I'm new to caregiving (5 months) and feeling "invaded". Is this common? Will it go away?


My mom has few major health issues. She is not demanding or difficult. I handle her meds, take her to breakfast once a week, fix her dinner, take her to the movies occasionally, doctor, or shopping. I do her laundry (about 2 loads a week). She naps everyday, which gives me some alone time. Mom uses a walker and is overweight. She has no desire to exercise at all. Not even a short walk in our court. My husband and I can even leave for a few days (she wears a medical/emergency button) without worry. We have wonderful friends/neighbors to help if needed when we're gone.

So...what's the problem?

She's a sweet old lady, who's pretty easy to live with. So why am I still feeling so invaded? How could I possibly feel bitter about having her here? Why do I get a judgmental attitude at times? Identifying feelings and expressing them does not come easy for me. I'm struggling with WHY I'm feeling the way I do. I don't understand it. Things could be FAR worse. Any feedback, comments, advice, would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

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Yes and yes yes,When it first starts and I had no clue what was going on in her,my wife,head. After she was found out that she could not remember,I was able to understand much better,but yes it's very hard,god bless you and the rest of use too!
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caring4shotsy - wondering if you are still around and how things are working out. Taking someone onto your home is a big invasion, a big change, especially if it is someone who needs your care and will be needing more. There are alternatives.

(((((((debralee))))) you have every right to keep your lifestyle, and your privacy. You have worked hard for it. As long as your mum safe (in all senses) warm, and fed, which a facility, eg an ALF, can look after your duty is fulfilled. Personally, I do not believe that anyone need sacrifice their own lives for a parent. Medicaid is available if financial resources are not there for an AlF or a NH.
Here4her - I hate hearing that your health is suffering so much.,Can you not look into and ALF or NH. for your mum? You are not a failure in any sense. You have given your mum 8 years of your life, but it has been too hard on you. That is no body's fault. Surely she does not want your health to suffer. There is no point in continuing to drag your health dow. It can take years to recover from caregiving. Please do not cave into FOG -fear, obligation or guilt. Some can do it for years, and survive,and some can't. Again, it is no one's fault. I care for my mother at a distance, but due to her BPD and narcissism even that was taking a toll on my health, so I had to back off. She is well cared for, even though she complains a lot, but she would do that anywhere, and 3 years later, my health is slowly recovering. The stress was just too much, and it sounds like that is the case for you. You must look after yourself. I am sorry you quit a good job, and hope you can get your health back, and make some big changes. Please look at some of the alternatives.
((((((((hugs))))))) love and prayers to all Joan
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I also took my mom in when she was in great shaPe. She wanted to
Come and we had room. Now after 8 years I have so many chronic
Illnesses, my life and health is very bad. The stress, depression, loss
Of Freedom and then her declining health has taken a toll on me.
She is niw in respite so I can nurse myself back but it isn't working
I love my mom so so much and I feel like such a failure.
You took her on too early, things will only get worse. I hope you didn't
Quit a good jOb I quit a good career - I can't get that back so financially
I am worse off.
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I have raised three children and a grandchild with finally being an empty nester after 40 years. I enjoy my freedom and privacy with my husband and want it to stay that way. Unfortunately my elderly widowed mother is hinting around about moving in with me when she cannot live independently any more. I dread the very idea of having to become responsible again for another dependent person even though it is my mother. I value my privacy and being able to freely chose how I live my life. This was a long term goal I have finally achieved after years of working toward my retirement. I do not want to give up my lifestyle to anyone. So to answer your question, yes, caregiving to a parent would be even more tramatic because just when you think you are done, you have to start over.
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I feel this, too. My mom's needs are minimal compared to others here. But she is always around. Yes, I can go places by myself and she is safe enough to stay at the house by herself. But I still now must consider her in everything I do. It's like being married, almost, where you are always considering your spouse no matter what is happening. I can't really just do what I want to do when I want to do it. And I know I made the choice to move her in with us and there are many good things happening, but having the constant concern of another person is very difficult.

Maybe for people who have been parents, it isn't as difficult? I never had children (being the oldest of 6 kids and being so much older than the others, I felt I had done enough parenting in my life.) And sometimes I think the reason I didn't have kids is for this time now. But I sometimes wonder if people who have been parents find the adjustment to caregiving less traumatic.
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I just had to remember that my Mom was pretty much trapped with me when I was little. She was on her own - true. However, she was able to find little ways to have some alone time and save her sanity. Now I am in that position with her. I don't feel trapped most days, but I have hired a teen to stay with my Mom while I take a bicycle ride or go to dinner with a friend. You've taken on a lot with Caregiving - you'll find that processing your feelings takes time and time of course is what we are all short of in the Carer role. If your Mom is in good shape, can you locate a safe place for her to have an outing for an afternoon or two a week? This helps reclaim your own space and feel some normal. Best to you in your journey!
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Ronny, about the husband who thinks he has to honor his
"deal" with mom - would it help to remind him that he made an even more serious deal with you, you know, about cleaving to each other, forsaking ALL others, becoming one flesh til death parted you? It's fine that he wants to stand by commitments, but the fact is, he is already booked, and mom is not part of that commitment.
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My journey down this road has just begun. I have all the fears that are listed in this post but the most helpful read is suzyque and I'll keep telling myself "No, she isn't doing this on purpose". She spent 18 years providing for me and I don't care if it takes another 20 of my years to take care of her, it's the right thing to do. It really is hard to be strong for them and then go it alone to cry your heart out. It's heartbreaking to see it happen. You try and prepare yourself for the day but you're still not ready when it does. Stay strong fellow care-givers and know you're doing what you hope someone would do for you when your times comes.
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I read an article today that says the first step is to accept that my life has changed and accept that she isn't doing this because she made a decision to become angry or scared and act out. She has lost control of her life and it is scary. She won't even admit it to herself. I have to let her know she can depend on me and hopefully that will help calm her and make it less frightening that she is losing control. Like I said, yesterday didn't go well. I can only start over and hope it all goes better today.
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To answer your question, yes... It is very common.

We begin caregiving with all the best intentions, and we quickly find out how consuming it can be. There are times when it can be downright overwhelming, and I'm not even talking about the physical load. That comes later, as your loved one declines.

Probably one of the least addressed difficulties of caregiving is the feeling of the loss of identity experienced by all caregivers. Almost by definition, we gradually become an extension of the one we care for. We become their legs and arms and hands. Our minds become filled with the concerns that used to occupy their minds. The things they could once do for themselves, we now do for them. And again, I'm not even talking about major things...just the little day to day things. But all those little things add up.

And when the details of your loved one's life begin to crowd out the details of your own, it's natural to feel "invaded." That's a very good word to describe it.

Here are three important things I have learned:
1. Caregivers, in the beginning, often try to take on too much. Way too much. With the best of intentions, they try to "take over." Not in an aggressive way, but in a genuine attempt to be helpful. But that often leads to problems. Either your loved one vehemently resists, in an effort to maintain control over their life, or they give in completely and become totally dependent... sometimes prematurely. Either scenario spells trouble for you.

2. Resist the urge to do everything for them. Allow your loved one to remain as autonomous, independent, self-reliant and active for as long as it is safely possible. This will allow them to feel like less of a burden, and also help combat depression. It will also give you more of a sense of freedom. There will come a time later when constant care may be required Save your strength (and sanity) for then.

3. Develop a strong, reliable support network for yourself. Do it now. Are there family members who are willing to share the caregiving responsibilities? Even part time so you can take breaks now and then? Are there financial resources so you can hire occasional respite care? Will Medicare or insurance cover home health assistance like a visiting nurse, nurses' aide, physical therapist, etc.?

Are there local agencies and services that can help lighten your load? Eldercare services, senior centers, adult daycare, meal delivery services? Find out what's available in your areaband make use of every form of assistance you can.

Locate support groups and go to the meetings. You need what they have to offer. And chances are there's someone there who needs to hear what you have to share. Get support. Ask for help. Don't ne shy. Don't be proud. If someone offers to help, say "Yes! Thank you. I would REALLY appreciate that!"

You're only 5 months in, and hopefully you haven't begun to burn out. Don't let it come to that. Watch for the signs... The feeling of being overwhelmed, crying, anger, frustration, feelings of hopelessness, isolation, depression, fear, guilt.

Set up your support network now so you'll have ready resources if you do experience burnout later on. It's so important to take care of yourself. More important than you might think right now. But trust me, it's important to have someone you can talk to, a place where you can go to get away for a little while, and some kind of work, hobby or creative outlet that will help you maintain your identity apart from caregiving.

I wish you all the best.
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