My mum was housebound for about 30 years, dad’s work took him away regularly.
I had two brothers who worked away, I lived nearest, so mum always turned to me first, although my son was brain damaged at birth and had severe learning difficulties.
I did little jobs to start with, and gradually more and more.
I was brought up to help mum, one brother was 8 years younger than me, he used to call me his “Little Mummy” which really says it all!
The crunch time for me came when I was newly disabled after a car accident, virtually unable to walk. My son had moved from residential care to supported living, against my wishes, loads of problems. I was recovering from major cancer surgery. My husband had just died, leaving me with his business to run and 30 tons of vintage lorry spares to sell.
Mum had just had major surgery, and finally accepted outside carers, but was saving jobs for me as I did them better!!!
On the verge of a breakdown I had counselling, and this made me realise that I was still behaving like a good little girl, but I was an adult with lots of other responsibilities and mum had no right to expect me to do things for her.
It was fine for me to keep an eye on things, but my role had to be more like care supervisor, not provider.
Start by looking at the jobs you are doing, make a list.
Getting dressed, undressed, bathed, fed, changed are all things that paid carers can do, and should do.
Don’t neglect your husband and married life. You never know what life has in store for you.
We went through a stage when all four parents and son were entitled to highest DLA Care. Soon after his father died at 87, my husband died of a massive heart attack at the age of 58.
Sit down together and decide what, if anything, you are both happy to do.
Leave the rest to someone else supporting mum with the basics at home, or she moves into residential care.
You can help find that someone, check benefits, manage her money (I hope you have Power of Attorney) and do little jobs the carers won’t. Mum’s carers would never pick any of the beautiful roses in her garden, or pick her raspberries.