Ok, i will start with my moms condition...my mother is in her late 60's, 2 strokes and lost the use of her left side, cant walk, overweight, incontinent, has troubles with bed sores, and she is constantly battling UTI's from the catheters and on antibiotics a lot.
I am her only family, which makes this so much harder! She lives with me and before the strokes she wasnt walking but could transfer herself and lived a somewhat normal life. After the strokes it has been rough, she is bed bound and having to change your mother is very hard mentally for a son. I have to work 2 jobs to afford the bills, but seems like my life revolves around before and after work, and coming home for lunch to care for her, my phone rings all day with supply companies, insurance companies, and talking to doctors, etc. i have no free time. I cant sleep much without having to get up and help her.
I'm in my mid 30's, I feel beaten down, gained weight, and i'm tired all the time, it is definitely taking a toll on me. But I feel guilty putting my mom in a nursing home. All she wants is to be home with me. But I also feel guilty wanting to go live my life and have my own family.
My mother is currently in a skilled nursing place for 30 days and is doing good, but I don't know if now is the time to keep her there or go back to trying to do it all myself. Recently I did hire a part time care taker during the day while im at work, but its still just me before and after work. Just not sure I can do this much longer. She is a wonderful mother and has done so much for me, and now she has all these health problems. I just want her to be happy and healthy. Am I slowly killing myself here?
And you're right. This will be the hardest thing you'll ever do and it will take a toll. The longer you're in this, the higher the toll. After 11-12 years of care giving and dealing with late stage, full blown alz, I'm a mess. You don't want to be here.
Find alternate arrangements for your mom. Honestly, the thought of one of my son's being trapped like this is scary to me. I don't want my kids to have this kind of a burden on them. It doesn't matter how much you love your parent, expecting your kids to take alz and dementia on, especially alone, is asking way too much. Last I heard parents were supposed to raise children to fly, not to cage them. When I get to a point where I need as much care as your mom, I fully expect to be placed with professionals. No adult child should be required to give up life for our parents, and that's exactly what this will boil down to. It already is. Unless you do something to make a change soon, this could be your life, 24/7, for another decade or so. If your mom is mentally sound she should understand that this is too much for you to go at alone and that you can't do it. Tell her that you'll always be there and will be visible as much as possible, but don't give up everything to do this. There's nothing noble about it. It's tiring, exhausting and can become sickening. We should all have at least enough moral obligation to see that even the old, mean elderly that were shits in their youth have at least warmth, human company around as in professionals, are fed, clean, etc. If people do that, they've done what's required to have a peaceful soul. Nothing more is needed, imo. I wish I had figured that out a whole lot sooner.
My son told me awhile back that he suspected my mom didn't give me POA so that it would be almost impossible to get her into a NH or other care facility. If that was some plan of hers, then it pretty much worked like a charm. I couldn't get her in anywhere. Every door we tried to open to have my mom placed, was shut. I was at the frantic point by then, desperate to do something, anything, to get out of the care giver role once and for all. When I say it was killing me I'm not kidding. Finally, I ended up having to abandon her to the state. That sounds bad, but it's really not. Nothing changed much. I still saw my mom every day then. I was always around, or my son Sean was. If we weren't there, docs and nurses were. Point being, no NH or facility is home and yeah, I made promises to my mom, too, about NEVER putting her in a home...unfortunately, that was a promise I was destined to break, although I didn't know it at the time.
We do what we can and that's all that should be expected of any one human. No parent has a right to demand your entire existence and all of your life force. They'll drain it down to zero, not even realizing that they're killing you. And some do realize it and don't give a crap.
Whatever the case, if you or anyone, ever needs out of the care giver role and there doesn't seem to be an out, abandon your parent to the state if that's what it takes. I advise it only as a last resort and not a decision that should be taken lightly. I had run out of options when I finally made that decision. My mom was in late stage alz, her behavior was more than I could handle or even begin to control and she really did need to be under a doctor's care at that point, but how to GET her somewhere without a POA? It was crazy. I'm glad that's over now.
Right now, I'm sitting here after all these years of care giving, and that unholy toll it takes, thinking that I'm probably in the middle of some kind of melt down. And I am. Years of non- stop, merciless stress, anxiety, fear, anger...not good. Find another way for your mom to get the care she needs, get a room mate and start living your life like you're supposed to be doing.
It's a lot easier for me to say than it is for you to feel but do NOT feel guilty. My dad lived with me for 5 years and I told him I would never put him in a nursing home unless he became bed bound but when I said that I was very naïve and had to idea things would get as bad as they did. Like your mom, my dad went into a rehab facility to get PT after a fall and he just never came home. While your mom is in this facility start making arrangements for her to stay because once she comes home it will be very, very difficult for you to place her in a nursing home. You have a perfect window of opportunity here. Take it.
Of course you want a life of your own and your own family! Are you ready to throw that away so you can care for your mother? And her being in her 60's she's relatively young to need so much care but she live another 10 years at least! Can you face another 10 years of what you're dealing with? In your post you sounded so down and defeated. That's no way to live and please don't sacrifice yourself for your mom. I'm glad she was good to you and took good care of you but she didn't do it on the condition that you do that for her someday. Parents are supposed to care for their children. It's the natural order. You don't owe her your life because she did what she was supposed to do. And caring for a child is much easier than caring for an aging parent. I've done both and I'll take caring for a child over caring for an elderly parent any day.
Save yourself and find other accommodations for your mom and then go and visit with her as much as you are able. Do it now while she's in the facility.
If she's been a wonderful mother to you, just sit down and talk about this with her. If you are not going to bring her home, make it clear how much you care about her and how hard the decision is. I have these tough talks with my mom. Short-term, she doesn't always react well. Long-term, when has time to think about it, realizes how much I'm struggling to do my best and feels the love, even if she doesn't like the decision.
It seems that most caregivers feel guilty though have no reason to. You have been going above and beyond and I think it is time to let the professionals take over. If not, your health will suffer more. There comes a time for some of us that a facility is the best answer.
You will still have things to do to help your mum, but you will also have time for yourself which you need and deserve.
Take care and start doing some things for you.
I have reached that point where I want to enjoy my life while im still relatively young and can do things. I have turned down trips and outings over the past 5 plus years to stay home because I didnt want leave her alone.
I am lucky that my mother is very understanding and will not guilt trip me, i do that to myself unfortunately! My mother asked me to take POA over her after her strokes cause she said she knew I would do whats best for her. Its stuff like this that makes it hard for me! Its always just been me and her my whole life, I know at some point we all will be in this situation, just sucks when it is actually here.
Eyerishlass - you're right, i cant do this another 10yrs, im a mess now and like StandingAlone i feel like i am close to a nervous breakdown because this has consumed my life!! I am one of the few people that enjoys going to work because i get a break for a little while.
4thdaughter - my mother cries nearly everytime i change her, and its hard for me to see that :( but for her it is the one thing she hates the most but the only way she could remain home. I know when I get older and if i have kids i will never put them in this situation, its too much.
I wish I would have looked for a website like this sooner. This website should be given to people before they start caring for family members, taking care of a elderly/sick/disabled parent is truly the hardest job in the world.
She is about 5 minutes away from my home so i go visit her daily, bring her snacks, etc. She seems happy, as long as i visit she said she will be fine.
Just wanted to say thank you all again for the advice, this is by far the hardest thing I have had to go through, but everything seems to be working out thank god!
So why wouldn't you do what is best for her? She needs 24/7 care. She needs frequent turning to avoid bedsores. She needs to be hand fed sometimes. She needs dignity and privacy by being changed and cleaned by matter-of-fact professionals. She needs to observe her only son's accomplishments and feel she has been a successful parent. When someone comes in to help her in the middle of the night, she deserves for it to be a well-rested individual who was trained for the task and chose to do it for an occupation (and who gets to go home and have a life after his or her shift).
Why wouldn't you see that your mother gets what she needs and what she deserves? Well, I guess it makes you feel guilty. See a counselor to deal with that irrational guilt if you need to, but please to not let it stand in the way of providing your dear mother with what she needs.
Visit her. Advocate for her. Send her cherry cards. Call her once a day from work. Eat meals with her sometimes. Never, ever, abandon her. See to it that she gets the best care she can have. Get on with your life -- let her experience a mother's greatest joy, seeing her adult child spread his wings.
Now is an ideal time to take the step. Do not bring her back home. Keep her where she can get professional care. No one can love her as well as you can, but you can do that no matter where she is.
See All Answers