Over five years ago, I started taking care of my Mother full time after she broke her ankle after a fall. She has had several more medical issues arise and two years ago broke her back standing up from her recliner.
I am so worn out. I wasn't well before this started but my health is deteriorating. I have my own mobility issues due to a neurological condition and it's becoming more difficult to get myself around.
My family literally lives down the road but it falls on me to do everything because she lives with me. For example, I asked for help just to get the heavy bags of trash out and it was met with refusal. I ended up buying a wagon to pull behind me. (It helps.)
Mom has always relied on my to do everything before she fell but now she won't even try to do anything for herself. If things are difficult or painful she just refuses to try. She's now gotten to the point where she refuses to walk to the bathroom and makes me take her in the wheelchair. (Which, I don't mind, when she needs it but she is supposed to be using her walker to do this. The doctors, nurses, home health, rehab have all said that she can and should be doing this daily.)
I feel so terrible. I feel like have and am enabling her to decline by letting her bully me into refusing to do her home exercises, daily walking, etc.
She keeps getting UTIs because she won't get up to change her incontinence briefs. When I ask if she is wet, she lies to avoid getting up. If I attempt to make her get up, it is an argument.
I am watching her go downhill and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it. I feel like it's my fault! I'm doing everything I can for her and nothing seems to be helping! I'm seeing a therapist but that doesn't change the fact that I'm alone in taking care of everything.
I'm stressed out. I'm sad. I'm morose. I'm angry. I'm hurt. I'm not planning for my future. I'm just stuck in this revolving hell where I'm getting sicker and she's getting worse. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Pepper - kudos on taking that big first step! It's great that your mother is walking herself to the bathroom. Bringing in home care will also do wonders for the both of you.

Continue making progress. Look at things that you can easily change - the low hanging fruit, if you will. For example, order groceries online and have them delivered. Automate bill paying.

Please recognize that it's your mother who needs to motivate herself. You are not a cheerleader. Cheerleading works once in a while but it's exhausting if you need to do it on a regular basis.

Keep us posted and welcome to the forum!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to NYDaughterInLaw

"I am caring for my mother, living at home with age-related decline, anxiety, arthritis, depression, diabetes, heart disease, incontinence, mobility problems, osteoporosis, and urinary tract infection."

You mother has a lot of issues!

"I have my own mobility issues due to a neurological condition and it's becoming more difficult to get myself around."

This is a major reason why you shouldn't be taking care of her.

"I'm seeing a therapist but that doesn't change the fact that I'm alone in taking care of everything." and "My therapist thinks my brother should help with his Mother too."

Your therapist should also be telling you that you can't make your brother do anything. Of course it's not fair that he got free daycare but now won't do anything for your mother. But we can only control our own actions, and, unfortunately, you got a place with your mother, BTW, is this a rental or do you own a place together? Is your therapist helping you to go through options to help you extricate yourself from your mother's care?

"I'm stressed out. I'm sad. I'm morose. I'm angry. I'm hurt. I'm not planning for my future. I'm just stuck in this revolving hell where I'm getting sicker and she's getting worse."

Yes. No matter new boundaries and new promises by your mother, she is going to get worse. The situation isn't realistic for you to continue. Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for your mother?

Please start considering many more boundaries, such as one where you won't live with her anymore.
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Reply to CTTN55

The second it starts effecting your health, it's time for a facility
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Reply to ZippyZee

Thanks to everyone who chose to show me empathy and those suggesting options. I found this website the night before last, joined and just spat out how I was feeling without editing or it even being completely clear because I was feeling so distraught. Had I been in a better state of mind and not weeping, I would have thought of asking for information and resources. However, in a moment of weakness and despair, I just reached out.
   My therapist thinks my brother should help with his Mother too. I’m not an only child. Decisions about and help with her care shouldn’t only fall to me, even though I am the one who chose to be here full time. My word, any small gesture from him would do wonders for her state of mind!
  After my Father passed, Mom left our hometown and moved into an apartment close to my brother to help take care of his four children and save them the cost of daycare. She was very lonely once the kids went home at night. When my twelve-year relationship ended and I was offered a position in the same town they were in, I asked her if she would like to get a place together. In hindsight, saying “she lives with me” would have been more appropriately said, “we live together.” I had not intended the former to be misleading in any fashion.
  Mom and I had a long talk. She’s said she’s been feeling really down, which is causing her to lack motivation. I’m not sure why it hadn’t occurred to me that all of her behaviors might just come down to depression. It seems rather obvious now. We’re going to talk to her doctor. She’s resistant to therapy for herself but I’m going to look into that as well and see if it is a possibility.
  For now, I’m going to see if I can get Home Health to start coming in again to get her to stay motivated with her PT. I’m setting some new boundaries. It will be difficult. She’s strong willed but I’m hopeful the new boundaries, medication and perhaps, therapy, will help her get up and about. That being said, after our talk, she has been walking herself to the bathroom all day! So, I’m hopeful for change!
  She wants to stay here with me and I’m going to do all I can to see that she does. Should things get worse, we can go from there. For now, I will look into what home care options are available that will help her and perhaps, give me a break too!
  I’m also going to look into what I can do to take better care of myself, as well! Some of your words have truly motivated me! Again, many thanks.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to PepperE246

Can you consider an assisted living place?
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Reply to Verajrn

My friend, who had taken care of her husband with Parkinsons, AND her mother in law, for years, until he died last year, just had to take her mother in law to the local NH, because she'd had a stroke, on top of her other issues. Medicaid will pay for her care, and there is much more help; she couldn't possibly do it anymore. I called her yesterday to see how the placement went, and she said her MIL already knows how to push the button for help, is talking to everyone, and all is well.... so far. The good news is that my friend has been reading AC for some time and knows not to give in and bring her home if she begins to complain/beg; she knows it sometimes takes awhile to settle into a facility, so she will hold firm and we are praying. Might this work for you?
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Reply to MichaelEzekiel

"...I am watching her go downhill and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it. I feel like it's my fault! I'm doing everything I can for her and nothing seems to be helping!..." Nothing will change until you change i.e. change your behavior and your attitude.

You enable your mother to do nothing for herself. If you have children of your own, you know that enabling is disabling.

Your family members who live down the road choose to neither enable you nor your mother in the choices each of you has made. Accept that "I'm alone in taking care of everything" is your choice. This is difficult to accept, but once you accept that you have control over your choices, you can start establishing healthy boundaries with your mother.

What does your therapist say about your situation?
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw

Just because she is living with you now, doesn’t mean she has to continue living with you the rest of her life.

She could easily live to be 100 years old. Find a facility for her and get on with your own life. We are only here for such a short time. It’s time for you to take care of you.
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Reply to elaine1962

It is well past the time now to tell the family you can no longer, physically or mentally, continue to do this care, that sadly, Mom now needs placement. You passed the goal post of human limitations some time ago. This could ruin both your physical and mental health.
If Mom is able to afford assisted living, begin to look at places, if not, board and care or nursing homes. Ask family if they will assist you in choosing the best place for Mom.
You do not mention the level of Mom's dementia, if any. Are you her POA? If she has not appointed one as yet and has already moved into dementia she can't do it now, and you may require emergency guardianship to place her. Speak with her doctors, nurses, and home health rehab now to tell them you cannot go on.
If you are down to getting no help from family or medical you will be forced to do the "ER dump" to secure placement for Mom. That's always sad to have to do but it does happen.
Wishing you good luck. Don't sacrifice you mental and physical health further; it's been 5 years. This won't get better and could go on for a decade or more.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

As 97yroldmom asked, why IS she living with you?
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Reply to CTTN55

I got there with my own mother.

And I wasn't living with her, just doing PT care. I can't believe (now that I am out of that situation) how much I bent over to make her 'happy'..and she never was.

When your own emotional tank is empty, there is no way to refill it if you are not regularly doing things to take care of yourself. I recently was dxed with a heart condition due to--what else? Stress!

Partly due to mother, a big part due to a DH who wants to retire and go to bed and sleep all the time and partly due to my healing from cancer and chemo.

After long talks with my therapist, PCP and psych doc I was pretty much told I was going to kill myself with 'kindness'---that was totally unappreciated.

That saying that we hear on this site that the CG's die 40% of the time sooner than the person for whom they are caring--just during this year, I have seen that happen 3 times in my small neighborhood. (I think I botched that saying--but you know what I mean).

I wish you the best in making some changes.
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Reply to Midkid58

Sounds like it's time to be looking for an Assisted Living place or nursing home for your mom, as your current living arrangements don't seem to working for either of you. That doesn't mean you don't love your mom, in fact that is love, that you want the best possible care for her, and if you can't give her that with your physical issues, then it's time someone else does.

You've done the best you can for the last 5 years plus, now it's time you take care of yourself and do what's best for you. There's no way an unhealthy you can take care of an unhealthy mom. Period.

Of course you're angry, stressed, hurt, sad and all of the above. You've been running on empty for far too long. Time to get off the gerbil wheel and get your life back on track. Wishing you the very best!
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Reply to funkygrandma59

Time for a change. You need boundaries. When she can’t do it, tell her you can’t either.
Why is she living with you?
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to 97yroldmom

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