New to site and new to being solely responsible for care for my Mom. Will I ever feel normal?

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My 83-year-old mom lives in another state (350 miles away) and has been living alone for 20 years since my dad passed. She has no major health problems accept arthritis and some mild short-term memory problems - she uses a walker full-time. My sister had been the one to manage her home health care. She has a home health agency that comes in daily for help with cleaning, medication management, errands, doctor appointments, helping with exercise (extra 2 afternoons a week), etc. However, my sister died suddenly after Thanksgiving. Our family was in such shock and I brought my mom up to our house (where is still is) for the past few months to get through the funeral, holidays, etc... My mom wishes to go home and that seems best as me and my husband work full-time and have two small boys - ages 3 and 5. My mom says she misses her home and wants to try living back in her home again and wants to see her neighbors, friends - who will occassionally stop by. I know all seems well but I just can't seem to shake this anxiety I keep having...now that my sister is gone. While my mom has been with us - we have went to see a lawyer and have paperwork in process for a POA, will, and healthcare directive. I know again...all seems to be falling into place and I've even found an assisted living facility very close to us (that my co-worker recomended that her mom is in) and me and my mom checked it out while she was here and she liked it and says that when she is ready - she will go live there. So how do I stop feeling so anxious, it seems like it really hits hard when I wake up? It seems like all I do is think about my mom...I feel like I'm neglecting my children and my husband...how do I get back to normal? Sorry for the long post.

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I a so sorry for your loss.

The loss of a child is the worst possible loss. I think your mum probably will do best in her familiar surroundings while she goes through the initial stages of grieving.

You are also grieving. Loss of a sibling is a major loss and a sudden loss is harder than an expected one. Anxiety can be part of that. I think some meds could help - even an antidepressant until you are further through this process.

At some point you and/or your mum many want to attend a grief group They can be very helpful, when you are ready to go.

Grief is very physical and very personal. Once your mum has returned home you need to focus on yourself more, feel the feelings, which are very painful, and walk through your loss. Give yourself space in your life to do this It will be hard with a job, two small children and your mother to care for, but you need it. I think the anxiety about your mum is one way your grief is expressing itself. If it doesn't come out directly, it comes out in all sorts of different ways. Happens to many people I know who have had significant losses.

Hopefully some of the people in your mum's life back at her home can be a support to her as she goes through this. Usually the shock lasts at least 3 months and the serious pain sets in about then. Some people find the second year harder than the first after losing a child. Maybe if you can contact some people near your mum, or the agency and assure yourself that your mum has support you can relax a bit more and look after your own grief.

My heart goes out to you. (((((((hugs)))))) Make sure to look after you
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I'd also look to getting her set up with a medical alert pendant that she can push in the case of an emergency. Knowing that she has a way to contact someone quickly would put my mind more at ease. It sounds like she's got a great system set up now, you just have to have eyes and ears on her since you're not physically there. I think once she gets back home and things are going OK, you'll be able to relax a bit. I'd also suggest you go back with her when she returns home, just so you can make sure everything is functioning as it should and you can familiarize yourself with all of her network of friends and home health folks.
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Sorry to hear about your loss. There is still hope, just take a deep breath, close your eyes and exhale. If there is no family where your mother is located I would suggest you contact an Elder Care Manager. They are a really great group of people to work with when there is no family. They take on many of the roles and responsibilities you would if you were living close by. I would also encourage you to contact the agency that your sister set up to take care of your mom a couple of times a week. Most agency offer live-in aides that can be with your mom daily. This also helps, knowing you have someone who can take her to appointments, monitor the expired food in the house and be there overall. It also helps a great deal with daily companionship. With her loosing her husband many years ago and now the sudden death of her daughter I wouldn't recommend any drastic changes. This could cause a decline in her over health and mental health. See what options are available for seniors and her area. If you need a place to start just let me know and I can also help with researching options in the area where she lives. Godspeed.
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OOOH yes, you wake up short of breath. You shake in bed as you try to fall asleep. It's stress, and it is NORMAL. First off, call the MD and get some Ativan. Next, limit the coffee intake, I know not easy, I have the same problem. And get her back to her place this weekend. She has griefwork to do and her home with familiar surroundings and friends is the best place for her to get back on an even keel. Get the daily helpers back on schedule, I hope someone kept the business running. Network with her friends and neighbors, be sure they have your contact numbers. Ask them to call you if anything is amiss. Be sure you know the land line number for her police department. If you can't reach her you can ask them to "check the welfare" and they will. Be sure her 911 knows how to reach YOU. You will build a safety net and that will put NORMAL back in your spirit.
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