My 91-year-old mother is very able in many ways - she walks upright without a stick, exercises, reads and does some online shopping. We live in New Zealand and she lives in an independent unit in a retirement village about 1.5 hours away (there are staff who keep an eye on residents but it isn't assisted living). In the past year she has undergone two bowel resections (not cancer) and has lived with us for six months of the past year to recover. I am the only family member in New Zealand. This situation is quite complex - just over a year ago our adult son died tragically after a long illness (we cared for him) and my husband has been diagnosed with Parkinson's - so we are a complete mess emotionally right now. I did feel I was burning out the second time my mother lived with us and our relationship has improved with her going back to her home. The retirement village has tried to persuade my mother to go into a more supported apartment where nursing care is available but she isn't interested. At the same time her expectation is (and I am doing this) that I handle all her finances - which are complex, make most phone calls (she has become very hearing impaired) and do most of her food shopping (she has complex needs with food and shopping can take 5- 6 hours). When my father was alive, he did everything and I think there is an assumption we will pick up this role.
She does have money but has become increasingly reluctant to spend it on any form of care although I have persuaded her to employ a wonderful person to come in for 1.5 hours three times a week - and this person is taking her to some appointments and picking up a few groceries. She also has someone coming in the mornings while she showers and there is a safety check at night. I respect her wish to live independently but it feels like a constant struggle to maintain boundaries with her requests - which are perfectly reasonable in her mind but not for us - for example driving across town because there is only one acceptable brand of coffee (we did refuse). To be honest I think I feel angry that mum is not cutting us some slack at this time - it feels like I have lost my mum and am dealing with a small, spoiled demanding child. She never mentions her dead grandson and tells me that I shouldn't be feeling tired. Somehow I need to balance our need to grieve (which is exhausting), spending time with my husband (we are already seeing some changes) and supporting my mother. I am sure there are many reasons for her demanding behaviour - anxiety (she is on medication), brain changes etc. Any wise advice?