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I'm pleased to say that after 3 years of caregiving my sister finally stepped up. It had got to the point that I really though I was going to have a nervous break down. Not only do I have Mom but I have a special needs step son that lives with us. This is so embarrassing to admit but 3 years of non stop caregiving, trying to work a demanding full time job and my husband travels about 18 days out of the month had taken it's toll on me. I felt like I could not go on and at the time wondered if I really wanted to. I love my family very much but everyone needs help and my immediate family was unwilling to help at all, I have a sister and a niece. I never dreamed that they would walk away but they did, same that I read quite often on this site, they just walked away and had every excuse under the book not to help, most were just so uncaring. I don't know what happened but it came at the time that I felt that I could not go on anymore. I had actually disowned everyone in my immediate family, I blocked them all from Facebook, blocked my phone and text and told them that if they wanted to speak to me that they could email me but as far as I was concerned they were no longer a part of my life. They of course had my husbands phone number and the caregivers phone number in case they decided to call Mom which was not often at all.


My sister finally emailed that she could take Mom for the summer to give me a break. I was shocked and leery but at the time even thought there were many tears taking her to the airport I knew it was best, I did not feel like I was doing any good for Mom at that point, I had become so burnt that I really did not leave the house except to go to work, I sought out the help of a doctor and talked to a professional, it really did not help much, I knew what was wrong and knew it was something that I had to learn to live with. Not only was it the depression of watching my Mom fade away and change but it was the thought that My very own sister and niece had turned there back on us. Mom has now been with my sister for about a month and they are having a good time, she see's that mom is like a little girl and seems to have changed her whole attitude. I'm so glad, I did think often that she would never forgiver herself the day something did happen to mom. I do miss my Mother but again I do also know that when she returns I will be a much better person mentally to take care of her. My step son also left for his grandma's for the summer he goes every year. You can only imagine the freedom that I feel but along with the freedom I sometimes feel guilt thinking that I could not hold up any longer. the part that amazed me was after having mom for one week my sister calls and tells me how she has always been there for me??? She actually told me, "I know we will fight, we always have, it won't be the last time because we are so different" which is very true. then she went on to say that no matter what, she is always there to help me and mom and she loves me.


As bad as it sounds it was very hard to keep my mouth shut but I did to keep the peace, after all the terrible things that were said I guess people think that after a week its all forgotten? Well I have decided that its not worth it to fight, I'm just glad that she came to her senses and is taking time with my Mother.

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I sure hope she continues to help. Yes, I was to the point of no return, I was shocked the day Mom left for my sisters I took a few days off, I returned to a meeting first thing on a Wednesday and I had so many people look at me and say wow what a difference in your face. I had no idea that it showed that much, I had my boss come to me and try to talk to me, she told me that I had taken on way to much with my step son and my Mother, she had just taken care of her husband for about 6 months before he passed. I do have a very good friend that will stop over out of the blue on Sundays and say hey sis, take off for a while. Its amazing the people who step up when your own family will not. I'm trying to come up with some kind of plan, I'm fortunate that I can have someone in the day while I work BUT, I found out all kinds of stuff about the lady that I had hired that is not good and I can not have her return. I have been looking for a replacement but its so hard to just hire someone and trust that they will do the right thing and make sure they are there every day so you can go to work. It did get to the point that my BP was raging out of control and I was scared that I could have a stroke. I even called my family and with my Niece being a nurse thought they would understand and again all I got was TAKE YOUR MEDICINE!!!, do your job. I have no idea where the do your job came from. I did get mad and told my sister off, when this first started Mom was with her the doctor told us 24 hour care a day!!! well I took it serious, stayed home from work for 3 days trying to figure out what to do, at the time I was single and had No one that I could think of to help me so again I called my sister and she said bring her here, we have all kinds of family here, you have no one. Well I did but when she got there my sister decided that she did not need help, that ended with Mom falling while my sister was at work and the whole side of her face was black and blue!!!! I was so mad we did get into an argument. My husband had just moved in so after a short discussion I flew up and got my mother so she could have the care that she needed and disserved. I guess at that point my sister decided she wanted nothing to do with any of this and it became my job. I can remember her dancing and jumping up and down when I came to get Mom. I had her for a couple years and then I was trying to plan an out of state wedding and begging for help from my family. Of course it was like talking to a brick wall, at that point my health started to fall apart and quickly. I feel so bad for any of you that is going through this or has gone through this.
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Freqflyer, You make some excellent points. I suppose that I am fortunate that so far, my parents do not want me to give up my life and focus on their care full time. They like being helped, but within reason. They see the time and care I put into my cousin, who's in Memory Care, and they would never want me trying to care for them in the home by myself, if they were disabled. We are looking at options should that happen. It's good to have Plan A, Plan B, etc.
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Aveeno, what would your Mom do if something happened to you? We have to look in the mirror ourselves... we are also getting older and along with that comes our own age decline. We need Plan B.

I know my parents were oblivious to my own aging, hello I was a senior citizen myself. I even flashed before them my Medicare card and AAPR membership card. I think in my parents mind I was still that much younger daughter who wasn't afraid to doing anything. But I could no longer climb ladders, lift bags of mulch, hated driving, and needed a nap myself in the afternoons, which my parents didn't understand :P

I made mentioned to my parents "who would pick me up if I fell?" and they just looked at me like my hair was on fire. Sure enough, I did fall in the parking lot at work, broke my shoulder, was out of work for 2 weeks, and had months of rehab so I could eventually write, eat, drive, put on socks, comb my hair, brush my teeth, use a computer mouse, type with all fingers, all without making a mess as I was right handed and it was a right shoulder. Being a senior, recovery was much much slower. Yet, a week after the fall my Dad called as he needed a ride to go get a hair cut... [sigh].
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I'm happy that you got the relief that you wanted and feel better now, but I think I have a different take on the situation. Not everyone is cut out to be a caretaker, especially someone who has dementia. I tried it and it was extremely stressful for me. I suffered from extreme anxiety and realized that I could not do that and work a job. And I don't know anyone who can do that. I would respect someone who told me that they would not be able to help and make other arrangements such as with an agency.

Have you tried to find some other respite care, other than your sister, or do you think that now she will be able to provide continued respite help for you? I might line that up now, since when your mom returns you can continue to have time for yourself to recharge your batteries. It sounds like you went through a pretty rough patch before this summer. I wish you both all the best.
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Micadoormat, That is just terrible!!!! But I know what you mean. All I here from mine is DO YOUR JOB!!!! I'm so sorry for you and yes, who would have know that people could be that way, especially family!!!!

Kimber166, Mom is really not as bad as most I here about, My Mom has always been a very shy loner, she did everything with my Father until she lost him and I believe that is what pushed her over the edge. She is not ready for a home and I know deep down in my heart that if we did something like that it would be like signing her death sentence. I try to take one day at a time and have even told my sister if she would just help out a little by taking Mom for the summer it would totally be doable for me. I have such hopes that she will continue to help. I do miss my Mom but realize that this is best for her. I know I was no good for her after all that time, trying to keep her as long as its not medically necessary to put her in a home. She is just a frightened little girl at this point and has always been there for me.
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Aveeno - now that you have a breather - think about your situation. Mom will come back and you'll be exhausting yourself with care. Plus your stepson. Why not consider that it is time for mom to be in assisted living? if your first marriage was at 53 - then you yourself are probably getting older yourself - and need to make sure you stay as healthy as possible.

It is great that you have a break for the summer - to rest and recuperate.
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WOW you are so lucky!!!!!
thank goodness you can have a breather and heal your mind a bit.
no such thing as guilt from getting caregiver burn-out - its a killer believe me.
all I got were virtual pats on the back from my siblings- even the local one, till i had a complete mental break...couldnt even dial a phone or drive..
(then she went and stole my fathers money! nuts!) going to cut them out of my life after memorial , so done with them- who knew people could be this way?!
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Your absolutely correct. In my case, I had Mom for 3 years and every time I ask for a little help just to go on vacation or take a break you can't believe, well actually if your going through it I'm sure you can. But the language and excuses and then just the down right FORGET IT!!! YES it hurt deeply, My first marriage was at 53, I even had to bring Mom to the wedding and take her home with me, they even refused to take her so I could spend a little time with my new husband!!!! Since my sister finally stood up, I don't know if it was out of guilt, or because I disowned her and actually stuck to it this time and would not communicate with her for a couple months I really have no idea why she had a change of heart but the damage has been done. She thinks everything is fine and I will continue to let her think that but I had actually begged her for help, cried I tried every thing and it was not an act. She also quizzed me and made me write on the cc bill exactly what was bought and it was so obvious just another way to try and keep control without lifting a finger, I'm quite curious to see the cc statement since she has had Mom, I never once did anything wrong or would consider doing anything wrong with my Mom's money but it was implied. That hurts even more when your running yourself ragged trying to do it all by yourself with no help and then they get on the phone and act like you have done something wrong with the money. I will guarantee you that the cc statement is just the same if not more than when I had her. Mom has money at all times but she forgets and will not spend it, she thinks she is destitute. So when it came to her cigarettes and items that she wanted I would just put it on the cc. My husband is a very kind man and has never been exposed to people that act this way, having a special needs boy his family is so kind and works together to help him so he was amazed when he finally figured out what was going on. I tried to tell him but he kept saying OH people do not act that way, now he reminds me all the time that just because she took Mom for a few months not to let my guard down. Pretty sad when someone that has never dealt with this can all of a sudden see and understand. I hate that my family is this way but pleased that God put my husband and his wonderful family in my life.
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Its sad what happens to a family when 1 person is left to do all the work. My family is fractured and will NEVER be the same. When your family turns their back on you during the worst time of your life you NEVER forget.. never......
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Sorry about your mother. Sounds like you still have your hands full. I have a hard time thinking about the day I have to do something like that. when I lost Dad I could not even start his truck. There are 2 family farm's in the family it was hard but Mom did at least hold an auction to get rid of all the farm equipment and items in my grandparents house But we will have to deal with the other items. Hang in there, I did find a councilor to talk to but I really found it to be no help. Cost me 200.00 and he really did nothing but listen to me and it was things I had been saying over and over so maybe I just got the wrong person.
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Aveeno, things have changed a lot for my parents. My Mom passed late last year, and two weeks after that my Dad said he was ready to move into senior living. Even though Dad is in a safer place I still worry myself silly over him, as he now has what looks like sundowers dementia. Oh my gosh, another new journey to go on !!

I am in the middle of selling their house, trying to empty everything out. Oh how I wished they would have started downsizing. I remember trying to get my Mom to donate items to the hospital rummage sale [they both were volunteers there for 20 years] but to my Mom downsizing was one knick knack per year :P

My doctor recommended I see a therapist but lo and behold it isn't easy to find a good one who will take Medicare or my secondary insurance. My gosh, I am sure there are others my age who are seniors who need to talk to a professional. My primary doctor is still searching for me.
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It's unbelievable to me how family can act this way.
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Oh I am sorry that took her 3 years. I am still waiting after 5 w my dad now dad passed and 5 years again w mom. Hugs to you, Hang on!!
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I'm so sorry, I do know exactly what your talking about. How is your situation now? Are you still caring for them? that must be tough with NO siblings/children. Other than my Sister and niece I really have no one as well. I never chose to have children so this has really been unbelievably hard, My husband is very supportive, we were married almost 2 years ago and I actually get more support from his family than my own. I wish you the best and if you need to talk to someone, I'm here, I understand just how much it means to have an ear and maybe someone to trade Ideas with.
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Aveeno, I am so glad you are finally getting a breathier... time to exhale. I know that feeling of everything taking a toll on ones physical health and ones emotional being. I crashed and burned last month from trying to do too much for my parents over the past 7 years, even thought they lived in their own house, and me in mine, there was just so much they needed done being in their 90's.... and my Mom refused any type of outside help... [sigh]. And they refused to even consider moving to a retirement village, oh how great that would have been.

Not having someone to talk to was my biggest thing. My cousins were up to the eyeballs with their own elderly parents, who were also very stubborn, refused outside help, refused to move. And I have no siblings/children. I was able to talk to my boss who's wife had late stage Alzheimer's but those conversations were limited.

What ever you do, do NOT feel guilty. We both were thrown into a job position that we never qualified for, never applied for, and had zero training. But I do know what you mean.
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