Standing my Ground

by Sherryll
(Forney, TX.)

91-year old only child mother is in skilled nursing facility due to dementia and inability to walk alone. Second time in 2 years. Three hospitalizations in 2 years. It is expected of me to take care of her if she gets released. I am a polio survivor and have had 2 compression fractures in my lower back. Brother is not expected to do anything...not even visit.

I am 65 and do my best to stay healthy, just retired after working for 40+ years and want to travel some while I am still able to walk.I have dug in my heels and am just refusing to take on 24/7 care. The guilt is terrible but I feel like it is just a matter of survival.

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Yes stand your ground!
by: Red

This post so resonated with me. I am also an only child and sole caregiver for my 91 year old Mom, who now has congestive heart failure, kidney failure, and vascular dementia.

Until this April she lived independently in another state, I retired two years ago, and Mom was really hoping I would give up my life and move back ‘home’ to where she has chosen to live her life.

I visited more frequently but refused to move. This April it became obvious she could no longer live alone and I moved her to an independent living facility near my house.

She would love to have just moved in with me but I never put that on the table. The dementia worsened and by August I had to move her to a different assisted living facility with memory care. So now I have furniture etc to sell from the independent living facility as well as selling her home and car in another state.

At least now her day to day physical needs are being addressed and I no longer have to grocery shop for her, manage medications, or respond to crazy calls in the middle of the night all on my own.

I’ve observed a couple of things about the generation now entering their 90s. They seem to have a hard time understanding that your life is as valuable as their own, that you worked just as hard as they did and that you deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

They just don’t see that they are robbing you of the extra years they got to enjoy. There is a sense of entitlement in that generation and I’m not sure where it comes from.

Saving the world in World War II perhaps? Or maybe they’ve just never experienced caring for a sick person this long. I don’t know. But in any event your parent will take as much of your life as you are willing to give up, so you have to set your own boundaries.

Someone told me at the beginning of this ‘journey’ that I shouldn’t get involved in a situation I couldn’t do for 10 years. People now can live a long long time even with health challenges.

That has helped to guide my decisions. I am grateful my Mom saved enough to pay for a nice care facility, at least for awhile. If her money runs out I’ll move her to a facility covered by Medicaid. I hope it doesn’t come to that but if so I’ll just have to live with any guilt that goes along with that decision. You are right - stand your ground.

Yes, Me Too
by: Anonymous

I was in all of your places. Although her brain had deteriorated to almost nothing, my 90-year-old mother was still able to intimidate me and refused to go anywhere but her own home.

She was a difficult person when she had her wits; it only got worse when she lost them. I'm an only child and I saw to needs the best I could, but I refused to let her live with me or move into her house.

She called me at least 7-8 times a day, and a couple of times, as many as 20. I still jump when a phone rings near me. I drove back and forth to her house almost every day, sometimes twice a day. I was a physical and emotional wreck.

Then in late March 2017, she lost her balance, crashed into a wall at home, and broke her arm high up, near her shoulder. That was the inciting event the medical professionals had told me would finally get her into a facility.

She was in the hospital for about 3-4 weeks while I ran around like a crazy person, trying to find a decent memory care place for her. I moved her into a facility in late April. She died the third week of July. My sweet dog, a Great Pyrenees my mother loved, died two weeks later. I swear she took the dog with her.

This is a miserable job and it will consume you if you don't get a break. Don't feel guilty. I know we have all done the best we could with a responsibility that no one can imagine who hasn't been in our shoes.

Now here I am in December of 2017. I'm 66 and I don't miss my mother, and I never really grieved. I just feel an enormous sense of relief. I loved her but those last five years changed our relationship permanently.

Me, Too!
by: Anonymous

My mother is 93, cannot walk anymore, and her mind and body are declining fast. I live 2,000 miles away. I'm 66, and have a 71-year-old husband and a grown child here in town, plus another in Australia (for now).

My mother, being of sound mind, (according to her doctor) refused even home health care until recently. Now that that is in place, the NEIGHBORS, who have been helping her out from time to time, have been calling me saying they cant do it anymore, there are strangers coming and going from her house (her caregivers), and that I need to go back and provide 24/7 care. Baloney!!

My relationship with my mom has not been storybook ideal to begin with. I do what I can, from a distance, and visit occasionally, but NO to being primary caregiver. (Make room for me in the guilt room). I feel ya'

by: Anonymous

The guilt seems to be unavoidable but stand fast! I'm about to finally put my 90-year-old mother in memory care due to dementia. I did the best I could to let her stay home as long as possible.

Last week she broke her arm and now MUST go, but even at that, I'm lying to her about the extent of what's going on, lest she have a fit and refuse.

Even the hospitalist told me he knew I'd had a hard time of it. I said I didn't know if moving her would be easier for me, or just different. He suggested the latter.

I'm 65 too, and although my health is pretty good, I want to be able to do a few things while I still can. So yes, stand your ground and live your life. We don't know how much good time we still have left to us.

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