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Feeling suicidal caring for 93 year old mom with ALZ - how does one cope with this..?

Leolady56

Registered User
Aug 9, 2014
44
South Africa

Leolady56

Registered User
Aug 9, 2014
44
South Africa
Thanks Lindy

Leolady, welcome to TP :)

Just a thought.....do you have any shops that would deliver some of the heavier groceries?

Keep posting and we'll keep thinking! :)

Lindy xx
Yes, Lindy, I have signed on at one of our big, supermarkets to have things delivered as I am now really struggling with the heavier items due to the arthritis in my lower limbs. The thing is I actually 'looked forward' to being able to go grocery shopping as that was the ONLY time I actually got to put my foot outside the door of the flat but now, due to my own physical issues, I am struggling to even do the shopping so your idea is a very good one. The way i look at it is that I need someone trustworthy who would be willing to sit with my Mom for one or two days per week so that I would be able to go out *alone* without always having to cart Mom along as this is *really* getting me down big time. It seems as if I spent my life bringing up my children and then when they were all finally grown up and out in the world, they simply forgot about me - they went on with their lives and suddenly I found myself having to take care of first my father till he passed away and now my mother. I know it sounds incredibly selfish but when I am in one of my weepy modes I just wonder when oh when, someone is actually going to take care of *me* when it seems all I have done my whole life is to take care of others and it just never seems to end..... Many thanks for your response - I do appreciate it.
 

Leolady56

Registered User
Aug 9, 2014
44
South Africa
Thank you Pipop 1 - any kind of help will be better than where I am 'at' now....

Your situation sounds intolerable, really intolerable. I do hope that one of the organisations mentioned above can help you in some way. Please contact them as soon as you can.
I guess it's the loneliness of living this kind of life for SO many endless years and never having a soul to talk to which adds to this feeling of helplessness and isolation......
 

Leolady56

Registered User
Aug 9, 2014
44
South Africa
Thank you, Marionq

As you have connections with the Netherlands I am wondering if this her homeland. If so would you consider going back there? I guess you would some help eg if she emigrated to SA and is one of their of their overseas pensioners.
My parents emmigrated to SA over 59 years ago. I tried to apply for a Netherlands passport over 8 years ago but was turned down as both of my sons and daughter still lived here in SA. I sometimes scratch my head as daily thousands of asylum seekers are simply let in but I was turned down even though Mom still holds a Dutch passport and my dad had a Belgian passport... Go figure.... But hey, it is what it is and quite honestly, with this *huge* depression* which is weighing me down now, I doubt I could go through the masses of paper work which is needed to apply again - that plus what used to be R8000.00 application fees (that has probably doubled now) - I just could not face that whole rigmarole in my present mental status now.... Right now I would be happy to only be able to boil an egg without having a total mental breakdown wonder how I am going to also be able to make the toast to go with the egg...... :(
 

LYN T

Registered User
Aug 30, 2012
6,960
Brixham Devon
Hi Leolady

I can only add my concern for your very sad situation.

You are a gem in your Mum's life-unfortunately that doesn't help you at all. What would happen if you decided that you couldn't be the primary carer for your Mum? In the UK no one can be forced to care for another person-the person would be placed in residential care. What happens in SA? Sorry if you have already covered this-I will look back through the previous posts.

We are all supporting you with lots of virtual hugs

Take care

Lyn T
 

BR_ANA

Registered User
Jun 27, 2012
1,079
Brazil
If your mother has Netherlands citizenship, I would contact embassy about a vulnerable citizen. Some countries help old people living abroad to not fall on misery. I presume there must be some community of immigrants, maybe someone knows.

Try google alzheimer nederlands - site isn't in English but they may answer a email.
 

Tin

Registered User
May 18, 2014
4,825
UK
How did the egg and toast go, Good morning. Try and get some respite for your mum or at least look into it. Don't think my day is going to be great, mum seems to have taken a turn for the worse, so going to take a bit of my own advice and try day care centre again.
 

starryuk

Registered User
Nov 8, 2012
1,305
Leolady, I am so sorry that things are so bad for you. You cannot, just cannot keep on looking after your mum without some help. I wonder if you have actually asked any of your children for help. At least with mine (and my mum was in a care home) when they didn't help out with visiting or come with me to A&E, I just kept saying 'maybe you don't care about Grandma, but I want you to do it for me. To help me. I need help"

If you cannot bring yourself to admit to feeling suicidal to your children, is there someone who could tell them? Someone who could say they need to take on some granny sitting, or contribute to the cost of a sitter. Not for granny, but for you?

I don't think it is usually a case of not caring, but because children just assume that mum will cope like she always has. It comes as a bit of a shock when they realise mum is 'human'.

Oh dear. I am waffling. Start shouting for help as loudly as you can. You must.
 

Leolady56

Registered User
Aug 9, 2014
44
South Africa
Hi Redpoppy

Could you shop for your groceries online and have them delivered. It would make taking your mother out much easier and the wheelchair wouldn't have the extra weight of the bags. That would allow you to just purchase a few extra treats and maybe enjoy window shopping. I have my groceries delivered,and don't have to struggle with the heavy items-such as milk,fruit juice,laundry products.etc,etc. I hope you can continue to cope with your mothers' illness without becoming more depressed. It must be soul destroying when she doesn't ever show her gratitude.I'm sure you will have support from many of TP members.
The reason I joined this TP group is so that I can chat or even just read about folks who are going through the same or similar things to me. I realize in my heart that it is SO childish to want or expect an unfortunate person who has AD to express their thanks to the carer but I spent my life being almost 'non existent' to my Mom as my late brother was always the apple of her eye and I was the one who she called on when she needed practical help of any kind. Out of respect and love for her as my Mom I was always there for her even though she treated me pretty badly and yet now with her mind practically gone, she can't see or realize how I have literally lost friends, family and ALL my hobbies just so that I can take care of her. It's no ones fault that they develop AD and I understand that but boy, it's SO tough to take care of someone for so many years all on your own with never a break - not even a phone call from your children who are all totally caught up in their own, perfect, happy life now. It gets to be excrutiatingly lonely. Thanks for your response:)
 

Leolady56

Registered User
Aug 9, 2014
44
South Africa
Thank you for writing, College Girl

I am so upset to read your posts, leolady, and want to welcome you to TP and say that I really don't know how you are managing to carry on alone like this.

At 58 you are still relatively young and should be leading your own life - maybe helping or visiting your mother, of course, but not virtually living her life for her.

I have no knowledge of services and facilities in South Africa. Do you have a social services over there? What about her/your GP?

If you did take your own life, then someone else would have to step in and look after your mother. Someone, somewhere, somehow. So there should be someone, some service, some authority somewhere that you can contact for help before it reaches this stage.

From this far away I can only offer a hug and sympathy - huge hugs and huge sympathy. Do keep posting. I wonder if there's anyone else on the forum from South Africa? Maybe they would have ideas.

Hang in there, we are with you.

And you're not a nasty person - you are as far from being a nasty person as It's possible to be. Look what you're doing for your mum. No-one who is nasty could be doing all this.

xx
Believe me, I have researched and re-researched everything and anything which is possible by way of care homes for Mom. The problem is that there *are* care homes which have segregated areas for folks with AD but because the monetary budget for these homes is SO small - the treatment and care there is so incredibly bad that I see it only as a very last resort for old people who have no family or anyone to take care of them so they go to one of these places out of sheer desperation. Their entire state pension of R1300.00 is paid directly to the state run old age home and I think the 'oldies' get about R200.00 spending money from which they have to pay for soap, clothing, sugar, coffee, etc. It's shameful and no one can live off that amount of money. There are *excellent* AD care homes but they are all privately owned and their fees start from about R14,000.00 right through to R22,000.00. That is for the super rich only.
I have realized I will just have to 'white knuckle' it through this situation which I am living in - I am just trying to find the courage to keep on putting one foot in front of the other without totally falling to pieces.
 

Leolady56

Registered User
Aug 9, 2014
44
South Africa
4 Lizzybean.....

I agree with CG & Lindy50, you really do need some help & fast. Are there any volunteer organisations? Are you able to get carers in? Is there such a thing as a sitting service? As CG said if you were not there for whatever reason, who would step in. What I mean is if you needed a hospital stay what would happen? There must be something in place surely, you can't be the only person in SA in the same boat.

Have you told SS you feel suicidal?

Sorry, forgot to say welcome. Take care & keep posting.
Thanks, Lizzybean. If I would take my life - the state would place Mom in one of their AWFUL care homes where the oldies literally go hungry and are pretty much left to their own devices and Moms pension would then be paid out to the care home where they would place her. It's quite ironic that my father always put away a lot of his earnings into a good medical fund for their old age - he made sure that their home would be paid up so that all they would have to do was to pay for their utilities, food and groceries when they were old but they NEVER planned what would happen one day if both or either of them would need to go to an old age home. I don't think it ever entered their mind! So Mom has a great medical aid which pays for ALL medicines, hospital stays and operations but they do not pay one cent towards Old Age Care Homes - exactly what she needs now. (I deliver a pile of magazines once a month or so to a state old age home so that the elderly there can have something to read but I am always in tears when I leave when I see just how they live (below the poverty line in all honesty) and for those who have AD? When they get visits over week-ends by family or friends - everything which is brought along is stolen by some of the staff. It's totally SHAMEFUL to put it mildly how our old folks are treated.
 

Leolady56

Registered User
Aug 9, 2014
44
South Africa
Flossielime - thank you for replying...

Leolady I am so sorry about your situation. It must be horrendous.

Does your mother hold citizenship for any other country?

I have no knowledge of anything in SA but wondered if there is anyway you can afford to buy care in? Did your mother have a property or any income you could use? Would you children help with costs. I know it will hurt pride to ask but I think wages in SA are a lot lower than UK for example so if your children are earning overseas even if they could contribute a little it may pay for a local home help. Plus if there are any there any other other grandchildren that could contribute.
My mother had her own flat and when my dad died we sold it and put the money into her bank account. So we now live off the interest of that small amount plus her pension which feeds us and pays the utilities but not much more. I won't go into the LOOONG and boring story of my children but after I worked 3 jobs for years - put them through private schools, university and had them live at home with me until they were all well into their twenties with FULL accommodation paid for by me - they have since all moved on, they live really good lives, have a lot of friends with expensive homes, parties, grand cars, etc, etc, etc but Mom and I have been *totally* forgotten which breaks my heart because I wanted them to have everything which I never had as a child and I worked myself to a stand-still to give them all those things and now that they are sitting pretty - we get maybe one phone call per year and that's about it...... Perhaps I am just going through a really rough phase and that I have to give it time and that the sun will shine through again one of these fine days but I feel SO lost, SO alone and SO totally forgotten and it breaks my heart that everything which I did for them - it all seems forgotten. My daughter is the only one who phoned me 4 times during 2014 and on each occasion - it was because she needed help with some or other 'crises' (a minor issue in fact) which was happening in her and her hubby's life. I said I could not go over to help because I had Grandma to take care of and I never heard back again........ Hey ho, I spoilt my children horribly and today, I realize that had I taken better care of myself only - perhaps I would not be sitting in this lonely and miserable predicament.... who knows.....
 

Tin

Registered User
May 18, 2014
4,825
UK
Same reason for me leolady, Tp is actually a bit of a social life for me and it genuinely feels like I am having a face to face chat with someone. A couple of times during the day I sit down with a cup of coffee and get online. Actually its the one area when mum just leaves me alone, I think she believes I'm working. She sometimes looks over my shoulder to see what I'm doing, but on the whole this is my alone time and I can just read and contribute to some of the threads. It is literally keeping me sane and for the first time yesterday I did some online shopping - just dvd's but it felt really good.
 

Oxy

Registered User
Jul 19, 2014
955
I just want to say how very sorry I feel for you, actually words can't say. I too am lone carer. However I do just wonder if you could attempt to write to your children about how you are feeling :the burden and that the financial constraints are so great and of course that humanly acceptable care is not tenable in s.Africa That your solution would be to come back to Europe and whether they could just this once help by aiding the immigration paperwork so that you could access good care facilities. Explain that right now you can't facilitate what you need most as the caring is just too demanding. Throw in that their private school education would make the process easier for them.
Harsh maybe but may just pull a heartstring! My only concern would be that you may be upset if nothing ensued. So please go to your gp for help to enable you to cope ie to lift the blanket of despair. I So hope something good will happen for you.
 

Lindy50

Registered User
Dec 11, 2013
5,239
Cotswolds
I agree with Oxy :)

I have been trying to think, leolady, of how you could possibly get some help.....and your children are one obvious source. Have you told them how bad it is? If they lead such great lives, that is down at least partly to the upbringing you gave them....and it sounds as though they could between them fund some support for you. Could you perhaps find out the cost of a home carer for say, 15 hours a week, and email them and ask them to fund this? Bearing in mind that you would be prepared for them not doing so....email them jointly, I'd say, so that if they have any conscience at all they are more likely to respond.

Then, there is the medical insurance. Alzheimer's is an illness so I wonder whether a discussion with the insurers / your GP might come up with something? (Sorry, I don't know how it would work).

Then, the Alzheimer's Soc SA has a helpline. Could you call them and tell them your plight? They may have support or ideas.

BR_ANA's idea of contacting the Dutch embassy seems a good one, too. Your mother is as I understand it a Dutch citizen who is in distress / difficulty abroad so they might assist.

Finally, what about personal contacts? These can be best of all. You did have a life, friends, interests, 'before Mum', as it were.....I wonder whether at least some of the people you knew then are facing the kind of problems you are now? Look through your contacts list....if even one person replies to you, that's more support than you have now. And who knows, it could be the start of a self help group! :)

I know all this must sound very glib, it's easy for me to say and very hard for you to do. But leolady, you have taken a first step by joining TP, and I really hope you find more support soon.

(((Hugs))) to you.

Lindy xx
 

lizzybean

Registered User
Feb 3, 2014
1,366
Lancashire
Hi again, Oxy & Lindy are right in what they are saying. You never know your children may help out financially if they know the true situation but you MUST tell them how it is. Do not gloss over things, tell them just how isolated you are & that you don't have the finances to afford a sitter so that you can have some "me" time.

You had a social life before, contact some of your friends, see if one of them is willing to sit with Mum for an hour or two to let you go for a coffee or whatever. Must be worth a shot.

Love to you.
 

Leolady56

Registered User
Aug 9, 2014
44
South Africa
Thanks, Tin

Same reason for me leolady, Tp is actually a bit of a social life for me and it genuinely feels like I am having a face to face chat with someone. A couple of times during the day I sit down with a cup of coffee and get online. Actually its the one area when mum just leaves me alone, I think she believes I'm working. She sometimes looks over my shoulder to see what I'm doing, but on the whole this is my alone time and I can just read and contribute to some of the threads. It is literally keeping me sane and for the first time yesterday I did some online shopping - just dvd's but it felt really good.
Oh gosh, Tin, I don't know what I would do without my laptop :) It's the one thing I can use any time of the day or night to just try to feel that I am somehow in contact with some other, living 'souls' out there... I agree that joining TP is great because even though I might not always know just what to say to other members who post - just reading of the experiences of others who take care of their loved ones with AD helps me to also feel less lonely and isolated as I go through this experience....
 

Leolady56

Registered User
Aug 9, 2014
44
South Africa
Friday hello, Oxy

I just want to say how very sorry I feel for you, actually words can't say. I too am lone carer. However I do just wonder if you could attempt to write to your children about how you are feeling :the burden and that the financial constraints are so great and of course that humanly acceptable care is not tenable in s.Africa That your solution would be to come back to Europe and whether they could just this once help by aiding the immigration paperwork so that you could access good care facilities. Explain that right now you can't facilitate what you need most as the caring is just too demanding. Throw in that their private school education would make the process easier for them.
Harsh maybe but may just pull a heartstring! My only concern would be that you may be upset if nothing ensued. So please go to your gp for help to enable you to cope ie to lift the blanket of despair. I So hope something good will happen for you.
A lot of what you say makes wonderful sense, Oxy - unfortunately for practical purposes they don't quite work out..
I applied many years ago to get a passport for Holland (used to have one but it lapsed many years ago....) but because both of my parents and all my children still lived here - after doing endless paperwork and spending hefty application fees I was turned down...... But the saddest thing of all for me is that when my Mom was starting to show very slight, occasional signs of memory loss and such - my youngest son asked my Mom, unbeknown to me, to borrow a pretty large sum of money from her as he wanted to set up his own business. (That was money my late father had saved up for me for my 'old-age.' ) Mom lent that money to my son - his business did not work out and without telling us anything - he packed up here locally and he is now living somewhere in Thailand. I have NO idea where or how I can reach him....
My eldest son - he became aware of Moms AD and because he knew that she had treated me really badly as a youngster - he did not see why she had to go and live in a private/costly old age home so there is no way that he would ever agree to help me out financially to put her in reasonably good care home as he has never been able to forgive her. (Even though he can easily see how rough it is on me now being the sole caretaker of Mom.) He now also lives overseas and refuses to discuss my Mom leaving me literally 'holding the baby' in a manner of speaking. :-(
My daughter? Well she and my son-in-law are very well off but unfortunately they are the kind of people who just don't seem to subscribe to the idea that they could do so much to help me and by helping me - they would be helping Mom too. It's all pretty sad. I worked SO hard to give all 3 of them the best possible life and I never asked for anything at all as I did not feel it was right to do so but now that I am really sitting in dire straights - my daughter simply never comes round as she says she "can't stand to see Granny that way" and she never even phones. I guess it's just easier for her that way - to simply distance herself so that she does not have to spend time thinking about it....
I have been to my GP months ago, Oxy. He put me on Prozac to try to help with the depression but it honestly did not help me in the slightest. I think I just have to keep on putting one foot in front of the other until one fine day "This too shall pass" and I am certain that my depression will also clear up then too. Many thanks for writing.
 

Leolady56

Registered User
Aug 9, 2014
44
South Africa
Thanks for the response, Lindy

I agree with Oxy :)

I have been trying to think, leolady, of how you could possibly get some help.....and your children are one obvious source. Have you told them how bad it is? If they lead such great lives, that is down at least partly to the upbringing you gave them....and it sounds as though they could between them fund some support for you. Could you perhaps find out the cost of a home carer for say, 15 hours a week, and email them and ask them to fund this? Bearing in mind that you would be prepared for them not doing so....email them jointly, I'd say, so that if they have any conscience at all they are more likely to respond.

Then, there is the medical insurance. Alzheimer's is an illness so I wonder whether a discussion with the insurers / your GP might come up with something? (Sorry, I don't know how it would work).

Then, the Alzheimer's Soc SA has a helpline. Could you call them and tell them your plight? They may have support or ideas.

BR_ANA's idea of contacting the Dutch embassy seems a good one, too. Your mother is as I understand it a Dutch citizen who is in distress / difficulty abroad so they might assist.

Finally, what about personal contacts? These can be best of all. You did have a life, friends, interests, 'before Mum', as it were.....I wonder whether at least some of the people you knew then are facing the kind of problems you are now? Look through your contacts list....if even one person replies to you, that's more support than you have now. And who knows, it could be the start of a self help group! :)

I know all this must sound very glib, it's easy for me to say and very hard for you to do. But leolady, you have taken a first step by joining TP, and I really hope you find more support soon.

(((Hugs))) to you.

Lindy xx
Many of your ideas/suggestions I have answered in Oxy's post. Unfortunately my Mom's medical aid only pays for medications for AD or Parkinson's but they do not pay at all for care or actual housing for the elderly. A very good friend, the BEST friend who I knew for well over 38 years, she emmigrated back with her hubby and my God daughter to Greece over 11 years ago. We do still discuss my Mom's situation via emails as her mother-in-law also had almost identical AD as my Mom does but she shared the home care of her MIL with her sister-in-law so she did at least get regular breaks. Her MIL has since passed away but at least when I tell her what I am going through - I know she understands like only someone can who takes the care of an AD patient on themselves.

Yes, you are right. I think it's a great idea that I joined TP because then I get to chat and read about other members who understand really well what this illness is all about.... Take care and have a great week-end..... :)
 

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