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I took care of my Mom while she was dying. She died last July. I had no help. I am now taking care of my 90 yr old Dad who is trying to forge ahead after a 68 yr marriage. His health is certainly getting worse. I have an older brother two miles away who is completely insane. It is just me. It is only me. I am on meds for bipolar disorder. I am attending counseling through hospice but the fact is that I am alone....No help. Alone.

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dreyfuss - you ask if you should leave your dad alone to die? You daughter thinks he should be free to drink and "enjoy" his last days. I notice that he has diabetes. Is the drinking since he lost your mum or always? In any case, a person with diabetes can't afford to drink much or they will deteriorate. Does he have any dementia? If someone in their sound mind chooses self destructive behaviour they may not be much you can do. Alanon is a good group for the family of a drinker. They can help you as well as the support group you are attending. I agree with the others - see if you can get out to something totally different, say once a week to get your mind off this, and also take dad out if he will go. Guilt is something most care givers feel but don't deserve. You are probably still grieving you mum too. Try to let the guilt go. You certainly have done nothing to deserve it. Take care of you -do something good for you each day - even something small. ((((((((((hugs))))))))))
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weary - If it isn't working, and it seems like it isn't on several fronts, then you really have to question if it is the right thing. It is stressing you and hubby, it is hurting you financially... Can you sit down with your hubby and look at options Placing your mum in a home is not the worst thing that can happen. Many here have found that they had to do that. There are good places, where she will get professional care and meet people her age. You will still have a job advocating for her, visiting her, etc. You and hubby need to look after your futures - financially and otherwise. Don't put yourself bottom of the list. Your needs are as important as your mum's at least! Other people can look after your mum. No one else can earn for you, or look after your health or your marriage. (((((((((((hugs)))))))))).
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@ weary, it is indeed a financial nightmare. you cannot work even parttime while providing full time care. my mother had to pay my meager bills for the last few months of her life but upon telling a va representative how awkward i found that to be she assured me that such a situation is inevitable and thats why mother had saved up her money for years -- to provide for herself at end of life. only about 30 % of american elders stay in their home until death altho most would like to. a stroke or a broken bone, even general decline can result in institutional care. at this point let them go with your blessing. theyre too far gone to care and / or they really need the round the clock institutional care.
then, conversely, some, more sociable elders might do better in the institutional setting altho i havent been able to verify that theory just yet. my aunt is in a nice AL but isnt very happy and yearns for home but home is not a reality as she cant live alone and doesnt have a decent potential carer in her immediate family. its all excruciating to deal with but just concentrate on being a carer you will look back on and approve of -- because soon you will be doing the lookback.
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This is my first time to be able to sneak into my bedroom and talk to someone...anyone that understands. Mom lives with me and I am her full time caregiver. I quit my job to do this. Now I am questioning if I made the wrong decision. My hubby doesn't think he can last much longer with no private time, no vacations, no more #1 in his mind. I try to convince myself that this is the right thing, but people just say 'put her in a home'. The only time I get out of the house is to buy groceries or pick up her meds. 3yrs an 4 mos ago, my life has turned into a financial nightmare. Any advice?
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Here you are never alone! We're here for you any time. We have some different scenarios, challenges and just plain horrors, but we're here for you!
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Thank you all for responses. I am now seeing a counselor through hospice (incredible organization) I will also be attending some of their support groups. My Dad can be left alone for short periods of time but he has nasty diabetes and tends to jump in the car to go shopping. Also, he could slip into coma or fall. I am just so disgusted with the lack of support from family. My brothers and daughters have no clue. The stress, guilt, etc. Plus, I am not a doctor. I feel like I am over my head with this. The only people that understand care-giving are the caregivers themselves. My daughters feel that my Dad had a good life and should be free to drink and enjoy his final days. I am supposed to leave him alone to die?
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Dreyfuss,

I'm so glad you're here! I found this website when my dad was living with me and I'm so glad I did. Now that dad is gone I still come here to share my experience and support others who are caring for elderly parents.

I'm glad to hear that you're taking meds for the bipolar. We have to keep up with our own health and wellbeing if we're to be any good to the person we're caring about. And that you're in counseling is wonderful. Keep it up.

Do you and your dad live together? Can he be left alone? I remember when I was caring for my dad people would tell me that I needed to get out but I never told them that I really had nowhere to go. I went to church and participated in some church activities. I went to the movies on a pretty regular basis. I did some volunteer work. But none of that was enough. I needed a LIFE. And I'm not ashamed to say that I used my position as a caregiver to not seek out other people to socialize with because I didn't know how to go about doing that. I was 40. I didn't know how to make new friends or where to find them. That's why this website was so wonderful for me.

You're not alone now, not really. There are so many people here who are here regularly. I wish AgingCare.com had a feature that allowed its members to speak in real time.....like on FB. I'd talk to you!

Keep coming back. Keep going to counseling. Keep taking your meds. You're doing all the right things. Is there a friend you can call and meet for lunch even if it's just an hour? It's something....a small step.
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Dreyfuss, My mom died 2 years ago from cancer, she and my dad were married 63 years, so I understand where your dad is coming from. My mother-in-law who I help take care of now, was married to my father-in-law for 60 years. Both widows/widowers handle the grief differently I've noticed. My mother-in-law has macular degeneration and dementia/alz and handled her husband's death BADLY. My dad who is a Christian, looks forward to seeing mom again, so while he's lonely he's not despondent etc. People have different ways of coping with a loss after 60+ years of marriage, but I do know that time is what makes it better. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say 'time heals all wounds' but it does lessen the sting after awhile. Us kids were all involved with mom as she died of cancer, and keep surrounding dad even now. The grandkids have stepped up to the plate big time, which is wonderful. Give your dad TIME to grieve the way he needs to, but I'd squash the talk about him 'wanting to be with my wife'. I understand in theory what he means, because my dad is certainly ready to go, but I worry that your dad might become obsessed with that idea and quit trying to live himself. Like loridtabbykat said, find a church you both like. There are senior programs that your dad might really enjoy. But I also think you need to separate yourself from him too. You need your own time to do the things you like too, not just babysit dad. I'm sorry about your mom. I'm sorry about the whole situation. ♥
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Sounds like you need to get out of the house for a few hours. Find a Church you like, take your Dad with you, or find a hobby with a group of folks that meet once a week. Take your Dad out to eat, a local friendly place. You and your Dad go to a local store a pick up a few things you need, try to make it fun, try to make your Dad visit with people where ever you go.
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You're physically alone but you have a whole community of caregivers here who can support you and understand the caregiving piece of your life. I'm happy to hear you're getting counseling through hospice. As Equillot suggested, counseling for your bi-polar disorder would also be great. Keep us posted - you are not alone here. Hugs...
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I am so sorry you are going through this by yourself. It is good that you are attending counseling through hospice - are you also seeing a therapist for your bipolar disorder? I would suggest looking into some respite care for your Dad. You need to find some time to start socializing again. I know the process is hard, but going out for lunch, or even a cup of coffee with a friend or someone you haven't seen in a long time and talking about something other than death or dying (the good old days, for instance, old pranks played) can do much to lighten the mood. Laughter truly is the best medicine. Getting away from your problems, even if only for an hour or two, is really helpful. Respite care is essential in letting you do that. Hugs.
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