I took care of my Mom when she had Alzheimer's. Dad was still alive yet he was no help. That was for 8 years. Now Dad is declining and I am his caregiver because it just fell on me AGAIN. I have my own health issues and saw the Urgent care doctor today who said that if I didn't take care of myself I would be dead before my Dad. I have lost interest in everything. I used to love to sew doll clothes and up until my Dad got sick last October I found the time to do it because it wasn't as demanding as now. I can't even really focus on tv. Now I have no time for myself because I am in this constant eagle eye state because he is a high fall risk because of his knees. Even though I have siblings they haven't talked to us in over 30 years-still harboring old resentments. One of them even had the nerve to chastise my Dad because he didn't go to his niece's funeral even though she knew that my Dad has health issues. I don't drive so we rely on the local services for the elderly like Silver Key and the local ADA paratransit. So I have to make sure I have rides scheduled which also stresses me out because I wonder if I scheduled them. I'm fighting a cold now and this morning I forgot to give him his meds and so the guilt trip starts for not doing so. That's the thing-the guilt for feeling like I do because it's not his fault that he's declining in health. I just wish I had a life. I have a couple of neighbors I talk to but unless someone has lived this life they have no clue. When I do go out to run errands I have a panic state that all will be well until I get home. So, now we here where am feeling very stressed out. I did call my city's council for the aging and their caregiver support group man says I qualify for respite vouchers so I see him tomorrow. Hopefully he can help me. He's also a veteran so on Thursday I plan on contacting the VA about the respite program too. He doesn't qualify for Medicaid because he makes too much money. Yet if I get really sick I would have all kinds of help since I do have Medicaid. Then I worry about myself and what if I get sick with another bout of diverticulitis. Last June I was laid up for 2 weeks-the antibiotic treatment is 2 of them in 7 days time. I was so sick. So I worry about that. I see my doctor in April-she is also his doctor so she knows I am taking care of him. What I REALLY need is someone to just talk to. I almost had 2 nervous breakdowns when I took care of my mom. Don't want to go there again.

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So glad to hear that you're feeling better. It sounds like you've assessed your situation and have things under control.

I've had diverticulitis and it's no picnic. I was misdiagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and (of course) those meds did no good. It actually hurt to sit down! (Up inside...sorry TMI).
I lost weight because I didn't like the feeling after eating. Man, not a good time. Don't ever want that again. Hope you don't get it again either.

Good you are giving your dad some leeway  and also getting your sewing started again.

Stay well and in touch.
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Thanks for the support . When I wrote the OP I was sick and not feeling well but I feel better now and am thinking a lot more clearer.

Dad is not an invalid and I have to stop making him one in order to lighten my load. So I decided that if he feels like doing something he can do it. I also am planning on taking a walk every morning right after I make him breakfast(at least when the weather is nice and before the afternoon storms come) and also plan on talking to a counselor at the local college senior center.

And I also have decided to get back into my sewing gradually and start selling what I make. I make clothes for dolls like Barbie and used to sell really well before 2008 when I had to totally quit because of my Mom. I have a neighbor that I love to visit with-when the weather is nice we stand outside and talk for a couple of hours which also relieves the stress.

I don't drive so shopping used to be a hassle but the local grocery stores and target deliver so that is not a problem now. I do have everything pretty much organized-it's just I felt so overwhelmed when I got sick and started to worry about my diverticulosis which is so painful when it becomes diverticulitis. But I decided to stop worrying because stress can bring on an attack. So I plan on living one day at a time from now on.
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You certainly are a dedicated daughter.
However, you know you are burning the candle at both ends.

I tried to "watch" my mother 24 hrs./day to prevent falling too. I was a nervous wreck. Any noise set me off. I went in my bedroom once for 3 minutes and she was off the couch and in the bathroom. Thank God she didn't fall. I never took my eyes off her again. One of us *slept* in her room. (No, no one slept.) Three months of that and we could no longer live this way. She also didn't qualify for Medicaid.
We live in Tijuana and we found a good Memory Care facility that she could afford.

Good that you are checking into ALL the options for respite. You will be no good to your dad if you're dead.

Could he go to elder adult day care? That would give you a few hours during the day for you. Check the senior center near you for referrals.

Also, what about using some of his money to pay for a caregiver for a few hours a week?

Or you could "spend down" his money at an Assisted Living facility then apply for Medicaid. As long as he has less than $2000. in assets, he should qualify.

You know that the signs of depression are a lack of interest in the things you used to be interested in. Have you spoken to your doctor about antidepressants? I don't normally recommend medication first off but you are already checking out other avenues for help. Also, do you have access to a therapist? There may be some low cost ones through your health plan.

I sense despair in your writing. Do you have a priest, pastor or rabbi you can talk to? There WILL be a workable solution to your situation. Hang in there until it's discovered.

Until then, we're here for you. We're a big family going through the same stuff.
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Dear missgooch,

I'm so sorry to hear everything you have been through. You are an extremely loving and caring daughter for helping your mom and now your dad. It is only understandable that you are burned out and frustrated.

Like Treeartist said you are taking the right steps by getting respite and talking the VA office. I would also talk to a social worker and see if assisted living or a nursing home is an option for your dad.

I know we all want to be the superhero and take care of our parents. But sometimes it does get to be too much. And you have to consider your own health as well. When we get so burned out and angry and resentful and sick, we can't help our parents anymore. In hindsight, I wish I had done things differently with my own father.

Thinking of you. Sending you love and hugs. Hoping you can get the help you need and hoping you feel better. Please know we are here to listen and support each other. I really feel for you.
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There are ways around the "too much income" issue, by setting up a trust for the "excess" money. Please don't give up on the possibility of Medicaid.

No matter where the caregiving responsibility seemed to "fall" this time, you really do not need to be his primary caregiver. With your health issues, it sounds like that is a very bad idea.

I am glad you are working on getting some regular respite. I think you may need/benefit from more than that.
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Good evening Miss Gooch,
I am sorry you are having a difficult time, but it appears that you are taking several good steps to get some relief and help (calling Council on Aging, VA). Good for you. And what is good for you is good for your father! I want to tell you that my father is a veteran also and has two very good pensions and social security which seemingly disqualified him for Medicaid but was not enough to private pay in a nursing home. He and my mother presently reside in a nursing home because our state allowed him to qualify by putting his money in a trust. Does your father have enough money to have a professional caregiver come in? We used Home Instead for many years which gave us a lot of respite time and helped to keep my parents in their home for years past the time that their doctors recommended a nursing home.
Talk to the VA as there are services that your father should be eligible for. The only problem is that the VA services might come very slowly. It doesn’t hurt to start though.
Call your state’s Medicaid office and describe your situation. I have always found them to be very helpful and kind. I think you will be surprised at what he might be eligible for.
I hope you sleep well tonight. My prayers are with you.
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