Adult Children of Mentally ill Parents

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Adult Children of Mentally ill Parents
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Bi-polar/schizophrenic mother had heart attack.


I am 43 and have cared for my parents since 2005.

My father passed in 2008 of end stages Alzheimer's/dementia. He fell out of the shower after having a stroke; he passed while in respite care right before I needed to decide whether or not to remove his feeding tube.

I am currently caring for my 83 year old mother who is bi-polar/schizophrenic. Recently she had a heart attack; what we though to be her first heart attack, was found out to be her second one.

After being discharged from the hospital, my mother, Maxine, entered into a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation. My mother's paranoid thoughts are getting the best of her; she no longer trusts the food she eats from the facility and will only eat half of the time. She will often refuse food that I bring into her, even though it is her favorite foods. I was most shocked when she turned down a cup of Starbuck's coffee. She takes her medication sporadically, which is sending her into a mentally downward spiral. Today I visited mom and tried to coax her to take her medication; it was like she completely forgot how to swallow. The pills and the water literally fell out of her mouth.

This is my third or fourth time living through "one of mom's episodes", the first was when I was around 5 or 6 years old. I often live in fear as to what her trigger will be to cause a "bout"; too often it is her environment. I've always told both of my parents that I would keep them out of nursing homes as long as possible; it seems more inevitable that my mother will need to be in one. I am in school again, majoring in heart ultrasound (GPA 4.0 so far). I love my mother dearly, but school is very important to me right now. I know my mother cannot afford to go into a full-time facility and it pains me to think about what I need to do. It was my dream to graduate from school, obtain a career and financially take care of my mother within the comforts of her own surroundings. It's amazing how things never go as planned; life is funny that way.