My Aging Mother
My 82 year old mother recently had a fall and cracked her hip bone. She had a partial hip replacement and is now recovering at home. The problem lies in the fact that my father passed away Spring 2010 and my mother's health has decreased rapidly since then. Up to that point, she was my father's primary caregiver. Now, because I am the only single child out of 5, and only one of 2 still living in Calgary, I have been thrust into the position of seeing to many of my mother's needs. She has a home care nurse come in 3 times a week to dress the wounds on her feet (varicose ulcers); another nurse comes in twice a week to give her a shower; and we've arranged for a private home care woman to come in 3 times a week for a couple of hours, just to make sure she has everything she needs.
My issues are many. None of my siblings are around to see what I am seeing on a daily basis. My mother did not take advantage of rehab therapy when she was released from the hospital in mid-November. Now she is taking copious amounts of Tylenol to deal with the pain. Her doctor is basically useless (but then so is our medical system here in Alberta!) and does not monitor her progress on a regular basis. Her surgeon has only seen her once since she had the surgery. To complicate matters, she is becoming forgetful, constantly tired and depressed, and somewhat unsteady on her feet (though she's using a walker around the house). My brother from British Columbia visits frequently and we've taken our mother to a couple of assisted living places to look at, but she's quite adamant about staying in the house she and my father have lived in for the past 54 years. She can no longer use the stairs so has to have someone do her laundry and make sure she has what she needs from the freezer and storage room. I've done all I can to help, but the stress has caused me to suffer a mild heart attack at the end of November. I was off work throughout December during which time I gave of myself almost every day. My mother acknowledged the fact that I need rest and time to recover, but never did much to encourage it. Now I'm back at work in the New Year and have expressed that I will no longer be able to help my mother to the capacity that I have. This has left me racked with guilt and sorrow, and I have been short and not as understanding as I should be, which perpetuates my own feelings and caused me to become depressed.
We've tried to convince our mother that, if she were to move into an assisted living facility, the amount of worry and stress on the rest of us would diminish considerably. She doesn't seem to get that. I'm not sure where to go from here, except that I must back away and let her prove to herself that she can live unassisted until such time as she falls again and ends up in a nursing home. Suggestions please???