How do I maintain my sanity with Mom in hospice and family arguments? - AgingCare.com

How do I maintain my sanity with Mom in hospice and family arguments?

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I'm not sure where to start .... so here are the issues at hand .... Issue #1 My mother and I have never had a relationship mostly because she was verbally and emotionally abusive to me when I lived at home. I felt it was best for me to distance myself from her in order to keep my sanity. Issue #2 - she was recently diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer that has metastasized to her brain and spine and was told she has several weeks to several months left. We are 2 months into home hospice care. Which leads to issue #3 - my mother lived with my brother prior to her diagnosis. So the home hospice is at his house. He is the primary caretaker and we both work full time jobs. He is single. I have a teenage daughter. I am able to manage my time between work, my daughter and taking care of my mom one day a week. I realize this may not be a whole lot of time to many, but given our past relationship its all I can give. Recently she started with the verbal and emotional abuse again; of course this was after I forgave her for all her past wrong doings in an effort to forge some relationship in the end. Shame on me I guess. Anyway, back to the reason I'm writing. I am currently at odds with my brother who believes I should spend more time taking care of our mother; he says it would give him a break. But he has managed to schedule people for an entire week, so I assumed (yes i know what happens when you assume) everything was okay. Only to find it is not. He was very angry that I'm not there in the evenings after work and on the weekends. I understand he is burnt out, but I am doing the best I can. Her abuse is hurtful and what he doesn't understand nor want to hear is I am physically suffering from this - chronic headaches, fatigue, inability to focus and second guessing myself. All is affecting my work and managing my daughter. How do I balance all of this without my own health suffering? And How do I move forward without causing a rift with my brother? I can give him one additional evening per week and a few hours on the weekend, but anything more than that is more than I can handle. Also, he told me he shouldn’t have to schedule me in for specific periods of time, that I should just show up and be expected to stay for as long as it takes. Yes, that’s something my mother would have said to me.

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Sounds like a hospice facility would be best for all concerned. Why doesn't your brother go along with that? Any decision about Mom in which you are expected to help, must be a democratic decision , not just brother's preference. I've seen this kind of thing - it is not that the siblings refuse to help- they are willing to help pay for care, but do not want to get into caregiving at home, which is fair enough. It is quite understandable that if Mom is an abuser, then children who are targets want to keep their distance and meet their obligations by subcontracting. Brother can decide what he wants to do, but he cannot force siblings to go along with the program he has decided on.
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My mom was always the sweetest person prior to becoming ill. Now she is curt, angry and sometimes downright abusive. I am in your brothers situation as primary caregiver... My advice: you mention your mom has only several months to live. Your brotheris burning out, he is dealing with this daily. Approach him and ask what it is you can do to offer him the most help. Wash dishes? Cook a meal, it doesn't have to involve sitting with mom for hours. This is not a lifetime commitment, it is a few months. It is hard not to take it personally when someone is abusive, however, there is strength in knowing that you are above the drama and committed to doing the right thing for this short time. You mother is going to be worse than she ever was because she is in pain and dying. If you can't handle her "stuff" , focus on helping your brother in other ways. Arranging respite through hospice, making phone calls, errands etc. he is exhausted too. How important is your relationship with him to you? You mention he is single.....so what? That does not mean he has more time....I am sure he has obligations other than just caring for your mom. A job, a relationship, friends? ...believe me...when you are living with a terminally ill person you need a break. He is us giving you the cold shoulder because his is tired and resentful of the situation he is in. Acknowledge his situation, thank him for what he is doing, focus on him if it is to hard for you you to deal with mom...remember this is a few months.....not years.
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For your own physical and mental health, it is okay to set the boundaries you have. It's your decision. Brother can accept or not accept. Tell him, you LOVE and SUPPORT him but this is all you can do --reiterate that you don't want it to affect your sibling relationship in the end. Offer to hire additional help or help pay for some services for him to make things easier, especially on the weekends. --especially if he won't consider moving mom to hospice facility.

I know it's not easy with mom, but if you can muster a few more visits and steel yourself for the unpleasantness, at least give another try. Schedule visits around her favorite tv show, or take her for a drive or bring over a favorite treat or carry out dinner that she will enjoy; play her favorite music where you can just listen together and not engage in contentious conversation. Don't try to reconcile...obviously that's not working and she is hurting you. Maybe pickup one of her old friends and take her with you when you visit so you aren't one on one if that makes you feel better.
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My FIL cared for my MIL alone with hospice nurses checking on her weekly for 6 months. Toward the end, he agreed to have aides come in at night so he could get rest. They also did a few day shifts, which was wonderful for him as they did light meals and laundry. It helped him tremendously.
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thanks Pam, I just now tried to explain that while I had forgiven mom for her prior misgivings its difficult to forget the abuse. and being there with her makes it difficult. he didn't want to hear about my chronic headaches, stress, anxiety. I'm in a no win situation. but yet he forgets that I took care of our father, oversaw his care during his month long stay in the hospital..took care of our mother after he passed. thanks for listening.
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Walk away from angry. I used to wonder how people could "abandon" their mom or dad and leave them alone. When I realized they were nice to me, but bombarded one child or another with anger and criticism, I fully understood. You have to preserve your own sanity.
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Thank you for your comments and support. To follow up, I went to my brothers for Mothers Day. it was just us and he gave me the cold shoulder the entire day, it was so uncomfortable. and when he did speak to me it was curt and nasty toned. He isn't going to be pleased with the time I can offer and I'm realizing I can't do anything about his anger.
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I hired aids to be with my mom 8 hous a day...I can increase the hours when I need a break. I am now considering evening shifts as well so that I can get a full nights sleep. You have to be committed to caring for someone . if you are not it will only make things worse for you and them. Your moms behavior will only get worse if she is in pain and suffering. You will have to have thick skin. Bottom line, if your heart is not in it don't do it. Your brother may need to get help through an agency. It is a full time job.
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Ismiami is so right! Hospice is not for everybody. My SIL could never handle it, besides working, she panics easily and then goes blank and becomes useless. A friend of mine took care of her great grandmother at home with Hospice. More than once I had to put my arm around her to keep her calm. I would take her to the kitchen and chat about a totally different and happier subject. You really have to be able to go outside, breathe the fresh air and refocus.
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I went through at home hospice for dad. Knowing what I know now, if and when, mom will have to go to a facility hospice.
It is impossible to do at home hospice if you work. It is physically and emotionally draining. Add to that the fact that this is a fragile relationship.
If bro won't agree to facility hospice, he will have to deal with you visiting when you can.
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