While visiting from out of town, about 10 months ago, both of my parents became very ill for different reasons. Mom (73) had an infection, was allergic to the antibiotic, was medically induced into a coma for a lung wash, then went to rehab for PT. At this same time, Dad (76) was told her needed to have 3 heart valves replaced. After Mom was out of the hospital, Dad had his surgery, but had complications in ICU. He was in the hospital for 4 months and will be on dialysis for the rest of his life, because the surgery sent him into end-stage renal disease.

My parents lived out of state, but have resigned themselves to the fact that they will not be moving back to a colder climate. They have a house to sell up north, but I don't think their doctor will ever let my dad travel, again. My parents are now living with me. They are not able to live on their own. I have 4 siblings who live in other states, and only 1 has offered help when he can. I have had to take my full time job and cut my hours to half time to care for my parents.

My mom has always been a very pessimistic, negative person, but since they have gotten sick, it is much worse. I understand that she feels a lot has been taken away from them (their house, car/driving, independence). I have tried to make my house as much their's as it is our's. My kids work and are in college, but they were pitching in to transport and help take care of my parents whenever they had a spare moment. I was giving all of my time to transporting them whenever they had an appointment or wanted to go to the store. My family, my house, and my job were being greatly neglected. I started seeing a therapist to deal with the stress. She suggested that I use boundaries--and that's where all Hell broke loose.

My mom feels that we are turning our backs on her and abandoning her. She can't talk to me without throwing out a dig about how I make her miserable. I told my kids that work and school came first--they should not be jeopardizing anything when she has other options. Mom took this as me telling my kids to never help or talk to her again. I am afraid to talk to her, because she twists everything and comes back yelling nasty remarks at me. My daughter and I tried talking to her, very gently, about seeing a therapist. She blew up and had everyone in the house crying. Both of my kids that still lived at home have moved out, because they cannot take her demanding behavior and constant yelling at me.

My dad is the sweetest man ever, and every time he tries to reason with her, she goes off on him and is relentless. I'm afraid she is going to give him a heart attack.

My house used to be my sanctuary--my peaceful, happy place. With my kids moved out, my husband and I try to stay upstairs, or in his case, in the garage, as much as possible. And on top of everything else--my dad's brother (72) is a divorced alcoholic who has lost everything. Of course, we took him in two months ago, when my dad asked from his hospital bed. Mom said if his brother, his only living sibling, was homeless, it would just break my dad.

I think getting my mom to a therapist would be a huge help, but unfortunately, that is a no-go. I don't even know where to begin to fix this...I am so beat down.

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So your children have been run off, your career cut in half, and you’re miserable plus you know it’s going to get worse. Mine is 91... you do not have 20 years left in you, I can bet. You’ve got 3 sick seniors living with you and you’re life belongs to them.
You know 1 can run you in the ground singlehandedly, that’s most probably your mom. I’m sorry but I’m not sure you can keep this up darlin.
You need to start getting them placed somewhere they get cared for by professionals, worst one first. You’ve run yourself in the ground and I KNOW you had the best intentions by taking them in but 3? It’s honestly too much, just 1 nice elder can be a handful but 3... it’s just not reasonable and you need to consider transitioning them for facilities because this is more burden than any one person can handle. At some point you need to realize they do or will require more care EACH than you can do. I am so sorry I want to cry for you. Please reach out for assistance with the intent of possibly keeping the brothers together, I think your mom needs more care than they do. You may find a privately owned facility can keep all 3 together in each of their stages, they normally have 5-6 people per home with 2 caregivers 24/7. There may be one close-by so you can visit often and spoil them with goodies.
Its easier said than done I know, but this is WAY TOO MUCH, it doesn’t make you weak, you need help and they need more care than you can possibly provide.
Helpful Answer (2)

Wow. What a nasty turn of events. From my prospective (I am almost 69) they were rather young to have such extreme medical difficulties. I can understand their anger and frustration at losing so much so quickly. On the other hand, you did not cause their losses, nor their illnesses. You are trying to help and they SHOULD appreciate it. Don't hold your breath.

You say "of course" you took in your uncle. Why? After what discussions and considerations? Same questions about your Mom and Dad: Why and after what discussions?

Obviously you are a loving and caring individual and you want to help. However, it looks like you might have bit off more than you can chew. Taking in aging elders is a decision that can have ramifications for decades. They could be living from you 20 years from now and it probably will not get easier. They will get sicker and more demanding.

The first thing you probably need to do is set up a nice, quiet time for you and your parents to talk. Set up another meeting for you and your uncle. Talk about what they need and what YOU need. Be sure that everybody understands that 1) your home is open to them as long as it works for all concerned, 2) that you need your home to be a place of quiet respite, and that 3) when it is "time" you will help them find their next place of care.

Each of these is important because it IS your house and you must be in control of it. You have undertaken some huge commitments here and it will not be possible to survive this if you do not get a little respect and cooperation in return. You need them to understand that your basic love for them is always going to be there and that you will not abandon them. However, your home may not always be the best place for them. When it is no longer suitable, you will help them find a more suitable place.

Your therapist is right, you do need boundaries. Every time your mother tries to take out her frustrations on you, you need to push back, as kindly as possible. Many of us have gone through this. My sister used to tell her MIL "I am sorry you are tired and feeling poorly, I know you wouldn't normally want to hurt me like this. Why don't I come back when you are feeling better?" Of course, the MIL was not living with her and my sister could simply cut short the visit. It took time, but the attacks did lessen.

With my own mother, my sisters and I have agreed that none of us will listen to Mom complain about the others. She says nasty things about us, not because any of us have wronged her in any way, but because she is 93 and is angry that her life is not what it was. We do feel sorry for her, but we do not allow her to be abusive. The supreme comeback when she complains is that we will help her find a suitable residential care whenever she wants.

We made the mistake of not having the frank, honest talk soon enough with Mom and now her understanding is failing. I do not know if she really understands what we are trying to do for her. I certainly know that she either has no concept or refuses to accept the concept that we are in our late '60's and 70's and simply can no longer perform much of the work we took on 20 years ago. As Mom's needs increase our ability to meet them decrease. We should have paved the way for easing her into residential care with more conversations about what would indicate the next phase of her care.

Take time for yourself. Find someone else to take care of your older relatives on a regular basis, like a few hours one afternoon each week when they can go to the senior center or someone can come in and watch them, if they need it. Take that time and go do something that you love: walk in the park, visit a museum, get a massage, whatever. Do NOT tell them what you are doing. Simply say you have an appointment. It is really important that you keep some of your life for yourself. As for your out-of-state sibs, when I was the out-of-state sib I sent money to help. Ask them.
Helpful Answer (1)

Oh my Lord! What a mess. I can relate somewhat but you top me in the stress department! Some moms will lay a guilt trip on their children. It’s sad because we did our best to care for them.

I took care of mom and dad in their home for many years. Daddy had bladder cancer, received treatment and beat it. Then heart problems, same as your dad, problems after his bypass surgery. He had a stroke while recovering in the hospital. He did rehab but was never the same after his stroke. I took care of him for quite awhile but he was not a problem to me. He went to speech therapy but didn’t improve much. He missed driving too. He was able to be home for a long time before dying in the hospital.

Mom remained at home for another three years and I went there several times throughout the week to care for her. She has Parkinson’s disease.

Hurricane Katrina happened and she lost her home and I moved her in with me. My mom isn’t a screamer like yours. She gets the digs in but in a passive aggressive way. She stayed with me for almost 15 years. Now she lives with my brother and SIL.

She pitted my brothers and me against each other. We weren’t all that close to begin with but mom certainly made it worse.

Both of my girls were living at home when mom moved in. The older one moved out. Then younger one moved out too. They pitched in to help some with mom but she was never rude or ugly with them. I agree that school had to be first too.

My husband felt the impact of it all too. The entire family takes a hit from the stress. I hate that your mom twisted your words and caused problems in your family.

She was ugly with me. Not in the beginning but it progressed into that. I feel too much togetherness causes so much havoc in families. I also started therapy and am still seeing a therapist.

When all I started getting was criticism from mom and siblings, I hit my breaking point and told her that if she was not satisfied and she felt that my brothers could do better, then she needed to go live with my brother and SIL.

You sound like you are pretty near your breaking point.

My dad was like yours. He was kind, humble and appreciative of anything I did for him. My mother had to have everything her way. If I objected I was treated horribly. It became so tense that it was either an argument or no speaking at all except for what was absolutely necessary. Hard way to live. So I understand your situation with your mom.

Is it possible for them to move into a facility? If your mom is like mine, she won’t change, won’t cooperate. My mom would not have done therapy or agree to any meds. She would not see the neuropsychiatrist that was recommended for her.

Are you doing everything alone? Can you call Council on Aging to get an assessment for assistance. They will sit for four hours at the time a couple of times a month, help bathe and dress them if needed, tidy up their room, deliver meals if needed, be a companion to them, play cards, etc. If they qualify you can have some help. It’s not a lot of hours but better than nothing.

Best wishes to you and your family. Take care.
Helpful Answer (2)

Your mom needs a psychiatric evaluation. She most likely needs medication first and foremost for depression. It sounds as though she has been at least mildly depressed for your entire life and now that depression has spiraled out of control.

The most effective treatment for depression is generally meds and CBT; depending upon mom's cognitive status, medication alone may need to be the only modality.

"Homeless"? Probably not. Probably assigned by municipal social services to supportive housing.

Are you in touch with your local Area Agency on Aging to get him into housing and treatment?

Just because mom and dad buy you a ticket to a guilt trip does not mean you have to go.
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