I have been taking care of my mother solo for more than five years now. I live with her in her home and have to do everything for her as she is no longer capable of caring for herself. She, however, can use the toilet alone and without help but everything else is left up to me. I wait on her all day long up until her bed time and then she stays up much later than I do, so I am forced to lie in my bed, eyes wide open waiting for her to call me to help her to bed. I am exhausted and extremely depressed. I would like to work part-time but she has made me feel guilty about leaving her for any length of time. I can not hire caregivers as her income is small and wouldn't cover what a caregiver would charge by the hour. Sometimes, I just get up before dawn and take a ride in my car to buy a cup of coffee and pray that I won't go insane. I have no social life, and no one to vent to when I really need to talk. I am thankful for this site as the stories I read here have given me hope to keep going for another day. I am a Christian and it is all I can do some days to just pray as I go about my chores taking care of her. My son lives here as well and has a 2 year old daughter who spends more than half of the time living in my mother's home with us. My son is a good father and helps around the house as much as he is able but complains if he has to wait on my mother. In addition to taking care of mom, I also help out with the baby. I feel like I am burning the candle at both ends. My brother and his wife will not accept any responsibility in helping me nor do I have any resources in the community to rely on. I am so very depressed even though I take pills for depression and an anti-anxiety pill. I wish I knew what to do. At times I feel like life is not worth living as each day is the same waiting on my mother and being made to feel guilty that I am not doing enough to help her. Thank you for letting me vent.

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I feel very badly for you but your answer is in your question. You don't 'want' to place her, but it seems you 'need' to for your own health and happiness. You are just as important as your mom and you deserve a life too. That 'need' in no way makes you selfish, it just makes you human. You have reached your limits and no wonder - five years!

My mom lived with us for just a few months and I couldn't take her extreme control. It was awful. I finally gave up the F.O.G. (fear, obligation and guilt) and placed her in a nice AL.

Is she happy? No. Did she adjust? Yes.

My mom is one of those people that will NEVER be happy unless we can time travel back to 1978 when she was young, my dad was alive and she had her own house. Until I invent that time machine, she will never be happy. :)

Please keep in touch, whatever you decide. It's an ongoing, ever changing process and we're here to support you. God bless you and your mom.
Helpful Answer (22)

I see you haven't filled in your profile yet, so we don't know where you live, or what your mother"s impairments are. If you are in the US, your mom should qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid has a program the provides help while people are still in their homes. For example, Mom might qualify for an adult day health program if there is one in your area. Or she might be able to have in-home care such an aid or care attendant. Various supplies and equipment may be provided. Medicaid also, of course, pays for suitable care centers when it is no longer feasible to keep Mom at home.

I'm sorry that things seem so hopeless, but there is help available. Start by calling your county Social Services and ask for a needs assessment. They can help you with information about financial aid for Mom so she can afford some of the care she needs.

Also, please call the doctor who has prescribed your medications and explain how you are feeling. Sounds like you are overdue for a change in meds or in doses. Feeling better will help you cope better.
Helpful Answer (18)

I'm so sorry that you're so unhappy. Five years is a long time and I'm sure you see no end in sight. Sometimes when we get very depressed it's difficult to make any kind of a decision about anything. Are you able to make a decision regarding what you want for your life? You don't have to act on it right now but just decide what you'd like to do. Making a life change is very, very difficult to do when we're depressed but it's that change that may be a way out of the depression. So deciding what you'd like to do is going to be very difficult but I think once you've come to a few decisions you will begin to feel better about your life. When I cared for my dad in my home I got a volunteer job a couple of times a week and that really helped me. Getting out of the house, seeing other people, talking with other was just what I needed. It was only a couple of hours a week but that was a couple of hours a week that I wasn't with my dad. I never knew what I'd come home to but it was worth the risk.

Your antidepressant may not be effective because your depression is not so much chemical in nature as it is situational. Just a thought. The only way to find your way out of the depression may be to make a change in your life. Since you live with your mom where would you go if she went into a NH?

If your son and DIL have a baby they may not be able to help you out much as they already have someone they're caring for 24/7. When my dad lived with me and my daughter I didn't expect my daughter to do much caregiving. That was my job. My dad, my responsibility. She'd help if I asked her but I didn't ask very often. She had her own life and I didn't want to put the burden of being a caregiver on her. No one really knew how awful I felt everyday, how unhappy I was.

I'm glad you're here and I'm glad you spoke up. Keep writing.
Helpful Answer (15)

Being made to feel guilty is called emotional blackmail and is a form of verbal and emotional abuse. It is used to make the person both afraid and obligated. Has your mother always been this way?

Although your depression does sound rooted in your depressing situation, the meds should be helping. You also need to see a therapist to help you deal with the situation that you are in and to find some freedom from the emotional blackmail of guilt. You are not your mother's slave although it seems that your mother sees you as the chosen one for that role. Seek to live guilt free. Take control and take care of you.
Helpful Answer (14)

Both of you need to sign up for Medicaid! People have such an awful idea of NHs, but in 98% of them the care is adequate, and sometimes at home we can't provide care that is more than adequate. If your parent is in a home, and you have a job and an income, you will be able to oversee their situation to ensure they are well taken care of. If your parent is isolated in their home, they might blossom with the increased social activity in a facility. It happens often.

Your parent could live another 10 years. Medicaid will take the house, and there you will be, 58 or 67 years old, with no recent jobs on your resume. You will have to live under a bridge until you qualify for SS. This is not what your parent had in mind for you when you were a child.

Get help from the local Area Agency on Aging to find resources to give you at least time to get a job and earn some money. You deserve to have a life, and you need some income so your children aren't writing the same letter to us about you in 10 or 20 years.

God bless you both.
Helpful Answer (13)

Hmmm. Where do I start. Taking care of a parent is such a loving, caring thing to do, but most of us don't know what we are getting into when we choose this path. Sometimes it's not as if we really choose it either, we sort of stumble into it because our parent expects us to, or our family expects us to, or we think we have an obligation because our parents raised us and we owe them. This is where we start our path to purgatory. As time goes on this gets worse because you then feel like your parent depends on you and would die without you, and that it would be cruel to do anything else. It is a lot like a self licking ice cream cone, the hole just keeps getting deeper. None of this is our fault, and it's not really our parents fault either. Our parents have become like children in the sense that nothing really matters to them anymore other than themselves. For the most part I think they are completely clueless about the toll this takes on their child. So, here is what I'm going to tell you, you are not responsible for your Mom, nor are you obligated to take care of her. You have made it easy for your other family members by doing all of it, and it is not fair. But that's ok in a way, since they haven't participated then they don't really have a right to say in how things go from here. Some people can't help, they are not emotionally able to do so, or they are so buried in their own problems that they can't handle they can't possibly deal with more. So be it. We are all different. My brother is a great guy, but he works all the time, and he would like to help more, but it's not really feasible. Even if that weren't the case, he would gladly build a house for my Mom, but her day to day care is not something he could handle. I get that. You cannot choose the path for other people, you can only choose your own path. It is your life, you won it, and you do not owe your life to anyone else. Period. Seek help from the county, your Mom surely qualifies for Medicaid. They can get someone to start coming into her home if that is what she wants, but you do not have to continue caring for her every need. Do some looking around and figure out what it is that you want, YOU, not what anyone else wants you to do. Ask God to give you the strength to do for yourself what you know you need to do. He will hear you. It is not a sin to want your own life. And truth be told, your Mom would probably get better care either from the social services available for her or from moving into a care facility that can give her the level of care she needs. She might even start to like it since she would be around people her own age with similiar interest and ailments. I do not mean that you have not provided proper care for your Mother, no one could provide more love than you have, but you have limits, care facilities are equipped to deal with whatever the need is. Here is the prayer I say often, "Lord help me to help my stupid self." Try it, if nothing else, it will make you smile. Oh, yeah, one more thing, find something that makes you laugh, an old movie or cartoon or watching dogs in the dog park, whatever, and then have yourself a really good belly laugh, one that makes it hard to breath. Then you will know you are alive and that your life is worth living. God Bless you soul sister!
Helpful Answer (10)

First of all, the fact that mom stays up later than you do.....I'd ask for a mild sleeping pill for her. If she has a modest income, there are agencies that will send a caregiver for an hour or two either daily or a few days a week. At least you can get out and do something for yourself for those few hours. As for your son living there, he can help out somewhat, even if an hour at a time, especially if he and the child are living there rent free. I agree with the previous posters, you need to seek help to deal with your situation. It appears that not only your parent, but your son are emotionally blackmailing you. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (9)

With helping your mother for five years now, you've done far more than I knew I could ever do for my mom. My mom is in a beautiful residential care home with five other seniors and waited on hand and foot. She just broke her ankle this week which makes her care much more difficult. Please call your local senior social services and find out your options. My husband's mother was also in the same type care home situation with very little money. They will analyze your mother's financial situation and help you with placement. There are many more options these days than in the past for quality senior care. You must take care of yourself at this time. I know I would never want my children to feel like they had no choice but to care for me and be this desperate. Hugs to you.
Helpful Answer (8)

You feel as if you're burning the candle at both ends because you ARE burning the candle at both ends - and in the middle too! No wonder you can't see where to start.

I sympathise with how vulnerable you feel financially. There I'm in a similar position, but that's because I can't both work and look after my mother, and I've chosen to do the latter: I don't have additional family responsibilities, and I don't have a mother who expects me to wait on her hand and foot and take no time for myself. In my case everything I do is voluntary: it's not the same as the extreme pressure you're under.

In your place, here's the order I'd do things in:

1. Contact your local social services and find out what kind of support and financial help your mother might be entitled to, and what might be available to help you as her carer, too.
2. Put your CV together. Scan the internet, local papers, notices in shops, etc etc for job opportunities that would interest you. Leave your CV with suitable employment agencies. Start small if you prefer - even a part-time job, even one that you're hugely overqualified for, would still give you a schedule, get you out of the house, and put a little bit of your own money in your pocket - it would boost your morale beyond measure.
3. Remember that you are the lynchpin of this household. You are the person who holds it all together. Therefore your time needs take priority. Your mother probably won't like it. Well, tough. It's your decision, not hers, and you will still make sure that no harm will come to her.
4. Similarly with the family timetable. Someone needs to co-ordinate it and see how it's going to work best for everyone, and it should be you who calls the shots. I'm not one who thinks it suddenly becomes ok to tell your mother what time to get up, eat her meals and go to bed - she's not a child; but there needs to be compromise and your mother will have to give and take just as you do. My mother's a night owl, too; I could still do with her going to bed an hour earlier than she likes to - but so far I've wheedled her down from one in the morning to around about eleven at night, and I'm working on it.

Of course, I don't know how much help your mother needs with getting ready for bed. Is it actually unsafe for her to do it for herself, or just a matter of things not being done perfectly? If the latter, stand your ground, tell her you're going to bed at x:00 pm and she either gets ready before then or she's on her own. If the former: this is sneaky, but try getting her up earlier, making her a warm drink an hour or so before bed time (no DON'T put a slug of brandy in it - however tempting!), just subtly shifting the timetable towards more humane hours.

This is a FAMILY - everyone has to pull together. As head of the family now, it's for you to make sure they do.

And above all, stop pretending you don't have needs. You do. And they are NEEDS. Which means if they don't get their fair share of attention the whole house of cards will sooner or later collapse. Hope some part of this helps, good luck x
Helpful Answer (8)

First, I am so sorry you are in this situation. You clearly have a kind heart and are a caring and compassionate person. My late aunt once gave me great advice. She said self-caring is not selfish. You deserve a better life for yourself, and you can't keep going like this. Your antidepressant may need to be checked or changed. However, these medications work on biochemical changes in the brain. Your depression is due to the situation in which you find yourself. Your son is not helping, and it sounds as though you are also helping to care for your grandchild. In order to survive, please call your local social services agency or elder care or contact your local senior center for advice on referrals. Please call your mother's doctor and ask for help. He or she can give her an Rx to help her go to sleep earlier so you are not kept awake at all hours. She also should be evaluated for referrals to assisted living or a NH. I know you do not want to put her in a home, but she is truly emotionally blackmailing you, inflicting guilt on you and making you into her personal servant. You are depressed because anyone in this situation would be depressed. Please sit down and ask yourself the following questions: If your mother died tomorrow, how would you live? What kind of income would you have? Where would you live? Would you be able to sell your mother's house and live on that income? You might want to write down answers about your own future. Then, ask yourself how you can move forward to achieve your own goals. As people age, they can become very selfish and self-absorbed. Or, maybe your mother was always this way. I do not know. What I do know from your post is that you need support to make changes in your life. Depression can be paralyzing. Please try to find a good therapist as you need someone to support you, listen to you and help you to make changes. You are a person of value and self-worth. Please know you have my full support!
Helpful Answer (7)

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