I'm worn out and feel a meltdown coming soon!

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Hi Everyone. Thank you ALL so much for being here. This has been the most wonderful support group! My heart goes out to all of you! It's SO hard to be a (or the only) caretaker! I'm 49 and am totally alone to care for my mom and s-dad. I feel like just yesterday I was young, carefree, riding my bike, being with friends and remember the days where I never worried about being a caretaker for my mom. It makes me so sad to know that those carefree days are gone. I'm afraid of what the future will bring. I have no other family except my mom. I'm totally alone to care for my mom and s-dad. Both are in very bad shape with emphesema, severe heart and circulation problems, etc... At present, my mom is very ill. She has a defibrillator to regulate her heart and to shock her if her heart should stop again. She also has PAD (peripheral artery disease), which is severe. She had 3 Stents put into her legs last week. The Stent in the left leg did not work, so she needs to have an arterial/vein bypass done in her left leg. Today her left leg is very swollen and blue! Some of the blue color is from echymosis, but it looks very bad. She will call her Vascular Surgeon tomorrow (Monday) morning. I offered to take her to the ER, but she refused. I'm the only person my mom and s-dad will allow to help them. I feel that I can't take much more though. I'm on disability myself b/c of chronic pain conditions. I'm exhausted to the point of falling asleep standing up! I can't eat b/c I'm now having stomach pains. My own pain is awful. I'm having panic attacks and feel VERY depressed. "Friends" are long gone. There's so much stress in this house that no one stops in. I'd love to have just some emotional support. I think people are afraid that I might ask them to help in some way if they stop in. I wouldn't. I just need emotional support desperately. I'm taking care of ALL of the household chores. I'm working harder now than when I worked a full time job as a nurse. At least then I could come home and rest after my shift was over. Now there is no rest! Both my mom and s-dad are in such bad shape that I never know if they'll be alive when I get up the next morning. I'm scared! I've been getting bad stomach pains, chest tightness and feel like my life has become a train wreck. I just need support and need to talk with others who know what it's like to have the pressure and stress of being a caretaker. Thank you all so much for being here, although I'm sorry for the stress that you're all under. My mom and s-dad can afford to have help come in, but refuse. Any feedback, guidance, friendship and support would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks Everyone... Kathy


Get help in, even if they object. Explain to them that YOU need the help or there won't be anyone there to help them.

Let them know that the person(s) that come to help YOU will be screened and qualified, but PLEASE don't put this off any longer.

I am not a counselor, but I didn't want to let your post go unanswered. I do hope that some of the 'resident experts' will add to my post to help you decide what should be done next.

Start interviewing people that can come in and help you, before your stress gets any worse.

Be strong!
hey cutie it is a tough road
Kathy ... Please get yourself some help. As you know the trauma of being a nurse is nowhere near the emotional trauma of treataing your own ill parents. I don't know how you do it. Please get some help either in or out of your home. After months of stress I have my mother in an assisted living and it is much easier even for her and finally my own family is almost back to normal. If they can afford it .. do it now !
Would your parents listen to advice from a doctor? Maybe their doctor can insist that they need extra help. Even if he has to say it is because he thinks you can't do it alone, don't take it personally and let him tell them that. You could also tell them that your doctor insists you slow down and take some breaks.

My situation isn't nearly as bad as yours, but I work full time and my mom, who has Alz lives with me. About 10 months ago we had a caregiver start coming in for just 3 hours a day during the week. In addition to companionship for mom, she took over helping mom shower, cleaning mom's room, and doing her laundry. Those things only took me 5 hours or so a week, but just having that taken off was such a HUGE relief.
If you get some help how are you going to pay for it? You said they can afford it. But how are you going to get them to pay for something they don't want.

I am asking because I have the same problem. I need help caring for my mother but I don't have any money and she does. I have to turn her upside down and squeeze her to get her to pay for her health insurance. I can't imagine her releasing funds for a help (a Stranger!) to come in.

Let me know what kind of arrangements you make if you can get someone in. They wear you down so that it sometimes seems easier to keep on going rather than exert the energy to fight about a much needed change.

Good luck to you and keep us posted on your progress or not.
Hi Everyone. Thank you SO much for all of your replies! It means so much to keep connected with others who are like myself. It helps to not feel so alone with the huge STRESS that goes along with taking care of another person. I have talked to my mom and s-dad on several occasions about Assisted Living, or getting some help to come into the house and have told them that I CANNOT KEEP GOING ON THE WAY I HAVE BEEN B/C I HAVE TOO MUCH PAIN MYSELF AND HAVE TOLD THEM THAT I'M JUST EXHAUSTED! Still, they refuse to allow anyone into their home to help. It doesn't seem to matter to them that I'm suffering. They've seen me crying on several occasions b/c of the pain that I have, and they say nothing. They know that I can't afford to get a place of my own right now, so I guess that makes them feel more safe. They ignore my tears most of the time, which makes me feel even more alone. I know they need help, but wish they'd see what everything I'm doing for them is doing to me. It's bringing me down fast. I s/w a social worker the last time my mom was in the hospital, but I was told that since my mom refused any type of care at home, that they weren't able to do anything. I can't get any help as long as my mom and s-dad refuse it. They don't tell their doctors how much help they need at home. I guess they just expect me to take care of everything. I have nowhere to go to get a rest. I have no other family and people who I thought were my friends have basically abandoned me. I don't mean that to sound selfish. I think they probably were afraid that I'd ask them for help of some sort, which I never would have. All I ever asked was for emotional support...for someone to talk to and vent frustrations to. It sadden's me that I've lost friends b/c of the situation I've been put into.

I want to thank you personally Maggiesue!!! Your post said exactly what I've been trying to say, but didn't know how to say it. My mom and s-dad absolutely refuse to allow any other help come into help out and they don't tell doctors or social workers how bad things really are at home. They won't pay for anyone to come and help. I'm not their Power of Atty or anything like that, so I have no say. It's their house. I rent a room from them. I'm now taking care of most everything for them b/c I live here and have no money or means to get out. I have no money at all to pay for anyone to come in and help...and they wouldn't allow anyone in anyway. I'm at a loss and feel myself becoming more stressed and more physically and emotionally drained than I have words to describe. I see a councelor once a week and have 1 regular family practice doctor, which is all that I can afford, and both have told me that "I must get away from the stress I'm under 24/7 or I'll continue to go downhill." How can I find any peace? Sadly, the only peace in my future would be if I fall over from exhaustion or illness myself. I'm so depressed...I often pray I won't wake up in the mornings...but I do, and then have to take care of things all over again. I desperately need a vacation... I'm so thankful for my dog, Bailey. He's the light of my life.

I'd love to keep in touch with others here. How's that for trying not to sound needy? LOL... It really helps to know that there are others out there like myself. Bless you all!!!

kathy i understand your pain, my mom has several stents both legs, colon, and renal stents..her dementia/alz is getting bad..i am all alone with her, my sister doens't visit or help in anyway..it has been this way almost a year. I have had several "meltdowns" and all the post reply's are correct..it is certainly a process that takes you places within yourself you never imagined.. but......what you are doing is the right thing and at the end of the day....you know you have done the best you can do and pray about and tomorrow is another day...good luck and keep in touch...This is wonderful website!!
I think a lot of elders have no interest in the state of their caretaker. Maybe fear keeps them from even considering that the caregiver is vulnerable to distress and sickness. Maybe it's just plain old self-absorption. But they will eat you up and take no responsibility for what happens to you.

Also friends tend to disappear. I had a friend who took care of her mother who eventually died. I called her once a week to check up on what was going on. Now that I'm in a caregiver situation that friend has disappeared.

Caretaking has so many negative connotations. Sickness and death are not high on anyone's list. I guess people just don't like to be around it. I know I don't. But here we are!

If you can't get any help to come in the house, I would give your mother and s-dad the info on who to call for help. Then I would slow down. Get "sick" and stay in bed all day. Let them open some cans of Ensure if they get hungry.

One thing I've found with my mother is she is very good at using people and if I poop out or do not deliver satisfactory performance, she'll find some one else.

For family gatherings, we cross a bridge over the Missouri River to get to my son's house. I used to have fantasies about stopping the car and jumping off the bridge. Then I pushed the fantasy a little farther and realized that my mother would be totally out of touch with my distress and I could imagine her wailing to the rescuers that there was no one to take care of her now. As I practiced my boundaries the fantasy began to change and now when we go across the river, I imagine stopping the car and throwing her over into the water. Hey you get your warm fuzzies where you can.
Hi Willow~ Yes it definately sounds you are burned out-to say the very least. Is it possible to have someone come in and take over -and give you some sort of rest? If so -just do it. Your parents may resist such help at first, and you will have to explain that you need some much needed 'me time'-and they will be in good hands. By making such arrangements, you will become better in your caregiving role, and also you will have some much needed space for yourself. You may want to contact your local agency on aging as well for their advice as well.
If possible, get back to us here at this forum.
Best to you and your family,
Wow Kathy! Start looking for help! You can't let your health go because they are stubborn. Start calling services in your area, and talk to their doctor for help in telling them that you can't do it alone anymore. Once you bring someone in to talk to them, maybe they will realize what this has done to you.
No one wants to let strangers into their home, but they will have to, or lose you and have no one.
Don't discuss it with them, just make an appointment to get someone there for a home visit. Their doctor can set up a home visit from the local VNA for weekly visits, and they can also help you find someone to come in and clean, etc. once a week, and stay with them while you get out.
Please don't wait for permission. Just get it done for your sake.

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