Jam Posted May 2011

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

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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.

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IMPKL May 2011
My heart is lifted by all of you! What a web of treasures you are to me! Thank you.

Today, I find myself in a familiar funk. My mom is 86 and has lived with me for 9 years. I find reading your posts...healing in a sense. I don't care how you slice it...you do lose part of you for awhile. Someone told me that it was like raising children. Not totally. Yes, when you raise children you do lose part of yourself for awhile...while you invest you in them...nurture and help them grow. But...when it's someone older (mom, dad, grandparent, etc.), you are nurturing and supporting them as the transistion from this place. Not only do you lose part of yourself...but you are losing them...one minute at a time.

Yes, everyday there seems to be something I feel guilty about. It is one thing when you let something go for yourself...it's another when you are making someone else's decisions. I look in my mom's eyes....I see the distance, confusion and loss that sometimes creeps in. It breaks my heart...truly breaks my heart. Then I think...what would I want someone to do for me if I were in their place...when I think of something...I do it. I try to look past the bathroom issues, etc....as hard as that is sometimes...because I know she would not have chosen this.

I do what I do so that I can make every attempt to protect her dignity and try to ensure she is as happy and comfortable as possible. I want her to know that she can count on me when she cannot count on herself. I want to support her like she supported me growing up.

Wow everyone...this is such a hard journey! On more levels than not, I wouldn't trade it for the world...I am very blessed! I know that...but I also know I am human...not perfect...and that really ticks me off! :) Thank you once again for your posts...your honesty...and...well wishes. God Bless all of us!
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ladee1 May 2011
No, it isn't like raising children, we can put kids in time out...get a sitter and go out to eat and a movie once in awhile.....this is 24/7, but I love your attitude IMPKL, wish I had heard some of your words when I was less than grateful and too tired to think... welcome.. keep coming and talking with us....
And Bp, I pray you get some rest soon and hopefully get your health issues under control... we need you here, not to DO anything but to be a voice... hugs to you both, and get some rest if you can...
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Jam May 2011
Welcome Vic............you have my admiration for caring for both of your parents...whew! I can see why you don't have much time for anything else. My mil (whom I call the col....crazy old lady....affectionately, by the way) can carry on a conversation but her mind is about as sharp as a round rock. She would argue with a mound of dirt if she thought it might answer back....I know she talks to weeds, dandelions in particular. I like the analogy that seeme uses.....about watching her garden flourish as her mother vegetates.....I will never look at my garden the same way again.
My mother passed away last Dec. 29 and I also have never had time to grieve for her. Perhaps that's why sometimes I get a little "too" mad at the col....guilt maybe? I don't know. But it sure helps to be able to say what I'm feeling and not hold it in.
Vic, as the others have said, come back and visit and tell us how you're doing. This is a difficult job to try and do alone.

Hugz,
Jam
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Vic May 2011
thank you all for.your.encouraging words. my heart goes.out.to each of you as you share your tough times and the roads though it. it is lonely being a caretaker and yes...i know that Catholic.thing..will find.that prayer. i will keep coming back. so glad i found you...God bless
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Babaloo7 May 2011
I have been taking care of my mom for over 3 years now and I am exhausted and frustrated. I have no familial support but if anything goes wrong the complaints are loud and clear! I have had alot of stress to deal with of my own...lost our home had to move into my parents home, our son has Type 1 diabetes, my husband had a heart attack 4 months ago and is unable to work and our finances are a mess and I have asthma. We can't even get all of our own meds because we want to make sure my mom has all of the things she needs. We are coping as best as we can but when my mom came home from rehab, I was overwhelmed and had some anxiety attacks and mini meltdowns.

My mom needs 24/7 care, needs to be fed through a tube, incontinent, dementia setting in and it feels like I am caring for a giant baby. She was overly medicated when she came home and I have been trying to get her "normalized" (with nurses and Doctors advise) I have been doing soiled laundry 3-4 times a day (my mom has constant diarrhea), have to crush all the meds in order to give them through the peg tube, my mom doesn't sleep all night moaning and then when I ask her what's the matter she either doesn't answer or says she has to cough or tells me its time to get up....and this is after she was given anti-anxiety med and sleeping pill! She seems to see and hear things that are not there...had to cover up the mirror in her room because that was causing problems (she was talking to the mirror). When the relatives call they only care how my mom is doing (which is fine)but don't want to hear about anything that concerns my wellbeing. My mom sometimes moans all day and I don't know how to help her!

My sibling only comes once a week and for only half hour or so sometimes bringing his kids that make a mess and then leaves and doesn't pick up after the kids. As if I don't have enough to do! He doesn't offer to help with the yard work (which is overgrown) or even to help with the household chores or to sit with my mom so I can do some errands. Anything!!!.

Sorry I am just venting...thanks for letting me get this off my chest...
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hi I am a caregiver for my husband who is 45 and so far he hasn't gone there yet but he has been repetitive with questions and I am constantly looking to escape but I have no one in his family that trusts me because its all about money that I want from him. His family and mine I do not get is that I am doing this and raising two kids besides looking after his needs day in and day out. I do not know how to answer his questions or fight the medicare system to keep what he has set aside for us. I already have to change his prescription plan. I have to fail drug claim refund form. I am tired of questions and running out of ways to answers his questions. I need some advice and strategy is there anyone that lives in Az that has dealt with us that can give me the guidance I need. I am seriously lost and this is whole new battlefield for everyone.
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seemeride May 2011
WAS.....I can relate to the sibling thing. Probably anyone who has one can relate. You hit the head on leaving the mess behind.

I went out to pick some snow peas from my garden after a couple of showers. Had a fight with a rabbit....he won......he left with a mouth full of food and I got 4 peas........pound by pound not a fair trade. Now I am doing the vinegar in empty pill bottle (got lots of them) thing to keep them away. So much for peace in the fgarden. hahahaha
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seemeride May 2011
Burned......... I am not one to answer your questions just yet. I can repeat what I have read from others, but if you would fill out your profile, maybe we can offer more assistance. I know you have come to AgingCare for a reason, so please don't leave.
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allshesgot May 2011
Hey guys, I saw this disscussion and couldn't help but read. What a great idea. I will have morw time later to post. And haven't got to read everyone elses yet. Hugs to everyone.:)
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ladee1 May 2011
Hey asg, happy to see you... We know you will have lots to share here from your own experiance... lots of hugs to you and the kids..
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