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My 92 yr old mother is constantly distressed over medicine (the pharmacies do kinda lame things) and $, and I am the only child. I can't take this much anymore.

When Daddy died in 2006, I finally got Mommy in an independent senior living home (which is just lovely, with wonderful staff and residents - not that she has ever tried to socialize - residents know me much more than her - I still don't understand how people can just drop their parents off never come to see them) about two blocks down the street from me. I quit my job for a few months after Daddy died to take care of Mommy & get her settled. I did more than good. Got another job for several years and then had to quit in order to give Mommy pretty much 24/7 attention. I then fell into a deep depression & went to a phsyciatrist for meds & such. Haven't worked in two years. Money is running out and so is Mommy, in my opinion. I've got to get another job & it's just not looking good. Mommy has made me promise since I was about 6 yrs old that I would never put her in a nursing home. She has fallen a couple of times and had to go to rehab. She can't bear to have someone else share her room & one time they moved her to the pyschiatric ward so that she could have private room. That was the time that a woman came into her room, raising her cane, told Mom she was evil & tried to wack her. It's hard to get her to even consider going to a nursing home - especially because of that - but she is getting weaker & weaker. Her muscles in her legs just won't support her anymore & she gets dizzy all the time. The geriatric doctors at Emory aren't much help. They just keep giving her drugs (or taking them away) and she says they make her feel worse. I guess there's nothing that they can really do anymore. I've got to get a job & get a sense of feeling productive in life again. Thank God for my friends. I'm sorry I'm rambling, but I just had another episode today (her calling me up & crying while I was working for a friend to get some kind of $) & then tonight she called complaining about her medicine ( the NEW pharmacy kinda made a mistake) & I JUST WANT TO DIE!!! (except then Mommy & my cat would have no one) She's confused & scared & thinks her doctors are quacks. But sometimes I just have to say "Mommy you are 92 yrs old! That's what's wrong!

I'm at a loss. Any words of wisdom, my fellow brothers and sister?

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Ferris 1 is right. I think there is a serious underlying problem. Does your mother ask you to call her mommy? It sounds like she is controlling you and has been grooming you since you were 6 years old to be her caregiver when she got old. Maybe she has always had a fear of abandonment. Even if it was her plan, you weren't put on this earth to live solely to take care of her. Stop feeling guilty and get a life of your own. Not saying you have to abandon her but she doesn't have to be your whole life either. I hope you find peace and happiness in your life.
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I feel your pain, Wendy! I, too, am caring for my 95 YO mother, who is still able to live in her home a couple of blocks from me. Her good health is both a blessing & a curse, as she does not qualify for any in-home assistance, but since i am the only daughter living near, it is all on me. I have been caring for her since my stepdad passed away 6 yrs ago. I am 74 yo myself - with upcoming joint replacement surgery, & my dear husband passed away last Jan. This has been probably the hardest year of my life, and i am just simply physically & emotionally exhausted! I have found a Grief support group, which has been a tremendous help-- i only wish i had found out about it sooner! .Like you, i do not see any way out, & it is sucking the life out of me. Fortunately, i have wonderful children in the area, and an amazing church family/friends. I also have a really strong faith in God, which is my biggest support.
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Wendy, I'm so sorry you are alone in this. First I'm concerned about you. You did not mention how old you were. But by your mothers age you are nearing or should be retiring. I would remind your mother of that, that you also have to look out for your future. I'm fortunate my mother always had said she did not want us having to take care of her, but she also said she did not want to go to a nursing home. But she would prefer that over us sacrificing our future. So don't blame her in statements you make but mention and discuss with her how it's effecting you and your future. Most mothers don't want their kids to sacrifice or hurt themselves financially. I'm sure you have "repaid" any "obligation" to her by now for her raising you (that's why they think it's OK to ask so much). God Bless
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Sometimes tough love is the only solution. I have a very independent mom who insists on doing everything for herself and cant. I had to say to her that you are no longer able to do the things you are used to, its hard but I love you and will help you accept this. I just made the decisions and she had to get used to it. However it is such a burden on my heart because my mom and I are best friends and did everything together, travelled together, spent awesome amounts of time together camping, going out for drinks and supper and laughing all the time. never was there a dull moment with my mom. Now shes dying, she knew it before, but as her illness has progressed doesnt even realize where she really is and what to do. Sometimes my dear, you DO have to take the bull by the horns, be kind, loving and supportive and make the decisions you have to. Dont let your mom bully you by crying, just cry yourself with her and tell her why, how and how much you are sorry that that had to happen to her. Blame it on the docs, but always tell her how much you love her and will do anything within your power to help. She has to realize you mean well, but is preying on your emotions, I know its so hard but stick to your guns and I am positive she will eventually come around and say she loves you, even if she doesnt think she does right now. Trust me, if she is a good woman and great mom it will happen.
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Wendy: My mother did the same exact thing to me and I promised her and Dad that i would never do it. I did not know what I was promising because many times there are medical problems and issues that arise, that we have no control over and we can no longer keep those promises even though we wish we could. You have been a good daughter and tried to care for your Mom the best you can. If you can no longer care for Mom, you want to make sure she is cared for even if that means putting her into a nursing home where the professionals can care for her, possibly better than you can at this time.

I also know what you mean about losing your life....I am in the same exact spot! I began having panic and anxiety attacks due to being cooped up all the time! I am trying to break free......I feel for you!
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I see your use of Mommy as your special word of endearment and not a sign of immaturity. I am glad you DON"T say "what is wrong is that you are 92 years old" - aging is not a disease, living longer increases your odds to GET disease and for your body and soul to just wear down... sometimes out. There are 92 year olds who don't have as many problems as some at age 70. I'm sorry, that's MY rant, not your problem. I hear your frustrations, and you are wise, you are doing everything right in my opinion. These are bad times, and she will feel better soon. She may plateau into a peaceful acceptance and if not, you are doing all you can. You need to hang on. I can understand why is not up for making new friends. I believe that we are able learn less and less as our brains age and so if we can't remember details of a new person, how can we ever become new friends? Comfort her with memories when you can. Remind of the comforts around her that are due to her own (and yours) efforts around her and that it is time to appreciate the fruits of her own memories. And appreciate nature and its gifts. No need to worry about vanity or money any more, that's one small benefit of aging! Just enjoy each other's company and love. Don't forget to actually enjoy being with her, don't be there just out of duty. I think she will be able to tell and she will know she still has value to you at least.
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Always so pleasant and uplifting......sigh.
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Wendy, you first have to take care of yourself, if you don't you have nothing to give to your mother or anyone else. Taking are of yourself is not selfish.
I was at a caregivers workshop last Saturday and this type of problem was covered several times. A promise made in these cases depends on the situation staying manageable. You situation is not manageable as you promised not now. So you have to do what is manageable, get medical advice and follow that, if it calls for a Nursing Home, that is what she gets. I also suggest that you find a Counselor for you to help you over the bumps and to get your thinking on whats best for everyone not what you mother thinks she wants. As stated by several others roles are reversed now, You are the one in charge. By all means do not take your mothers demands personal. She is not well and sickness is not rational. As a Elder Care Attorney, I give this same suggestion to many children of my clients.
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Wendy, how old are you? You are still calling your mother "Mommy" and the stress of her complaints want to make you die? Go back to your psychiatrist and tell him/her how anxious all of this stress is making you. With the right diagnosis you will be eligible to receive social security disability. I am sorry you are having a difficult time, but most of us caregiving a loved one have your thoughts, but we just hang in there.
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Wendy, I want to offer you hope. Nursing homes are NOT what they used to be even just 5 short years ago! Nowadays there are multilevel care companies that are luxurious and offer all levels of services to residents, so transitioning from independent living to assisted living and even to memory care or nursing care, is not a big deal because all levels of care have the same types of facilities and are furnished luxuriously. The only difference is you get more care and more care. Please look into this type of facility for your mother and make a move. You will be glad you did!

I was amazed, since my most recent experience with nursing homes had been with my aunt who was in a traditional nursing home until her death in 2000. When I went to look for a place for my parents, after my mother was diagnosed with dementia, I found out how extraordinary new facilities are with multiple restaurants, gyms, pools, dog parks, and nice apartments for the residents. The residents all have keys to their rooms, so only the staff can come in the room unless the resident leaves their door unlocked. This is true of all levels of care. This is drastically different from anything I had ever seen before!

I think that you will feel better when you get out and look at these facilities for your mom. Then you will realize that she can have a wonderful life no matter what amount of care she needs. When you move her, instead of allowing her to hang out in her room, when you visit, act as her concierge and take her to events at the new residence and introduce her to other people who live there. Then leave immediately after the event is over so that your mother can socialize with her peers.

You promised not to put your mother in a traditional nursing home, so don't. Put her in a multi-level care facility. Here is an example of one such company: Sunrise Senior Living - which is nationwide in the US and in Canada and the UK.
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Many excellent answers here. I think #1 is to find out if any of her meds are causing weakness & dizziness. Alzheimer's meds, blood pressure meds, anxiety meds - lots of them can cause that. If her doctor doesn't seem to be doing right, ask for recommendations of someone else to see. If the pharmacy is making mistakes, get another one! I have seen many parents make their children promise not to put them in the nursing home. Can't blame them for wanting this, but that is so naive as neither one understands the ramifications of that promise. If that's what they REALLY want, then they should have started preparing for it many years ago - investing, savings accounts, insurance policies, etc. As much as I myself would not ever want to go to a nursing home, I would never make my children promise that as the financial and mental burden would be too much for them to bear. And above all, the caregiver needs to be taken care of too. Perhaps look for a part time job that would be open to time off if there is an emergency with her and that could work into full time after she's gone. You desperately need time for yourself - where she cannot contact you! Look for support groups, join a club or church, join a bowling league - anything that will get you away for several hours at a time with friends you can talk to - and turn your phone off during that time! If she is in an independent living situation, she could possibly go to an assisted living facility before thinking of a nursing home. They still have some independence there, but also have staff to monitor, provide meals, provide help with bathing & dressing if that's needed, etc. And they are usually much nicer than nursing homes. But, if it comes down to needing full care at NH, then so be it. Help her find the nicest one she can get, and let her know that there is no other option but you will still see her often. Good luck and take care of YOURSELF too!
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I am new to this board, but feel your pain and frustration. I am so burned out. My mom is 77 and has steadily gone downhill over the last five years since my Dad died. I am an only child so it makes it more difficult. Mom is very dependent of me. I do all grocery shopping, cooking etc. I get frustrated as she sits at home all day saying she worked so hard while I work for a hospital supervising 10 people a day. My life is on hold - I have no life and have no energy to have a life. Her drinking has impacted me to drink as I need an out and I just want to start over. I know it sounds horrible, but I just want to be free. I stand to inherit quite a bit when she is gone so I just deal with it, but it's hard when you have no support. Some days I just want to punch a wall - I had some happiness but my boyfriend left me about a year ago due to other issues. Its hard to be alone when dealing with this. Sometimes I wonder what I did in life to deserve what I got. Hugs to you :)
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Wendy,

I too promised my dad that I would never put him in a nursing home and I meant it. However, I had no idea how bad things could get or how overwhelmed I would become caring for him. My two hands were simply not enough, he needed more care that I couldn't provide. I felt horrible about it but he had to go into a NH. It wasn't his first choice or mine but we do what we have to do and I didn't sweat too much over that promise to him. I had the best of intentions when I made it but I was naïve.

Your mom holding you to a promise you began making when you were 6 is very unfair to you. I'm sure as the years went on she coaxed that promise out of you again and again but you had no clue what you were promising. I'm sure your mom never meant for you to put her needs and well being ahead of your own. Our elderly parents have no idea what we go through which is one reason we all come to this site to be together.

If you make your mom the center of your world you will be left with nothing when she's gone. Get a job. Be with friends. Create a life for yourself now while you can.
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Your roles have been reversed - you are now in the parent role and your mother is the child role, needing care and direction. Do you call her Mommy to her face? If so, work at calling her something adult - Mom, Mother, or even her first name. It will be a step in role reversal. Is there a caregiver's support group anywhere near you? Check hospitals, her insurance pln, and Senior Centers. You need to feel less alone in your situation. Do you have any family members or friends who can visit your mother, even once a month? If you got several of them to visit with her it would take some of the burden off of you. Maybe they would agree to even just send her a Thinking Of You card. Do not visit every day - 2 times a week is enough. If she cannot get through a day without your assistance then she needs to figure that out. Something needs to happen to make your parent realize that she needs more help than she can get in her current situation.

Where you live do they have Board and Care homes (called "6 paks" in California). Private homes licensed for up to 6 who need some level of assistance or care but do not need a hospital. It can take quite a bit to find a good one where the residents are mentally alert, but it will be worth it. You can tell her that she is moving to a Guest Home, or whatever you want to call it.

Unless you change what you are doing, things will not get better for you. Again, provide clean, safe, secure for Mother. It will do her no good at all if you fall apart.
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Wendy, what your mother made you promise to do when you were little, would be like making my 6 year old son promise me that on my 80th birthday he'd make sure I went to Disneyland. Not practical, not logical and just a pipe dream. No one knows how a person is going to be when they're old. In my opinion, you said a couple of things that are red flags to me. One is that the pharmacy and/or doctors your mother is using are making stupid mistakes. I'd be getting in the doctors face if you think they're off base on something. Believe me, they ARE NOT GOD. Second was the pharmacy's mistakes, what's going on there? I'd be clearing that up and changing pharmacies if you need to. Then when I read that not only is your mom in an assisted living, but that you quit your job to give your 'mom 24/7 attention?' Why would you quit a job when your mother lives with people who are supposed to be taking care of her? I don't get that one at all. So you are basically doing their jobs, who you are paying to do a job that they don't have to do? That makes NO sense at all to me. When your mother calls you and complains about something specific, hang up the phone and call the people that are SUPPOSED to be looking out for her. They will check on her and fix whatever the problem is, if it's specific to what they can do.
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Wendy-all I can say is keep feeling. It is how we get through things.
I feel for you as well as for your mom & being in the medical profession for over 40 years now, your mom may be right , her doctors may be quacks? God knows I know many.
I do realize that we all are reflections of each other in all we say & do.
You mom is a gift to you as you are to her.
Moment to moment most days I find, that is how I do it.
Look for the Light with in...It is there.
Blessings are....
We do not walk alone. We just forget & think we do. Then we remember, we are all in this together. God show you the strength that you already have & just have forgotten you have. YOU ARE DIVINE.
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Wendy, despite your promise as a 6-year-old, you are not responsible for your mother's life. All these years later, you can change your mind. Your greatest responsibility is to yourself. If you don't take care of yourself, who will be there to take care of your mother or your cat. Step back, take a deep breath, and make what you consider to be the best decision for your mother, whether she agrees or not. You're being manipulated by your mother to be at her every call, even at the expense of your own well being. You don't owe her your life.
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Wendy, this is a heavy load to carry. You can't let your own life go under to make your mother's life more pleasant. That is very unfair to you. My thoughts for you are to go back to work and rebuild your life and help your mother as much as you can. The arrangement that she made with you as a child was not a valid contract because it did not spell out that the cost to you would be your mental health and living life in poverty. You had no idea of what you were agreeing to.

It is hard to advise someone what to do when it is family. It sounds like you have done everything right for her, but that you need to be better to yourself. I hope that you are able to get another job and stick with it. You'll feel guilty whatever you do, most likely. If there comes a time when your mother can't walk to use the bathroom or tend to herself, she will need a higher level of care. Try not to feel guilty if you are providing your mother with the care she needs. If she falls again, you may want to take the opportunity to discharge her into an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. They will be able to care for her while you work.

Wish there was some magic we had that could fix these things. Most of the time it is one day at a time.
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