I cared for my Mom for the greater part of 2005-2008. After several falls, we felt that she needed the 24 hr. care that my body wouldn't allow, so we admitted her to a nursing facility. I see so much of what I endured in all of your posts. My biggest stress factor was that my home is two states away from my Mom's home. My husband was still working 10 hr days and taking care of our home. Needless to say, he is a saint.
Like some of you, my brothers and sister were little or no help. The one brother who wants to help has a wife who has a progressive disease so he is a caregiver, too. One brother still thinks Mom will wake up tomorrow morn and be 70 again.
And my sister bailed out because she just couldn't handle any of that care giving.
I love my Mom and she still has her faculties at 98. But it got so that she expected me to be at her beck and call every minute. I had to sleep sometime. When I changed the rules, she became a little bit abrasive, and it hurt. I am home now, and I still get the guilt trips in my mind. Even though I gave up 3 years of my life, it just doesn't seem like enough. And I still get the feeling that I could do it better than the staff. But life goes on. Her dementia is age related, but I still miss my Mom that used to be.
That is what I really want you all to remember.
The person you are caring for is not the person they used to be. Whether the change is from medication, disease, age, or strokes, it is a change. Once we accept that the responses to us are not the responses of a young, healthy parent, we can go about the business of care giving instead of beating ourselves up for not being the best mind readers or medical personnel. The hurts still hurt, the guilt still takes over, and we are still worn out beyond comprehension. But we also can justify the fact that we are doing the best we can do with what we have to work with.
I liked the post about one's mistake is another's learning tool, about the oxygen filter. I fully agree.
Care giving is a learning experience and, sadly, most of the learning is by mistakes.
God has equipped each of us here to be the caregiver or we wouldn't be in that position.
Give it to God. PRAY. Take a walk. Sit on the porch. Make yourself a cup of tea. Call a friend. Read a magazine. You have to make time for your mind to escape because, I found out, relief help is hard to find. I couldn't wait for the mail to go each day because I got to walk out to the mailbox...alone. My heart and prayers go out to each of you. I have walked where some of you are walking. Others of you are walking a much rougher path than I did. My brother is walking a harder path in his care giving, too. But God is a faithful God. I could not have made it day to day without His strength and comfort.