Distressed Daughter

by Rhonda

My Mom and her husband live about a half hour away in the next city over from where I live. Her husband made a lot of bad financial choices and now they are reaching the end of their finances and stuck in a house with 2 mortgages they can't afford. Neither are in good health or working and my Mom can barely get around her own house.

It's a 2 story house and she hasn't been able to go upstairs for a long time now. She can't do much of anything anymore so her husband has to do the cooking, laundry, shopping, washing her hair, etc. and he's having health issues himself.

He and I had it out several months ago so we don't speak unless it's totally necessary. My mother is 75 and he is 70... I am 54 years old with a 19 year old daughter and a husband who is struggling to keep us afloat.

I have a few health issues myself but can still do the things I need to do for my home and family. My husband is the only income we have, and we get by okay but have nothing left over to spare or save most the time.

Our home is a small 2 bedroom, one bathroom house that we've lived in for nearly 30 years now... so it's quiet cramped here but we love it and we can afford it.

We have nowhere to put Mom unless we build on to our home, but we can't afford to do that and don't really want to change our home for what could end up being a year or 10 years. (This house is 80 years old.)

I don't have any siblings or family members to help and Mom has made me promise to never put her in a nursing home for as long as I can remember.

I have responsibilities to my husband, daughter, and our home that I can barely meet... and now I have the stress of figuring out what to do for Mom. (Her husband's family will have to handle his situation and they live several states away, but they can afford it.)

On top of that, we live next to my mother-in-law and she's 80 and has her own set of health issues including a 4 way heart bypass surgery and cancer spots being removed.

She still has her mobility and mentality, so she's able to live alone in her home and still drive. She has enough money to keep her going for awhile if nothing bad pops up to take it all. We keep a check on her and help her out whenever she needs anything.

My daughter is being torn between trying to help me out, trying to help her grandparents, and trying to get her own life started. She goes to my Mom's house every other weekend and spends 4 nights there to help them out.

She cooks and does laundry and chores while she's there and enjoys her time with them. She's so consumed with love and guilt to take care of everyone that she has no friends or life outside of the computer for now.

She's never even had her first date, first dance, first kiss, or first
job yet. (Partially due to being home schooled, partially due to feeling like everyone needs her.) As sweet as it is, she needs her own life and I don't think she should have to put it all off to be everyone's caregiver.

My husband and I are worried about our own old age approaching and not wanting to be a burden on our daughter as well as hoping to be able to leave her something, ANYTHING, to help with our care, final expenses, or just to give her something to help her get started on her own life.

That already seems impossible, but adding our parents to the list will kill it all. Like I said, we barely get by as it is. I'm overwhelmed with worry about us, our daughter's future, our parents, our finances, etc.

Mom and her husband have no life insurance either, so that's gonna hurt too. I love my mother with all my heart, but I'm not the care giving type who can wipe butts or bathe people, or even clean up puke... and I know that sounds terrible.

I also don't want to split my family up by having to take turns between me and my daughter having to live over there. My husband and I have never been apart like that and my daughter really needs to be free to find a job and get her life going for when her dad and I pass away.

I don't want to burden her, but it looks unavoidable. I also don't want to leave my home, husband, and daughter to go stay in another city with my Mom and her husband who I don't get along with at all anymore. How do we do this? How do we maintain our own life and financial problems and still help her?

I hate myself for even thinking these things, but I have to. I'm not sleeping due to all the stress already, and that's not good for any of us. I have diabetes and high blood pressure and the stress is keeping my BP higher than it should be.

My husband also has high blood pressure and is under a lot of stress worrying about ALL of us. He works physically hard an average of 45 to 55 hours a week just to maintain our home and our needs... and now we're on the verge of having to take on more.

This is going to wipe us out and probably end up causing marital problems like finances often do. I feel so desperate and overwhelmed and guilty about it all.

I don't know where to turn and have nobody to really talk to about this without being judged and labeled selfish or unworthy. I would understand if they did think that, I think it too sometimes... that's what guilt does to you.

I know I've written a long rambling message, but it helps for me to type it even tho I dare not speak it. Sorry if I've offended anybody, but I really needed to get it out.

Sad that I have to come to strangers to spill my guts, but it is what it is and I'm glad to have gotten the opportunity to unload a little. Thank you for listening.

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Strong women
by: Susie

I understand you completely and its good to vent and sometimes easier to type it out to complete strangers. Have you thought of In home support services for your parents?

Best of luck for you and you are a remarkable woman and your daughter has the gift of care taking already in her young age.

Don't make promises
by: Bittersweet

I sympathize with your situation. It is not a good one, and your whole family is suffering because of a promise you made to your mother to not put her in a nursing home.

I'm going to generalize here; we make that mistake to give comfort to our aging parents that we will always care for them and never put them in long term care.

IMO this is a ridiculous promise to make. There are times that we as their children simply CAN NOT care for our parents 24 hours a day. It's not a matter of not wanting to do it, it is a matter of being realistic.

My own mother lived with me for 12 years until she had a stroke 2 years ago making it impossible for me to care for her and work a full time job. I am divorced and only have one income to rely on and NO ONE to help me.

It was necessary to put her in skilled nursing care. I visit often and she is able to leave the home and I take her out on weekends.

But I told my mother years ago I would care for her as long as I was able but when the time came where I was not able to give her the full time care she required, I would have no choice but to put her in a nursing facility.

It was very hard at first for both of us. As time went on it got easier and we have both accepted the situation.

I understand this is a very difficult time in our lives, both for us and our aging parents and I'm not trying to sound like we shouldn't care. But we have lives to live too.

Husbands, children, grandchildren, homes to take care of, bills to pay, jobs to go to. And maybe even a little enjoyment now and then.

By making these promises, we are setting ourselves up for a very difficult existence. I don't mean to sound harsh but that is the reality.
I wish you luck.

time for mom and husband to downsize
by: Anonymous

Sounds to me like mom and father in law need to sell the house they can't afford and downsize. You don't have an obligation to take care of them really, and your daughter especially doesn't.

I know that sounds harsh, but I get how you feel about wanting/needing to do so. I agree - it's all too much for you at this point.

Probably a calm conversation with you and your husband with your mom and her husband would be a good idea to discuss what you've said here and discuss them selling their house. Just my thoughts. Hang in there.

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