New here and looking for some guidance and suggestions.

Started by

Caregiver who is and has been going through burnout, and possibly depression. Father passed nearly four years ago, and lived with me for his last six months. Was independent, and was able to feed himself, bathe himself, and walk independently. Hospice came by to check on him, doctor came by as well, social worker kept in contact, and priest came by as well. he was 81, and had had two aneurysms.
Mother had blood clot in her leg, and had been sitting on the floor for two days unable to move. Family friend came by to check on her, found her, brother was on a plane and took her to hospital. Was on a blood thinner and did not do well on rehabilitation at hospital. Went to a rehab. facility after leaving hospital, and did not meet expectations there. Was basically put out "streeted" was the term used, and just could not live by herself anymore. Could not do the steps more than once a day, and wanted to stay since it was her home. Brought her down to NC, and she lives with me for three months, and then with my brother in GA. back and forth. Fix breakfast in the morning, leave it in the microwave, and put toothpaste on her toothbrush, leave out clothes, and wash cloth and soap. Some days she remembers to wash up, and others she does not. Currently wears depends, and puts on two at a time while not realizing this. Is not aware of the days of the week as well. Take her to adult day care two days out of the week, and she enjoys the interaction with other adults. Extremely hard to see your mother not knowing what is going on around her, and being hit with tons of questions upon entering the house. She watches the news all day long when she is not at the day care, so I just sit in the car to decompress a little before entering the house. She has never had a full time job, but rather little part time jobs here and there. So she does not "know" what it is like to work a 8 hour day and then come home. I typically come home and answer her questions about what she has seen on television for the day, and go somewhere and just unwind for a little bit. Then I fix dinner and we eat. When she is with my brother, she gets meals on wheels, and some other senior benefits since her social security goes to GA. It would take so long to switch the states back and forth from what i was told by social security in the past.
I love my mom, and have no problems doing anything for her at all. I am concerned about myself now, and am having problems sleeping, concentrating, eating, weight gain from lack of exercise or physical activity, focusing, and the like. I don't know how to take some time out to do something for myself, and it is really becoming a serious problem now. I take care of my sons every other weekend, and thankfully they are teenagers so food and a computer/television and they are ok. The oldest sits with her and they typically watch sports together, but she does not fully understand the scores, so it is repeated to her. Her brothers and sister are two hours away, and sometimes call or i will dial the phone for her to talk to them. My brother and I are four hours apart, and that is my only means of support currently. She does not wander or anything, but is now eating food out of the refrigerator on her own even thought i have made sandwiches for her. Last week she took items out of the freezer, and placed them in the refrigerator, and did not realize what she had done. I just stopped ,and asked her what happened, and she apologized. I sent her back to my brothers house, because it was time, and I was not able to give her the proper care with everything going on with me. I look at the different responses on here, and tryo to figure out a game plan going forward, so that when she returns it will be a little bit more manageable. Thanks

5 Comments

I think you need to look for a caregiver during the day for your mom, if there's a way you can figure out how to pay for it. Can you use her social security to pay for a caregiver? Others will come on here to tell you who to contact so you can figure out how to get that set up. If your mom has some activity during the day, she won't jump on you the minute you walk in the door. And a caregiver can keep her on track with her daily grooming/dressing and food.

You are not alone in feeling burned out while trying to work a full-time job and caregive a mom who clearly has a lot of cognitive decline. I'm sure you'll get some good answers. Hang in there - we understand how difficult it is!
The key words in your post "she enjoys the interaction with other adults" tells me she rather not be home, but someplace where she can be with those of her own generation, where she has a lot in common. Any chance she could go to the adult day care more frequently during the week? Would your Mom qualify for a retirement community where she can be around others 24/7?

As for moving some items from the freezer to the refrigerator, I think we all have done that sometimes in our life.... a few years ago I came home from work and the refrigerator freezer door was wide opened.... my sig other was in his "absentminded professor" moment before he left for work.

Yes, those sleepless nights, the weight gain, lack of concentration, lack of exercise... welcome to the club... we all have some of those issues or all of those issues no matter if we are hands-on 24 hours a day, or just helping our parent(s) out a hour or two couple times a week.
Seems like your brother has more help on board in GA than you do in NC. It's more effort, but you probably need to catch up a little. Check with your county and see what services they'll offer. For instance, what about meals on wheels for your mom when she's with you? There's a federal Seniorcorps program called Senior Companions that might be an option if it's local to you. There could be some others who can sit with you mom, keep her company, and look after her needs during the day that would operate at a reduced cost or free to you.
Frankly, I don't know how you do it. I know I would find it impossible to work and take care of mom has I have for the past year. Could.Not.Do.It. Mom has dementia, as you said. She's not GOING to understand your going to work any more than she understands what day of the week it is. Oh, you might get "lucky," and, in the moment, she might get it. But long haul? Probably not going to happen.

My advice to you is that you cannot care give for her in your home. If there is any other option at ALL, you must find it. You will get sick. You will burn out. You'll begin to resent your mom. If she can afford it, there's no question in my mind that that's the right decision for both of you.

If she can't afford it? Then call up Senior Services in your area and see what kinds of ancillary services she may be entitled to at very reasonable rates -- or free. Work these as if your life depended on it.

It may.
Thank you very much for the responses so far. I am trying to find someone to stay with her, but I want to be careful of who is in my home when I am at work. As far as the adult day care we are paying out of pocket, as it costs a little more here than in GA. My brother is married, so his wife helps him with a lot of different things every day. I wonder sometimes how I do it as well, but just keep at it.

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