Where do I draw the line?

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Sophia
Where do I draw the line?

I cared for a parent diagnosed with cancer years ago. From the day of my parent's diagnosis to the day he died, I was with him just about 24/7. My other parent had a hard time dealing with what she was facing, so she was grateful that I was able to stay with him all day and well into the night during his hospitalization. He died roughly 2 months after his diagnosis. My other siblings came and went due to their schedules, one sibling living out of state. I just about physically collapsed after his passing. It took me a very long time to recover.

I also did a great deal of caregiving for a grandparent. I took her to the doctor every month for check-ups, stayed with her in the afternoons, fixed her lunches, called her daily. I was with her for many days and hours when she had a major stroke, and was with her the day she died. I oiled her feet and combed her hair before she went to the emergency room and I held it together just long enough after her death to pick her funeral gown and make arrangements for her service. My mother was too out of it and I didn't want her to deal with funeral arrangements in her condition. I had a special relationship with my grandmother, so her passing took a major toll on me for many years.

Then my mother was diagnosed with dementia a few years back. I was the sibling who made sure she was admitted and evaluated, and she was released to my care on discharge because it appeared to be the easiest arrangement based on my circumstances at the time. I cared for her when she was very violent, depressed and unbelievably challenging to care for. I did this for a couple of years, got her stabilized, got sick, got in touch with one of my siblings and told him I could not continue caring for our mother.

My mother has been living with this sibling for several years and he took advantage of her in an inexcusable manner. He doesn't seem to care though, believes he was entitled to do what he did and is unapologetic. Now that he's taken advantage of her and can no longer benefit from the situation, he's been suggesting that her care has not been balanced, he needs a break and of course the sibling who should take over caregiving is me, since he dumped his adult child on my other sibling and doesn't want that arrangement disrupted.

I feel as though I've done way too much caregiving for very ill relatives over a span of many years. I can only take over my mother's care again, if certain basic conditions are met such as having in-home assistance and making sure I do not have to carry big expenses for medical supplies, prescriptions and doctors -- all of which I'd paid out-of-pocket for while caring for my mother. Now that I've communicated my needs, I'm being ignored by my other siblings.

It's getting ugly, my husband is very concerned about me, and I'm at a point where I feel as though I might not be able to do this again. Where do I draw the line?

Ask a social worker at a

Ask a social worker at a hospital for advice on what programs/services are available to help you with your mom.

Please read the following and

Please read the following and take all the commitments to heart!
http://www.leezasplace.org/ten_comm.html

It is time for a family meeting. See if you can get a social worker from your local hospital or Area Agency on Aging to mediate.

You do not mention how BRO took advantage of Mom. He could be reported to Adult Protective Services in your state if he neglected, abused, or even took monetary advantage of Mom, he has some explaining to do. (My opinion) I say this from experience as I did not know until my sister-in-law SIS came to live with me that her BRO had been using her SSDI for his own purposes. That all ended when SIS moved in with us.

You mentioned that Mom was diagnosed with dementia. Was a bladder infection ruled out? A bladder infection in an older person can manifest itself as dementia.

Would Mom be able to live in an assisted living facility? She would have 24-hr care, activities, and friends. (Just a thought as that is where SIS now lives.) A facility is only as good as the family who visits.

I am a Family Caregiver like you. First it was SIS. Then it was my step mother and dad, both of whom died at the beginning of 2013. Now it is my husband who needed to have his lower R leg amputated last month. (We are now past the thought of divorce and are looking forward to our 42nd anniversary this month. No. This was not what I envisioned as our 2nd honeymoon!)

Here are some other websites I recommend as a volunteer.

"Caregiving Stress Busters"
http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-11-2012/caregiving-stress-busters.html?cmp=NLC-RSS-DAILY-BULLETIN-010913-H2

"Caregiving: Stressed Out, Overwhelmed, & Burned out"
http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-11-2012/caregiving-stress-busters.html?cmp=NLC-RSS-DAILY-BULLETIN-010913-H2

"State-by-State help for Family Caregivers"
http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/fcn_content_node.jsp?nodeid=2083

Please keep posting. This is a safe haven where no one should judge you.

I would take the Ten Caregiver Commitments to heart, esp #1 . . . "Put your oxygen mask on first!"

Love,
Colette

P.S. #10 in Commitments - Keep your sense of Humor!
I feel a caregiver's sense of humor is their most valuable asset that they can lose. Keep a daily journal of what is going on even if you do not become Mom's hands-on caregiver. You may look back months from the post & see humor.

P.S.S. To answer your question, when caregiving affects your health it is time for you to draw the line in the sand. Take a break. At some point you may feel you can handle caregiving again. You have a wonderful allie in your husband who is able to see the whole picture. Find out what alternatives are available to you for Mom's well-being.