So here I am again posting about some personal concerns, but this issue us really starting to nag me and would appreciate any advice from any of you, and especially real-life experience from any of you how have already or are going through this.
Bit of recent background:
Some of you may have already read my threads con the death of my father in April of this year. I also posted a thread in July when my mum took an overdose trying to end her days. As a quick update on that, she spend 3 months in a psychiatric hospital in Dublin and was released about three weeks ago. First week or so seemed ok, but things are going down hill again.
Some "less" recent background.
My mum is 75 and has generally had good physical health. She became quite depressed after the death of her own mother just a couple of years before I was born. I am now told by my sisters (I'm the baby of the family with 12 years between me and the next youngest) I more or less saved her and the marriage which may have been on the rocks (on this note, in my lifetime I only saw very deep love between my parents). But well all know how much of strain depression can be on partners, family etc. Nevertheless, I think my mother never fully recovered from that nor was she correctly diagnosed.
My mother spent her whole life as a "house-wife" and was very dependent on my wonderful dad who took care of all the financial side of things and major decisions (my mother is in no way dim, just never really bothered getting involved). The past 15 years she took to be and spent an awful lot of time in bed, which my dad didn't like but never really pressured her. She is, and always has been a very timid person and a pretty bad eater. My dad was diagnosed with a rare disease in 2000 and managed to live nearly 6 years much to the surprise of the doctors, yet he was on oxygen and his final two years was on it 24 hours a day, and his last year or so was totally restricted to bed. We don't think mum ever accepted his illness.
As a side note, just like to emphasise I have always had a very special relationship with my mum and dad and spent a lot of time with them and many holidays abraod just the 3 of us as I was born so late on and my dad retired early when I was about 7, thus spent a lot of time with me, and to be honest he did many of what would be considered mum's duties.
So anyway, sadly dad passed away on April 24th just as he had wanted to, at home while asleep went into a coma and only lasted some until the evening of the morining my eldest sister discovered he was in a coma when trying to wake him for breakfast.
So mum was obviously very down, after being 52 years with my dad. In late July she took a major overdose, and again much to the surprise of the doctors, survived. She then spent 3 months in a psychiatric hospital, when she arrived she didn't do much there nor did they seem to do much with her, and suddenly she commenced an awful deterioiration, to such a point she was put in a closed ward and they started the rather contraversial ECT (electro convulsive treatment) on her. They stopped after only 3 sessions as she improved, but only improved to the state she was in when she was hospitalised. They seemed happy with this in the hospital and all of a sudden she was released, much to quickly in our opinion and that of our GP
She went home and was eating well again, getting up early every morning and going to bed at normal times for the first time in years. Doing a bit of house-work, going out for walks with her cousins (something she hadn't done in years). And then it all started to go down hill.
My youngest sister (12 years older than me) lives at home and takes care of her as her care-taker paid by the state. Now while she does a great job, my sister is very sociable while out, but at home she's always been very introverted, possibly typical of a spinster well into her 40's. She doesn't chat much, keeps to herself, and reads alot and watched tele at night in her own little TV
room. My eldest sister is a great support, but as is normal has her own life. I am living abroad. And we have a brother, but he doesn't really enter the equation.
My mother is very down again, and back in bed the past few days and has stopped eating. My sister's are talking about her being hospitalised again and suggesting a residence for the elderly. My younger sister has organised for me to meet the pyschiatric nurse who comes to visit her on a weekly basis (more or less).
Now I have my own opinions, but I don't want to appear to take over and want to be careful as I understand that as I live abroad, I'm not there all the time like my sisters.
My younger sister goes from feeling bad for her to just plain pi**ed off, which I understand as she's with mum 24/24, 7/7.
My elder sister believed we must be harsh with her and treat her like a child. This, while I usually agree with this sister, I disagree with... she's our mother, and she's not crazy. I think she's just miserable (sorry forgot to point out that after the ECT she now has amnesia covering all the time from the ady after dad's funeral right up until about 2 weeks before she was released from hospital. I mean, she was with her husband, our dad, for 52 years and they were ALWAYS together, the only time they were ever separated was when she was in hospital giving birth to all of us. And she was so very dependant on him. Now he's gone, and I understand how alone, how scared and how miserable she must feel.
I honestly feel that she needs encouragement. My sister who cares for her should maybe spend more time just chatting to her, bring her for a walk (which she never does, that's done by my other sister, brotherinlaw and cousins). I know my sister needs her own time, but maybe an hour in the evening watching TV
with her instead of retreating to her own TV
room upstairs (mum sleeps down-stairs). I also disagree that we should be shouting and ordering her what to do. And most of all, I DO
NOT like the idea that she may end up in a hursing home, which I know she doesn't want (nor would dad have) and that she doesn't really need it.
My wife would be open to her coming here, but it's not really practical as our house is already a bit small and we need to extend, but that will take time (due to €€€'s). What should I do? What can I do? Please give any suggestions or share your experience.
I'm a firm believer that we owe it to our elderly parents to be there from them in old-age after all the support they've given us, as we'll all be in the same situation at some stage.