First, I am so thankful to have found this forum. It has been so helpful just over the last few days. Even still, I have been struggling with caregiving in my mid-thirties. Mom is 78, has fallen a few times and has had some form of disability since the late 1980s. Issues range from post car accident back injury to nerve damage from a fall about three years ago.
Because mom has experienced challenges all thirty plus years of my life, I have been helping out (as an only child/no other in home support) for a while. Not an issue, but taking care of mom has always been the reality.
Before this last fall, she would work through physical therapy and emerge 90 percent or so well. She might have back pain or leg pain here and there, but was able to get around.
Because of this, I took more of a backseat trusting that she would get better. Three years later, she has gotten somewhat better physically, drives, gets around, but is more combative and uncooperative. Using a walker and/or cane to aid with walking, she will complain about physical therapy, tell the therapist what she will and will not do (even if the exercises are to increase mobility), has singled out and essentially ran a therapist off the job (out of that location anyway) and at times has become verbally abusive - demeaning even to people helping her at the grocery store.
Just the other day she refused to allow me to go in the grocery store and get what she wanted, ordered an electric cart and told the young man bringing the cart to her that he was weak.
Mom can also be very charming in public, but flip to nasty in a second. She is helpful to people. People love her, but she also has a history of "helpers" who assist with the yard or taking her places, but things turn sour after a few weeks/months.
I love and want the best for my mother, live about 7 hours away by drive (1hr or so by plane) and have been going back and forth for three years. Mainly due to employment opportunities being better in a metro city versus the smaller town she lives in. Even though I factored these things in, I blow through PTO, personal days, sick days, leaves of absence etc like water. I would say 90 percent of time taken off goes to her. Each visit consists of a medical appointment, maintenance of the house, car, cleaning, vet visits for the dog etc, but they are limited because of work. Gladly being done, but crammed into the amount of time that can be taken off.
Because I took more of a seat over the last three years, not taking complete control over everything, I feel guilty. Guilty for living my life, taking that job, traveling etc... even though I travel to her monthly or at an interval of every 4-6 weeks. When not with her, I worry and sometimes pace thinking about what she is doing or what I need to do next? At the same time, maintaining some space gives her room to be independent (which she wants) and gives me room to recharge and go back.
I have brought up her moving closer to me, downsizing to a smaller home/townhouse (refused, I'm not moving!) and taken her to look at houses, but she is insistent on not budging.
Today I am struggling with whether I should move in with mom, move nearby (within 30 minutes drive) or keep communiting between cities until that no longer "works"? Should I move? Is now the right time to move or should I wait? If I move will she improve enough to where she doesn't use the walker or cane? Will a constant presence make her push to get better and accept additional treatment? Am I being selfish? Will she maybe consider making adjustments for the future or is this wishful thinking? Something has to be done, but is moving in the right thing to do?
Thank you in advance.