Mother of 2 Preschoolers, Baby #3 due, Dealing with Disabled Parents
I'm 38, have 5 yr old, 4 yr old and baby on the way. I live in Louisiana....Dad fell down stairs and became paralyzed from neck down. Mom quit her job to take care of Dad to avoid the nursing home but rapidly fell into severe depression with the difficulty of the task.
Older sister lives in Missouri, older brother lives in Arkansas. Parents lived in California at time of the accident. Roughly 2 years ago I visited my parents and discovered they were both severely emotionally spent and barely able to care for themselves without assistance.
After discussing with siblings, we decided to "move" my parents to Louisiana where one of us could be close by. My state of residence was chosen because we have other family here (mothers' siblings) and we get little to no snow, and the medical community is better. Also, because I am a stay at home mother and presumed to do nothing all day. Alone, I had the sole responsibility of finding land, a home builder and managing construction of a home with all the disability needs that my dad has. My parents had the money to pay for it, but it sounds as if money might be running low.
Now, for the past 2 years, with a husband, 2 very young kids, and trying to be room mom for my kids and get involved with their school volunteer system, I have dealt with constant complaints from my parents that they are miserable and depressed as Mom is unable to get out of bed other than to feed Dad - this can last for days at a time.
They both are on so many medications that my mom's personality is completely gone. She is a zombie half the time with the anti depressants, anti anxiety and anti stress medications she is taking. She refuses any counseling to deal with the burden of caring for my physically disabled dad.
I ask my siblings to call them more often and for about a month they might call once a week and then they lose interest and go months without calling our parents. When I tell my siblings of the severe depression, the mood swings, the anger that is unleashed on me, they act as if I am dramatic and making it up. My mom hides her depression from them because she is afraid if she is "a bummer on the phone" then they won't call.
So, she puts on a rosy tone and talks about things as if
everything is a party here. Then the next day she will call me hysterically crying demanding that I drop everything and come over at once to help her with even the smallest of tasks that she sees as an unclimbable mountain. She has a house cleaner, a nurse that comes to the house 2x a day to help care for my dad with showers and moves from bed to wheelchair.
I clean my own house and often can't get to it because I'm having to deal with my parents. I'm upset with my siblings for refusing to acknowledge all that I have to do, all that I have to deal with and all that I am carrying for the three of us. I am upset with them for not acknowledging that I have a very hard job taking care of them especially when my parents are not even openly appreciative. I feel unappreciated.
My parent's money is running out, I'm worried that my husband and I are going to be stuck with future nursing home expenses and yet my sister asked my parents to pay for 3 plane tickets to fly her to town to visit for Christmas ($1500) and then she barely spent any time with them.
She ran around shopping at our malls and visiting with the other family members - drinking into late hours and partying with family. I thought when they came to town they would help take some of the "work" off of me and do some of the household things that they make me do....hang pictures on walls since they moved into the house, help my dad set up his computer, unpack boxes that are STILL in the garage, etc. They didn't do anything to help our parents, they were on vacation and when I suggested a small task my sister said "I'm not doing that, that's not my job".
What I've learned from reading some of these posts is that I need to tell my siblings every time I am called away from my family, my kids, my husband, my house, my life to care for our parents. I had actually stopped telling them anything at all because it just upset me to see how much I was doing and know that they were sitting in peaceful ignorant bliss of the headaches that lie in the South.
Can anyone give me any other advice? I also am criticized by my sister (not my brother) when I handle something in a way that she thinks is not correct.