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When I get home I have to go to sleep right away and sleep for hours. I dont understand why this is happening or what to do about it. I cannot quit helping her so thats not the answer. I do not know how to fix this problem. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I am afraid I am going to get into a car accident! yesterday I actually got sleepy on my way to her house as well as getting really bad on the way home.....help?

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Michele,
First, you are exhausted. It is very overwhelming. Sleeping can be a sign of depression. Those of us dealing with difficulties with aging parents often fall into depression. It's part of the grief at loosing them when still alive. Find a good Psychologist who specializes in Geriatrics. Mine has helped me immensely! If not a Geriatric specialist, go to a generalist. I faced the same dilemma and have only made it through with support. It's not you! It's the situation.
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You might ask your physician about B-12 shots. My 86 yr old mom gets them regularly, and I get them occassionally. They also have sublingual (under the tongue) over-the-counter B12 vitamins for better absorbtion.
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Is it possible to open a window in your grans room a little? Stale air will make you tired . Stress takes a lot out of a person too. First get checked by your doctor and then try other methods for fresh air and stimulants. I find an hour in early morning of good exercise gives me more energy to face the day. The day I don't exercise leaves me feeling like a slug all day. I have been caring for my mother for 8 years and besides an early morning walk, coffee and tea, fresh air coming in the house, I have something to fill the time that I enjoy and look forward to doing. I hope these ideas help you in your struggle.
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sleep at her house
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I agree with Lilliput and Cmagnum! You do need to take care of yourself or you're no good to anyone else if you don't. I've crashed a few times in the year and half I have been solely responsible for caring for both my Mom and Dad. The errands are endless and the good times are far and few in between.
But what I also want to suggest that you may be suffering some type of mild depression yourself. See your doctor and let them know how you feel. It's OK to send some time on yourself.

Peace out,

-SS
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There are numerous reasons you could be sleepy, mainly not getting enough good rest or a medical issue, or boredom. I also was sleepy on the way to and from my elderly parents and yawn a lot around them and my Sister said the same thing.happens to her. I believe that mine was caused by wanting to get away or hide from the pain I felt seeing them so frail and ill. If I go to sleep, I won't have to deal with it and when I wake up, I feel better because I generally cry first and that releases a lot of hurt and stress. Please be careful driving! Try pulling over for a few minutes. Talking to a counselor may also help you understand and you may want to see your Doctor.
Can someone ride with you? How long is the ride?
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If it only happens when you visit have you checked for carbon monoxide in her home or your ca? Years ago while I was driving I would get drowsy... Turns out my car had a gas leak.
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Alot of this is probably emotional fatigue too.

When I moved my mom from her home of 50+ years to IL and we would stay at the house, there was alot of odors associated with everything at the house. Not nasty but more like old rancid oil or wet animal. Our clothes, luggage would smell of the house when we left - we would all get headaches & have unusual fatigue & our son would get ecezma after the 3rd day.

Turns out there was a gas leak at stove. So CO2 check is a very good idea. Also I just didn't realize that there were years and years of old dead skin cells in the house as it was rarely opened up - so the odor was really embedded in the house especially in anything fabric. I pulled out all the wall-to-wall and got rid of all the old drapes, rugs, linens and only kept those that could be hot water washed. Febrezed & renuzit on every visit in and left 3 windows slightly open. Took about a year for the smell to go away. No more headaches or skin irritations since.

Did the same for her clothes and linens at her IL.

As an fyi, the smell of grapefruit is processed by our brains
as "young", "fresh". So look for that scent to use if there's
an old lady smell lingering from your visits.

When you're driving you might want to have hard candy like Jolly rancher sour apple to keep yourself busy, maybe a book on tape, or get a tin or wasabi peas for a snack - those will perk/zing anyone up.

If everyone's suggestions don't seem to make a difference, then perhaps you should get a check up as you could have a thyroid or other metabolic condition. Good luck
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Such extreme fatigue sounds more like burnout that could mean lights out for yourself one night behind the wheel. How many hours a night do you sleep?

Are you eating healthy food or junk food all of the time?

Do you wake up refreshed in the morning or half asleep still?

Do you have to be the person who does all of the helping for your mother?

What are you doing to take care of you?

Also, your tiredness could be depression and you might be masking it by staying busy with everything. It might be a good idea to see a therapist about all of this stress because about all a doctor can do is give you a pill which might in fact help until you can find some ways to get some balance back into your life.
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Hello. I have the same problem. I travel 100 miles each way to visit my father every two weeks or more. While I am with him at the nursing home I try to be very positive upbeat etc... and I usually stay 4 - 5 hours. Somehow I feel fine while i am there but as soon as I hit my car it is like I relax and after about 10 minutes I could fall to sleep.
So I always make it a point to stop and get a coffee and a small treat to eat on the way home.
I also have a book player and I will try to play an interesting book on the way home.
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I just went through a horrific 2010...with a move out of state, which meant packing up mom and moving her too. When I arrived I just wanted to sleep for a month. But, of course, we all know that it is just not possible when you are a caregiver. I think that is what tires me the most, the thought that this will go on for a long, long time. If someone could magically tell me how long I would have to do this, I think I could deal with it. It is just the unknown that is wearing me down. As time goes on and mom needs more, I find that the weight of responsibility overwhelming. I have turned into a "gopher" and am no longer a daughter - so there is nothing social about my visits.
If this is effecting you driving home safely, you may need to limit your time with her or arrive at a different time of day. Dozing off at the wheel will not do you or your mom any good. take care
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My mom lives with me and I feel drained out and tired a lot too. Even when it isn't a particularly stressful day. It may just be the stress of your situation and that's how your body handles it.

Mom is on the waiting list at a very good memory care facility. I have already imagined that the weekend after she moves there, I am going to sleep and not get up for hours!!
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I feel the same way when I've had to be in my grandma's living room with her for hours at a time. We live in the house with her but it is only on HER floor of the house that I experience the most fatigue. My brother and father also complain of fatigue in this part of the house.

My grandmother's taste leaves much to be desired, there is nothing visually stimulating for me in that room. Her oxygen converter runs all the time and there is a droning hum to the background noise that is oddly restful, so auditory stimulus runs towards boring white noise. Gran is also light sensitive now, so the room is kept darkened except for a lamp which shines ONLY on the book that she may choose to read. The blinds are usually lowered so it is oddly tomb-like in that room and always stuffy and warm, Gran is ALWAYS cold. If this isn't a recipe for narcolepsy...I don't know what is. Grandma's routine is also boring beyond words.

All of this is comforting to her. Her favorite things, the warmth, and the lack of startling painful sunlight. To me it is a recipe for Vitamin D deficiency and total mind numbing boredom. I know I'm just suffering from having to observe and become part of someone elses routine.

Sometimes I have to just go outside and walk around the house a few times.

For you, if it isn't any of the above types of things that may numb your senses, have you thought of having the CO2 levels in the home checked? Is there anything wrong with your car?

Many caregivers do get tired because they are spread that thin taking care of their own needs, their immediate family needs, and their parents needs. That is a bunch of needs.

It may be time to check with your doctor to see if there is any other reason for your sleepiness. Falling asleep at the wheel would be a disaster.

Take care! HB
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