The Caregiver....How are YOU doing today?

Started by

This seems to be a question that is not asked enough or we think what we are feeling is not as important as what our loved one is going through. This job we have taken on is a tough one and there are days when I think my "stress rope" cannot be pulled any tighter. Then there are other times that make those bad days just a memory. Do you feel like banging your head against a wall one day? And then the next day your loved one is attentive and loving and comprehends whatever you say? There are some who keep those feelings bottled up within themselves; others take the time for outside resources and others who look at sites such as this for some understanding. I do better when I have someone else to bounce my feelings off of. Let's face it....we aren't superhuman and besides ourselves and perhaps a family to take care of we now have taken on the responsibility of another human who is incapable of taking care of themselves. Do you breeze through the care giving without a problem? If so, I would like to know how you do it, maybe you can offer some new ideas; do you have feelings of frustration and need to talk about those? Come and talk and know that you can speak freely and without judgement and without finger pointing.

I am caring for my mother-in-law and have been for about 1 1/2 years. She has moderate dementia and incontinence. Other than that she is very healthy. Sometimes that short amount of time feels like 10 years and I wonder how long I will be able to do this job. I get so very tired of hearing the same thing day in and day out, but I have to remind myself that to her, each time she sees me, she is offering new information. At times I have no problems communicating with her, but it seems like more and more she cannot retain a thought longer than 5 minutes. We have had to make signs for her so she will know what she can and cannot do. So far it's working, but for how long? Maybe I will have to end up making her a "Book of Do Nots". She is on memory drugs, which don't seem to make a difference. So why do I continue to dole them out to her? I guess I'm afraid of what might happen or how she might act without them. I might have to rent a boat or buy a helmet! Sometimes I see something in her that leads me to believe that she could get aggressive and what would be my reaction to that? At the end of each and every day, after she is tucked into bed, I breathe such a sigh of relief. The "inner beast" is quiet at last, or at least for a few hours.

Pull up a chair and visit........I would like to know how you are coping everyday..be it good or with handfuls of stress.

25396 Comments

Hi there, Jam. Glad to see you here. I am really tired today. I've been up pretty much for 2 nights in a row dealing with stench of a clean out for a barium enema that my mom had to have done. I had 5 loads of laundry that showed up overnight that I finally got done yeaterday. How did it show up overnight? try getting an 83 yo to the bathroom to get sh$t out of her that has probably been there for 50 years !!! Never did have her running clear, so it ran everywhere else. I mean the one geyser hit half the length of the bathroom !!! And how does it get UNDER the toilet seat when she's ON IT ??? It hit my leg, the side of the tub, half the floor, down the side of the toilet, and even swished some in the trash can. 2 points !!!
I've read to put some Vicks under your nose or breathe through your nose, but I didn't want to TASTE it, so I kept my mouth shut and lost my sense of smell. I know it went out with the garbage ! I would tell you how I coped with that, but I can't until I get out of this 3 day stupor. But thank you for listening.
I meant breathe through you mouth, but I was afraid I would taste it, and I meant physically taste it !!
You know, I've often wondered if it has a life of it's own.....how does it crawl over the edge and hide underneath the toilet bowl.....or get into a closed trash container when it hasn't been opened. And I don't know how many times I have heard "that's dirt under my nails....not poop". Yeah right.
In all seriousness, I have wondered about the results because she wasn't cleaned out enough. Mom is on the border of dehydration so much that I think the required amount of fluids per directions was only enough to hydrate her to the norm and not enpughj to clean. She did lack 16 oz of the requirement. She couldn't stay up till 8 and 9 pm to drink the last 2 cups and she was running so bad in the morning that I couldn't keep up to give her the suppository the required time before the test. The bathroom and her bedroom may still smell like a cow pasture, I can't tell anymore, h*ll, maybe the whole house. But don't you expect to find a cowpattie in a cow pasture? hahaha
Since my lady Ruth has passed away, I wander around and still listen for her. The first night after she died, I woke up many times, thinking I needed to go check on her. I miss her.
I was fortunate that things were usually contained and I did not have to scrub walls at two in the morning, but cleaned the floor by the potty as our timing was bad sometimes...
One of the things that keeps going thru my mind is how much I hate Alz. and what it does to a human being. I watched Ruth turn into animal at times. Her aggression was unbelievable . I often tell people I got my a$$ kicked by a 93 yr. old woman when she managed to pound my head and push me down, and I got a broken bone out of the deal, and she just goes on about her way...I do carry some guilt about all that. Many 'what if's', what if I had tried harder to convince her daughter she needed a med change, then she would not have ended up in NH, where a UTI was not caught in time and she was given Depakote for behavior. What if I had gotten in the RN's face and demanded she have a urine test. Because that untreated UTI is what took all her strength and left her unable to go on. What if I had told the daughter in law she NEEDED a whole dose of AHB gel and 10 cc's of morphine to help her pain and anxiety . Yes, I have guilt, and feeling I did not do enough. But at the same time I watched her become someone no one recognized. Such a mixed bag of feelings.And then on the other side of that coin, I am so grateful she is no longer suffering and is happy and whole...

Thank you for this thread Jam, I haven't talked to anyone about my guilt and feel somewhat relieved that I have a place to put it out there and be able to cry and miss her..and not just go on to the next job. I loved her, she was not just the lady I took care of....thanks for listening and hugs to you....
Some days are better than others. I care for both my elderly parents. My father is neurologically impaired..he is confined to a wheel chair is incontinent can't dress or clean himself. He can feed himself and put his teeth in. His mind is sharp but he can't carry on a conversation too well. my mom is exceptional for her age. Mind still sharp as a tack and figures she can do whatever she wants.. Haha.
Most days I have patience and kindness. Some days I am a basket case. Nothing seems to go right. I am tired...dad calls throughout the night to use bathroom. And on the rare night that he doesn't call ..I don't sleep all that well.
I try to pray ...especially for patience! I love them so very much. I try to get outside weather permitting to work in the yard. That helps. Once a week we have a lady to sit ...but the time goes so fast. Sometime it is hard to cope. I have a wonderful husband to help with everything when he is home. ...so many good things but I seem to get so mad at myself for not doing some thing better. Or yelling because they don't hear me or understand ....
Ladee.....I feel my consolation to you was too short, too brief, while I encouraged you fo find another job. To this day I have not properly grieved my father bacause there was no time, had to take care of mom. I had about 10 min to sob thinking I killed him because I was the one who decided to pull the plug. It was my decision to made and I did it.

The visiting nurse spent almost 3 months at our house for my mom first, who was recovering from a fem-pop that had complications, and then also my dad while recovering from ostomy surgery. We would force her to eat lunch with us, she said it wasn't professional. She got to know us and care for us, cause she came to dad's funeral. Loved seeing her red head coming through the door.

I still encourage you to get that next job and do what you do so well. Someone else needs you like Ruth did, and I'm sure she would want someone else to feel the love you gave her. Best wishes, my friend.....
Vic.....We planted a vegetable garden this year again, with veggies we planted from seed, so we have varieties we haven't grown before. Isn't it ironic that I watch my garden flourish as my mother vegetates? Maybe not that bad, but I had to make the comparison.

I was given a little prayer card, this is a Catholic thing, with a prayer to St Paul, the patron saint for patience. I am not a terribly organized religious person, but I feel this helps. I lack patience at 3:30 am, but I am getting better during the day.
Vic, this is such a hard job under the best of circumstances...and getting interrupted sleep is like not getting any sleep. Sounds like you are a very loving and caring daughter, one who does not loose sight of gratitude.. guess we all feel like we can not do enough. By you sharing that it helped me to not feel alone with that feeling. So thank you for that..
There are just going to be days when we have only so much left to give and guess we are doing the right thing by giving what we do have. So be proud that you are doing a very difficult job. We all get angry and frustrated, that is normal...
Just keep coming back and telling how you are feeling.. just that by itself helps us not to feel so alone... thanks for sharing... hugs to you...
How am I today? Exhausted, my feet ache, my knees are throbbing, my heart burn is threating to come up the back of my throught, my finger joints ache, my eyes are bloodshot and have huge black circles under then (beginning to get bags under them), my blood pressure is high... real high and my blood sugars is worse than ever in my life. I have no more words...

i truly feel like sh*t at the bottom of a overloaded sh*t hole.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support