Outside Help is not always an Option

I would like to remind people who post on here that getting outside help is not always an option. It might be an option for people with confused parents who don't know one person from another but in my case, my parent is totally in her right mind and is able to make her own decisions and has totally refused all outside help.


She has refused all outside help including friends, neighbors, and church people, even if it means that I am trapped and unable to take a vacation. She is also unwilling to go to stay at my sister's house. She doesn't care if I take a vacation or not. Bottom line is that she is fully mentally competent and has a right to make her own decisions and if she doesn't agree to outside help, there is nothing I can do about it. And don't say ignore her and bring them in, because that won't work. My mother is a very, very, very tough lady and she simply will not relent! She is not like one of those passive older ladies who sit in a rocking chair all day and let their kids push them around.

My mother is 90 and is in very poor health but is fully mentally competent to make her own decisions. She still lives alone in her own home but needs a lot of assistance with physical tasks and paperwork. She no longer drives so she needs to be taken to doctor appointments, grocery shopping, church, and doctor appointments.

I am my mother's sole caregiver. I have a sister who doesn't do anything at all to help. She lives about 2 hours away and is busy with kids and working but still manages to take weekends getaways and vacations with her husband. Recently, they went on a vacation to the Caribbean and she had the nerve to say that she would show me her pictures when she got back--which made me livid. I haven't had a vacation in 7 years and feel very resentful about getting no help from her and she has the nerve to rub it in my face that she was on a romantic island vacation while I'm cutting Mom's grass, schlepping her to the doctor, and making sure she has food and medications in the house.

Whenever I bring up my need for help to my sister, she gets defensive and goes into blame mode towards me. Picks on me about stupid stuff like the way I communicate to her. She says I'm not clear and go back and forth. The bottom line is that she uses all of this stuff as a digression off the real topic at hand which is that she isn't helping me one iota and has no plans in place to do so. She sometimes promises she will help but then never does.

In addition to caregiving, I work a 9-10 hour job plus commute. My schedule is brutal. I wake up at 4 am in order to have time to exercise before work. I put in a 9-10 hour work day then drive to my mother's after work and spend an hour over there dealing with various issues, cutting her grass, bringing her medications or groceries, etc. Then I trudge home and do my own chores. I have my own grass to cut, snow to shovel, laundry, cooking, cleaning, bills.

I have no friends and cannot go away overnight or take vacations because her health is so poor. More than once I've had to rush her to the ER because I found her on the floor with a fracture or she had chest pain or a bad nose bleed. I just can't take the chance to go away and leave her alone.

I do get angry at my mother for not allowing me any options but on the other hand she is old and sick so I can't come down on her too hard. The person I am most angry at is my sister who is not pulling her weight. Neither my mother or my sister are willing to inconvenience themselves. They do not seem to care one iota that I am close to burn out.

Please do not say that there is outside help because it is not an option.

Comments for Outside Help is not always an Option

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My Experience is Similar
by: meh

Wow! You must be living my life! I have more siblings than you do and it is the same thing. No one accepts responsibility and blames me for their absence.

I can't do anything for myself - not even attend a support group. My mom is also 90, in her right mind and is relentless in not going anywhere or having anyone come in. It's as if she wants to kill me. Lately, I have taken to doing the bare minimum for her and just hanging in my bedroom because I now have to live with her.

I don't want to express my anger or resentment to her but I can't help feeling it. Reading the tips of others on this site help me in sooo many ways.
Thank You.

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We Hear You
by: mary

I hear how resentful you feel and you are certainly not alone in that! I don't know if this will help you but I hope it does.

I started going to a once a month caregiver support group in my town. I had to make time for it. I hope you have one within reach. My situation doesn't change but just going I always feel better when the meeting is over. I did learn something pretty disturbing at group...it's usually the Caregiver that gets sick or dies before the person they are caring for!!

After that meeting I started writing down all my resentments (sometimes daily-sometimes several times a day) and then burning the paper up in my secret garden and burying the ashes. This "purging" has helped a lot.

I feel for you as I have siblings that are similar to yours.
Glad you could vent a little anyway and have all our ears to hear you. You have been heard.
Mary, Santa Rosa CA

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