Wow! I just found this thread.
I am still taking care of my mother. She turned 74 on Friday. Mom had a stroke in 1999. In 2001, my sister told me I was to take care of Mom, because she didn't want to any more. I found a home we both could live with, just outside of town in the country.
It was very difficult combining two very different households into one. Mom's taste in decor is Early-American Yard Sale (no two items in her home ever matched). My tastes are more refined with matching furniture, drapery, etc. It was quite the mayhem for awhile. Then my niece returned to our home at age 12 and I raised her again. My sister "is not cut out to be a mother" (her words, spoken to her children... God forbid!). I learned long ago to open my heart and home as Jesus taught us to do.
After a fall 4 years ago, Mom has been bedridden. While it has been a struggle, due to my own physical issues, we have been making it work. For the Americans, look into CAP Care (Community Alternative Programs). It has helped by providing payment for Home Health Aides, Respite Relief (paid help so you can "get away" when necessary), medical supplies not covered by Medicare (diapers & incontinent supplies, etc.). The program in North Carolina has a waiting list. To be blunt, an opening occurs when someone on the program dies.
CAP Care is designed to keep people out of nursing homes by providing an alternative at home. The theory is that it is less expensive to keep your loved one at home than to place them in a nursing home. Each state has varying requirements for the program, but it may be worth checking into it.
Our family has a history of Alzheimer's Disease from both sides of my family. Mom and I are both taking Aricept, as a preventive to Alzheimer's. I think Mom will outlive me, although I hope not. Mom only has me to depend upon to take care of her.
I won't mention names, because this person is a friend of mine, but one of our own TrekBBS
members lost a loved one in December. This person has been their primary caregiver and needs the prayers of those who pray. This person has been a great support to me over time and I shall forever be grateful.