My mom calls me hysterically crying over very minor things and it stresses me out. Any advice?


My mom is homebound and her quality of life isn't as good as it should be, but I'm doing literally everything in my power to help her. She has always been a heavy drinker, and refuses to get help. South Dakota facilities won't help you unless you're a voluntary admit. Tonight my mom called me bawling because her home health nurse wouldn't go to the store because her shift was up. I know my mom won't remember it tomorrow, but it's so distressing to listen to. And infuriating she'd get so upset over something so small. I know it's the drinking, but nothing I can do about that. I'm applying for extra aid with the state so that her Medicaid will pay for full time home health because I know that will curb the drinking somewhat, and I have an excellent case going for it, but it takes time. I just want to feel not so alone in this.



I sympathize with you. I had two alcoholic parents growing up and it's no fun to continue to be a caregiver to people who are destroying themselves. Your parents are very young to be in poor physical shape.

You can't change them (you know that through AA and AlAnon) so you have to take care of yourself. Don't answer the phone or cut off the conversation when the whining starts. It seems drastic but it will save you much frustration. Find an outlet for your anxiety.

I read your profile and it says you're taking care of your dad with Alzheimer's and your mom with heart problems. Is dad in the early stages because you say he gets the booze for her?

I don't have a great answer that will magically change everything (wouldn't that be nice?) but I do feel for you 'cause I've been there too. Focus on what you can do for yourself. If she won't go to AA, then you should go to AlAnon meetings or private therapy to learn to detach from them. Sad but sometimes nothing can be done UNTIL a catastrophe happens.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to SueC1957

There are "bad" people everywhere. At the grocery store, in the liquor store, on the bus, and yes, even in church. Just because people are in detox doesn't mean the majority of them are bad.

Addicts and alcoholics in treatment, are not bad people trying to be good...they are sick people trying to get well.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Pepsee

My dad I think gets it for her. He also drinks but isn't insane like her when he drinks. There's nothing I can do to help her if she doesn't go voluntarily and I've tried making her go to AA. She's gone willingly before but never stuck with it. There's no such thing as involuntary commitment in South Dakota, and the detox centers are NOT equipped to care for her plus they are very scary and full of people who are actually bad. My parents are not bad... I've just kind of decided that they won't get better with it, but when I get the Medicaid expansion to cover more hours I think the presence of a home-health worker throughout the day will encourage a more healthy lifestyle.

About the Medicaid, the Waiver program is more willing to pay for in home care if it means less people in nursing homes since they are closing left and right here, so I'm confident it will get expanded. The social workers on my parents' cases understand that it's home health or death - literally - so they are busting their butts for me despite their 500-person case load.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to aj6044

Curb the drinking? Your mother needs professional help. I have a sibling that drinks like that and the next day acts like nothing happened. Sometimes the drinking lasts for days and she doesn’t know if it’s night or day. Your mother is probably in a foggy state of mind and needs professional help. But she has to want it and depending on her age she may not want to change. My sibling lost their families due to the alcoholism. It’s not your responsibility to continue to take care of your mother as you must have done all of your life. Take care of yourself. Please get help for your mother soon you’re headed in the right direction.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to SpiritDancer

You say that she's always been a heavy drinker. How was that handled while you were growing up? Did you go to AlAnon?

Have you tried limiting the length of time you will listen to this distressing babble? "Mom, I am so sorry that you didn't make your request for the store run while there was still time to do it. You will be OK. I've got to go now. Talk to you tomorrow."

Maybe even, "Mother, it sounds like you've been drinking and your thinking is not clear. Let's talk in the morning before you've started drinking."

It sounds like you are doing all you can to get your mother help. You are also entitled to protect your own mental health.

Listening to her cry hysterically is not doing her any good, and it is only distressing to you. Limit it.

Do you have a backup plan in mind in case your plan for increased Medicaid help does not go through? What if Medicaid says "with the level of care she needs, we will pay for a care center, but not keep her in her home"? Would you be OK with seeing her in Assisted Living or a Nursing Home?
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to jeannegibbs

Just curious - if your mom is housebound, who is supplying the liquor?
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Dorianne

I do know how you feel, because my mom doesn't drink, but she calls me up with stuff a lot, and wants me to come "fix a light, make a sandwich, etc." from several miles out of town. I've learned to ask her questions; can she eat something else, call a friend in the buildiing, or call maintenance, etc. and manage to avoid most of these things. Now and then my husband goes and helps her, but it was his idea to cut the trips to once or maybe twice a week, and do more on the phone. Also, she, too, will forget it the next day.... so aggravating, isn't it? Sad, but aggravating.... and stressful. It IS better since we are working this new plan; might work for you?
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to mally1