Needing Advice, Please! A Lot on Our Plate! | CAN

Needing Advice, Please! A Lot on Our Plate!

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Needing Advice, Please! A Lot on Our Plate!

Hello everyone,

I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I wanted to give as much detail as I could to help give some insight to my problem.

My 68 year old mother (retired nurse) currently has mild dementia. She's a diabetic that suffered a stroke and a heart attack from pneumonia back in 2011. We had the dementia diagnosis back in 2014 and another dementia diagnosis this spring in 2016 as a second opinion. She lives with my sister (37), bro in law, 8 year old niece and newborn nephew. I'm 30 and I live about an hour and 45 minutes from my mother, sister and brother in law. Every month I come up for at least a week to help out and I have been increasing the frequency of visits due to my sister being pregnant and then having the newborn about two weeks ago. I've been here for two weeks, took my mom back with me to my house for the weekend and now I'm back for the last week which comes as a suprise to my sister. I told her I'd be helping for two to three weeks and she was surprised to hear I was planning on going back home by the end of the week. Unfortunately, her husband goes back to work on Saturday, so it's less help with is very tricky.

My sister and my mother's relationship has tarnished fully. My sister can't stand her any longer. My mother can be very nice, but she has a very stubborn side and she can be very ungrateful and manipulative. She puts on a nice act in front of others, but she can be the total opposite when there's no company. She doesn't quite abide by a diabetic diet... she loves raisin bread and carbs. We have to portion certain foods for her and hide certain foods or she will polish off the entire or almost the entire thing in a day (for example, if we left a loaf of raisin bread on the table, she'd eat either half or 3/4 of it by the time night comes). She went through a pound and a half bag of grapes in two days. Remember, she's a diabetic!!  My sister does all she can do, and my mother complains. They hardly talk except for giving out medication and regarding when it's time to eat. 

My sister is in charge of her finances (she's power of attorney). When I'm not at her home, she gives the medications and either she or my bro in law cook. 

During the weekday, she goes to an adult program 9 am to 3pm which helps. I coordinate her ride service times (a service that picks her up and drops her off at places she needs or wants to go). Since February, when I'm home, I call every morning to wake her up and then every evening to wake her up from a nap to remind her to take her medication and eat. When I visit the house, I do laundry, clean her room, cook and disperse her medicine along with some other things here and there.

We cannot afford a nursing home at this time as she's on a bankruptcy plan that my sister set up that helped save the house. Mom didn't live with my husband and I because she, my sis and bro in law bought a new house in 2007 or 08 (house not paid off though), my husband smoked (but he's actually cut down to liquid nicotine now) and all of her doctors are back in the city. We don't have the same space and safety measures as she does in her home that she shares with sis and law and the kids. Her house is in HER name and she selfishly refused to put my sis and bro in law on the deed even though they have contributed quite a lot to the house. 

I'm getting very concerned about our future- my marriage, my sister and brother in law with two children and my mother slowly getting worse. I'm feeling extremely hopeless and a part of me feels I shouldn't have married my husband so he wouldn't have to deal with all of this burden. I don't know what to do. I've been leaving my husband for weeks at a time since 2008 when my niece was born and my sister needed help. I understand that my sister is the primary caregiver, but I feel that this situation isn't fair on both parts! My husband has tried to be as patient as he can, but I know he doesn't like this situation one bit and I feel so guilty. I feel guilt when I leave him and I feel guilt when I leave my mom and sister.

Am I helping enough? Am I not helping enough? I feel like I get conflicting input when I'm told I do so much to help and then I feel like my sister appreciates some of what I do, but it's probably not enough as a whole. If I had the money, I'd have her move in a home near my husband and I and either have a visiting nurse or a get her into a really great nursing home, but it's too expensive. 

I'm willing to answer any questions. This post is probably all over the place and I'm sorry... I think I just let it out in this post. Any advice is welcomed, please!

Hangin In
Needing Advice, Please! a lot on our plate

Looking for light, I want you to know I hear your distress.  I don't really have an answer for you but you deserve a hug.   It is indeed a sad situation and painful for all of you.  It might help if you and your sister acknowledge that you are actually co-parenting your mom and put on a united front as much as possible.  I sense you are already doing this, but saying that out loud might help you avoid conflict with each other.  Anger, wanting out, feeling guilty and emotional exhaustion seem to be a part of the caregiver role.  For me, just seeing on here that I am not alone helps.  We don't have to be "coping" or doing all of those other noble things that people who are not in the situation come up with.  We all need a place where we can just say it like it is.  I hope that is here on this forum.