Youngest Child, Medical Professional but not Parent's Power Of Attorney

My sister who is the middle child has the 100% responsibility for the care of our aging and declining mother. Her responsibility began when she and her husband purchased a home for our mother to move to without our mother being involved in the decision or at least that is our mother's version. So, mother left the community where we had all been for 13 years where mother had been involved in church, family and her own personal pursuits since the death of our father.

Now, we are 13 additional years down the road and my sister is now widowed for 2 years with multiple financial stressors including paying for the 2nd house mortgage without her husband's income. Mother pays her payment to my sister but now her health is deteriorating rapidly and has become a hoarder who refuses to leave the independent living idea behind and accept she needs much more care now.

My sister is only 61 years old and still needs to work. The battle has been that my brother and I live in different parts of the country and while we have made trips home to help, to talk, to brainstorm, nothing changed until my sister made some significant actions happen recently.

Mother's house was in great need of repair so my sister can sell it. My sister took action with her insurance, got mom all packed out and the repairs done with mother staying in a nice hotel suite.
We thought the sunlight was coming back until mother became more ill, spent a night in the hospital, and my sister now is running to the hotel at least 4 times a day to provide food and care for our mother.

Mother tells each of us separately her message about demanding her independence, accepting the need to be in a nursing facility or staying very standoffish, not wanting to talk about it.

Our dad extracted a promise from our sister to always care for her mother. This emotional commitment has really brought both pleasure and nightmare to my sister and her husband when he was still here.

My brother and I have all but given up having
any positive influence in the situation as we were prepared to go to our family in May to help our sister and mother make the transition to the appropriate care setting.

Everything blew up in our face and my brother and I just couldn't understand what had happened. Our sister turned on us and we became the problem rather than all 3 of us showing up to help mom cope with the truth at hand rather than trying to do this over phone or text or email.

The family relationships are odd, stilted and confusing but I am in medicine but as my relationship with my mother has been dying, I have no legal involvement for the needed decisions. My brother and sister are her Power Of Attorneys for separate needs.

It is a terrible, lonely and awful end to a family when your parent takes you down into the abyss with them out of their fear, their seeing their lives wind down, their health decline and their powerlessness to stop the decline. It is equally the same feelings that my brother, sister and I have from our positions.

The emptiness is tremendous; the loss of joy, the loss of planning for family reunions, the celebration of our mother, the loss of who we knew her to be in our lives and the loss of celebrating her pursuit her own life ambitions.

I appreciate having the opportunity for the first time to put voice to where I am in this life process for there is no room for honest sharing in our family anymore.

My sister wakes to meet the day, the demands, the exhaustion and the depression. I wake with guilt, sorrow, anger that I cannot effect any positive input and have lost the mother I knew and need. I do not know what my brother wakes with; he is very closed to sharing his emotions as the oldest.

I pray that other families find a better way to cope with the loss of their loved ones than my family has fared. The journey through the loss is long, aching and unpredictable. Blessings to all who are on a journey of their own.

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The Tricky Part of Life
by: Gina

First let me say I am sorry that both of you are in the current trying situations that you are. I've read many of the postings in this section and I honestly don't understand why people insist on staying primary caregivers when they are rally apart when today's senior care facilities are so much better than years ago. I don't understand parents extracting promises to take care of mom or don't ever put dad in a nursing home etc.

My mom-in-law has short-term memory loss and is in a long-term nursing facility. She's 85. It's not a fancy place but the staff takes good care of her and they get her out of bed and take her to the social events.

I've gotten over the guilt of having here there because that's the only rational option. She is on Medicaid, so not having money should not be a barrier to transitioning parents out of one's home. People live a very long time now, so caregiving is a huge commitment.

My MIL doesn't remember when we visit her and other than checking on her condition and care, I often wonder what is the point of even going to see her if 3 minutes later it's as if we were never there.

I do it because I feel guilty if I don't and I had a good relationship with her before it all changed. After working for 1-1/2 yrs dealing with her decline (which like a comedy of errors figuring out she was having a problem) to her jerk husband who had Parkinson's and thought we were gonna run over to their house to pick him up off the floor at midnight during the work week because he didn't want to change deal with losing his Independence; to taking care of my 2 spinster aunts that I grew up with who are now 97 and 100 and live in a house in FL and cousins don't want them to go into a nursing home, to having my 90-yr old mom live next door to me -- my biggest take away is that 1) we are all responsible to save enough for retirement and have a viable plan, and; b) execute the plan BEFORE you think you need it because once you slide into cognitive issues or dementia you may not actually carry out your plan and then your kids have to deal with the mess.

Also, people need to stop romanticizing retirement and how they will spend their sunset years, and adult children need to stop making "that" promise because they have no idea what they are in for. They are well-meaning and loving, but totally clueless. I'm still on the journey with my senior loved ones and so am still learning.

I've already told my sons that they are not responsible to take care of me and their dad in our senior years. I've spent a lot of time thinking about all of it and not making assumptions about how my later years will go.

I hope I can continue to be realistic. I wish you both peace and resolution in your journeys.

youngest child
by: Dena of Oklahoma

My heart aches for you and your family.
My mothers' illnesses and the decline of my dads' awareness has basically destroyed our family.

For the first time ever, we are not celebrating Thanksgiving and who knows about Christmas. I am the sole caregiver for my parents even though I have brothers and other family that could and should help but don't.

I wish I had a magic wand and could cure all of this heartache and pain I read on the site for all of us. I struggle daily. I use to cry a lot but I can't even cry anymore....

I love ya (all of ya that are going through this)
I had it all set up for my mom to go to a daily adult center once a week so I could have a break and just as we had her scheduled to go the following Monday; she said she wouldn't go.

I feel like she is selfish but I know she doesn't even possess the ability to reason it goes on and on.......

No Answers to a Futile Situation
by: Anonymous

I wish I had answers. Or that someone else did, but I've come to the hard reality that none exist for those of us in the business of parental caregiving.

All I can say, for you, is I understand your pain.

Our mother moved in with me 4 years ago. She is 95, can't hear well (and never puts her hearing aids in to help, which irritates the heck out of us because it's SUCH difficulty carrying on communication with her.) But that's a small part of our problem.

I have 2 sisters and a brother that help whenever I ask, but it's become so much work simply coordinating everyone's tasks that I've gotten so I just go ahead and do most things alone. It has taken a serious toll on my own health and mental state.

I had finally been able to get off of a medication for depression after years of relying on it, but today I had to go back on them because the depression is creeping back.

I'm not "depressed", but the agitation that usually precedes it is enormous. I know better than to wait till the depression breaks loose fully, so I relented in going back on the medication.

As I was throwing the pill into my mouth all I could think was how frustrating it is that I must rely on a pill to keep me going. I'm so tired of the work that comes with caregiving and I've worked so hard to get myself re-balanced over and over through cognitive therapy, yoga, and mindfulness exercises only to end up at this road block ... again. I am constantly stuck in the flight mode.

Today I went to the store for groceries we don't even need just to get away from my mother and everything that caregiving makes me want to escape. There are many moments when I actually enjoy being around my mother, but those moments are coming fewer and farther apart. At this point I can't help but wonder what it's all worth.

I wonder if those in the medical field - who have been so good at extending lives - even stop to realize the hell they have brought on our society.

I know that sounds cold, but when you end up as a caregiver to a parent who has become so disabled that they seem like a child, you can't help but feel resentful about the entire matter.

I have my ups and downs. I've been building up to a big "down" for 2 weeks now and I feel like crap. I'm angry, resentful, frustrated, too tired being a caregiver to do my own tasks or enjoy them when I do have time to do them .

In short, I've given up everything about my life in order to help our ailing mother and I am SO tired of it that I honestly wake up every morning hoping to God she will have died in her sleep. I never thought I would feel that way, but I do.

I am aching to have my own life again, but always wonder if there will be anything left of me once my mother does die.

It's so cold to even think about that, and every time I admit it - usually only on this site - I feel like a monster. I can't help it. I just want it to all be over and I wonder why, if there is a God, did he put this burden in my lap?

Please don't tell me God only gives us what we can handle, or that there is a purpose. Those things ring hollow in my ears, especially after watching the slow and inevitable decline of my mother's health.

If I've learned anything in this journey, it's that I don't want my children having to experience this caregiving crap with me. I will take my own life before I allow that to happen.

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