Caregiver stress.

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I love my parents dearly and I definitely see that they need help. I try to do all i possibly can for them including cleaning their home, working in their garden and helping with meds and doctor's appts. I don't live with them, but only about two minutes away. I'm with them constantly and it seems like things go from bad to worse. My dad has been hospitalized four times recently with pericarditus. We almost lost him the last time he was in. I'm afraid not to visit them every day and they really expect it. My brother lives very close to them also, but he does very little to help them. I feel tremendous guilt when I finally shut down and have to rest from them a few hours or a day. Anyone else have this problem?

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Thank you again. freqflyer. I don't think anything is easy about taking care of our parents. They put plenty of guilt on me too, which as you know is very stressful. I went to the dr. today. She told me I must get away from them some and try to make them less dependent.
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robo12, I was so scared to say *no* to my parents because I felt we were in that parent-child mode once again.... but it was somewhat of a relief with a bit of guilt mixed in when I finally said "sorry, I can't do that today, maybe next week depending on my work schedule".

If the ideas were mine, such as "let's go to Target tomorrow", it was less stressful than if my parents had asked to go. I felt more in control.

For about 4 years Mom would come with me to go grocery shopping, she would have her list, and I was there to help her reach those top shelves and those bottom shelves, plus attempting to get my own groceries.... because of Mom's very poor eye sight, she would be putting back items in the wrong place, thus I was busy re-shelving grocery items. I remember the first time I asked Mom for her grocery list so that I could, alone, get her groceries.... she was surprisingly relieved... apparently she use to go along to *help me* :)

Robo, you will know when it will be the right time to say *no*.... you'll either be pleasantly surprised or your parents will throw out the guilt [mine did that for awhile but have tapered off]
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Its not easy, and I have a lot of stress and guilt. I am gone two hours from my grandfathers house to be with my kids and also disabled father, and I feel guilty and uneasy and have to go to my grandfathers home to check him ( possible mobility falls and other issues) and yet I feel guilty leaving my family at my home when I'm with my grandfather.

So as freqflyer says, your parents will have to realize they need more help, and by doing so, you will have to say "no" . I'm still attempting that word and action. Be honest with yourself of your limitations. Good luck :)
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This is precisely how I"m feeling too. Everything of mine is on hold. I know I'm going to have to get up the nerve to say no to them. I feel really guilty when I do, though, did you at first? For my own sanity I think I must. Thanks so much.
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Rising my hand !!!! I am also two minutes away from my parents who still live in their own home. Yep, yard work, helping around the house, lot of doctor's appointments, Dad being in the hospital a couple of times, etc.

Between my career and helping them, my own home and yard were looking like a royal mess because I had to put those chores on the back burner.... I just didn't have the energy to do everything.... I was losing sleep worrying about my parents, their house, my house, etc.

Then my therapist told me something that I have to keep telling myself over and over, that whatever decisions my parents make, my parents have to live with those decisions.... thus, their decision NOT to move to a retirement community means they have to figure out how to do the yard work themselves or hire someone.... same with housekeeping, my Mom refuses to have strangers come into the house to clean, so my parents need to do their own cleaning.... my parents no longer drive, so my parents need to figure out how to get their own transportation [I do drive them to doctor appointments only if said appointments are routine... otherwise I will drive them to Urgent Care if it is something that can't wait... and I will pick up their groceries].

Robto12, it was so hard starting to say *no* to my parents as my S/O and myself had spoiled my parents over the past 5 years. But the stress was eating away at me. I was afraid my parents would outlive me, then what?

Actually I am feeling a lot better about my decision of saying *no* more often. Sorry you are bored, Dad, but if you had moved into that retirement community you would never be bored, but that was YOUR decision not to move. Sorry, Mom, I can't run to the grocery store for 4 items, it was YOUR decision not to move to a place that has daily transportation to a grocery store, I will get those items when I place your weekly order.
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