Wife of a Caregiver to his Elderly Mom

by Lynn

We sold our home and moved in with my mother-in-law to help her out, as her husband had died several years earlier, she was having some serious health problems and lived in a large, older home with some major deferred maintenance issues. This was 6 months ago, and we are now regretting our decision. My husband's sister lives out of the country, and only visits a couple of times a year, although keeps in touch via phone and email.

My mom-in-law is unhappy because she feels the loss of control, my husband is unhappy because he does not want to be spending his life caregiving, and I am unhappy because I, too, do not want to be doing this. My own mom recently passed away at the age of 98, and I was the caregiver for her for many years. In addition, we have purchased our dream home in another state, where my children and grandchildren are located, and I would like to be there.

We have very little room, and almost no privacy living with my mother in law. We feel guilty and resentful, and sometimes it is difficult to keep smiling. My Mother In Law is also beginning to exhibit early signs of dementia (she is 88 years old). We have had a family conference with her primary doctor, and the plan is to have a mental evaluation done at her next visit.

The problem is what to do next. The ideal plan would be to sell this house and use the proceeds to move my Mother In Law to a nice assisted living facility, but she hates change and get very upset when even small things are moved in the house.

We need a long-range plan, one that we can gradually move toward, instead of feeling that every day is a miserable challenge. I think if we knew we were working toward something that would be best for all of us, we could stop feeling like selfish pigs and move forward.

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You're Not Selfish Pigs
by: Anonymous

I can only share my experience and perhaps you will see some light at the end of the tunnel.

When you sold your home and moved in with Mom, you had great intentions. Remember that, because that is truly where your heart resides.

You're in the adjustment period. I moved in with my Mom over a year ago and I'm just starting to now remember why I came here. The first few months are the roughest, as you've made some major, drastic changes in your lives. Give yourself credit for that. And give yourself time.

I, too, have no space in the house. I have a bedroom, my office is in there, and all my stuff is in storage. Like your Mom, my Mom doesn't want to go to any assisted living. She wants to pass peacefully in her familiar bedroom of 56 years. I wouldn't have said this six months ago, but now I can truly say, I want to give her that luxury.

When I first arrived here, I scrambled for long-range plans. I felt so trapped. We're like wild animals caged at the zoo. We've had our freedom for so long and now we feel we have to live someone's life while ours dwindles away.

What I came to realize is, that this IS my life now. I didn't loose my life, I embraced more into my life. I choose to do this because I knew I couldn't live with myself if I didn't at least give to her the best I could.

I don't have any long-range plans. I know when the time comes to move on, I will move on to something else. I always have. Whatever I plan now could totally change later.

You say you took care of your own mother until she was 98. Your husband is just as giving and wants to do this for his own Mom.

Every day IS a challenge. It still is for me. But it doesn't have to be miserable. What has changed for me is my attitude toward it all. My Mom needs me. I imagine your Mom needed you. Your husband's Mom needs him.

Just give it some more time. Give it a year. Settle in. Accept what you're doing for now. Be sure to give yourselves all the praise in the world for the sacrifice you're making for you Mom. You may not get that praise from anyone else.

You say you have a new home somewhere waiting for you. That's a lot to look forward to. Bring all your life together in one package...your children, your new home, your Mom. Broaden your perspective, don't shut it down. Embrace everything you have, don't think this is all you have.

And if it doesn't work out, then make changes. We are all just feeling our way through this journey. There is no one-size-fits-all. But I think in the long run, we will be better people for having, not only taken on the challenge and sacrifice, but turning it around and bringing it back to the loving place it originated in our hearts.

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