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.


You are so right saying:"behind closed doors". At times I would feel forgotten by the outside world. I too would get upset by outsiders. But maybe there trying to comfort or help you in some weird way. Honestly, my best thing I did was let it go in one ear and out the other. I had no time to be irritated by others, mom keep me busy. I found this site about a year ago, and it has helped me so much. I have found that I am not alone and yes there is others out there who are walking in my shoes as I speak. It is comforting to be among friends in caregiving. We can vent away on here, only to recieve comforting support.

You sound like a wonderful person to be there for both parents. When things get hectic, just try to step away if even for a moment and take a deep breathe. It has worked for me so many times. I can't promise you that things will get easier but finding a way to cope will get you thru the craziness.
Yellowfeever, thank you for your compassionate brought tears to my eyes and aroused such emotion in me. I have been bottling this up for so long. I didn't know the tears were there beneath the surface of my "strong public self". I feel guilty even talking about my situation because I don't have Dad living in my home and I feel like I do not have a right to complain about it. So many others have their elder living with them, and that is the biggest test of anybody's energy, and I so take my hat off to those caregivers. y I have had cancer and have medical problems of my own, and also being an only child, and also the fact that I have depression....all these factors contribute to my feeling such a burden even though my father is living in a care facility. Also the fact that Dad has dementia and a rage disorder.....this places a burden on my husband and me. I so appreciated your kind words, yellowfeever. Thank you! My best to you in your caregiving situation.... Your charge is lucky to have you.
It is no wonder you "have depression". It is most likely circumstantial, and you've got the circumstances.
I had my Mother with me for a year out of 3, and now she is in a residential care home, again. It is still time almost everyday that you have to carve out of "your life", so there is nothing easy about it. The constant focus and underlying strain does catch up with you, and there is no escaping it, unless someone else can take over. That is not realistic. At least you do NOT have to contend with siblings, as that is an aspect that can be very demoralizing for many here, as well.
You must separate yourself from the emotional situation. Pretend, focus on other interests, and remain as detached as you can--Fake it until you make it. It sounds like you may have been a victim of abuse along the way, considering your Dad's mental illness. It is what it is, and you are in a tough place.
I encourage you to come over to the "Grossed Out? Need to Vent"? thread, which you can find if you look over to your right under "Recent Community Activity".
there you will find sisters who will love and support you and one crazy guy who tells us jokes and stories every night. A faithful and fun bunch of wonderful Angels.
I think it's what the doctor ordered for you. Jamie, you, too, Sweetheart.
All we can do is be there for each other and work it out. when you KNOW you belong to a special group, it does wonders for your self-esteem, confidence, and your own mental health. As our Captain Bobbie says,"Vent and Live."
Hope to see you ASAP!!!!! BIG HUGS, Christina xoxo
Christina, thank you for your support! I love your advice about focusing on other interests and detaching....Thank you for that. And because of your advice I am going to go to a New Year's Party tonight even though I really don't feel like it. (-: You are a dear....Happy New Year to you and to others here.
Whoo Hoo, Anne!!!! Have a great time. Have a glass of champagne for me! I'm staying home with hubby, see if we can stay up until 9 am, which would be midnight in New York, which is my favorite place in the whole world.
Yes, sometimes we have to disregard how we "feel", and just do the right or healthy thing. Once you get involved in something you didn't think you wanted to do, you catch onto the energy. Surround yourself with loving and positive people.
Don't talk to them about your Dad or the drudgery--just talk to US about that!!! OK?
Have a great time!! Talk to you soon! Hugs, Christina xo
9 PM, of course, is what I meant. heehee
Anne, welcome back!!

"Need support, not criticism or judgment" should be the caregivers motto. There are very few places, outside of forums like these, where you will receive true empathy and sound advice. I have not found much compassion from family, and friends scatter...lost a few over the last 4 years. (but, then again, I have made new friends too who do not shy away from this phase in my life.)

It is so easy to say, just shrug it off, but when your spirit is depleted and your body is exhausted it is hard to muster the energy to explain or tell the "arm chair quarterbacks" to take a royal hike. Add to that the guilt derived from stereotypical notion that only women should take on the caregiving role and do it without "complaining," and you have a recipe for disaster.

What you are experiencing is something we all go through at some time. I call it "hitting the wall." Mine happened this summer. Your body, mind, and soul are screaming at you to stop and regroup. You cannot ignore these signs because they will REALLY try to get your attention by making you ill.

Try not to "do it all." If you Dad is in a nice facility, let the professionals do their job and you can do the daughter job. If there are days that you cannot handle a visit or conversation, don't do it. Think about quality rather than quantity time. Attend to your Dad's needs first - his wants can come at your convenience.

Overburdening yourself will accomplish nothing. Your Dad needs a healthy daughter to help him.

Lilli, thank you for your kind support and great advice! What you just said sounds exactly like what my mother would be saying to me if she were still here. ( She died in '08). I'll bet Mom is up there saying, "Yes, Lilliput! You tell her!" Am heading out to a New Year's Party.....We gotta take care of ourselves....(-: Happy New Year to All.
Lilliput, you are such a wise one! Your words are just what I needed! Thank you.

I have been reading here, not writing, because my mom is in AL and things are supposed to be easy now. After having cared for my mom at home, I know what it's like and I don't want to sound ungrateful to those who are still in the thick of the home day to day struggle.

AL is not a magic wand, that's for sure. I visit my mom and bring her lunch every other day. It's a 40 mile round trip as she wanted a facility that had an indoor smoking lounge (Minnesota) and it was the only one I could find. It's a gorgeous place full of really nice people along with a hefty price tag. My dad worked all his life to provide for her and I chose this place knowing he would want her to have the best. My husband and I are very middle class but I don't care if I don't see a dime of inheritance. I just want to know that she is well cared for. Sometimes I lie awake at night worrying that she will outlive their nest egg. It doesn't pay to borrow trouble though and I know God will see us through whatever comes in the days ahead.

Back to AL not being a magic bullet, my mom hates their food, so I still provide home cooked meals for all of her dinners which the CNA's heat up in the microwave. I bring her laundry home and do it here as their hot water wash and detergent makes things stiff and scratchy. (I do understand their need for that to sanitize things.) The list of shopping never ends. I try to anticipate her needs but there's always that one extra thing that has me shopping almost daily. Not to mention managing the finances, taxes, etc. Placing a loved one does not put one 'off the hook' by any means.

It is stressful in itself and your words helped me to recognize that as well as writing what I just wrote. I've felt like a spoiled brat feeling wiped out and stressed. After all! Your mom's in assisted living. What's your problem???

Thank you for helping me sort out my feelings. Guess I'm not just imagining things.
As some have said, just because your loved one is in a facility, that doesn't make you no longer a caregiver... in some ways it is harder as you are tethered to a place you have to go to anyway.... caregiving of and in itself is just hard regardless of the circumstances.... it is still emotionally and physically draining... and there are many threads here that will welcome you and listen to your story... we have all been there, the feelings are the same regardless of the circumstances... so welcome... you will not be judged here, you may be given some suggestions on how to deal with stress, etc, but not judged...
You have and still are doing a fantastic job, just don't forget to make YOU happy too..... It takes a lot of courage to place a loved one... it doesn't mean you don't love them, in fact it is a solid act of love.... there reaches a point that we can no longer do the best for them.... so just know you are not alone... lots of love and support on this sight...
Have a good time at the party tonight and be safe... hope we hear from you again.... thank you for helps us to not feel alone too....

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