The worst part is that it never ends.

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Often times I feel like a hamster on a treadmill, going at full speed but never getting anywhere. I think for most of us it's the fact that there is no 'light at the end of the tunnel.' Others go through a hard or challenging time, but know that eventually, the situation will change. We don't know when it will until death (our parents or ourselves) finally steps in. It's the never ending routine and being so tired all the time from care giving, but feeling no progress despite all our efforts. Each day is a reset. Starting over from Square One. BUT I have joined several special interest groups and I am determined to put emotional distance between myself and my situation with my mother. I've also started listening to classic rock stations in the house, music that blasts the blues out of me with its hard driving sounds. And the good part is my mother is also hard of hearing, so no complaints from her. Hang in there, everyone.

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I understand totally. My mother is 96. She just about completly blind and has dementia. She cannot get to the bathroom on her own and because she sleeps most of the day the nights are really difficult because she is awake. Either she has to go to the bathroom, wants snacks, and makes it impossible to keep her on her medication schedule etc. I am the care giver every weekend until Monday morning.. Sometimes I can get a couple of hours nap during the day. I am exhausted by Monday. I still work part time. So I know how you feel.
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Being a caregiver to both parents for over 10 years 24/7, I totally understand what you all are saying.
Looking back, we all seem to get into the cycle of overwhelm, neglecting ourselves, and being totally exhausted.
Need to really take just a little time out several times a day with a 10-15 minute nap (often when our loved one naps)... through meditation, and simpley getting outside on short breaks. Also know that moving the body around can change our "state"... and that in turn changes out mood and ability to cope a little better. You all have taken on an awesome task.
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Hi everyone!
I was a caregiver to both parents 24/7 for over 10 years until their deaths... and agree with all of you.
The biggest part is not to get into the "guilt" mode, and do whatever it takes to refrain from depression. We are isolated, feel alone, and like there is no one who understands... ( partially true, as only another caregiver can truly understand)...
Body movement of ANY kind can keep depression at bay... either and actually taking the time to "time out" several times a day. Do any of you meditate, take a "10-20 minute nap". or simple put on some happy music loud and dance around? So many little things can keep us sane. Most of all, ASK FOR HELP! Something I did not do... and can make a HUGE difference
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2bluesue, I'm not sure what your faith leads you to do, but the only way to heal and get tired of saying I'm tired is by forgiving them. It does end. It really does. I had a mother who I thought would survive me. She was narcissistic, and a pain in the butt. However, God taught me how to forgive her. I also realized how I loved her. I did not love her as my mother, I loved her as a human being.

In doing that, I could forgive her for being so heartless and put a boundary up that I could live with while still helping a human being. What my mom's behavior also taught me is that now when outsiders from my family call me names or insult me.... it doesn't hurt because my mother had said vile things to me like wishing me dead.

I also have no history from my parents. They kept everything secret. I sometimes pick up things that I've learned, but I have no real connection. The one I did have with my dad's oldest sister, just passed last year also and it has been very lonely for me. But the one thing I can say now that it is all over. I managed to care for both of them. I kept my sanity, and I don't feel guilty for enjoying my life now. Sad as that sounds, its really not. It's freeing. You will find that freedom, HOWEVER, make sure you went to the mountain top each time. Because only then will you know you did all you can despite her and you will have nothing to feel guilty about.
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I forgot to add, I really like the "reset" button comment, because that is exactly what dealing with a dementia parent is like. You never move forward, its like a movie on a big loop.
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Taking care of a dementia parent is a a little like taking care of a child going in the reverse direction, but much much worse. This is an adult who will snap out of a childish behavior and slam you with an adult response and behavior. You also can't reason with or teach a parent with dementia because they will forget what you said five minutes ago and you will go over and over and over it, and an hour later, over it again, and next week and next month. A child learns and adapts, an adult with dementia goes backwards, but sometimes acts and speaks like an adult. You can't make them do anything they don't want to do.
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Dear 2tsnana. I too harbor extreme resentment towards a selfish mother who did not raise me, and I am in therapy to cope with this anger of having to take care of a woman who gave me nothing and very little information about her life. She is in the early stages of dementia. It sucks! I especially get angry that there will be no one to take care of me like I am taking care of my mother. I am so tired of saying I am tired, and to think that this is just the beginning! Good thing is that she is in an assisted living facility in another state, so I don't see her often, and I try not to call. I just take care of her business as her only child with POA and during work days try to slip in calls on her behalf. What keeps me going is my faith, as this is what I am to do as daughter. So keep the faith 2tsnana as I am trying to do, and a BIG HUG from someone who feels your angst and anger.

2 blue Sue.
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Dunwoody, Those memories the second time around really made me think about why I was doing it. It came down to one simple fact for me really. I didn't care for my mother just because she was mom. She was a b* to me. I cared for her because she was a human being and I wouldn't do that to any stranger leaving them to struggle like that. So that is how I came to terms with my "demons" of old. It actually became a healing for me but it came from such an unexpected place.

Now I get to learn how to unwind from all the dysfunction now that it is over. It's a little easier to deal with, but I still have certain knee-jerk reactions. When I do, sometimes I visit their grave just to know they really are there and I'm okay to like not having to deal with it anymore.
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Many of us survived less than ideal childhoods with parents who perhaps should never have had children. We spent much of our lives moving beyond those memories. And then we find ourselves thrown back into caring for an elderly parent, and what we once thought we "conquered," comes back to haunt us every day we see our parent's face. That's been my experience. What goes around, comes around. I never understood that saying until I found myself living it.
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It's been an interesting read here. I think all caregivers on this board can identify with every story, even if the situations aren't exactly the same.

I care for my almost 90 year old mom who has AD. I also care for my physically disabled older brother. We have no family living within 100 miles. And what relatives we do have, never bother with us. Even Mom's brother only calls twice a year...Christmas and Mom's birthday. Why he bothers doing even that, I don't know. He doesn't want to talk to her. He tells me to tell her Merry Christmas or Happy Birthday. I guess he can't come to terms with it all. Even Mom's favourite nephew who I thought adored her, never once called since I left him a message about Mom being diagnosed with AD. She was diagnosed 3 years ago.

A person learns pretty darn quickly who actually cares. And more importantly, you learn how to survive without the people you thought cared.

This is a never ending situation. I knew for many years that I would probably have to look after my brother when my parents were gone. But, I didn't count on taking care of a parent and a sibling.

I can go for hours not hearing the sound of my own voice. My brother suffered a serious head injury years ago. He can barely walk and talk. He can only string about 3 to 5 words together. Often he just says one word and I have to figure out what he's talking about. He suffers from short term memory loss, so will forget something after just a few minutes. Mom can still speak; but she makes no sense whatsoever. It's just a bunch of words thrown together.

The only conversation I have is with people on a message board I've been a member of for several years. I haven't seen or spoken to a real life friend for well over a year.

But, I still manage to survive it all. I plan on surviving for as long as I'm needed here.
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