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I don't have children but I imagine my question is something parents also struggle with - how to balance work/career and family/parenting/caregiving. I sometimes feel I am sacrificing my work by taking care of my mother, who lives with us. I spend every weeknight with her and a good chunk of every Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes I worry that I am sacrificing my future just to sit and watch tv together. We were never close and this is the most time I've spent with her since I left a crowded home (I have 5 siblings) about 30 years ago. Have you found ways to accept this role in your life and still set goals outside of caregiving?

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I am going to seek a psychiatric consultation. It is so horrible hard to work and be a caregiver. You do have to know when enough is enough and put one's loved one in a nursing home. I feel way too much guilt to do it so to the doctor I go :) This certainly a journey which is extremely painful at times to go through, especially alone.
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Jinx4740, that is certainly how it feels! It's scary!
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Most people don't have "careers," we have jobs with paychecks so we can survive. A caregiver in an ordinary family will end up broke and on welfare because it's not easy to get a job when you haven't had one for even a few years.

It's great to say caregiving is a worthy job, and also to say that people should be responsible for supporting themselves, but a caregiver is committing financial suicide ion this country. I guess the patriotic thing is to drop dead at full retirement age and not collect SS.
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Wow, that felt good! ;)
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I agree and am sick of that same persons attitude. I wish she would take her self righteous, judgemental, condescending CRAP and find another site where she can feel superior because she is a NURSE! STHU!
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I am the caregiver of my elderly Mother of 86. I am the middle child with an older and a younger brother. My step-father died 2 years ago and I moved my Mother from St. Louis to Kansas City to be with my husband and I. My Mother has Parkinson's disease and some memory loss amongst other things. I work a full-time job fortunately as a Corporate Travel Consultant in our home. The days are long and my Mom and I don't always see eye to eye but she is better now then ever and I will keep her out of a nursing home for as long as I can. You mention other siblings. I and I alone totally care for my Mother but on that needed occassion my older brother comes from St. Louis for about a week to be with our Mom so my husband and I can rekindle our marrige ( a 2nd and blessed one for me). If I had to do this all over again I would do it in a heart beat. Remember when the plane is going down and the oxygen masks drop you MUST put it on you first and then you can help others. If you fall apart no one is helped. Hang in there my dear don't listen to the guilt trips absolutely find time for yourself. I have found my Mom likes getting a pedicure. Off we go in the wheel chair and I get my nails done too. We took her in her wheel chair to the Arboreteum. It was delightful! Remember we too will be there someday and if she is like my Mom she is very lonely so I include her wherever possible in the family activities. I too watch TV with Mom on week nights but at 9pm I spend an hour with my husband before we retire for the evening. When you are dividing up time in your home remember yourself as a memeber too! Take care
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My sister and I do a lot of caregiving for our mother but we are lucky in many aspects. She lives in assisted living and can afford to do so, which enables us to continue to both work full time. We have home helpers that we pay to come six days a week for two hours at a time to ensure more care for her, because like most assisted living places, the care isn't all that hands-on or proactive. We work out a schedule where we see her 4-5 times a week. We take turns taking her to church and lunch on Sundays, and give oursleves Saturdays off. We are very lucky in that our mother is very sweet and only has mild dementia. Her speech was greatly affected by a stroke which is why we are very diligent about seeing her often and having home helpers we pay keep us posted and help with her daily care. Even with all this, it's still very hard so I give you snaps for having your mom live with you. It sounds like your other siblings aren't in the care picture? I know this is common, but you will find that you will feel better knowing you are doing the right thing by taking care of her. If you can enlist their help, however, that will lighten the load a lot. If you can afford it, hiring home helpers to come for a few hours or more a week to give you a break is great. You can find affordable ones that are good. We use a service called Home Helpers in NW Indiana but I think they have various locations all over. I wish you all the best.
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I've looked at AL but the costs are just a tad out of reach for the places I've looked at. Or they tell me that she will get a veteran's benefit (my dad was in the military for 3 years in the 60s) but first she must move in and then they can confirm the benefit and no one has the money to float her while they figure that out. There might be something in her price range somewhere in the state but not where any family live.
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I agree with most of the above. Please....do not judge what you do not know. Many of us have busted our butts trying to do it all, so do not say our loved ones are not our priority. And tv is NOT the only thing I do with her at night. Sometimes just sitting with her and keeping her company is what it's all about. I do not 'plop' her in front of the tv and do other things. Sometimes I walk with her, sometimes we go places together. I do what I can. I'm sorry...I get upset when I hear the judgment speech.
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It infuriates me when some people are so self-righteous and judgemental, you know who you are! For God's sakes we need support not recrimination. What a horrific thing to say to someone in pain, that they are indirectly put "selfish" Thinking of herself is the priority, if she does not she is going to crack up under the pressure. Seems like a nun is part of the resume along with the other bs credentials. Buzz off and go proselytize on some stupid soap box elsewhere, you have the sensitivity of an alligator.
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CM, I totally get your frustration, especially if you've been at this since you were 16. That's a hell of a load for a kid to carry, and I can well imagine that you're anxious about starting the care giver role all over again now...


Have you considered assisted living?
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There is no mall where we live. The closest mall is about 45 minutes away. After getting off work, cooking and eating dinner, and driving there, it would be closed. I do engage with Mom a great deal. But there is only so much to talk about.

Our parents were poor and relied on their own parents and then my brothers for housing and income. When my dad died, Mom was going to work and be responsible, but then she had a stroke and lost half her vision. My brothers had financial problems and lost the house she was living in. She was a graphic designer and the stroke affected her creativity as well as her initiative. Doing creative things tires her out because it is so much harder now and she gets frustrated.

I helped my parents raise my siblings - I was 16 when my youngest brother was born. My youth was spent as a caregiver. Sometimes I make peace with all that and I'm okay. Other times, this is very hard. At least most of the people here had encouraging words. Thank you.
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Good morning cmcwrinkl1, Every caregiving situation is different. We all come from different places before we start caregiving, our relationships with our parents are unique, and even though it seems like all our parents are the same, they can be very different. I'm blessed that my parents were resourceful, depression-era children who saved and invested money on a factory workers' salaries while raising all of us. This has afforded us the luxury at this time in Mom's life of having aides help us with her care. She's still able to keep her house and stay there a few days a month with aides and the rest of the time with me. An aide comes for part of the day while I work from home. I still have two children at home with my husband and I. We always had three generations in both our homes growing up, so having my mother here is not unusual for us. It's just part of family and life. I sometimes fall into that routine of spending too much time with Mom and not enough with the husband and kids, but they've been good about reminding me, gently. The kids have been more silent and accepting, but so good about sharing their space (and bathroom) with Mom. Attitude is everything and finding some time and space for yourself so important (this forum, support groups, church, the neighbor's house!). I have sacrificed time with friends, but have held my ground with other things important. I put myself and my troubles in God's hands and know that since my intentions are good, things will always work out. Don't lose hope. Before you know it, this precious gift of time with your loved one will be over. My father was sick for 20 years as I grew up and we all took care of him. My young daughter would sit in his hospital bed and go to radiation with him. I never regret the time spent with him and miss him dearly every minute. So it will be with our Moms. Our caregiving struggles are just a spec in time.
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I don't know how old you are, but caregiving is THE most important career you can have. If you were not close 30 yrs. ago, it is time you become close with her living with you. You don't mention where the other siblings are in this situation, so I will assume they don't want her with them. Does she have dementia, health problems? Why do you just sit and watch t.v. at night? You could go to the mall, walk around (if she is able), and it is FREE. You are not trying very hard to improve this live-in situation which you agreed to, and it will only get worse if you do not engage yourself mentally instead of thinking of yourself first. I'm sorry, but an aging parent takes priority with me. How long does she have to live? You make your own choices in life. She gave you life.
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Give up your life---yes. If you don't have others who can step in from time to time, your life belongs pretty much to your loved one. They become your child; your responsibility. I am lucky so far (small blessings) that I work part time as a housekeeper cause I can't work other jobs that take more of my time and my flexibility. When I do go out (once every two weeks if I'm lucky), I have to make sure meds are taken and other safety issues are in place. I make sure at least a neighbor or family member can look in or call to check on my mother. I find I have 1 sibling who is able to step in on occasion. Most people are too busy. Sometimes I take her with me on short trips and that is always lovely. I hear you StandingAlone when you talk about sitting in front of the tv watching programs that are not that interesting to you. Like you, my mother and I were not very close and didn't agree on much while I grew up. It's a struggle to try to stimulate conversation and it's hard to listen to her look at the downside of everything. I am never alone and always 'on call' even when I try to have some 'me' time in my room. It's hard. No adult day care centers here. They are costly (medicare does not pay), and far away from where we live. Try to find respite in any way you can and a support system for your sanity. You do what you can do for the most part.
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At some point, those of us with the best of intentions sometimes realize that
we can no longer shoulder the intense responsibilities of caregiving.
Sometimes it happens after we ourselves become ill, but often times what starts out with good hearted intentions, that of helping our family, becomes more than what we are capable of. If you are feeling this way now, start looking at
options for the future, because you may find that at some point you can no longer provide care. Also, dont give up your whole life and do not stop working if you need to work in order to live. You may not get another job in this economy.

You must take care of your own needs also, not just everyone elses.
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Standing alone said it all. Can it work, perhaps, you will have to have lots of support, it can not be just you. I was thinking about all of this today. I realized that it had become like my mother was attaching herself to me. Like she was plugged into me and lived through me. She zapped all of my emotional, mental and physical energy. I agree to not just let it go and plan now for other options. I can not imagine anyhow or anyway how I would ever work, have kids and a husband with all of this. It hurts, it is excruciating but it is what it is and you see the writing on the wall. Prepare for yourself and her sake.
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I'll be blunt. If you accept the role of sole caregiver for an elderly parent, life is over. Done. Elderly parents, especially those with heinous diseases like alz/dementia will never get better, only much, much worse. It will get to the point where they will not be able to take care of themselves and can't be left alone at all anymore. l. You, or someone, will have to watch them and be there, 24/7. If you take on that role, forget having a future, a relationship, or a life while you're in that role. All of your days and all of your nights will be consumed by caregiving. Yes, there's help out there, aides and others that can come in to help for a few hours, if you're lucky, but the rest will be on you if you're the caregiver. You will stare at 4 walls day in and day out. You will become so exhausted that the only 'excitement' you give a damn about is being able to get a nap in. Will you sacrifice your future? You bet. Does caring for another damage marriages? You bet. If an elderly parent becomes completely unable to do the smallest things, you'll be doing it, and won't have time for anything else. This responsibility can become HUGE and absolutely overwhelming. When your mom gets older and gets worse, more of your time will be consumed until there's literally nothing left for you, or your relationships, or anything else. You need to start getting a plan together now if you don't want this scenario to become your life. This isn't scare tactics, or exaggeration...this is reality, and people need to know what's up BEFORE they take on the caregiver role, and all it entails..
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