How Do You Avoid Burnout?

My 82-year-old mother just moved in with me after a bad fall. She broke both bones in her lower leg and after surgery had to go to rehab. She lived with my brother in her home, but after 5 falls resulting in breaking bones in 2 years, it was decided she would be safer with me. She is very resentful at not being able to go home with my brother and is very combative with me about everything. Now 3 weeks in, I am just tired. She doesn't sleep well at night and wants to get up every couple of hours. I had to put a guard on the bed to ensure she doesn't get up on her own but I'm not getting any sleep and am feeling resentful that she sleeps most of the day. I can't sleep then because she will get up, or try to whenever she sees I'm not right there. Honestly, I don't know what to do about it. She's very mean to me all the time and when I call her on it she says fine I'll go live with your brother. Her safety won't allow that and she doesn't get it. Any suggestions would be appreciated?


Mental Health


14 Answers

Most HelpfulNewest FirstOldest First


Mar 31, 2021

To avoid burnout;

Put out the fire.

Quote by Penny Reid: “Don't set yourself on fire trying to keep others warm.”

You are already on fire. Your Mother's needs are extinguishing your own & resentment will start to smolder.

Many of us have stepped in to help... but found the needs just too great. It happens.

Time to change the plan.

This is usually by adding oodles of home help (if possible/appropriate) or moving Mom into a residential care facility.

Good luck with your new plans.

Helpful Answer (9)


Mar 31, 2021

What a great quote!



Mar 30, 2021

If your mother is a competent adult, you should allow her to live where she pleases, i.e., with your brother.

No one wants to be told what to do, even if it is for their own safety..

Helpful Answer (6)


Mar 30, 2021

If you're already experiencing burnout after only 3 weeks, you're in big trouble. Does your brother want her to go back to her home with him, or is he over it all too? I think if it were me, I would let her go back to her home, and let the chips fall where they may. If God forbid she has another fall, she may end up having to move into a nursing facility, which might actually be the best thing for her and her safety. You don't deserve to have to put up with her meanness, and you certainly don't need to be going without sleep. That's not good or healthy for anyone. Please take care of yourself, and next time mom says "fine I'll go live with your brother," take her up on it and help her pack. Wishing you the best.

Helpful Answer (6)


Apr 1, 2021

It seems like your situation happens all the time. The sons are golden to mom and can do no wrong while the daughters who actually do for her get treated like garbage. You're not alone. There are many of us.

Your mother will not listen to you about your house being the safer option for her to be living in. No matter how well you explain this to her or how kind and patient you are with her, she will deliberately misunderstand and continue the terrible behavior towards you. Talk to your brother about what the situation was like when she was with him. Was he staying up all night long because mom kept getting up every hour? My guess is no. Did she behave abusively to him and not allow him a moment to himself because she demanded every second of his life? No on that one too because the resentment, anger, and abusive behavior are saved for you, and there has to be a hard NO on putting up with that.

Get your brother to explain to her why she can't live with him anymore. Then you tell her straight that living at your place is the last option for her. The next will be a nursing home.

I'm sorry to say but sometimes seniors need some tough love from their families when they start behaving like your mother is.

In the meantime, bring in some home/health caregivers to keep her up during the day. Or look into adult daycare for her. This will keep her from sleeping all day. If the behavior and living situation doesn't improve then you'll have to her placement in a care facility. It doesn't make you a failure as a caregiver either.

Helpful Answer (5)

Reply to BurntCaregiver


Mar 30, 2021

Sounds like your mother is suffering from dementia, what with staying up all night, sleeping all day, being mean and combative in general. Why is she 'safer' living with you? If she wants to go back to her own home, providing someone is with her all day, why not hire an Occupational Therapist to come in and tell you what needs to happen to safety proof the house for her return? Once those changes are made, she can go back home WITH proper care, especially if she's found to have dementia, b/c folks suffering from dementia cannot be left alone.

If you're tired after 3 weeks of dealing with her, you need to figure out alternate arrangements. First, I'd get her evaluated to see what exactly you're dealing with. Is she suffering cognitive impairment? What level of care does she require? 24/7? Then you go from there. Back home with caregivers or is your brother willing to stay with her all the time? Falls happen NO MATTER where an elder lives, by the way, even with safety measures in place. My mother has fallen 69x and it's been nobody's fault but her own. She does things 'her way' which means she takes NO precautions, pays NO attention, and would fall if she lived in a padded room! She lives in Memory Care now, where it's like a fortress, but she's taken 9 falls in the past 2 weeks alone.

Figure out what's best for mom AND for you. If you don't want to house her (and I wouldn't either), then figure out what Plan B is here, asap.

Good luck & Godspeed!

Helpful Answer (4)


Mar 30, 2021

Oh boy, this is hard on all of you.

I am so sorry that you are struggling with this. Of course, you are tired. Caregiving is extremely exhausting.

I am quite sure that your brother was tired too.

Her falls are concerning. Falls are dangerous. I found it terrifying every time my mom fell. As you know, injuries can happen in falls.

Your mom wants to live in her own home. Your brother sounds as if he has already burned out.

Your brother is concerned about the house.

You are having difficulty caring for your mom. She’s blind and needs assistance with everything. She has injuries from her falls.

Have you called anyone to help, such as Council on Aging in your area?

Or perhaps someone that aids the blind population in your area. Do you live in a large city or metro area or a small town?

Your mom needs to have an assessment done on her needs.

She may need to move into a facility. You aren’t abandoning her if you place her in a facility. You can visit and you will be able to sleep at night.

Best wishes to you and your family.

Helpful Answer (3)


Mar 30, 2021

Mom is blind and needs help going to the bathroom or anywhere really, and my brother doesn't help her do those things. He will let her sit in wet pants for hours and she gets uti"s a lot. She is also diabetic and needs proper meals that she doesn't get there. They have lived together all his life and he is tired of it all really. I'm in the process of getting poa but her and my brothers' names are on the title of the house and he's afraid Medicaid will take it from him so he won't apply for it. I've talked to a lawyer about a quick deed to get Mom's name off the title so I can apply for Medicaid for her. She has a lot of other medical problems that the family feels I can address better. But I don't want to feel stuck I want to enjoy her last years with her. People tell me I have to let go of the little things, that maybe I'm trying too hard to do it all.

Helpful Answer (2)


Mar 30, 2021

Who is her PoA? Has she ever had a test or diagnosis of cognitive impairment or memory loss? As BarbBrooklyn noted, if she is mentally competent she can go live where she wants. But "she doesn't get it" which is probably one sign that she has cognitive decline. One condition of her living with anyone should be for her housemate to also be her PoA. Without a PoA and an inevitable medical crisis highly likely in her future (or cognitive), it would take someone with legal guardianship to manage her affairs. If she doesn't have the funds for a facility you can help her apply for Medicaid. That is another separate discussion. For now please clarify if anyone has PoA for her and if she's ever been diagnosed so that the responders can give you appropriate suggestions. Thanks.

Helpful Answer (1)


It is necessary for your brother to back you up and reinforce the importance of your mother cooperating with your care plan.

Helpful Answer (1)


Your mother is suffering from not only physical pain but mental pain in realizing her everyday, normal life is over. She has lost her independence and her home, others are controlling her life. No wonder she is disagreeable. While I and others see what you are doing as heroic care by taking your mom into your home, she sees it as a pretty bad event in her life. She is taking it out on you; you don't deserve that, but you are the handiest person. I am sorry you are going through this. What I said may not help, but I am hoping your love for your mother is not destroyed by this, and maybe letting her know you understand her perspective might help her not see you as the bad guy.

Bruce Webb is a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) and has an extensive network of senior-related referrals.

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