A: I’m sorry about the loss of your grandmother and that you have carried the burden of helping out alone. If you don’t feel like you can be the one doing everything anymore, then stop! Most times in life, people will take as much as you give. You have to be the one to stop giving, not the other way around. And in all my clinical (and personal) experience, I have rarely seen family members pitch in equally when it comes to helping out aging parents.
Whether your mother is truly taking advantage of your kindness, or if it’s your perception, you do not have to be a doormat any longer. I’m sure she loves you even if she treats you and your sister differently. However, if you and your husband have dreams of selling your house and moving, there is no better time than the present. Your sister will either have to step up, your mother may have to move to be closer to one of you, or all of you as a family can come up with another plan for your mother, such as home care or assisted living.
Many communities have care giver support groups that you may find very helpful. Look for them at churches, hospitals, nursing homes or senior centers. Your local Area Agency on Aging may also have resources for your mother such as Meals on Wheels or transportation to medical appointments, which will help you transition out of being your mother’s primary support.
In the meantime, it sounds like you and your husband could benefit from a vacation yourselves. Go enjoy your life!
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts