I am a depressed daughter and caretaker. How can I help myself?

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My parent moved in with my husband, daughter and I 8 years ago because my mother's medical costs left them no choice. My mother passed 3 years ago after a long illness of COPD and emphysema during which time I was her main caretaker plus working full time. My father is 93, in good health and still is with us. My daughter is a senior in college and this arrangement has been going on through her entire high school years as well as all of her college years. I come home and have no privacy, no room to have my own life at all. Every decision is driven by the fact that my father is there and he doesn't like it when we go anywhere. If we do go to a movie or dinner we feel obligated to ask him along since he doesn't have anyone in his life but us. I guess I am just exhausted at this point and depressed. I find myself just not wanting to go home anymore. Both my husband and I have pretty high stress jobs so it's getting to both of us. I know there isn't anything that can change, I just need to vent somewhere because at this point every time I leave the house I am in tears. Eight years is a long time and the relationships with both my parents have never been great.

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You have done a great deal. If you father doesn't have much income, he could qualify for Medicaid. Please consider calling Medicaid and seeing if there is a way he could be with others his age and give you some space. He has no one but you, and that's not fair to him or you.

Each state has somewhat different Medicaid rules, but there may be an assisted living situation where he could be with peers, or else maybe you can get some in-home respite help.

Please check it out.
Carol
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DEPRESSED DAUGHTER/CAREGIVER,

TO ONE CAREGIVER TO ANOTHER CAREGIVER,

YOU ARE ALREADY BURNED OUT AND YOU ARE RUNNING ON RESERVED ENERGY. I'VE BEEN TAKING CARE OF MY MOTHER WHO IS IN ADVANCED STAGE OF DEMENTIA AND SHE LIVES WITH US.

MAY I GIVE YOU SOME HELPFUL HINTS.
1. YOU SHOULD JOIN A SUPPORT GROUP.
2. TRY TO ALWAYS GET A GOOD NIGHT REST..VERY IMPORTANT, BECAUSE WHEN YOU HAVE A GOOD REST YOU CAN THINK BETTER.
3. WHEN YOU FEEL THINGS ARE GETTING OUT OF CONTROL. JUST TAKE SOME DEEP BREATHS GO FOR A SHORT WALK. DON'T GO HOME RIGHT AWAY TAKE 15 MINUTES FOR YOURSELF, GO TO THE PARK OR THE LIBRARY JUST DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF. WHEN YOUR MIND IS CLEAR & PEACEFUL YOUR STRESS LEVEL IS REDUCED AND YOU CAN DEAL WITH THINGS BETTER. THESE ARE SOME OF THINGS THAT I DO AND THEY WORK BELIEVE IT OR NOT.

AND NEVER EVER BE HARD ON YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!

HANG IN THERE
PHYLLIS FROM NY
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From experience I would say maybe it is time to just say I can no longer do-believe me the sky will not fall-as I have told here before I kept waiting for someone else to make that decision and my counsular told me I was waiting for someone to rescue me and it was not going to happen so one day in a family meeting when he was in rehab I just said it-I can no longer do this and guess what everyone agreed with me except the husband and from there we planned placement instead of discharge and about 1 week later he called me and said he did not think he could go home, he died about 2 weeks later. It really sounds like you reached that point a long time ago discuss it with your husband and daughter your father will pitch a fit because everthing has been about him for a long time but he will get use to it probably quicker than you think-your husband and daughter and YOU deserve better do you know what percent of caregivers die before the ones they are caring for a lawyer told me 60% that got me thinking seriously 16 years was enough and things got worse after I retired because of MY health so do not think that if you gave up your job things would be better and you are not responsible for his expenses a spouse is but not children run do not walk to an elder lawyer and get things started and you will feel better I did even though I was going to be left with very little money and very big debts-please think about this.
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When my mom asks me where I am gong I simply say "Out". I never tell her where and so she stopped asking. Got the message. I have a caretaker who comes about 24 hours during the week. I go out, have lunch and shop. It is none of her business where I go and with whom. As for upstairs, put a gate and lock it. He should get the message then. I know, I sound harsh, but everyone who comes to this site knows that " boundaries" is my favorite word. We must set them if we are to survive this phase in our lives and that of the ones who we take care of. It has been 4 years for me and I am looking at about another 3. If we didn't make time for ourselves, especially on the weekends, we would have gone nuts! Take care of yourself, because, NO ONE ELSE WILL!!!!!
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God help me if i have to do this for 8 years. I have been doing this for 4 years and we both feel the same way. My mother, God bless her, did pass away before my dad with ovarian cancer. It takes a toll on my husband and I, but i felt so bad when i put him in a home for 4 weeeks on and off for respit. Now that i have him back full time, I am exhausted and streessed to the hilt. I on the otherhand have a full time caregiver. But, i know the feeling of being trapped. I cannot go anywhere because of his poor health. I feel like I need to be there for him. Everytime i leave, even for a wekkend, something awlful happens. We all need a break! Do look into medical, If she earns less than 2000.00 month. She can qualify for IHSS. As long as no money in the bank etc. kd
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Hi tatayaya,

Please take care of yourself. I have been doing elder care for my father for 3+ years. It has taken a tole on both my physical and mental health. I believe the stress played a major role in my having had breast cancer, and everyday I feel like a nervous wreck. My father won't go to our nice senior center, he just wants to stay in the house where he constantly is either staring at me out the window if I try to do anything in the yard, or if I try to go anywhere, or he is asking the same questions over and over, "Where are you going? What are you doing? etc, etc, etc.". I have no privacy unless I hide out in my bedroom upstairs (we have told him the upstairs is off limits, but he still has gone up there on occasion), so now I don't feel like I have any privacy up there either. I feel like I am a twitching nervous mess, and that my father will out live me due to the stress he is causing me (he is 84, and I am about to be 53). You have done so much. It sounds like it is your turn to be cared for.
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I thought there were 'adult day cares' out there. I know I've seen them in my area, where you can take an older person and leave them for a few hours or whatever during the day. They do crafts, brain exercise type games etc. It's worth checking into.
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Mactavish,
Austin is right. Take care of yourself so that you will be there for your dad when he needs you. Let others take the burden who are trained to do so. It is OK. Give yourself permission to be human. We ALL have our limits. Remember, we are here for you.
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Place him in a facility where he c n get care. He probably qualifies for medicaid. Do your research, make the calls needed to get the info and give your family and yourself a break!!!
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Thanks so much everyone for your feedback and caring stories. It always helps to not feel like you are the only one feeling these feelings.
Mactavish, I identified with your feelings of no privacy. My father lives in an apt attached to our house so there is a door between us but he just comes over whenever the mood strikes him and we have to end whatever conversation we are having because he pays no attention to what we're doing, he just interrupts and starts talking. He is totally dependent on us because his friends are all either dead or sick and don't live near us and so we are it and it leaves me wrecked with guilt when I am at work or god forbid, go visit a friend for dinner or something.
I often wonder why he can't just say, it's OK, I will call you if I don't feel good, or to say, no, could you stay home tonight, I really don't want to be alone...I prefer honesty over the martyrish responses such as "ok, you have a good time" with a look of disgust on his face. He is 93 and I just turned 56, it's crazy that we can't have a more honest relationship but I just keep taking bubblebaths (he does not come in the bathroom) and praying for patience, love and understanding. I know the day will come that I will miss him, not the caretaking part but him as my father. Thanks again for everyone's responses.
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