Need Support, not Criticism and Judgment

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I need to share that I am feeling worn down because of the lack of support "out there". When I need support, I feel that what I get are comments or suggestions from the Peanut Gallery about what I could/should be doing for my elderly father. This is depressing and not helpful to me. It is so easy for others looking in to see what more could be done for Dad, but I am the one who has to make it happen. People don't mean to be "not helpful" this way....they just don't understand. The fact that my father is in a care facility can add to the pressure on me because people think that this must be so easy for me. I am an only child and am responsible for making sure Dad is happy, and I try to the best of my ability to do that. But after years of helping Mom and Dad ( with two moves, then helping while Mom was dying, and now overseeing Dad's care) I am really feeling it.....I feel depleted. I don't want to burden friends with talking about this stuff. Talking about dementia and caregiver fatigue is not something people want to hear about, and I don't blame them. I've been trying to tough it out alone, but decided today I need to talk in this online group. My father has dementia/psychiatric issues and this is what makes it difficult to keep him satisfied and happy. No one knows what goes on "behind closed doors"....the angst my husband and I have experienced in working to make various things happen for my Dad, all in an effort to keep him happy. I will see this through until the end....I will not fail my Dad because I love him with all my heart. But I have to admit, my energy reserves are very very low. Thank you in advance for your support. I know you get it.

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I just wanted to say "thank you" to the caregivers who posted here and tell you that you helped me so much. Since the day I first reached out and posted on this thread, I am feeling so much better. I have realized that it is not good to bottle up stress for too long, and that it is important to ask for help when we need it. And that it is not weak to ask for help. It didn't take much! Just a few nice comments and suggestions like the ones you gave me. Thanks!
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Anne, I too gotten so close to my mom even though see was miles aways mentally at times. Mom became my best friend. We had our own communication that no one else would understand. Yes, I had my dismay at times but looking back now the rewards out weigh the bad. I couldn' t imagine my life without being here for her.

Today is the viewing for mom as I gather my thoughts quietly this morning and reflect back only joy feels my heart. I am bothered though with what my siblings are going to do at the funeral home.Since mom passed I spoke with my brother about 20 mins and he relayed info to my sister. Neither one of them could swallow their pride and resentment enough to show at funeral home for arrangments. So I did it alone, but hey I did everything for mom alone. They washed their hands of mom 2years ago, the best thing I can say about that is the heading of your post: "I need support, not criticism nor judgment". I have adopted that as my current motto. When comments are made I will keep those words in mind. I pray those words will give me the strength to look the other way and only acknowledge the support.

To all HAPPY NEW YEAR, MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND GIVE YOU THE STRENGTH TO TAKE EACH DAY FOR WHAT IT IS! MANY PRAYERS TO ALL MY FRIENDS HERE!!!
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Hey, Windy, Christina, Lilliput and others.....Yes, we did the count-down last night to midnight and there was nothing but positive spirit in the room....just what the doctor ordered like you said. (-:
Christina, your suggestions of the little things really resonates with me. As my Dad recedes further into dementia, I am noticing that what you say is so true. it really doesn't take anything grand to make him happy. He and I have a favorite activity where I pull up a chair and look through his cards with him....he saves all his correspondence to show me. You mentioned the See's candy....My Dad likes that too! (we get him the sugar-less kind), And then the "extra kiss" you mentioned...what a beautiful, tender idea.

There is something I am noticing that is happening which I never knew could or would happen.....For three years, since Mom's death, I have been caring for Dad, and his dementia has steadily gotten worse. It is getting harder and harder to "get through" to him and to exchange love....at least it FEELS like it's harder to exchange love. But lo and behold, just recently I am aware of the fact that my relationship with my father has actually grown and deepened, even as there seems to be so little "real" relating going on. When I think back on the times when I'd leave his room and sit in the stairwell and cry, thinking " He is suffering from dementia and cannot experience the emotion and joy he once could, and is more prone to loneliness and depression.....Why?"..... But then, as caregivers, we can look back and see that over time our relationship with our loved one has been as important as ever. And that love HAS been exchanged, even though we can't always see it.
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That is it, windy. Easy Schmeezy, warm and kind. Ahhhhhh. Blessings to you and your family. Happy New Year with Love, to all.
Hugs, Christina xo
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Anne, that is so wonderful that you got to relax and ring in the New Year! Hope you had some good bubbly and some good laughs. It sure does help one's outlook to kick back once in awhile. You certainly deserved it!

Like you and Christina, I mailed very few cards this year, mostly just ones to my mom's distant friends that didn't know my dad had passed away. With the internet and e-mail I keep in touch with the friends that matter. Christina, you are right about relationships and appreciating the small things in life. Those are the things that make up the big picture.

I hear you Anne about pushing through doing extra things at Christmas. Our son is 15 and I wanted to make things 'normal' this year. Sure took the wind out of my sails but I'm glad I did it. The three inches of pine tree needles are now gone thanks to my husband's help. There's a lot of empty, dusty shelves where the Christmas stuff was, but uffda, I'm going to put my feet up and figure that out in the new year. Shelves, Schmelves, this woman is taking it easy this evening.

Warm and kind thoughts to everyone as we begin 2012.
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Hey Anne!! I thought of you last night as I snuggled in bed at 9 pm California time, but midnight New York time:) So GLAD you had a good time! That is what life is all about: Live while you are able. Amen?
Guess what? I skipped cards this year, too. Time and honest discussion is what is important with all relationships. If it isn't with certain people, then maybe that relationship is just for a season. We gravitate to the people who share our values.
I know that finally, in my Mother's quintessential life, she appreciates the simple things: a hug, a piece of See's candy, a walk outside in her wheelchair, with a stop to make sure she is covered, her feet are on the footrests, and an extra kiss; following up with a good drink of water, and some music playing in her room, a peeled and sliced apple to share.
There is so much unnecessary stuff that we worry about. When it comes down to what's important, it is quite simple. Cheers, and Happy New Year, Dear One:)
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Golfhard, you are doing a great job for your mother!
The guilt issue is an important one for us to address. In my case at least, it can creep up on me.....I think I will have it corralled away, and then it appears again....and I notice that I am feeling guilty that I didn't do such-and-such for my father. The fact of the matter is that he would love it if I would call and visit him every single day, and bring him all kinds of "goodies". But I noticed that he gets used to that fast, and then I start feeling exhausted.....so I cut back on calls and visits to a reasonable level where I can manage. But the holidays placed a lot of extra tasks upon me, and upon you and others, and that is what pushed me to edge over the last two weeks. Wrapping presents, planning and cooking holiday meals.......I did skip cards this year.......but there were some things I just pushed myself to do and make happen. The New Year's Party last night was fantastic and I had a wonderful time! felt good to take time to nurture myself.....thanks for all of your advice.
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Mom has lived with us for 6 years. 3 yrs ago she had a heart attack, they did surgery (stent) and it wiped her out..before she was on the treadmill at 89...no lie!
She went to rehab and I was hitting the wall 2nd brother just died and my daughter made me promise to leaver her there 6 months to gain her strength back and give me R&R. Well it was no walk in the park. If I didn't go everyday I felt guilty. When I was there I was anxious because she kept wanting to know when she could come home. She has been back now for several years and slowly going down. Everyone wonders why I don't put her in NH. That would break her heart and it would not relieve me anyway. So even us that do have them still home understand....the caregiving, stress, guilt, etc doesn't go away just because they are not at your home 24/7. I'd rather have her here where I won't worry about what is going on...even tho' it is taking a toll on me.
And lack of support is probably the hardest thing I deal with. No one wants to hear about it...and I feel such a sense of lonliness - even in a crowded room.
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Certainly, Lilli there is guilt involved on my part. When my father died, my mom wished to remain in her own home in a town over 200 miles from me. We tried the Visiting Angels routine but she didn't like that. There were also the issues of home maintenance on a 50 year old house. There was no way it would work as my mom refuses to make phone calls herself even, not to mention her inability to come to a stand by herself! That was when I offered to take her in at our home.

Now that she is in an ALF 200 miles from all of her friends, she receives no visitors at all besides my little family. She still swears she could have made it work staying in her own home had she known 'I would do this to her.'

But you're right now that I think about it and write it all down. I didn't 'do' this to her. It's not my fault my dad died and she has severe osteoporosis and broke her knee three times. None of those things were or are in my control.

I did the best I could for her considering the circumstances. Now I need to do what is best for me. After a year of tremendous stress, I'm just tired of the fight of dealing with her grasp on me. We're finally getting snow here and I'm going to use that as my opportunity to lessen the frequency of my visits. She was always terrified of driving in the snow, despite growing up in the northern plains. The roads might have to be icy a little more often. I know, I know, it's game-playing but whatever works, works. I learned from the master (sigh).

That approach doesn't remove the issue of guilt, however. I'm realizing that I need counseling to address that fire breathing dragon. No one ever expects at the age of 50, or however old, to be dealing with mommy issues. Just writing that makes me cringe. I guess I should parse it in relationship terms.

Thanks so much for your advice and wonderful words. I feel a sense of relief and such support from all of you special and understanding people here.

Happy New Year to each and every one of you!

Love,

Windy
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oops....typos galore....need an "edit" function.... :o)
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