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My stepmom recently had a bout with very high blood pressure and seizures and was hospitalized. She is in renal failure and has dialysis 3 times a week. Myself and my niece are her only relatives and we both live out of state and work full-time. We stayed with her for several weeks and she is doing well except for severe anxiety and mood swings. She is also having significant memory loss that she didn't have before. She's lonely even though she has a wonderful circle of friends and a caregiver that comes in twice a day. She calls me and her friends several time per day and night. It's become crazy. I feel guilty if I don't answer the phone and she's upset with me the next time she calls. I've had a trip planned with some girlfriends for quite some time and now I won't tell my stepmom because I think she'll fain an illness to get me there instead. She's already tried that one once. I know this is the start of a long road ahead. Any advice?

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For me, there is no reason to answer everytime she calls, limit it to once a day, block and unblock her as needed, you need to set boundaries with her.

I certainly would rethink her lodging, possibly AL. There is absolutely no reason to give up your life and well-being for her.

You can correct this, it is up to you to stop her from manipulating you.
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Reply to DollyMe
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I honestly think that you should now suggest that she needs to be in Assisted Living in order to be safe and surrounded by those who can help. You are far away and can do nothing by phone. As to the trip, do not consider cancelling and it doesn't matter if she knows about it or not. Call her from the trip and say "Don't call home; I am not there for a few days."
Guilt is for those who kill people. For people who maliciously and with malice aforethought harm others. And of course, people who do that intentionally never feel guilt. You aren't a Saint. You cannot "Fix it" all. So sorry.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Thank you all for your answers. Yes, sometimes I don't answer and just let it go to voicemail. She's been doing better over the last few days and we're now having discussion about assisted living or in home care. The good thing is she afford both easily.
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Reply to dogmom61
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Don’t even consider cancelling your trip. You work hard. You deserve it. Check in on her by phone with caregivers if you want to while you’re away. If not, call when you return home.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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I am going through the same thing with phone calls from my husband. He is in care. He can call me anywhere up to a dozen times a day and same to my son. I have now told him I will only speak to him 3 times a day then no more. I actually block his number so I don’t get stressed out hearing the constant ringing. I then unblock him in the morning. You have to do this for your own sanity
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Reply to PandabearAUS
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 19, 2019
Good solution, Panda. Otherwise you would go insane.
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It could be a long road unless you decide to pull off on a side street, like your trip. Remember, you’re in the driver’s seat here, not her. If you know she’s going to fake being sick, tell her about the trip, and when she does, offer to call her doctor or even 911, but NOT to cancel your plans, drop everything and run to care for her. Stop jumping to grab the phone each time she calls. If she gets snotty with you the next time she calls and you decide to answer, explain you were busy, taking a bath, taking a shower, taking a nap, doing yoga, and so on. And turn your phone off at night. I did. My mom was adept at calling 911 and I knew they’d call me if it was a true emergency. Tell your niece your plan as well so she can do the same thing.

Make sure Stepmom is in contact with her doctors to keep tabs on that memory loss and any other health issues. Also, if you don’t already have POA for her, it might be a good idea to get it.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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