I am joining because I am struggling with my Mum. She’s 82, and has had lymphedema all her adult life, but in the past few years it has really compromised her mobility. I am 46, and have three young primary school age children, and work 4 days per week as a secondary teacher. My husband is a full time NHS scientist, with a very stressful job.
My Mum always been a codependent person - I only figured that out recently. She relied on my Dad, but he died 21 years ago. Since then she has relied on her now 89 yr old cousin, and me. For all that time, we have encouraged her to downsize and move nearer to us, to have a better quality of life. She has refused, and has chosen to stay 35 miles away, isolated, with no friends, and 8 cats.
Mum went into hospital recently as she lost the ability to walk and got stuck in bed at home. Now she is in a NHS hub bed in a care home, awaiting assessment to see what she needs to be safe at home.
She is really struggling with low mood, but refusing all medication. She has always been a poor communicator, to the extent that to make sure she asks the right things of professionals, I have had to write her notes, make her scripts and coach her how to talk to people.
She tends to be very polite and stoical to staff, but tell me a different story. Being around that is like stepping into an emotional vortex.
Really she wants me to come and do everything for her, which simply isn’t possible. For example, she was a keen and prize winning gardener, but she can no longer manage her steep sloping garden. I have offered to pay for a gardener for the past two years, and she has refused.
She has also wanted to decorate a room for me and her grandchildren to stay in so we can visit over night. She hasn’t done it, though my eldest is 11 years old. She thinks she is now going to do this, or get me to do it. We have offered in the past, but she has refused, as we will get rid of things.
Her home is semi-hoarded. I find it stressful to be there.
I know now she will need extra support at home. I don’t know which assessments I need to make sure she gets, I think it might be a Continuous Healthcare Assessment, but is that different from social care / what a Council might provide?
I feel very keenly the need to prioritise my children and my own family. I am for the first time in my life, realising that I need to have boundaries with her. Unfortunately I grew up with her doing everything for her own mother, so that’s what she wants from me. The difference is that we lived in the same village, I am an only child, and my Mum didn’t work outside our home.
At the moment, everything I do is wrong. I drove 60 miles to pick things up for her, but am in trouble for getting the wrong clothes, though she would not give me a list, or tell me where things were. I bought her all her favourite magazines, but she hates them as they have pictures of nice things in them.
I feel like I need to protect my own mental health, whilst making sure she gets what she needs. There’s just me, and no other family close by.
Thanks for reading. I hope I can learn how to navigate this situation with compassion and love.