My mother recently fell and suddenly needs a lot more help then she has ever needed. I have been going over to her house everyday to help her get dressed in the morning, make her meals and clean her house. It is absolutely exhausting. On top of that I bring her to her appointments and any errands she has. It has starting taking all of my time just helping her. My husband is getting frustrated because I am not home in the evenings to help with dinner and the kids homework. The kids are also getting upset because I’m not able to be around like I used to. Just last week I missed my daughter’s chorus concert because Mom had a doctor’s appointment. I just feel like I can’t do this anymore. I am frustrated that my mother keeps asking for so much help. This is horrible! What daughter feels like this? I just want help and advice on how to make this situation better. I feel like there are no solutions and I have no clue where to turn!
First thing; this is more common than you think. You are trying to juggle so much of course you are tired and stressed. Caregiving is stressful, tiring and yet can be an extremely rewarding role. First thing you need to do is not be so hard on yourself and realize that you can’t do it all.
It may be helpful to bring in help to dress your mother, prepare her meals and provide other assistance around the home. If your mother is currently not receiving services through an Aging Service Access Point (ASAP) or Independent Living Center (ILC), I would suggest you speak with an Options Counselor. This person can meet with you, your mother and any other interested individuals to discuss the different types of services available in the area. To find an Options Counselor in your area contact your local ASAP or ILC. A list of state agencies can be found at www.800ageinfo.com.
There are home care services available by private pay but there are also State funded programs offered by ASAPs. State home care fees are on a sliding scale based on your mother’s income. Be aware the State funded programs may have wait lists to receive services. If your mother is already receiving services through a local ASAP it will be important to discuss any changes with her case manager to determine if she is eligible for additional services.
Another option would be to look into an Adult Day Health or Social Day Care program. Your mother would receive meals, snacks, medications as well as the opportunity to participate in social activities. An Adult Day Health program would be able to monitor your mothers ongoing health needs as well as offer physical and occupational therapy if needed.
Do either of your parents have military experience? If so, your mother may be eligible for services through the VA even as she surviving spouse. For more information you can contact the VA Benefits line at 1-800-827-1000 or go to this website www.va.gov/GERIATRICS
Also do you have other family in the area or does your mother have friends in the area? If so ask these people to help you! Any amount of assistance they are willing to offer will be of help to you. Be specific about what assistance you need. You need to take time for yourself and your family. Bringing in extra help, whether paid or by family and friends will ease your stress.
Finally I would suggest visiting Central Massachusetts Agency’s on Aging’s website. A new section Helping An Older Adult: A Caregiver’s Journey, offers supportive resource materials for caregivers just like yourself. There is also a caregiver stress survey which may be helpful to take to assess your stress levels. Feel free to look over the entire webpage as there is an online searchable database available, a digital copy of the Caregiver’s Guide, articles written by community experts and chats facilitated by professionals. It would also be helpful to join a caregiver support group to talk with other family caregivers about your current situation.