Seeking caregiving advice

sm012023 Member Posts: 28 Member
edited January 2023 in Caregivers #1

I am at the moment taking care of my 85 y.o mother diagnosed with Metastatic stage 4 Cancer (primary being Uterine cancer). It has been 6 months since she has started her chemotherapy. The oncologist started her on 7th cycle yesterday. After she was diagnosed, I got a room built downstairs and also a shower was added to the half bath downstairs so that she does not have to climb upstairs anymore. All our rooms and bathrooms were otherwise upstairs.

Now, I work full time and have taken FMLA to attend to her during the day time for a couple of hours -- with regard to her shower, lunch or taking her for doc appts. So far, my son who also WFH is also able to help me now and then. My husband is a big support too but he works outside and is gone pretty much 10-11 hours in a day.

I would like to keep my mother at home as much as possible until her last breath. But at the same time, I am worried if we can handle it all especially if she deteriorates further. Like, once in a while, she has bathroom accidents and she either denies the accident or seems to have forgotten and I am not able to figure out which. Also, she has had a couple of falls in the bathroom and does not know how she fell.

Have any of you had to deal with situations like the above and if so, how did you try to solve it?

I have even toyed with the idea of keeping a video cam (with stick figures) to see what she is up to and what happens, but that would be very distracting for me during my work hours.

Another thought I have is investing (every month) in a medical alert device and that will catch the falls right away.

I am so confused as to what is the right thing going forward for my mom. I would love to keep her with me but at the same time, I want to be working full time too. So it has been scary to draw a line. And I am getting stressed and swamped. I have heard that as days go , the chemo effects could get worse?

Appreciate any advice you may have for me.

Thank you



  • Scrambler
    Scrambler Member Posts: 6 Member

    I am in a similar situation, and have been for over five years, with two elderly parents with stage IV cancers. My Dad passed away 1 1/2 years ago, fortunately without pain or shortness of breath. My Mom is now in hospice in our house.

    It's hard trying to figure out how to maintain a full time job and provide the best you can as a caretaker. The medical alert device is a great idea. The situation can change so much depending on how your parent responds to treatment, how well side effects can be managed. We had rough patches and then had periods of time which eased up, because we could handle the side effects and optimize their mobility. As much as you'd like to formulate a set plan, I think you have to ride the situation like waves. I think it helps to just reassess your plan on a weekly basis.

    Focusing on encouraging your mom to eat and drink well, if she can, will go a long way. Trying to optimize physical activity will help a ton too. Just having her walk short distances in the house can help the situation a lot. At some point, you might find that it would help to ask her doctor for an order for home PT and OT, if you find her physical abilities to be slipping.

    Try and find some ways to be good to yourself and replenish yourself too. I found that talking with a therapist helps, because sometimes a third party has new perspective and ideas about how to keep everything afloat while trying to take care of your mom, your family, work, and you.

    I wish the best for you and your family,