24//7 care of my Mum, Who has Dementia
by Jul Maree
(Torrance, CA, USA)
My mum has been living with our family for about 3 years. I have 3 older brothers, and the two eldest refuse to help with her care. Both my husband of 26 years and I work full time. Our youngest child is 10 years old and is struggling with having mum stay with us all the time.
Our two eldest children, ages 22 and 20, have lived with us off/on and will be fully moved out in a month (one moved about 400 miles away and the other is getting married).
My mum is 80, a survivor of Pearl Harbor (was 8 when Pearl was bombed and lived in Hawaii at the time), was abused by my dad (but doesn't remember this), and was not a good mother at all (many examples, but won't cite at this time).
I am having a difficult time finding or creating a balance between work, home, and caring for mum. I find myself getting uptight quicker and not spending more time alone upstairs away from the rest of the family. My husband works nights (recent shift change), so I feel like a single parent with our youngest.
While logically I know that getting frustrated with Mum's dementia is not helpful for anyone, I still find myself getting sucked into this trap. I have to repeat myself constantly (mum is hard of hearing and forgets easily). I've tried writing schedules on a whiteboard so that mum knows where everyone is at as well as what may be coming up for her in terms of activities. She still doesn't remember things. She is afraid of people stealing her things and will come upstairs to wake me up early in the morning or late at night to voice her concerns.
Any tips to help minimize my frustrations and help expand my gratefulness for taking care of her and still not forget my family (husband and children) would be nice.