New to caregiving. New to 'can't do it all' attitude.

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I'm new to this (actually 7 months care giving-including 7+ weeks in hospital/SNF for my wife). I'm 70. wife is 76. 100% bed bound due to health issues, severe Hypoglycemia, Malnutrition, TIA, mild heart attack, complications caused by 'errors' in hospital, and PTSD.
What a voyage this has been so far. I was doing ok for 5 months at home until malnutrition caused 911 call and emergency room because of stroke like symptoms. turn out malnutrition can mimic stroke. Home again after 7 days but I am wiped from continuing saga of Caregiving.
Thanks for listening.


Stan, both you and your wife are so young to be going through this, so sorry this is now part of your life. Sounds like you have been trying to find a "new normal" life, it's not easy. None of us are trained to be caregivers to adults, it's all trial and error on what to do, and yes it can be exhausting.

Contact your county agency on aging for programs such as Case Management, Meals on Wheels, care referrals, etc,... go to the website link below.... click on your State.... now click on the city/county.

And keep coming to this forum, we are a great sounding board for ideas or even if you want to vent.
I am glad you asked for help. I want to assure you that you can't do caregiving 24/7 on your own without help. You will burnout, get sick and need a caregiver of your own. If you continue down your current path, your mental health will continue to decline, chronic diseases will emerge and you will be of little or no help to your very sick wife. Let me shout: YOU CAN NOT DO THIS ON YOUR OWN, WITHOUT HELP. (i know it is rude to shout in caps).
How do I know this? I am an owner of a professional caregiving business for persons with Alzheimer's and memory problems (i know what burnout is). Here are a few thoughts for a course of action.
1. Get help even if you feel guilty. Admit that you can't do this on your own. It is a myth that anyone can.
2. Gain an understanding of what your financial resources are, what your medicare insurance and Medicare will pay for. Prepare yourself financially for the long haul. Understanding your financial life will greatly reduce your stress because it will help you make better choices.
3. If you don't know the best diet for your wife, find a nutritionist who can help you plan meals for your wife. As others mentioned Meals on Wheels, delivered meal services (Mom's Meals), grocery delivery service provided by many major grocery chains are other ways to reduce the stress of grocery shopping.
4. Find high quality respite care that meets your needs. You may need medically trained caregivers, such as an RN, LPN, for your wife's medical needs. Use a reputable agency until you are comfortable hiring caregivers on your own. Respite care gives you time off from caregiving.
4. Find time for your friends and former activities. Social isolation will make your situation worse, much worse. Respite care will give you time away from your caregiving responsibilities.
5. Find someone to clean your house if your budget allows. Trying to maintain your home and care for your wife is too much for anyone to do.
6.Donate, sell or give away stuff you no longer use or need. Reduce clutter will make your life easier.
7. Find a support group for people like yourself. Call your hospital to see what they offer.
8. If your budget allows, find a highly qualified geriatric care manager or geriatric social worker. These professionals can help you find resources and develop a game plan for caring for your wife.
9. If you live in an area where there is an aging-in-place village, find out if they can help persons in your situation. If they can, then join.
10. Realize that you can't do this on your own.
As the previous comment said, use this forum to find help and a sounding board.
All the best.
Get help!! I was the sole caregiver of my mom for YEARS with no help. I couldn't afford sitters and my mom wouldn't allow any home health....which only amounts to about 30 minutes anyway. I had a life alert for her so I could run to the store and pharmacy. Then I couldn't do that anymore. Had to rely on someone who happened to be going. She has sundowners and dementia. She went to the hospital with chest pains. From there to rehab. Now permanently in nursing home. The doctor told me it was a miracle I didn't have a stroke or heart attack. The last 5 years were unbearable. It takes 2 aides to transfer her!! Don't do this to yourself. FIND the help. My mom refused anyone to come in or touch her. So I did it alone for years. Now I go everyday so I still am in turmoil. Dealing with guilt of her wanting to come home. Get any help you can. Your health depends on it. Physical and mental. Praying for you both.
I hear you. It's not easy. Alot of good advice you've gotten. I will add that it is important you take care of yourself or you won't be able to take care of her. I'm 63, my husband is 73. He had triple by pass surgery then 3 days later a stroke during the night. This was 3 yrs ago. He wears a alert medical necklace while I'm a work but he is declining now. I plan to get in home care during the day as a nursing home we can't afford. His insurance will pay for that. He has no friends and his siblings don't come to see him and they all live just around the block. There's 6 of them. So it's just me and he does take his frustrating out on me. Ive learned to detach from his mood swings. Doesn't mean I don't care. I just protect my own health.
It's easy to get overwhelmed when you think about all the zillion things you need to do. Make some priorities and then allow yourself to let the other things go (as much as you can) until you have time to focus on them. For example, work on finding respite care that works for you and your wife, and as long as it's "good enough for now," let the diet and meals go for the time being. (I mean, don't worry about optimal nutrition and diet just yet...assuming that's not at a crisis.) Then, when your respite care system is in place, congratulate yourself on your accomplishment, collect your energy, and then focus on diet. This is an example - you have to determine the specific priorities for your loved one. You don't have to solve everything right now.
Wow, this really hit home with me. Mom broke her hip and had a brief stay in the hospital and then rehab for a while until her insurance wouldn't pay for any more days. She's been falling nearly every day, I've been getting her up and if I can't do it I call the paramedics( they know us well!) my back can't take it anymore. We live in a very rural area, so there's no neighbors to call and help. Sisters have made themselves very scarce. I call them crying because I don't feel I'm capable of taking care of her. We do have a occupational nurse that comes once a week, ( big deal!) and a physical therapist who is absolutely wonderful ( yes, you sue!) moms leg is completely atrophied from lack of exercise. It hurts her immensely when she try's to walk. We have two different types of walkers and a wheelchair. Unfortunately, I know she will eventually end up in a wheelchair. She is so miserable, my son brought my grandchildren down on Saturday , first time we have seen my grandson and mom was a little emotional, took some photos of her holding nick jr. I think she realized that she's not going to see them grow up. We have already put a deposit down to hold a room in an assisted living facility. The house is on the market, just that much more stress to add to her life. We ( my sisters) are trying to get her situated in her new home. It seems very nice and the staff are wonderful. I don't know what we are waiting for, I know my sister wants to get new furniture for mom, maybe that's why. I will be talking to her today, there is a senior apartments complex right behind moms facility and I'm going over there today to put myself on a waiting list .wish me luck, I'm going to need it.
I just want to add God Bless this forum you guys bring tears to my eyes with your heart felt comments to help caregiving is not easy I have been my husbands for the past 15 yrs. He had just turned 60 there has been some challenged but through it all God has truly blessed us.Prayers for everyone
Mom (71) and I (35) bought our CA condo 24 years ago when we were both working and doing quite well financially. In 1995, Mom retired and could drive to get herself around well; we were still doing well financially because I was still working a full time job. Then eight years ago, Mom had chest pains and was told she had developed congestive heart failure. The Kaiser doctor sent in a form to DMV to suspend her license. Boy, was Mom irate and wrote to Kaiser telling them how she needed to drive to get around and that she had a right to do so! Unfornunately, Mom could not reinstate her driver's license. In February 2012, I lost my permanent job due to the Great Recession. In March that same year, Mom had a back injury due to a fall and needed my full time care for about six months. I did hire some caregiving help when I needed to go out but it was so expensive and Mom did not want strangers to come into our house! I had two family members from out of state who could help, so we coordinated Mom's assistance by corresponding via phone and email; my brother and sister visited at least 3 times. My brother in the East Bay did not help because of our family dysfunctions. Finally in April 2013, my mother (then 93) ended up in a NH from another injury fall and was not allowed back to our CA condo. I was only 57 and still had to work: I had a temporary two-month job from April-June 2013. Mom was infuriated with me (she had bipolar) saying that I was responsible and why should I take over her property? This was not true as we both owned our condo in joint interest. In September, 2013 OR brother finally moved her up to OR State where Mom got into a private room and better care/attention. Because her mind was declining, I called her every other week. Mom slept 20 hours daily due to failing health and finally passed last November 2014. There will be no more mad protests over caregiving or property interests!
Swb32cox: Yes, I, as well as others, are surprised at your ages in regard to your health. But it is out of the norm for the man to be the caregiver. Someone called you Stan, though I don't know how they knew that because your site name claims to be swb32cox. But here's the thing, you need help, else you're going to experience "caregiving burnout." I am a 68 y. o. woman. From August of 2013 through February of 2014 I had to leave my Maryland home and move in with my mother who refused to leave her Massachusetts home where she lived alone. She was a legally blind woman with blood pressure running so low (60/40) that it left me no choice. Didn't I have a life you might wonder? Sure I did! But I had to be the caregiver to my 94 y. o. Mother since my brother refused. I almost lost it at one point, I called my husband at 3:00 A. M. saying "I can't do this." Of course, I rallied and got the job done because I had no choice. So if you need help talking you through things, I have experience. Good luck!

When caregiving is no longer workable, it is perhaps time to move the affected family or loved member into assisted living or nursing home. When his/her money runs out, Medicaid will have to pay like it did for my mother's care for one year prior to her passing away. You do not have to suffer burnout. And yes, I have been in the burnout zone and had to seek professional help while my family and I arranged for Mom's proper care I could no longer provide after over one year. All the best prayers go to the caregivers.!

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