My mother who is only 67 years old has had medical problems for over 10 years. My father who was only 4 years older, also had medical problems. They managed on their own for many years put the last 7 years have been hell. I took my mom grocery shopping every week which was no small feat because she is crippled from the 3 strokes she had and uses a walker. When I would get to their house I would have to carry all their groceries into the house. Even though my 26 year old brother lived with them. He used their car because his was repossessed. He never cleaned it and it was a disaster inside. Then he lost his license and my dad would drive him to and from work. However my dad wasn't well enough to be driving to the grocery store. My mom was in and out of the hospital and so was my dad. On about 3 occaisions they were both in at the same time. Which actually was easier than when my mom was in and my dad was at home because that meant either picking him up and bringing him to our house to eat or going there and cooking. Not just cooking for him but for my 26 year old lazy brother. My dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and wanted to be at home. We got a wheelchair, so I could take him to and from his appointments. BUT my mom didnt' want to be left out of the loop so not only would I have to take my dad to his appointments but I would also have to drag my mom along. In addition to running all their errands and taking my mom to her thousand appointments. Plus I worked fulltime. Finally when it was getting to the point my dad was bed ridden and we had hospice I quit my FT job because I couldn't handle the stress anymore. I also had my own home, husband and child to care for. In addition to my brother I have a sister is 6 years older than my brother and 4 years younger than me, I am the oldest. My sister did even less than my brother. In fact all the while I am doing all of this and at my breaking point my sister asked for things. She is married and has 3 children. She and her husband are not very responsible. They inherited a nice house from my brother in laws grandfather. This house was completely paid off and my parents (because they couldn't have their grandchildren living like that) invested money to have new carpeting put in etc. Of course in the middle of all this they lost their house. Which I am supposed to drop everything and help them move and feel sorry for them. All the while they are going on vacations and buying stuff like is is going out of style. My parents helped them by paying their phone bill(phone shut off many times) and also paying their cable bill(cable also shut off but my sister never worked and she couldn't be at home without TV).
When my dad passed away they did come for the last few days to "help".
Then after the funeral my mom was by herself and in a month she was back in the hospital and she decided she had to move into assisted living. She wanted me to start cleaning out the house and with the power of attorney I had list it for sale. Of course my brother, who by this time moved out into his own apartment and my sister would only come and help with the things they were taking. All of the mess and cleaning and sorting and garbage was left for me. Let me tell you anything that wasn't nailed down they took. It was sickening. I made all the arrangements and moved my mom, with the help of my husband and son into an assisted living facility. Where she was not happy. I have to say I wasn't really happy with it either. My husband son and I decided she could move into our spare room. BIGGEST MISTAKE of my life. I like coming to work to get away from home. My husband and I fight all the time. It is not pleasant. SHe is demanding in her own way. I take care of all her doctors, dentists, and other appointments. I clean up her messes and there are plenty. She makes snide comments all the time. Why would I buy frozen lasagna when I could make it from scratch cheaper and it tastes better. When she first came she would bake. But she complained about my the set up of my kitchen, where I kept things and then I would have a big mess to clean up afterwards. I told her no more. I can't work all day and come home to a big mess to clean up. She was also not happy that my house was not set up like hers. In other words, people know to call first before coming over. In her house you could drop by day or night anytime and stay as long as you like. Well I work and my husband works (he works in HVAC and is also on call some nights and weekends) and we have my sons activities. Her friends and relatives were invited for picnics etc. But at times I am prepared. It was not unheard of at my moms house that aunts, uncles or friends would arrive in the morning and stay for lunch and stay on for dinner. Without having called first they just show up. I am not prepared to feed 3-4 extra people for lunch and dinner. Nor do I want people hanging out at my house all day when i have things to do. This is only the tip of a very big iceberg. My sister would pack up her 3 kids and go to my moms house and spend all day. They would pull out all the toys eat and carry food all over the house. Carry drinks all over and leave all their crumbs and garbage. After they would be there it would look like a tornado had hit. It would take my mom and dad 2 days to clean up. That is not happening at my house. My sister and her children can come when they are invited and my sisters kids know the rules in our house. They have to sit at the table to eat and drink and if you take the toys out you put them away. She says she never does not get to see her daughter and grandchildren now. Then my sister, who has a learning disability and knows how to use it to play my mom, always hints to my mom. Since my nieces and nephew were born, my sister and her husband have never had any parties for them. All their birthday parties have been at our house or my parents house. The mess at my parents after these parties took days to clean up. I always help with food prep etc. My sister never did squat. Holidays were at my parents and then for the last 5 years at my house. With my sister doing and contributing absolutely nothing. My sister has a back aliment, which I don't doubt is painful at times, but I also have a cousin who had a severe back ailment and even had surgery and she still works, cleans, cooks, and is as active as she can be. My sister however tells my mom that she can't do anything. For years I am also my parents personal birthday and Christmas shopper. ANything my mom wants for them I shop for. My sister can't. Then last Easter my mom started at least a month and a half before laying this guilt trip about how my nieces and nephew needed shoes and dress clothing for Easter. My sisters back was too bad at this time and she was going to have to pay someone to take them shopping seeing as noone in the family would make time to do it. OK finally after she went on and on and on morning, noon and night, I took them. Which was no easy feat. My one niece is 12 and the other one 5 and my nephew is 11. It took me 3-4 afternoons after school until they had what they wanted.
This is how it always is, I can never do enough. Even though my mother lives with us and is causing all kinds of problems and I have all the running to appointments etc it is still not enough. Trick or Treat is tonight in our area and last year I had my sister and her kids to our house and they went trick or treating from there. This year my nieces and nephews have lice. The youngest one has been out of school for a week and a half and is still not cleared to go back. I told my sister they couldn't come. I am not about to get lice. So she is taking her kids to her friends house to go trick or treating. Her friend who has 4 kids is crazy. Of course my mother starts with how I am not Christian. Family should mean more than the possiblity of catching head lice etc. ON AND ON AND ON until yesterday I let her have it. I told her she could go live in assisted living if she was not happy with the way we chose to run our house. My youngest niece has a birthday in the beginning of November. Last year of course I dutifully held the party. This year my husband is on call the first 2 Sundays in November and the first 2 Saturdays my son has football games. WHEN am I supposed to find time to throw a party? Of course my mom said if I really wanted to, I would make the time. Well you know what I don't really want to. I am sick to death of not only having the responsibility of my mother's care but then be made to feel guility all the time about not doing enough. LASTLY this is the kicker. I picked up Halloween stuff that my mom wanted for my sisters kids and I made up goody bags for each of them. I had time yesterday to take it to them. When I called no answer. I left message after message after message. I told my mom if they weren't home when I could take it then they would have to come pick it up. Then my mom says "I wish I would have kept my car then I could have taken it when it was convenient for them." I went and bought all of this stuff she wanted (all food items) and then I get hell because I said they would have to pick it up if they weren't home when I had time. I work - my poor deprived sister doesn't work. Thank you for letting me vent. SOmetimes venting just eases the burden a little.
At the moment you are feeling overwhelmed, over used, and more. I can understand where you are coming from. Sometimes we just have to stop, take a good look at the situation and determine what will work best for everyone. What you are suffering from is "burnout". I have been there, done that.
First off, your mom did not want to be left out of the loop when it came to her husband going to the doctor. She had every right to go along regardless of how hard it was for her and you, this was her husband. Your mom needed first hand info regarding her husband. I took my mom & dad to doctors and yes, both went, it is absolutely necessary. Your mom was your dad's support system, his beloved wife standing by his side and vise-versa.
It is time for your mom to consider asissted living arrangements again if she cannot/will not adjust to the new living arrangements. Things will never be the same as they were in her own home, this is your home and you have the right to live the way you want to just as she did all those years. Your mom is frustrated about her condition/living arrangement, etc. and that is normal. The problem is she is taking her frustrations out on you.
Have you considered getting her involved in things to keep her busy and off your case? Does she crochet or knit, if so baby caps, sweaters, blankets are needed by hospitals. If she has something meanful to do she will be a happier person. Perhaps women at church could come visit or take her out on occasions.
You do need to relax on having visitors, she needs visits from others. Let her know what hours are acceptable and that you will not be cooking for visitors.
Having someone else in the house 24/7 is not an easy situation for a married couple but it can be managed. If your house is large enough, maybe her bedroom could be on the other side of the house.
Your sister can do the shoppng for your mother, especially for things she wants to buy her children. Your sister can also do other things for your mother.
You cannot do all things, you are not superwoman, even if you think you are. Your health will suffer. You can only be a doormat if you allow that to happen. It is time to assert yourself, but, remember your mom still needs to be able to have visitors.
I took care of my M-I-L and found an elderly lady to come and visit once a week just to chat and have lunch with her. I went after the lady, prepared a nice lunch and after their visit took the lady back home. This gave my m-i-l someone outside of the family to talk to.
dizzying isnt it? i empathize. My parents are elderly, and i ended up staying with them out of concern that they needed help. My brothers and sister got married after college and all moved out. They all have their own lives, families and jobs. But look at me as though i'm a lazy bum. On the contrary I assist my mother in care and the same for my father. My sister thinks they take care of me!! No need for an enemy with her as a sister! scream as loud as you want I know how you feel!Stay cool girl!
I know how frustrated you feel, in reverse though. Sometimes I need a caregiver because of my health. My husband and my 25 year old son help me out. One time I was in a wheel chair and I could tell my husband did not like being a caregiver. I do not blame him for being frustrated, I would to if I had to be caregiver for him. My son helps with the housework. I cannot do all of it. He goes for walks and when he comes home he is refreshed and ready to help me again.
That is the secret of being a good caregiver. Forget your siblings. Find times to take a break and do something you like when you need to take a break. That way, like my son you will not be frustrated. Your parents know when you are frustrated.
When my son comes home, he is cheerful and tells me what he did and cheers me up. My husband feels like he cannot take a break, I wish he would. He needs it and like my son he can cheer me up with the happy things he did.
I forgot to add do not talk against your siblings or even think it. I need a caregiver as I told you in my last letter. Your parents love their other children even though they are no help.
For instance, I have a son who cannot help me. He calls me every day and cheers me up with what's going on in his life. I have a daughter with my grandchildren, who do not call or write. She has not since she left home.
Last year, I went to Pennsylvania to visit her from CA with my caregiver son. I cannot go places by myself. Before I went, she told me that she was going to take me to Valley Forge, the Atlantic ocean, Constitusional Hall, and other places. I was visiting for 10 days. When I got their I went outside to take a picture of their home. She came out right away and asked me to come in because she was worried about me. I told her that I do not go places unless I feel up to it. That can change in an hour how I feel. In spite of the fact that she did not take me to the places I wanted to go. It would be the only time I will be able to go back their. I still love her and my other children keep me up on what she is doing. I look at it this way, she did not know how to help me when I needed it. I got to visit her, husband and my grandchildren.
My son, that came with me, took me by bus to Philadelphia to have a Philly cheese steak sandwich and to see a new aquarium in New Jersey. I had a good time and that made the trip worthwhile. Whenever I complain, about the places she could have taken me my son reminds me that she is my daughter and loves me. I did get sick and had to come home early. I love her very much.
Your parents know when you are talking about your siblings. Call them up and find out what positive things they are doing that you can tell your parents. That will make them happy.
It is very hard to not say things about my siblings. Especially when my mother is constantly on me about what I should be doing for them as well. My sister a stay at home mom, calls my mom up and makes requests right and left. When my mother lived on her own and my dad was alive she actually catered to my sister. She threw all the parties (birthday, baptismal etc.) for my sisters kids. Because my sisters house was always too messy or she wasn't feeling well. My sister and her husband lost their home, one they inherited free and clear from his grandfather. In all the time they lived there we were invited there exactly 3 times for a party or something. She never had any of the holidays or anything. Her house wasn't just messy it was filthy and there was no where for any one to sit down etc because it was piled up with stuff. My mom actually hired someone and went with this person and cleaned my sisters house for her before her second child was born. My sister and her husband lost their hom because they took out home equity loans to buy cars and take trips. Then when they lose their home my mom actually expects me to have sympathy for them because they have to move into an apartment. Meanwhile, my husband & I scrimped and saved until we had enough money to buy our home. It was filthy from top to bottom. My mom never came near to help with anything. She said when she moved into her first house she had to do everything herself. There is a long history of sibling problems, mostly created by my mom. My father was my ally because he saw my sister for what she was a taker. All the while my father was hospititalized and for that matter even my mother. I ran every day because my sister and brother hardly ever went unless I asked them to please do me a favor and go so I could take a break. I resent it and resent them. 9/10th of the arguments I have with my mom now have to do with things I am not willing to do for my sister or brother. Like my brother can't drive because he lost his license due to a DUI. I refuse to his grocery shopping. My point is if he can get to work and get other places for fun then he can catch a bus to the store and take care of it himself. Why should I be punished because of his irresponsiblity. My mom feels I shouldn't feel it is a burden but something that family just does for family. HELLO he lived at home with my parents before my dad died and I worked full time at this point and took my mother grocery shopping everyweek. It was no small order because my mom still cooked big meals for my brother or sister & her family and sometimes for me & my family. My brother would be right in the house and he wouldn't come down and help carry in one bag of groceries. He was "too tired" from work. But I am not too tired to do his shopping for him now, which also involves dropping it off at his house about 10 minutes from my house. Or I should be throwing family birthday parties for my nieces and nephew. No one has ever thrown a party for my son except his father and I. I am supposed to find time to throw parties for nieces and nephew. Which I have done in years gone by but I also didn't have all the other responsibilities I have now. I already have to do all my mom's shopping for their presents etc because my sister can't or won't. I am just tired of listening to all of the things she thinks I should be doing for my siblings. Things she used to do for them and can't now, shouldn't become my responsibility. If I have a breakdown due to stress who is going to help me?? I honestly take extra hours at work when I can just so I don't have to go home and listen to her. It is ridiculous. I go to bed early and eat my snack in my bedroom so I don't have to sit in the livingroom and listen to her complaints. I have become a prisoner in my own home. My best friend doesn't like to say I told you so but she warned me. She told me knowing my siblings and my mom I was going to have my hands full. It is very hard to not bad mouth my siblings because all I have to do is put my foot down and not do something my mom wants done for them and in her mind I am bad mouthing them. I do say things to her about them like why would you expect me to take my nieces & nephew shopping for clothing when they have parents and I really don't have any time. Then she starts with the tears and how she will have to call around and see if she can hire someone. Or she will call my cousins up and tell them I have no time to take care of my family and see if they will help. It is emotional blackmail and I don't think it is a nice way to treat someone who is taking care of everything for you.
I know how you feel. I took care of my father in my home for 3-1/2 years after he had a stroke. I took him to all his appointments, paid all his bills ect. On ocassion I could get my older brother to take him for a weekend so my husband and I could get away, but rarely. My older sister would never take him which made me quite simply VERY MAD. The one time I convinced her to take him to one of his doctor appointments that I just couldn't take him to, it made her mad. I never asked again. I sometimes wished I didn't have this what seemed like a burden at the time, and then would feel quilty for even thinking it. I loved my father very much but with 3 teens at home a full time job and no help from anyone except my husband it was very hard. But I have to tell you, I would give anything in the world to walk in my house and see him sitting there watching all those tv shows we hated to watch but did anyway because he just flat out took over the remote : - ) or to walk in the room and hear him telling one of his stories to my kids that we had heard a 100 times before. Or to be buzzing around the house at 90 miles an hour trying to catch up on everything that fell behind and have him ask me don't I ever quit. I would give anything to have him here with me for another 3-1/2 years but he's gone now and I'll never again have the chance to take care of my father like he took care of me growing up. And I miss him dearly.