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I feel like I'm screaming inside a lot of the time

My mother has MS and has numbness on one side. She walks with a cane, but gives herself showers, cooks her own food, does dishes and laundry and even takes a taxi (paid for by health plan) to physical therapy appointments. She needs no physical help for everyday activities, though she does not drive anymore.

I moved her in with me 7 months ago when her living situation turned sour. She was living with her mother, who became physically abusive whilst she spiraled into dementia. She lived with her for the past 8 years, since a little before she was diagnosed with the MS. She is on disability (SSDI), but not very much per month. She is 55 years old, and she does not work. She says she can not live on her own "in case she has one of her bad days." She's having one of her bad days today (her leg goes numb and she doesn't balance very well), and she went to physical therapy by herself and is walking around.

When I moved her in with me I was living in a large studio apartment, which I absolutely adored. Soon thereafter, I had to move us into a two-bedroom apartment in order to keep my sanity. I have decided that I cannot live with her any longer, but don't know what options are available.
Her case worker told her during her assessment here that "family is considered a natural resource," so she did not qualify for any extra assistance.

Living with her makes me want to run screaming. She drinks a gallon of vodka per week. She doesn't communicate well. When I call her on saying something hurtful she says "Excuse me, I don't take out every word and examine it before I say it." When I'm at home (I spend at least 3 nights a week at my fiance's), I'm constantly avoiding her because of the looming expectation that she'll interrupt whatever I'm watching or playing to ask me to pick up something else at the store that she forgot to put on the list of things I got yesterday.

I feel guilty that I've become to resent her so much. At the same time, I feel I'm being used as a crutch. I think she's capable of living on her own and of becoming more active. She couldn't shower herself when she came to live with me because the stress of living with her mother for the past year and taking care of her had almost destroyed her health. She's doing so much better now, but still feels she can't live on her own. Is it wrong for me to try to find another place for her to live?

Does anyone have experience with this, or have any thoughts? Anything would be appreciated.
Original Post
Hi Ranessa:

It's quite a shock, isn't it, when we start caring for our parents? You are not alone in walking into a situation that is much harder than it would appear to be on the surface. I cared for my dear father for almost six years before he passed away six months ago. He was wonderful to care for because he was so gentle and kind-hearted. However, it was always emotionally draining and physically exhausting at times when he was weak with cancer.

What is happening with your grandmother now? Is she in a home? I can imagine that your mother is rather worn out after caring for a mother with dementia and with the added health problems of MS makes for many "bad days"... However, she is still young and, if she can still care for herself, needs to find accomodations that will work for her.

Keep on checking out your options through the social worker. Do not accept the "family is considered a natural resource" status. Explain to the social worker again that you feel that your mother is capable of being independent - and - what programs are there out there? What housing options are provided for seniors on SSDI?

I can tell that you are not one to give up! I am not sure where you live or what may be available in your area. However, start researching senior services or welfare programs etc. Eldercare is becoming a wide-spread concern and, with the additional diagnosis of MS, there may be living accomodations for someone who is disabled or programs for such a progressive health problem. There may be rent assistance programs or senior housing for her.

I wish you the best of luck. Decide what you wish for her and make it a goal. It will be best for the both of you in the long run. Keep us posted!

Love and Hugs from Glenda

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