She had a stroke in December. I take care of everything - she can't remember short term. I can't find time for going to the store even. How do I manage my time better? Between her house and mine and keeping the outside and inside - I find it overwhelming.

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Reply to ThePlains18

It certainly sounds like she needs more care than you can reasonably provide. When something like this happens, you and your family also need care. This isn't an 'I Think'. This is I Know. I developed a rather serious stress related health problem (Rheumatoid Arthritis), thanks to the stress of caregiving. My mother was not as physically challenged as yours. (However, my mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder along with Callous / Unemotional Traits.)

The first thing I would do is make a doctor's appointment for your mother. If I was in your shoes, I would write a letter to the doctor, expressing your concerns. You need to know what your mother is capable of doing and capable of not doing--now and going forward. You need to know what level of care your mother needs.

With this information in hand, I would want to talk to a social worker or a (private pay) elder care coordinator. You can make an appointment to see your Council for the Aging social worker. That person will know about resources available in your area and help put you in contact with them. Best of all, it's free. A private pay elder care coordinator can do more for you than the Council for the Aging social worker. That person do things like: arrange for home health care services, moderate a family meeting where you, your mother and the rest of the family discusses elder care, help you find an appropriate senior residence, see that your relatives know what's going on, etc. You pay for this person by the hour. It's not cheap, but depending on your circumstances, can be money well spent.

Right now, you need to offload care and day to day chores. You want to offload chores you really don't like doing. For example, I like doing yard work and find it a stress reliever. I wouldn't hire a lawn service, but if you don't like doing this, you might want to hire one. Your mother probably could benefit from having a housekeeper visit a couple of times a week--even if you like doing housekeeping work. If it's not safe for your mother to be left alone (which is generally the case when someone doesn't have short term memory), she'll need a companion. A companion's job is to keep your mother safe and entertained (akin to what a mother does for a youngish child).

Your mother might benefit from attending a daycare for frail seniors. There will be things for her to do and new friends to make. Most likely, a van will stop by and pick her up at home / drop her off at the end of the day. Her health will be monitored. They'll give her lunch and snacks. This isn't cheap, but it might give you the respite you need.

At this point, it's probably a good idea to start looking at care facilities. Should she enter care, you will still be very much involved in her care. It sounds like the lowest level of care that she needs is Assisted Living. If you choose to go that route, Assisted Living will offer you peace of mind. Someone will clean her apartment. She'll get meals in the dining room. Someone will keep an eye on her. There will be activities / clubs and perhaps outings for her. Be aware that *practically all* residences have a problem with bullying. It's important to ask management about how they manage bullying--and deal with it when it happens. You should be looking at nursing homes as well. Most good NHs have waiting lists. Get her name on the waiting list for several you think are good. Time it so that every six months, she'll be offered a spot. You can always say 'No' and ask to be put to the bottom of the list.

If you have to sell her house and use that money for care, do it. Seriously, the inheritance is not worth what caring for a very needy parent will do to your health. Should you place her in an AL or NH, you'll still be very much involved in her care. You'll be supervising her care--seeing to it that she's treated right.
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Reply to DofNarcissists

You'll need respite, else you cannot carry on as caregiver
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Reply to Llamalover47

It is overwhelming. And the older my mother gets, the more of my attention is required. I feel for you in every way. Vent away if you have to.
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Reply to nymima

Gosh, please consider having some of your groceries delivered. If you have a neighbor who would work cheap, you could have them vacuum or do laundry for you, or even do mom's hair. The town my mother used to live in had a senior van service for appointments (if mom can walk). The local churches may have programs for mom to go to for fun, & that would give you a day off. Please contact your town& ask if they have a "meals on wheels" program for seniors, to help you with lunch.🙋. Hugs!
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Reply to Tiger55

Time Management 101:
Every night before you start getting ready for bed, write down your plan for tomorrow using the following 3 categories:

Not everything is critical. If you consider everything critical then nothing is truly critical.

Your mother needs to learn to do for herself. Enabling her is disabling her, and you are teaching her that it's okay to do nothing and be waited on hand and foot by you.

Include in your time management, time for yourself and time for your own life. If your mother chooses to do nothing with her time, that's her choice but you do not have to be her sole companion.

Go to the library and read some books about time management and organizing one's life. Both you and your mother sound like you need help in that department.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw

I thank all of your suggestions and feel like you are there also - it is nice to see it in writing what may be a choice I have thought about -but just can't do. I am referring to outside help but I know it is coming to that.

Thank you all for your kind words,
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Reply to cjclark1

I'm still tweaking my time management, but there are a few things I keep to a tight, no nudge schedule.
1. I get up every EVERY weekday morning at the same time and stay up. I sleep in a little later on the weekends -- my circus, my monkeys.
2. Mother only gets to stay in bed until noon no matter how late she's stayed up.
3. I'm flexible with breakfast and lunch, but I cook almost every evening and the supper bell rings between 5 and 6. So if we are out, I HAVE to be home by 4.
4. Bath day for Mother is Tuesday and Saturday. She used to flat out refuse, but then I remembered that I'm the boss -- no bath, no bye-bye.
As for food shopping, I only take Mother with me if it's to get only a few things, otherwise, this is done on Friday morning since hubs is off work and can stay home to man the fort.
I think I'm ADHD and have some OCD tendencies, so the need to have a daily schedule might seem overkill, but having certain days designated for certain things helps keep my anxiety level.
What do I do for me? Sadly, nothing. Although, my daughter stays over with Mother once or twice a month so hubs and I can get away.
So... I'm all about lists and schedules.
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Reply to MumsHelper

Hire help to look after your Mom. Or look into adult day care. Then you can get some time to yourself.
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Reply to mmcmahon12000

Just do your best.

Start by creating two lists: long term, and daily.

When you prioritize, make sure that some of the things that are most important to you (and also a few that are most stress relieving to you) stay at the top of the list.

Try to keep your daily list reasonable - you’ll feel better if you can accomplish everything— meet your own expectations.

i read somewhere to envision yourself doing the next task. That helps me remember to grab the clean laundry to fold when I sit down to watch television.
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Reply to ACaringDaughter

I incorporate what she needs done with my list of things to do on a daily basis so that I wind up doing a huge circle making sure that I wind up back where I started, and that I shop for both of us ( my mother and I) at the same time for groceries, dropping off my mother at Supercuts while I run a quick errand nearby so that she is finished with her hair when I am finished with my errand, etc.  It is definitely overwhelming until you get into the groove of it, then it slows down somewhat.  There are always unexpected things that come up, but go with the flow and try not to let it get to you.  Reward yourself for a job well done EACH DAY with a little something for yourself ( like an ice cream cone, or your own hair appointment at the same time that your mom gets hers, etc.).  Accept help when offered to help yourself out.  Accept compliments when someone offers one to you.  Be good to yourself.  Take care of Number One (yourself) so that you can continue to help your mother, and others.
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Reply to debbiesdaz

It is overwhelming! Don’t think you have to do it all or do everything perfectly. Do what is necessary and leave the rest go by the wayside.

If you can have others help you it will relieve some of the stress. Stress in these situations will never completely go away.

Take care of yourself. You deserve to get some rest. Hugs!
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

I would first look at getting yourself some help by getting mom some help. You are actually in the perfect situation for overseeing and being ever present in your moms care while letting someone else do a lot of the time consuming work. Check with doctors and medical people involved to see about getting someone to come in and do some of the heavy lifting personal care id she needs that, depending on the needs/situation most caregivers will do some of the light housekeeping at least, make meals etc. Hire a neighbor kid to mow the lawn and other outside chores at least for Mom but for you too if you can.

When you shop for yourself, shop for mom and if she is mobile enough to shop for herself take her with you (the activity is good for her) and you can each shop for yourselves just combine the trip. When you make meals for your family make enough to put together TV dinner size meals to freeze for Mom's freezer so she can just pull them out and microwave (or it can be done for her). Get basics delivered to her, maybe both of you from Amazon. I do this for my mom who lives 350 miles away so we can't share items but I have a few items, like her nighttime Depends, that are on auto delivery so I don't even need to worry about tracking when I need to order more and it's far less expensive than purchasing locally. I also order the regular ones from Costco in bulk and have it sent to her because that's cheaper than Amazon even but I get 2-3 cases when they have coupons on them so she is well stocked and saving money. Anyway there are various services for food shopping too depending on where you live, many grocery stores are now offering an order on-line or by app delivery service now. It takes a little getting used to but once you get the hang of it combining chores for the two households shouldn't add much work or time with you living so close. Now if she really shouldn't or can't be alone during the day or overnight, that's a different conversation. If setting up some monitoring in her home so you can track what's happening and be there quickly if needed isn't enough even combined with part time caregivers coming in doesn't do it then you are probably at the point where it's time to move mom. Again these are all individual needs and decisions but the current chaos you are feeling isn't sustainable and you will be needing that energy on down the line so go ahead and collect information to give your options, the possibilities some thought. Good luck!
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Reply to Lymie61

Get some help as Golden and ahmijoy said. You will kill yourself trying to continue at the pace you are going.

Mom needs to understand that she can't expect you to carry the burden solo. She needs to pay for the hired services for her and her home. Don't argue if she says she doesn't want a stranger around, tell her that you have to lighten up your load or you won't be around to help her and then she will be 100% dependent upon strangers with no advocate.

Is her prognosis for a greater recovery or this is it?

I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with putting a load down when it becomes far to heavy. She may be faced with doing things, ie facilities, in home caregivers, that she never contemplated, but she is now in a different situation and hopefully she loves you enough to be willing to let go when that time comes and not demand staying at home or having only you help. If she isn't, it will be up to you to set and enforce boundaries.

Hugs, it is a difficult journey, but you can do it!
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal

Dear soul - you are living two lives. We were designed to live only one life - our own - with some time and energy for others, but not as all encompassing as you are experiencing. You can't keep this pace up without harming yourself.

You need some help, or mother needs to be in a facility. Does she have financial resources to hire someone to do some of the jobs you are doing? Or to live in a facility? Has she had a neuropsych evaluation? Your local agency for aging should be a good place to look for resources. Please look after yourself.
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Reply to golden23

Would Mom consider Assisted Living? It would take a lot off you if you didn’t have to run two households. Failing that, how about hiring help with some of the things like house cleaning, yard work and grocery shopping. There are only so many hours in a day and no matter how carefully you try to manage your tasks, sooner or later you run out of them. School will be out soon and I’m sure there are teens around whom you could hire to do some outside work.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

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