I feel too young to be dedicating my life to caring for my mother!

12 answers | Last updated: Nov 07, 2016
Fngfcngfc asked...

My mom is 58 and I'm 26. I've been here with her off and on for the last six years since she got out of the nursing home. She has peripheral neuropathy and an 'amnesia disorder" short term memory problems.

Since the surgery she's lost brain function, cognitive and such, I'm not very good at explaining it without just saying she's an idiot now. (I know it's harsh, but you are not directly involved and couldn't understand). Anyway, my dad was the personal assistant, paid for by the state (over the last 6 years the job has changed hands between me, my brother and my dad) my dad gave up the job a few weeks ago because of my mom's behavior. She was yelling at him with a fork in her hand and being "menacing" as he describes.

She also has a very angry, condescending and almost demonic voice that she uses on my dad and me when she feels threatened. It's like a split personality. And now she says she doesn't remember doing it most of the time, although she knows she uses this voice. She's used it for a very long time.

Lately there are lots of behaviors that scare me: overeating, eating in bed, staying up after she takes her sleeping pill, eating in bed after taking the sleeping pill, putting a curtain over a lampshade and scorching it, trying to make candy in a plastic bowl in the microwave, paranoia, and lots of other stuff.

Most of this was manageable with sticky notes and reminders. Now she is ripping down the notes and defying me seemingly out of spite. What is so confusing is that she is so capable most of the time; she convinces others that she is capable, while exhibiting this strange behavior kind of under the radar from view of others.

I have taken over the PA position and have been on for 3 weeks. She has disabled her online banking and now the bills aren't going to be paid on time. I confronted her about this asking why she did this when she knows that either my dad or I use her online banking account to pay her bills. She responded with, "well I know you guys are trying to get me out of that house so why should I let you have any control over my money"

The problem here is that the one of the duties of the Personal Assistant is to manage her finances and make sure bills get paid because she's not capable of doing this herself. She hides bills until the last few days before they are due and then tells my dad she doesn't have the money for them because its the end of the month and her account is nearly empty. She is twisting the reality that she cannot live in this house anymore because it's decrepit and falling down and cannot be maintained on $1000 a month, we are looking to get her into assisted living. She knows that bills must be paid on time and that it comes out of her checking acct via online banking and yet she disabled the account because she was paranoid since we want her in a home.

I'm very frustrated because she is spitefully undo-ing my hard work around the house to keep it clean and organized, she is hiding things, hoarding things and making my job harder than it needs to be. I really need some advice.

We live in Illinois and she is only 58, so far the only services I've found are ones we already receive and which are not enough. She needs 24 hour supervision in a nursing home, assisted living or mental institution, but Illinois law is going to keep her at home as long as possible.

I'm 26 and I don't have any life outside of this. I can barely even leave the house because she is so unpredictable these days. I'm tired and I'm stressed and she is resistant to all help other than charity.

Community Answers

Rellimetil answered...

Idiot is the term you used, so if she has lost that enough cognition to manage on her own, someone should be granted legal guardianship. Sounds like she is now a threat to herself, and possibly others. This may have progressed beyond needing a power of attorney for healthcare, or finances, which it sounds like you don't have anyway. You may need all three. Please seek out medical/psychological and legal advice as to whether she (and therefore everyone involved) needs a legal guardian appointed. It would resolve a lot. Look on this website, under legal matters. Post your question there.

Good luck, you're on the right track and doing the right thing.

Vijay walia answered...

Tilt your prefernces. of course it is easy said than done

A fellow caregiver answered...

I can relate exactly to what you are going through. My mom had a stroke 2 years ago,I gave up my job, independence, etc to care for her totally on my own, no help from anyone else. She became every dependent on me and very demanding, I was getting up every 2 hours at night to change her diapers, and make her move to prevent bedsores. For a year and a half I endured extreme verbal abuse from her constantly.

I finally ended up having to put her into an assisted living home, because my own health was suffering. I was so tired, I couldn't function, and mentally worn down from the constant verbal abuse and insane accusations she was making.

That was the best decision I ever made, when she went in the home, she found out quickly enough that she was not the only one and would not get all the attention she wanted from the people who worked there. Hey, guess what, within 2 weeks she decided she would rather get up and go to the bathroom, rather than having to sit in a wet/dirty diaper, as they couldn't change her as often as I was doing, since they didn't have the time to jump at her every command.

She is actually doing far better there than she was doing at home, and has become content with the situation. Of course my family didn't agree with my decision at first, but I just calmly told them that if they wanted the responsibility to take her home with them, because I could not do it any longer. They quickly backed off when I said that.

Now I have my life back, and can actually pursue things that make me happy without feeling guilty about it. At age 50, I have gone back to school for training in a field that I find very interesting.

You , my friend are far too young to give up your life, caring for your mom, please, just do as I did, and tell her doctors that you can no longer care for her because you are too stressed to do it. They should be able to help you get her placed into assisted living. Ask for respite care for her to give you a break until arrangements can be made to place her somewhere. If you are honest with the doctors and tell them how you are feeling, they should listen and be able to help you get the relief that you need.

Casha answered...

To fngfcngfc - I feel for you I am 47 and my Mom is 75 and now after taking care of 2 girls (now 18 and 21) I thought I would be able to do more "couple" time with my husband, not the case, I cannot go anywhere unless I have someone with her - the other day I had a meeting that was to last 4 hours, I had THREE people to watch her since no one could help for the whole 4 hours - My heart is with you, your life is just beginning

1019wolfram answered...

Remember to take care of yourself as you care for your mom. You're not too young. You are doing what you feel is best in caring for your mom. I care for my dad with alzheimers and help mom make it through each day. I have a son of my own I care for and have been a widow for years. I've learned to ask for help from friends and family. They want to help. Don't always offer, they wait to be asked. With their help and the Lord I've made it so far. Take care. joan

A fellow caregiver answered...

ohhh sweet girl.... you have earned your wings straight to heaven!! it is time to place your mom where she can be cared for and monitored by someone other than you. she is not showing good judgement and has been seemingly oblivious to ordinary safety precautions. you cannot watch her every minute. you should not be expected to. my advice to you is to take a step back. require your father to step up to his responsibility and move your mother for her own safety as well as yours. the money issues will work themselves out. don't wait. speak to her doctor. stress the erratic behavior and safety concerns. ask for her to be re-evaluated and assigned a social worker/case manager. i hope this helps. please check in with us and let us know how you are. there are sunnier days ahead. xo

Annieokra answered...

fngfcngfc - Hi, I'm 57, in a pretty similar situation with my mom. She is spiteful toward me, also. And suspects I'm doing ghastly things. I'll pray for you, and you pray for me. It's hard, isn't it? You're laying down your life for another - and they don't really appreciate it - and they say and do cruel things. The only way I manage at all is to remind myself that I'm trying to do the right thing, I found all the answers helpful. Ya'll are all GREAT! Hugs to all.

S kreiss answered...

You are so right. At 26 and your mother at 58--this could go on a loooong time. Protect your physical health and your mental health first. I began taking care of my mother when I was nearly 40. She wasn't supposed to live according to all the "experts." My mother was docile for the most part and in the same shape following a brain injury for the 10ish years I cared for her. So I can't sympathize with your particular stresses. Please figure out how to put yourself first. Claw and fight for yourself! I wish you all the best!

A fellow caregiver answered...

Sweetie at 26 I was just getting my career going . My mom is in late stage hospitive //pallitive and is happy and rebounding ,They can live forever like this because we worry for them and they live io seconds to a minute-I had her at home for 8 yrs and got her in assisted living . It was a hard choice for me but if you think of the game of life like an emergency room they do triage who 's the most ill until they sort it all out ......all of us try to sort out the day until we can't do it. You cant lose your future helping your mom either. I'm a mom of 2 & I had to choose them first.... my mom would want that. As a mom I beg of you to get a nursing facility for your mom and rebalance your live your mom loves you . You need to love yourself.

1019wolfram answered...

Dear 26 year old daughter caring for mom,

You're right you are too young to be given all this responsibility. You are a blessing to mom even though she can't show it. My dad went through the bitter phase with his alzheimers. I got called every swear word in the book. I cried, away from him. Then I prayed for strength which you need to do. YOur dad needs to step up to the plate and help you out. You are burned out and you need help. please if you haven't called the legal people yet for help, do that and find a support group for you,. I go to three of them and they help sooooo much. I'M PRAYING FOR YOU, MOM AND your whole family. Take lots of deep breaths. You can do this. God bless you.

Loriejm answered...

Dear 26 year old daughter caring for mom. Please get some help for your mother. You are too young to carry this burden yourself. It sounds as if your mother may have Alzheimer's (yes, you can have Alzheimer's at a young age) and she needs more assistance and professional care than you can provide to her. Please take a day (or two) and devote that time to make calls to find out what is available to your mother. Also, you and your father NEEDS to see an attorney to put some legal papers and authorities, such as power of attorney's, etc, together. Please do this for you and your mother. The very best to you and our prayers are with you and your family

Dmdegroo answered...

Oh my gosh! When I first began reading this I thought it was me! My mom too suffers from peripheral neuropathy and is young as well, 66. I am 37 with two small children ages 3 and 6. I am an only child, parents divorced, and not one other living relative my mom can lean on. She is in a nursing home after the assisted living facility refused to care for her anymore because she was falling every day and is totally incontinent. She also suffers from severe depression, and bi polar, has her whole life. When I was a child, she was physically and verbally abusive, and cheated on my dad a few times resulting in two abortions. So there is resentment I feel now that I am caring for someone who did a poor job of caring for her family. While she did not have her physical ailments until recently, I've always had to care for her. Pay her bills, pick up the pieces when she lost a job, find subsidized housing for her, get her on food stamps and welfare, get her on senior services social care, get her on Medicaid, the list goes on and on. But I love her and am fiercely loyal to her. Weird. Now she is always sobbing to me, asking me to get her out of there and I can do nothing more. My children and husband have to come first, as your young life should come first as well! I thought I was the only one in my situation. Other children of parents in the same nursing home as my mom are all 20 years older than me, with grown children, many are retired. And I have little babies, work full time and just have a life. I 'll be moving her one more time to hopefully find a place she likes but that's it! I cannot do anymore. I'm so sorry she cannot walk, I wish it were different. So sorry about you situation. Your post was a long time ago, you may not get this. I hope things are better. I live in Illinois too. I wish I knew you.