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I am posting this email from Krisite.

I am a new subscriber of the Empowering Caregivers website. I have looked over the site and think I might find it useful. My dilema is that the messages that I see posted don't seem to fit where I am at the moment. Maybe I am too angry to be as poetic as the others seem.

My husband and I live in an adjacent duplex with my mother, father and invalid brother. We have cared for them for nearly three years now. Dad is a stroke victim, paralized on one side and unable to talk well, my brother is total care and has been since the age of 19 - he is 47, and Mom's health is poor. We have the assistance of local DHS programs that send an aide to bathe my brother and get him into his living room chair 5 mornings a week. Putting him to bed every night and bathing him on weekends falls to us. Mom doesn't drive and it is increasingly difficult for her to get around due to a fractured disc in her lower back. We take her to the grocery store weekly, clean her house and run what ever errands they may need including haircuts, ice cream runs, etc.

Here is my problem. Mom & Dad have planned for their funerals, but there are no plans, no provisions, no ideas communicated about their wishes and/or needs from now until then, nor is there any willingness on their part to talk about the future, theirs or my brother's. We have tried to talk until we are blue in the face. The response is "we'll cross that bridge when we get to it". I say, "We are nearing the far side of the bridge and there is someone on the other side with a match". My mother simply "can't hear us". If my Mother were to die today, either my husband or I would need to quit work to see to the needs of the other two as they need constant care and supervision. Even if we were to find a facility that was able to care for them, it would take more time than we can afford. We are financially unable to do this. My mother refuses to admit my brother into a nursing facility even though her ability to care for him is very poor and her quality of life would improve (as well as ours). We are tied to this situation with its serious communication problems about the future. Both my husband and I are overwhelmed, overworked and at our wits end. It is beginning to affect our marriage. We want to find a way to have a life of our own (we've ben married less than two years) as well as see that they are comfortable and cared for.

All of our friends tell us that we are enablers and are enabling my mother to not deal with the inevitable. Maybe true.....

I think there may be a question embedded in this message somewhere. Can you offer us any advice?

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Hello Krisite

Welcome.. I am glad you wrote, Hopefully, this will open doors and choices for you that you may not have seen clearly.

I think that it is incredible that both you and your husband have provided such remarkable support for both your parents and your brother.

It is difficult to understand the total situation; your parent's age etc, their background, the dynamics and patterns that have existed in your family for all these years.

My sense is that your mother is either in denial and feels she can handle it all or she is unable to express her own fears and issues with what is going on. It must be incredibly difficult for her to have dealt with bringing your brother up and caring for him all these years with your now be straddled with your father's condition.

Is there a minister, doctor, or someone that your mother feels comfortable speaking with that can offer some support as well is the first thought that comes to mind.

I don't know where you live. Have you researched facilities that might be available to your brother and for your dad at this point? Are you aware of your paren'ts financial savings? Sometimes, they have put away more than we imagine. You might want to find a local elderly agency to find out what is available for your father etc.If they have little financial resources, medicare would kick in at some point.

If you could give us some more information, perhaps we could direct you better so that you can learn more about what is available to you and what your options are.

Are you enabling your mother at this point? That is a hard one to answer. More information is needed to really understand what is going on to help you to see more clearly.

Is there a social worker or therapist at the DHS that can give your more information as to what is available and that could come out and speak with your hubby, yourself and your parents about what actions must be taken to secure the safety for all of them?

These would be my initial suggestions..

The anger and hurt and perhaps fear of the unknown you are experiencing are normal feelings Kristie. By finding others that understand and have compassion for you and your situation and offer a listening ear and support is so very valuable. You aren't alone. Have faith that you will be guided and solutions will be provided as you continue to reach out.

Richest blessings angel
HI Krisite...and welcome...

You have a lot on your mind right now...I can see...and I think Gail is so right in her suggestions and hopes you will post more as to what is going on...
Social workers can be a godsend...I have dealt with 2 regarding both my mother and father...The training they must go through sure shines through in their dealings with people. If you can find a compassionate one he or she may be able to get your mom to open up. It is certainly worth a try.

My opinion on the enabling aspect is...that I guess most children can be enablers when it gets to the point of "role reversals"...when we must start taking more charge of their lives. That is just such a drastic change for all involved as we were brought up for so many years having parents who took care of everything and who were the ones WE went to for advice. All you can do really is take it one step at a time..your mom's attitude may never change..somehow you must get as much support as you can, and deal with things as they arise....Much more stressful I know, but sometimes our only alternative.
And as Gail said...and it IS very important...Learn as much as you can about their finances..and gather all the info you can now about assisted living, home care, nursing aid...the more knowledgeable you feel the more in charge you will be should something sneak up on you.

Please keep us posted...
Take care....

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