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I have been caring for my Mom for the better part of 6 years. It’s been just me and I’d been blessed with a career that allowed me the flexibility of working from home until last month. She’ll be 82 and is physically healthy. My routine includes buying groceries and preparing all meals, taking her to all dr. Appts., taking out her garbage, spending up to 10 hours a week with her in her home, and daily phone calls. I also arrange all her appts., talk to her doctors, call for maintenance and pay for her lifecare alert, cell phone and yard work. I’ve been blessed to be able to do this and she’s been blessed to be able to stay independent and pay her bills. We’ve made it work despite her earlier major depressive disorder and psychosis and 2 previous mental hospitalizations in 2013 and 2014. We survived that! My main issue now is that I’ve lost my full-time job and I’m starting to get depressed or maybe already there. I haven’t had time to worry about the job as I’ve been thinking about her. I’m basically keeping her alive. She doesn’t want anyone else to help her and she relies on me for a lot.


She was hospitalized in the past few months for syncope, which was a result of dehydration and malnutrition. I found her both times and had her taking to local ER and she was hospitalized for 3 days each time and given a heart monitor. As a result, I’m tasked with making sure she eats the food I prepare or buy and drinks enough fluids. I’ve gained 20lbs trying to help because I’m cooking or buying fast food to help keep her alive. Her health is fine per the doctor but if I don’t get her food or electrolyzing water every few days, it’s over. She tosses the meals on wheels in the freezer if it doesn’t appeal to her and will starve if I don’t feed her. She is a tough lady and I love her to death. I didn’t mind doing the little things I’ve done but now I’m unemployed and have tons of bills, mortgage that need paid and will likely need to work outside the home again, which may leave me too exhausted to help. Looking for prayers and support. Thank you!

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As an outsider looking in, it seems as though your mother is no longer safe living alone. If she can't remember to eat well and stay hydrated, it's not working.

The proof of that is those hospitalizations. You are providing tons of care; it's just not enough. Someone needs to be at her elbow around the clock.

Unless she has the funds to bring in care workers at mealtimes each day, or you live in a state that will fund that level of care, she minimally needs to be in an Assisted Living center. Does she have the funds for that?

You, dear lady, need to get back to work, pay your bills and plan for your retirement. If YOU don't do that, no one else will.
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BLTMom33 Apr 16, 2019
Thank you Barb! I’m definitely in agreement with you. I feel bad, but I know if something happens to me and if I’m not able to get her food within a few days, she won’t make it. Thank you for helping and providing your advice. I really need it!
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Is this - She doesn’t want anyone else to help her and she relies on me for a lot. - the only thing that is putting you off finding a nice facility for her?

If so, that's good because it is all going to be fine. Your mother's being fearful is understandable - she's had a lot to shake her confidence, as well as the long term mental health issues - but it's not rational. Once she is safely placed, you will be able to return to work and improve your financial security AND you will be able to spend enjoyable free time with her. Her care will be staffed by many people, not just one; they will be on duty 24/7; and she will STILL have all of the love and special attention you can give her.

You will both be better off than now. Go forth and find that place!
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BLTMom33 Apr 16, 2019
Thank you Countrymouse. I agree and I know it will be fine afterwards, but she is stubborn and it will be tough. I will find a place or fail trying... Thanks again!
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"Her health is fine per the doctor but if I don’t get her food or electrolyzing water every few days, it’s over. She tosses the meals on wheels in the freezer if it doesn’t appeal to her and will starve if I don’t feed her."

Firstly, stop buying electrolyzing water because it's snake oil. If her electrolytes are off expensive water isn't going to fix it. What electrolytes are off? Calcium? Potassium? Magnesium? Sodium? Those are the big 4. Did the syncope happen when she got up suddenly? Her health is not fine. Get her seen by a geriatrician.

You are in a codependent relationship with your mother. Enabling is disabling. You have cooked for her, arranged for Meals On Wheels, and she has the audacity to not eat unless you feed her? Seriously??

You have a difficult choice to make. Either continue enabling your mother to live when it's clear that she cannot manage it herself or, focus your precious resources on reinventing yourself and getting back to work. Go to a temp agency and see what jobs they have that match your skills. Talk to a career counselor. Find a headhunter. Visit your local community college and take a class. Volunteer in your community. Network. Take advantage of what your library has to offer. Learning from failure is what helps us grow.

Finding another job starts with a solid resume that you write yourself. It takes a lot of thought, time, and tweaking to achieve the balance a good resume has. A good resume also is one that you can personalize in just a few minutes for a specific job and company.

Losing your job at your age (no offense) is a difficult thing from which to bounce back. I know how hard it is to compete against women half my age. The sad reality is that when men get white hair they're called "distinguished" and when women do, they're called "old". Few employers care how much expertise you have under your belt when you don't "look" the way they want their company to "look". I have been there, it sucks, and there's no use complaining about it.

Change is scary. Nonetheless, you will figure out what's right for your mother. You will get beyond this setback. You're stronger than you may feel right now.
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BLTMom33 Apr 16, 2019
Thank you, NYDaughterInLaw! I hope I can rebound from this job loss and your reality check really gives me the boost I need, as my mind is all over the place. I have so many other issues, personal and family that I haven’t mentioned, but you nailed it with you encouraged support. I believe this life changing event is a blessing in disguise and will encourage the change needed for sure! Thank you again!!!
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Notify Mom that she will now be responsible for all expenses from her funds.
That is the price of having a free caregiver. You said she is worried, she may just step up.

Apply for unemployment, but do not tell Mom, save that money, get a separate
P.O Box.
Continue to look for work, keep your money separate from hers. Do this 4-5 x a week, as if it is a full time job in and of itself. (It is a full time job) Be out of the house by 9 a.m.. Register at the nearest WorkEmployment (like Workforce) which offers free employment assistance. Goal, be home less. Goal: Break free from a co-dependency that will not work out for you in the long term because she has a mental health issue.

If finances do not work, she may have to enter a board and care home, and you may need to sell your home to survive. Can you rent out a room?

You have done your best. I am also sorry that you lost your job.
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BLTMom33 Apr 17, 2019
Thank you for the sound advice, Sendhelp. I think you’re right and she will step up and hopefully I can get another job soon. This will likely be a turning point for both of us since I will need to focus on a new career and she will need to accept additional help from someone other than me. Thank you so much! God Bless.
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BLT please don't feel bad, you gave her many years at home by propping her up.

Now, it's too much and it is nothing you did or didn't do. It's life.

Find her a place that has good activities and socialization events, go with her the 1st time or 2 and then go get yourself back on track.

One theme I have seen and read here is that our elders would let us all die as long as they don't have to do anything they don't want. Ya think that is okay! Sheesh, an aging brain is more self centered than a 3 year old. Maybe they can't help it, but we can. She may pitch a fit, that's okay, doesn't change the fact that you can no longer prop her up in her independence.

Hugs, lots of major changes to be facing. You can do it!
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BLTMom33 Apr 16, 2019
Thank you Is lsthisrealyreal. You’re right, I have sacrificed a lot to prop her up in her independence and failed retirement. She could be happy, independent and traveling. Instead she lives isolated and in fear of an unknown future, while relying on a now unemployed daughter. Sad reality that must change. Thanks and hugs to you for the support!
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Came back here because I forgot to mention earlier that I am sorry you lost your job. That in itself is life changing and those who have not experienced such a loss cannot understand. Please be mindful of the thoughts you allow to occupy space in your head and keep only those thoughts that support a positive momentum forward. You have work to do now on two fronts, mom and career. I will be hoping you can find a solution for your mother's care that will allow you to maintain a career and a build a future that will bring you happiness.
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You have done so much good work for your mom. It seems now perhaps it is time to arrange for others to care for her. Take this time now and do the research. You have cared for your mom this long, so I am confident you will find a very good arrangement for her. You can still visit and provide caring oversight, so you can still be involved and enhancing her life. You have given six years of your own life to this point, and I hope than now can begin a journey for you that will bring peace and health for you too.
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BLTMom33 Apr 16, 2019
Thank you, GingerMay. I feel guilty and oftentimes like I’m not doing enough, but it’s been a selfless time and without my job, I’m not sure if I can continue to sustain her at the same levels. Your response and feedback are appreciated! 🙏🏽🌞
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Adult Day Care. Many have folks her age, I field trips even medical personnel that visit often. Some also provide 3 meals.
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BLTMom33 Apr 18, 2019
Thanks Shad. It was something that her geriatric doctor suggested years ago for socializing too. Unfortunately, she’s not open to anything like that and if I mention it, she ignores me or laughs.
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I am sorry that this is happening to you.

There is a way to rent out a room online. Sounds crazy right but here is the thing. You sign up with a company online. It is for people who travel but don't want to spend a hug amount on a hotel and they only stay for a night or 2, so they book the room online and the company does the background check and take the payment then the company takes I think it is 5 to 10% off the top then put the rest into your acct. You may have to offer coffee and a light breakfest. But it is a moden day of Bed & Breakfest. I have a friend who travels this way and he also rents out a room at times. You set all your own house rules, days, times and rate. There is also a forum that all the homeowners can chat with eachother and ask questions or warn eachother if someone doesn't seem right. I want to say the company is called B2A...not sure. If you want information just message me and I will get you some info to get you started.

It is just an idea! But I will pray for you. You shall get through this.

Hugs!!
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BLTMom33 Apr 18, 2019
Thank you, Shell38314! I appreciate your help and for sharing this opportunity. Sadly, there’s more to my story that I haven’t unleashed, but will keep this in mind.
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