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I am the main caregiver for my 77 yr old mother with COPD and severe emphysema. She is on oxygen 24/7 never drove or made friends. After my father died 4 years ago I was working part time every day and driving 45 minutes at least once a week to take mom meals, do shopping, banking, doctors and whatever else needed done. At the time two sisters were " helping" when they could which became few and far between. The house next to me went up for sale and my mother bought it. My sister's were elated and said they would help out. Soon after one sister has become estranged from the family and the other is always too busy. I developed breast cancer and had chemo and radiation, have developed thyroid problems, have high cholesterol am in full blown menopause, have palpitations and arthritis. I have asked nicely, begged, groveled and gotten angry about getting more help. I have driven them away even more. I'm at my wits end. My mother has always been a good mother and I just don't understand how they could abandon her like this. I have been thinking of getting an elder care mediation involved, but think it may be too late. I know they will fight it and not show up at a meeting together. Is there a way to do this?

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Sallie has something else happened recently to make you this upset. You are usually more upbeat than this. Share if you want. your palpitations are worrying especially as your cholesterol is high too so go and see a cardiologist your PCP won't do for this one. I am sure your Mom really appreciates knowing she has you to rely on.
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Yup, forget about your sisters' helping. They aren't going to. I have one brother and one sister and dozens of aunts uncles cousins, not an ounce of careing from any of them. They only thing that helped me through realizing I was on my own, was going to Church and developing my relationship with God, our Lord. I can't tell you how much better I feel.
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Thanks for the advice. My mom does have a girl who cleans for her and a lawn guy. I cook every night for me and my husband, so making a bit extra is no problem. I already have durable POA`s. Me and my one sister will share executive duties in the end. I do clay work to relax and keep my mind occupied. Garden, you're right about the sisters getting even madder if I bring in a mediator. It's too bad they're so insensitive and mean.
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sallie, it's hard enough to find a new *normal* life after having breast cancer.... I know, been there, done that, hate the t-shirt.... and added stress isn't good for recovery, as you probably already know.

You mentioned you have palpitations, get that checked out as soon as you can.... I developed that a couple years after having cancer, turned out I developed a heart issue, which is now under control.

As for your Mother, GardenArtist above had a good idea about having your Mother selling the house. Since your Mother has COPD and severe emphysema, for her own well being, maybe she should be in an independent living building.

Think about it this way, what would happen to your Mother if something happens to you? I've asked my Dad that, and he said he never thought about it..... well, Dad, start thinking..... you would outlive me, and I'm an only child. There are no back up children to help out.
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You call your county social services. For both of you.
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I think if your sisters don't want to help, they're not going to and a mediator will only cause more friction and hostility on their part than already exists.

One option you could consider is e-mailing or writing them (so it can be documented) that you wished they could have helped voluntarily but that doesn't seem to be happening, so you'll have to take other means to secure the help your mother needs.

And leave it at that. Don't offer any further explanation.

In the meantime, perhaps your mother could sell the house next to you and use the proceeds to provide in-home supplemental care.

You might also ask her pulmonary physician if the hospital with which he/she is affiliated has pulmonary rehab. It would require someone driving your mother, but it would help her pulmonary conditions.

If not, perhaps she could script for home care PT for the pulmonary issues. At least that would give your mother some PT as well as some company without having to leave the house.

In the meantime, inquire about Meals on Wheels, to decrease the meal prep for you. Explore hired help for the various house chores to minimize what you do.

Find a good cancer support group and start going; it will be worth it to share your feelings with others going through similar situations. If they have activities such as art work, ceramics, music therapy, etc., join in if you can.

Alternately, see if there's a Gilda's Club in your area. In the SE Michigan area their support, education and programs are phenomenal.

Get your mother's affairs in order and ask her for durable and health care powers of attorney, make sure she has a will or trust, and recognize that you're sharing your mother's life as she's sharing yours, and that's something your sisters will miss forever.

They're not going to help, so you may as well move on without them, much as it is unfair.
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