Elder Care - Caring for Declining Parent with no Help
I am a single never married woman in her 50's who has been taking care of my elderly mother for almost 15 years.
After my father passed away I began helping her more and more with finances, insurance, automobile maintenance, house maintenance, carrying heavy groceries, etc. These things did not require a huge time commitment, perhaps some hours on a weekend, but I was largely able to have my own life.
Then about 5 years ago, her health started declining and she had a number of acute health crises. At this point, I became more and more involved in her affairs. Eventually I had to move closer to her in order to cut down on the trips back and forth.
There were advantages to moving but it also cost me a great deal financially and the house which I moved into (where I thought my mother might ultimately want to live but she doesn't) has turned out to have a number of significant maintenance issues and has cost me a lot of my savings to upkeep.
My mother is close to 90 now but is still independent and lives in her own home. She has no interest in moving into my home nor does she have adequate finances to enable her to move into an assisted living facility should the need arise.
I commute about 40 minutes each way and work full time. My job requires overtime at times and has been getting increasingly demanding because of the economy. Most of my vacation time has to be allotted for my mother's frequent doctor appointments, tests, and various errands. My Saturdays are like having a second
job--I spend the entire day running errands and doing chores and taking her out for groceries or whatever other errands are important that particular week.
Between juggling the demands of my job and my parent, I had to pretty much cut back on all socializing and became isolated from the few friends that I did have.
My problem is that my married sister does not help at all. She lives about 2 hours away and has 2 small children (although when my mother first started ailing, she had no children and still didn't help). She and her husband go on weekend get aways and vacations, enjoy having friends over and do fun activities with their kids, but yet my sister refuses to come down and give me a break. I cannot go away because my mother's health is too frail. She has had multiple sudden health emergencies and several falls, and it is too risky to go off and leave her alone with no help within 15 minutes.
Please don't say to get respite care because my mother is not dependent yet and doesn't need someone watching over her. She just needs to have either me or my sister nearby to help her if she had an emergency. I don't think that's too much to expect from 2 daughters. And please don't say to speak to my sister. I already did, and it was almost like starting WW III. I also have an older sister who abandoned the family years ago--I have not heard from her in several years and she hates my mother.
I am at my wit's end and getting very angry and depressed.