Let me give a little background. I found work nearly 10 years ago at a facility working with special needs adult clients. I absolutely love my job & feel I am very good at it, have had loads of training & putting a lot of my energy towards work.
Then my father died & my mother didn't want to live alone (she never has in her whole life.) I agreed to move in with her to keep her surroundings the same. Then I cut back on hours at work from 24 hour shifts to 8 hour shifts as she would be upset & aggitated while I was gone. My brother said he would help with her care but his actions show he won't. At best, he'll call once a month if I tell him to do it. I tell him to do anything else & get the silent treatment. I feel I have very little energy left for myself. Work & homelife has merged into one giant list of chores, entertaining others & monitoring their behaviors. I have zero patience with my Mom now & I'm so disappointed with how I have begun to snap back at her. I try to take 10 minutes in the morning & afternoon for myself but feel this crushing guilt, that I don't find it refreshing. What is wrong with me? I can't figure out who to ask or where to get help with what to do with getting all the things that are new to me done. Mom refuses to go to a lawyer, her doctor, the dentist, the bank, etc. Any advice is much appreciated! I feel I can handle all of these issues at work but mentally fall apart & go numb with the overwhelming task of caring for Mom alone.

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I have read a lot about Nurses, Doctors, Social Workers, Drug Counselor's and others who work in the type of field you are in. According to what I have read, although they are good at helping others, they are real enablers when it comes to one of their family members and have great difficulty dealing with the process on a personal level. They burden themselves with self imposed guilt and cannot deal with the person on a the same professional basis they do at their job.

Your mother is my age, she can live for another 20 years, my mother is 94 and still kicking, don't put yourself in a cell with invisible bars, your mother is young she can learn to live alone, you are not responsible to fix everything for her. You have a life of your own to live, make plans to live it.

I would move out, if she needs a baby sitter let her hire one. Her refusal to take care of the legal documents and doctors, speaks volumes about her selfish attitude...break the cycle....move forward. My Best!
Helpful Answer (16)
I very much like the analogy about putting oneself in a cell with invisible bars. It describes perfectly how trapped one can feel at times in any situation, let alone in the carer situation that most of us are experiencing. Thank you for that. Will pass it along to my siblings, they are feeling trapped too.
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Your mother is 72 years old & can easily live another 20 years. If, at THIS point, she's refusing to go to the doctor, lawyer, dentist, bank and elsewhere, WHAT is she going to look like a few years from now? Worse yet, what are YOU going to look like a few years from now?

You can't live FOR your mother, she has to do it for herself. It is no wonder you're snapping back & feeling frustrated.........your mother needs medical help & is refusing to get it! It's time for a Come to Jesus meeting with her so you can lay it all out on the line: she must help herself or you can no longer help her. Period.

I truly feel the best thing you can do for both you and your mother is to get her depression diagnosed & treated, then get her into an Independent Living community with a continuum of care available, for when she needs to transfer to Assisted Living, etc. Independent Living will offer her a whole new world of senior socialization, activities and interaction that she will never have available in your home.

If she flat out refuses to go to the doctor, then you'll have no choice but to look into Assisted Living places for her NOW, because things can't go on like this. According to your profile, you've suffered a major loss yourself and are now facing an untenable situation with your mother. She can either FIX this mess or move into Assisted Living, her choice.

Best of luck, I hope you can get through to her!
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You are so correct. We can’t FIX it! This was my problem, I kept thinking I could influence my mom, and well you know the rest...

Great advice!
My solution to the refusal to see the Dr. was- I called an ambulance. Not 911, I just called the ambulance company. It cost a couple of hundred dollars,, but it got her into the Emergency Room. After a few years of refusing to see a Dr. I had no idea what was and wasn't wrong w/ her. They ran many tests, sent them all to her physician, told me all about her conditions. The funny thing was when the ambulance got to the house 2 buff, friendly, patient young men swept her off her feet. More fun than she'd had in a month of Sundays, riding across town in an ambulance! Of course check w/ insurance to be sure it's covered and all, but I was very happy w/ the info I got and the lack of grief I got trying to take her to the Dr.
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Your mother wants to remain in her home, but not alone.

You can help her figure out how to make that happen, and if her resources are sufficient to fund it.

You are NOT under any obligation to move house, cut your job hours or give up your life in order to make this happen

Mom's "wants" are not something that you are obliged to fund with your life and livelihood.
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Unless there is something you haven't included in your profile there's nothing really wrong with your mom and certainly no reason you need to be at her beck and call when you are off work. You've already given up A LOT by moving in with her, she needs to be made to understand that your needs - social, recreational , and the desire to feel like the place you return to at the end of the day is YOUR home and refuge too - are every bit as important as hers. She can't be both queen bee in her own home and refuse to act like a competent adult, she either needs to step up and take responsibility for herself as adult woman or allow you to completely take over her life and allow you to make all her decisions. Stop kowtowing to her and set some limits on what you are willing to do for her, I suggest you immediately stop even thinking about any of the things she is capable of handling herself, if she won't go the the doctor et al then she won't and it's not your problem, she will live with the consequences. If you can't figure out a way to live with your mother in a give and take adult way then I think you would both be better off looking for a different option.
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Even when you used to work 24 hour shifts, you got time off when you'd finished, yes? And a bit more than twenty minutes, I assume?

You have burnout. Plus, there are good reasons why people in all the professions I can think of are advised NOT to provide services to their loved ones. It just ain't the same.

So... what are the options? Apart from not liking your mother to be alone because - doesn't matter why, actually, just because she doesn't like to be alone will do - does she have any identified care needs?
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On my DH's advice, I did as cwillie suggested and backed way off from doing all the things mom "asked" of me; I finally saw she was running me crazy, and it wasn't going to get better. Now she has other people doing all these things for her, mostly paid help, and I'm just one of her minions, tho unpaid. Much better! She's beginning to ask me to be her POA, and I've told her NO; not relenting, either, could never get her to cooperate or keep up with her stuff. We've helped her for over 25 years now, and I'm "transitioning out of caregiving" (great expression!). Getting a real life back... why don't you try it, Indigo?
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Far different when you are caring for someone that does not come with all the emotional baggage that caring for family does.
It does not sound like your mom has a lot of problems that you need to tend to.
At some point when you are not stressed, mom is not stressed talk about what needs to be done and what she can do.
Back off on the things that you don;t have to do
Let her step up and do more.
If it is not dangerous...Ask her if she will get dinner in the oven. (start making and freezing some meals that she can easily start before you get home)
Tell mom you are going to hire help (this comes out of mom's pocket not yours) this person will help clean, laundry and help mom a bit with some of the things that she needs help with. This will take some burden off you and you can get some you time back. And you need to start scheduling YOU time.

Is there a Senior Center that your mom would go to?
Is there an Adult Day Care that she would go to?
Either of these would give her a break, socialize and maybe make some friends.
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You clearly don’t suck as a caregiver as you’ve found work you like in a field that requires caring and patience. But your mother has manipulated you into a position you don’t deserve. She’s still pretty young by elderly standards, and by your profile she has few big health needs. In other words, she doesn’t require a caregiver on any full time basis. Time to reclaim your life and back way off your mom’s. We all teach people how to treat us, and somehow your mom has learned to treat you like the help, help she shouldn’t require. You both need to have more life, I hope you’ll take steps to have one
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Seems you have given up your life to accommodate her. Start getting back "you" by creating spaces that are "hers" and "yours". You didn't mention if she has dementia or an illness that requires he to have 24/7 people around. She may never have learned - of been allowed - to do things for herself, but that doesn't mean you need to step into that role either.

1 - Consider what kinds of care does your mom need - use your very good knowledge and experience. Which of these tasks can mom still do with some coaching?

2 - Decide which tasks you want/need to do and which can/should be handled by others. Also look at her finances/resources and friends/family to see which of these can take care of these tasks. Don't forget to check into paid help: housecleaning, meals, home health aides, sitters... usually home health care agencies can direct you to people who do these tasks.

3- Create a plan of care that addresses her needs and also allows you a whole lot more "time off" - daily and a bigger chunk of "time off" weekly - so you can meet your own needs.

You can do this, because you have done this for work. You need to remind yourself that your obligation is to keep mom safe and healthy, but you are not responsible for "doing" all of mom's care.
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