Need someone to talk to.

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I have been reading this forum for a year without becoming a member until today. My five siblings have been taking care of our parents for about 17 years with increasing levels of caregiving needed. They have needed 24/7 caregiving for the past 6 years. My sister moved in with them at this time and as the care bacame more intensive we have hired caregivers and also we siblings rotate the caregiving. In this way they have been able to stay at home. We all work together to assist financially as well. I know this sounds wonderful, and through the grace of God we have been able to keep it going for these many years, but the caregiving system is breaking down as we get older, more stressed, worn down and deal with our own mental health and physical issues. We made the decision to start the process for placement in a nursing facility. It happenend that my mother had to be hospitalized and from there went to rehab and has been in long-term care for about three months. We are working on the paperwork and the spend down for our father. I just came from the nursing home and my brother and I made the decision to get my mother admitted to the hospital psych ward. My mother who is Bi-polar is completely messed up with her medicine since going into the longterm care status. She developed a UTI and we know that they were not giving her her medicine properly. And because she is now acting so bizarrely, her roomate complained and they are putting my mom in another room. I do believe it was due to their inconsistency with the psych meds and the untreated UTI. Which brings me here today. I had no one to talk to. My siblings are so stressed that they didn't want to talk about it. I have fantasies of selling my house and moving in and taking over from my sister, but we are all so tired, I don't think the sibling caregiving would last too long. We knew that our caregiving would not stop once our mom was placed in a nursing home, but now we are second guessing our decisions and agonizing over what the answer is.


I am so sorry you have to go through this. It sounds like you have a good plan to get your mom into a psych facility, which hopefully will treat her UTI and give her consistent meds for her mental illness. I would say don't make any big moves until you get mom placed and you can let the stress of that calm down. I'd say get mom placed, everyone take a breath and let things settle down before you make any big decisions. Caregiving is a stress on anyone. It sounds like you've done pretty well so far in dealing with both parents.
I think blannie puts it very well. Be as good to yourselves as you have been to your parents.

When I was getting stressed from caretaking for my Mom (plus other things going on in my life) I didn't feel like I could really vent to my siblings either because they were too involved in the situation and had their own problems. I found talking to a therapist extremely helpful. Just having someone I could talk to that wasn't involved relieved a lot of my stress. Seriously, I walked out of her office after one session feeling 50 pounds lighter. It might be worth a try for you.
I think you are right, though I wouldn't know where to start. Well, I just remembered that my church does counseling. I could start there. I have a grown daughter and son, but I don't want to burden them too much with all this. I know after reading all the forums that I am really fortunate that I have siblings who are involved and we are still talking to each other! Well, that is why my parents were able to stay in their home for so many years, but as I told my daughter once, due to my mother's mental illness all during my growing up years, I feel I have been taking care of her and now my dad all my life. Just tired.
Tree - with mentally ill parents we do assume the caregiver role very early in life and we get very tired. You and your sbs have made a Herculean effort for your parents. There comes a time to look after you. It seems that time has come. Sounds like both parents need care in a facility, and you and your sibs need a break. There is still work advocating for them once they are placed. Work on your mother's issues so she becomes stable in LTC. then look for a placement for your dad. Hats off to you all being able to work together.
You should be having a care conference for Mom. If you haven't yet, then ask to have one. If their conferences run 15min tell them you need more time. Write done all your concerns. Ask why Mom is not getting meds on time. Now a UTI is hard to diagnois in the elderly. But once found a antibiotic need to be given. Discuss the psych thing with them. You need the doctor involved since he makes the decisions. Make sure Meds are being given as her former doctor prescribed. If not, ask why a change. NH doctors tend to take it upon themselves to change things. A psych eval can be done at the home, request one. In a NH, the squeeky wheel gets the attn.
You are very lucky that all your sibs are on board and still working together for your parent's care. That is actually highly unusual.

Sounds like it's time for a family meeting and a frank discussion about mom and dad's care. You have worked as a team for years, and it sounds like some of you are getting tired. Do your folks share a room? Doesn't sound like it. Is that an option? It would decrease the cost somewhat. If not, well, you are already doing the paperwork and getting all the pertinent info.

What is your problem, exactly? Guilt over not being able to care for your folks any more? Feeling like the family isn't all on board? A family meeting with those involved would clear the air.

Vent away, we all do from time to time. I have 4 sibs, 3 are completely MIA and never see nor talk to Mother. Brother does the lion's share and I do what Mother will allow me to do. The other 3? They'll show up to the funeral.

Be grateful you all have each other and make the big decisions together. Good Luck.
I answered a question yesterday then had trouble logging on to post it, so I'll try again. Yes, there is guilt, at least on my part, though some of my siblings are so burned out that they say they are beyond that. As I mentioned previously, 5 siblings taking care of two parents sounds ideal, but when you add in our own disfunctions from being raised by a mother with Bipolar disorder and an alcoholic father, it is a miracle that we even function ourselves no less taking care of both parents. Our family caregiving system is breaking down from mental issues as well as physical on the part of the caregivers while my parents needs get more numerous. We are just a few days past from going through a hurricane and I guess that stress added to the stress of what I see as inadequate care in the nursing home that led to my mother's poor mental health just overwhelmed me and all of us.

I wasn't sure my post would go through, but I see that it did. I suppose we are second-guessing placing our mother in LTC. Anyone familiar with Bipolar knows that medicine cannot be crushed and has to be taken in a consistent way to be effective. Since we took over the medicine years ago, my mother has not had to be hospitalized for mental breakdowns though she has been in and out for various other ailments. I have scheduled another family meeting next week, and we will ask for another care meeting also at the nursing home. Thank you so much for your suggestions and just taking the time to respond. I was crying last night as I read them. You asked for a question so here it is: What do you do when you can't take care of them anymore at home, but LTC seems hopeless.
LTC is not hopeless. I don't doubt your criticism of the facility but it sounds like something that could be worked out with the staff. You and your sibs have done the heavy lifting for a long time and know perfectly your parents whims and needs. No place is going to be perfect. You may be setting a high bar that's hard to achieve.

Many of us come from backgrounds similar to yours and have lots of emotional baggage.  Given your descriptions of your parents it's surprising that you and your sibs have done as much as you have. 

 I've found the only way to survive caregiving for my parents is to step back and detach a bit. It took me awhile to do this.  We have to realize that bad stuff is going to happen with elder care no matter what we do or plan for. It's not our fault. People get old, they get sick, and they die.  Even if I lived with my folks my mom would still have a fall as soon as I turned my head.

LTC may not be as good as the care your family can provide but it's the only way to save your family and have a life. You can't let yourself go down with the ship.  
Come here to vent. I urge you to not vent to your children. My father-in-law is venting to my husband about the death of his wife and it has placed a tremendous emotional burden on my husband whose grieving the loss of his mother. Also, and perhaps more importantly, we are allowed to write things on this forum that we could never say to our loved ones. Getting "heavy" feelings off our chests is essential.

And I agree one hundred percent with what Windy wrote: "We have to realize that bad stuff is going to happen no matter what we do if [sic] plan for. It's not our fault. People get old, they get sick, and they die."

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