What to Do

My story is a long one. I am an only child, daughter, 67 yrs old. My mother is 89 and lives with me. My parents had no siblings with children so I have no cousins, aunts or uncles.

I have 2 daughters in their 40's who have no children. My husband died in 2008 and I lost my job the same year. In 2009 my youngest daughter in Florida was diagnosed with and battled a metastatic brain tumor with surgery, radiation and rehab. She is physically able to take care of herself but on permanent disability no longer able to work due to the mental impairment resulting from the tumor and surgery.

My oldest daughter who lives near me was recently diagnosed with locally advanced breast cancer and is currently undergoing aggressive chemotherapy prior to a mastectomy. I take her to these appointments. With all of this going on, I am torn between caring for my children and my mother. My mother is physically able to care for her person and to do some light cooking for her own meals. However, she cannot do any housework, shopping or other outdoor activities due to her inability to walk well outside the house.

She is dependent on me for those things as well as medical appointments, all transportation, financial issues and all other decisions. She has no friends
except those out of state. We are not financially able to pay for outside caregivers - even part time - and what would they do anyway. My mother will not go to senior centers or senior groups.

What I need is someone to simply monitor my mother, run errands for her and make sure she is safe for days while I travel to see my youngest daughter or attend to my other daughter's needs.

I notice that my mother lives more and more in a fantasy world of books, TV and the past and does not want to discuss the crucial issues we have as a family nor make plans for future problems that might arise as she becomes more physically impaired. She won't discuss these and leaves all decision making up to me but then blames me if they are not to her liking.

I am losing patience with this as I am under more and more stress. I do think she is doing well considering she has many physical ailments but is becoming more and more inactive and solitary. Is this the normal aging process both physically and mentally? Should I take her to a geriatric psychiatrist or neurologist for evaluation? Is this the beginning of some sort of dementia?

What is the most effective thing I should be doing given the limitations on my time?

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I understand
by: Anonymous

I can't tell you what your Mother In Law is experiencing, but I can tell you that you can contact her doctor and tell him what is going on.

He may be able to help you get temporary help through Medicare or Medicaid. He can also set up, or at least give you names of reputable neurologists and geriatric specialists. You can also contact elder services in her area for help and information.

Will your Father In Law work with you and your husband to get Mother In Law to consider an alternative living arrangement? Would he consent to pay for visiting nurses to come in and help?

This is such a touchy subject. My brother and I just had "the conversation" with my mother about having visiting nurses come in and her eventual move to a long term care facility.

She has vascular dementia and she is at the stage where it is not safe for her to live alone. She was not at all happy about it, but understands it is for her safety and well being.

My heart goes out to you and your family. This is so difficult. (((HUGS)))

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