I need help for my mom... She's a caregiver and it is killing her :(

Follow
Share

Hi everyone. This is a bit unusual but I found your forum looking for resources for my mother. She's the best mom ever and is always giving to everyone. She's one of three siblings but the only one who really does much in terms of taking care of my grandmother. Ironically, my grandmother has always favored the other two and defends them for never showing up or doing anything even though my mom is already so busy working (she's a doctor and works full time, has a family, and one of my siblings hasn't been well). But my mom has been juggling it all. A few years ago, my grandmother started staying at my mother's during the winters because she lives up in Maine and many people live there seasonally and it is icy so, as she's getting older, they decided it would be safer if she came down and moved in with my mom and stepfather in Boston during winters. She and her dogs have done that for the last few years and it has been a stressful few winters. She's so demanding, very negative, always complaining to my mom, always criticizing, etc. Basically, every winter, things go to crap and during summer, things get better. My mom and stepfather get along again and get their lives back, they stop fighting, my mom isn't so stressed out, the sun comes back, literally and figuratively.
Well, after years of this, my mom finally realized this was unhealthy and found her a really nice home right next to our home and bought her a condo their. This place is luxurious and they have the capability to do continuing care, should she get injured or her health decline, they provide nursing care and all levels of care through hospice care. My grandmother said she agreed that it was a good idea but, of course, started fighting it with excuses from the beginning. My mom did everything to make it all work for her. She could bring her dogs. Everything was set. My mom paid a large nonrefundable deposit. Then my mom told me that my grandmother just got test results saying that her colon cancer came back and she didn't want to treat it again. She just wants to stay with my mom until she dies. (I should also mention that my mom just lost her brother to cancer months before and that is an open wound). My mom talked to my stepfather about it and naturally he wasn't happy (she has been horrible for their relationship, always saying my mom should leave him) but he was understanding and supportive of my mom and that if she wanted her mom to live with them and she's dying he's not going to say no.
So, now she's moved in and I've been visiting the last two weeks and she seems the same to me... Just old and in pain and as cranky and negative as ever. I've been trying to come up with other ways to make her feel better and she's been refusing everything. My family has always teased me about being a detective because I have an odd "sense" for when something isn't right and I've been having that. I thought having a meeting with a palliative care team could be good for my grandmother because they could assess what they could do to make her feel better and maybe thus make her more pleasant but she kept saying she didn't want to and wouldn't say why. I tried to tell myself it is just because she's scared and she doesn't get that it isn't hospice and I'll just do her a favor and get her records and have them explain that to her. But I honestly knew something was off... SO, I found her records and, long story short, she took the cologuard test but never followed up with the colonoscopy. She MIGHT have some abnormal cells but she might have some polyp that won't become anything for 10 years!!


And in 10 years, she will have ruined my mom's marriage, destroyed my family and I doubt my mom will still be alive because the stress will kill her. As it is she is seriously depressed. I'm desperate. I don't know what to do. I need to save my mom but I know I might not be great at handling things so delicately. Are there counselors who specialize in this? I am out of my depth, I know. And I want to help my grandmother too. I just need them both to realize that this is not the answer. I get that my grandmother was scared but this situation is not a longterm solution.
PLEASE HELP!!

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
16

Answers

Show:
I'm sorry I'm upset with your GM. Call it "alternative facts" or "fake news" she is a manipulator that takes the cake.
Your GM needs to move. You can shun your GM when she makes inappropriate remarks but she probably isn't going to change as it is long established behavior. Be careful that helping your mother doesn't prolong the problem. In other words if you make it tolerable for your mother for GM to be there they live in a slow torture rather than an acute one which MIGHT make mom and stepdad take action.
Tell your mom GM needs to go. Tell GM she needs to go. Don't confuse her being cute to others as making up for her rude behavior to your mom.
No need to bring up the other siblings. They didn't move GM in, Mom did. Regardless of the reasons. Stay focused on getting GM out and hopefully Mom can recover. Don't worry, there will be plenty to do with taking care of GM going forward even after she moves out.
What do you think GM reaction would be if you told her that your mom was ill and needed help? That she needed GM to move out into appropriate housing with appropriate help so that mom could focus on her own health? Does the thought of having that conversation scare you to death?
Perhaps that is the conversation all of you need to have rather than telling mom she needs to take more action. Let GM take the action. She sounds like she is in better shape than your mom. When was the last time your mom had her teeth whitened?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I think it's wonderful that the family is coming together to brainstorm ideas in order to support your mom and to find a solution that works for BOTH of them.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Sorry, forgot to answer a few questions...

Countrymouse: My GM is 86. Her family (my great grandfather and great grandmother) lived well into their 90s - my GGF until 99). My GMs older sister is still in great health. Her pain comes mostly from bunions, bad knees, just wear and tear when you're older and have led and active live. She's had a hip replacement and then fell two years ago and shattered her femur (an often deadly injury) but she made a full recovery, just a slow one and her movement isn't what it was. I totally understand that when you're in pain, it is hard not to be irritable. My mom has taken her to recommended psychiatrists and her lexapro seems to help. I took her to a pain doctor and they injection they gave her seemed to help a lot for a few months. She also had topical creams that she felt were helpful. But when it came time to follow up, she never want to go back to any doctor. She still wants to get her hair colored. SHE STILL WANTS TO GET HER TEETH WHITENED!!! SO, we have taken her. These are bandaid measures to make her feel better in the moment but I'd like to improve her quality of life. I'm not sure how but I feel like she should qualify for palliative care or something. Not hospice, but a whole body analysis and approach to see how they can give her more energy, better sleep quality, less pain, etc etc... IDK. I'm just diving into research here.

My mom is 60. She's been working HARD for her whole life and is nearing retirement and WAS talking about all the trips she wanted to take... Then this. Now she's thinking she needs to work longer, and sees no future.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Hi all! Wow! I'm overwhelmed by the support and suggestions. I am so grateful to each and every one of you. I think that the FOG scenario is very much in play here. I want to also mention that I love and have had a very close relationship with my grandmother for my entire life. I want what is best for her also. My mother is SUCH a giving person but she gives more than she has to give and until the tank is empty and she is so overwhelmed with trying to do everything. She has two remaining siblings but they are much more selfish, if I am to be honest and haven't done much (in one case) or anything at all (in the other case) except to argue over items they want when my grandmother was moving out. My mother let them have whatever they wanted. They couldn't even be bothered to come help pack for a weekend. I flew across the country with my fiancee to do so. They both have infinitely more free time and resources they could contribute but would prefer not to because it is such a massive burden and they are fine to hang it all around my mother's neck. My mom says she feels trapped and that she's drowning and sees no future and no way out. She did insist on taking my gm to the dr and all of her bloodwork came back fine. I discussed the cologuard test with my mom and my mom said that my gm is now saying she refused the colonoscopy because she doesn't want to know how soon she will die. My mother is a doctor so she realizes that she, yes, wasn't truthful, but now they are in this situation and she is so overwhelmed and my gm is soooo difficult. I think my mom is struggling managing day to day and I told my mom we need long term plan. My mom agrees that is the problem: the absence of one but she doesn't know what to do. I really think she's so overwhelmed and depressed and lost. So, I met with my brother and sister in law and my fiancee and I am hoping to contact a good counselor soon for advice for my mom. Then we want to sit down with her and tell her how my gm could easily live for another 10 years if this is some polyp or adenoma and I'm afraid this stress will take my mother sooner than that. We all want to tell her how much it matters that she's there for my wedding, for my brother's kids, etc. and we want to help make a long term plan to make sure that happens. I think that even if my gm doesn't want to know, we have a right to know. I have read she can have a ct scan like a virtual colonoscopy that might even be better b/c many recurrent colon cancers show up in the liver... If she objects to the invasiveness of a colonoscopy this might be another viable way to get around that. I think my mom needs an advocate in this fight because she caves so easily and I don't think that will change overnight. I really do have their best interests at heart and I'd be happy to step in and take this on but I need my mom to agree. My fiancee has said the same and my grandmother loves him because she said he "has old manners and is a true gentleman, like they don't make them anymore". I'm not sure what the solution is but I really appreciate all of the advice so far an any additional feedback is welcomed :)
Thank you all again!!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Just a few supplementary questions:

How old is your grandmother? And your mother?
You say that your grandmother normally has some pain to cope with - what from?
Can't remember what the third one was... senior moment... hang on... oh yes -
Why did your mother's two siblings make themselves scarce - just where life and work took them, or do you think it was a more active choice than that?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

...it's free advice btw!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I would hire a caregiver if possible. Your mom needs respite. Call the office on aging and they will come over and access your situation and offer solutions, in terms of getting help, your mom taking care of herself, etc. I had someone come over because I was burned out and about to go nuts. You will get an objective opinion and one that is in your mom's and your grandmothers best interests. I don't mean putting her in a home...just how to handle your situation and what help you may need. Good luck! It will get better if you have them over. Tell them your concerns about your mom, especially and they will come by......
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I think you are absolutely right to be extremely concerned for your mother. What could she possibly be thinking?!
She hears her mother has cancer and as a daughter has not talked to moms drs? Has not gotten her established with new doctors in Boston? Is your mother GM's POA? We are talking about someone who is supposedly dying.
Your mother either already knows it's a lie or is very very overwhelmed to not know something is up.
It sounds like you are on the right track to be looking for care for your own mother.
I really feel for her. A cranky aging mother (cancer or not) a difficult marriage, a sick child. Just throwing darts here. If you live far enough away to go visit for two weeks your mom really needs that counselor. Why don't you try to find one on the phone and ask about the intervention with mom and your brother. Then when you go back home your mom has a support system at least begun. Whether your GM has cancer or not she needs another place to live. It's not all about the oldest person in the room. Everyone, even stepdad, needs are to be considered.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

If you found that she only had a cologuard test (smear of stool on a special paper to detect blood), then she can NOT say any colon cancer has come back. If there was blood, it could be from hemorrhoids or a fissure. She would definitely need a colonoscopy (lighted tube weaved through the lower intestine with the ability to take specimens of "suspicious" nature.)

Have you shown your mom the results you have? She will know that MUCH more testing is needed to make a diagnosis of colon cancer.
Once she finds out, I hope she puts your grandmother in that condo immediately.

Life is hard enough and stressful enough. No need to add gasoline to the fire.
Her first responsibility is to her husband (it's even in the Bible), then to her grown children, THEN to her parents.

For your mother's mental health, she needs to know that she was "mislead" (deceived) and get her life back, whether your granny likes it or not.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I have a bit of sympathy when I realized that Grandma lost her son, quite suddenly, it seems. Is it possible that she blames your mom for that (as well as mom blaming herself?). Sounds like maybe they've bonded over mutual grief.

Mom might say to HER mom: "we've been through a big shock together, but it's time that we moved on to the next part of our lives. I will always be here for you, but living in my home is no longer an option".

Sometimes, even very smart people need to be fed their lines.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions