How can I care for an elderly parent when it is difficult for me to see her age and decline. It is very sad for me and I take antidepressents

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I know that it is hard to watch, but keep in mind your loved one will not live forever! I am not saying this to hurt you, but the reality is our loved ones die. I had the privelege of caring for my Grandfather, who was precious to me. He was the only Grandfather I had ever known. I will always be thankful that I had that opportunity. Once your loved one is gone, you do not get to go back and do those things.. I would encourage you to get some help from a homecare agency, and do what you can. take care. J
I understand how you feel - I served as my mom's caregiver off and on for 21 years. Now, I would like to help you shift your paradigm a bit because I think it will empower you to accomplish this all important task of serving your parent as caregiver - instead of focusing upon the fact that it is difficult for you to see the decline, instead focus upon the fact that this is an opportunity for you to serve, care for, and "protect" a parent during a time of tremendous need. Imagine, if you will, how tenderly they cared for you when you were vulnerable as an infant/child. Don't be afraid to give them assurances they need if they become emotionally clingly - if we were as vulnerable as they are, we would welcome the same. Resist the temptation to click off emotionally by saying they are just seeking sympathy and I am not going to give it to them. For some reason, it is natural for a caregiver to dig their heels in and refuse to give in these types of indications. Go on and give it to it - you may be surprised at how little it actually takes to cheer them up and how long they can run on a small bit of encouragement and love from a caregiver (say I love you mom or dad and I'm here for you, we'll get through this together). This is a difficult time for your aging parent and they typically have many unexpressed fears and concerns about their mortality. They will really appreciate it if you take on a protective quality b/c they really need effective advocates during this delicate season of their lives. I recommend the following resources as a source of encouragement, strength, and insight for you as a caregiver: (i) has very encouraging broadcasts that will help you to shift your paradigm; and "Your Health" with Richard Becker, M.D. provides invaluable insights and is broadcast daily on the family network from noon - 1pm and from 5-6 am.
I am caring for my mom right now. I have never thought how hard it is to watch her decline I am always focusing on how hard it is to take care of her. I think if you have help you can do it. Don't even try alone. If you don't stay close to her you will regret it in the end.You can stay close to her even if she is in a assisted living home or nursing home. Do what is best for the both of you. Being a full time caregiver is hard . What ever you decide . Always stay close so.
I so agree and enjoyed reading the wisdom of each person's reply. For me, the answer as I have grown in my full-time, stay-at-home caregiver role is to not look at the enormity of the task, or the medical decline. Learning to let go by living your caregiving journey one-day-at-a-time is the ultimate lesson, at least for me. That is very liberating once you get there. The larger picture will always be a bummer, and there is no changing that, so if it is not within my control to change, I view it simply as being what it is; a harsh fact of life. Precious moments are better than an unknown horizon, hands down.

The other very real thing in the situation you describe is to allow and accept that you will have days of mourning long before your loved one ever dies, and it is quite ok to experience those moments of reality and healing tears. Don't think about others and what all they think you need to be doing and where you need to be; just allow yourself to be in the present moment, including with your emotions. It is so healthy and so healing.

May God bless you and your dear Mom. As I see my own caregiving journey, this is an opportunity of a lifetime that will never come my way again. It is worth it to me even if I have to start all over in my life, which is 99 percent certain at this point. No one has forced me to do this, and if my parent dies before I do, I shall have no regrets. Same as I felt when my Dad died. The only thing that remains is eternal love.

You are not alone, as you can tell from the answers which precede my own reply. Many of us wholeheartedly understand the feelings you have shared in your post. Proud of you for expressing your feelings of pain.
Thank you for reaching out. When I responded to your post originally, I missed the ending where you mention the anti-depressants.

In terms of undergirding you so that you will be able to run on as a caregiver, I offer the following suggestion: There is a ministry in Colorado Springs, Colorado by the name of ANdrew Womack ministries. He has a daily television and radio broadcast that covers a variety of topics and is scripturally based.

My favorite series is entitled, "harnessig your emotions". All of his broadcasts are archived on his website and available on-demand, whenever it's convenient for you, free of charge.

His website is Once you get to the website, please click on the tab entitled "TV Broadcasts", and then go to the left hand column under "podcasts" and click on 2001 archives, and then go down to weeks 33 and 34. You will find two weeks worth of 30 minutes broadcasts that I believe will encourage you tremendously.

Try it and see - you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. My personal experience was that watching the teaching on harnessing your emotions was extremely uplifting in a substanital and longlasting way.

I will keep you in my prayers. We caregivers and former caregivers have to stick together. (smile)
Thank you all for your advice. I love my Mom so much and I feel like I am grieving already and I want to be strong to care for her. When she is gone I will regret all these feelings but it is so very hard.
I feel the same strong loving devotion to my Mom, who has always been my lifetime best friend, so I understand. Knowing when you have done your best, you will come to a place of peace if your Mom dies before you do. You may be surprised to find you have very little regrets, if any, when that day we so dread comes around. You and your Mom are very blessed to have each other. Yours is a sweet spirit.
I thought all the responses were compassionate with valuable information to offer. As an eldercare professional I see daily the pain felt by family members as they watch their elder parents move through the sometimes difficult changes old age brings to them. I have felt it as I watched my own mother become frail and unwilling, or perhaps unable in her own mind, to enoy all that life has to offer. Lean into the pain. Allow yourself to feel it and you will be able to let it go. Deny it, stuff it down, hide it, and it will tenaciously attach itself to your psyche and never let go. Allow yourself to enjoy the small joyful moments as they will become memories you will treasure along side of your memory of your mom as a healthy, vibrant individual. She is still herself inside. She is not her body. She is not a failing mind. They are part of her shell. Connect with her at the soul level. You'll both benefit.
How beautiful and so true, LoisW!
Maybe you can look at the "big picture". How much more "right" it is that you are caring for her than she having to care for you in a declining state. Also enjoy her many accomplishments, the things you two have shared, this time in her life is one of them, and you...are you raising a child who will concievably be your caregiver? What confidence and kindness was taught and instilled in you that made this time possible? Can you relate some of the trials of your responsibilities with her to some she might have undergone while raising you or caring for her own aging parents, in-laws or friends? I am a nurse and seeking a graduate degree so that I can teach other nurses and I find storytellling to be a most beneficial type of teaching and therapy... I had an elderly patient (in ER) brought in by her daughter for increasing weakness and pain in her back. The daughter was probably in her late 60s. Both she and her mother were well groomed (mother lived in an assisted living complex, daughter made daily visits) and had the appearance of retired professional women, later found out that mother was a full time homemaker, widowed 10 years earlier and daughter was a farmer's wife with 2 grown children. Daughter was embroidering a beautiful soft, pale pink robe, made by her for her mother, who was dressed in a soft blue gown and duster (also made by the daughter). I commented on the intricacy of the design and quality of the embroidery, she smiled and said her mother had made so many beautiful dresses and clothes for her and her dolls and children while they were growing up that it only seemed natural for her to put her training to use and see that her mother was seeing the fruits of her labor. I think you can maybe combine the stress and fear with pleasant memories to get by form day to day. Mothers don't last forever but your memories will, those of the past and of today. Bless you and enjoy your mother, mine is now gone but my memories are so precious. Allow yourself some breaks (who knows she may need some too!) and smile together when you return. Cheryl K.

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