I hate caregiving and feel guilty...

Started by

I have no life. Sure, I can steal brief moments when the aide I hire for mom is there, but my life is constant stress and endless responsibility. A facility is not an option, except for brief respite stays, which mom hates. And even if she were in a facility, I'd still have to check up on things and be there for her. I'm having to accept that my life is basically over. Yes, I've tried antidepressants, and they do not work for me and have awful side effects, so they are not a solution. I'm trying to find peace with this is my life. How do you handle it when you realize that your life is caregiving and not much more? I know that some day I will miss her terribly, but right now, there is no way out, no reprieve.

21 Comments

You're not alone. I am lucky in that my caregiving for my mother is totally up to me, time wise. I can do what I want or not and not be tied to her---however, yes, much of the time I absolutely hate it and hate how angry I get with her over the piddly things that consume her small world. I should be so much more compassionate, but I can't muster the heart, many days. I think had we had a better experience as mother and daughter--had she been a better mother, I would have feelings of love for her. I just..can't. I just hope by the time she dies I have come to terms with her neglect and, at times, abuse.

Do try to take breaks. If it simply isn't possible to have her move to a NH or some such type of living arrangement, then my heart goes out to you. I could not, in a million years, have my mother live with me.
Could your mom not go to an assisted living? At some point there will be a breaking point between your well being and her care in which her safety and care will be more important than how happy she is with it.

It sounds to me like you may benefit from some therapy to help you with boundaries and getting your life back.
Why is a facility not an option?
I already get therapy and it helps. I found a therapist who does phone sessions so I don't have to worry about finding a sitter for Mom.

There is no way she could go to assisted living. She needs full nursing home care, and I am it except for when I'm at work and have respite. I've upped the aide hours so I have a day off a week, though I still have to make her dinner and put her to bed.

I promised her  no nursing homes.  When she's been there for respite, she just sits in her room all day.  Plus there is no money for facility care. She has too much for Medicaid and not enough for private pay. The middle class is screwed in  this country. 

When she is gone I'm planning on Dignitas (a company that offers assisted suicide in Switzerland) so my daughter won't have to go through this. I don't consider this suicide but rational end of life management. That is, unless I'm lucky and get cancer.
Like Midkid, I could not in a million years have my mother live with me. I would not promise her no nursing homes either. She has said she will end her own life before going into a nursing home, and I think that's her choice to make. I will not give up my life to care for her. I've given up enough already, living for 7+ years in a place I don't like and having to stick around all the time to take her to doctors, shopping, errands, etc.

I wonder if you're being fair to yourself, in accepting responsibility for making your mother happy and content even though it's killing you to do it. Is that really right? It doesn't seem like it to me.
I'm with you Dana. I hate taking care of my Alz mother. I have no life, my kids suffer, my husband suffers. I wish I know the end date so I don't feel so hopeless. I agree with you 100% about assisted suicide. I don't ever want to rob my children of their lives later on.
Dana, not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver, I know I wasn't. But I was good with the logistical things and handling the finances. I was a senior watching over seniors [parents in their 90's] so I was limited.

Here's a good article about this: https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/not-everyone-cut-out-to-be-a-caregiver-162192.htm

Also, here is another good article about how we promise our parent that they would never be in a nursing home: https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/I-promised-my-parents-I-d-never-put-them-in-a-nursing-home-133904.htm

One thing to think about, around 40% of family caregivers die leaving behind the love one they were caring. They just crash and burn. I crashed and burned twice, and here I wasn't even hands-on.

You mentioned you are working outside of the home. Work is a saving grace in one way, it gets you out of the house, and around different people during the day.
You "promised"?

Did she extract that promise from you, or did you make it when younger, not realizing what dementia looked like?

In her sanity, would your mother wish you to be this depressed and distressed over her care?


What are your mother's resources? Are you being paid for caregiving?
Thanks Carla and polarbear. You are like a lifeline to me.
It might not be right, but it is what it is. My daughter seemed relieved when I told her that she will not be allowed to be a caregiver.

I know that when Mom goes, that I will descend into a deep bereavement. When my life is caregiving, there will be nothing left. Those of you who set limits at the start have the right idea. Once it begins, the demands grow and grow.

I've read about recipients who outlive their caregivers. Right here on this forum, I read about an 80 year old who is caring for her 105 year old mother. That might be me.
A nurse in my mother's doctor's office said people are living too long. As harsh as that may sound, there is much truth to that.

I hope my daughter will understand that suicide will be the best alternative to a nursing home or a lifetime of caregiving for her.

Before becoming a caregiver, I was healthy. I ran half marathons, practiced yoga, and could swim miles nonstop. All gone now. It's part of the cycle, exhaustion from caregiving, and no motivation to work out. I have well meaning friends who say take antidepressants, but they are not caregivers, and have no idea. My career never had a chance to get off the ground, and while Mom is not as difficult as many, vascular dementia is difficult to deal with.

Life isn't fair to caregivers. There is no sugar coating it. There may be moments of sweetness, and the rewards of fulfilling responsibilities, but caregiver life sucks.
Your mother could go to a nursing home medicaid pending as you spend down the money she does have to then qualify.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support