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Mom lives with me is housebound but not bed bound, COPD/oxygen 24/7, anxiety/paranoia, and arthritis/muscular-skeletal pain. She needs help with carrying laundry basket up and downstairs, and a little with meal prep when she has a bad day. Every time I talk about taking a trip with my husband, she says, "Oh, I can manage perfectly well for a couple of days". Problem is, I would like to go for a week or 10 days, or it's kinda not worth going considering what the travel costs. I have offered to find someone to come in a few times for a few hours, and she starts fussing about things that need done before I go anywhere. She tells me to go, and says just plan it, but then lays all of her anxiety on me via small insignificant things and sarcasm. She says we don't need to pay money for someone to come in (she doesn't want to spend, and I even offered to pay it) and she doesn't want to be bothered with someone coming in, worries they'll bug her to death or come when she wants to be napping so it would be a waste). A million reasons why not to. Then she tells me she doesn't want to talk about it anymore and claims I'm making her out to be the bad guy when I want to address her concerns logically. I usually try to leave the room at that point rather than argue with her, or she will say something passive aggressive and go back upstairs. She can't take anti-depressants, and the counselor that was coming to see her didn't help much so she discontinued the services. We have not had home care before, and truthfully I'm a little anxious about having a stranger in our home, but willing to take a chance and give it a try to keep my own sanity and get my batteries recharged. I know I shouldn't feel guilty for needing space and time of my own and to keep our marriage on track, but I feel like if I leave, she will make me "pay" for it. Anybody have a reasonable solution/suggestion?

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I would go. As far as finding someone. I am a private home health care provider (licensed), and I advertise on care.com. Go to that sight, type in your zip code, and then write what you need. It is a nominal fee to place the advertisement, but what you do get is to pay the entire amount to the person, not 1/3 to an agency. Many people have different ways of doing it. I am licensed and bonded, and provide my own back up, so I am probably well set up for it, as many individuals are. Check it out. There are many people that would love to do something like that. Depending on where you live is how much you would pay per hour. I would type in a range $15.00 - $20.00 hour D.O.E. They are well versed in medication management, and organizing meals, and go to the grocery store, etc. It is like having a housecleaner, a
CNA, and a Household Manager in one. I know I have been invaluable to some people wanting to leave for vacations. Just look it up.

Hope that helps.

PS All of their caregivers are Background Checked through all 50 States.
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We hired caregivers via an agency called Brightstar that provides sitters for my 87- year-old mother whenever we need them. The contract we signed with them at the beginning was just to ensure that we did not hire their employees away as our own private sitters. They do not require any certain number of hours or days and will work with you to provide whatever help you need when you need it. My brother often gives them just a day or two warning of when we need someone to stay with mom. (Their business is providing extra staffing at daycare centers, assisted living facilities, even hospitals I think, as well as in home caregivers). It is not inexpensive but is worth the sanity it provided for me and my brother who were near the ends of our ropes caring for a physically able but crafty, paranoid, complaining, often verbally abusive mother. Brightstar is a franchise and I know there are other brands out there also. I just don't know their names. They provide whatever form of help you need; naturally the more she needs them to do, the more it costs. Google caregivers for elderly and see what you come up with. Be prepared to spend. Your health, your mental stability, and the value of your marriage are worth the cost of this very necessary recharge, even if it means cutting costs somewhere else. Best wishes and take care of you!
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Maybe take mom in law and newly retired lady out to lunch a few times before this vacation just so she won't seem like a stranger.
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The elderly are experts at putting guilt on you. Just pretend you're Teflon and don't let it stick! I'm with Kazzaa...GO! Hire the newly retired lady to come in check on her once a day and have her on speed dial in case your mom calls you with some type of problem. Then go and have a good time!
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The recently retired neighbour sounds exactly what you're looking for - someone who's near but not in the house, can call in easily and check everything is ok, stop for a cup of coffee, and call for help if, God forbid, any help needs to be called for. Plus you could offer her a modest-but-grateful fee (and bring her a tasteful souvenir). Plus mother might make a new friend! Win win win.
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Thanks so much to all of you!
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My advice GO! get her whatever help you can someone popping in everyday to make sure shes ok whether she likes it or not she hasnt got dementia so GO now while you still can. I know how you feel as mum is passive aggressive BUT i have to say in all fairness to mum she wants me to go on holiday but my sister will be here to look after her anyway but mum dosnt ever stop me going away she encourages it which is strange as she hates me going to town on my own? Obviously dementia is different and we cant trust them to be alone but as you say shes sharp so she will be fine just get someone nice and jolly to look in on her and dont bring it up again.
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She doesn't go to church. She had home health come in a few times, but all they do is check meds, BP, etc. once a week…no help with the things she really needs. All that, medicare covers, but we have to pay for any non-health services, which I completely understand and accept. We have the means to do so occasionally, I just wasn't sure if they would do it without a long-term contract or anything. Has anyone hired temporary help?
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The side effects…stomach distress.
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Why can't she take antidepressants?
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Thanks for the update.

As to being a loner, do you have any social commitments to which you could bring your mother, just to get out and about and be with other people? I do understand being a loner, though, so that might not be an issue to push.

I think I would search, contact and interview various care agencies. I haven't used one, yet, so I'm not sure whether they can provide companionship alone. Others here are probably more well informed on that than I am.

But perhaps you could approach the issue on the basis of getting her some household help, especially with the laundry as that up and down the stairs issue was troubling when I first read your original post. That's a real fall potential.

I assume she doesn't go to church so church visitors wouldn't be an option?

Personally I don't think it's unusual to ask for companionship, or companionship under the guise of medical and/or household help.

If you're comfortable with the neighbor, that sounds like a good option, if you can find a way to do it so that your mother doesn't feel as though (or realize) that you're getting a social companion.

Another option is to contact your mother's internist, gerontologist, or primary care physician and see if they'll write a script for in-home care. If she's housebound, that's a starting criteria. You could approach the issue as that you plan to be away and want to ensure that her medical issues are addressed.

Hope this helps.
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Thanks for all the moral support! She does have life alert, and thank goodness she's still pretty sharp, although her meds do sedate her some and make her fuzzy. She doesn't like to take her pain meds unless it's unbearable, so you never know when she's going to be "with it" or not. My biggest problem with her is that she's been pretty much of a loner since she moved down her several years ago. I tried to encourage her to make friends, join clubs, etc. to no avail. She has since relied on me alone to be her social life. Moved her in with me 2 years ago when she could no longer keep up with her house, and I've hardly ever gone anywhere for more than a few hours because I wasn't sure how she would manage. I do have a 17 year old daughter who is very kind and attentive, but she is a teenager with her own interests and activities (and a normal propensity to push the envelope of what she can get away with!) and I don't want to burden her too much with Mom's care. We're relatively new here and while we've hung out with the neighbors a bit, I don't feel sure I know them well enough to ask them to check in on her. Mom's siblings live far away and have health issues of their own which prevent them from coming to stay. How do I go about finding a professional person to check in on her? Is it usual to ask someone to come spend 2-4 hours with her say, every other day? I do have one neighbor who is recently retired and on a tight budget who I was thinking of asking and offering her some money...
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You could also start out with day trips, then 2 day trips, then longer. Let her get used to your absence gradually. Maybe after a few days absense she'll feel more comfortable having someone in.

But do take precautions beforehand. If she doesn't have a medical alert, get one, plus a lockbox to be installed on the exterior of the house for emergency personnel. Try to find a neighbor to keep an eye on her. Help her get the laundry done before you leave so she doesn't have to go up and down the stairs by herself. In other words, address everything you can and put back-up systems in place.
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Plan the trip and go have fun. Make arrangements for someone to check on MIL daily. We did it with my mother several times, and she survived without any problems. I bought TV dinners to heat up in the microwave. Wrote the timing instructions in big print, and what the dinner was. You need to establish boundaries.
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I agree.. Maybe someone she already knows.. You can pay them also..
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I am all for a vacation. Are there not neighbors, other relatives, friends that could pop in a couple of times a day while you are gone? MIL sounds like she can reasonably take care of herself with a little supervision. She probably knows you well enough to figure out with enough guilt and fear you may cancel the trip...and that is what MIL is hoping for, my dear.

Plan the trip, don't fuss about in home health; in fact, just stay quiet about MIL care for a few days to get her response. You can talk about the trip and your plans just leave "her being cared for " out of the conversation.

Have a great time!
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