Hi guys, great forum. Just reading some of the stories has saved my bacon countless times.

Currently caregiving for my mother - she just had cancer surgery and in her mid 80's - frail but is mobile. I'm trying to juggle a job, my mother, and also macular degeneration in both my eyes - so it's a day to day thing. Spouse helps out as well too with her appts. Sometimes I have the worst anxiety and feel like I'm being sucked into this awful black void. She can be a real negative Nellie at times and I feel like saying, well at least you have good vision.

Any tips for coping with caregiving and handling a disability at the same time?

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I agree with you there Hellebore7 - I can only be Mom's sounding board for so long and then I just turn on my 'imaginary' Walkman (that shows how old I am - lol). The term 'high alert' is apt indeed. Good for you!
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I think that often also - how on earth do people manage this with teenage kids and elderly parents. I'd be in the loony bin.

Just took a few days without calling either mom or aunt and realized the fog has lifted a bit. I think what I've been struggling with is a lot of dramatization from both of them - as I wrote in another thread, I am truly sorry they're now ill and can't do the things they used to do, but I simply cannot stay on a state of high alert at all times b/c someone may or may not have developed another problem. I'll be there for the true crises, but they're going to need to find someone else to whom to vent and complain also if it's just a case of how awful they feel and how terrible everything is.
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Hope I'm replying properly to you Hellebore (like your handle btw) - we are also childfree - so I can't possibly imagine how tough this would be with kids to boot.
Taking it one day at a time - I just got a night off (have someone staying over) - first time in a long while. I can't even remember what my place looks like!
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Would mom consider assisted living? Is there any money at all to hire a caregiver part time?

I ask even though the answer is NO in my own case - my mother made terrible financial decisions and I am not going to spend my own retirement kitty on her care - I'm childfree with nobody to provide care for me when the time comes. Hoping to get her to the point of moving in with my aunt so we can pool their money and hire someone. Hang in there! Could just hug JeanneGibbs for her wonderful response to your issue, I agree with every word. Keep us posted! 💗
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I'm chuckling envisioning a dental-hairstylist service. So you'd be in a room with the dentist, a dental hygienist, and a hair stylist. "Wait a minute, doctor, while she is in this position I want to trim her bangs." Could work well, huh?

Humor is a big asset for caregiving. 
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Hey Jeanne G - thanks for your response - really appreciate it. I'm still chuckling about the 'green gravy' - would make a great band name.

Yes TCOY is something I tend to forget about - and too bad there isn't dental-hairstylists services - could save a lot of time in one shot! Currently Mom lives in her home and we are in our own so been staying over a LOT. Seems like parents that have gone through the depression hold on to money super tight. But yes, it's time for some solutions and less whining. Good to know that there are others out there that are just as frustrated. Takes a lot of energy to be calm when inside you're freaking out and running around. And eye situation just puts anxiety up to TEN.

Will take your considerations and see what I can cook up with and give the hubbie an extra hug.

Hugs back!
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My first reaction is to want to hug you! Your plate of things to do is heaped. Your plate of personal energy and coping skills is bare. I hope you'll get a few tips here for how to address that disparity.

I think the first priority for you is to Take Care of You. That includes having a specialist and following a treatment plan for your eyes. And also planning ahead for your options if the macular degeneration progresses. That must be an extremely distressing prospect but I think having a tentative plan or two could be less scary than trying not to think about it.

Also, as part of taking care of yourself, see a therapist. Shop around and find one who has specific experience with caregivers. You are in very difficult circumstances and you deserve all the support you can get. There is nothing "wrong" with you that a therapist can "fix" -- it is about having someone on your side who understands your depression and black hole anxiety. And speaking of depression, a medication can do a world of good to compensate for out-of-balance chemicals.

The first thing to focus on is taking care of yourself. The specific health issues, yes, but also don't miss dental appointments, mammograms, hair styling, etc.

The next priority I suggest is crank up your cherishing motor! Cherish that wonderful husband who is helping care for your mother, and also, no doubt, feels a huge fear and responsibility for you. In a way, he has two people to look after. Let him know how very much you appreciate that, and love him, and take comfort in his presence. Go on date nights. Cherish him.

You must love your mother very much to have her living in your home. (That doesn't mean you love her behavior every minute!) Think about happy or funny experiences with her over the years. Share them with her. And try to build some new memories. My mother had dementia with long-term memory loss. I learned not to start a conversation with "remember when?" but instead to start "I remember the time ..." I'd tell her about the time she made green gravy, and even though that has become family folklore, it was clear she didn't remember the event. But it was also clear that she enjoyed the story and was proud her family has found memories of their childhood. I love to hear my kids' stories of their childhood (even though I'm glad I didn't know about some of them at the time!) Are there photo album you can look at with her? Don't get so overwhelmed by the tasks of caring for her that you forget to cherish her.

And last, but definitely not least, GET SOME HELP. Do you work from home? Can Mom be on her own while you are gone? If she needs help or supervision, arrange for it and you go out on a date with dear husband. And also arrange for you to get out on your own. Get household help to do the cleaning and/or laundry and/or yard work. Take shortcuts with meals (unless cooking is your passion). Learn all the nearby places that have good takeout options. This is to free you up to focus on the other stuff on you plate. Nearly anyone could mop your floors, but only you can cherish your husband as a husband.

Have you considered an Adult Day Health Program for one or more days a week? It would give your mother some social interaction and could be good respite for you.

Use her income to pay for the help you need because she is living with you.

Sincere warm hugs to you! Please keep us updated. We care!
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