It's hard to even know where to begin to write.

I'll start with myself, I'm a 32 year old woman, trying to figure out how to take care of my aging mother.

I've generally been taking care of my mother for a few years now after her fiance decided to leave her. Before that, she had already stopped taking care of her own self. She gained a lot of weight in a short amount of time because she stays in bed all day. She stopped taking care of her teeth to the point they are now all decayed and are now causing her problems. And she refuses to go outside and wants no one to see her, except for me. She is definitely depressed.

When the responsibility fell on me all of the sudden, I started to do everything for her. I would run her errands, I would buy her groceries, do basically anything for her that required leaving the house. We lived in an apartment at this time, but everything became too much and I couldn't afford a rent increase on our next lease, so we lost the apartment over a year ago. She receives $682 in SSI, which hardly pays for anything with high costs of things here in California. Majority of income and support for her comes out of my pocket.

I've been living with constant stress since then, and since October 2017 we have been living in a weekly-pay motel. With everything that she needs, along with the current cost to stay here on top of bills and debt, I am drowning.

It doesn't help that I feel like things are getting worse, both mentally and physically. She is physically unwell. She cannot move around even the motel room for a long period of time without starting to experience extreme pain. Her stomach is becoming abnormally huge and I believe that there is something wrong in there - there is a hard mass that keeps growing and pushing against other organs that she also constantly complains about hurting her. She has bowel issues. Due to her poor dental hygiene from the past, it's now affecting her health in ways that she is constantly on antibiotics and her face will occasionally swell up in her cheek.

I've wanted to take her to the ER multiple times but she always refuses to let me take her, and says that it will pass. She won't even let me take her to see a doctor. The only way she is able to get the antibiotic prescription is by calling up her family doctor that will prescribe it over the phone. Mentally she is very dependent, and always throws a fit if I have to leave, either to go to work, or to see my boyfriend. She will always make me feel guilty for not being with her 24/7, and if she ever "wants" something she will resort to throwing a tantrum like a small child.

Everything is starting to affect my own health as well. I'm always stressed. I now have my own depression because my life seems to always revolve around taking care of her now. She complains if I'm not always around and she also never seems appreciative of anything I do. If anything, she always dwells on the past, and blames me for us losing our apartment, along with a lot of her things. She will cry a lot over things she will never see again.

I feel like I live two lives. Part of the week I will be here at the motel so she's not so lonely and to make sure she's okay. The other part of the week I stay with my long term boyfriend. He's really supportive of everything and has helped me out so much in these past few years when everything started to go downhill but this is really holding me back with starting my own life with him. He wants me to move in with him, but I can't because I have a mother to take care of, and moving her in with him is out of the question. I'm not going to do that to him.

Sometimes I wake up and I forget where I even am anymore.

I'm drained. I feel unappreciated by a declining mother. I feel stuck in my current life that I wish I could progress through. I'm becoming bitter and I don't know what to do anymore, and no one is ever able to offer any advice. I don't know what to do anymore. Please help...

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I feel we have a moral responsibility to assist our family members as we are able; sometimes intensely in short term illness, divorce, or job loss situations; sometimes less intensely with longer term issues we see in older relatives as they have mobility and health problems. Assist usually requires some compromise of your own life; IT DOES NOT MEAN GIVE UP YOUR OWN LIFE. For those with long term issues it means be a advocate, help them access available community resources; sometimes that requires running errands and sometimes that means finding and filling out applications.

Please call 911 and get your mother to a hospital for medical evaluation and treatment ASAP. Contact the hospital social worker or APS and work on getting your mother qualified for SNAP, Section 8 Housing Assistance, Medicaid for medical treatment and in home services, adult Day Care or Senior Center programs, and any programs helping low income adults pay utility bills (some states senior programs begin at 50 or 55). With these assistance programs, your mother should be able to live in a small apartment on or mostly on her own resources.

You may still need to shop for her or take her to appointments, but still you should be able to reclaim your own life. You are 32 and if you are ever going to raise children you must start living a young person's life again soon. Move in with your boyfriend and enjoy being young again. You only get one chance at being young so please be young again while you are young.
Helpful Answer (9)

Hi- as I read your post my heart broke and tears rolled because those of us who know know way wat too well. PLEASE PLEASE do NOT continue existing in this nightmare for your sake, PLEASE. YOU CANNOT FIX THE SITUATION OR HER NOTHING WILL CHANGE except YOUR MENTAL and PHYSICAL HEALTH and it will NOT be anything positive for either; your basic zest for life, enjoyment, goals will disappear and you WILL at some point, guaranteed, have a breakdown that you may or may not recover from if you stay in this volatile situation. You are way too flipping young to even be near a toxic trap like this. You are not at fault for her fiancé leaving, you are not the cause of her depression, you are not to blame for her refusal to get out of bed; your desire to 'care' for her has thwarted into your enabling her to behave this way, not your fault either, and she will sink you right along with herself if you let her and honey, by the time your gasping from drowning, you might be to far down to surface. Unless you have training to deal with and treat depression and these behaviors, you are not properly caring for her- you're enabling her. The BEST care you can give her is those who have the background and resources for helping people like your mom. People who made their career choice in this area and who can help but then go home and leave it there when the next shift comes in- who's relieving you at shift change? Nobody. I don't mean to sound so dramatic because I'm not- my mother taught me the literal, complete meaning of the saying "misery loves company " . Indeed it does. Contact your local community resources-hell, PM me and tell me what city you're in and I WILL gladly look up and research what resources and assistance is available in your area and all you'll have to do is dial the numbers I give you and I am very serious and sincere in saying that- I will do that for you, no problem. Let me know and either way, please know there's lotsa luv and support for you on this site.
Helpful Answer (8)
Seamair Jan 2019
The tears are mutual because your post also made me cry...! I have felt so alone in this for so long and always think that no one understands how hard this is. I am glad I found this site. So often I would feel like a horrible person for not wanting to take care of her anymore and often that makes me feel so lost.

Thank you for responding to me with such kindness. That means so much to me right now. I will definitely try to PM you later, because I have no idea where to start to look for help, or if I try to look I get unsure of correct places.
If your mother is still clear of mind, explain to her that you love her, but you have reached the limit of what you can do. She is using you as a buffer against the reality of her situation, which is dire. She is guilting you into not abandoning her. She has you convinced that it is your duty to care for her because it is your fault she is in this situation.
You have bought into all this and you have fallen into an abyss. Your boyfriend has tossed you an escape ladder.Climb up it before you lose him.

Ideally, you would take her to the ER and refuse to bring her home stating her environment is unsafe and there is no one to care for her. The doctor who wholesale prescribes these pills for her may be your only lifeline. Call him/her and explain the situation. Explain that your mother needs much more help than the simple antibiotic they’ve been prescribing. She is a patient and he/she has a moral responsibility for her care. Failing that, you can call Adult Protective Services and report an adult at risk. If you continue to allow yourself to be browbeaten and used by her, your life is over at 32. Your boyfriend will not wait forever. Do you work? Do you plan to at some point? You should be planning for your future right now. If you have other family, send up flares for help from them. If you don’t take the initiative and do something now, you face a very uncertain future. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (7)
Seamair Jan 2019
I would say she is clear of mind to a certain degree, but not fully. She has lost grip with reality and I'm unsure how to diagnose what goes on with her mind. Honestly I'm pretty scared of what might happen if I bring that up to her, it's definitely something easier said than done but does always cross my mind of doing.

I want to thank you for your advice, it really has me thinking on things I can do. The ER one sounds most plausible at the moment, especially since she is currently having swelling in her face that isn't responding too well to her current antibiotics. I may just go against her wishes and call an ambulance on her. It would definitely be for her own good as well. I really don't know why she fights with me against going if she's in such pain all the time.

I do work. I'm a full time bartender and in a normal circumstance make quite a bit of money. But all of it goes to my mother's care pretty much. It's definitely disheartening cause I'd love to be able to start saving towards that future. There aren't many others of my family who could help. She has a sister who tries to give food to us at times but she would not be able to take her in, or perhaps rather doesn't want to. And I have a brother who basically disowned our mom years ago and he will not have anything to do with her because of how she treated him in the past. I can't help but kind of envy him.

But anyway... thank you again for this helpful advice.
Sorry you're in this situation, it sounds unbelievably stressful!!
The reality is that even if you actually wanted to keep doing this, it's not the best
care situation for your mom either. She obviously needs medical attention now,
I'd say having ER come for her about the swelling or the extreme pain you've described. She may have a tumor or something more serious.

Once she's being treated contact the hospital social worker and let them know she
is in need of more care than can be provided in a weekly motel. She obviously
needs medical monitoring. Then you'll have help finding her a placement.

Take it from someone who jumped through ever higher care giving hoops for
over a decade, this type of situation will take a terrible toll on your relationship
as well as your health and finances.

But what you have to focus on is that it frankly isn't the best situation for your Mom either. She needs a team of people in a facility that has more resources.
So help her get settled somewhere more appropriate for her condition, guilt free.
Good luck!!! Whatever you do, please don't continue as it is now. You both need
better circumstances!
Helpful Answer (5)


You DON'T need to "diagnose" what's wrong with your mother in order to call in medical help. That's what the EMTs, docs and nurses are for.

You know that your mother is ill, in pain and showing a variety of physical and mental health symptoms. Her belly is swollen, her face is swelling and she's in pain. Call 911 and let them figure it out.
Helpful Answer (5)

I think you are feeling very overwhelmed because you don't have a plan and being in the middle of a storm can make it very hard to think straight.

Here is what you can do:

1) Call your sister and inform her of what is really going on with mom. Tell her everything, this doesn't mean she will rally to help you with mom, but at least you have inform her.

2) Tacy002 is right. Your mom would probably (must likely) be able to get food stamps, her name on a list for section 8 housing, and Medicaid!

3) Your moms health is to much for you to take care of. You stated that mom has a hard mass in her stomach this does not sound good at all. In fact, in you're correct this mass can and will keep growing cousing more problems. She needs to see a Dr asap! However, that being said, you can't make anyone take care of themselve if they choose not too! Therefore, if mom chooses not to take care of herself than it is out of your hands! It is not your responsibility to take care of your mom's health, if she is able to make that choice. If you feel that there is a decline in your mom's thinking than call the EMTs and have her go to the ER. If she refuses than tell her that you will no longer help her in destroying nor will you participant in her unhealthy life style.

I know this is hard, but as others here have told you, you can not keep living this way. You have done the best that you can and now all you can do is try to set your mom up to get her started on the right path! Some one once posted here " it is a fine line from helping someone to enabling someone!'

Ahmijoy is right as well. Your boyfriend won't wait forever for you.

In case if anyone hasn't told you that you deserve a life let me be the one to say, "you deserve life and you deserve to be happy as well."

I always say, "if being or caring for someone means giving up all of you and who you are than the price is to high!"

I am not talking about anyone who is caring for a LO with dementia or any other physical disability. That is a whole different story!

Wish you the best of luck!

Helpful Answer (5)

Please keep us posted. You have gotten some very good advice. We are wishing you strength.
Helpful Answer (5)

If an ambulance is called, she can refuse to go to the hospital and they won't take her. You may want to get APS involved or start with Office of the aging. This way there is a record that you tried to help Mom.

I an surprised by her PCP. In my state to get prescriptions refilled, they must see you every six months. And antibiotics, how can you prescribe them with out knowing the type of infection.

Yes, seems Mom has had some mental issues for a while.
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It is true that she can refuse transport to the ED. But the EMTs will then report her to APS as a vulnerable adult.
Helpful Answer (4)

Will your sister help you get mom in the car to go to doctor, walkin or ER? As you know, she NEEDS medical care and it sounds like it really has to be forced upon her at this point. I don't know if calling 911 is the appropriate course. It is not an acute, life threatening event happening, but a serious chronic situation that must be addressed. That may be the only option, but as stated above, try to get some aging/elder official involved to tell you what to do. Or also calling her docs office for advice might work.

You need to do something. Make one of those phone calls. Your mom needs the medical attention and you need to protect yourself. As already stated, you might be putting yourself in jeopardy by not doing all you can to get her some medical care that you know she needs. I totally understand that she has and probably will continue to refuse, but you need to try to get help, whether she likes it or not. Your lack of action could maybe lead to someone accusing you of neglecting her. And you certainly don't want that kind of trouble, especially adding onto the difficult situation you are already dealing with.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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