New to this ...

by Suzy
(Florida)

I am a 39 year old married woman, an only child of a single mother, who is now 76. My mother is in poor health ( ie; diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, obesity and she has a retinal occlusion, too).


It's so sad to see her deteriorate from the strong woman she once was. She also is suffering from depression (her sister/ my Aunt lost a battle to lung cancer this past June after an 11 month fight. It was quite a shock to all - as she was the most able-bodied of all of my mother's 3 siblings). So, mom has all of these health issues and is missing her sister,too.

I've always known, deep down, that the time would come early when I would have to take care of my mom since I am an only & she had me somewhat late in life ( nowadays it's "normal" for women to have children in their late 30's/ early 40's but back in the early 1970's -- not so much). So,I am dealing with a situation that most of my peers will not be going through for another 10-15 yrs ( most of my friend's parents are in their early 60's and are healthy - traveling and so forth).

My husband and I do not have children yet(met late in life - only been married a little over 2 years). I am so thankful for his support but worry about the strain of caretaking of my mother - on our "young" marriage. His mother passed away almost 4 years ago and he has a different outlook about it. He keeps telling me "you don't want to have any regrets 10-15 years from now, that you weren't there for her when she needed you". He took care of his mom during her last days.

My husband and I were settled in TX until 6 months ago. Once we found out that my Aunt was diagnosed with cancer; we both started the job search in FL - where I grew up and where my mother and Aunt live(d). My husband wanted to move, too - as we are now much closer to his Father and sister in GA.

It was God's providence that my Husband landed a job in my hometown on June 9th; although, sadly, my Aunt passed away on June 5th. We had both been job searching in FL, from TX, for about 11 months. Excuse me for being wordy please...I'm getting there! lol...We were able to move out to FL by the first of July.

The plan is - we are living with her (although we are financially able to live on our own), in order to take care of her and her property. We are able to save money for a down payment for a house this way -with a mother in law suite - instead of throwing $1000 a month toward rent in this expensive area. That's the 2-3 year plan: save up for a home in much more affordable GA near my husbands supportive family. Mom is open to selling her place in FL and being with us in GA eventually. So, that's all good. What's not good?...

WELL, I was not aware of HOW much help my mother needed and so I kept job searching. I landed a FT job (in highly stressful social work) which began 7 weeks after our cross country move from TX to FL. I am a certified Special Education Teacher who can not teach in FL until I get my temporary certificate or permanent FL teaching certificate. So, this job is a new career, too ( and not one I want to remain in anyway...yet money is helpful, huh??).

To make a long story shorter (lol...hard time editing!), my full time job is a lot to handle with what is going on, on the home front. I am going to quit tomorrow and go PT (I'll substitute teach & I have another opp to bring in a little extra money). I am going to give them over 3 weeks notice since the office has been under such duress.

I really feel bad that I am leaving the company after only 4.5 months. It's been so stressful though (2 people quit within a month that I started and also my Supervisor was out on medical leave. I just met my Supervisor for the first time last week - after having been there 4 months. I have had to learn the job basically on my own and was given waaaay too many cases for a new person). I am so burnt out from the cross country move, my job, my mom and the shambles her place is in. The past 6 months has been a blur.


My mom's place is tiny and dirty. With both my husband & I working FT hours - it's a LOT of upkeep. I feel like I really need to sacrifice my FT job for the betterment of my family and yet, I have a hard time giving it up due to everyone saying "it's such a hard time to get a job - you should be thankful". What about quality of life, though? What about my mom?

My mom is leaving food out and it is spoiling constantly. Her refrigerator is truly frightening. She can't change her sheets on her bed - so her bed is very smelly and she "hoardes" items on the bed,too (piles of stuff everywhere!). She has dogs that constantly drag dirt into the home and then she doesn't have the energy to clean up after them. She stays in the same clothes for days.

I think she is skipping her pills or over medicating herself. She can't get out of the tub without my assistance. She has burnt a ton of pots and pans - keeps the burner on and sets the fire alarm off (yes, even at 1 AM). She got a 2008 Kia Sorrento back in 2009 and she has bumps ALL over it. I'm scared of her driving it now ( she didn't own up to a fender-bender she had last Thursday until Sunday). She is just NOT the mother I once knew. She has changed dramatically over the last 3 years.

My not being here MORE is really stressing my little family out. I've been reading a lot of the stories on here and I am so VERY thankful to not have to deal with absentee siblings (although I am dealing with a feisty Mom but won't go into that! lol).

Also, I am very thankful for the opportunity to be able to go PT . My husband wants me to quit and take care of the home front more. We both hate how dirty and cramped it is here; it's very stressful for us.

We spend our weekend cleaning and by Tuesday - it's bad already. Money will be tighter after I go PT, but quality of life will improve because I'll be able to organize and clean regularly. I think I'm going to join a Caregiver Support group or something like that,too.

My hope is to get my mom into the Fitness Center nearby (associated with the Hospital). They have water therapy exercise classes for people with fibromyalgia & rheumatoid arthritis. Maybe this will help her range of motion and also help her to lose weight.

I can not lift her out of the tub now and she recently got stuck. It was awful. I managed to get her out - but it was very painful for both my Mom and I. I also hope to find a PT teaching job eventually. I'd like to take my mom to whatever school I end up working at - so that she can be the "Grandma Mascot" or what have you. I think being around little ones a few times a wk will help her with her depression. We'll see. Something has to change though & for the better!

Thanks for letting me vent. That's all I needed. My situation is not as dire as others on here AT ALL. God bless you and thank you for taking the time to read this!

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Serenity Prayer
by: Anonymous

Change the things you can, accept the things you can't...

Sounds like you have a new life planned for mom as well as yourself. Might not want to get too caught up in changing mom. Mascot Grandma and aerobics? A clean house, clean clothes, and no dogs? Mom's been living like that long before you arrived. That may be expecting miracles.

Maybe just focus on what you need for yourself to get through the next 2-3 years. That sounds short, but on a daily basis, it gets stressful. And you already sound stressed by just moving.

Maybe you can sell moms house now, buy the new house with her money from the sale, put the house in her name. Then she can be in her mom-cabana in the backyard, you two can start your new life in the big house and someday you will inherit it all anyway.

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You are a Wonderful Daughter
by: Manuela

I've just read your story and I feel your pain.

I too care for my elderly mother. She has Parkinson's Disease and it is heartbreaking to see the woman that was so energetic simply fade away bit by bit. But I'm determined to keep taking care of her no matter what.

The way I see it, my mother gave me the world when she was younger. It's now my job to do the same for her.

I admire your strength and you seem to have a good plan of how you'd like to do things.

You should be proud of yourself (and your husband) for taking the tough decisions that you took, so that you can take care of your mother properly.

May God bless you and your husband. Even though your mother may not show it, I'm 100% sure that she appreciates what you're doing for her.

If I could offer just one little piece of advice it would be this ... please try to find some time for yourself ~ it really helps both your mind and body to get some well deserved from rest from all the stress, frustration and chaos that taking care of an elderly parent often brings.

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Dear New to This:
by: Third Sister

If you can hire someone to clean the house and be a companion for your mom at less pay than you are earning at your full time job, you might want to consider that first. Have the person come in while you and your husband are at work. She can help keep the place clean, take your Mom out for errands like grocery shopping and doctors appointments, and in general make your life and your husband's much more pleasant.

Of course that will put a crimp into your plans to save money for a bigger place. However, quitting your job or going part time will also do that. You found a full time professional job you seem to like - why should you give that up to spend your time cleaning and care taking the house if you don't have to?

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