New To Full Time Caregiving

Started by

I'm glad a friend of mine who has a 35 year old disabled son suggested this site. I am so exhausted emotionally and physically I can barely type. I've only had my Mom living with me for a few weeks, but I've been taking care of her part time for over a year, and in smaller ways for 7 years.
We bought an Amish farm, with a lovely big house, and had a special bathroom put in, and made a really nice space for my mother. Up until just over a month ago, she showered and dressed herself, could grab herself a snack, do a few dishes, etc. It seems like almost overnight, she lost her capability of self care, and now that she's moved in, it is almost full care. We thought she had a stroke, but an MRI was normal for her age. It's all happened so fast, and I'm shocked every day by the continued downward spiral. I am very sad, and I feel hopeless and trapped. I read on here that these are normal feelings, but I really hate getting up in the morning and facing another day. Even worse than that, is I feel ashamed that I'm a wreck. I have seen and read about people being caregivers for years and years. My friend has done it with her son for 35 years. He is autistic, diabetic, and blind. I just feel really bad about myself. I have a wonderful, supportive husband that helps with her care, and a woman that comes in twice a week for 4 hours and cooks, and sits with Mom. My husband is semi-retired, so I can also get out when he's here. I should be grateful, but I just feel overwhelmed. I'm hoping that this is a very painful adjustment period. Maybe someone would share how they felt in the very beginning of their caregiving. Thank you so much.



Welcome to We hope that you find this site helpful and enjoy the interaction with all the caregivers on this site.

The following link is our resource guide to being a new caregiver. We hope this helps!

Quick Guide to New to Caregiving

Best of Luck,
Karie H. Team
36 helpful answers
Dear Noonie...
What you are experiencing is the new and huge adjustment to having your mom living in your home. A few weeks is not a long time and you are going through the challenges of the reality of your situation. Be patient with yourself. Caregiving is your personal journey. You need to learn to find balance. You can only do this if you tap into the emotional toll caregiving can take on your life. What you're feeling is normal, but if you stay in this place you will suffer. Since you have help in the home and your husband also helps you, I would recommend that during those times when you don't have to care for your mom, you get out and do something that will help you stay connected to friends or do something that helps your soul. How are you caring for yourself? What are you doing to take care of you? There is a huge emotional and physical learning curve that comes when we begin to see the downward spiral that takes place with an elderly loved one. And you can't fix what is wrong with your mother. But I would ask you...what exactly is wrong? If the doctor can't find any major changes in her health, then perhaps, she's decided to not do things for herself. Have a conversation with her and encourage to try and do things independently (assuming this is safe for her.) Sometimes we have to step back and look at the situation from a place of being the distant observer. Stop beating yourself up. You are human and what you are feeling is normal. If you want to talk more about this, you can find me at my website and we'll talk more. Go easy on yourself. Just for today, make a decision to be grateful that you have help in the home and that you have a husband who is willing to help you. Just for today, understand that your "head" is working overtime on your emotions and I would encourage you (just for today) to try and set some of your "shame" and "guilt" free. Just for today, trust that you will be okay.
Noonie, part of what you're feeling could be that this seemed to happen 'over night' with your mom. Could there be another reason this came on so fast? Has she been checked for a UTI to rule that out? Yes however I do believe you are lucky, in the fact that your hubby is free to relieve you when you get overly stressed though. Does your friend ever get to get away for a break? If not, that might be a way to help her, and therefore also help yourself too. It sounds weird that that might help you too, but helping others ALWAYS puts stuff in perspective.
Thank you Cindy and naheaton, I really appreciate your help. We are having good days and bad. Mom actually dressed herself twice this week, and I was sure to tell her again and again what a wonderful thing that was...
I have been out to lunch a few times with friends, and every evening I walk the dogs on our farm. It does help, but like a good friend of mine (who took care of her mother for 15 years) "You are still "ON", even when you are out of the home." I need to learn to enjoy my time away, instead of continually thinking about my return, and how Mom will be when I get home. This is just where I am in my journey right now.
naheaton, my friend only gets away for a break rarely, when her daughter can watch her disabled son. He needs injections, and has violent seizures, neither of which I am prepared to deal with, (and which she doesn't want anyone else dealing with) I know what you mean about helping others does help, and I am involved in several local charities. Thank you both for taking the time to respond to my question.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support