Do you think it is possible for the adult child caregiver to feel that their time spent caring for their parent was a positive experience?

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It is known that care-giving can be so stressful and overwhelming at most times.What I would like to know is,what can be done to help the care giver feel more optimistic instead of over whelmed? What are some of your experiences? Do you feel the time you spent being a care giver was stressful or positive, and why?

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I think a lot of it depends on how much the parent shows you their appreciation. I've cared for parents on both sides of the coin, my own parents, who both had horrific illnesses, my MIL, who had a terrible illness too, and my FIL, who is a selfish Narcissist, and I'd happily take care of those who appreciated me, than the Narcissist, who expects to be waited on hand and foot!

I was lucky enough to share the workload of caring for my own parents with My 5 siblings, and anyone of them would drop everything, to rush to their side, and Yes, it was an incredible life lesson, to all our children, who also participated in the caregiving. It was a joy, and a blessing, but one heck of a lot of work, and even more so to the two siblings that at times, housed them in their homes, during the end of their lives, our Mom on Hospice for 5 months.

My Narcissistic FIL, came to live with us when his wife passed away, as he was terrified to live alone. I didn't know he was a a Narcissist, until he had lived with us for a while, but 13 years of constant ME ME ME, and him put it himself first, soon turned into drudgery caring for him, as his health slowly declined.

Finally after 13 years, and all 3 of us (hubby, Me & FIL) in varying degrees of ever growing physical decline, and our only choice was to put him into Assisted living, so that hubby and I could have any chance of enjoying our retirement, before our own physical disabilities get in the way of enjoying any of it.

So yes, it can be enjoyable if you've got the happy parent, and the right support, but it will always a lot of work no matter what, and even worse if you've got a difficult parent, and Zero help from your siblings, as we do with my FIL, and so many other people on this site.
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Positive? The jury's still out.

For Mom's entire life, her boundaries and POV were off-kilter. Always hyper-sensitive to any challenges to her reality. The only way for anyone -- including me -- to have a relationship with Mom was to: 1.) Ignore stupid sh*t OR 2.) Pretend to understand things that didn't make sense.

Because these were the Rules Of Engagement, my "hey, this is a red flag" detector for Mom was broken. Out of service since 1968.

In hindsight, Mom's amped-up weirdness the last 10 years or so was an advancing neurological disorder. Undiagnosed, I must add. Mom was forever "too busy" to do the right thing -- as disturbing symptoms and physical limitations took hold. Full of hostile pre-conceived notions that she was not a candidate for medical intervention. PT or OT? Oh Lord. You'd think I suggested she jump out of an airplane.

So.......Mom wasn't "call 911" crazy. Just "make the only daughter feel hamstrung" crazy.

As long as I didn't challenge Mom, she was pleasant. Or blank, which became her new pleasant as the neurons died.

However, I am in my right mind. I live in the real world. And I would periodically challenge: The 3-foot high piles of outdated catalogs all over the house. Her fondness for expired milk. Falling every day yet refusing to let anyone install rails and grab bars. Ordering cases of God-knows-what from QVC then never opening the boxes. Refusing to tell me where life ins policies, LTC policy, property deeds, etc were stashed away. Insisting that the out-of-state relative she appointed as Durable POA and executor was the best choice. Refusing to call the plumber when there are plumbing issues.

May I never hear I'M FINE I'M FINE again. (Well, I won't hear it from Mom again.)

I'm glad that I -- with the help of a select few others -- could meet mom's needs enough that she did not turn to someone who might have exploited her. I was instrumental in maintaining "lights on, heat on and food in the fridge" for Mom's last so-many years. That's a win.

I also made sure that Mom's top-notch health health insurance (that she refused to use) was paid up every month. I also made sure she gifted the princely sums she felt compelled to donate to her church and other religious charities. Not sure how to quantify that. Mom could comfortably spend that money (and then some), and it made her feel good. I felt.....a million feelings. 

Mom had enough money for the limited/skewed things she cared about AND enough money to make her home safer, hire a bath aide, outsource transportation and laundry, and so on. But mom's crippled brain could not embrace the proactive, thinking-ahead stuff.

I'm still grinding through the estate. There is full cooperation among those of us left behind. But we are playing catch-up from Mom's....um.....selective reporting about her non-liquid assets. Condition and history and value are not what we were led to believe. 

I'll be honest: I never imagined that Mom could be dead going on 2 years and still make so much work for me.

Regarding my whole caregiving arc: Better me than some a**hole. 

But trying to stay 4 steps ahead of Mom's intractability was draining beyond description. I work full time. Didn't live particularly close to Mom. Couldn't be 2 places at once.

And being Mom's only child, I was the sole recipient of everybody's "Why don't you....?" and "Can't you get your mother to.....?"

A learning experience? Oh yes. In fact, I learned more than I ever got to put into action.

A positive experience? Let's just leave it at this: It's an experience I have no interest in repeating.
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My mom is stage 7 Alzheimer's. We have cared for her for years in increasing amounts, 24/7 for the past 3 years. I consider is a blessing. Is it stressful at times? Sure but so is work, and so was raising children at times...life is full of stresses. I feel caregiving provides the opportunity to give unconditional love and to model this for my children and grandchildren. My husband, children, and grandchildren all help out some with Mom... If their choice. One time I had to cancel an outing with grandchildren because mom was not having a good day. The 6 year old said, "that's okay gram, Grandma is more important. We can always go another day." What a life lesson he has learned about the importance of people in his life!
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I would say that my experience with my mother was generally positive, but only because both she and I were generally positive people.

We didn't yell at each other and she wasn't abusive or combative. However, it was more stressful than anything else I've ever experienced in my life. Mom was resistant to bathing or keeping herself clean, resistant to even the easiest of exercises to help improve her mobility, and in complete denial about her advancing decline due to these issues. That made for some less-than-positive interactions between us regarding bathing and exercise, as well as plans for the future. We didn't fight or anything, but I felt like I was pushing a 300-lb boulder uphill most days, even though we got along well. I struggled with anger at my siblings for not helping financially or any other way, short of taking mom to ONE dr. appt and taking her out for ONE ride in the 3.5 years I cared for her.

Sooo...positive experience? Overall, yes. Would I do it again? For Mom, yes - but never again for anyone else, unless it's one of my kids.
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My time spent as a logistical caregiver [I wasn't able to be hands-on as I was a senior myself] was extremely stressful. Only child, no children, so it was me to do what was needed, they lived alone in a large house with many stairs. My parents passed not that long ago, and I am still in crash and burn mode, and trying to climb out of it hasn't been easy. Oh, my parents were in their mid-to-late 90's.

My Dad was a sweetheart, easy going, accepted paid caregivers, in fact two of his caregivers were with him for a year from day one until his death. Dad loved to joke, and even was joking during his final week. Dad was always thanking me for the help I gave him :)

My Mom had passed just shy of a year earlier then Dad. She was very stubborn, refused to allow strangers in the house. Everything was a tug of war with her, but that was her personality. The only enjoyment I got was the huge smile when I brought over her weekly groceries :)

My journey with my parents was easy compared to others on these forums. Neither of my parents had dementia for more than a couple of months. Mom eventually was in long-term-care for 3 months before passing. And Dad eagerly went to Independent Living, then into Memory Care, he loved the place :)

For myself, I feel like I need to buy a rocker for my front porch and sit out there with a blanket thrown over my legs, that's how emotionally exhausted the past 7 years have been. I threw out my bucket list, can't do any of that stuff that I had looked forward.
The calming meds and talk therapy has been helping.
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Norma,
My experiences with my Dad, Stepdad and grandmother were stressful but positive. All three were grateful and thankful for all I did for them. The positive part was I learned so much. Attorneys, Wills, Probate, Medicaid, VA, Medications, Hospice, Death.... The stressful part is the responsibility is enormous! I came out of these situations exhausted but a better more knowledgeable person.

My Mother had Dementia. I wish I could leave it at that but I guess I can't. I never understood my Mother's thought process even as a child. She was always difficult. When she developed Dementia she was impossible. I did the best I could for her. I handled her financial business and got her the best care possible when I could no longer control the chaos. Even after she was placed in a Nursing Home the financial aspect and the phone calls, trips to ER it was still a stressful duty.

There is a lot to consider. Personalities,relationships, medical conditions, and the dreaded...dementia.

I think if you are considering caregiving and have not begun yet, do some research. Ask some specific questions. This is a wonderful site with lots of helpful people with tons of knowledge.
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My advice is ....get and keep a hobby

I feel that my own experience has been positive. This is why I think I have not had a hard time as some...

I have a plan for "after". I keep the plan alive by actively taking steps everyday toward making it happen. Even if it is just research and learning after the day is done.

I started with both parents. My Dad passed away last Sept. I honestly think that Mom could be good for another 3-5 years. In both cases I know I make a big difference in their quality of life.

Of course there are a lot of days that are hard. And, those days are more frequent all the time.

Get a hobby, Get a life plan. Work on it every day..even if it is only a couple of minutes here and there. Basically, do not stop living for yourself!
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