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Im 47. I am a single mom raising my 7 year old by myself. I have 2 daughters in college. I just recently quit cleaning homes after 10 yrs bc my knees and back need a break. I take care of my mom full time bc of her health issues and not being able to remember basic things anymore. I've helped my mom over 20 yrs. I have 3 sisters. One never helps. One helps less than 10 days a year. The 3rd lives in the sames town and helps very little. Now that my mom can't remember to take her meds, forgets to eat, drink water, etc., I feel I have to be there even more. My struggle is finding a job where I am available to my mom all day and pick up my son at 2:30 everyday. I have no idea how to do this. Lately my mom is dizzy and has a history of passing out. Last year my son and I lived with her about 4 months bc she was passing out so much. She spent about 60 days in the hospital last year. I am with her every time bc she cannot effectively communicate with Drs about meds, or anything really. I have suggested to my mom we both sell our homes and build something that works for us both. But as most of you know, they are Redicioulsy stubborn. I feel like most of the ppl on here about how much you sacrifice for the person you are caring for. Its hard to communicate how I feel with even family. I do not feel they understand what I'm struggling with. I'm not sure why everything is my job. I miss having relationships outside of my mom and son. But everyone on here is right, its impossible to date. Any suggestions on how to be a single parent, work, caregive, and have any kind of a social life.

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Do I understand this situation correctly?

Mom is still in her own home with a multitude of problems and you are the sole caregiver?

Ill be direct. This is not sustainable. After the next hospitalization, and there will be one, move mom to assisted living or skilled nursing facility. Start look at places near you. Get the money figured out. Will she be on Medicaid? Get the application started ASAP.

If mom will not give you POA or is unable due to mental incompetence contact your local APS.

No no one is obligated to destroy their own lives taking care of parents.
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Reply to Windyridge
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Just wanted to give you a virtual hug. It is so so hard. I am married so I have that, but he works long hours and takes care of his ailing parents. We've sort of adopted the what's mine is mine and what's yours is yours approach to our ailing parents. Mine is bedbound in ALF and his both have dementia but are living on their own (it's a problem but it's my husband's). I have one in college and one in high school and I care for my mom alone (one sister but she does nothing) and I work - but only half time. I'm lucky to work for a small company that gives me a lot of flexibility. I sometimes work at 2am but at least I have the flexibility to do it. 90% of the time, I've got this and I keep all the plates spinning but it is just friggin hard. I can't imagine being a single parent to an elementary school child too. My kids have sacrificed a lot in the last year and it has affected them tremendously. My two cents is that you need to focus on your son. Something has to give and I hate to say it but it needs to be the oldest generation first. I'm not saying don't take care of her but you have to set your boundaries and tell your siblings they need to step up or step out. Get POA and control of the assets if you don't already have it. My sister fortunately I guess doesn't care what I do for mom but if she did, she's powerless to do anything because I hold all the keys. Good luck to you and hang in there. Eventually this too shall pass.
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Reply to onemanband
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Tanya listen to Shezza. Shezza has down to earth advice. It is only going to get worse. My Mother is 95 and lives alone and is always mad at me too. I have stepped back. I don’t call her or see her as often. She is competent so she is free to do as she pleases. I’m just not going to be her verbal punching bag anymore. My friend is 57 and has spent the last 10 years taking care of her father during the day and working the overnight shift with me at night. She looks and feels exhausted all the time!!! She barely sees her boyfriend. They never go out anymore. She thinks her father comes first. Get on with your life before it’s too late!!
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Reply to elaine1962
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Being a caregiver will consume your entire life. It’s impossible to balance with a job and family. Everyone ends up shortchanged. Sad but true. No one can manage it successfully.

I wish I had a magic wand to hand out to all caregivers. That’s what it would take. Those wands would be waving all over the place with caregiver’s wishes for instant results for the elderly to function on their own. I feel badly for caregivers and the elderly.

My biggest fear is that I will be dependent on others. I really don’t want that. I just want to die in my sleep or a quick heart attack!

It’s sad how caregiving effects us. For me it truly made me extremely aware of my own mortality. We have to live each day with as much joy as we can, otherwise we end up thinking too much about very unpleasant circumstances.

Far be it from me to criticize our creator but sometimes I wonder why God allows us to have all of these issues. Not even theologians have all of the answers to our questions.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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You sound like a smart cookie. You have the memory (for Mum's medical history & meds), she trusts you & you have made it work so far. You've been her Case Manager, Driver, Maid + + + & bringkng up children! Exhusting!!

You've also been sort of *a lone ranger*.

Going into the future. Is being a lone ranger what you want? Is being the sole caregiver + working single parent really going to work?

Or do you need a new set up?
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Reply to Beatty
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It's hard to suggest not knowing specifics but you may be able to pay yourself for caring for your Mom.
This could take care of some of your job problems. I know that my brother cares for my Mom and pays himself for caring for her. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find someone to come in a couple of nights a week. Your family should step in and help, if not physically the at least financially. Hope you find some relief, I know it is hard.
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Reply to waltjeffries
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Job in healthcare either home based or on site. There are many plus they are recession proof.
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Reply to shad250
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Unless you can find a legitimate work from home opportunity, I'm not sure what kind of job is flexible enough to allow you to at your mother's beck and call.

When she feels dizzy, what is the solution? Do you show up at her place and give her fluids? (Dehydration can cause dizziness). Or does she just need reassurance?

What were all of those surgeries for? Why did she only stay in rehab for 3 days?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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anonymous1000836 Jan 6, 2020
Maybe low blood pressure. Can't find the blood pressure cuffs to start recording it. She loses things frequently, but swears it wasn't her. Yes i have to remind her to drink water. But she will pass out and had 9 falls last year. Plus 2 more that dislocated her hip. My mom has Mrsa so that has been about 6 of her surgeries with a severe infection. She has had her hip replacement twice bc it dislocated 7 times. She has has should at surgery 5 times. Foot surgery. Knee surgery twice. Plus a 3rd time to cut off a screw that came loose. Eye surgery. And 2 nasal surgeries. There's a few more minor ones to put in a port to receive IV antibiotics at home. She only stayed in that rehab for 3 days bc it was a nursing home and she really Wasn't getting rehab. Plus she has no use of her shoulders and they told her to wheel herself to the dining room. That time she fell at broke her left femur and dislocated her right hip at the same time. That's why she agreed to rehab. The other times she came home. My mom has heart problems, kidney problems and other medical issues too. Some doctors just don't know what to do with her. I'm the only one who knows all her medical history and her meds and her allergies. I've saved her life a few times.
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I would be very cautious about selling your mom's home right now. If she goes on medicaid it goes from a exempt asset to something that needs to be spent down.

There are ways to make money on your own schedule. The easiest center around arbitrage. Either in the financial market or the flea market. Buy low, sell high. Plenty of people make a decent living buying stuff and then reselling it. That can either come from buying a pallet of excess merch from a liquidator and then selling it in pieces or hunting for in demand merch in stores and selling those at a mark up. Ebay and Amazon are full of people making a living through arbitrage.
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Reply to needtowashhair
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Being a solo caregiver for a person with dementia, which is what it sounds like you are describing, is a very stressful and exhausting job. Sadly, people with this condition, even if they don't have other multiple health issues, can be all consuming due to their resistance to care, bizarre behavior, lack of insight, and poor judgment. There isn't really a way to get them to act better, accept help, etc. And, it gets worse, with things like incontinence, wandering, lack of mobility, falls, anxiety, sleep disorders, etc. I'd read a lot about how it progresses. Have you considered the effects on your children? It can be pretty shocking.

If you don't want to upset her with her doctor, I might write the doctor a letter detailing what you are seeing, and confirm that he has read it before you arrive for the appointment.. Often they want to do an office evaluation. Your input would be helpful.

Some people expect adult children to take on caregiver roles for the aging parents, especially, if they are sick or have mental decline. IMO, it's up the adult child, but, if they aren't inclined or do not feel they are able to do it, then that is their right. Taking on roles of that type can really change your life. Most people have their own families, jobs and homes to care for. Taking on more may not be feasible for them or you. That would be your decision. I know that I would not expect that from my adult children.

Before selling any kind of assets or building, I'd consult with an Elder Law attorney about asset planning and protection. There are so many potential issues with things alike that. I'd also ask about HCPOA and DPOA, if those have not already been signed by your mother.

There are many threads around this site about adult children trying to do what you are doing. I think it's rather intensive and often not feasible for even a healthy person without young children.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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Next time she lands in the hospital, upon admission tell the nurse you want to speak to the case manager. Discharge planning starts upon admission. Your mom needs to be placed in long term care. Do not accept discharge to home and certainly not to your home.

You have a young child. Your responsibility is to your 7 year old son. How present can you possibly be in your son's life when you write "I feel I have to be there even more" for your mother???

It doesn't matter what your siblings choose to do. You are not going to change them. You can only change yourself and make better choices for yourself and your son.

"My struggle is finding a job where I am available to my mom all day and pick up my son at 2:30 everyday." In my opinion, you are not being realistic. Most jobs are 9-to-5. Jobs that are shift work i.e. not 9-to-5 require hard skills. Even server jobs in the food industry require hard skills like basic math and point of sale technology.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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anonymous1000836 Jan 6, 2020
Im not sure what my skills have to do with this? I have 2 college degrees. But paying bills is a must if we want to keep our home and eat. Im sure i can find a job
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In the short term (and to extend the time your mother can remain in her home), I suggest you look for an adult day care program. Your local Area Agency on Aging social workers may be able to identify a program covered by community Medicaid. You would know your mother is safe during her hours at ADC, eating a couple of meals and snacks, and the socialization may help delay dementia progression. AAA may also be able to qualify your mother for some in home care hours each week you could use to have a day or two you don't need visit Mom.

Long term your mother is going to need LTC. You may want to start working with AAA to determine if your mother would qualify for a Medicaid waiver for an AL. In my state, seniors requiring daily medication management due to dementia or diabetes often qualify for AL help.

Make sure you get the DPOA and HCPOA documents in order. You may need an official dementia diagnosis for your mother to qualify for additional Medicare and Medicare services.
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Reply to TNtechie
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Tanya; the only control you have in this situation is over your own behavior and actions.

If you continue to do the same actions, nothing will change. You can't make your mother or your siblings change.

That is how others here have handled being used by their families. They have stepped back.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Beatty Jan 6, 2020
Stepping back. Yes I can confirm it works!!

It wasn't just a uncaring disappearing act. It was a well researched & planned out RESPONCE - that broke the situation of REACTING to the latest need.

The folk here can help with this!
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Tanya, this can't go on. Your health will suffer and your 7 year old will suffer. HE is your primary responsibility and his needs are going to get greater as he gets older.

Your mother was responsible for planning her own old age. Apparently she didn't do so. That doesn't make it your problem. I don't know if your siblings have better boundaries or just don't care, but in either case, you are not required to take up the burden of your mother's care.

You say your mother gets angry if you talk to her doctor about how she is living.

So?

How does her anger hurt you? Is she controlling you through fear, obligation and guilt?

Perhaps you need to step back from running yourself ragged at your son's expense. With many unreasonable elders, it takes a fall or hospitalization for the healthcare system to say to them " no, we can't send you home".

You may need to let your mother fail before she gets the real help she needs and deserves.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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anonymous1000836 Jan 6, 2020
My mom has probably has 20 plus surgeries in the last 15 yrs. One time she went to rehab. And that was only 3 days. The other times it was my job. No it doesn't hurt me but some of the things she says hurt. Maybe we do stupid things to keep the peace. I would sau my mom is extreme difficult. She wants 100% control. Having family to back me up sometimes would be nice but they choose how much they r involved. And its not much. I think all my relationships ppl learn I don't say no easily and most of them use me. That's nothing anyone likes to admit. And yes being my son's only parent with no help, he has spent more time at my moms, Dr offices and hospitals more than most adults have. Its hard when u have no help and few choices. Gaining control in this situation wont b easy. You'd have to know my mom. Obviously being difficult us fun at this age for some older ppl.
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Your profile says your Mother has Alz/Dementia. This is progressive. Her care needs are already high & will get higher. But it's not all bad. There will be many good days too. And there are many ways to care.

Have you got a recent health update for your Mother?

I think getting the honest situation from her Doctor & some solid advice about what her care needs are is the way to start. Then you can make a realistic plan.

Would you consider having a family meeting? Already you know your sisters are not 'boots on the ground' help. Mine either. I was resentful at the start until I realised everyone gets to help at their own capacity. So if Mother stays at home, or moves in with you - you will be it. That's the reality. But better to know now than empty promises & resentment later. Work as a team if you can.

Get the real health picture. Then make a plan that meets ALL of your needs - Mum, you & your children. Sisters too.

You are young & have a life to live too! So it may be a move into a supervised setting gets Mum the care she needs.
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Reply to Beatty
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anonymous1000836 Jan 6, 2020
My mom has never been diagnosed with Alz Or Dementia. But i recognize the signs of it. I can't bring it up to her Drs bc it makes my mom angry. She gets mad at me a lot. Only way to talk to them is without her there. Yes we see Drs a lot. In fact she has 7 appts this month. We've had weeks with 4 Dr appts in one week. Her medical issues by itself is a full time job. My family knows i need help. Only one gives me suggestions but she is 4 hrs away. The one that is here is an alcoholic and self absorbed. Thank you. I don't feel young😵 Its tough to find solutions when ur doing it all. Thank you for the kind words.
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Thank you for your answer. Gives me a lot of good information. Your right. I am exhausted. I was hoping this year would be different. But its kind of a repeat of last yr so far. Everything seems controlled by my moms being dizzy and she can't remember anything anymore. I know I need a change. Would love that. Its my mom who fights me about any change. Thanks again.
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Reply to anonymous1000836
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You exhaust me just reading about your hectic life and lack of family support, so how much worse must you be feeling. If you keep up at this pace you will be old before your time, and that is just not fair to you, your children and yes, even your mother.
I certainly think you need a circuit breaker to give you time to rationalise and prioritise all your responsibilities - and your personal needs, like something resembling a social life. I am not talking party, party, party, just someone your own age to whom you can relate, have a laugh and a cry with, enjoy the occasional meal away from the family, going to the movies occasionally, and so forth. I doubt you would get much out of dating at the moment, given your hectic lifestyle. Such a complicated life can be a turnoff for so many people who might otherwise make wonderful companions.
I recommend that circuit breaker be to arrange some Respite care for your mother. Just a couple of weeks would be adequate, a month even better.
It sounds like your mother's health is in rapid decline and things cannot keep on as they are. If you do not already have POA, get it NOW while your mother is still capable of signing the documents and consenting. If she is not, get legal advice immediately. The last thing you need is for your sisters to have POA, especially since they show no genuine desire to assist your mother.
Selling both homes and building something suited to both your own needs and hers sounds good on paper, but in reality it will not work. If your mother has dementia, which it does sound like, you will be able to get her co operation less and less. Believe it or not, she will become even more stubborn. .... and that will be the better part of her decline! She will eventually need to be in a memory care unit and you will have spent all that money on a house she will not enjoy. Further, if her share is needed to get her into some form of assisted living, or to arrange in home care, you will have to sell up and your life thrown into turmoil yet again.
Speak to her doctor, get the full goss on what the future holds for her, and for you. If she goes into the hospital in the near future, get the social workers involved. They may be able to arrange respite carers to go into her home - or if your mother is already living with you, to care for your mother while you are at work.
Whichever road you choose to travel you must at least make a start, otherwise you will be devoured by all that is headed your way at warp speed.
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