December 1, 2012 marked the beginning of my role as full-time caregiver to my mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.
It’s been a rough two years. My four kids are all at home. They were 13, 10, 8 and 4 when my mom moved in. I was a stay at home mom and a perpetual volunteer. We have an 1100 square foot house with three bedrooms and only one very tiny bathroom on the main floor.
I liked my life.
I love my mother and want to ensure she’s well taken care of. When the time came, we
brought her to live with us. It was the right thing to do. It was also the only option.
She doesn’t have any money. Neither do we, really. So placing her in a private pay facility at roughly $7,000 per month isn’t an option.
She doesn’t qualify for a nursing home through Medicaid because there’s nothing wrong with her that requires a nurse. An around-the-clock babysitter, yes, but a nurse, no.
She doesn’t qualify for in-home care because she doesn’t have enough medical expenses to get Medicaid to kick in anything there either.
I’m an only child. I have no family nearby. I’m it.
I really want to want to take care of my mother. She was my best friend most of my life and has done so much for me. But I’ll be honest: there are a lot of days when I resent the position I’ve been forced into to no end.
The vast majority of the time, she’s not my mother. My mother has slowly faded away. I’m caring for a woman who absolutely refuses to take a shower, wouldn’t change her clothes-ever-if I didn’t force it, insults me, shows almost no gratitude or appreciation for anything I do, requires me to keep a baby gate up at my kitchen door that I must hop over every time I want to go in or out, causes my boys to sleep in the basement, prevents us from being able to do whatever we want, whenever we want as a family, and the list goes on.
You see, everything in life is better when it’s our choice to do it. I’ve said that I’d like to think that even if we were very wealthy, it wouldn’t change anything and I would choose this. The truth is, I’ll never know.
Everything I just told you about the resentment I feel makes me feel incredibly guilty. Like I said, I want to want to do this. My mother deserves that from me. I’ve been praying that God would change my heart. My head knows all this “stuff” but it can’t make my heart feel any differently. But God can!
We’ve recently had a break from the care giving. Due to a fall, my mom has spent the last 8 weeks in a skilled nursing facility receiving physical therapy. Three things happened during that time.
The entire family got a much needed break.
God showed me why what I’m doing is absolutely the best thing for my mom and that money wouldn’t change that fact. You can read details of what led me to that decision here.
I had time to reflect on things we could be doing differently which might make her happier and allow us to enjoy this time a bit more.
January 17, 2014 marks the new beginning of my role as full-time caregiver to my mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.
My heart has changed. I’m thankful for this “do-over” of sorts, and pray for God’s guidance as we continue on the journey.