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For 2 years I have been caring for my mother who has COPD and still smokes and drinks daily. She refuses to go outside or, lately, even get dressed. She refused to move into my home so we purchased a house together. Bad idea! My husband and I have no privacy and I have had to quit my job to care for her. I clean, cook, do the shopping, pick up her meds, cater to her every whim. I am going bonkers. I am depressed and feel like I have no life left. Mother criticizes the way I prepare food and I have to make hers differently. She does not get dressed she showers once a week and she has 2 cats that refuse to use the litter box and have ruined carpet that is only a year old. She has taken over the house. I believe that she can do more than she claims. I feel held hostage in my own home. I have siblings who do nothing. My husband and I go out once a week to try and have some semblance of a normal life and she makes me feel guilty for going out. The ironic thing is, my mother left my grandmother to move 2000 miles away to "have her own life", and yet she expects me to take care of her. Why did I do this? We have never had a good relationship. My sister had been closer to Mom her whole life and yet when Mom fell ill, nothing... And yet my sister tells me, " Mom shouldn't have to pay you rent". I feel so much guilt and hatred towards my mother. She is a miserable human being. No friends and no social life. I have never been good enough for her and I guess I am still not. When do I get my life back? I feel as though I have lost my mind. Thanks for allowing me to vent. Kris

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Whatever decision you make, the important thing is don't ever fill guilty with what you decided. You also have to take care of yourself. I started to resent my mom and became angry when I lost my job due to fmla running out but I realized that I would be worthless as her caregiver like that. I chose to stay as mom was terminal and things did work out. But you have to think of your own health especially with the smoking and pet urine. She may really need you farther down the line. Think about that also.
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Kris, Bless your heart! You know that your intentions were good, that you cared, & had so much love in your heart. How could your mom not appreciate that? I know. I used to think that it would be okay because I cared. That's what you or I would want-right? Of course it is. But, sometimes people don't appreciate things and they take them for granted. I think sometimes that our elders become angry, demanding, & depressed over things they are facing---things that none of can control. We do our best to ease that by letting them know they are not alone and letting them feel loved & cared for. When they become abusive to us, it hurts and we become unhappy because nothing we do seems to help. It's almost as if it makes them more hateful because they resent the fact that we are in charge of caring for their well-being. Under these circumstances, you're not going to succeed. But, your heart was in the right place & you gave it a shot. Good for you. Time for you now. God bless. Take care. blou
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Check out some assisted living facilities in your area. They are not nursing homes and depending on finances can be like living in a really nice hotel. I felt like my Mom's handmaiden also and began to really resent it so she is moving to an assisted living facility where there will be more than one person to wait on her.
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Just out of curiosity, how old is your mom? I agree if she can still be drinking and smoking, she's in good enough shape to live on her own or in an independent living facility. "Facilities" these days are like nice hotels. Check them out with your mom, she may WANT to move to one when she sees what they're like. My mom's lived in independent living for 13 years and loves it. She doesn't choose to do any activities any more, but she can get as much supportive care as she needs. They're not cheap and I don't know your mom's financial picture, but at least consider that. It's not a nursing home...and even some of those are pretty nice. But your mom wouldn't be able to smoke or drink in a nursing home. In independent living, she'd have to smoke outside, but she could still have her booze. At my mom's place, they serve booze at least one evening a week. So keep your mind open to all options. Good luck and keep us posted!
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Thank you both for the insight. I know that you are both right. Mom needs to move. I have promised her that I would not put her into a facility, but I could find her an apartment and hire caregivers to come in to help her. I really do believe that she can do more for herself than she lets on. Anyone who can go the fridge 10 times a day to fill up her wine glass and can smoke a pack of cigs a day can help themselves. It is almost like since she became ill and retired that she thinks she is the queen of Sheba and I her slave. Thank you all for the advice. This is going to change. Hugs Kris
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Yikes! Is there a way you can get out of this situation? Or get your mom to move? Can you afford the house by yourselves (without mom)?

It doesn't sound like Mom is going to change, so you need to figure out how to extricate yourself and your husband from this forced servitude. And you need to learn how to build some boundaries with your mom. That is best accomplished through some counseling. There are also good books out there about dealing with parents who are toxic and I'm sure others will chime in with good suggestions. But start with figuring out how to undo the housing situation. Your mom needs to be on her own. You don't owe her your health and happiness.
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Kris, first of all, your husband is an angel. Secondly, you owe it to yourself to unwind the clock here and make other arrangements for mom. My advice to ANYONE taking in their parent, going to live with them, bringing a parent to live with them, is NOT TO DO IT if you think you can't speak up when it isn't working.

We don't know what it's going to be like until we live with them. Some are angels themselves; yet as they age? They change. They can't help it.

You have GOT to separate yourself from the mess you've made, Chris. You'll lose your mind and your marriage. And don't doubt for one little minute that you're the jake that let this happen.

It's time to put on your big-girl panties and make some changes. Call your local Council on Aging or whatever it's called in your area; tell them the mess you're in and ask for their help.

If you can't even do that? You don't want help. And before you say, "You're mean, Maggie," understand that you have a weak spot here. You feel beholdin' to your mom...maybe because you DIDN'T have a close relationship with her. But if you're not careful, it's going to ruin your life.
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