Sick and tired...

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Well, like the title says.....I'm so very sick and tired of people telling me how "fortunate", "blessed", "lucky" I am for having to take care of my 90 y/o mother who has dementia, they say "oh, enjoy this time with your mother, enjoy her while she is still here", "I wish I could have done that".....blah, blah, blah!!!!! I'm the one who is here, all by myself, every freaking day (with some help from my youngest daughter), but without the help of my irresponsible, heartless, selfish siblings.
What is so d.....m fortunate, or blessed or lucky about that? How can this people tell me that? When I ask if they have parents with this dementia illness, some tell me their parents are gone, other people tell me their parent is in a nursing home because "I can't take care of her, I have a job, I have other "things" to do, blah, blah, blah.
There is NOTHING, NOTHING remotely enjoyable about caring for elderly people, whether they are related to you or not. It's frustrating to say the very least. I have become a very selfish person, I truly do not care what anybody says, I'm taking care of myself first otherwise, I think I will buy a couple of plane tickets and take her back to Mexico and deliver her to one of my selfish sibling's door. Something stops me from doing this and, as my dear husband tells me, "it's duty, not love, what keeps you plugged in". It's true, I don't like this, I hate this, hate this situation and, since I can't very well take her back because they don't want her there, I'm stuck, hopelessly stuck until whenever she finally rests in peace. My oldest daughter tells me I'm being selfish when I leave her alone for a couple of hours to go work out but she never offers to come here and sit with her so, her opinion is totally irrelevant. I'm going to do what I need to do to survive until my mother dies. Never mind the possibly huge bills we will have to face if she needs to be hospitalized, I guess we will deal with that later.
So, stop embellishing elderly care, it sucks whether you are a daughter or son caring for your parents or a care giver, who has to work and has to be cleaning and changing soiled, smelly people because their relatives can't or wont do it themselves. I have to do it, if only because I have no other choice, but I don't have to like it, and I DON'T!!!!!
Next time someone tells me "I should be grateful for having the opportunity of caring for my elderly, sick mother", I'm going to either slap that person or invite that person to walk in my shoes for a week. Lets see how fortunate, blessed or lucky they feel afterwards.


WHEW!! I bet you feel relieved to get that off your mind!
Boy, do you ever sound totally burnt out. I agree there is nothing enjoyable about the tough physical and mental caregiving of a frail elder. I think anyone who finds changing soiled linens, bathing an unwilling person or trying to make sense of the behavioural issues that go with dementia enjoyable has something seriously wrong with them. It also drives me crazy when people gush about how wonderful it is that someone has their 90th, 95th or whatever birthday. The very fact of still being alive is not always so wonderful unless also granted the physical and mental health needed to enjoy your longevity.
On the other hand there is something deeply rewarding in being able to ease the suffering of another, especially a loved one. And I believe I am learning so much about life, death, compassion and about myself. I have learned to navigate the health care system, to step out of my comfort zone to be an advocate for another, and that I'd better make d#^%ed sure I have a plan in place for my own old age.
Tryingtomakeit, keep on getting out as often as you can, you need more "me" time to keep your sanity. Keep searching for support in the community. Don't listen to the idiots who think you should do more, and try to forgive the others, they can't help it that they really don't have a clue.
trying, this reminded me of something that happened to me recently. My mother and I went out to eat at a cafeteria. While we were in line, a woman grabbed me and told me how lucky I was to still have my mom and how I should treasure her while she was her. The woman was so emotional, hugging me around the middle. She told me that she had lost her mother and missed her so much. I told her that she could have mine.

It didn't work. I left with my own mother, who is still with me. Rats! (Just playing)
cwillie, you made an excellent point when you posted "The very fact of still being alive is not always so wonderful unless also granted the physical and mental health needed to enjoy your longevity".

JessieBelle, thanks for the smile :)
CWillie made an excellent point. Ask the 95-year-old who can no longer walk, sing, garden, cook, or care for their own toileting needs how "enjoyable" life is for them. Ask the bedridden dementia/Alzehimer's victim who no longer recognizes family members, remembers how to do the simplest task, like buttoning a shirt, how much they love their life at this point.

Then ask the homebound, burned out caregiver how much they enjoy theirs.

I'm fed up to *here* with people who say we should be "grateful" that we still have our parents with us. Of course we're grateful for every day we still have with them - if they're healthy enough to enjoy being here. If they're not, we wish they could be rid of all the pain, suffering and humiliation that comes with aging. Who wants to be subjected to constantly aching joints, kids and grandkids coming by to see you only rarely (if at all), the inability to remember your family on sight, urine and bowel incontinence, and the loss of memories you held dear? I mean, if your parent is relatively young, like mine is (74), and is already experiencing problems that most people don't until their 80s, then what is there to look forward to? More of the same, only worse. And I should be grateful for the chance to watch her spiral downwards? Why don't they just ask if we enjoy watching our parent slowly die before our eyes?

And then there's the fact that people who say we should be grateful to still have our parents seem to think that everyone had Ward and June Cleaver for parents. Not true. Trust me.

Sorry...this one kind of struck a nerve with me, because I've had more than one person pull that on me. If there's one thing that this caregiving thing has taught me, it's that I will *never* do this to my children. I am putting a plan in place for my own care, and leaving someone reliable in charge of my well-being if I become incapacitated - and my wishes will be in writing, spelling out exactly what's to happen in terms of my care - and it won't be one of my kids caring for me at home.
Most of caregiving really sucks, yes. And then there are the complications like bad siblings, and bad doctors and bad nurses and bad nurses and bad paid caregivers that make it unbearable. BUT, there are those "golden moments" when your parent says something or does something special. Guess what: you ARE lucky and fortunate to have been there for those, and that is the only "payoff" I've found in taking care of my parents and all the many, many friends that have died that I've helped. When I get to the point where you were when you wrote your "rampage against the happy caregiver" image, I try to remember those moments. My mom can actually be really, really funny, and like Art Linkletter used to say about kids, she "says the darndest things!". I hope I can still remember that, as she enters her next phase of dementia, when those moments will no longer exist.
Trying, I am walking in your shoes. But three years ago, I was able to put mother in Assisted Living. She is 97, dementia is getting worse, and she is losing weight fast. She can barely see, is incontinent, and only has one hearing aid left. When people tell me, "Oh, maybe she will live to be 100!" I give them the evil eye. Mom cannot even carry a conversation. Just a list of the same questions over and over again. She never listens to my answers. Recently, she has decided she has to call me on the phone. She cannot hear on the phone. I will have to put a note in her book that she is not to make phone calls, because she cannot hear.

Even though I do not have the hands-on care anymore, it is still very tiring. I love my mother dearly, but today she put me through the ringer just with one phone call. She thinks she can move into an apartment. Sigh!

I have three daughters and already told them I do not want to be taken care of by them. I will not do that to my daughters.
I do hope she posts back after provoking al these heartfelt replies.
Thank you to all of you who have commented about my post, I truly appreciate it, I did needed to get this off my chest. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this way, there is nothing fortunate about caring for someone who is not able to enjoy anything anymore. Like Cwillie said, what is so wonderful about getting old if you are in pain and no longer enjoy being alive. If we had the means, I would look for a nursing home but then, I would be relegating her well being to a bunch of strangers. All the commercials on tv. about nursing homes give you a false sense of reality, I've seen enough documentaries and shows about what elderly people are subjected to by uncaring workers but then again, if it's frustrating for family, it's got to be even more frustrating for the care givers that work there.
My mother has absolutely no enjoyment except for watching Walt Disney movies all day, I've tried to interest her in knitting and putting small puzzles together, give her magazines to read but she just doesn't want to do any of that, so the tv. and the DVD player are on all day. It's a struggle to get her up to go to the bathroom, when she soils herself, it's horrible to clean her, bathe her, etc. She has lost all but 4 teeth so she can't eat anything solid, her joints hurt, I don't think she can see very well either, her doctor told me about 2 months ago that she has lost a lot of weight, but sometimes she doesn't want to eat, I can't force her to eat or drink, she keeps saying she had just had a big meal, it's horrible. She used to sit with my husband and I at dinner but I hated to be eating a nice stake with all the trimmings when she was eating her soup, she wanted to eat what I was eating but when I gave her a piece of chicken or meat cut in to little pieces, she couldn't swallow it. So we decided to take her meals to her room, this has worked better.
I just deal with this situation on a day to day basis, today might be a good day.....or not. She might start emptying the drawers to "pack her bags because the are coming to get her", she might take her clothes off, she might throw up or soil herself. When this happens, I have to go outside and take several deep breaths of very cold air and try to prepare myself mentally for what I need to do. After I take care of that, I come downstairs, sit and have a drink. Text my hubby about it and wait for his reassuring words. I do not think I could do this without his help and support.
One thing really upsets me, and that is the total and complete lack of responsibility from my siblings, it's like we have disappeared from the planet, it's really infuriating and I can't do a damn thing about it, I stopped wasting my time and energy and patience asking them for help, as far as I'm concerned, I have no siblings.
I'm also very scared and worried about my own old age. Right now I'm still healthy, I'm 63 y/o and I can still swim, bike and run and race, I love Triathlon racing, I've done 3 Iron Man Triathlons, the last one at age 60. But who knows what will happen in 10-15 years, I absolutely do not want to put my daughters and grandchildren through this hell. My husband and I have talked about it and we will take care of business when the time comes. We will leave it in writing so our kids don't have to suffer and alter their lives to care for us when we get to be this useless.
I firmly believe that children do not have to care for their parents, they should not feel obligated to do so, and it's not fair to say that "now it's our turn to return the favor", what the heck does that mean? Children do not ask to be born, all of us are born because our parents decided to bring a child into the world or because they were careless and got pregnant by mistake. Whatever the reason, we did not ask to be born, our parents decided that and they are obligated to care for us the best way they can. When you decide to bring a child into the world you are making a life time commitment to care for that child but I do not think that child should give up his or her life to care for the parents when they become old and sick. More and more adult children are put into this situation and it sucks. We are trapped by obligation. I love my mother, or at least, the memory of her, this poor frail, sick woman is not the mother I remember and it's very difficult for me to deal with caring for her alone. I really don't want to put my daughters in this situation. My husband's aunt had a neighbor who live to be 102 years old, the last 2 years were h*ll for this poor woman, her only daughter was herself old and sick too, only 2 grandchildren came to see her once in a while, my aunt was the one who looked after this lady and she told me it was so sad and terrible seeing Mary suffer like that.
I don't know, I better stop. Thank you all for your feedback, I really appreciate it, made me feel better.
Take care.

trust me from the woman that has been really sick from caregiver burnout since 9/3 and have to have a surgical operation on Thursday, because I almost lost my life, literally blood pressure 30/20. You need to send her to respite care for ten days. We are not miracle makers. I am a natural at this. I love it, but I realize that not all people are fit for this. That does not mean your mother suffers. Realize what your limitations are find what you need. But first find a respite home Aegis Living, Homestead, etc. and all of them have them for $175 or something of that nature for 10 days with three meals. Really focus on yourself. I did not, I said I was ok, and I just spent the last month in the hospital. Caregiver burnout is not a joke. I had an acute upper respiratory infection. My legs were so weak. I could barely walk this week. This has been five months fellow caregivers, and the doctors could not figure it out, so I went to the best but public Hospital in Seattle Harborview.

Have a great day, Life is a journey, not a race, and you do not want to end up leaving this earth before your client. that is NOT A JOKE. I had a type of colitis that was not ulcerative but it was eating away at my colon. I will be there very early. Thank you for allowing me to state the huge concerns of CAREGIVER BURNOUT. AND CAREGIVING IS NOT FOR EVERYONE, REGARDLESS IF IT IS YOUR Parent..

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