My 95 year old mother has been living with me for 4 years. I lost my husband 9 months prior to her moving in and I had hoped that her presence and helping make to her life easier would be good for me. It worked beautifully ... for her. My life, however, gradually began disappearing. My home - which I had just redecorated - became a shrine for the elderly where nothing blocked walkers and ugly metal grab bars were installed in the shower and bath. Tissue paper boxes cover every table with little garbage cans underneath to catch the used ones which have to be emptied every day.
Half the time the bathroom smells of strong urine (due to certain medications), bowel movements, or old fashioned sprays she insists on using that stink worse than the poop does....
Also, I discovered it wasn't worth having company any more because nobody felt comfortable putting up with her demands for attention. She's very self centered and likes being the center of everything.
She's also always been very judge mental of others, sometimes event sitting in a room and studying what every person is wearing so as to criticize their choices later. I swear when I'm cooking in the kitchen I can feel her eyes staring at my back from the dining room, evaluating every stitch of clothing I have on, then instructing me how to pull my blouse down or over so it is more flattering.
I've gotten used to it and ignore it, but that doesn't top her from saying those things.
I've given up so much of my life caring for her that I have to work really hard to even remember what I would be spending my spare time on if my mom wasn't there.
Oh, jewelry design.
Gardening. Going to see my g'kids or friends. Photography. Kayaking. It really got to me this past year so I told my siblings - told, not ask - that I was going away for 4 days over Thanksgiving. Prior to leaving tho, I of course had to get some things in order for the guest caretakers.
I get to my daughters, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, but am extremely tired, listless. Net morning I was rushed to the hospital with acute bronchial asthma attack. I had to stay in the hospital for 4 days. Now I'm recovering at my daughters because she won't let me go home, thank god.
Meanwhile, my sisters are struggling with mom duty and I honestly couldn't care less. I figure it's been good for them to find out what it's like I doing it 24/7 like I've been doing for 4 years. And I was right - now that THEY know the stress of being our mothers caregiver, they're ready to hire help or put our mother in a home.
I'm not even going home until they get it figure out because my inner reserves are just plain shot.
What offends me the most is that our mother cares more about her own comforts than she does our sanity. I know damn good and well she knows what happened this week with me.
She keeps asking my sisters "what will happen to me? Where will I go?" I guess I'd feel the same way but if I've learned one thing in the past 4 years, it's that my feelings don't count with my mother. She only wants what she wants and at everybody else's expense.
My fantasy is that when I finally go home my mother will not be there and neither will any of her belongings.