I'm losing my mind!

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II have been taking care of my 96 year old mom for the past 5 years. She has lived with me for most of that time ... ALL of the past 2 years. I am single, own a home and have a full time job in addition to caring for my mom. She is very sweet, cooperative and appreciative and i love her dearly. I know it could be worse, she could be cantankerous and demanding, or have severe dementia. So for that i am thankful. She does have some major short term memory loss and a little dementia. I do EVERYTHING for her. She can still (barely) ambulate through the house on a walker but often times she poops out and ends up sitting on it and i push her to the bathroom or wherever she is going.. We use a wheel chair outside of the house. She goes to a wonderful adult day care facility during the weekdays while i am at work. So, all in all, we have a great arrangement. But as time goes on i am wondering how much longer i can continue this without losing my mind. I am a nursemaid to a 96 year old while the rest of my family and friends have wonderful fulfilling lives and my life is passing me by. My brother and sis-in-law do help slightly, but are not able to do what i do. If i were not in the picture my brother would have put mom in a nursing home. I am committed to caring for her to the end. I am so stressed out. My mornings are devoted to getting mom ready... washed, dressed, well fed, pills taken (and i have to keep at her to eat and take pills or she has a tendency to sit and stare, or fall asleep lately). I am too drained to worry about myself, so I end up throwing on the first thing i can find, put my glasses on instead of my contacts, no makeup, and off to work I go as soon as her daycare bus comes and gets her. In the evenings it is usually after 8pm when i'm through cleaning up the dishes and then i have barely an hour before i have to start getting her ready for bed. Some people liken caretaking to parenting and i guess in some ways you could say it is, but in many ways, that only a caregiver could understand, it is NOT. It is stressful and sad to watch your parent turn into your child .. age and decline more each day and wonder when it's going to happen ... when and where and how they are going to die. I am extremely conscientious about following doctors orders and trying to do everything i can to keep her healthy. She has some serious heart issues and is really slowing down. My days off are not really days off because i am caring for her. Two months ago my brother treated me and a friend to an outdoor concert (Chicago) at a local jazz festival and another friend came over and sat with mom at the house. When the band came out i began to cry. I was shocked at my reaction and couldn't decide if i was crying because hearing Chicago live brought back such great memories of my youth, or if it was because it was the first time in forever that i was out enjoying life without having my mom strapped to me. . i I think it was both. and i realized how much i miss having a life. The weekends or days off are the worst because mom just sits and gets so bored. I can’t spend all of my time entertaining her. Although I have a hard time getting much done with mom around, there are some things that I have to keep up with. If she sits too long she gets antsy and says she is so bored and just “sits sits sits”. That is when I just lose it. I can’t be her entertainment. I feel for her. It is not her fault. But she has lost the ability to amuse herself. She is a talented musician but has no interest in playing the piano anymore. She has macular degeneration so can’t read. TV, movies, etc have never interested her. She can’t do a thing to entertain herself. So, when she gets bored I feel like I have to do something to help her. Sometimes I take her for along walk around the neighorhood in her wheelchair, sometimes a drive in the car, sometimes a game of dominoes. But, it is so hard being EVERYTHIGN to another person. I feel smothered and trapped and like I just want to run and scream. My house is small and I have no where to escape and if I go into another room for long, she wants to come too. I try not to complain to friends, family or co-workers because no one wants to hear it and no one understands. So, I am grateful for this forum where I can let off steam and know that there are those who understand exactly what I am feeling. Much of the time I just want this to end, but I struggle so with those feelings because and end means that mom would be gone. Thanks for reading and understanding!

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Caregiver's Bill of Rights:
aplaceformom/blog/caregiver-bill-of-rights/
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A quick story I just read about caregiver's and stress...
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What really scared me was on this mornings news there was a segment where it was found that there was a collation between stress and Alzheimer's with middle-age people. I am already noticing memory issues with myself... and I use to pride myself on being sharp. It really rattles me when I go back and read some of my own postings and see the grammar errors that I didn't see just before it clicked on the "post comment" button. YIKES !!
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lizzie, lucy, freqflyer... I understand, I understand what you're all going through... I'm going through the same trying to balance my mother's life and my life... it's very tough and yes, difficult to watch your parent age and falter. You're all doing the best you can do, and I have to remind myself of that... over and over... and over. I almost got really sick last month as my stress was really mounting... It really scared me (after numerous dr visits for myself)... It could have been a lot worse, so I have to 'ground' myself and work on the stress level... As my Primary Dr says "it's accumulative". So, hang in there with me... try to take care of yourself... reinvent the wheel if need be... create new ideas/new beginnings... don't give up...
Lizzie... I grew up in Chgo... so, I understand the nostalgia you mentioned about a yr ago when you went to the Chgo concert... I hope you're doing well.
Love to you all!... It's almost TGIF!
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We also need to remember that if we work outside of the home, have a career, we were trained for THAT career. I can't imagine resigning from work to start a new career where I have zero training. And to work that new job 168 hours a week.

That's why I am hinting to my aging parents [in their 90's and still living on their own] that they should consider hiring qualified people to do that type of work [of course, my parent's wallet is spring loaded to shut very quickly before one dollar get out] because I am NOT trained... I don't know CPR... I don't know how to listen to all the different sounds a Cardiologist hears though a stethoscope.... if my parents fell I couldn't pick them up.... if they want something to eat they would get tired of corn flakes with a side of toast... and if I see one more doctor's waiting room I will scream.... plus I am aging quickly myself.
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Lucy098 I can understand the anger and the fatigue and the frustration. I and do understand that you love your mother, hence the guilt about your feelings. And you paint a realistic picture of depression. Been there, felt that. May I suggest that the first thing you do is get professional help with the depression. That really can be treated, probably with a combination of meds and talk therapy. It won't solve your caregiving problems, but it will give you back your own personality to enable you to deal with them. Please. You deserve that kind of help.

Next, please consider this: No one can provide 24/7/365 care for an impaired adult and retain their sanity. Can't be done. In care centers there are three shifts of trained staff to care for the patients. If help is needed it is just down the hall. The staff goes home at the end of the shift and eats dinner out with spouses, plays ball with kids, has some quiet time alone. Meanwhile the next shift comes in, fresh and rested. Why on earth to we think we should be able to do this all alone, day after day, with no weekends off, no holidays, no privacy, no me time?

It is awesome that your brothers and sister help out some. Thank them. Praise them. Encourage them. It is awesome but it is not enough. If they can help more, encourage that. But if they cannot you still need help. You still need to have breaks, have private time with your spouse, have "me" time. How can you arrange that?

It depends a lot on your mother's financial circumstances. Contact your state's area on aging: https://www.agingcare.com/local/Missouri-Department-of-Health-and-Senior-Services-Jefferson-City-Area-Agency-on-Aging-MO. Find out what is available, and where you should call next. Perhaps an adult day care program will be suitable for your mother. Maybe she'll qualify for some hours from a personal care attendant. Things like meals on wheels for her lunch, or housekeeping help may relieve some of the burden on you.

Sometimes we feel that "it is too early to need help already! What kind of a wimp am I?" Believe me, getting help right from the start is one way to help avoid total burnout.

I encourage you to get treatment for your depression. You deserve it. And then to also get additional help in taking care of your mother. She deserves it -- and so do you and your husband.
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I am just into three months and experiencing depression, guilt, anger and I love my mom but I feel like I'm losing myself. I have four brothers and a sister who give me a couple of hours a week. I am with her all day everyday. My husband is so understanding but it is getting to him too. We have no alone time. All the things we used to do together is gone. I don't want to get out of bed in the morning and find myself sleeping at all different times of the day. I don't want to shower or put on makeup. I see all the comments of what to do but I'm not getting any support. I want to run away and never come back!
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Thanks BrightBod ... i'm going to assume that you're the real deal although after that bizarre comment from the other poster and the anonymity that this board allows, you just never know.
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lol, dusty has more quirks than a 76 ford granada. we need that , it adds diversity and controversy to the forum . dusty thinks her and i are going to spend eternity together. not happening dusty . im going to live on the dark side of the moon and cultivate phsylocybin mushrooms . you can visit if youd like but god *amn bring beer . these mushrooms are ragged to say the least..
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lizzieann, I kind of feel like shakingdustoff is an internet troll, just looking to start a random fight. Anyone who read your post can easily see the love, compassion and sincerity you have in your role as a caregiver. ~ BB
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