I would like to respond to "Happy birthday charlie" caregiver.

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I am also a full time caregiver to a good friend of mine from high school and my junior prom date. He is now 82 and we are still friends who help each other. That hasn't changed since school bus days. He never married because of caring for a blind diabetic mother since he was 14 yrs. Old. We are closer than family. I loved reading what she had to say about being a caregiver! It has been the story of my life since the beginning of 2015. I like her perspective and sense of humor about her life as a caregiver.


My friend, dick, is also stubborn and strong willed. It is frustrating to me - but I knew that as well as his strong points many years ago. We have great trust in each other. I do have to just smile and leave the room lest I blow up at times - sometime I blow up and then leave the room. One thing I did that I think is helping. I insisted that my friend go into physical therapy. I told him that he will never be the man I know he is - but - if he doesn't keep his muscles strong enough to work for him he will be in a wheelchair. If that happens I will not be able to care for him. I monitor all of his meds and take him to all of his doctor appointments. I am a good cook and both of us enjoy that part. We had a bird garden put in outside our windows and both of us have our morning coffee enjoying the birds. It is his job to fill the feeders and hang them each morning and take them down again at night. Aha! A purpose in life. And he takes them in (because the racoons ravish them nightly) if we don't. Yes, this is taking a toll on me and some of my friends think I am doing the wrong thing to accept this responsibility. I have a more practical viewpoint. If he were to be in a facility for his care - I would go daily - take dirty clothes home and return them clean the next day - I would bring him what he likes to eat and have lunch or dinner with him. That in itself is very time consuming as I did it while he was in re-hab after his release from the hospital in january 2014. I brought him to my home february 20,2014 after his release from there,. In the meantime I have had numerous health problems of my own.


When I have been hospitalized my family makes sure he is ok and brings him meals.They love him as I do. Now the question "Is this ruining my health and my life?" it is certainly taking it's toll but it is a choice I made and am comfortable with - not one that I feel a duty or need to do. I hate the part where I have to be firm with him but I try to not be "Nasty" - instead I expain my reasons - end of discussion. We are friends and we respect each other. I think that is the key - respect for each other. When I have been hospitalized my family brings his meals and checks up on him. With the double burden of caring for him and for myself when I need assistance. He is willing to pay for whatever I need - he does not take me for granted. Perhaps if you are dealing with family this could happen. Now let me talk about my family. I have three sons. I have always been very independant and functioned without a lot of help. I raised my sons to be the individuals they are. I rarely required assistance until I aged. Let me insert here something that I think is important. When they went off to college and returned home in the summer. I told them the new house rules. These are the things I need done every week - you organize within yourselves who and when they will be done.


When I became hospitalized I found a different son in each emergency room I ended up in. They organized a tag team approach to care for mom (now that includes dick) same as the rules I set down when they left home to go to college. Not all familys' have this understanding. Actually I was amazed that I did until I saw it function! So having the support of my children and dick's neighbors since 1942 has made this journey a joint effort. Notice I did not mention dick's remaining sister or nieces and nephews. I perhaps can sum up my experiences with how you have lived your life, what you expect (that is an important one) and the people who have always been supportive . It may not be family - it may be friends and neighbors - but there is someone I am sure. Just ask for help and do not whine and complain. Ignore the critical "Family members" and look for the positive helpers. They are out there and you deserve to find them and that is your responsibility. It is also your responsbility to take care of yourself in the process.

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I want to comment on the person who wrote to suggest a recipe instead of a complaint. GREAT IDEA!! I love to cook and it has become the best part of many of day lately. Tell me what you prefer to eat and I will send a recipe that is quick, tasty and easy to prepare. What a great idea and a positive one!! We do still have a life to live and good food is a positive way to do that.
Rosepetal
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I am overwhelmed with the response I have received when I entered this conversation after feeling defeated. I am taking my time to answer the heartwarming replies I have received. I am -as I said - overwhelmed! I want to thank you all for being there when I needed someone. I would like to reply to each person in another conversation. First I have to figure out this works! All of you have responded to my heart. I needed a friend that understood and I think I have found not one - but many. Thank You all for listening to me and the great advice and thoughtful things that all of you said. Right now I would like the gal that asked for a recipe to know I loved her reply and well send my best recipe as soon as I get it together. Again I am overwhelmed - my heart is full and there is a smile on my face - THANK ALL OF YOU!!
I WILL REPLY TO EACH OF YOU WHEN I HAVE THE TIME.
LOVE YOU ALL! ROSE PETAL
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WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS FOR THE ORIGINAL POSTER:

ROSE, I HAVE HAD A BIT MORE TIME TO RE-READ YOUR ORIGINAL POST, AND YOUR QUESTION ABOUT "IF THIS CAREGIVING IS RUINING YOUR LIFE AND YOUR HEALTH"? AND MY RESPONSE WOULD HAVE TO BE BOTH, IN SOME FORM OR FASHION, BUT THEN AGAIN, IT CANNOT ALL BE BLAMED ON OUR CURRENT SITUATION OF US CAREGIVING FOR MY HUSBAND'S FATHER. WE HAVE ALL BEEN AGING IN PLACE THESE PAST 13 YEARS THAT HE HAS LIVED WITH US, HERE IN OUR HOME. MY HUSBAND HAD A BAD CAR ACCIDENT ABOUT 9 YEARS AGO, INJURING HIS BACK, AND I HAVE CRUMMY ARTHRITIS IN MY KNEES, A HEREDITARY ISSUE, JUST LIKE MY OWN MOM. COMING TO TERMS WITH OUR DECISION TO PLACE MY HUSBAND'S DAD HAS NOT BEEN AN EASY ONE.

MY FIL MOVED IN, JUST ONE WEEK AFTER MY MIL DIED OF COPD/PNEUMONIA, AND WE HAD ALWAYS BEEN VERY CLOSE TO THEM THROUGHOUT OUR MARRIED LIFE, AND MY FIL (AGE 75 AT THE TIME), HAD HONESTLY NEVER LIVED ON HIS OWN, HAVING GONE DIRECTLY FROM BEING A HIGH SCHOOL DROP-OUT (STEMMING FROM ISSUES WITH DISABLING DYSLEXIA) TO ENTERING INTO THE NAVY, BEING DISCHARGED AND THEM MEETING AND MARRYING HIS WIFE, AND THEN 50 + YEARS TOGETHER. HE WAS ALWAYS TERRIFIED OF BEING ALONE, AND SO MANY TIMES IN THE RECENT YEARS BEFORE MY MIL PASSED AWAY, WOULD CORNER MY HUSBAND OR MYSELF AND ASK US, "IF MOTHER SHOULD DIE BEFORE ME, CAN I COME TO LIVE WITH YOU?", AND WHAT DO YOU SAY TO YOUR PARENT, SO FEARFUL ABOUT THEIR OWN FUTURE, OF COURSE WE SAID YES, NEVER THINKING IT WOULD COME SO QUICKLY OR IMPACT OUR LIVES AS IT HAS DONE.

AS I MENTIONED, I GREW UP IN A VERY CLOSE KNIT AND HAPPY COMMITED FAMILY, AND WE PROBABLY MADE IT LOOK EASY CARING FOR OUR FOLKS, BUT IT WAS FAR FROM THAT! WE WERE A WELL OILED MACHINE, AND EACH (ALL 6 OF US) HAD A COMMITMENT TO OUR PARENTS AND BROUGHT OUR OWN PERSONAL STRENGTHS TO THE TABLE. IT WAS NEVER A QUESTION OF IF, IT WAS HOW, WE WERE GOING TO GET THIS ALL DONE. THINGS WITH MY PARENTS WERE A SLOW PROGRESSION OF MEDICAL MALADIES, BUT ONE BY ONE, THEY WERE TACKELED AND DEALT WITH. MY FATHER (THE MOST AMAZING MAN EVER) HAD A 9 YEAR BATTLE WITH PSP, ( AN AUTOIMMUNE NEUROLOGICAL DISEASE), AND DIED OF ASPIRATION PNEUMONIA, AND MY MOM, THE MOTHER, FRIEND GRANDMOTHER EXTRAORDINAIRE, HAD 3 VERY DIFFICULT YEARS, BATTLING UTERINE CANCER AND THE TREATMENTS AND REPROCUSSIONS THAT FOLLOWED, AND DIED AFTER 5 MONTHS ON HOSPICE. THAT WAS ALL 13 YEARS AGO, AND RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE, MY MIL DIED OF HER PNEUMONIA TOO, WE LOST ALL 3 IN A 14 MONTH SPAN OF TIME. FAST FORWARD 13 YEARS, MY HUSBAND'S DAD HAS HAD HIS HEALTH CHALLENGES TOO, MANTLE CELL LYMPHOMA, DIAGNOSED RIGHT AFTER MOVING IN WITH US, AND THEN THE NATURAL AND SLOW DECLINE OF MOBILITY ISSUES,.

MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE BEEN GRAPPLING WITH OUR OWN IDEA'S OF GUILT, AS WE ARE MOVING FORWARD TOWARDS PLACING HIS DAD INTO ASSISTED LIVING CARE THIS NEXT SPRING, AND I HAVE OFTEN USED THE WORDS GUILT, WHEN REALLY, I PERSONALLY FEEL LIKE I'M SOMEHOW FAILING HIM, OR MORE SO FAILING MYSELF, AS I TAKE MY "COMMITMENT" TO OUR PARENTS TO HEART. IT HAS TAKEN US A LONG TIME TO COME TO GRIPS WITH THE IDEA OF PLACING HIS DAD, THE GUILT AND FEELING A FAILURE REALLY DOES GET INTO YOUR PSYCHE, BUT AS I SAID, WE WON'T BE LEAVING HIM IN THE LURCH, BUT ALLOWING OURSELVES TO ENJOY SOME PIECE OF OUR RETIREMENT, AND PLACING HIM INTO A COMFORTABLE AND CARING ATMOSPHERE, WHERE WE WILL STILL BE ABLE TO BE APART OF HIS LIFE, AND I AM PRAYING THAT HE WILL JOIN IN A LITTLE, AND FIND NEW MEANING AND PURPOSE TO HIS LIFE, AS HE DOES HAVE SO MUCH TO SHARE, SO MANY LIFE STORIES AND EXPERIENCES. I HONESTLY HOPE AND BELIEVE THAT THIS WILL BE GREAT FOR ALL 3 OF US, AND I DO BELIEVE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO, BUT STILL, THERE IS THAT NIGGLING FEELING OF LETTING HIM DOWN, THAT IN MY HEART, I KNOW SHOULD NOT BE THERE, AS NO SON HAS EVER BEEN MORE COMMITTED TO THEIR PARENT, AS MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN TO HIS DAD, AND ME RIGHT THERE WITH HIM.

SO HAS THIS CAREFIVING CHANGED US, MOST DEFINITELY, AND FOR THE BETTER I'M SURE. I BELIEVE THERE ARE MANY LIFE LESSONS TO BE MADE IN CAREGIVING, MOST ARE LEARNED THROUGH OBSERVING, AND THAT IS CERTAINLY TRUE OF OUR SITUATION, AND I KNOW THAT OUR KIDS HAVE LEARNED VALUABLE LIFE LESSONS ABOUT COMMITMENT, AND ALSO NOW OF RECOGNIZING THAT AT SOME POINT, YOU DO HAVE TO LOOK OUT FOR YOURSELVES AND NOT COMPLETELY GIVE UP YOUR ENTIRE IDENTITY FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR LOVED ONES.

I KNOW THAT WE WILL WORK THIS OUT IN A WAY THAT WILL EVENTUALLY BENEFICIAL TO US ALL, BUT IT SURE DOES HAVE YOU EVALUATING ALL OF YOU OWN PERSONAL CONVICTIONS ALONG THE WAY. THESE THINGS TAKE TIME!
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Rosepedal, I'm sorry I offended you. I'm not sure what kind of response and support you are looking for? What I read was a comment that your life is difficult but you have learned to adapt and you have a great support system to turn to. Kudos to you! Is there a specific problem you need help with?
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ROSEPEDAL, I WILL KEEP MY CAPS ON, SO THIS IS EASIER FOR YOU TO READ.

I WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE TO KEEP IN TOUCH, AND WILL THINK FURTHER ON HOW I MIGHT BE OF SOME SUGGESTIONS TO ASSIST YOU OR JUST TO BOLSTER YOU UP WHEN YOU NEED IT!

I'M HEADING OUT THE DOOR TO A WEDDING SHOWER AND WILL THINK FURTHER ON YOUR SITUATION AND COME BACK TO COMMENT FURTHER LATER ON. IN THE MEANTIME, I THINK THAT YOU ROCK, HAVING GONE THROUGH SOME DIFFICULT TIMES WITH YOUR OWN HEALTH, AND ARE STILL STRONG AND INDEPENDENT! OH HOW I HOPE TO BE THE SAME IN MY 70'S AND 80'S!

I DO UNDERSTAND YOUR FRUSTRATIONS, BUT TRY NOT TO TAKE THINGS PEPPER SAY TO HEART, AS I TRULY KNOW THAT THE COMMENTS REGARDING THE CAP LOCKS WERE NOT MEANT TO BE CRUEL IN ANY WAY. PEOPLE ON THIS SITE ARE 99% CARING AND HELPFUL, OR AT LEAST, THAT HAS BEEN MY EXPERIENCE THESE PAST FEW YEARS. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I WOULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT THE MANY TIMES PEOPLE HAVE BEEN THERE FOR ME WITH HELPFUL IDEAS, THEIR CARING AND SUGGESTIONS. I HAVE COME TO BE SUCH GREAT FRIENDS WITH SO MANY ON THIS SITE, SO PLEASE DO GIVE IT A CHANCE, AND I KNOW YOU WON'T BE DISAPPOINTED!

I WILL CHECK BACK SOON, MY NEW FRIEND! SINCERELY, STACEY B BIG HUGS!!!
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ROSEPEDAL, I enjoyed reading the message in your post on how people and especially family is Supposed to look after the ones we Love, and I was raised to do exactly that!

I was raised in a big British Catholic family, a fun loving and very happy home, along with 5 very close and supportive siblings, thank God! It is so incredibly sad, when people have to struggle with dysfunctional families, and create issues, whe it becomes a time of dire need and understanding. Through both of my parents (now deceased) declining years, we were able to come together, and I'm so proud of the way we gained strength through the process and remain close. Anymore, it seems this type of manner, being united, is so difficult for so many, I hope I have set a good example for my own children, and I believe that I have.

My husband's family is all together different I'm afraid, so I've seen both sides, and I'm glad my husband was able to see what a wonderful way it can happen, and we look after his Dad in ou home now 86, and for the past 13 years. It's definitely a struggle, and it's not been easy without help from either of his siblings.

This next spring, we are intending on selling our home and placing his Dad in Assisted living, as we have all aged these past 13 years, and it's time for us too, to enjoy some independence from the hands on caregiving, but we are by no means, abandoning him. I am currently in the process of looking for a special place where he will fit in, and be well looked after, when we aren't there caring for him.

Thank you for your lovely post, how wonderful it must be to have your longtime friend, and still able to enjoy one another's company, that is truly special! Getting PT in, for him to maintain his strength is something that we too are working on, and he has made some strides, and has learned to manage well, his Rolator walker, which gives him more confidence to get around the house and exercising. It does make all the difference! You take care, and I thank you for wise words! You are blessed to have the great family and support that you do, you must have done many things right, raising your boys, I'm very proud of my kids too!
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ROSE
I'm not sure how to keep the cap lock on with my iPad so I hope you can see this

You are an amazing good friend who also has raised three good sons - I applaud you and the fact that you still enjoy cooking a homemade meal with all that's going on in your world

I do not have any experience with COPD but I'm sure physical therapy will help your friend keep up his strength

You are so right that our best support doesn't always come from where we expect but as I've commented elsewhere on this site - my siblings do next to nothing for our 93 year old mom while my good friend and housekeeper treat her like their own

I know the years of caring for her on my own while working long hours has taken a toll on me and yes it was my choice not to walk away and leave her to APS
I've regretted moving her into a memory care facility earlier this year and as you mentioned in your post caring for someone in a facility is tiring too

I hope you continue to use this site - there is support and understanding for you here

May I ask if you gave any outside help in your home ? Even for a few hours a week to give you a break from some chore or run errands - everyone needs a respite
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I am hoping to hear from people who are and have been dealing with what I am dealing with now. Suggestions - encouragment - pats on the back - anything that can help me get thru the days and keep a smile on my face.
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I am rose pedal and I am sorry I got upset with "Any" critisim. But when you send a message to someone who is asking for help as to the size of print - it sends a wrong message. However, I do forgive you. Let us be friends now that you know the reason. We all have our disabilities. I am just a little touchy now with dealing with my friend that requires a lot of care.
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I found the article "Happy Birthday, Charlie", but I don't know when it was written, probably a couple of years ago.

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/happy-80th-birthday-charlie-165369.htm
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