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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.

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OnlyChildAlone, this is a wonderful safe space to share the truth about caregiving.

I do little for my mother. compared to others on this site. But I very much hear from people in real life how they sacrificed for their "dear mama" (it's usually the mother) by moving in with her, moving her in with them, etc. And often there are/were siblings who mostly do/did nothing. And they often look at me askance when I'm honest about how I will NOT do these things.

Some people are cut out for caregiving. Many aren't. The biggest problems are often when the ones who aren't cut out for caregiving are forced to do it.

And yes, I had someone tell me that blessings will come to me if I did and did some more for my mother. I looked at that pious person and told them that my child DIED, so don't tell ME about BLESSINGS. She said nothing further.

My mother thinks I should be doing a whole lot more for her than I do (I don't live with her; she is local, though, and shouldn't be living alone but refuses to consider assisted living or to have help come in other than a cleaning service). She insults me, is unappreciative, and doesn't even realize how much TIME she takes up when I have to drive her around.

Still, though, this is nothing compared to what so many others on this site do, including you.
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I feel you. I really hate all the platitudes I encounter online about how this is a blessing, about how I'll grow as a person, learn compassion, how I'll look back on these days fondly, how this is a fabulous opportunity to bond with my mother, how I'll miss these days and her after she's dead. It feels like I have ZERO support!!! I HATE being in this position. I HATE that this is my life. I HATE having no other choices. I essentially got divorced and moved into a house with my mom to help take care of her. I completely understand the feelings of being trapped and getting no reprieve. But what's worse is the overwhelming EXPECTATION that I should feel...happy? differently? about this!!! I loathe that every support forum and facebook page I've tried is some weird cultish worship of being a caregiver. There is no safe space for these feelings.
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I hear you Dana. Two yrs ago I had to quit work to care for my mother full time when she suddenly stopped recognizing me. Since then I have not left the house for more than a couple of hrs a month. Around the first of this yr I started getting a sitter but she is only here 4 hrs a wk and all that time is spent looking at assisted living facilities, even though I'm pretty sure we can't afford them. I thought that would give me hope but really, it only depresses me more :( So I'm sorry, don't have a lot to offer other than I know fully how you feel. Gotta go, mom is wailing and trying to get out of bed. Love you.
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Dana - I am the 80 year old caregiver for my 105 year old mother. She is in a nursing home. There is no possible way I could ever have looked after her hands on. I still look after financial matters, consult with staff and doctors, replace broken hearing aids, buy clothing etc. but I have a life of my own as well.

If your mum were in a facility, you would have many more choices of what to do with your time. I can take weekends and holidays with sig other. I can take days when I sit around in my pjs if I feel like it, and don't answer the phone. I can visit with my grandchildren...

Please realise that your mother will be fine in a facility. You do not have to choose a life of servitude to her. Your responsibility is to see that she is cared for, not necessarily to do that caring yourself and you also have a responsibility to care for yourself.

Your daughter needs you to be able to be family for her, not just plan how to off yourself. You need a life of your own. Caregiving your mother has sucked you dry. Time for change and to put yourself first.
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If your mothers income is too high for Medicaid, you have an eldercare attorney set up a Miller Trust.

You sound deeply discouraged, depressed and suicidal. What will happen to mom when you're gone? She'll be in a facility with NO ONE to advocate for her.
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You write that in a nursing home all she does is "she just sits in her room all day. " What does she do at home other than sit somewhere in the house all day?
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I woke up at an ungodly hour thinking about your situation, Dana, and I'm glad others have visited this thread while I was asleep. Some even said almost the exact words that were forming in my mind. You're too depressed to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything looks like blackness up ahead. You've given up on your own struggle, not only now but into the future.

You're in a situation that is life-threatening to you. You need to find a way out of it. Yes, if you put Mom in a nursing home you'd still have to visit and take care of stuff for her. But you'd be able to find yourself again in the time you'd have away from her. I didn't put my mother in a nursing home (yet), but I moved out of her house and moved somebody else in. A neighbor lady who is a close friend of mine, needed a place to stay, and was willing to look after Mom in return. I still handle emergencies, and take Mom to doctors, shopping, errands, etc. But I don't have daily contact, and that has lifted the weight of anxiety and (in my case) anger and agitation off me and allowed me to reinvest in my own interests, plans, and activities. You need to do this too. Don't give up on yourself. Your mother's life may be over, but don't throw yours away too out of guilt, compassion or a misguided sense of obligation. SueC is right. You don't need meds. You need your life back. Please think about this.
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"... unless I'm lucky and get cancer." I got a chill when I read that, Dana. Is that really you saying and thinking this, or is this the exhaustion and burnout talking? And your daughter, what does she think about your having given up on your life? Would you be OK with her doing what you're doing, say for a MIL?
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IMHO, "promising" a parent that you will never put them in a home is a death sentence--for you. I have worked for people (In Elder Care) who had made deathbed promises to dad that they'd care for mom at home, forever, Flash fwd 10 years, mother is end stage Parkinson's, developing dementia, is incontinent (both ways) can't walk without aid, can't made sound decisions, basically, the whole family is held hostage to the 24/7 needs of one person. Family is grieving with the guilt of having no option but to put Mother in a home.

I had the option of walking out the door at the end of my shift--family she lived with did not. It impacted the marriage, the family immediate family dynamic and the extended family dynamic. This situation alone cemented in my mind my absolute firm desire to not ever be a burden of any kind to my kids. I already know I will be caregiving for my hubby as his health is not great now--but I will be left alone, almost certainly, and I want to do it with dignity and grace. If that has to be in an ALF someday, then so be it. I will NOT do to my kids what I see so many people do to theirs--guilt them endlessly. I'll accept "help" but I will not live with any of them. (And the sweeties have ALL offered--which, since I am only 61 and still babysitting a ton for them probably doesn't seem so bad to them!)

We raise children to be independent and then we need to let them be so. My kids owe me absolutely nothing but to be good people. I know that living with ANY of them would result in heartache and anger and suffering. We don't have children so they'll look after us in our dotage.

Your choice is obvious to keep mom in your home, despite the obvious pain and misery you are in. Talking suicide? Your life is worth so much more. I think you've hit absolute rock bottom. Please get some more help and try to get out and away from mother for a few days a week, if you won't consider placing her.

If you don't take care of you, nobody else will.

I don't mean to sound brusque--I'm just so sorry for the many, many people who seem stuck in this cycle of guilt.
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Sue, I too, thought about how this is affecting Dana’s daughter to see her mother so stressed and unhappy. This must be awful to watch her mother suffer so.
Dana, recently I read a post on this forum about a woman who had already had to be a caregiver to her husband for years, and had envisioned many, many more years. She said she had begun to live waiting for the end, and was feeling pretty much like you are. She decided to stop waiting to live her life when her caregiving days were over and to look for ways to reclaim it even though she was limited by her caregiving duties. Little by little she did so and found more meaning and happiness in her life even though she was still caregiving.
I have though a lot about her post. Because it’s what we do as humans. While in a difficult, long-term, stressful situation, we soldier through with our eyes on the time when it will all be over, and we lose our joy, and our energy, because we can’t live in the future - we can only live in the now. This lady made a decision to do just that and was happier for it. For me, I understand it as being able to benefit from God’s grace, power, and peace, only in the now and trusting that there will be more, in the next hour, and day, and year.
My caregiving journey has not been the same as yours, but throughout my life I have had many experiences in which I found myself suffering with no end in sight, or if I could see it, the end didn’t look any better! Taking my eyes off the end, and asking for God’s mercy and grace just to get through one day (or sometimes one hour or minute) at a time brought me peace.
You seem determined to take care of your mother in your home. I am just concerned that in doing so, it has brought you to a point in which you see no joy in your present or your future.
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Dana,
In my opinion, you have crashed and are burning. You have hit bottom and have no future to look forward to. You will be suffering the eroding effects of depression IF you don't do more about this.

Therapy is great. I'd recommend it to anyone. Meds can be great too. But this is your LIFE you are dealing with. NO ONE is worth giving your life (sanity) for.

I don't care that you promised your mom she'd never go into a facility. I don't care that she doesn't like it and just sits in her room. It's a BIG adjustment. It doesn't happen overnight. But it CAN be done and NEEDS to be done. Your physical and mental health is riding on it.

What are your body and mind saying to you when you HATE an activity? Not to do it. Do you think you give good care when you feel this way? Do you think your mother doesn't pick up on your attitude?

When will you "snap" and can't take it anymore?
Have you started with any physical symptoms yet? Shaking, acid stomach, headaches, tremors, nausea, insomnia, chest pain, frequent illnesses, bowel problems, jaw pain, sexual problems? They are all signs of stress manifesting itself in your body. Keep it up and it WILL take a toll on you. You will be in worse shape than your mother! You are setting yourself up for multiple physical problems--high blood pressure, heart attack, etc.

Will you be one of the 40% that dies before the person they're caring for?  Why would you want to cheat your daughter out of a mother by dying for your mother? Your mother has a few years left. You have 25+. Do you want to be so burned out and so bitter when your daughter visits that she won't want to come by to see you?

Near 40 years ago, my nursing teacher told me, "When you no longer enjoy being a nurse....get out. Because then you'll be no good to anyone." Wise words. You are like your mothers' nurse who doesn't enjoy the job anymore. Time to get out.

Spend down her money on an assisted living (or memory care) facility. Apply for Medicaid for her. Yes, even though she's in a facility, your load will be greatly lessened. You can go back to being a daughter instead of a caregiver. You won't hate your life anymore.

Listen to what we are saying. It happened to me. My mom has stage 6 Alzheimer's. I only "made it" 3 months living with her before I thought I was going to snap. I wanted to stop the constant confusion at any cost. It was time I gave up and did what was best for both of us. She's settled in a facility now, getting great care and I have my life back. I can just be her daughter.

Guilt, yes, but very little. I returned to liking life again, it's best for both of us. You don't need antidepressants. You need your life (freedom) back. Giving it up is too high a price to pay.

Please re-read your post and pretend it was me writing it. What would you tell me to do?
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Dana, I know how you feel regarding your previous life when you were healthy and active. I use to be a gym rat even in my early 60's. I use to smile that I could stand up and look down and see my feet. Well, my feet have disappeared, and that extra weight is now sending up red flags with my primary doctor.... I now have weight related issues.

Even though my last parent had passed over a year ago, I am still the couch potato with very little energy. Poor sleeping habits, too. I  use to wake up at 3 a.m. thinking I heard the telephone ring as my very elderly parents still lived in their home by themselves.  Still trying to shake that wake up habit.

I also was afraid to go the drug route. Finally all the speed bumps in this journey left me shaking like a leaf. I finally gave in and was put on something to calm me down, plus an anti-depressant... both at the lowest possible dosage and that dosage cut in half so I could test drive the medicine. Oh I could kick myself for not listening to my doctor when offered this 5 years prior. I was just the type who wouldn't even take an aspirin.

This journey was new to me, as I never got to see my Grandparents age. Thus my parents had no idea what it was like, or what I was going through. It was a real eye opener, especially the cost of getting older.... [sigh].
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Dana235
No. Not cancer. I read an article one time where doctors were asked how they would prefer to die. What disease. The winning malady was heart attack. No muss no fuss for many and I think it’s still the leading cause of death.
Antidepressants didn’t work for me either when I took them back in the 90s. Walking. That was the ticket. It’s kind of like winding yourself up for the day. A brisk pace for 30 mins. Meditation. That helps too. As little as a minute is helpful. Tapping is great. Skip the alcohol as it is a depressant. A decluttered environment helps. Everything scrubbed clean daily including you. Become a little OCD if necessary to give yourself structure. I’m glad you have the therapy. I asked my therapist why he never suggested walking. He said “I can’t make people walk.” I said “No, but you could have at least suggested it”. I really liked my doctor but not the meds.
Although i remember reading a book called “The Noonday Demon” by Andrew Solomon and marveling at the cocktail of drugs he took which obviously really helped him. If you like to read you might pick it up. It’s been out a long time so you can pick it up in paperback.
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Your mother could go to a nursing home medicaid pending as you spend down the money she does have to then qualify.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Why is a facility not an option?
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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.
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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.
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