I'm 58 and sole caregiver to my 85 year old mother for the last 7 years. She was in assisted living 3 years and she was falling about everyday so she moved in with me. She has multiple health issues of incontinence, falling, confusion, depression, interstitial cystitis, Crohns, pancreatitis, special dietary foods, etc. I have become the mother to her which is very hard sometimes when I must tell her she can't do something, she gets angry and frustrated easily. No sibling help, only an occasional phone call. Keeping her is a fulltime job. I had a mastectomy in 2002 and cannot lift her and have lymphedema in my left hand/arm so I must do everything with one hand.
I long for respite care to get away. I feel the system that helps welfare recepients has failed me. We have mounting medical expenses. I cannot claim her on my income tax because she has a small pension and SS. There is always a need for incontinence supplies and we don't seem to qualify for any help, even meals on wheels, because I am taking care of her. I do not wish to put her in a nursing home, that is the last option I would choose. Friends and family stay away. One sentence I've heard over and over "it's too depressing to see her this way". She was a lively vital woman just a few years ago, helping everyone.
There are blessings to doing this, however the need for breaks are very necessary and hiring someone is too expensive. We must do more for our elderly and those willing to take on the responsibility of caring for them.