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Hello everyone. I'm so glad that I found this forum this evening. I am feeling so alone, which from reading this forum, is not uncommon.

My mom, who just turned 72, is in rapidly declining health. She lives about 40 minutes away--close enough, but far enough to be a challenge when you're having to make the trip several times a week for groceries, laundry, and other things that come up.

In any case, without going into a lot of detail here, I am feeling completely overwhelmed.

I do not have siblings, and there is no other family to lean on--I'm it.

I'm also single, trying to hold down a job, and trying to manage two households. My mom just got out of the hospital, and so we do have in-home care for now. But I know that will soon end. I cannot afford to pay for continued in-home care, and I doubt whether she will spend her money for it.

I feel overwhelmed, trapped, exhausted, stuck, but also grateful that I am able to help her out. I'm reading these posts and recognizing that many people are dealing with far more than I am. I'm just at the beginning of all this.

I'm not really sure what my question is. Just interested to hear how other only children or sole caregivers have coped and what the options might be once Medicare stops paying for in-home care.

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Yes, Jenny, there are many "Onlys" here. You'll find many with siblings would prefer they didn't have to deal with the sibling issues that often arise. It's lonely when you don't have someone with whom to share the load, but when that someone is just criticizing you, it's sometimes better. Ideally, we'd all have wonderful siblings to help and all would be lovely. The real world often doesn't work that way.

So, chat with onlys here online and that will help. Also, look into all of the respite help you can find. Your aging services people on your state's Web site are a good place to start.
Carol
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Hey Jenny -

Welcome - there are quite a few onlys on this board. You are in good company. To answer your question, I've been a solo caregiver for 6 going on 7 years. My mom lives with me at my place - its been a challenge but it can work and be a positive. Personally I am glad I made the decision to do it.

I would like to first point out that you may eventually feel lucky when you read some posts about spouse / family conflicting issues mixed in with caregiving. You have a degree of autonomy that makes it easier to weigh your options on care - alot will depend on your relationship with your mother, and how you deal with ambiguity.

Just be prepared to keep an open mind and don't let anyone tell you there is only one answer - only you can decide since your situation is unique to you & your mom. It helps to research her conditions and pay close attention to nutrition and her environment.

Best advice I can give is that you should decide what outcome you want to achieve, and then work backwards on solutions while crafting a plan. Part of the plan should include taking care of yourself (in small everyday way).

Once again, welcome - this site is a big help ....
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Hi Jenny. I'm an only child too. It's very hard. I did the grocery shopping, banking, cleaning, etc. for my mom too. Know that you are not alone. There are plenty of us out here. My mom is very independent and never wanted any outside help, other than help from me. She fired everyone I set up for her from lawn cutting to housecleaning. It is never easy. It is most frustrating to say the least. But through all of it, please remember to be kind to yourself, do at least one thing for yourself each day, even if it means plopping in front of the tv to veg out. It will help your sanity. You may want to look at your state's Area on Aging agency. They are a godsend -- after your mom's in-home care ends, many areas on aging offer home services such as cleaning, laundry, errands, personal care for your mom. I wish you good luck, and peace for yourself. It is hard. Try to remember that our moms cared for us when we were little, now the roles are reversed. We have to take care of them now. Take care.
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I'm an only child, too, and taking care of my 92 year old mother. Although I'm grateful that she has mild dementia, but every day is a challenge. There are days I am too overwhelmed to think. I retired early (because I could) with the thought of taking care of her. A few years ago I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety symptoms so some days are harder than others.

I'm a bit upset with my cousins, because they don't even call or stop by to visit mother. I haven't gone on vacation in a long time and sometimes I get very upset because everyone else is going on vacation.

I've also put off knee surgery, because I don't think mom can be alone for 2 weeks. At night she gets paranoid and she is beginning to think there are other people in the house when there isn't.

Each day is a challenge for me and mom. I will try to do my best for as long as I can.
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I worked with my grandmother (89) to bring in PT help to "make her life easier" while I work. This lady is a housekeeper/eldercare person who comes in once a week for 2-3 hours to clean the house and do minor things around the house she cant do or has trouble doing; even an occasional ride to the drugstore. This lady costs her $40/week but its more than worth it. As my grandmother got used to the idea she loved it and now she has a "friend" she enjoys seeing every week in addition to not having to worry about the "heavy" things around the house (vacuuming, bathrooms, kitchen, etc.). I still help her out 3 days a week and with emergencies but it puts a balance in both our lives that we are both happy with.
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Jenny:
I am an "only" whose father is in a VA nursing home, his wife and I rotate days so that he has someone up there with him every day, I am married and have a full time job. Dad is 73, and pretty much bed bound. Any time he wants out of the bed he has to have two people and a Hoyer Lift in order to get up, it is a process!
I pay his bills, do his laundry, do whatever shopping he wants done, and sometimes fix meals to take up there. He is getting very forgetful and sometimes doesn't remember what he tells me to do. He had me just about clean out his room and take all of his things to his wife's house, then started saying that his stuff had been stolen! Got that cleared up quickly!
He was having some issues earlier that, thankfully, have gone away...but he still angers quickly and cries at the drop of a hat over nothing and is still quite demanding, but I am learning to say "no, I don't think that is going to work for me" and we find another solution to whatever, and since I have starting setting boundaries with him I feel like I have more of my life back.
Hang in there, we are all pulling for you!
Ava
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Hi Jenny:

My mom lives in Clearwater, FL and I live in Louisville, KY. She visits me every summer for about 3 months. I'm an only child also and going through an extremely difficult transition or awakening, what ever you want to call it. This summer when she came in to visit I was in shock. She is sooo skinny and I really don't know her anymore. I went to Florida for Christmas and she seemed fine. However, now I feel like I've lost her before I actually have. She is not the Mom I've always known and could count on because she use to be the rock we all would turn to. She would hold our family together and now that person is gone. I don't know what to do, I feel so alone! I have a 17 year old son living with me. So I'm actually caring for both. I'm single and work full time. I first go to work a full day at the office, then come home and work a full day/night also. I'm losing weight and I can't sleep, I've been soooo upset. I need help with her, but have nowhere to turn now. She thinks everything is fine?????Just know you are not alone. Please keep in touch. Vicki R.
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I am the only Son left and after a bad fall and doctors telling me Mother could not fend for herself anymore, my Wife and I decided to let her move in with us. My situation is rather unique in that Mother was raised in the NE and we are in Texas. Well, the NE is considered the Holy Land to her and nothing "down here" makes her comfortable. We hooked up with a Home Health Care organ. paid for my medicare (she does have to be recertified every 1/4 but no problem) and they bathe, vitals, etc. Visits are 3 times a week and work out well. My suggestion, take it for what it is worth, do your best to keep your parent in the home she now is in. Last resort would for your parent to move in with you. Been there done that and it can make or break you depending. I would exhause every avenue before your Mom moved in with you. Check out Senior Day Care facilities. A great way to have her interact with people of her own age. I highly rec. getting her involved in a church family, God can work miracles!
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My parents are able bodied at 72 and 76 but my mother has a spending problem and I'm worried about their finances. They live in a house we bought for them a year ago-in order to help get their finances under control and provide them with some peace of mind. Does anyone know anything about setting up a conservatorship? I don't believe I can get power of attorney since they are of sound mind. They live in Massachusetts. Thanks in advance.
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I am an only child. I take care of my disabled mom all by myself...24-7. I too am overwhelmed, feel stuck and trapped. I feel I have lost my life. I love my mom, but am I supposed to give up my life to take care of her? I have taken care of her for 4 months and I am getting more depressed by the minute. I wish I had helpful tips support or guidance, but I don't. In home care is probably the cheapest answer unless your mom can live in assisted living or residential living. My mom needs too much care for those options. She will probably have to go to a nursing home. But that is really expensive. But she thinks that may be her destiny. I would hate that, but I have to live my life. That may sound cold, but giving 14-7 care is killing me. Good luck Jenny.
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