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Topic: Caring for my depressed, alcoholic, apathetic and chronically ill mum

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Min D
    Min D avatar
    2 posts
    17 November 2019

    My mum 65, has always been depressed and drank and smoked all her life. After my Dad died 6 years ago, it has just got worse. Long story short, she has developed severe COPD and on oxygen 24/7, very poor mobility as well as other ailments. She has no money, on the pension and spends most of it on cigs and wine. lived with my younger sister for 2 years and they ended up hating each other as mum is difficult.

    Having no where else to go, I suggested she move interstate and live with me, my hubby, and kids. I didn’t think it was going to be this challenging!!

    The apathy is killing me! showers every 2nd day if that, wants her hair washed fortnightly and lives in her pjs. I try and encourage her but there’s always an excuse and she refuses.

    Her days are like this:

    25-30 cigs, 1-2 bottles of wine plus occasional spirit, painkillers, sedatives. She sits outside and does this, starting at around 10am, most days she’s just miserable . I wash her clothes, cook dinner, feed and wash her dog, clean her room.

    I myself work full time as a nurse, and do the usual family stuff. I feel so overwhelmed. She doesn’t help to do anything- she can’t because of her COPD, everything is exhausting for her. Won’t even put her dishes in the dishwasher, I asked her to do this simple thing and I’m met with reasons why she can’t.

    I love her but I’m starting to feel resentment. My hubby and kids are so patient. I was just about to leave to attend our daughters grad ceremony when she informs me she only has 4 cigs left. I said I’ll be back in a couple of hours and to space them out. She had a complete meltdown and told me that I should have known she was low, that I didn’t understand her addictions and ended with “your supposed to be my carer”.

    She didn’t care about her granddaughter ‘s ceremony, only the cigs. She admitted that she doesn’t give a shit about herself, that she’s f”cked in the head and dying. She been dying for 3 years now. Has threatened and attempted to kill herself numerous times over the years.

    I hate watching her live like this! She used to be such a funny lady who cared what she looked like and cared a lot about her friends and family. Hardly anyone contacts her as their calls go unanswered, and the conversations are all doom and gloom about her ailing health. I also don’t know how this will affect my kids and marriage. She has nowhere else to go, especially where she can smoke and drink to her hearts content, no rules or boundaries.

    Advice welcome please!

  2. Juff
    Juff  avatar
    3 posts
    17 November 2019 in reply to Min D

    Wow, I'm so sorry that this is happening to you. I don't have much advice but I can give you encouragement. You are amazing and strong. Letting your mum come stay with you was an extremely generous thing to do. I am so inspired by you.
    I think you definitely need to stay alert so that you don't also become depressed due to the pressure. That's what happened to me, I was so concerned and worried about my girlfriends problems that I became depressed as well. Make sure you and your family are healthy and well so that you can continue to care for your mother.
    Keep going, you're amazingly strong.

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Min D
    Min D avatar
    2 posts
    17 November 2019 in reply to Juff
    Thank you for those beautiful words. Put a smile on my face! I will keep going and try not to let the situation consume me. 😊
    1 person found this helpful
  4. Quercus
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    Quercus avatar
    3502 posts
    19 November 2019 in reply to Min D

    Hi Min D and welcome,

    It was great to see your reaction to the lovely post from Juff after reading your initial post. Your situation sounds like a very distressing one to be in.

    I have no idea how you manage to cope with caring for your Mum in your home. You must be very kind and patient. I couldn't do this.

    Apart from going to work do you ever have time to yourselves without your Mum. It is probably rude of me to say (yet bluntly honest) that being around someone like this all the time doesn't sound very healthy for you.

    Even caring for the most easy going person can easily lead to resentment if you neglect your own needs. I watched this happen with someone I know who cared for their parents and worked full time. It wasn't healthy for them.

    Regardless of your caring responsibility it's so important to make time to be yourself and still live your own life. My question would be what sorts of practical help, home assistance or such are within your budget that would allow you more independence?

    I admire your strength and commitment and hope you can find ways to make sure you are cared for too.


    1 person found this helpful
  5. geoff
    Life Member
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
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    geoff avatar
    13377 posts
    20 November 2019 in reply to Min D

    Hello Min D, as Juff and Nat have mentioned, for you to work full time and have your mum stay with you is outstanding, however, whether it's your parent or parent-in-law the challenge to have them with you becomes much more difficult than originally thought, especially when she needs oxygen but smokes and drinks alcohol, not a good combination as one is trying to counteract the other.

    One option which I'm sure has been discussed is trying respite, however, there maybe objections to this, and know many people who have done the same.

    Getting old is not what it's meant to be, although some can grace themselves with dignity, while others don't.

    Take care.


    2 people found this helpful

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