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Walk away is strong to say, but I'm at a loss. My mother and I have always had a tumultuous relationship. She is 82 and suffering from dementia. I have been caring for her for nearly 8 years, living with her the past 3 years. Her dementia became noticeable a few years ago. She's moderate to mid stage. And I feel now rapidly declining. She is an alcoholic, although never admitted it. She still she spends countless hours a day drinking wine and reading. She has no other family. Neither do I. My life is no longer mine. I moved in with her after my divorce. She lives in Oregon, so for a years I from Texas, all the time to check up on her. Moving in with her seemed logical, given the upheaval of my life at the time. It started out fair. An adjustment, but I hate where she lives. She won't move. I'm isolated, and the stress of looking after her, has created a barrier between my friends in Texas. I don't know how much time she has left. I'm barely able to take care of myself. Exhausted. I too am an alcoholic and fell off the wagon given the stress of it all. I've even ended up in the hospital from a drunken injury. I love my mother, I do. But I'm in over my head, and we can't afford a full time care taker. How do I leave her though, I feel awful, but I'm afraid she'll die under my care at this rate, because I barely can get out of bed myself. I can't live with her anymore, and I don't know what else to do, because I don't want to abandon her, but also feel as though I have abandoned myself.

Another day,
I grew up with 2 alcoholic parents, so I understand. My mother was also a narcissist and that was no picnic either. She was a self centered drunk. Dad was Jeckel and Hyde. They divorced when I was 5.

Do NOT feel bad that you've had a "tumultous" relationship with her (and the feelings accompanying it). You may not love your mother like many gals whose mothers are their best friends. (I wonder what that was like?) That's OK. They weren't stellar mothers either.

For you;
You've identified that you have a problem (alcohol) and your mother seems to be your "trigger". You are right that you need to leave this relationship for your own health and sobriety. You realize that you are in the grips of alcohol and need to do something about this immediately. Don't think, "Oh well, I already fell off the wagon (and hurt myself)." No ma'am, tomorrow can be the first day of your new sobriety.

You need to go to your doctor to see what (s)he recommends, then start attending AA meetings. There's a medication, Antibuse, if you're ready to make the commitment to quit. You absolutely can NOT drink alcohol while taking it or you will be sorry you did.

You will need to find other living arrangements (especially since you hate where she lives). Once you're back in recovery, could you move in with a friend in Texas while you get on your feet?

Can you see a counsellor through your medical insurance plan? They can help you with the anxiety and other feelings that lead you to take the first drink. See if the county services can offer you therapy, if none is provided by insurance.

Definitely call a Suicide Prevention hotline (tel:1-800-273-8255) if you are even thinking in that direction. You will remedy this situation soon. It's not worth taking your life.


Now for Mom;
You need to call Adult Protective Services and tell them that you have to move back to Texas to take care of your (son, aunt, or whomever) and she will be left alone with dementia. Tell them there is no other family and you won't be able to take her with you. They don't need to know why. Be firm because they will try to guilt trip you into continuing to live with her, since you are right now.

Or, you could tell them you "live in the area" but are unable to help her anymore due to your health problems. Ask them to get in touch with a social worker from the county to have her Alzheimer's level of competency assessed ("needs assessment"). She needs to be placed in a facility and she needs to be detoxed off of alcohol under medical supervision (so do you.)

If you get nowhere with APS, then I agree taking her to the E.R. for evaluation of her (whatever you'd want to say--mental status, UTI or any other medical problem she may have).
Get the Social Worker in the hospital involved in finding her a Memory Care facility. She will, in time, have more and more erratic behavior and need to be placed anyway. Refuse to take her home due to your "health problems". Believe it or not, "dumping" goes on in E.R.'s. Sometimes it's the only way for the caregiver to free themselves from the job. They don't care that you're ready to snap. 

If your mother doesn't have much money (less than $2000. in bank and less than $1400./month in Social Security), she would be eligible for Medicaid. See if the Social Worker and you can start the process but UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES take her back home with you. It's awful to lie but, because the government will "let" you keep taking care of her (since you have been), you have to resort to drastic measures. You could tell them that she has threatened you and you are fearful. Since they can see she is mentally impaired, they will have to take your word for it.

I'm sorry that you are in this situation. You are obviously suffering. You can't walk out right now (abandoning a helpless elder) but you CAN see an end in sight.

Your mother is old and will pass on sooner than you will. You need to take care of yourself and let the government take care of her. The hard part is getting them to act on her behalf. So stay strong.

Come back and let us know how you are handling it. May God give you the strength to get through this with a good ending for both of you.
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Reply to SueC1957
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You really need to get yourself to AA meetings. If you continue having with life as you describe it you are risking real danger. You should be able to find meetings easily. They cost nothing and can provide you with alternatives. I agree with others about your mother but you need to try hard to help yourself. It isnt easy but time being sober can bring relief.
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Reply to Riverdale
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You could send her to the hospital and tell the Emergency Dept you can’t take care of her ,,,have the hospital place her ,.then you can go see her at the nursing home ..but don’t take her home .,can you take her to the Emergency department and have them work her up for UTI and then tell them you  cant take her home ...I’m a nurse and believe me families do this all the time,...the casemanager at the hospital will place her. ,at least she will be cared for in a nursing home ,,,and you can get a job and go see her on your days off 
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Reply to ohmeowzer
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I know and understand it’s so stressful and exhausting looking after a elderly person with dementia..I work full time as a nurse 3 times a week and take care of Mom my 4 days off ,she lives with me ......my mom and I were always best friends ,,,but it’s so stressful ,,,I think you should place your mom in a assisted living or nursing home ,,,don’t abandon her you will never forgive yourself..put her where she will get cared for and go see her ..call the dept of aging in your area and start the process ,,,get her placed ,,,or if she goes to the hospital refuse to take her home then she will be placed in long term care and you can go see her , Hang in there honey ,,,your in my prayers
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Reply to ohmeowzer
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You are in over your head. Recognizing it and admitting it is the first necessary step to improvement.

Do not abandon your mother. You'll never forgive yourself. But do not continue with the hands-on responsibility yourself. Find a suitable care situation for her, such as assisted living, or memory care, or even a nursing home. You can ask for a needs analysis to help determine what would be best. This can be arranged through your Area Agency on Aging, or your county's Human Services department. (That is what we used for our mother.)

If mother can't afford a care facility, see if she is qualified for Medicaid; help her get qualified if she is close.

If she absolutely insists that she won't go into a care center, see if the Aging Agency has someone you can talk to about your options. Also consider reporting the situation to Adult Protective Services. She is vulnerable. You don't want to see her suffer, but you cannot continue to care for her.

You can't live with her anymore. You are in over your head. You are entitled to take care of yourself, which at this point might be a full-time job. But don't just leave her without trying to arrange other care for her. I say "try" because sometimes that is a big battle. Do what you can, then move on.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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