I am struggling with how to help my 85-year-old mom. She currently lives in the home she and dad shared since 1965. Dad passed in 1997.
About 10 years ago, my brother went through some difficulties and lost his job, his home, and then had a heart attack. Mom took him back into her home (about three hours from where he used to live). He had jobs for a while, and paid rent for a while, then had to have bypass surgery and never went back to work after that.
Two years ago mom started having some cognitive problems, and then had a bad fall which landed her in rehab for six weeks. I went down to help during that time, 600 miles from home for those weeks. When mom got out of rehab, my brother took over the wound care and did some of the caregiving for mom. It wasn't always the best situation as they argued a lot, but he was there and willing so that's just the way it was for almost a year.
I was getting a lot of phone calls when things were going badly, mom would be upset and they would want me to calm things down. As mom's cognitive issues got a little worse, we realized we needed a little more help in the house.
Last fall, almost a year ago now, my brother had another catastrophic illness that landed HIM in the hospital and rehab for almost 5 months. The illness left him disabled and in a wheelchair. He can no longer live with mom because the house is two-story and there are no workable bathroom facilities nor sleeping space on the main floor.
Since he was in the hospital, I've had to go down there every 6 weeks and spend a couple of weeks cleaning up financial messes, collecting mail, other stuff. It's gotten really hard on me to do all this traveling. I have kids and grandkids in my own town that need me and I'm so torn up!
I've been checking out assisted living facilities in my town and found nice ones. Mom doesn't want to live with me, not because of bad relationship, just because she thinks it's bad to live with your kids.
She has to have 24-hour care now because she can't do her own laundry, can't always dress herself without cuing, can't select her clothing, doesn't manage her incontinence well, and has awful memory problems. She doesn't have Alzheimer's, but short-term memory is really bad. She has also developed terrible anxiety and insomnia, as well as some paranoia. It is some kind of dementia, the neurologist cant put a name on it.
Most of the people she was close to from her high school have either passed on, or developed their own dementia. She just lost one of her two best friends last summer, and the other she won't visit anymore because that friend is too much in the past. She has two sisters in law in the area, that's about it. And she only sees them every couple of months.
She doesn't reach out to people from her church anymore, and doesn't always go to her regular bible study. It's getting harder and harder for her caregivers to get her out to appointments and events she used to enjoy...she simply refuses to go!
I'm constantly (almost every day, sometimes) inundated with phone calls telling me how much trouble she is giving her caregivers...yelling at them, calling them stupid, refusing to shower, telling them she wants them out of her house.
Yet, she complains about how lonely she is, how trapped in her house she is. The trap is of her own making!
I have her power of attorney and manage her finances, I'm thankful she took care of that before things got too bad.
Assisted living in my town? She would have a lot more visitors if she were up here with us, and we would bring her to our home often as well.
Sorry this is long, I just don't know what to do! I'm spending hours a day working on her life, and I don't have much energy left for my own. I can't make my own doctor's appointments, I often have to cancel my own to go down and take care of her. I'm so tired of doing this long distance. The only thing SHE wants is for US to move THERE. That is not fair or possible.
THanks for listening.