I need help. I'm considering taking in my mother who needs 24 hour care, and I need to get a real picture of what I'd be taking on.
Mom had a succession of strokes through the last 8 years that have left her in a wheelchair. She is also diabetic and her neuropathy has worsened over this time. 8 years ago I didn't even consider taking her in. I was newly married, new in my career and intended to live my life.
Its been a really good 8 years for me. I'm in a good job I like, have a strong marriage and have done things I enjoy, mostly traveling and making friends through gaming and volunteering. Mom's spent that time in a NH. She's generally a cheerful person, and I was able to visit her (3 hours away) often, take her shopping and out to eat, and talk to her on the phone weekly.
Last spring she worsened considerably, lost enough strength to transfer into a car and lost her speech. No more shopping trips or phone calls. Then covid happened... now theres not even any visits.
When the first case hit her NH she called me crying and then I started crying too. I was so scared. I was ready to go take her home and damn the consequences.
But I'm not that rash.
I started researching and learned some about the waiver program that would get us a home health aide. I have talked to her nurses and social worker about the practical stuff. I know I'd be toileting her and meds 4x a day and pureeing her food etc etc. But what no one so far has been able to answer is... what's it really like to be a caregiver?
Will I really be able to do this and work FT? Will my marriage suffer? What if i do it for a year and can't anymore? Will my friends stop hanging out with me when I have to work around mom's needs? Will I run out of non caregiver conversational topics? What if I need to leave town? (My father is also elderly and as are my inlaws, all out of town.) How do I take care of me? Am I crazy? If I don't do this, can I live with the guilt? Is that a good enough reason to do it?
... I'm scared to do this, but it feels like I should. How do I decide?