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Question:Sandwich generation - Becoming a caregiver for my mother

My mother cannot live on her own anymore, so I have to move her 150 miles to my city. I have an assisted living place for her, but it's not very lively and she needs stimulation to maintain her mind (which is going, I think). She will miss her home and her friends, and I'm her source of transportation and entertainment.

Meanwhile, I have two kids at home - the 19 year-old flunked out of college and does not acknowledge any of it was her fault. She was accepted to the community college, but unless she changes her study habits, she will flunk out again. I am also the source of transportation for her, as she does not drive (mass transportation is very poor here.) The 15 year old has self esteem problems and anxiety, as well as anger problems. She is very smart, but she thinks she is stupid (she has dyslexia), and wants to give up when the going gets tough. This will affect her future.

My husband is pretty much unemployed - he is a contract programmer, and his contracts ran out. He doesn't want to get a job that would make him dress up or commute very far, but his skills are sort of esoteric, so local jobs are not a good fit for the most part.

I don't want to deal with any of these problems, and I am afraid of messing something up or dropping the ball on one while I attend to another one. I need help turning my negatives and fears around.

Asked by jayres on 4/13/08 6 Answers»


Good gracious, your plate is full! I hope you are taking
alot of slow deep breaths. How old is your mother?
I am sure she will adjust. Just knowing she will be close
to family, her loved ones, should be of solace for her,
providing you check in on her every two to three days or at least weekly.

I am sure your husband knows what his strengths are
and should help out where he can. Maybe he can
check in on your mother and take some of your children with him for a visit. To help maintain the family contact. You can't be everywhere all the time and you
can't do all things by yourself, or you will have a nervous breakdown! If you do one positive thing per
day, then you are doing what you yourself can do.

Your 19 year old needs to get real with her grades or
get a job. Your 15 year old needs counseling for her
anxiety, because it is a real problem. She diffinetely
doesn't need any stress in her life. She needs a calm
environment. She would probably enjoy painting, or
quilting or some relaxing, creative project.

We live in a world that is not safe for our daughters
to walk or go anywhere alone. So keep a good eye
on your young daughters. I watch Nancy Grace every
evening and it is sad to see the many young children and women that go missing and are murdered. Your
girls need you mostly. Once your daughters start
driving, tell them to always lock their car doors even
during the day time. Always think safety.

Be good to yourself. If you are happy, then everyone
else in your family will be happy too.
GOD Bless your wonderful family,

Answered by: cactusgirl08 on 5/17/08


Well sandwich generation it sounds like you need to make alot of changes in your life as well as your families.Your story has helped me. I am going through some of the same things you are. It has not been easy.from your story you sound alot like me you try to make everyones life easy and they are not taking responsablity for their own actions. I had a daughter that had A.D.D her self esteem suck , she was very bright young lady , but she was also very angery. I took her to counceling and everything else I could think of ,they told me to put her in team sports, but no matter what I tried it didn't work , so finally I just had to back off and let her decide what she wanted to do because having disablities is not a reason not to take some responcibilites for your own action . They are alot of sucessful people with dyslexia like Henry Winkler (The Fonz) and others no it won't be easy for her she will have to work a little harder then others that is what I always told my daughter. She may need some counceling or medication to help her. My daughter is doing great now. I bet you hand your 19 year old every thing and she doesn't have to work for it . She also has to take responsibliy for her actions. If she is in college you can't do her work for her if she failed it is her fault she has an opportunity alot of kids would like to have but can't afford it.. I go back to my own daughter as long as I did everything for her she would not do anything to help herself. It was hard but I finally had to do tough love on her. I had to let her fall on her face so to speak. Only thing we can do as parents is teach them the way to go and let them go. If she fails it is her fault not yours she is an adult now and it is time she acts like one. As for your husband you all may need to move some where he can work and support his family. I have a sister that is going thru the same thing my brother-n-law rerfuses to work any where unless it pays a certain wage or he has to dress a certain way. It has made it hard on his hole family I don't if you work or not out side the home. If he is depressed or what but he needs to step up to the plate and make some changes and lift some of this burdons off of you. I now care for my alztimer father-n-law I have cared for a few family memebers over the years I am not sorry I try to count them as blessings and lessons taught. Right now this has been the hardest because his family won't step up and help, I have care givers coming to my home now that gives me alittle break but I quit my job for awhile it was becoming so stressful, I was tring to work outside my home and care for him at night when he kept me up. There are alot of support groups out there that also can help. look for one where you live. You won't be sorry taking care of your sick mother it won't be easy but it will be a memory that will bless you down the road. Just ask God to give you strength and wisdom thru this it works I know from experience . But most of all care for yourself first., because if you don't you won't be around to help others. MAy God BLess you thru all of this and and your family to.
I found this in a magazine and I put it on my frig I try finding things that inspire me to be positive.

Maybe you think what you do is no big deal. BUT it is!
Everyday, you make life easier for someone else with a smile, a hug, an encouraging word or a helping hand More often than you know you ease stress, boost confidence, restore hope and nuture dreams. Your caring makes a difference!


Answered by: carefree on 5/4/08


I am looking possible at future also having this happen like molly I have a down syndrome sister and she is really giving my Mom alot of problems..My mom is 400 miles away and lives in same town as twin and does not want to leave her so she will not move here. Please any comments would be welcome. worriednomore1950@yahoo.com

Answered by: worriednomore1950 on 5/1/08


God bless you, jayres, you are looking at one hard row to hoe. I respect you, will light a candle, and put you and your family on my prayer list. It helps me if I can laugh once in a while, Bill Murray in "What About Bob?" still works for me even though I've seen it many times.

Answered by: oldgold on 4/28/08


I went through a similar period when my father passed. My mother needed help doing things she never had to worry about when my father was around. I moved in for awhile and helped her get situated and organized.

I've heard both of you say two things that I think are really important: support and prayer. It seems like if we can get help--from friends, family, medical professionals then we are halfway there. The other half--prayer, thanking god and asking god to give us courage and strength to carry on is what helps us keep going.

I can't imagine not helping my mother in this way. Not only because she is my mother and I love her dearly, but because of all the sacrifices she made on a daily basis so that I could have a better life.

Answered by: wishuponastar on 4/22/08


I have just been through the last 5 years of doing the same thing you are about to do. I moved my mother and down syndrome brother from my hometown to 3 hours to where I live now with my husband. I bought them a house about 3 miles from my home. I ended up going everyday to check on them and help them with anything they needed. This was a tremendous change for all of us. I ended up quitting my job to make more time for them and my own household. My mother developed Alzheimer and then real stress set in. I tended to her in her own home for about 1 year and then had to hire help to stay with them in their home. I can't tell you that everything worked out great. I had so much change all at once in my life that it was very difficult to handle. So with counseling and round the clock help I was able to continue to have some type of life again. Praying is one of the best things that helped me. It always gave me strenght to go on. And I know it will work out for you too.

Answered by: mollie22 on 4/20/08
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