any key decisions or doing normal things like paying bills, turning it all over to us. What we now know we should have done was set down Plan A (her home) or Plan B ( downsize) but establish that at that point in time Plan C (our homes) was not possible. I think she'd have liked a senior apartment with others for socializing. She didn't need AL until she was in her late 80's so she'd have had nearly 15 more years of independence. I think some of her bitterness now (94) stems from frustration at making herself so dependant so soon because it was easier than making a new life for herself.
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I guess what I'm suggesting to you is that while your mom is perfectly healthy is the time to take Pam's recommendation and look for housing. When parents make their problems yours, decisions can not longer be made based on only what the parents want/need.
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First thought: boy, do you need a hug.

Second thought: well done for posting so frankly. I don't think there's anybody on this forum who won't understand exactly how you feel.

Third thought: this sounds like panic. I don't blame you, so would I panic in your shoes. It's all at once, it's all new, you've got an overwhelming new burden of care on top of grieving for your father, on top of indignation with your family, on top of an older feeling of homesickness - who wouldn't feel panic?

So, first of all sit down and breathe deeply. Remember you do not have to solve this entire situation all in one go.

Next - I know these don't work for everybody but they do for me - mind-map. Big sheet of paper, pens and crayons, get everything that's going on down on paper where you can see it. Some of the problems you'll be able to deal with practically. Some of them will be emotional, and will have to be tackled in other ways. Very important: make sure you put down the good things, the rays of sunshine in your life, too. But breaking problems down under subject headings can really help you to see where to start.

I'm not going to go on and on, because I think it'll only stir things up instead of helping. But about your mother. What you're feeling towards her - the resentment, anger and HUGE exasperation - are completely natural and understandable. And this is in total conflict with your other natural desire, to look after her. Acknowledge that this clash is a complete pig for you, and give yourself permission to feel furious about it.

Then detach from it, and look at your mother as though you were an outsider. She's a 72 year old who depended in the old-fashioned way on her man, and has lost him, recently. She's too young to descend into helpless dependent old age, but she's not ready to set out on a new path on her own just yet: for now, she needs a lot of help; but given time, luck and a following wind she'll get there.

Take this stage by stage, and you will be fine, and she will be fine, and everything will be ok. Big hug.
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My aunt, who is now 91, became a widow a few years ago. She too was a war time bride whose husband handled everything. Once he died, with the support of her family, she was able to live independently. No one thought she could do it. She had never paid a bill in her life! But she learned.

I understand the resentment you feel but as someone mentioned above, if you stop expecting your siblings to help and accept that this is all on you some of that resentment may go away. Is it right that it's all on you? No. But that's the way it is. Forget about your siblings and just deal with the issue at hand. Many times sibling involvement can make caregiving very difficult. At least you don't have to deal with that.

All of your concerns and feelings are very, very valid. You're accurate to be concerned about your marriage. Caregiving can take a tremendous toll on a marriage. And your mom isn't getting any younger, she will just continue to decline and need more care.

Others have posted suggestions on how to get mom up and living on her own but understand that you are now her lifeline so wherever she goes you will be the one she calls upon and you will be the one ultimately responsible for what happens to her. That's a lot of responsibility. If you don't want it, and it's OK if you don't, now is the time to figure out what to do about mom when she begins to decline. But unless you abandon her on a street corner with no ID you'll always be the contact person for her. If, at some point, you can get her into a nursing home, you will be the contact person. You will have to be involved. I know it's not fair and maybe you can talk a sister into lightening the load somehow but if your siblings are all long distance I don't know how much help they'd be even if they were willing.

I'm so sorry you and your husband have to go through this. A lot of us didn't ask to be caregivers either, it just kinda happened.
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I don't know if Golflady is still on here but I was wondering since it's been nearly a year if you could update? I just read this for the first time and felt so bad for you. Hope things are better.
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Linda22, your story is so much like my mother. Mom was only 59 when Dad died. She was pretty independent during the time he was ill, totally capable. But after he died, my sister and spouse enabled her constantly (even let her live with them for almost 4 months). Mom liked being a little girl, played the act to the fullest. She made her family her complete life, sucking the life out of them. And she had done it on and off for the past 30 years. Don't let that happen to you as once enabled, it is hard to make them independent again. Take Pam's advice, get her out of the house, get help, get her into public housing or something. She won't even try to be independent if you are there, nor will she find a life of her own when she can live through you. It will be hard at first, and you will feel guilty, but you need to do it, for her and for yourself.
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