Burned Out--Lost My Ability to Care Anymore

by Chris B
(Strafford, NH USA)

I and my husband are the only caregivers for my 90 year old mother. She has a long list of chronic, serious diseases...COPD heart failure, kidney failure, and so on. We have been caregiving since my father died 1998. Her health is slowing eroding, but she has dementia and stubbornness beyond compare. Our relationship was rough as a child and teenager.

We came together to care for Dad with Parkinson's in 1980. When Dad died, it became clear that he'd been the buffer between us all my life. My siblings...much older than me....took a "don't ask, don't tell" attitude to Mom.

Her health at 90 is way more than we can handle.

Unfortunately, mom refuses any help from outside the home; demands my attention and then refuses help when we try.

It has gotten to the point.....we all live in same house....that I can't use the kitchen or be in "her" part of the house without terrible anxiety and screaming arguments instead of any real communication. I have reached me limit of knowing how to deal with her.

I'm very afraid she's trying to outlive me...I won't allow that. Her decisions and choices are very unsafe. Left the toaster oven on all night a week ago!

Blaming me for her bruised and maybe broken leg after falling into the dishwasher. I am not used to caring for the mega elderly. I am looking for information on how to deal with the frailty and decline of an over 90 year old.

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I agree
by: Tammy

I agree with all who have responded thus far. I am caregiver to my dad and I know the stress (I am on medication now).

You cannot take care of her if you become a lost soul. It's time to put her somewhere that she can be taken care of and possibly, if you are not there, she may not find it necessary to battle so much.
THe best site I know of is:

They are wonderful and will find something in your area and help you with your needs.

Chris, Save Yourself
by: Alexis

I know it may seem easy for me to say, since I'm not involved in your situation. But I'm an only child and for about 15 years I had to tend my slowly eroding mother. She and I never got along because I wasn't her clone, no matter how hard she tried to make me into one. But she lacked the insight to grasp any of these fine details.

The last five years of her life were difficult for all concerned. She wouldn't move from her house into assisted living, wouldn't let me bring in help, and I would NOT let her live with me. I went through being called horrible names, being accused of stealing from her (that's a common one, I'm told), general verbal abuse, and having to follow behind to soothe other people she chewed out.

I'm 66 and she died just about 7 months ago at 90 years of age. The final year was the worst, worst, worst, but I after she fell at home and broke her arm, I ratted her out to Adult Protective Services and she had to go to a memory care facility.

Yes, it was expensive and I'm grateful she had the money to pay for it. In any event, I told her doctors and social workers, etc., that if she didn't go, I was going to walk away and not look back.

Life is too short to linger in this kind of unappreciated, abusive servitude. People who say, she took care of you, now it's your turn, really have no idea what they're talking about or what it's like. Don't wear out your marriage and yourself doing this work. You've given plenty. Be done.

Respect you
by: Meri

I so respect you for the care you have given your mother. I care for my mother also and lets just say that growing up, she was not Mother Teresa. It sounds like the same for you.

That is the part I most do not understand--why we are called to be caregivers to those who terrified us as children.

I have a sibling--but as far as my mother's care goes--I am an only child.

Your health vs Mom’s Health...
by: Anonymous

Is a nursing home not an option at this point? Neither you or your husband will be any good for her or each other if you don’t take care of your health.

Check on long term Medicaid for assistance. It was a very difficult decision to make but I am healthier and my mom is getting very good care. I have time for me and still visit her daily.

Good luck on your journey.

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