Mom fell recently and recovered after an ER visit. She looks better but is now depressed. My mental and physical health is at stake if I continue to be a 'caretaker'. Her medical follow up is a routine blood lab at this point. She is refusing routine medical care she says. This is where I draw the line. So I just sent a message of 'notice' to family members regarding my mother and her future care. I told family in the message that if she were to fall in the future and require rehab, that if she needed further 24/7 care at home I would no longer be able to provide that level of care and she would more likely have to be placed in long term care or assisted living. For the past seven years, I've been a family care-er, for a sister who fell ill, long distance for an aunt, and at home for my mother, all while having a teenager whom I feel has been deprived of my attention and resources. I've tried to manage caregivers, recruit family and friends in tasks and sometimes it's been successful but mostly the colossal load of grunt work has fallen on me.
Just in the past year, I can feel my own aches and pains and have neglected routine medical appointments. I've paid to have help come in, but each have moved on, and the process of finding someone begins again. Family and friends visit when they want but on their terms and never to formally relieve me which bugs me - I've been clear I needed time. It turns out for family members visiting I have to present as well to entertain or facilitate the visit. It gets tiring or I find myself annoyed at gratuitous offers of advice. When I have listen to what other's feel is needed in the current circumstance, I find myself cutting the conversation short and probably come off as rude. Everyone has their comfort level and capacity limits and I am learning to be more accepting, I've been fortunate that my own support system: a caregiver group, reading this forum, friends that regularly walk with me, and a long distance sort of relationship have been a lifeline.
I think I have to draw the line to save myself if there is to be a me and draw the limit of obligation. My sister and my aunt were acute cases where there was no time to process their situation fully and instinctively I cleared everything to be available, whereas my mother has declined with age and I've been here over the past five years increasingly full-time. I know mom's wish is to remain at home until her death. If there were support, maybe would be possible, maybe not. I just know now I need my home and my peace of mind and to pay attention to my son.