Follow
Share

I feel like I am not doing the things I enjoy doing because I hate to see my mom alone. I come home from work and sit with her. It seems like all she does lately is sit on her chair and watch the news. She does make every effort to garden but her arthristis doesn't let her do much. It just breaks my heart to see her look lonely that I try to take her out. I find myself getting angry though because I have three brothers that could easily come by to take her out but they call every now and then but do not offer to take her out. They wait for us to call and tell them instead of them offering. I do have one sister that lives with me and her 24 year old son as well. My sister has mentioned how she too wishes they would step up and help out. She is to the point where she wants to move out and get her own place. I too would like to do this but the guilt kicks in. I have tried talking to my siblings about this but nothing gets then. I am tired of talking. I feel like I am not doing enough to take care of myself. Just recently I have been getting sick. I feel it has to do with feeling overwhelmed, tired, spent, guilty and angry at family members for not offering to take her shopping or out to enjoy a movie or a restaurant.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
"My father in law had the same pcp and same kidney doctor for nearly a decade and they both said the same thing when I broke down crying in their office. They both said it is normal for only one family member to do the care."

And they said this to you...why? To tell you to "put up and shut up"?

I take it the divorce is to get yourself away from this situation which is so severely compromising your health? What does your H do in all of this? Is he away working and you are at home taking care of FIL? Does H do any of the caregiving when he is home?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Candi8. You are a good person. Why on earth do you have a responsibility that should be your husband's? You surely have been through a lot considering u r not dealing with your own father. I would definitely put my feet down and demand that the husband step up to the plate or I would be out of there in a jiffy if my financial situation allowed me to. Your father-in-law could live to 100 yo. When they get good care, they live long at the expense of the caregiver.  Who will look after you when your FIL is gone?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

It is common that siblings won't step up. I am in my 11th year caring for my father in law in my home and hoping I can be ready to divorce in a year or so. Not because I dont love my husband, but because caring giving has taken a toll on my health up to the point of 3 hospial admissions last year for pneumonia each for one week and now my husband asked me to loan his brother $1,000. My husband and I havent gone anywhere on vacation in 11 years because no one will take him, but we have to loan him money? Guilt is normal, but my advice for you is to get your limits set now because your mom isnt going to get healthilier and your siblings will never help. My father in law had the same pcp and same kidney doctor for nearly a decade and they both said the same thing when I broke down crying in their office. They both said it is normal for only one family member to do the care. Either way you go it is complicated, but if you dont find your limits now and set them, then your health will get worse. Frankly the amount of stress I have lived with since his stroke 11 years ago has left me wondering when my next weird diagnosis will be. In 11 years from age 37to 48 I have have chronic headaches and migraines, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia more times than I can count with hospial admissions, arthritis, spine surgery that my doctor said is rare and normally only happens to people over 65, gallbladder surgery, hepatitis, shingles 4 times, etc..... theres more, but you get the point. Yoy have to give at minimum 51% to yourself first. Remember the plane? Oxygen for you first, then your mom or you won't be able to be there for her for the long haul. God bless you and all the care givers out there.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Hello ! I feel as though we are in the exact same situation.I have decided to just make the best of it.I am lucky to have my mother and I love her. I Thank GOD to have my mom still .It's hard to always try to feel so upbeat,but it's worse to feel that I need to go somewhere else ..I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I figure WE ARE RIGHT WHERE WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE..no sense in being upset ...when we all should just be thankful to have had this time to spend with our mom's, dads,aunts,uncles ..I know we are only human and can't help it sometimes .Believe me I understand, I guess that we shall just accept our lives ,as they are and feel blessed
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to share. Mom would definitely enjoy getting out. Every time I ask her she says yes. She likes keeping busy and I hear her tell her friends that when she can she gets out. She doesn't stay indoors. I watch her. I see her go from her bedroom to the window to peek out. She also gets on the phone. I've also heard her say to her friends when she is feeling down and not herself she will pick up the phone and call people. This breaks my heart but I am grateful that God allows me to be there for her. It's just getting harder for me for she has accumulated so much and the house could use some down sizing. She has taken some falls and I'm usually the one that hears her and finds her and helps her up. I've been injured at work since I work and assist adult women with special needs, some of who are in wheel chairs and are a bit on the heavy side. I assist them by taking them to the bathroom and transporting them to their apartments and the developmental training building, where I work. I've since asked to be moved and work is accomodating me but I am still in need of recovering from accumulated injuries. I love my work. I love my mom. I just wish family members would be a little more helpful, more attentive and would remember they have a mom. It isn't easy asking them. How many times does one need to point out that mom needs help and that sis and I can't be doing it all the time. It's disheartening. I am so grateful that mom is active and for the most part able to bathe and cook for herself. At times her arthristis kicks in and she is in great pain. She has taken so many falls as well. It is time to move out and find a place with no stairs and everything on one floor. I've asked my brother who is co-owner of house with me.  My brother says he will talk to the other brothers but it's been months since I've heard from him. This saddens me but what more can I do. I am tired of talking about this. Thank you all for your wonderful insight. All is truly appreciated. I've decided that I will try as best as I can to continue helping mom. I am currently seeing my healthcare provider and getting myself checked out. I am quite a bit emotional and physically hurting but I keep asking God to help me through this. Don't don't how much I can do this but I know I am doing the best I can and trying not to forget myself. God bless us all.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

We are seven siblings. Four girl and three boys. I have an older sister who is 66 years old and I am 65 just retired. Our mom is in 82. I carry most of the responsibility of caring for her. However, I discussed with my sister that we will take turns taking care of her. That means that now she is overseas in a warm country with my sister. She was with me in US from June to October during which time I took her to a senior center practically everyday. She used to go there prior to her mild dementia starting about two years ago. She should be back with me next summer God willing. In the meantime I have several vacation trips planned b4 she returns. I plan to take care of myself as much as I can. My grandmother, my mom’s mom died alone overseas and never saw them to say good by b4 dying. Very sad.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you all for sharing from your heart. Today I felt a beautiful peace. As I sat with my mom at church I received the beautiful message from God. I guess I can be at peace knowing that I am doing the best with my mom as God will allow me to. One priest once told me to look at it this way. What is it that I can offer to my mom? He then said that I should be ok with whatever it is that my siblings can offer to do with mom. I should be accepting to that. That does help me. I do look at it this way. I will not have any regrets when God calls my mom home. I sat with her, I helped her with bathing whenever she needed and yes, I told her to ask me because this breaks my heart that she can't at times scrub herself. I can't live with myself knowing I can easity bathe and feel refreshed and here is my fragile mom struggling. I wouldn't want to put her in a home. I don't know but I just feel like gosh she brought 11 children into this world and she dedicated her life to us. Why can't I help this little bit. I am a person that believes we should help the helpless, the less fortunate. I love working with my angels... adult women with intellectual dissabilities... how can I not care for this precious soul who gave me life. Granted, it was not a great life growing up in this household but God loves me and has helped me be the person I am. He gave me a heart of gold. It isn't easy let me tell you. I so want to run away so many times. I so want to give up many times but He gently reminds me. God is awesome. But I still tell him... gosh Lord, I want to meet someone and enjoy life with that companion. :) (Big sigh) I keep on keeping on! It's not easy but so grateful to be on this site with all of you. God bless us all. Peace and love to all of you precious souls!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I would go stark raving mad if I was sitting watching news on the tv all day, whether I already had dementia or not. That is very unhealthy for anyone....Now, i know you seem to feel guilty you aren't making mom's life a gay mad joyful whirl, but you can't do that for anyone. NO one can make everything all better for anyone! She could go to a senior center for a few hours a week, it's paid for by Medicaid, I think. They send a shuttle bus and pick her up, weather permitting, and take her back. It's like day care.   You have to get her up, dressed, and ready, of course (an ordeal in itself) and be there when they bring her back.  And weather permitting, too.  Call the office for the aging in your area, there are probably programs all over that you don't know about. As for your siblings stepping in, don't hold your breath waiting, it always ALWAYS falls to one daughter to shoulder the entire burden.  It's not like we live in a Waltons-type world.  My mother had 8 brothers and sisters, 16 nieces and nephews, three children, 5 grandchildren, friends from church, friends from work, and when she got dementia, guess who was elected to be head caregiver?  
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

This is so typical where one adult child of the elderly parent gets the caregiving work. BUT you must take care of yourself, else you will be good to no one.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I tallied up. There are 6 of you. It is lucky they are all in the area. I'd have a get together without mom so she doesn't feel guilty, and everyone takes a day of the week, with you, since you're the most likely to do the bulk of this, taking 2 days. Either that or they can chip in to pay for a companion or someone or something to occupy mom. I am gradually accepting the fact that I am alone in my situation, taking it one day at a time, and after getting so run down and exhausted (much of it was lack of sleep and emotional stress because I'm the type that is detail oriented and cares so much about things being right) that I got sick for 2-3 weeks with bronchitis last year, I am looking out for me more. My mantra has become "I can't do everything for everyone" and "I have to look out for me, too."
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Peace4soul,
I agree about finding out if your mom is really unhappy or bored. Maybe, she's content, but, why not have a discussion with her doctor to rule out things like depression. If she's depressed, medication might help.  Does she have pain that is being adequately managed? And if she would like to benefit from more social interaction, why not explore a senior day care or Assisted Living for her. That way, she can sit with her tv if she likes or join other seniors for meals, entertainment, shopping trips, activities at the facility, etc. Sometimes our idea of the activity a senior needs is based on our own standards. Hers may be different, but, a place with other seniors, might offer her options.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Have you given any thought that she is happy just sitting an watching the news? Sometimes we project our own thoughts onto others. My husband has just sat and watched TV at night for years. He is happy doing that. I am not, I don't try to force him to do what I think he would like. I have a couple of groups I belong to and I participate and leave him home to watch TV. I also sit in another room and sew or whatever. As everyone here has said, you must take care of yourself or you won't be there to take care of her. That doesn't mean being her slave. It means putting your health both physical and mental first. Remember the airplane instructions. Put your emergency (now I can't think of the word) air thingie on first then help someone else.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Sometimes the siblings that are not involved on a daily basis don’t know what to do to help. Ask one to make time to take Mom to the hairdresser every month. Make it his responsibility to schedule the appointment and suggest he take Mom to get something to eat either before or after the appointment.
Does Mom go to church? Ask that the siblings take turns taking Mom to services and again take her for a meal afterward. Find specific things they can do with Mom and ask. Can they each take a night and have Mom over for dinner or bring dinner and stay with Mom for a few hours to give you respite? Yes it will take some effort on you and your sister’s part to get the planning going, but once you get the ball rolling you may be surprised when they start finding thing to take Mom to. Then once you can count on these scheduled activities for Mom you can start planning things you will do when she is out.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This is what I do for me: I go to doctor every 3 months get refills & check up or lab work. I put everything on her calender & mines. 3x a week, I go to the beach 15 minutes away or swimming or library at least 2 hours. I rest 2 hours 3x
week; No phone calls, no talking. Only if its 911. At 6:30 am I take 45 min walk. Im jogging a lil now. Its helps and I juice daily, it's helping my Nerophy. I take my medication as directed. I have to do something for me or I will walk and not come back. Oh and I have 2 hobbies: My family tree & I love taking pictures. Mom's (my son's grandmother) can stay alone 4 now but I see things changing. I've started talking to her about this with her cousin.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My son's grandmother hardly does any exercising, so with each month there's a holiday, so I have spent $20 each month at Dollar Tree on which ever holiday it is, set it on the bar counter in her apartment & let her decorate. Memorial & Vet Day, I have pictures of her dad, brother & whomever she wants sitting on her countertop. She really hates catching bus to NH to see her son, because I have a car but it's only lx a week and the only walking distance from apartment (downstairs) to van and back. However, when she's at church, she's all over the church with her rollerblade when her members should come 2 her and when she gets home she heads straight 4 bed.. I have fold face towels & her underwear & she doesn't have arthritis. She told me she waited on her Aunt hand & foot and she expects the same. In a very gentle way, I shared with her, I will help her as much as I can, but not at the expense of my health. So, I've had 2 get creative with her. Her friends have bd's, I take her. Church have something, she go. Other than that she don't want to walk far.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

You are experiencing a common problem that many caregivers feel. Wise people have said that if you don't take care of yourself, you have nothing left to give another. I hope you can take that to heart and focus on meeting your own needs with self-kindness before trying to help your mother. By tending to yourself, you will have the reserves to discover the best solutions for her.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You are experiencing a common problem that many caregivers feel. Wise people have said that if you don't take care of yourself, you have nothing left to give another. I hope you can take that to heart and focus on meeting your own needs with self-kindness before trying to help your mother. By tending to yourself, you will have the reserves to discover the best solutions for her.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You are experiencing a common problem that many caregivers feel. Wise people have said that if you don't take care of yourself, you have nothing left to give another. I hope you can take that to heart and focus on meeting your own needs with self-kindness before trying to help your mother. By tending to yourself, you will have the reserves to discover the best solutions for her.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You are experiencing a common problem that many caregivers feel. Wise people have said that if you don't take care of yourself, you have nothing left to give another. I hope you can take that to heart and focus on meeting your own needs with self-kindness before trying to help your mother. By tending to yourself, you will have the reserves to discover the best solutions for her.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

You are experiencing a common problem that many caregivers feel. Wise people have said that if you don't take care of yourself, you have nothing left to give another. I hope you can take that to heart and focus on meeting your own needs with self-kindness before trying to help your mother. By tending to yourself, you will have the reserves to discover the best solutions for her.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

You are experiencing a common problem that many caregivers feel. Wise people have said that if you don't take care of yourself, you have nothing left to give another. I hope you can take that to heart and focus on meeting your own needs with self-kindness before trying to help your mother. By tending to yourself, you will have the reserves to discover the best solutions for her.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Personally I would call each sibling and tell them you need help and that they need to be thinking about a day they can do something with Mom. Say you'll call back in a few days to ask what day it'll be. Ideally it would be the same day each month. I'm sorry, but none of us are too busy to put in one day per month to help out with family caregiving (note the picture is different if there's a history of abuse or similar.)

I'm in mildly the same boat - one of my *five* (sigh) aunts in their 80s who's disabled calls me pretty often to talk about the weather, the neighbors next door loud TV, what the squirrels in the yard are doing... it's tough b/c I'm pretty busy and it's not always easy to find time to sit and chat for an hour and a half about, well, not much. I know she doesn't have much in her life and try to be patient, but she's both hard of hearing and has a bad habit of interrupting virtually everything I try to say (which is beyond frustrating), so it's more me sitting and listening than anything. At least I can put her on speaker while I do other things... but I do wish more of my cousins would step up to help.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Dear Peace4Soul,

I hear you. It is so hard when siblings are not stepping in to help out. Its always hard having all the responsibility of caring for an elderly parent. I cared for my dad till he passed last year. I never realized how angry or resentful I was about my day to day life caring for him after the stroke.

In hindsight, I did not seek out the supports I needed for myself and him. I know you work and are trying to do your best for your mom. I wonder do you think your mom would do better in a nursing home? Are there any resources in the community or through church that could give your mom more company?

You have right to a life too. Try to take the time and do some things you enjoy too. I know its hard. I did exactly what you did, go to work and spend all my free time at home or running errands for my dad. Since he passed the grief has been more than I can bear. I hardly know what to do with all my time now. I wish so badly I had found a better balance before he passed.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

I think we all want to enjoy life. Dementia/Alzheimer's has definitely interfered with this pursuit. I know I never ever expected this. Never thought my extremely competent mother would be what she is now. Guess I was naive. I think for me at least, it's the feeling of hopelessness,nothing I do can make her better. I feel trapped and I imagine my mother does but not really. She's fine as things are. It's slowly making me seek anti depressants but it's a nightmare. Just knowing it's the same tomorrow as it was today. When the parent / spouse / sibling is with you 24 hours a day, It's really hard. Knowing I'm not alone because of this site and the friends I've made here, helps more than words can say
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

I see that your avatar is a beautiful fall scene. If your mother can get into a car w/o problem, this is a great time to drive around and see the Fall color.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Just a comment on her love of gardening but inability to do so b/c of arthritis....switch to effortless gardening by (a) growing plants indoors, and/or (b) gardening with artificial flowers. They're so realistic these days that they appear real, and they can be used in a variety of arrangements.

When I have time, I always change the indoor arrangements for the seasons. Generally I keep some green foliage, add white or silver for Jan., red for February, green for March, yellow or mauve for April, pinks or purples for May switching to patriotic colors by Memorial Day. June is often a combination of greens, July is patriotic again, August is whatever strikes my fancy. September, Oct. and Nov. are autumn hues, ending in a burst of golds, rusts, and browns. And of course Dec. is either red and green, navy and white, navy and silver, or green and silver.

It's a lot easier than outdoor gardening, and helps cheer up the soul b/c of the beautiful colors and arrangements that can be created, such as centerpieces, wreaths, swags and more.


On the issue of nonparticipating family members, that seems to be a common complaint here. I try not to become annoyed or angry, b/c it only upsets me. I doubt if the uninvolved members are bothered by their lack of participation to the point of being upset. So why should I be, and add to caregiving frustration?

It's unfair, and a burden as well as shirking of responsibility by the nonparticipating family members. But they're also depriving themselves of the companionship of someone who may die w/o their really having gotten to know their parent during a critical period of her/his life. And that's their loss for not being willing to participate.


One thing you can try to do is relax with your mother. When either you or she are getting frustrated, take a time out, put on some music, have a cup of tea, arrange some artificial flowers, discuss the weather or something non controversial, and just "chill out" with her and enjoy her company while she has the opportunity to enjoy yours.

You can do it alone, but you might get more benefit by sharing it with her. She probably gets frustrated too.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter