Dates with my husband and family outings have become a memory. I know to keep the rest of my family healthy we need to have the ability to go and do things once in a while. My mother has declined to not being able to do much for herself and I provide the care she needs willingly. When I asked her about having someone else available to help her on the occasion we need to be away for more than a couple of hours she refused and stated that I am just trying to push her off on someone. She has lived with me for 2 1/2 years and in that time I have not left her for more than a few hours. We don't get to celebrate anniversaries or take day trips with our younger daughter anymore and I am made to feel guilty if I try. Help with suggestions.

I so agree with CM's very kind response, but "training your dragons" also involves getting over the fact that your mother is in charge of calling the shots.

I am encouraging you to see yourself as the bus driver and not the passive passenger in this caregiver journey--one who indeed can toss a passenger off the bus for certain levels of misbehavior.

I understand that you are a dutiful daughter, doing what you've been trained to do, but your child and your marriage MUST come first.

Caregiving only works if it works for all the parties involved.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

It's not acceptable that your mother gets to dictate how YOU live YOUR life inside of your own home while she's a guest there! She either accepts caregivers coming in to care for her X amount of days per week while you go out and tend to YOUR life events or she can go live in Assisted Living full time instead. "Guilt" should play no part in your decision to hire paid caregivers *on your mother's dime* either because indentured servitude was not part of the bargain you made when you invited her to come live with you 2.5 years ago.

I take it there is some dementia at play here and why she's acting this way? Whether that is a factor or not doesn't really matter either. What does matter is that you strike a happy medium between living your own life and caring for your mother. Otherwise, resentment kicks in and everybody loses. Your husband gets angry, you feel pulled at every end, and nobody is happy in the long run. I suggest you set up a regular schedule of caregivers coming into your home so that you have some free time every week beginning now. Get mother used to the new rules immediately. That will give you a chance to go out and have lunch, get your hair done, shop, etc. Plus it will get your mother accustomed to a new person in her life that she will likely become friends with.

Wishing you the best of luck setting down some new rules in your own home so you can take day trips and have some fun!
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to lealonnie1

I feel your pain! I lived your life for the 15 years that mom lived with me. She was dependent on me because I was the one closest to her.

By the time that I found this forum, I was so fragile, that I felt as if I would break into a million little pieces if I were criticized in any way, shape or form. I was in need of all the comfort I could get. I don’t think I could have even handled helpful, constructive criticism. Criticism was the very last thing I needed at that particular point in my life. No one knows how it feels unless they have walked in our shoes. I had no clue how hard full time caregiving was until I did it myself. You may not feel the impact as deeply as I did because my caregiving years lasted so long.

I was completely exhausted, felt a bazillion other emotions too and was burning out!

We become fragile, lost, develop anxiety and depression as caregivers. Some people are compassionate towards us and throw us a lifeline to hold onto until we are able to get our bearings. Others kick us when we are down, and not understanding at all of what we are going through. It’s a mixed bag of emotions, for sure.

Seeking the help of an objective professional was the most useful thing that I did for myself. My therapist was amazing and he helped me to help myself. Many people on this forum helped me as well. Some of them had been in my shoes and they truly understood. Don’t discount others being able to help because they have never been ‘hands on’ caregivers. Some of these people helped me the most because I was able to see the other side.

Sooner or later, you will find those people that you personally connect with. Take advantage of those connections and learn from their experiences. Later on, you will be able to help others in the same situation.

You need time for yourself. This isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity. If not, you will crash and burn. You are equally as important as the one that you are caring for. In order for you to be your best, you have to care for yourself too.

In person caregiver groups are amazing. I participated in one that was led by a social worker. I learned a lot and received helpful information.

In the end, it’s about balance, peace and joy in our lives. We all need this in our lives. Do whatever you need to do to achieve it. Some people continue to be caregivers at home with help. Others choose facility care. There is no ‘right or wrong’ way as long as you find a healthy balance in your life.

Wishing you peace during these challenging times.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

Also, Google "Fear, Obligation and Guilt", often known as F.O.G.

I watched my elderly grandma manipulate my mom ( orctry to) with this forcyears.

"My how you've changed".

"You'll be sorry when I'm gone".

(Insert huge sigh here).

Mom learned to say " Then I guess you'll have to go stay with one of the "boys" (one was an alcoholic, living in a Bowery mission on good days, the other lived far away and was married to HER).

Grandma learned to cooperate. So can your mom.

But you need to stop allowing her to play you.

It's YOUR house and YOUR family. Your rules.

Let her pout.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

Keep this up and she wont have a choice because u will be seriously ill or dead from exhaustion and stress! I’ve seen it happen many times. We all know at least one person who died before the person for whom they were a caregiver/slave
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to XenaJada

Your choices are either establishing a balance that will provide time, freedom, and refreshment for you, your husband, and your children, or NO BALANCE at all, because Mama says so.

You are placed in the unfortunate position of having “trained” Mama to use you as SHE has chosen to do so.

If you are going to dissolve into guilty acceptance, sorry, but that’s on YOU, NOT ON MAMA. She’s using the only tool she has, and you’ve accepted that 100%.

”Mom, we have to go out for a couple hours because none of our buggy whips are still worth using, and (husband, daughter) and I want to go to the factory and select our buggy whips ourselves. We’re going to be home before supper. You’ll need some company so Mrs. Haverstraw from Church is coming in around 1 pm, before we leave, and SHE’LL help you use the bathroom and have your snack while we’re out”.

Tell Mom your intentions while you serve her lunch, then let her pout (cry, grumble, etc.) get Mrs. Haverstraw in and settled, THEN LEAVE.

REPEAT a couple times a week, then increase length and frequency of outings.

The “rest of your family relationships” are NOT HEALTHY NOW, and CANNOT BE until you come to terms with the fact that Mama won’t die because you leave for an hour walking around Walmart, AND NO ONE CAN MAKING YOU FEEL GUILTY UNLESS YOUARE ALLOWING THEM TO DO SO.

Your mother may well have been a wonderful vibrant active engaged woman when she was younger, but age and illness have stolen that from her. That Does not Giver the right to spend ALL OF YOUR LIFE, or the lives of your OTHER LOVED ONES, from you.

Be brave, be confident, enjoy resuming family activities, and be at peace with the knowledge that “guilt” has NEVER done a single positive thing for anyone it has attempted to consume.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to AnnReid
Init2Win May 7, 2021
I think you have misunderstood. My mother can be left for a few hours. I do go to Walmart and such often as needed. She is able to toilet herself and most other tasks. She needs help with making meals and giving prescription eyedrops a few times a day. I am really trying to figure out how to get away as a family for longer. The expenses are an issue as well as these people being mentioned that can come help. As I have said, there isn't anyone from family, friends or church available or willing to help so it has to be paid help. That being said, she has to pay for it and has to be agreeable to spend her money on it. The doctor has not been helpful in documentation of her needs. You can't just deposit someone in AL against their will either if they are in their right mind.
I don't understand this: "She doesn't qualify for Medicaid because she doesn't have any medical bills and they have not diagnosed her with anything requiring assistance."

Your mother is an elderly lady who cannot be left alone. She is an elderly lady of limited means. She is an elderly lady who at the very least should see a primary care physician and an opthamologist one a year.

Does she qualify as a single person based on her income ( which I assume is just SS? Have you asked?

Does she pay her share of costs for food and utilities?

Your mother HAS needs and is apparently dictating to you that YOUR wants and needs don't matter.

Has it always been thus?

Eta, just read your update. She needs a new doctor. You can deposit her in respite care. If she won't be reasonable about this, I would tell her she needs to find someplace else to live. Two can play at "unreasonable" as easily as one.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

Imagine the resentment your family must feel toward this situation. They’ve been put on a back burner and certainly must miss your real presence. Please choose them, you won’t regret it.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Daughterof1930

The thing is, you took your mother in knowing that she has unaddressed mental health issues that will only worsen with age and as time goes on. The ideas you've been given have all been shot down, one after the other. The only way to effect change in your life is to be agreeable to making changes happen. You need to get your mother to a new doctor for a full psych workup and medication to help her address the anxiety/depression she suffers from so she can stop being so distrustful and perhaps start enjoying her life a bit more, thereby allowing YOU to enjoy your lives a little bit more. As it stands right now, you're all trapped inside of HER dysfunctional bubble of fear and anxiety/depression, unable & unwilling to move outside of it to find a more relaxed and enjoyable lifestyle.

Fear, anxiety & depression are crippling to all who come in contact with it and are forced to endure it every day. You've exposed yourself, your husband and your children to this now that your mother is a fixture inside of your home and nobody has an escape; mother is holding you ALL hostage now!

Until you put your foot down and say ENOUGH, you'll stay trapped in this cycle of your mother's mental health issues. That's a huge price for your family to pay, isn't it?

Wishing you the best of luck making some well deserved changes in all of your family's lives.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to lealonnie1

I think people get where you are, how you got there & have given some great advice with clear steps on how to make change.

So to be.. blunt..

"My Mother is not agreeable to having anyone else help her".

That sums it up & that's OK.

Think about that statement. 'My Mother is not agreeable..' It's OK Mother feels that way. She may be nervous about others, may not trust them (yet) or can't communicate well with them (yet), she trusts YOU. You understand her so it's easier for HER to have only you. But is it reasonable for YOUR life? No Ma'am it is not.

Accepting Mother's feelings are valid but are HERS to own is a big step. Mother's feelings are not instructions for you to follow or to fix the world anyway she wants. Some of us have been trained as if that were the case...

See what suits you..

"Mother, when you make a lot of requests of my time, I feel bossed around. I would rather we enjoyed our time together. So I have arranged some more helpers, to help both of us".

Or from my book of blunt;
"Mother, do you like to be bossed around? No?
I don't either".
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Beatty
Init2Win May 9, 2021
Thank you for your comments and I do appreciate everyone's input. My comment about the forum was not because it wasn't helpful, just a bit depressing reading a lot of it.
I am making the plans for care so that was what my original question was for, "how do you..." I am well aware I can not give my mother the best care she deserves at some point. My suggestions to her are getting her ready for what will happen. She can still do most things herself and lives in her apartment that is built into our house. She can be left alone and I do, but not more than 3 hours unless my oldest daughter is able to be home from work and help. This is only because of medication and food preparation. She and I both know she will need more care as time goes on. When I said she won't take help from others, I meant paid help. We do not live near anyone else she knows and with Covid she hasn't been able to gain a support system of friends by meeting new people. The question I am researching currently is cost of in home care and trying a day trip soon. We have not asked any financial contributions from my mother for staying with us other than her own cable and phone in her apartment. Her income is only a very low ss so she needs what she has to pay for doctor, medication and any future in home care. It is a catch 22 because having the small savings for needs and care has kept her from getting medicaid. I understand her tight fist when it comes to money because we grew up poor and she lived during the depression with 15 siblings. I have requested an appointment with her doctor to discuss help with care again but they have not gotten back to me. Finding a new, better doctor is not impossible but tough in this area. I am researching who will take a 92 yo new patient.
Again, I am thankful for all the comments and I am listening to all of it. If I were not willing to do the hard things, I would not have asked the questions. Just wanted to hear how others have done it if they had similar situations.
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