Cindy Laverty is a Caregiver Coach and Founder of The Care Company, an online support website for family caregivers. Through programs, coaching and products, Cindy is dedicated to empowering family caregivers.
Dear Brookeb, You are at a crossroads with caregiving for your mother, because it sounds like the situation has gotten out of control and... Dear Brookeb, You are at a crossroads with caregiving for your mother, because it sounds like the situation has gotten out of control and her condition has changed. We try so hard to do what we believe is the right thing for our loved ones, and in so doing, we lose ourselves in the process. You can't lose yourself in order to save your mother. If your mother's cognitive function was optimal she would not want you feeling this way nor would she want to be the one inflicting the pain and causing the chaos. Are you trained and capable of dealing with more of her behavior? If not, there are people who are and it might be time to research your options. Have you considered getting some outside help with the decision making process? It's complicated and sometimes having an outsider who sees things through a different lens can be really helpful. You should be honored for all that you are still doing, but if she is not able to appreciate all of it, you're setting yourself up for more disappointment. Maybe it's okay to let go of some of that and let her be. I don't know what the doctor will find, but if it's not a UTI...then what? Can you make a decision that you matter? That your life matters and that you might not be able to fix this? If you want to continue this conversation, I'm happy to. Good luck. see more
Dear DeeCent, In answer to your first question, the Paramedics do not decide, if you have all the necessary paperwork in place stating... Dear DeeCent, In answer to your first question, the Paramedics do not decide, if you have all the necessary paperwork in place stating that your Dad has a DNR in place. It should be posted by his bed. Does he have a medical directive in place? Can you get the doctor to sign off on a POLST form, which very specifically states what should be done in case of an emergency? Most doctor's offices have them. I don't understand why he was taken off hospice. It's an evaluation every 6 months, but if his condition has not improved, he can stay on hospice. It sounds like you are getting some wrong information. Is your father's lung cancer still considered terminal or has his condition changed? Do you have Power of Attorney? If so, you can consult with his doctors. Unfortunately the medical system is not always in alignment with the patient's wishes, but it's important to remember that your Dad has free will. I'm not saying he should stop taking his medications, but it sounds like he needs someone to be a strong advocate for him and get some straight answers from his doctors. Best of luck. I'm happy to continue this conversation with you. see more
You tell the truth. As caring for aging parents becomes part of the everyday scenario in corporate America, the more family caregivers are... You tell the truth. As caring for aging parents becomes part of the everyday scenario in corporate America, the more family caregivers are forthcoming with employers, the sooner businesses and corporations will start listening. There is absolutely no shame in caring for a beloved family member. If you need to...remind the person interviewing you that if you can do caregiving, you can probably do anything! see more
Hi B, First, good for you that you recognize what is going on in your life. So many caregivers don't see the problem until it is too... Hi B, First, good for you that you recognize what is going on in your life. So many caregivers don't see the problem until it is too late. What you have taken on is simply not possible to sustain. You cannot continue to maintain this level of commitment to your parents, your family and your two jobs. Something will break and I fear it will be you. You MUST get help and you should start doing less.
It is very common for aging parents to not want a stranger in the home, but I'm guessing if a major appliance breaks or the plumbing goes out, that you are not the person to fix it. They would have a stranger in their home. They don't want anyone else because up until now you have been willing to do everything. So now it's time to set some boundaries and put some of your needs at the top of the list...and there is NOTHING wrong with doing that. You are NOT a bad person because you don't want to lose your life. In fact, if you get some help, your attitude will change and the resentment will begin to subside. The scenario that you describe is the biggest challenge caregivers face. There are too many emotions to manage and guilt becomes the most powerful. You Matter! Your Life Matters and I encourage you to get some help quickly.
The thought of losing our parents is, of course, scary, but that fear and sadness should be focused on spending time with them that serves them and you in a good way. Cleaning and feeling resentment about doing it, is only going to erode your feelings of love. All the best to you. see more
It's absolutely not wrong. Finances are a large part of caregiving. You have to find out if it's possible though to take out a life... It's absolutely not wrong. Finances are a large part of caregiving. You have to find out if it's possible though to take out a life insurance policy given his medical condition. He will have to have a medical exam. They will draw blood so nicotine will show up. He might be able to get insurance, but you have to weigh the monthly cost. You should certainly investigate it and find out what is available. There is nothing wrong with having a life insurance policy for your Dad. We take out a policy for our spouses or partners. It's actually being fiscally responsible. Start calling agents and see what they say. see more
Hvluv2ski...What you are experiencing is completely normal and if you weren't feeling this way, something would be abnormal. You have... Hvluv2ski...What you are experiencing is completely normal and if you weren't feeling this way, something would be abnormal. You have not only taken care of your mom, but you have also been her best friend over the years. I would never suggest that you DEAL...rather..I think you should allow yourself to grieve to over the sadness of not having her there. You have entered into a new phase of Alzheimer's and although unspoken, it's also a part of the sorrow that accompanies the progression of this disease. I'm sure she will get another roommate but it might take a little while. You are lucky that you are allowed to visit her so soon after her move. Many places have a 2 week non-visitation policy. You have to give yourself some time to adjust. Visit your mom...do the things that you used to do when you visit and eventually she will settle in to her new routine. She might even like it as she participates in activities and has more interaction with different people. Also, during this adjustment period, try doing one or two activities that you were not able to do when you were her primary caregiver. Just know that everything you are experiencing is completely normal. Stay involved in life and cherish your visits with your Mom. see more
Who has Power of Attorney for Finances? If she still has POA then you need to meet with an attorney and get legal advice about how to... Who has Power of Attorney for Finances? If she still has POA then you need to meet with an attorney and get legal advice about how to intervene especially if you are concerned about her financial decision-making. You don't have to take control of her life, but if she is not able to make smart financial decisions then someone has to step in and assist. The POA is the important document here. If you have it or one of your siblings does, then you can step in and help out. If not, you really need to seek legal counsel. see more
You have given your mother the very best care possible. It sounds like her condition has gotten to the point where you are no longer able... You have given your mother the very best care possible. It sounds like her condition has gotten to the point where you are no longer able to provide the kind of care she needs on a 24 hour basis. Because of her Alzheimer's (and Stage 5 is nothing to shrug off) she needs more care than you are able to give. You cannot sacrifice her health and well being trying to do everything for her. Do you have POA and are you able to make this decision. She will most definitely protest and loudly, but I have found over the years, that after an adjustment period, having the daily stimulation and care and visits from you that she will ultimately be happier. I know it feels scary, but you have to do what is best for her and YOU! I don't know where you live, but you might contact an agency like A Place for Mom (866-333-6241), it's not cost to you, and see if they can help you find a good residential community that serves the Alzheimer's patient. Best of luck with this process. see more
Dear prettymom46 - what you have shared here is so important and beautifully expressed because you have spoken from the heart. What you are... Dear prettymom46 - what you have shared here is so important and beautifully expressed because you have spoken from the heart. What you are experiencing is to be expected, but sadly most caregivers don't allow themselves to feel the emotions. Honoring your feelings is really important now. You are mourning the physical absence of your mom as well as the reality that her condition has changed to the point where you needed to get her some professional help. This is the most difficult decision family caregivers have to make, but ultimately, you have done the most compassionate thing for your mom. Sometimes, it's impossible to continue to care for someone at home, especially when the medical conditions are more than you can manage. On another level you are feeling the emptiness that comes from being a caregiver once those responsibilities are over. Allow yourself to feel all of the sadness. Cry, cry and cry some more, but also take some time to journal about your life. Find ways to honor yourself. Dream about what you would like your life to look like. Be gentle with yourself. You are probably experiencing the release of physical and mental exhaustion, which is another reason why you can't stop crying. Just let it out.
Your Mom still needs you. Visit her often and try and get her involved in any activities that might be available at her new place. Maybe she'll meet some new people. When she asks you why she can't come home; if you feel like she can fully understand you can tell her that it's because she is getting better care here. Reassure her that you will come and visit often...that you will bring her treats (favorite foods), that you'll take her outside when you can...that you aren't going anywhere. She's going through an adjustment period right now - just like you are, and it's going to take some time. But often what happens, is one day out of the blue, you show up to visit and she might be sitting with a new friend. Stay in close contact with the staff at the nursing home and let them know that you will be very visible and visit often.
For now...be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to feel the emotion. Visit your mom and really, do what you need to do to feel okay. see more
Dear 2yng2betired, You clearly have quite a difficult situation on your hands and I hesitate to say this, but there is nothing you can do... Dear 2yng2betired, You clearly have quite a difficult situation on your hands and I hesitate to say this, but there is nothing you can do about the behavior of your siblings. You can only control what you do going forward. I take it your mom is able to live on her own, but needs your help with things like doctors and medications. You are going to have to change some things that you are currently doing in order to have a life. I would suggest that you limit the time you spend answering all the calls from your mother. You can talk to her, perhaps, once in the morning and once in the afternoon or evening and not answer your phone every time it rings. If possible, try to find some social activities for your mom to do without you. Is there a senior center close by where she could go a couple of times a week - meet new people and participate in activities? You need to set some boundaries for yourself it begins by being okay NOT taking every single call. You can certainly listen to the message to see if it's an emergency or not. Then decide to call back when you are prepared to talk. I would also purchase a large calendar and plan it out for every month with your mom. This is when you set the social time. Show your mother that there is a calendar and give her the comfort of knowing that she has a schedule.
Sixty is very young to start showing signs of dementia. I would definitely take her to the doctor and have her checked out. If she does have early onset dementia, then you have other issues to deal with.
Regarding your siblings: You can request their help and support, but you have to engage with them like it's a business meeting - leave the emotion out of the conversation. I would strongly recommend that you have a list of things that they can do to help your Mom, which would ultimately help you. There are many reasons why siblings choose not to help or support you, but I can't begin to figure out their "whys" here. What I can tell you is no amount of pleading, begging, crying or yelling at them is going to get you the desired result. Try engaging them in a business conversation. Tell them exactly how they can help. Then ask if they can do what you have requested. If the answer is no, then you have to let it go. I know it's frustrating and disappointing and can make you really angry, but you need to start using your energy to take better care of you. Start with setting some boundaries and making the decision that you will stick to them. Best of luck to you. see more
Like with many things in caregiving, you do this delicately and respectfully. You have to disassociate any gender role and explain that you... Like with many things in caregiving, you do this delicately and respectfully. You have to disassociate any gender role and explain that you are just going to assist with the bath. In the hospital baths are generally given by females and thus it is in a home setting. There is no male/female dynamic. It's a bath and part of the daily routine. It's the same thing with assisting a male to the bathroom. It has to be done and therefore you just do it. Taking of personal hygiene issues is part of the job and as long as you do it with dignity, there should be no problem. see more
Please do not give your mother Red Bull, especially since she has Afib and hypertension. Red Bull is not going to give her sustained energy... Please do not give your mother Red Bull, especially since she has Afib and hypertension. Red Bull is not going to give her sustained energy and could end up causing her more problems. It contains 110 calories and 27 grams of sugar (roughly 2 tablespoons). Taurine is an ingredient that we really don't have a lot of information on, however, it is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which in some cases it acts as a mild sedative. Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine which is three times the caffeine in the same amount of Coke! That in and of itself is a reason NOT to give someone with Afib this drink. Caffeine can also contribute to dehydration. The ingredients that Red Bull touts as good for you are not in substantial enough amounts to outweigh the issues that could arise for your mother. Basically Red Bull is sugar water mixed with caffeine. Your Dad would be better off to make her a healthy shake that is full of vitamins. Shakes are a great way to get lots of vitamins and nutrients into and elderly person. Hope this helps you. By the way...given your Dad's health issues, I hope he's not drinking it either. see more
Dear Golfgirl07...What a shift you have had in your thinking. I'm interested to know what changed for YOU? What happened for you?... Dear Golfgirl07...What a shift you have had in your thinking. I'm interested to know what changed for YOU? What happened for you? Breakthroughs like this one are so important and I congratulate you. I love that you are taking care of you and letting go of some control. Nice job! see more
Boundary setting is one of the most crucial aspects of being a caregiver. We are treated based on the strength or weakness of our... Boundary setting is one of the most crucial aspects of being a caregiver. We are treated based on the strength or weakness of our boundaries. Many elderly people have no boundaries and feel like they are entitled to all of your time. Being a caregiver is challenging enough, but when you become an indentured servant in your own home, it's time to consider and look into making some changes. I concur with Carol. None of you can risk your personal health and emotional wellness, nor should anyone have to take abuse. Verbal abuse is detrimental to the human spirit. Begin the process of looking into alternative living for your loved one. see more
Dear Allie, There is great advice and empathy coming your way in this conversation. I don't want to reiterate the conversation but this... Dear Allie, There is great advice and empathy coming your way in this conversation. I don't want to reiterate the conversation but this is not a responsibility that a 20 year old should be taking on. You are not the solution to your mother's dilemma about what to do about her mother. You have to come up with a different solution. It sounds like your grandmother needs to have some professional testing. I'm don't know where you live, but you can find a place that does thorough testing for seniors and you will have a better understanding of exactly what is going on with your grandmother. Once you have the results of the tests, you can make less emotional decisions. I don't see why you would lose your relationship with your mother if you made a decision not to be the full time caregiver for your grandmother who is verbally abusive towards you. You do not sound selfish. In fact you are quite the opposite. Clearly you are in a position of sacrificing your life for your grandmother. I am confused as to why your mother cannot help care for her own mother. Did I miss something here? I have a 26 year old daughter and I can't imagine expecting her to care for my 83 year old mother. Sure, I might ask her to help out once in awhile, but be her full time caregiver - NO! You are in the prime of your life and you have to find another way to manage this situation.
If your grandmother tests normal and she refuses to take her medications and live alone, then sometimes you need to let that happen. We cannot make someone take medications against their will. Unless you have Power of Attorney or Conservatorship over your grandmother, no amount of pleading, coaxing or talking to her is going to make any difference. I would recommend that you get her tested. Look up Geriatric Evaluations on the Internet and type in your city after that and see what shows up for you. Start here with your grandmother and then create a plan for you to get your life back. Please know that you are NOT selfish for wanting to have some relief from this very difficult situation. This is not a burden than you should take on alone. see more
My Mom is 83 and I just signed her up for Facebook. It's amazing how many friends she has that she doesn't even know. They are all... My Mom is 83 and I just signed her up for Facebook. It's amazing how many friends she has that she doesn't even know. They are all younger...some are my friends and every one of them gives her delight. On her birthday she kept checking her FB to see who had wished her a happy birthday. She also has an iPad and is loving it. She doesn't always know what she's doing, but it's keeping her engaged and busy and her mind is is fully engaged. She's definitely staying connected and now she wants to buy stock in Facebook! see more
Eddie gave you great advice. You can only do so much and if you are turned away or treated badly at every turn, you have to decide what you... Eddie gave you great advice. You can only do so much and if you are turned away or treated badly at every turn, you have to decide what you will put with and what you won't. You have a right to be treated with dignity in your life. If it helps you to feel better, ask a neighbor to check in on her and then contact you regarding her condition. You must feel good about your role and sadly, very sadly, sometimes you just can't change the way someone (even your mother) treats. What you can do is change the way you allow your mom to treat to you. Be strong. see more
Thank you for your incredible honesty about your family's situation. This has to be difficult to share and it took courage. It's... Thank you for your incredible honesty about your family's situation. This has to be difficult to share and it took courage. It's clear that you are at the end of your rope. As difficult as this is for you, you are absolutely right when you say that you can't fail your own family because your brother-in-law always fails his. Your number one priority MUST be your husband and your children. That being said, these types of issues are happening all over the country and I was just helping another woman with a similar situation. This is financial elder abuse. There is no other way to describe it. Your husband needs to make a decision and act on behalf of his parents. The thing is that APS won't be able to do much if the family decides not to press charges. The court won't be able to step nor will the DA's office. Charges have to be filed against Jim. The problem with this is that it sounds like your in-laws are giving money willingly. Is this is the case, then you can't really do anything unless your in-laws are being threatened or intimidated into giving the money each month. It's a horrible situation.
You and your husband should sit down and figure out together how as a family you want to handle Jim. I'm not sure why the children would go to foster care when they have a mother. I assume that's equally as complicated. You can't let your fear about "what might happen" guide your decision making. Fear is sometimes described as False Evidence Appearing Real and when it takes over, it's almost impossible to make rationale decisions. I strongly recommend that you move into action mode and begin with a meeting with your husband and maybe his older brother. Create a definitive plan and decide that you will not enable your in-laws with any more money after they have given theirs to Jim. Your husband needs to calmly tell his parents that they cannot come to you for money because they have given theirs away. Begin by stopping the enabling process on all fronts. This will not be easy. Changing the cycle is not easy, but the only person who is getting exactly what he wants is Jim.
Just to be clear: This is a form of elder abuse and it's addiction to a cycle that does not work and cannot continue to work. Take care of your own family first. Your husband and his older brother need to intervene. I hope this helps. see more