How to handle mom who requires more care then I can provide?

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My mom is choosing to remain in her home, she has cancer & other illness. She’s been in & out of hospitals, rehab, etc & all the medical pros who have seen her in the hospitals & those nurses who have seen her @ home all agree that she should go to assisted living due to her weakened state & because she lives alone. She has fallen x2 which ended her in the hospital ER. I am her only child, 56 yrs old & lost my job 2 yrs ago. I am literally living check to check & have taken 2 part time jobs to keep me from being homeless. I’m a dog walker & Uber delivery driver. Between those 2 jobs, it has me working 7 days a week, often times from 12noon to 8-9pm. By the time I get home I am exhausted. I don’t sleep well, often times staying up till 4-5am, then getting up around 11am to start my work day. I try to get over to my moms house every other evening to empty her commode, do laundry, clean the house & make my mom something to eat. During the week, I get her grocery shopping done. I can only stay a few hours at a time because it has become very stressful for me to be in my moms home. She keeps the heat on very high, 80-82 degrees. I have high blood pressure & am very sensitive to extreme heat so I have to turn it off when I’m there. My mother gets very upset & says “I’ll freeze if you turn it off”. I tell her “if I leave it on this high, I won’t be able to stay”. So I turn it off so I can do what I need to do. I have tried & tried talking to my mother about going to live in an assisted living apartment but she becomes very angry & will start crying saying “where will I put all my things”? I tell her she can bring some things w/her, she doesn’t have to leave EVERYTHING behind. But she refuses and says “you’ll have to help me more”. I tell her “I can’t come by anymore then I’ve been doing because I have to work”. She calls me sometimes 10 times in 2 hours, minutes apart in a panic leaving me messages saying “you need to come by & empty my commode because the caregiver didn’t come today, please come now and you can go back to work ok?”. Or she calls and says “the caregiver didn’t come today & I haven’t eaten all day and I’m hungry, please bring me a burger or pizza”. “I don’t have any water in my water bottle, please come & bring me water, then you can go back to sleep”, etc. I’ve had lived at home w/my parents for most of my adulthood & after my dad passsed away in 1991, so I have only lived in my own apartment since 2012. For 5 years I’ve been on my own and my mom has been miserable. She always tells me “your not married so why did you have to move out?”. Unbelievable that she feels a daughter in her 40-50’s should still live w/her parents. She doesn’t believe that it’s unnatural to raise your children to become dependent on their parents so as not to allow them to live on their own. This has always been an issue for my mom. She knows I’ve always struggled w/making a living & has always helped me out financially when I’ve needed it, but will hold it against me whenever she has done that. She KNOWS how hard it’s been for me to keep my head above water & to keep a roof over my head but she doesn’t care. She has become very mean at times, always bringing up the past and is constantly shaming me into doing things for her telling me that “I would never talk to my mother the way you talk to me” or “I don’t care what your friends did w/their parents (when the parents got sick & needed to go to a nursing facility & not expect their children to quit their jobs & become the parents caregivers), we’re different, we don’t believe in nursing homes in our family, that’s for people who don’t have any family.” She often tells me that I should quit my jobs, move back in w/her & get the state to pay me to take care of her. The thing is, even if I were to do that, when she dies, her house will get taken by the reverse mortgage co she has her loan with, I won’t have any $ and/or bad credit & wont be able to find an affordable apartment (like the one I’m currently living in), so I’m very afraid I’ll become homeless. Still my mother doesn’t accept that. I’ve gotten to the point where I REALLY am avoiding spending any time w/her because it leaves me extremely upset, almost like I’m going to have a stroke or heart attack from all the stress she’s causing. She only gets 20 hours a week for a caregiver to come 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. She has no money to hire any other nurses or caregivers to add more hours to that schedule so she’s basically alone 20 hours a day, and all day Sat/Sun. She gets $700 month SS & SSI.

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I want you to google the phrase "Fear Obligation and Guilt" (i.e., FOG).

Your mother is asking you to sacrifice your life (commit martyrdom, essentially) so that she can have an illusion of independence.

Good for you that you've gotten her some resources (home health care) to take care of some of her needs.

It's not enough.

She needs someone with her 24/7. She did not plan well when she took out a reverse mortgage. That is sad, but it is NOT YOUR FAULT.

Don't try to convince her of anything. Simply say, mom, I can't do that. And don't accept the guilt card when she plays it. Tell her, "that's now how I live my life mom; I need to work".

The next time she ends up in the hospital, call discharge planning and tell them that she can no longer live safely alone.  
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Are there other children/sibs? How is she paying utilities, property taxes, food meds, etc on $700/month??? She would be better off in subsidized senior housing where there are others around. Does she get help from food pantries? Is she on Medicaid?
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Hangingon61, YOU MATTER. Your life counts.

As far as your mother is concerned, you only exist to serve HER.

And that is SO WRONG.

Read about FOG (Fear, Obligation and Guilt) and learn to set boundaries. Of course your mother won't like it, but what choice does she have?

Keep coming back here -- WE think you are important. We'll cheerlead you to much more independence from your mother, which is what you DESERVE.
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I'm with geewiz, how can she live on $700/month? This sounds way more complicated than simply convincing mom she needs Assisted Living, $700 is well below the poverty line and well below the cost of even the most modest AL accommodations. You need to sit down with someone who can help you find options for her care: a social worker from APS, a financial planner or an elder law attorney who understands medicaid in your state.
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HangingOn, I second all of the good advice above. You are a person of worth and potential, and you deserve your own life. From your description of all you've been doing, you obviously are very caring, resourceful and hardworking, and now those great qualities are being used against you by your own mother, sad to say.

To be totally blunt, you totally COULD have a heart attack or stroke, given all the pressure you're under. And if you were out of the picture for whatever reason, of course arrangements would be made to take care of your mother. It is not necessary for you to sacrifice yourself for her to be cared for.

Get her into the 24/7 care she needs and start living your life. Wishing you a blessed Christmas and a 2018 filled with hope!
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Hangingon61, you are enabling your Mom to stay in her home and to maintain her lifestyle while you had to change yours. Time to practice standing in front of a mirror and saying out loud "sorry, I cannot possibly do that" over and over until it feels natural. I know the guilt will be thrown at you, that is normal. Time to set boundaries, believe me I wished I did when I first was put onto this elder journey with my parents.

If your mother cannot pour herself a bowl of cereal for supper, then she shouldn't be living on her own. Once I found out my Dad couldn't do so many things around the house, in came the professional caregivers. Yes, they were expensive but Dad had saved for those "rainy days" and it was now pouring. Eventually he moved into senior living where he was happy as a clam being around people his own age.

Oh good grief, nursing homes and Assisted Living are for everyone, with or without a family, that needs a higher level of care. It can take a village of professional people to look after someone who is aging and needs a lot of help. Yet our parents expect us to do the job of a dozen people.

As for you living at home, that was part of my Mother's generation where a daughter or a son lived at home until they got married. And heaven forbid a daughter work outside of the home.... [sigh]. Last time my Mom worked outside the home was in 1946.

I remember my Dad asking me to retire from work to help him and my Mom. In turn I asked Dad if he gave up his career to take care of his Mom or my Mom's parents. He didn't answer but I knew the answer was no. He never asked me again.

As I had mentioned above, time to set boundaries.
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Dear Hangingon,
I'm going to say things that are hard to hear, even harder to do. But your life is worth it.

What would happen if you became unable to help her? She would be forced to make other arrangements, right? The only way she's going to move is if you stop helping her as much as you are. I don't know if you'd want to do that.
I would talk to YOUR doctor about your physical limitations and have him/her write a note that you are not able to physically exert yourself.
You could also tell her you got a full time job and can't stop by as often.

I would call Adult Protective Services and tell them you are no longer able to go by your mom's house as often as you were due to physical limitations. Ask them to visit and assess whether your mom can live by herself in her condition with caregivers only 4 hours a day.

She definitely would qualify for state aid (with her very limited income) for assisted living or a nursing home through Medicaid.

Your mom is "playing" you to keep the situation the way she wants it. You are "enabling" her to stay this way. Unfortunately, it may be time to put your foot down and watch out for your life first. There are other options for her. There are none for you.
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Tell her that nursing homes are for people who need 24/7 care like she does and which one family member cannot provide, plus the state is not going to pay you to take care of her, that's bs!
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Your mother is being very selfish and manipulative. There are other options for her - she doesn't like them? Sorry, we all have to put up with stuff we don't like. That is life. You urgently need to care for yourself. That is essential. Your mother's wishful thinking is not.
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