Frustrated & Overwhelmed

by Wiped Out in Los Angeles
(California)

I am a single 45 year old woman with three children, my youngest is 12. My mother is 81 years old and three years ago decided to stop taking an active part in her own life.


She no longer cooks or cleans and she stopped driving although that was a good thing. She no longer manages her bills or doctor appointments and can't be bothered to make a grocery list. I do all her shopping. I pay her bills out of my own bank account because she could not pull herself together enough to create a joint account with me or even remember how to manage her own bank accounts.

She orders me a check from her bank when her social security is deposited but it is always an argument and a struggle. Her social security doesn't cover half of her expenses. My mother will call me and bark her demands at me and will expect her needs to be met immediately. If they are not, she will call me over and over leaving messages until I call her back.

I have an extremely demanding job where I work 10-15 hours a day and at times this is 7 days a week. My mother knows this but it doesn't matter to her. My mother is not ill although she will tell everyone she is as an explanation for her behavior.

I am sure my mother suffers from anxiety and depression but she will not admit this when I take her to the doctor. My mother has groomed me for this position since I was a small child. I am the remedy to her anxiety and the solution to all her problems. Her neediness is suffocating me.

I leave work to take her to her appointments and it is never a quick trip. Her church used to take her to some of them but because she would harass these people with phone calls about her appointments no one wants to do it anymore.

I have an older brother who lives in another state and a twin sister who is either homeless or in jail. My brother does not offer any type of help and my mother doesn't want to bother him because he is "busy". Right. I work so much yet I am constantly overdrawn in my bank account because I am supporting my own family and my mother.

I moved my 21 year old son in with her to keep an eye on her and make sure she eats, but he is not a Caregiver and I don't want him to be that for her. He needs to have his own life. I have taken full responsibility for her needs because no one else will.

I don't know how I can keep this up. She is healthy, she only has arthritis. She is not good with pain and refuses to take anything to help with it and I have to beg her to take an Aleve or Tylenol. She calls me nonstop to complain about the pain or that she's alone. I am losing my mind.

I used to work out and do things for myself but that has all stopped. My time is spent dealing with her needs and I barely spend time with my children. My youngest doesn't want to be around her because she is so emotionally draining. This is not a good situation, I am exhausted and overwhelmed.

I have searched the internet for solutions but all I find are sad stories like mine. My mother is not a sweet old lady who offers you tea and conversation. My mother is a needy woman who will suck the life out of you if you let her. I cannot move her in with me and I can't afford to put her into a decent assisted living home.

I just see myself suffering emotionally, financially and physically until I die or she dies. I will probably go first.

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I recommend the previous person suggestion
by: Anonymous

Most towns have a senior living place which is based on section 8, it goes by their income, they have meals on wheels and they all sit in the waiting room on their food each day chatting. They also have a room to eat in and a small kitchen in the community room.

My mother pays according to her income she has 1 bedroom, kitchen and living room. She lives there by herself.

You have to find an outlet for your mothers behavior 1st talk to her if that does not go over well and she is not receptive. You have to put your foot down and make a schedule.

I gave control over to my brother because my mother was running me around in circles and I almost had a heart attack. Now I'm on anxiety medications, my mother complains non stop about the way I used to shop. Now she calls me to complain about my brothers shopping and I tell her I don't want to here it. The grass isn't always greener!


Now I've had time to enjoy my new marriage. My mother convinced me over the years that no one would every in their right mind want to marry me. But I did get married at 50.

Talk this over with your spouse and see what his suggestion is.

Good Luck please don't let your health deteriorate because of all the stress and running around, you can only do so much your one person!

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one thing
by: Anonymous

Dear Wiped Out,

Wow, that IS a lot!

I heard you when you said that you see no solutions so I have one suggestion that might relieve a tiny bit of stress for you. Maybe. Get another phone with a different number for your friends to call and leave the original phone for calls from your mom.

Listen to the messages when you set aside time for it. Even though I loved my mom and she was also my friend,I did not always answer the phone when i knew she was calling and I did not always call her right back when I checked my messages.

Most of the time I did but not every time. This was after numerous years of caring for her needs. I did this to save my sanity because as soon as my brain knew she needed me to go to the store or something, I couldn't think of anything else until I did it (even after working all day).

Also, I started going to a once a month caregivers support group and I found it quite helpful. It wasn't all about complaining (although sometimes it was nice to vent-even a teapot needs a vent hole or it will blow up!).

The group also had good ideas and solutions to situations that I had not thought of or heard of anywhere else.

I will be thinking of you and hope you write back and give us an update on your situation.
mary in Santa Rosa Ca

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Medicaid?
by: Anonymous

If you are bearing most of her expenses over social security, go and see if you can enroll her in Medicaid and then see if you can either find Section 8 senior housing (cheap) or an assisted living that provides meals and takes Medicaid.

Good luck to you. I had to leave my job the burden became so big....keep your job if at all possible. Who will pay the bills for your entire family if your needs are not met!

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