Trapped in a Bird Cage. Caring for my 85 Year old Mother.

by Teresa Palmer
(Cincinnati,Ohio)

Three years ago my father died from prostate cancer. I cared for him until he died here at home in my arms on a Tuesday morning. I didn't mind so much as I was very close to my father and he was kind and loving. Caring for him didn't seem so bad.


Then when I thought I could get back to my life my 85 year old mother got sick and here I am again caring for my mother. I can't work as she needs help 24/7. We have never got on very well and now its worse. She's very stubborn and never listens to reason. My husband walked out on me nearly 6 years ago and I get so lonely and long to have a relationship with a man, but they pick me up see my situation and run as fast as they can.

I have 2 older brothers, one that does nothing at all to help and the other does what he can. Its not fair just because I'm single I have to give up my life. I will soon be 51yrs old and my life is passing me by. I want to live, I want to enjoy being in love and sharing a life with someone and enjoy intimacy again with a man. Instead, I'm stuck in this bird cage. I'm not getting any younger and soon I will be to old to enjoy those things again.

Not working, I hardly ever have any money. A few dollars here and there for doing some sewing for people. My mother has a bad heart, Pulmonary hypertension, diabetes and arthritis, Osteoporosis and high blood pressure. Not to mention her memory is going fast. Meanwhile, my brothers go out to dinner and shopping with their wives, go on vacation, do as they please and I'm stuck in this bird cage. With all the stress I have developed heart problem and high blood pressure and had a mild heart attack a few months back.

Why do I have to be the one to do all this? Why do I have to be the one to watch both my parents die. I cant even get a bit of nursing care in to give me some relief because mother won't have it! I'm so tired...that's another thing. She won't go to bed till 1am and not a minute before or a minute after. It's a 15 minute production. I would like just one time to just go to bed myself at 11 or midnight, but I have to wait for her to go to bed.

I hate this....I really really hate this!

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Take charge
by: E.J.

You clearly have not realized the most important aspect of your situation. Your mother is the CHILD, you are the ADULT. Now start acting like it.

You make the rules and she does what you say. Yes she will be horrid. But she will be anyway. So?? Get yourself a life. Stand up to her. Good luck.

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Same situation on the other side of the world!
by: Lily

Teresa - I'm on the other side of the world and am having the exact same experience except it's my Dad who's left after my beautiful mother passed away 4 years ago.

My circumstances are 99% same as yours, only I have 5 siblings who do nothing. Anyway I finally struck a blow and went on a date last night (met via e-harmony online dating) & Teresa I had a ball.

I can't believe I finally got up the courage. And guess what? My Dad survived the evening. I prepared dinner in advance for him & all he had to do was boil the vegetables & fry the chicken schnitzel.

My sister actually came around st around 9.30pm & he hadn't cooked dinner, so she did it for him. On the one hand she was happy for me to go out but on the other hand I know she was annoyed.

I must say that my Dad was concerned about me being such a responsible carer for my Dad - after all there can hardly be any spontaneous romantic stuff! But I'm going to work towards Dad realizing he has to rely on others & not just me. BTW I've just turned 58 & recently lost a stack of weight & gained a lot of confidence.

You just have to stop enabling your Mother's behavior which is what I think I have been doing. Good luck to both of us! xxx

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Trapped and Lonely ..
by: Anonymous

I understand how your mother works and so do your brothers and that's why they don't come around. You are the strong one in the family. Your brothers are the ones that need to grow a back bone and come over and help.

Ironically, I am in the same boat. Single and 51 years old and lonely. I started using the word trapped recently while describing my situation. I recently wrote about it here and how us family caregivers need laws to protect us. My story is the same as most...my four siblings and my mother were making my life a living hell.

Things started turning around for me two weeks ...after trying every possible approach this is finally what worked. My parents have Insurance and they have a social worker that called my sisters and talked to my mother. I am not sure what was said but boy have things changed. You need someone to advocate for who your family will listen too.

Don't give up!! And start praying. ALOT.. I finally let God take control and gave it to him. Just remember God is holding your hand through these lonely and difficult days. Good days are around the corner. These thoughts have helped me.
I hope they help you too.

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A Different Thought....
by: Anonymous

The only things one must do in life is pay taxes and die. You don't have to be 'the one'. You can grow a backbone for starters and tell mom, bedtime is at 10 pm. "I will help you go to bed at 10 pm because that is when I am going."

How on earth does she 'make' you sit up half the night? You have to set some ground rules and start talking to your family. The rules should start with weekends off and work your way up from there.

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