What do you do when you hit caregiver 'burn out'?

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Mom said something provocative over dinner last night (her favorite time to say passive aggressive statements -- always with a smile) I'm becoming meal-phobic. I had to excuse myself from the table and go into the bathroom to collect myself. I stood there with the bathroom fan on and water running and after a minute or two realized I wasn't able to collect myself enough to leave the bathroom. It was the strangest feeling... locked in place, just staring into the mirror with the water and fan running.

I know that we've hit burn out, and just don't know what to do or how to recover. I've not left the property or house in four months except for two doctors visits for high blood pressure (yeah go figure). We don't have money for caregivers or other family that 'have any available time (or money) to pitch in' ...

What would you do in this situation? How do you recover 'in-place', in the midst of it all?

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I am a 24/7 caregiver to a 98 year old man with dementia and I have to say that I am very lucky. Prior to him coming to live with us, he was a hateful old man, full of self pity and now he is mellow, smiles, laughs full of compliments and not a problem. He is on NO precription medication. The DR I took him to could not get over his blood and urine test.. The Dr was amazed. He is my signifcant others (20 yrts) Adoptive dad.. My SO twin brother brought him directly from a hopital in Covina CA to us right before Christmas last year.. We live in AZ. I didn't have to take him but I always told him he wouldn't end up in a nursing home. Besides he was a hoarder and his home was a disaster. I wasn't able to take of my parents and I hope this helps me deal with some of my guilt.
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Since finding this site, just talking about issues has been a great relief for me. The people on this site truly understand. They don't BS giving you the academic answers. They give real advice and love here. Use this site to vent and ask questions.

My mother can be verbally abusive during meals. She always loves to talk about my weight gain while we dine. LOL! I simply tell her to look in the mirror herself sometime. ;) I also have modified our diet to vegan for a few days in effort to eat healthier, so when she complains I tell her its for my fat a_ _!

Ha!

Note: My mom's health is fragile and all the medical problems cause her mental health anguish. I have home mental health coming out to see her every 2 weeks. It allows her to talk about her feelings and problems and she also is on an anti-depressant. Lately, she's turned even more negative and I've taken steps for greater mental health involvment in her care.
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Sundancer2, you may find respite care for a little less if you take her to an assisted living. Many of the assisted living in my area don't advertise respite care but when you call them, they have maybe one or two rooms set aside for this. If you can find a faith based facility, sometimes they are much less per night for respite. I even have one facility that will keep her for the day. They said they had never done this but would do it. I have learned that it sure doesn't hurt anything to ask.
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This was the first opportunity I've had to read all of the amazing-wonderful posts that everyone gave on my 'burn out' question of March 29, wow -- really -- almost a month ago? Well, we have made some changes and I'm looking into committing to some respite care goals. I'm setting up my non-used savings account to make it happen, every dollar I can put in there will be to give us some respite time. My hope is that one weekend a month I can pay to have someone come on a weekend and spend most the day Saturday and Sunday with her as more of a companion than a nurse, she's fully functional and we give her pills in the morning so hoping to find someone closer to standard baby-sitting charge than home nursing charge. Then my goal is to be able to pay for respite care every other month or every two months for two or three nights, it's about $200 a day from what I've researched so far so that's a pretty big expense but if I can find a way to carve some expenses around here to offset it, I think that would be just the ticket and well worth it!

I am just so thrilled with this site and the people here, I've got to put a link to it on my desktop so that I make more of a point to pop in here daily with my cup of coffee!
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Wow!!! My heart surely goes out to you. Most certainly and most assuredly, I, and certainly most of the folks reading this can attedst to the fact that it is IMPERATIVE that we caretakers take BREAKS!! However, and WHENEVER you can...for the sake of our own physical and mental health!!! God Bless You!!!
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I don't think there is an absolute answer. I know exactly how you feel. I think the best thing you could do is declare yoursself on a home vacation. Spend some money on a caregiver service. Go get a manicure, pedicure; go to the library, go for a walk around a mall. Do whatever it takes to get away from her for a while. Is there an adult daycare you could use at least a couple of days a week.? Use any and all resources available. Let us know how you do.
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Deep Breathe..!!! Sounds like from what little you posted you could be in "burn out" mode, which can make you feel like you continue to make bad decisions and then think you messed up. You sound tired, depressed and needing a break. Take a walk, go get coffee for 20 minutes, call friends and ask about them and their life. Contact your local Area on Aging for support for your loved one as well as YOU..!!!! Locate a support group, so you will believe that YOU are not alone. Bless you my friend!!
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Find a local United Way adult day care agency in your area. this has saved our sanity. My 95 year old mom goes every day and they dote on her. She loves it and it's very inexpensive. I have been able to keep my job and have my life because of this. Hang in there. It's hard and there are lots of us out there.
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Oh mercy...I know what youre going through. I'm there with you.
Wish we lived close to each other we could just sit and vent. I cry a lot and no one ever ask if they can help. Only how good he looks and how neat and clean I keep him. He is in the severe stage of AD. He cant hear well or see well and does not like change, tried getting out yesterday believe it or not the sun was shining her. But he gets confused at the store even though I get him to help me push the buggy. Guess I'm just in for the long haul. Talked to Bayada nursing they sit for 16 dollars an hour with a minumin of 2 hours. Who can afford that?
Any way I am praying for you and hope you will for me. This too will pass I have been told.
God Bless
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My mom had a stroke 2 years ago and does the same thing and I have no help from family, my poor husband and children are tired of her being so mean. When my husband comes home from work she comes out of her room and sits right in between us as we talk about his day at work because that's what she did with my dad and when I tell her we need a couple minutes alone to talk about our days, she accuses us of not letting her be part of the family and then gets mad she doesn't have a life and the pity party begins! So we have no time alone. When I make dinner she says she doesn't like , chicken, hamburger, grilled cheese, etc..... she always ate these things before! I used to make her a seperate meal but now I say I'm sorry that's what I made for dinner you can make a bowl of cereal and she ususally eats what I've made after that! I know I haven't helped with any answers to the problem but it is so nice to know that I'm not the only one that's feeling this way. When my friends do stop by, which is less and less because I'm always busy with dr. visits and making her food and giving her pills 4 times a day and my personality is just not the same. But then she acts pleasant and they don't see when she yells at me because she thinks I changed her pills or she wakes me up at 2 am because she having anxiety and wants an anti anxiety pill, which is in her pill box on the kitchen counter!!! Thanks for sharing your struggles, hopefully it will get better soon.
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