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I care for my mother and it has been a process over the past two years to...


(1) take her away from the family home where she was suicidal and semi-demented


(2) then have her live with me while I worked to


(3) evict the abusive relative from the family home


(4) and got my parents to agree they will sell the family home so the situation cannot repeat itself.


My parents have money so they are not strained for resources.


The issue is that dad is coming to visit to make a rest of their lives plan with my mom next week.


My father's idea of caregiving is screaming at my mom for drinking while she hungrily downs a triple whiskey and pops some pills.


My mother was suicidal when I took her in. She doesn't like psychologists because they wean her off drugs and she LIKES drugs. So if there is not a 24/7 family presence there is no one she will reach out to during a crisis.


But she will not accept a home care nurse or caregiver. She is extremely abusive to those offering services and they typically end up getting resentful and cheat her out of cash before quitting. (And not crazy old lady out of it abusive. She will ruin you on Yelp & Google Reviews and the threaten you and demand free services or the next step is court. Which she cannot pull off but is scary.)


When we discuss my mother visiting my dad, my mother has real bad panics attacks the kind where you are not sure if she is having a massive heart attack or not. She talks constantly about going back to their town and building a new small house with him but she can't psychologically get on a plane.


My dad is no boy scout. They have a 37 year marriage of mutual hate and abuse. But it is also all they emotionally know and as they decline they want to concurrently eviscerate each other and also avoid major change and cling like koala bears.


The abusive relative, now no longer living with either, took things to an unbelieveable level. My parents will be better together than for the past decade as there will be no drug/gang/gun violence via the opioid epidemic.


My mom is more coherent and drinking less under my care than in years. Her weight is healthy, compared to previous anorexia, and she has stopped getting weird illnesses due to malnutrition and huge amounts of drugs and alcohol, which was 18 whiskeys a day plus valium when I took her in. (Her brother suicided by drinking himself to death via liver failure a few years ago and I think my mom was copying him.)


I know that the stable state here is due to me. My dad will provide a much lower standard of care. But I am tired of the abuse toward me. If I reunite them then I don't have to spend the next two years dragging my mother kicking and screaming into the world of health care aids and fights about a living trust, I can pass the buck.


My mother has no friends or caring relatives. Reuniting my parents is my only option to do marry, be full time employed, etc., as my mother is a disruptive and unpredictable presence. When I am away for several days for work she will regress in terms of drugs and alcohol and do things like miss the toilet when going number 2 or forget to give her dog water for 30 hours. I anticipate my father will enable her substance use and she will die sooner.


Each bout of worsening substance abuse takes longer for her to come back out of and she is losing function each time. She knows how to use phone apps to get items delivered so unless she has no financial access at all she WILL get whisky. If my dad doesn't enable her drug use she will re-engage the abusive relative and enter into deals with the devil. So she has made it such that she is hell bent on self destruction.


Only once was she clear headed about her decline. When I was chatting with a friend on the phone my mom wanted to interrupt me and get the other person to hang up (this is a hobby for her) so she was trying to come up with a related annecdote that someone would indulge and be like "awww, so sweet! Go talk to your mom!" My mother cried because she had no memory of my high school graduation and didn't know where all the time had gone. I didn't have the heart to tell her she wasn't there when I walked across the stage and she has never actually had the role of parent.


So now you know the outline of the situation.


I feel like my options are reunite my parents or get stuck with mother. As a carer I've done pretty well but I need to be working full time and can't do this anymore.


Is it wrong to pass her off onto my dad? I will need to use emotional pressure and guilt to do so which are the only things dad will respond to. He is a very all or nothing person and cannot make plans to share responsibility or tasks, either he does it all or someone else does. I've tried on that front. He has one relative and like my mom, no friends who will help. (He is also super abusive and mean to people.)


Is there a third option?

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Bobbing, I am struck by what a loving, caring child you are to these folks who havent been particularly caring parents.

Have you been to AlAnon?

It sounds to me as though you feel as though you are responsible for your mom's life and mental health. You're not.

Your mother never grew up. She is "stuck" emotionally at the 18 month old level... "get off the phone and look at me ME ME!!!!!!

You can't fix this. And unless you move on to living your own life with purpose and productivity, you will end up broke and bitter.

Mental illness is sad and frightening. Get yourself the tools the create healthy boundaries so that you can get back to wwork.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I'm afraid you are stuck, if she was 20 or even 10 years older you would have better leverage to push her into supportive housing but at 66 she is barely a retiree. I think the best you can hope for is to encourage her to live independently so at least that pattern is broken, but unfortunately you can't save her if she refuses, it has to be something she wants for herself.
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Reply to cwillie
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Have you been helping her or enabling her?

No question, you need your life but you cannot be the fixer. Mom and dad will do what they are going to do so you need to establish boundaries as it sounds as if both are competent. It is not your problem, it is theirs.

Take a step back or ten and wash your hands of it. No question that mom will continue her addiction as it is a disease. You cannot continue this way, learn to let go, no more rescuer position for you.
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Reply to gladimhere
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So sorry this is happening.
Options are few, and imo, must be accomplished for Mom in a hurry.
Separate housing is a good option, realistic, and doable.
Think involuntary admission in a facility that will accept Mom. Start there.

There are other options you can find, but putting these two people together is not a good idea, as they would have to survive as well as their carers.
And you are necessarily desperate for a life. After you get an assessment and referrals, detach with love.
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BobbingWren Oct 7, 2018
Mom is 66, dad is 72. Mother has alcohol-related dementia, can somewhat function day to day, with grocery delivery, household help. Father is fully able to be independent, still employed, goes to the gym, generally is living the same life pattern he did at 50, but is feeling the weight of old age with frequent doctor's visits, and increasingly limited activity. Mom could use AL but will not accept it, there is a lovely 50+ and active complex nearby (3 miles away) that offers light duty caregivers and visiting nurses. She will not accept it even with th offer of her still having a bedroom here if she wants to spend a day gardening. I'll keep trying on that direction, though.

I was reading sendhelp's thoughts on involuntary admittance but that is very hard. Several rehab doctors have reached out to my mother has her multiple addiction is obvious. Unless she commits a crime or is about to kill someone else it is HARD to force treatment. Slowly destroying oneself isn't a crime, which is how my uncle's alcohol suicide over the course of a few months was able to succeed. Hospitals shrugged and said "he's a drunk" then turned him away until the end. If he refused treatment, they had to accept it.
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How old are your parents? I think that finding them some supportive housing like an AL, either together of separately, is probably the kindest option.
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BobbingWren Oct 7, 2018
Mom is 66, dad is 72. Mother has alcohol-related dementia, can somewhat function day to day, with grocery delivery, household help. Father is fully able to be independent, still employed, goes to the gym, generally is living the same life pattern he did at 50, but is feeling the weight of old age with frequent doctor's visits, and increasingly limited activity. Mom could use AL but will not accept it, there is a lovely 50+ and active complex nearby (3 miles away) that offers light duty caregivers and visiting nurses. She will not accept it even with th offer of her still having a bedroom here if she wants to spend a day gardening. I'll keep trying on that direction, though.

I was reading sendhelp's thoughts on involuntary admittance but that is very hard. Several rehab doctors have reached out to my mother has her multiple addiction is obvious. Unless she commits a crime or is about to kill someone else it is HARD to force treatment. Slowly destroying oneself isn't a crime, which is how my uncle's alcohol suicide over the course of a few months was able to succeed. Hospitals shrugged and said "he's a drunk" then turned him away until the end. If he refused treatment, they had to accept it.
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