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how can we get help at home for an elderly lady that can't do anything for herself and can't stand or walk
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how can we get help at home for an elderly lady that can't do anything for herself and can't stand or walk
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I am new to this site, but one thing I have learned is I am not alone. Like you said as you head for your Mother's home you can think you are not the only one doing this. My husband says "what else are we to do". Like I said he and his sister are taking care of his mother. She is just fine mentally and is in great health but had a stroke 2 1/2 years ago and can not use her left side, so someone needs to be there 24/7. I started out helping 3 days a week but soon realized this is harder than I thought, then went to 1 night and everyother weekend. after a year my mother got that she could not be at home alone and she moved in with us until the personal care home could take her. I still went to my mother inlaws every Wednesday evening to give my sister inlaw a break and then my husband comes to relieve me at 8:30 and he spends the night. We do this for 6 months until Mother goes to the personal care home. I never went back to helping more than Wednesday evenings as I needed to give my Mother more attention. I started going to see My Mother on Fridays after work and spent the evening with her as my husband would stop at his mothers fix her supper and spend the night with her. Now she has many pee and poopy accidents that he has had to clean. I guess I get so frustrated about this, she has money for extra help and she does have a girl come in 2 days a week. But that is only 64 hours a month what about the other 1000 hours someone needs to be there. Any way my mother did not want to stay at the home and is back in her own little home. I am glad she is home but is not to well but is able to be alone for the most, I still go on Fridays and a few friends check on her. Through all this boo hooing I am doing. Would you believe, My favorite hymn is 'It is well with my Soul' An I do believe it and am comforted by this hymn. Also we have a 37 year old son that has sufferd with depression off and on for 20 years. He lives with us and has been going through a bad time and has not worked for the last year. Thank you for letting me write all this down and someone out there cares and understands.
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My mother is 91 and lives alone. I call her every night and take her to the grocery store and on errands on Sunday. I also do minor repairs around her house and write the checks for her bills.

I also am exhausted, mostly from the tedium of her personality. She says the same things over and over and over. I've heard it all before so many times. I want to scream.

It's good to know other daughters are experiencing the same burnout. I wish I had a solution. But all I can give is solidarity. We have to do it because it is the ethical thing to do and there's no one else.

I'll think about you ladies when I get in my car on Sunday and head over to my mother's house. It's not just me who has the onerous task.

God bless us all.
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I am also an only child and care for my mother, same as you she lives alone, I go every friday after work. I get her groceries help her with a shower and dishes from most of the week. she tries to do some of them or at least put in dish washer. She has a lady once a month clean her house and change her sheets and some friends from church stop most sunday afternoons, they take the garbage with them. It is working at this time. But she did spend 6 months with us and 1 month in rehab and 3 months in a personal care home and now back to her town house, I felt like all I did was move last year. In the mean time my husband is helping to take care of his mother after having a stroke in Feb. 2007, he and his sister are taking care of her. He spends 3 nights one week and 4 nights the next week.He also works full time, this time of out lives are not fun. So many folks are in our shoes, I am a christian woman and am having a hard time with my feelings. Also My dad is 82 and living on his own. Mother and Dad got a divorce in 1962, In this day and age is so bad in a nursing home? We have several good ones in our area. I know my mom did not like it at the personal care home. I guess home is the best. But!!!
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Dysfunction runs in families for reasons - and now they are finding that there is a genetic link to all sorts of mental illness. Its not just heart disease and diabetes that runs in families. I am encouraged to see that there seems to be no stigma on this board about admitting mental illness is in their families since so many are coping with the social problems created by mental illness as they struggle to care for their parents. Good for you gals
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Dear Jenny, I like your emphasis on grace. God bless you, and hope you find your well-deserved rest. Take care, and let us know how it went.
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Thanks re: the well wishes for a relaxing Sunday. Hopefully I can let go of the guilt long enough to enjoy the time. I have work to do this weekend, so that's another good reason that I need to stay home. I need to keep my job, and stuff won't get done once the parade of meetings starts back in again Monday morning.

I think mental issues are far more common than anyone suspects. And I think they just become exaggerated with age.

I think if you're able to think about bad behavior or negativity in the following light—it's not mother, it's her disease that's talking—that can help. But it's hard not to get sucked into all the things that go along with the disease sometimes. It's hard to take the high road and let things roll off your back all the time.

The fact that you're willing to help your mother and that you are, in fact, dealing with all of this on top of the normal rigors of caregiving is something for you to feel good about even though you may not always feel good or chipper while you're doing it.

I spoke to a friend of mine recently about some of the guilt, anger, and resentment that sometimes go along with caregiving and was beating myself up over it. She pointed out that despite all that, I was still continuing to do the right, admireable thing and take care of my mother the best I could.

So the lesson I'm going to hold onto today is that it's okay that I feel somewhat angry and resentful. And that is coming from not taking enough time out for myself. So I'm taking tomorrow off and I'm not going to feel guilty about it. It wouldn't be smart for me to go over there tomorrow given the way I'm feeling--I fear I'd say a few things that I couldn't take back. Sometimes we just have to walk away for awhile so that we're able to continue with the caregiving and be in the right emotional spot to do it with grace, willingness, and all the high-minded motivations that would be nice to feel all the time.
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Dear Jenny, thank you for the laugh! Lord forbid you should get run over by a bus, indeed. Or any of us. Who would care for us? And thank God for wits. LOL

Wow, is the whole world mad? I mean, with all these mental diagnosis? I wonder how they label me?

Happy to hear your progress report on Mom. It's got to be tough to be nudged from the familiar into the unknown by others. Seems like comfort zones need emspansion and revision for all of us at times. Take care. Hope you have a blessed Sunday this week and some much needed rest.
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Thank you SecretSister for all your insight and kind thoughts. I know that my mom is unable to do some things--including packing. Like your mom, she has expressed a desire to move. And that is the long-term plan: to move her into my same apartment complex on a ground-level apartment. The problem is that my time is limited on the weekends, and getting over there during the week is nearly impossible. So if she could hire someone to have this basic, routine stuff done, I could start helping her pack. But by the time I get done with all the basics, it's time for me to go home. Maybe that's the way I'll have to spell it out for her.

She has recently made phone calls to set up services for other things (e.g. transportation for appointments, etc.). And when she finally realized that I couldn't get over there during the week to pick up refills for her 25 medications (don't know exact number), she finally took my suggestion after a social worker told her the same thing (with a nudge from me): Make some phone calls and find a pharmacy that delivers. So she has made some progress, but it usually has to come from someone else. Or I've had to stress that she needs a Plan B. Some weeks I won't be able to get over there. And Lord forbid that I get run over by a bus. She'd have no one to buy groceries or do those other things for her. But I bet she'd figure it out if she had to.

Fortunately, she still has her wits about her and her mind is still as sharp as a tack. In fact, she has a better memory than I do. So it's not that she's not capable of making the phone calls, it's just that she hasn't really had to like she did with the prescriptions. So my not going over there tomorrow will force the issue, I'm hoping.

I am sorry to hear about your mom's personality disorder diagnosis. That's a tough thing to deal with, and I admire the fact that you're able to be so patient with it. Sometimes it's hard to separate what's directed at us, and what simply comes from the disease. I've long suspected that my mom is undiagnosed bipolar, and in fact, had a nurse recently tell me that she suspected the same thing. So caregiving with that added condition that you describe is that much more difficult--especially since these things generally don't improve with age.

Hang in there, and thanks for the hug. :-)
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One more thought, how can they respect us if we don't respect ourselves? I mean, if we forgo all pleasure, and become dull and angry, and don't care enough about ourselves to care for our own emotional and physical needs, why would/should someone else? And even if they don't, and we do, at least someone is caring for us. LOL And even if they never do care about us as much as themselves, we can care for us and them, by setting boundaries that are good for each. And I've decided I need some joy in every day. So that's the plan. Thanks for your compliment, but please give the credit to God. If I say something wrong, you can place the blame on me.
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You know, jennygc, (or should I say jenny?). I was thinking. Maybe your Mom can't make that telephone call. Maybe she's stuck. Maybe she doesn't know who to call, or is scared. Maybe she needs some suggestions. Maybe she doesn't understand her own needs. Or maybe she is embarrassed. I don't know. It's only a hunch. Maybe she needs you more than you know.

My Mom told me she knew she needed to move out of her home of 52 years. (Dad had recently been placed in a Nursing Home last summer.) But Mom couldn't do anything for herself. She didn't pack a thing! I kept thinking, how rude, or lazy, or thoughtless... But someone suggested that Mom couldn't, is why she didn't. And that's why she let things go in the house, and piles accumulate. She just couldn't even make the simplest decisions. I think depression does that to people. So, perhaps it could be that way for your Mom.

I can't say I'm comfortable setting boundaries. I am just beginning to learn about it. I know I've heard of it for a long time. I used to read about co-dependency, and not "get it." I think I was stuck there. But here, I've learned from some of the other ladies and gentlemen who post. As they share their experience, strengths and hope, it encourages me to try. I think you'll find that, too. I think I've learned a little, but feel I have a long way to go. Moms can push our buttons, you know.

Mine was recently diagnosed as having a "Personality Disorder." I'm not too convinced about that, exactly. If being selfish is a "disorder," then we're all "sick" sometimes. But I was told by her physician that she won't like me setting limits, but to do it anyway, and that she can't. He said I have to do it for her. Sick, scared, or whatever, sometimes they, and we need help. And I got tired of her anger and bitterness and complaining. But I'm it for Mom. No one else can help like I can, who is able or willing. (I could hire someone, but would care like I do, and who would watch them???) So I decided that I'd find a way to do what had to be done, and wouldn't let her destroy me emotionally while I'm doing it. No sense giving her the power over my emotions. Seeking answers reaps benefits. And those who have "been there done that" know more than me, like some on these threads. What a wonderful place to find answers, encouragement, support, and get a hug or two now and then! What joy!

So, try some things, till you find what works for you. I pray you'll be as surprised as I am some days. It has been beneficial in the short amount of time I've practiced. But each situation is different. And I pray not to become embittered, harsh, angry, or resentful. I get short tempered easily when I'm tired, so I do much better when rested. We have to get some. I ask God for help, because he made us and knows us better than we know ourselves. And all wisdom comes from him. I ask God to help me forgive my Mom when I feel angry toward her. I ask for wisdom and discernment, and understand when things are tough and the way seems unclear. I ask sometimes for patience, and for grace. We love because he first loved us. And he loves us enough to teach us, and show us the way to go. Without him, I'd be lost, proud, arrogant, and selfish. He gives mercy and grace, joy and strength. We need these every day. Our loved ones need these things, too. Happy Caregiving!
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SecretSister, it sounds like you have learned a lot about setting boundaries and are comfortable doing that. I am more comfortable than I used to be, but it seems that I'm plagued by guilt when I do take time out for myself. My mom was in the hospital for a month and got used to pressing a button for services, etc. I'm very grateful I have help now, but shudder to think about what happens when Medicare no longer foots the bill for this stuff.

Anyway the following from your post is very helpful—especially about the fact that we are not hired help or serfs:

"My Mom's a "princess," but I am not a serf. I told her I have needs, too, and have limits. I love her, but not at the expense of my own health. I do get help for her, and tell her, sorry, but there's no discussion about it. I can't do it all, but here, here and here is what I'm willing to do. That I am not. And she can't, so if she wants it done, here are the options. (Give two alternatives and let her choose.) Be loving, but firm. And be consistent."


Tonight, after finding out that my mom still had not made any calls to inquire about additional help with these items, I just knew I couldn't go over there Sunday without being angry and resentful. It apparently doesn't matter to hear (or is going in one ear and out the other) that I am absolutely burned out. So it's better that I don't go over there this week.

It will become more of a priority for her to make the call and hire some occasional help once I'm not making myself as available. If this involved her time and the roles were reversed, she would have already made the phone call.
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Look at you, txmaggie! Participating already ~ I proud of you! So glad to "read." You're right to tell jennygc not to feel guilty. That is also easier said than done, but very important. This is the "permission place." We get to vent, cry, laugh, and unload all our troubles of the day. And our fellow caregivers understand. It's very cathartic writing it out, and bouncing ideas back and forth. And if we've done our best, and set some healthy limits and boundaries for ourselves and with our loved ones, it is a good day. Not always trouble-free, and never perfect. But good is enough, some days.

My Mom used to complain a lot more than she is now that I'm setting more boundaries. I let her know when she's reached my limit, and if it's too much, walk out. I don't deprive her of something she needs, but refuse to be a pin cushion when she's venting awful complaints to me, about me, etc. Yuk. I hang up the phone, or walk out the door. But I always check to make sure she's got milk, and medications, etc. My Mom's a "princess," but I am not a serf. I told her I have needs, too, and have limits. I love her, but not at the expense of my own health. I do get help for her, and tell her, sorry, but there's no discussion about it. I can't do it all, but here, here and here is what I'm willing to do. That I am not. And she can't, so if she wants it done, here are the options. (Give two alternatives and let her choose.) Be loving, but firm. And be consistent.

I've even gotten to the place where I tell her I will be gone from this time to that. I tell her to call if she needs something. And if she has an emergency, call 911. I mean, I'm not a nurse! I am a daughter, and I have a husband and a child. I am willing to help, but the wages are non-existent and she gets much more she pays for (so to speak). I need to live, too. I moved her out of a too big home, into an apartment in a senior complex, where she can go to potlucks, church, the hair dresser, or listen to musical groups come in. She loves it, and I don't have to be her entertainer or Social Director. She finds rides places from the other ladies, but I do her shopping and take her to Doctor appointments. I don't always want to, and at times let her take the bus. (It's free for seniors.) She doesn't like it, but beggars can't always be choosers. This gives her some independence, and freedom and flexibility. And it gives me a break. Some people go to the Senior Center for lunch, music programs, gentle exercise, etc. When she's not feeling well, she stays home in bed. I don't feel guilty about that; it would be the same for me if I were sick. And I wouldn't demand someone cater to me! Though, I am grateful for everything people do for me.

My mother was being very ugly to me. Always complaining, and such. I told her stop, and walked. My sister told her to stop. (That God for the moral backup!) And I tell Mom that things will go for her according to how well she treats me. I'm not being mean, but setting healthy boundaries. I am her legal Guardian, due to her mental condition, and she needs someone to help her with boundaries, because she doesn't know how to set them. Her judgment is failing and poor. So someone has to make the day to day difficult decisions. At first, I didn't know what I was doing. She was always so angry and combative. But I am learning to dodge and stand against the hurling insults and complaints. I too have short visits with Mom, because she's just not pleasant to be around most of the time. Funny. She goes out and does things with the ladies around her building. I doubt she treats them the way she treats me. (Or else they'd go away, wouldn't they?) Anyway, it's a deep valley and a steep climb, but we get stronger with practice and it gets easier with supportive friends. After some tough struggles, I am finally learning how to find joy in the journey. You will, too.
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Thank you so much for responding and listening. It helps just to talk about this to other people who understand.

I wish I was able to take a more active role in her finances—I'd do the same thing and spend it all on her! She is still very independent in many respects (and stubborn), so I will not step in until she needs me to. I do have power of attorney, though, so she knows she can ask me to help if needed.

I hope you get some rest tonight!
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I hear you about the money. Mom is 92 and lived through the depression, so parting with money is frightening for her. But after some strokes, loss of vision, problems writing (as in checks and bills), I handle her money now and I spend it on her! I can't imagine keeping your schedule, and you are right that each situation is different but still just as stressful to the caregiver trying to cope.

Anyway, take the time for yourself while you can and enjoy it. The world won't end if her trash doesn't get taken out, and if you live in a big enough town you can probably get groceries delivered to her house.

Hang in there! I'm off to get some much needed sleep but I'll be on tomorrow evening.
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Thanks re: not feeling guilty.

It sounds like you have more reason for burnout (especially since she lives with you), but I guess each situation is different and everything is relative.

Some weeks, like this one, I've just been run ragged at work. By Friday I'm too exhausted to do anything. Saturdays I usually end up running around and doing the necessary things for my household, and then Sundays I drive 40 min. each way and spend the better part of the day taking care of her household chores, etc. And then Monday rolls around and the workweek starts. It's like a treadmill I can't get off of.

So even though I feel guilty, I'm going to set aside some much-needed time for myself this weekend. She has listened to me express my burn-out for weeks now, and I keep asking when she plans to inquire around about help and hire someone for 2 to 3 hours a week. She's perfectly capable of making the phone call and she has the $$ to hire help, she is just refusing to do it for some reason.

So I guess she'll have to make her own decision based on my availability and what I'm able to do from here forward. I know that the care/responsibility is only going to increase from here, so while I can, I need to take time out for myself when I can and not feel guilty about it.

That's easier said than done, though.
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Don't feel guilty. We all need time for us, although I'm better at giving this advice than taking it. Mom lives in my house, but in her own separate apartment, so I can't get away as easily as you can (not to mention that she's too unsteady on her feet to leave her here alone). Mom also has the nurses etc, but my biggest concern for her is socialization. She's so ugly to me so often that I tend to avoid her or make the necessary visits very brief. She complains constantly that there isn't anyone to talk to, but when I took her to adult day care she hated it. My sister (who lives 2000 miles away and is no help) says mom has always complained and I might as well get used to it!
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Don't feel guilty. We all need time for us, although I'm better at giving this advice than taking it. Mom lives in my house, but in her own separate apartment, so I can't get away as easily as you can (not to mention that she's too unsteady on her feet to leave her here alone). Mom also has the nurses etc, but my biggest concern for her is socialization. She's so ugly to me so often that I tend to avoid her or make the necessary visits very brief. She complains constantly that there isn't anyone to talk to, but when I took her to adult day care she hated it. My sister (who lives 2000 miles away and is no help) says mom has always complained and I might as well get used to it!
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I can relate. My mom does have outside help coming in for physical therapy, etc. through Visiting Nurses, but she simply will not budge on getting outside help with other things that I'm having to do every weekend (grocery shopping, taking out trash, laundry, errands, and on and on). I am an only child and there is no other support from family. I'm it.

I just got off the phone with her and asked her if she has made any calls about this (I've been asking for weeks). Nothing. In fact, when I asked about it again she said it was too upsetting, said she didn't want to talk about it tonight, and hung up. I waited a few minutes, called her back, and told her I needed a break this weekend and that I wasn't going to be able to come on Sunday. I told her I would come if she absolutely needed me to, but that I desperately need a break. She said she was okay with it. But now I'm feeling guilty because the laundry won't get done, the trash won't get taken out, and the groceries won't get purchased. I have concluded that she's perfectly content to have me continue to do everything without help. So if she's okay with me taking an occasional weekend off, that's okay. If not, maybe it will motivate her to finally hire help.

Having said all this, I feel guilty now.
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