I'm losing my mind!
II have been taking care of my 96 year old mom for the past 5 years. She has lived with me for most of that time ... ALL of the past 2 years. I am single, own a home and have a full time job in addition to caring for my mom. She is very sweet, cooperative and appreciative and i love her dearly. I know it could be worse, she could be cantankerous and demanding, or have severe dementia. So for that i am thankful. She does have some major short term memory loss and a little dementia. I do EVERYTHING for her. She can still (barely) ambulate through the house on a walker but often times she poops out and ends up sitting on it and i push her to the bathroom or wherever she is going.. We use a wheel chair outside of the house. She goes to a wonderful adult day care facility during the weekdays while i am at work. So, all in all, we have a great arrangement. But as time goes on i am wondering how much longer i can continue this without losing my mind. I am a nursemaid to a 96 year old while the rest of my family and friends have wonderful fulfilling lives and my life is passing me by. My brother and sis-in-law do help slightly, but are not able to do what i do. If i were not in the picture my brother would have put mom in a nursing home. I am committed to caring for her to the end. I am so stressed out. My mornings are devoted to getting mom ready... washed, dressed, well fed, pills taken (and i have to keep at her to eat and take pills or she has a tendency to sit and stare, or fall asleep lately). I am too drained to worry about myself, so I end up throwing on the first thing i can find, put my glasses on instead of my contacts, no makeup, and off to work I go as soon as her daycare bus comes and gets her. In the evenings it is usually after 8pm when i'm through cleaning up the dishes and then i have barely an hour before i have to start getting her ready for bed. Some people liken caretaking to parenting and i guess in some ways you could say it is, but in many ways, that only a caregiver could understand, it is NOT. It is stressful and sad to watch your parent turn into your child .. age and decline more each day and wonder when it's going to happen ... when and where and how they are going to die. I am extremely conscientious about following doctors orders and trying to do everything i can to keep her healthy. She has some serious heart issues and is really slowing down. My days off are not really days off because i am caring for her. Two months ago my brother treated me and a friend to an outdoor concert (Chicago) at a local jazz festival and another friend came over and sat with mom at the house. When the band came out i began to cry. I was shocked at my reaction and couldn't decide if i was crying because hearing Chicago live brought back such great memories of my youth, or if it was because it was the first time in forever that i was out enjoying life without having my mom strapped to me. . i I think it was both. and i realized how much i miss having a life. The weekends or days off are the worst because mom just sits and gets so bored. I can’t spend all of my time entertaining her. Although I have a hard time getting much done with mom around, there are some things that I have to keep up with. If she sits too long she gets antsy and says she is so bored and just “sits sits sits”. That is when I just lose it. I can’t be her entertainment. I feel for her. It is not her fault. But she has lost the ability to amuse herself. She is a talented musician but has no interest in playing the piano anymore. She has macular degeneration so can’t read. TV, movies, etc have never interested her. She can’t do a thing to entertain herself. So, when she gets bored I feel like I have to do something to help her. Sometimes I take her for along walk around the neighorhood in her wheelchair, sometimes a drive in the car, sometimes a game of dominoes. But, it is so hard being EVERYTHIGN to another person. I feel smothered and trapped and like I just want to run and scream. My house is small and I have no where to escape and if I go into another room for long, she wants to come too. I try not to complain to friends, family or co-workers because no one wants to hear it and no one understands. So, I am grateful for this forum where I can let off steam and know that there are those who understand exactly what I am feeling. Much of the time I just want this to end, but I struggle so with those feelings because and end means that mom would be gone. Thanks for reading and understanding!