Caregiver for Elderly Mother
My husband was diagnosed with severe heart disease 12 years ago. He slowly but surely got worse and worse, then died 2 years ago after a long and agonizing illness.
Three years before he died, my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. So I found myself in this position: I worked a full time job Monday through Friday, then went home (or to the hospital which happened many times) to care for my husband.
On Fridays, I drove directly from work to my dad's (100 miles away) to take care of him on the weekends. Thankfully, one of my two brothers, unemployed at the time, was able to take care of Dad during the week.
Then late on Sunday night, I would make the 100 mile trip back to my house, my job, and my sick husband. My husband probably should not have been left alone on the weekends, but he was able to walk and take care of fundamental needs, so I did what I had to do. I had absolutely no help.
I loved my job, but, as both my dad and my husband got worse and worse, I found myself unable to handle it all. I took early retirement-a huge mistake-so I could take care of them better.
They died, first Dad, then, two years later, my husband. The loss of the two of them and my job pretty much at the same time has devastated me both emotionally and financially.
But wait....it's far from over! Now my mother is 86 and has fallen and broken a hip. I have been "chosen" by my two brothers (alas, no sisters!) to be her caregiver. Both brothers have jobs, so, since I'm retired they figure I would
be honored to take care of our mother. She lives 100 miles away from me. And that's not the worst of it.
She lives out in the country, 20 miles from the nearest town. I am so angry, resentful, and depressed! I feel completely trapped. I have left my home, my friends, my social life, everything familiar to me to do this.
I have moved away from a place I love and consider my home to move to a place I left decades ago because I hated it then as I hate it now. I differ completely in my political and religious beliefs from the people here. I am utterly alone and miserable.
The worst thing is that I am 62 years old. I have taken care of sick people for so long that I have never had the chance to have a life of my own. Now I figure I will spend my "golden years" taking care of Mom.
No one in the family helps at all. Nothing is expected from my brothers because they are men.
Since she is on Medicare and not Medicaid, no respite care is available to her. She cannot possibly afford private care, and she cannot (and will not) move into assisted living because she is not self-sufficient enough to qualify. She flat refuses to move into my home or either of my brothers' homes.
When I see people my age traveling, going out to dinner, doing the simple things that retired people do (I taught school for 35 years), I am so, so, so resentful! I do not want to hurt my mom. I love her and want to make her last years peaceful and secure. But I'm losing it! Please advise!