She has been told over and over NOT to answer the door when I'm gone. But yesterday she opened it to a stranger..I can't leave her any more so I am confined to my home.

I am wanting to 'go inside' myself to escape and that scares me. I have done that once before and almost didn't come out again.

All I need to do is feed her three times a day, do her laundry and empty her bedside commode. She sleeps most of the rest of the day. At 99, she is medically healthy and will probably live to 105 or longer. At 80 I have no future..

Does anyone else feel like this? Nothing ahead....

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That is the thing that scares me most. Continuing as the caregiver for many more years at the expense of my own. At 60 we should be enjoying life while we can still do the things on the bucket list not feel like I cannot leave my house for fear of what FIL will do ...or not do.
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LikeaMother, why do you think that only you can care for her? Is it financial? What if you had someone come into your home for 3 or 4 hours a day, so you could go out and do what you want? Don't go "inside yourself." Go outside your home, at least for a few hours regularly.

What do you want to have ahead? Once a therapist had me make a list of what I would be doing if I weren't being a full-time caregiver. What would be on your list? I'll bet there are things on there you won't really be able to do as long as Mother is alive. But it is also probable that there are some things on that list that you could start doing now, in small ways, especially if you get some in-home help.

What is the reason you haven't hired some help?
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You know? That's just sad. It really is.

The obvious solution, of course, is to move her to a nursing facility. I'm gathering you can't afford to do that. And for those who are quick to say "Medicaid," as we all know, first mom has to be broke. And, right or wrong, some of us rely, at least somewhat, on our parents' inheritance to help us when we get old.

I'm 67; mom is 87. She's been with me a year. She can't be left alone either. Every day, I wake up and briefly think, "This isn't quite how I'd planned to spend my golden years." Then I shake it off and do the next right thing.

I, like you, love my mom very much.

But here's the deal. I simply will NOT believe that you cannot afford to hire a companion for your mom. Someone who'd come in for 4-5 hours twice a month at MINIMUM to give you some sense of "having a life." Here in the Chicago area, that would cost $220.00 a month through a service.

While I personally wouldn't do it, one could hire a college student or a (younger) gram to sit with her; tell a student to bring their homework; tell a gram to bring whatever. At $10 an hour, I'd imagine people would be very happy with that.

I'm making some assumptions here, as you can tell. Two Social Security checks; MAYBE somebody's got a tiny pension; MAYBE there's a paid-off home on which one could take a reverse mortgage in order to get money to caretake. Or MAYBE one or both of you have an actual nest egg that's been saved for a rainy day.

It's pouring outside.

You deserve more. You really do. It sounds like you are caring for her alone. I couldn't do that. If it weren't for Tom, mom would be in a nursing home. Mom saved for that rainy day; and she did a great job. She's spending it now. On respite care so that I can have "a life."

It's not the travel that I thought I might do; it's not that cruise we'd planned to take. But it's good solid "me time" -- and I couldn't do what I'm doing for mom without it.

If you want suggestions from people here on how to do things easier, what services might be available to BOTH OF YOU, etc., I hope you'll give us more information,

There are very caring people here with lots of great ideas . . . but if all you want to do is vent? This is the place for that, too.

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I know exactly what you mean when you say that you go inside yourself. I spent several years inside myself when I was caring for my dad. Chatting on the phone, lunch out with friends, even church was uncomfortable because I had nothing to offer, I brought nothing to the table because my life revolved around caregiving. And who wants to hear about that in a social situation?

I had to force myself to get out. I started small with Saturday Mass. It was my favorite Mass but I had been going to Sunday a.m. because it was more convenient.

Then I started to call friends here and there just to chat and I found that asking to hear about them (because I had nothing to offer to the conversation) worked very well. It got me out of myself for the duration of the call.

These are very little steps we can take to poke our head out of our hidey-hole and start to become a part of life. No big moves are needed, just poke your nose out there for a few minutes to smell the roses and you'll feel better. I did.
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I am caring for her alone (She is my mother's Sister, mother has been gone for 5 years now). Except for her short term memory, she is in excellent Health. I just buried my husband in July. Before that I cared for both of them. He was a 'brittle diabetic' and had kidney failure, plus atrial fibulation. I had to constantly watch him, because his sugar could drop from normal to coma in less then 15 minutes without warning. I did not have a full nights sleep for about 6 years with him, keeping him from 'crashing'. We moved my Aunt in 3 1/2 yrs ago after she broke both hips and had replacement surgery. All my Family (except a sister) is in Michigan and I am in Florida. She will NOT move to Michigan, it has been discussed at length. She had no children and has been a widow for 35 years. Until she fell, she lived alone on the next street. We checked on her 2 to 3 times a day and ran her errands. Outside of her stubborness over moving and money, she's very quiet and pleasant to have around. She sleeps most of the time except when she wants to eat or watch TV. Then she wheels herself to the table, folds her hands in her lap and waits...This is my clue to stop whatever I'm doing and fix the food.

Yes, my Aunt could very well afford 'Assisted care'. She WILL NOT PAY for it. She is still in control of her money decisions. When it comes to money, she is 'sharp as a tack'. She counts every penny. She may forget what she spent it on, so I have to keep records she can see to refresh her memory. I have finally got her to go to respite 'once a year', so I can have a Vacation. This year that Vacation was 'going to Michigan to bury my Husband'. It was sad BUT so totally freeing. It was the first time EVER, I could go, when or where, I wanted, without having to make arrangements or schedules.

You ask about my 'Bucket List'. It consists of TRAVEL and NO RESPONSIBILITIES. Just picking up 'on the spur of the Moment' and doing WHATEVER. This is not possible as long as Auntie is living. I feel she will live to at least 105 and possibly even 110. I take very good care of her..The only med she takes is a thryoid pill. The Visiting Dr. checks her every three months and is amazed at her numbers.

I will 'break' at some point and the decision will be made for both of us. But I'm hoping That doesn't happen for a long time yet. I am working on a possible 'sitter' for 3 hours 3 times a week. It's trying to discuss it without letting her know, until it's set-up. She would lose sleep over it and worry me to death with her 'solutions' as to why she doesn't want or need someone.
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Make your plans to move. Tell Auntie that you are going to be gone by the end of November (or whenever it is feasible). Tell her you will be discussing it with her next week and she should be thinking of any concerns or questions she wants to discuss.

Then sit and calmly outline the options for her. You are NOT discussing whether you are moving. That is settled. She could move to Michigan. She could stay in Florida. Do you need to sell the house for your own income needs? Either explain that or explain that she can continue to live there and what it will cost her Spell out the option she has in Florida. It sounds like she is the type who would relate to price tags on each option.

You have been most kind and generous. Now it is your turn to be good to yourself. Do not stay in this prison. Auntie just can't expect to live without expenses for the next year or five years or more. Let her decide what she'll spend her money on, but make it clear that her choices will not change your decision. You are going to Michigan. Non-negotiable.

I am very sorry for the death of your husband.
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Your aunt is in control of her money but she is not in control of whether or not she lives in your house.

If looking after her in your home is your choice, I respect it. If moving her out of your home and into a place of safety is your choice, I respect that. But saying you are in any kind of prison, velvet or otherwise, when the key is in your own two hands..? That makes no sense to me.
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Pretend like you "broke" and do something.
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You two at 80 and 99 are totally amazing. Start putting your feelers out to the Area Agency on Aging for South West Florida to see what services they can provide. If she is the widow of a wartime veteran, contact the VA. Go up to the search window at the top of the page, enter "fort myers,florida" and a host of possibilities will pop up.
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OMG - that's my mother too. Only I am lucky, she is in independent living (but shouldn't be) We do all the chores, finances, laundry, shopping, cleaning etc and all she has to do is go down to dinner or buy her lunch, get up and dressed. Same problem though - she's 99, physically pretty healthy, but mentally we can't trust her. She barely eats, hasn't bathed in a year, stood on a chair the other day, insists on using the stairs to go to the beauty parlor, etc. She could live to be 105 (but we won't if she does - both of us being 70's and not up to dealing with this, the physical demands and emotional stress, her negativity, etc) Mom won't allow an aide, but if your mom will open the door to a stranger, maybe yours will so you can leave her alone. Take advantage of it if you can! We're making plans to move ours to assisted living, against her will or not - even if we have to get a lawyer. Her paranoia, confusion, lack of hygeine, dozens of panic phone calls about her hearing aid, etc - she can't stay much longer - tired of finding dirty depends in drawers, hampers, under the sink, etc!
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