I take care of my 90-year-old mom. I'm 56 and feel like my life is slipping away. How can I balance my social life and her care?

Follow
Share

I love my mother very much and it breaks my heart to see her declining every day. I have always had a tendency to give her my all and ignore my needs in my personal life. I am 56 years of age and feel as if my life is slipping away. I am single, with no children. How can I balance being her caretaker and my personal social life without feeling guilty with time away from her?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
27

Answers

Show:
I read your post and the first thing I wondered about was your mom. Is she able to stay by herself for short periods? I felt the same way you do when I was caring for my dad in my home. I was in my early 40's and needed some kind of outlet. I couldn't sit around all day in case my dad decided to walk down the 2 steps into the den or in case he had a bout of incontinence. Of course, we both know there's more to caregiving than that but at the time I felt that my dad could stay by himself for several hours. I decided to do volunteer work and I committed about 8 hours a week to it. It got me up, it was something scheduled that I had planned, and it got me out of the house.

I don't know about you but it's very easy for me to isolate so I had to force myself to have lunch with a friend occasionally or do other social activities. Purely for my sanity. I went back to church.

But my dad was able to stay by himself for short periods of time. Your mom may not be able to. It depends upon that.

But as able as my dad was, one morning while I was at my volunteer job he fell and laid there for hours before I got home. I had tried to call him when I was done at the job and he didn't answer. I thought me might be in the bathroom or something. He was very hard of hearing. But when I got home all the lights were off and there was no sign that my dad had been up and I knew I'd find him on the floor. And I did. This is the event that put him into a nursing home. And as I write this a part of me wants to feel totally responsible. It was MY fault that my dad laid there on the floor all morning. Had I been home that wouldn't have happened. But the other part of me knows that I could not be shackled to that house day in and day out and have no outside contact. Even my dad had social activities he enjoyed! I was not wrong in wanting that for myself and neither are you.

Without knowing your mom's condition I would strongly encourage you to get out and be a part of life. If you're anything like me, isolation begets more isolation. The more I stay home in my cocoon the more I want to stay home in my cocoon. Call a friend and have lunch. Donate some time to a worthy cause that you feel strongly about. Join a church. Put yourself in situations where you're around other people.

I was a caregiver to my dad for over 5 years. He died in May and I'm still trying to regain my balance, socially and emotionally. This site helps. I'm glad you're here, benson.
Helpful Answer (22)
Report

In response to your post about "Your life slipping away". I felt that way also for many years. Twenty two of them to be exact. In my case my mother is not nice. She was anything but supportive when I needed it the most. How my dad put up with her for 64 years, I have no idea. She is VERY selfish and stubborn and 95 yrs. old. I am being blamed for her ailments and why she is in a nursing home now along with my dad. Balancing work, home and parents is the hardest work you will ever do. Especially if distance travelling is required to care for their constant needs and requests. I started a crochet sweater in 07 to keep me from going insane when I took 4 months off work to care for my mother while my dad was in the hospital again. I helped me focus on something else other than my mother being difficult and treating me like dirt. After I was back home and dad was back home I put the sweater away because when ever I looked at it, it reminded me of those 4 terrible months I spent catering to her every need and got no thanks what so ever. This summer I pulled the sweater out and finished it. It's now is a monument to self preservation and the only good thing that came out of that year. There will be many hurdles to conquer. My parents are safe and cared for and I don't have the constant worry about my mother being on the floor all night because she fell out of bed again. I am an only child and now 58 yrs. old and I have no children as well. Be glad if your mother appreciates you. Mine doesn't and never will.
Good luck and put yourself first. It's a hard call but you have to. I was told this by the nursing home case worker. Put any guilt you have aside. You can only do so much.
Anksana-Moon
Helpful Answer (14)
Report

Someone said to me... it's all about perspective.

When you look back on this time in your life, you may consider it the greatest blessing of your whole life. I would suggest that you look on the internet for the things people accomplished later in life.

I think it was Grandma Moses, a very, very famous painter, who started painting at age 60 ish. I've been thinking about how nice it would be now to pick up a paintbrush and how simple. Laura Ingles, (don't quote me on accuracy) wrote Little House on the Prairie in her mid 60s. Roget (of Roget's Thesaurus) published that around age 70 and then added to it until he was in his 90s.

Those and other things are amazing to me.

My mom used to say, stay in the positive. Lay down only positive thoughts and experiences on your brain. Read good books, watch uplifting TV and movies. Look at a blade of grass or a flower and marvel at it. Each day, something positive can build up our brains to happy and fruitful lives. We can find something positive in every thing... for example, look at your current situation as a challenge, a great puzzle to be solved. Think of yourself as a mystery detective and search for clues to solve the challenge. Like a great skier tackling a steep hill, it's not easy... but it can be fun and exhilarating.

When ever I'm feeling down and doing something I don't want to be doing, I stop and think if it's possible for me to look at it in a different more positive way. I take a shower, do my hair and a touch of makeup, put on clean clothes and a smile and start again.

Joel Osteen said one day, we have all that we need right now. So, on that day, I took a look around and started to dig out the basement. I know there is a pony in there somewhere!
Helpful Answer (13)
Report

Eyerishlass, I need to reply to you first - good post, and good strategies and perspective. And lying on the floor is not the worst experience - it can be a calm time! I knew a manager of a small company in the small town where I used to live - he took care of his mother, who lived nearby, but also worked. He was a really nice and kind man, and loved his mother, and she said this arrangement, living alone at home, in the same town as he worked, was what she wanted. He went home every lunch hour. AND, here's the part - several times, he found her on the floor. And when he had talked with her about that, doubting the safety of this arrangement, she insisted, very surely, that this was no big deal to her. She knew she would just lie there and wait for him, because she knew he was coming soon enough. I had to laugh a little, at this odd arrangement between the two of them. Of course, we don't want anyone who has fallen to lie in pain - but lying on the floor is not as bad to the person, as it looks to someone arriving, for when you arrive you fear the worst. But if there is not a big pain injury, after you've fallen, staying still on the floor can be OK. In my elder care work, I've had a patient slide to the ground, not often, but when they do, before helping them up, I might sit on the floor with them, as they regain their energy to use as they get up, slowly and strategically, with my help. I might put a pillow under them, so they can rest and relax. And sitting there with them, I've found we are both relaxed - no more danger of falling, we are sitting on the floor! So don't think it was the worst! In the book, My Mother, Your Mother, slow medicine, the MD author also talks of the calm he achieves by sitting on the floor with his fallen mother.
Helpful Answer (10)
Report

Quick note also Bensen - Eyerishlass had good strategies - put some measure of important activities into your breaks - depends on what time intervals you can find. Resting is important in between, but if you can also find some activity that will help prepare you to meet some future goals, you can progress slowly too. I used to read when I had down time, including some reading towards a future goal, as well as relaxed reading. I know the panic, after years of caregiving, feeling that one's life is slipping away, and I'm glad my caregiving has let up for now, so I can pursue new paths - and THAT task is complicated, draining and challenging and takes lots of exploration. I'm glad I learned first the value of slowing down, in my elder care times. You might be able to take one adult ed or other class - or can add in some work that helps in some other area of your life (do the sewing projects or organizing projects, bit by bit - bring your ironing board over, learn makeup techniques.... whatever you think will support your later changes) - and you can feel that you are actually, in small ways, preparing yourself for the time - which will come all too soon when your mom won't be there with you. You will find you do not regret this special time you have set aside to be with your mom. Best gift in the world, opportunity for some experiences you could not get otherwise, and if you make that the best quality you can, you won't regret it. I don't - whatever life I have next, I learned a whole lot about love and attention, care and laughter, in my years of working with elders and love and human uniqueness in years of helping my brother.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

My goodness sweetie you sound so much like myself, I have done nothing but dedicate my entire life to taking care of others and always put myself in the back seat. And although you are trying your best to do anything possible to keep them happy and safe it is unhealthy for you. You need to take care of yourself, you need friends that are willing to listen to you vent and not take offence or judge you. You are to young to get caught up in a non social life. The more that you withdraw from outside life the worst it is going to get. You are no good to your mom when you are so caught up in your own emotions. You so need to get respite care in to give you some very much needed personal time for your social and your very emotional wellbeing. The longer you let this go the worse it will get for you, even if you go sit in a park read a book it is a step. I try to setup a spa day for myself once a week, even though I do it at home it is for me, all me where I take time to pamper myself. Try it, it is a great way to relax and get rid of the stressors in your life. Don't close yourself off cause mom will move on and you will be caught up in this same rut if you don't take charge of it now. Very best of luck to you. Hugs & Hugs
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I'll be short...please put yourself on your "list".
Even if it is only to take one hour of every day and get out
shopping, exercising etc. Keep in touch with your friends and family
even if you only have time to send a quick email.
One day your mom will no longer be there. You will have alot of time to do more
things as you once did, but you should always make your life and your health equally as important as you are making hers!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I agree that you have to make yourself do your own self care because no one else will do it for you. Some other ideas are you can set time apart to get together with your social friends at the same time your mother is spending time with her friends. This is a good thing to do at church. My mom goes to her church and I go to mine. A full time job will be important to support yourself once your loved one goes and if you want to get married then it is important to get back into the dating game. Maybe Aging Care. com can have a section for singles who are in caregiver roles and possibly are looking for special someone to communicate back and forth and lead to a dating relationship.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I read your post from your mother's point of view. My daughter will be 56 when I'm 90. She's an only child, too. I want her to love me and look out for me, but I want her to have a life of her own for when I'm gone. Your mother may be frail and afraid these days, but I think she also wants you to be happy now and happy later.

My daughter is just home from college, and I'm noticing that I want her to get out of the house more because I like time for myself. She needs to start her life, not remain attached to loving but soon-to-be elderly parents.

Please push yourself to get out and get a life now. That is what your younger, healthier mother would want for you - your happiness.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

My grandpa is 91 years old and he has dementia. I take him to adult daycare 1-3 times per week. I am also a single mother to a young son so I have to balance being a caregiver to grandpa and being a mother to my little boy. Adult daycare is a lifesaver for both caregiver and loved one. I got the adult daycare suggestion from this website. So I encourage you to take your mom to adult daycare. If mom has medicaid, call her medicaid and ask for any "respite" programs and adult daycare programs that they will pay for. Respite programs funded by medicaid, they give you a voucher so you can use for when you need respite and they watch mom for you. My grandpa's medicaid pays for up to 5 days a week for his adult daycare so hopefully where you are located they pay the same.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions