I've taken my mother in with me as of January 2014. My sister cared for her over the last few years but it's quite the job. Mom is depressed and increasingly forgetful at now 71 years old. Some things are daily and with reminders she's become fearful to communicate to me which has furthered the issue and extended communication problems with depression.

In caring for her and my epileptic son, then myself i'm looking for help in getting some life balance. I've already stepped down a notch career wise but something else must give.

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Wow. You and Mom both have your work cut out for you.

I suggest a 2-prong attack.

1) Make sure Mom's health is as good as it can be. (She may already be there.) Her doctors can talk to you if she will sign their HIPAA forms. Have a reevaluation of her meds. If depression is still a problem, perhaps she needs a different drug or a different dose. Perhaps she would benefit from some talk therapy about the very real depressing factors in her life. Is she able to walk with a walker? Would some physical therapy be useful at this time?

As I said, you may already be up-to-date on the medical issues, but if there is anything that might benefit from a fresh look, that is where I'd start.

2) How can you reclaim a little more of your life? It sounds like you've made some changes in your career. You have some help from your young adult child and your sister takes on some responsibilities. All that is excellent. But maybe not quite enough.

Is Mother on Medicaid? Or does she have income/assets to use for her care? The first tasks to "farm out", it seems to me, are the routine impersonal household tasks. Get someone in to do the cleaning and the laundry, if you don't already have that kind of help. Sign Mom up for Meals on Wheels so you don't have to arrange for her lunch. Hire the yardwork done. Free your own time up as much as you can. Nearly anyone can mow the grass or mop the floors. It takes a special person to pay personal attention to a sick mother.

Next, see if you can arrange other social interactions for your mother. Don't give up your personal role with her completely, but supplement it with contact with other adults. The adult day health programs are usually excellent. Going even one day a week can provide a nice change of environment for your mom, and some respite time for you. Bringing a personal care attendant into your home can also relieve you and give Mom an additional social experience.

You can't handle all the daily care yourself. The good news is that you recognize that. Now you can start to make changes to improve the situation for everyone.

Good luck to you!
Helpful Answer (1)

Thank you for answering. Mom has battled recurring depression for about twenty years. She's a cancer survivor, Graves' disease, macular degeneration. Arthritis, has been a pain management patient for over 5 years, had had bariatric surgery successfully and two years ago she broke a hip and the corresponding wrist.

There's plenty to be down, upset and depressed about. The daily care is more than what I can do. My nineteen year old helps and sister takes her to the doctors and gets the prescriptions.

The daily is wearing. Some days it's too much and that's my battle.
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ph3arless, can you tell us a little more about your mother's impairments? What does she have (if anything) besides depression? What is her treatment plan for the depression? Is she following it?

I'm nearly your mother's age, I have depressive disorder, and I don't need anyone to care for me but me. So I am wondering why your mother has needed caregiving for several years. Not that depression can't be debilitating -- it certainly can be -- but that it generally can be treated. So I'm wondering what else is going on with Mom.

What kinds of things is Mom now forgetting? Does she forget where her keys are or does she not seem to remember what keys are for?

I am very glad to see that your realize the importance of balance in your own life, and that "something has to give."

Give us some more details about what caring for your mother is like, and I predict you'll get some helpful specific responses.
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