I'm the only family member alive to care for my ailing 76 year old aunt? How do you cope?

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I came across this site during some very recent hard times in the area of caregiving. I have read nightly after coming home from work late the forums and responses. I am edified and grateful for this site. it took me sometime to realize, afew days anyway, to see others care and understand here. I come here posting my own story and would appreciate any advice, reflections, and insight.

I have been caring and the only family member ledt for my 76 year old aunt. My Dad was her brother. My mom died of cancer when I was little my Dad very suddenly. There is no other family left. My aunt has suffered two falls years apart, last one being left her in a wheelchair and unable to walk. She is homebound and we reside in the same apartment with our family pet together. Along side of her falls, she is going to blind, is incredibly hard of hearing, cant drive and her mind seems to be going. I am not familiar with Alzheimers or Dementia. Am wondering if she is beginning this sort of thing. I have talked wtih her about seeking other help to help me with caring for her . Like an aide or neighbors or asking her friends she use to work with before her second fall, she says " You can do it, I dont want to bother anybody else." I dont have any brothers or sisters or any family, nor does she. I work, am going to start school again in the fall, have existing health problems myself, and cant keep up with everything. She has flooded the apartment four times forgetting she had the water going in the sink, it overflowed. My aunt never married, never had any kids, lived with my patternal grandma all of her life until my grandma's death in 1978 and the finally had to move out and be on her own. Then it was my Dad her only brother and went to my Dad with everything from advice and a listening ear. He died very suddenly in 2004. Then she and a guy I was dating for a long time she went to him with everything and he was paying her bills. Helping her. He and I recently broke up and he is no longer in the picture with his help. So the codpendency issues were long time formed. I am not married nor have any kids. The anger and resentment she has created in me trying to have a life, is immense. I come here asking for help and advice this morning. At the present as I write this, I am sick with problems with diabetes, and my blood sugar, and hair loss and skin problems, I am wondering if this is from stress and this situation I am in. I cant go on like this. Please help!

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Yes, it is not your responsibility, but you have been chosen. You must retain your life and find the help for her that is available. Be Strong and remember that Your Life has great meaning and purpose. Do not be Guilted into sacrificing it for someone that is taking advantage of the fact that you are family. Try to get an objective perspective on this situation. You can find help for her by asking the right questions of the right people. Good luck and keep us informed. You are Blessed, dear one. xo
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The thing that struck me was her saying that you can do everything. YOU CAN'T! Taking care of her is bothering you. Don't you count? Tell her she needs more help than you can give, and get any help you can. She will have to adjust.

I assume there is not a lot of money available. You will have to do research to find out what the legal situation is. Does she have income? Is she receiving Social Security? She is probably eligible for Medicaid. Go to your local council on aging for advice and information about your options.

It is not safe to leave her alone if she forgets to turn off the water. You will have to leave her alone when you go back to school. You need to go back to school so you can work and support yourself in your later years. There is no one out there waiting for the chance to pay you if you sacrifice your life.

About dementia: there are different types. A frequent symptom is asking the same question over and over again, like what day it is.

How do you cope? Get all the help you can. Have a life of your own, even if it's just a walk around the block. Good luck.
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I am sorry if I overwhelmed with all of the above but what I was "trying" to say is basically if there are no funds, friends or family available. It is up to you to decide how much responsibility for her you are willing to take...or she must go into the system!
as a daughter I feel obligated, but also it was thrust upon me...if I had the knowledge I do now and time to plan things would be different...
So as a niece you must decide what your "limits of obligation is" to this aunt! and get educated on the system!
Take care and please keep us posted!
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sorry...reread your comments I think with the blindness and homebound/no walking would constitute facility or skilled care in or out of home! Who takes care of her now while you are at work???
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Just wanna add sound like she may not even be bad enuf off with the dementia for needing a facility and medicaid..again Im no expert so keep digging. Also sounds like she has had a family member support n care for her all her life and just wants it to continue that way, no one likes change and outsiders in the intimacies of there life but mite be inevitable. Maybe somehow try to discuss your needs and plans with her and how this situation is affecting it...idk...and brainstorm any and every help organizions you can find...get her into a dr too to see if she has got the "dementia" or not for sure etcccc k good luck and stay in touch!!!
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I want to let you know you are not alone and I am so glad I saw your post this night! I am the only one left of my family and am in my ninth year of caring for mom 24/7. I am also fairly new to the site but have been hooked. since I took time to explore n read stories this past week in round of despair over my situation...which a big part of is no other family left! Feels good to find another sole survivor!!! I am kinda in a low tho now - not much positive to offer at this time but to say it is brutal when you are the only one! It completely destroyed my life, I had to give up career from the get go as I assumed her in a state of dementia unable to carry out daily survival task as in make something to eat or take meds toilet etc.... so you are still way ahead of the game, don't let it swallow you up...
and you are not alone!!!
I am assuming from the notes above she has no home or finances to pay for an assisted living or ??? ,unfortunately if you cannot care for her and she has no one else and no money medicaid is next...I think you can get someone to come in home but not sure how that works or nursing home or foster home may be only option Just keep in mind Medicaid will cease any income she has to pay for that care in or out patient! (its a lot more to it than that simple statement too I just cant provide all the details. Im no expert and don't wanna misinform ya) You are going to have to do an awful lot of homework and get knowledgable on elderlaw and care.

ps...Not that it really matters but I wonder if the situation with aunt had much to do with the breakup with BF. Just curious. I know that is what happened to mine and he would not have been happy about having to support my aunt let alone the extra heating bill ma caused, etc...I believe it takes a vvvveeeryyy special man to take responsibility n care for someone elses mama just like they say bout kids!!!, lol!!! Well hang in there and ask away anything you need there are some real smart peeps here willing to share what they know!!!
stay strong!!
Hugs,
Juju
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