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How can I balance caring for my children (10 and 14) and my elderly mother who also lives with us?

Our girls are actually grandaughters that we've adopted so we are already dealing with some issues there. My widowed mother (86) was diagnosed with Dementia in April 2009. In July she had a stroke. She survived but will never be able to live on her own. She was in a rehab center, then in a care home now is with us. Caring for her is like caring for a 130# 2 year old. She can communicate but is unable to walk unassisted. therefore her daily needs, hygiene, toileting, meals, etc. are my responsibility. I know that having her in our home is the right thing to do but I am exhausted. I will soon be 57, my husband is 62 and this is certainly not where we expected to be at this point in our lives. We are truly the sandwich generation. My husbands father (90) is still living on his own in a house on our property but we know that his situation could change any day. Any suggestions or encouagement out there?

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Asked by Mom21184 at 12:38 PM on Jun. 21, 2010 in General Parenting

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Answers (6)
  • Can you get in-home assistance? What kind of assistance does your 10 and 14 year old need? I was my sisters primary care taker at 14 because my mom worked 2 jobs. I think your 14 y/o should be helping you out.

    Answer by matthewscandi at 12:45 PM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • I hear ya! I take care of my 91 year old mom as well, and although my kids are grown she lived with us when they were children, so I can relate. If she has medicare and medicaid she can get some sort of assistance at home like for bathing etc, I do not take adantage of this yet because she can bathe by herself but needs constant supervision, I too belong to that sandwhich generation and let me tell you it is no day in the park.
    your kids are old enough to fend for themselves for the most part, and should be able to help out this way. All I can tell you is that I feel it is now my turn to take care of her as she did me, and although it is a strain on everyone specially you, I myself would not have it any other way. My husband and I are both 60 years old and healthy, but we didn't count on reaching this age this way either, we have to make the best of what life has handed us and this is what we do, Hugs to you !!!!!!!

    Answer by older at 12:49 PM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • i suggest having the 10 and 14 year old girls help you. Not only would it give you a break, but it will create bonding between them and their great-grandmother.
    Start slow. Assign them one meal a day or one day a week where they are responsible for feeding her.
    And as they get used to this "chore" you can gradually add on a few more things for them to do.

    Props to you for taking care of your mother!!!

    Answer by outstandingLove at 12:55 PM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • I think it is important to talk to your girls about this- they are old enough to understand that you probably wish you had more time to devote to them but that you also have a responsibility to take care of your mother, who has a great need at this stage in her life. If you are able to get any sort of home assistance or even a "babysitter" for your mother so you can once in a while go out and do something with your girls that may help too. It's almost like having a baby in the house, the family needs to understand that the dependency is greater for the baby and at the same time you still want to make time for the other children as well. I admire the strength you must have to care for so many in your family, I think what you do is amazing!! I hope your girls learn from you the importance of family being there for each other when it counts.

    Answer by MaryMW at 12:59 PM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • Your children are old enough to pretty much care for themselves. They can also help out with your mother. You all need to band together right now. Talk to the kids and let them know that you really need them to help out as much as they can. Because this will be hard on everyone. Just keep the family strong and knowing that if you all work together it'll be easy.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 1:24 PM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • HOSPICE! Call them, they are wonderful. They will come to your home. Good luck.

    Answer by salexander at 11:35 AM on Jun. 22, 2010

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