Can you get sick (emotionally, physically) from years of caregiving?

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I'm 58. Used to be healthy, happy and
very active. Took care of step dad(was killing mom). Now mom for 10 years'7 living in my house. Things are getting bad . Mom just wants to lay, eat and poop. She digs it out and stuffs it everywhere. Her pillow case, behind her bed, drawers, wastebasket. she is up and down eating all the time. Weighs only 114 lbs. I have gotten ibs, gerd,asthma, rhinitis, copd,sinus impaction(all sinus cavities-need surgery and now they think RA. Limp, terrible pain in hips on down, neck-shoulders. Plus much abdominal pain. All from stress. All i get done is washing sheets, blankets and poopey clothes. She wears depends but will dig out and stuff. We r very close, I never scold just take it a smile on my face. No help from family. Yesterday I had her in tub to wash poop off she was demanding my immediate attention when I was trying to change sheet
I told her if she didn't move more the ER doc said she would have to go to nursing home. She said "no. Way Hosa". Im stuck at home and would want to die except my worthless brother that has had no contact would inherit the little she does have and spend on his delerick kids. He hasn't seen or called in appx 10 years when she stopped paying his mtg. At least I have a wonderful loving Hus the question. Can her getting poop on things like door handles ( I have cleaning gal and wash constantly) but still know there are germs left be making me sick or is it just stress? I am so stressed out I was washing something at the sink and I just started peeing my pants, until I realized you just don't do that. Afraid I'd getting ready to strike out. So so sorry, so long,

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Top Answer
Dear golfbhard,
You have been so wonderful.....and now it is time to begin caring for yourself again and enjoying life. As 3pinkroses states, NHS are not all so mother just entered one. Hon, after a year of caring 24/7 and having ONE day off when my sister bestowed some help, I broke. 2 sisters, and only one day off in one year.....and asking constantly for a break. I just lost happiness, my thought process, my warmness, my sense of humor, etc. I attempted suicide and flatlined. Apparently, that was enough to get my sister, who is POA, to "believe me" and get mom into a NH.
Please don't let it get that bad. Please.
What a wonderful, loving daughter you are and from what you said, you have always been close to your Mom. You can absolutely get physically and emotionally sick from caretaking and this is not good. I think it is a sign that perhaps things need to change and Mom needs the care of a nursing home. You could manage her care from there and you could get back on your feet.

All nursing homes are not bad places as so many think or visualize. My mother is living in a NH and it is working out well. With what monies she has left, you could pay the NH and then apply for medicaid as funds run out. Taking care of our parents includes taking care of them in a NH as well as home. Also, taking care of yourself is vital. Your mom would want you to be happy. If something worse happens to you due to stress (and this is a realistic possibility), who will take care of Mom? Hope this helps and being proactive just might give you piece of mind as well. Hugs and hugs to you and take care.
Menohardys daughter. I wish that I would have found this site sooner because it makes my life with my dad seem like a walk in the park compared to you Veteran Care Givers. I may sound cold hearted but if he ever behaved in the way golfbhard described I would not hesitate to put him in a nursing home. No apologies. No regrets. My childrens health and my health come first. Were I to become afflicted
with psychosis and hiding fecal material is psychotic behavior I would hope that someone would have the where-with-all to put me in a humane Nursing Home. Meno had a habit of pulling one strand of hair from the back of his head and looking at the follicle then dropping the hair to the floor. I noticed a bald spot and a clump of hair behind the head board and went to his Psychiatrist the very next day. Meno was bored and after a couple of sessions with his palliative care psychologist we decided to buy him a used microscope and he spends hours finding things small enough to put between slides that have been ground down so they have no sharp edges. Could it be your Mom is hiding fesces because she cannot hold her bowels and is ashamed? Can she make it to the bathroom un-assisted? When Meno has to go he has to go and I know his cycles so I change him in the early morning because he will not wait but thankfully he is or must be clean or he freaks out. After he is well awake he can do his business on his own but misses the bowel when he urinates so my husband showed him he can go just as easily sitting down. It was hilarious. We made it a family affair and I gave prizes to Meno and my husband. And my youngest potty trained 6 mos earlier than her siblings.
Hoping, cattails, RLP and the other poster-do you get counseling for yourselves? I do and I could not make it without it. Greenday777 I really synpathasize with you. Until I found this site I had no idea-no idea at all how traumatic all this is and where it can lead. I love my dad so much so I am making sure I know when it is time to let go, without guilt. When I frown more than I smile it is time to let go. I am not strong like the rest of you. Meno was given less than two years. I drew a hard line on that mark. I penciled in other marks such as hygiene. Abuse to me or my children. Non-compliance on a scale of 1 to 5. These were provided by his Psychologist and I will never forget that he said when we hold on to our problems find out why? Maybe it is because without them we have no purpose. Or maybe we will lose out financially. Or maybe we will feel guilty. None of those are valid reasons to live in a state of unhappiness.
The answer to your question is yes. You can get sick from caring for an elderly, sick parent. Depression can make a person physically ill and certainly stress can, too. I was an energetic, healthy person before taking leave from my job and moving in with my mother to take care of her. Now, I have blinding migraines nearly every week that last three days. I ache all over. I have insomnia and sinus infections constantly and UTIs. Stress works in insidious ways.
Take care of yourself. Even if you don't have health insurance, there are counselors that you can see for nothing at some clinics. I think talking to a counselor would help you relieve some of your tension. Also, try meditation. But, most of all, it's time to get your mother into a nursing home. You've done all you can for her.
She needs you as her loving daughter much more than she needs you cleaning up after her bowel movements. When you take your mom to a nursing facility, you'll be able to restore your own health and be there for her as her daughter, not her caretaker. There are people better skilled at that and places better prepared to handle the nasty turn her dementia has taken.
You are not wrong or bad. Just know that you have reached your point of strength where you need to look after yourself for awhile. You will be of no use to anyone if you do not. I speak as one who has been there and done that. Nursing Homes are trying to change their structure and create a different atmosphere. Visit a few. Your mother sounds like mine in that they want control. Sometimes our bodies take over that control and choices are different than what we want. Please take care of yourself. You are not alone.
Golfbhard: No one could ask for a kinder, more loving daughter than the one you have been to your mom. I feel the emotional pain you feel about placing your mom, but your body needs the stress to reduce so it can heal.

We are in the process of placing my dad in NH care. It's a sad decision to make, but I have to accept that the time has come for my husband and I to focus on our well being. If we don't, I can see some serious health issues coming our way.

If it's helpful to you, you can go to Medicare. gov and at the top of the page is a heading called Resource Locator with a pull down menu. Click on Nursing Homes Compare. You can put in your zip code and a mile radius and all NH's in that vicinity will come up for your review. They are rated per the evaluations Medicare does annually. Problems and deficiencies are noted.

We have an obligation ourselves, our spouses, children and grandchildren to take care of ourselves. It's so easy to put ourselves last. My husband worries about my health and I worry about his. He's such a good man and he has been right by my side for the past 7 years of caring for my parents. But, as you know, the years take a toll and we have to have the wisdom to know when we have done our best and reached our limit. We can still love them and be their advocates, but the day in day out hands on work needs to be passed on to others.

I feel sad and guilty. I feel like I'm letting my dad down and it makes me angry at myself that I feel all these things. Still, I know in some part of me that I have reached my limit and my husband has too. So we are moving forward.

I wish you comfort. Sending love and hugs, Cattails

toughlife I keep trying to explain. I was told my posts are too long and I need to slow down and spell better. I have dementia and it is progressive. I told my daughter to put me in a home the minute I become abusive to her or my grandchildren. because that is not me anymore and do not regret putting me in a home where professional people can care for me-come visit please if I am nice but I want to be remembered as good not ugly or mean spirited which happens to some demented people. we cannot help it, it is a disease. It sounds like you have always had problems with your mom so don't hope to reconcile now-love her and forgive her and let her go now. She will only get worse.
Ruth, I have been following your dad's posts after discovering them recently, and have so enjoyed him, and you too. I am sad and sorry to hear he not getting enough 02. I hope he is not in pain. Please let him know we other caregivers admire him and are thankful he shared his perspectives with us. It is very obvious that the two of you love each other in a special way, one that has carried you both through some rough times. Let him know we see that too! Do you have some live support nearby to help you with all the emotions and family? I'll keep you and your special dad in my prayers, Wish we could give real hugs, Kimbee
(((((golf))))) - to me what you had to deal with between the death of a close friend, your mum's diarrhea etc and transporting someone to a plane is simply too much, In fact MUCH too much, and is an example of how your life has been for a while. I think your mum needs round the clock professional care, and you need to get your health, and your life back. I don't think that anyone who reads this thread can doubt for a minute that you love your mum, and your mum loves you. That does not mean you have to be the one doing all this work. You need to love yourself, too.

My mother has a mental disorder. I love her and she loves me, as much as she is able. It would be next to suicide for me to live under the same roof as her, and take care of her, She is well looked after in her ALF, I visit periodically, and am recovering the health I lost a couple of years ago doing more for her than was good for me.

I am sure you will need more than a month to get better. A month will likely see some improvement, but will not be long enough for you to get to where you can be, It has taken more than a month for you to get to where you are now. If you take respite for a month and don't get better - what then? If you take respite and do get better, are you going to go back to the same situation, and get dragged down again?

I have/have had CFS/FM - brain fog, aches etc. Since I have been looking after myself, getting the rest I need, gentle exercise, and eating carefully, it is much improved and I seldom have pain now. I don't think you can do that while looking after your mum. Surely she does not want you to sacrifice your health for her. I do think you can come out of it, but that it will take more than a month - probably some months, if not longer. I think you are playing with fire with regard to your health, and strongly urge you to do what you need to to look after yourself. Hope I am not sounding very hard nosed about this, but I really am concerned for you. Now, as well as caring for your mum, you have a major loss to deal with. That in itself is stressful and will take energy. Grief is quite physical in many ways, and can also cause aches, fog, fatigue etc. I am so sorry about the death of your friend. Please give yourself the space to do the grieving you need to do, and also recover from the years of caregiving, so you and your husband can enjoy your life together. ((((((((((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))))) Joan

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