Caregiver Stress - If I could do it over

by Dennis
(Charlotte, Iowa)

If I could do it over, I would still be mom's caregiver, but do many things different.


The first thing I would have done different is I would not have married. My wife knew I was mom's caregiver before we were married, but she got jealous of me giving mom so much care. Mom was unable to speak, eat by mouth, or walk because during six of her 10 1/2 years of illness, she had a stroke. I didn't expect my wife to help me with her (she says she did at first, but I don't remember this, especially with all her negative toward her), but I did expect her to be more supportive and at least help me with her mom instead of spending her money. I cared for her mom for over four years too.

My wife gave me so much of her mom's money for paying the bills, but she kept most of it and she and her kids went through it like wild fire while I took care of her mom alone. She thought she did not need to help with her mom and many times said why does her mom need to pay you anything.

Her mom had Alzheimer's and a spine problem. She also was about 230 pounds and several times I had to pick her up from the floor and now I have back problems. The bottom line is she or her kids refused to help. As far as her spending her mom's money, I have no problems her doing that because she was her only child, but like I said maybe she could have given me something instead of just paying the bills.

But as far as my mom goes and before I was married, if I could have done it over, I would pay myself $10,000 a year as a gift since I was Power Of Attorney. Both mothers are dead and I am having a hard time making it. About six years into mom being sick and before I was married my brother and sisters got together and discussed mom's illness situation and me. They thought I was taking away mom's dignity because I would change her pants and give her a bath. If I didn't tell you, I am a man.

They thought I was to call someone in every time mom needed her butt wiped. Also feeling guilty, they decided to give me her house and five acres. The house is not in the greatest condition, because when you take care of someone 24/7, there is not much time to do anything else.

Mom has a farm attached to her house. Before mom died I wanted everyone of them to sign the house and five acres over since I was married. One did with no strings attached. One wanted to see her will first and after her death, said I am only going to give you three acres even though he signed a paper saying different, but as the lawyer told him, it was not legal because they all didn't sign. One wanted to see her financial statement, while the other two refused and said we bought our own house.

When mom died, at the cemetery they had the nerve to bring up monetary items. I shouldn't be surprised because one brother when mom was lying dead in the hospital and I was discussing her with the pastor, he asked me if I was sure mom was sick that long. The only thing that was funny when mom had her stroke and that was when the doctors or nurses came into the waiting room, none of my siblings could answer any questions about mom, they had to come and get me.

Another thing I would have done different is move mom to a different state where I could enjoy myself. That would of meant selling her farm, but my siblings sold me 3/4 of farm for $3500.00 an acre. Now if I would have put mom in a home, there would not of been anything in her estate.

I asked the lawyer if he thought there would have been any money left and he said they would say you lived there. I don't know how you can take care of someone who needs 24/7 without living there. Was I to pay my siblings for caring for my mom?

None of them came to see her except a visit every so often, even though 95% of them live less than 20 miles away. One Christmas mom was so sick from the flu, I didn't think she was going to make it the next day and one of my siblings had the nerve to ask me if she should visit.

The only time I heard from them is when they wanted to bitch. Like the time one wanted to have a meeting and discus the inheritance while she was alive instead of discussing ways to make her happy. Every time my brothers came to see her, I would say; mom, they love you and she would shake her head no, she knew they didn't want to be there. Some even had the nerve to ask to borrow money from her and got mad at me because I wouldn't. I was told off when I tried to keep mom's safety in tack. I changed the door locks around, so she would not wander, same with the gas on the stove. I put a shut off value on the stove, but everything I did, I got yelled at.

The little times they came to visit, they thought they could come without calling. This would interrupt mom's sleeping, but they didn't care.

They even had the nerve to come with their buckets one day and said the house was dirty, which the incident, upset mom. This was the time she had her stroke and the only way she could show her being upset is by throwing up.

I have gone through hell with my siblings and even my wife. Their is a lot more I could tell, but I get upset writing about it but it does feel good getting out. I even had to fight one brother as he wanted to sell mom's farm before she was sick and divide mom's money up.

Also one of my nephew mentioned if I didn't bring mom once to thanksgiving dinner and she died before he would see her again, it would be my fault. He probably got that from his mom because when mom first got sick it was his mom thought since I was mom's caregiver and disable, I should bring mom to each sibling's house.

Again I am very happy to have been mom's caregiver, I learned as I went along, but I could have done without her children.

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Caregiver Stress - How awfull
by: England

I read your story with real sadness,you did what you knew to be right and have been disadvantaged and criticized for it, that's really not fair but sadly, it's how families are.

Often people refuse to get involved but feel entitled to criticize those who roll their sleeves up and do what needs to be done. I hope that you can take some comfort in having done the right thing and feel good about what you achieved.
There is legal help out there if you choose that route but maybe you would feel better drawing a line under this, knowing that you, at least, are morally and mentally intact?

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