My sister and I share the POA for our 93 year old mother who is extremely manipulative, mean, and unappreciative and does not want help; although she should not be left home alone because of multiple medical problems. She tells me one thing and tells my sister a different thing and we end up fighting about everything. I am getting sick because of the stress and my doctor wants me to quit being a caregiver but how can I just quit?
Caregiving is the greatest act of love but it could send you to an early grave if you do not approach it carefully. Seventy five percent of family caregivers show true signs of clinical depression and most go untreated. Research has also shown that the family caregiver dies either before or shortly after the person he/she is caring for because of a stress related disorder associated with caregiving, or because of lack of self-care.
In Caregiving, nothing is simple and no solution is easy, so decide what is important in your situation, work on that important thing and leave the rest alone. No solution will be 100% perfect for your mother, your sister and the rest of the family.
Pick a position: be the CAREGIVER or be the DAUGHTER. You can’t do both objectively without risking your health, your career and your marriage. It may seem hard to separate these positions but it becomes easier once you determine that “IMPORTANT THING” that you could change or influence that would bring some amount of peace, happiness, quality of life and “quantity of life” for your mother.
If you choose to be the daughter then seek professional help for your mother. Professional help means getting her into a geriatric assessment and evaluation program and following through with the recommendations.
Stella Nsong, RN, CMC, CDP, LTCP