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Hi imaamy, great questions. She now has accepted the help with personal care because it costs much less than a year ago, as her income was reviewed (through Elder Services). She always expresses "I shouldn't ask you to do so much" but wasn't finding the pharmacy delivery working well, etc so there it goes. I took it on because that is my nature, and i felt that we brought her up here - so we need to provide care. In reality she would not have made it on her own any longer and there was no one else to care for her back home (next state over). When she came to us it was postop from a knee replacement and it was not anticipated to be permanent, though we were open to that. She does have money to hire more help but is of course, reluctant to use it. The homemaking once a week and personal care now falls under a flat rate (and it's only about 65/month) so she has accepted that. Before she'd just say "I'll do it myself", but she really can't, so I would.
I think I would love to spend the time with her enjoying her as family rather than providing services. By the time I'm done with what has to be done, time's up and so the visiting is limited sometimes.
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I think I read the answers but don't know why you are automatically doing so much for your MIL? If her son or other kids won't do it, why does it fall to you? Because you are a woman and work as a caregiver? I guess I'm more selfish than I thought because I would not need a positive attitude because I would not accept this "job." Is there any money to hire help and take the burden off you? Do the pharmacies and groceries deliver? I see no reason you should be her caregiver when you work and have your own family.
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Hi lauras, I'm also a caregiver for 30 hours a week and have our MIL living with us also. My almopst 85 yr old MIL has many health concerns from now being legally blind to fibermyelgia other health issues and depression. I can see how you feel when there's family around, but they don't seem to have the time to phone or come for a visit. It's the same for us here. Once in a blue moon one of my husbands brothers will call to ask their Mother out for dinner. It doesn't help my MIL's depression not having family members from my husband's side visit more often. My Dad meanwhile has passed away from cancer this November, it was hard to not always be with my Dad who is thousand of miles away from where we live when he was suffering with the cancer. My MIL would to my perception be taking out her frustrations and anger on me at times. I'm a very people pleasing type individual, so this was very hard to handle. I'm finding out that being a people pleaser is not healthy for me, and have listened to DVD's on this. My husband had to talk to his mother to take it easier on me. My MIL responded the I just had to learn to be tougher. My MIL has been here for around 2 years now, it's getting a bit better.
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Thank you for understanding the challenge of being a caregiver at work and also at home CareHawaii! You are absolutely right.
And blessings for alll you are doing in the care of your spouse.
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Aloha Lauras,

I have been my wife's caregiver for six years. She is stage six Alzheimer's. We have found that exercise is a very important part of living. We got my wife a dog. He is a very strong motivator when it comes to exercise. My wife does not like to walk unless she is told that Coco wants to go for a walk. There is something different about a pet wanting to walk vs. you wanting your mother to walk. A family meeting with all concerned may help. If they can't give their time, have them give money so you get hire in-home care help to takes some of the burden off of you and alleviate caregiver burnout. I don't think people understand that at your job you take care of people then still have to take care of your MIL. I think the assumption is your are trained to take care of people so this should be easy. WRONG!!! It is a very tiresome life to lead. When I get frustrated, I go into another part of the house and scream into a pillow. Sounds silly but try it, it helps.

Take Care,

CareHawaii
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Jessie Belle, you are not showtiming, silly girl! We behave ourselves in public and don't tell everyone our business. It's called decorum or being polite. You are not really pretending. We don't take our frustrations out on the neighbors or secondary relationships--like people we know at the market or places we frequent regularly. I worked in retail and had one or two run-ins with nutcases-- in fact, I may have responded to one here recently. wha ha
Don't you think this is different than someone who is definitely unstable who tries to pass themself off as OK? It's tricky. We use self-control and our manners in respect for others, not like those who are acting normal for self image. I didn't say that very well:/ Know what I mean?
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JessieBelle, totally hearing what you are saying. The disconnect between the exterior and interior attitudes is making me bummed.
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lauras, I like this question, because the answer is so easy. I don't keep a positive attitude. I do stay as sweet as possible and say good things to all the neighbors. I try not to argue back at my mother. My attitude outside stays very good. Inside my attitude totally sucks. I try to get out all the bad feelings by reaching out spiritually. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

Just figured out that I am guilty of show-timing. I wish my attitude could feel as good as I act like it is.
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Also Terrim, thanks (truly) for taking time to respond. I am having one of those "self pity days" the last couple days, and I am mad at myself for feeling this way. Told my husband last night that I feel in need of an attitude adjustment and am just feeling stuck. I am usually a very positive person. I think deep down part of this is that it scares me - like if I had her physical issues, would I give up too. She has had a life of taking care of a difficult husband, working full time as a pharmacist, which she loved. I am sad about the other kids not being here more or participating in her care - and how that must make her feel. Her son does come out once a year for a week and he is great when he's here. Her daughter is a single mom with a teen and mostly makes a quick call, and visits about once every 2 months for a few hours. My own parents are also aging and I worry about not being able to be there for them because I am caring for her. My mom had breast cancer and tx right at the time that my MIL came here and I felt so torn. Thanks for the place to vent and the reminder to be patient.
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We talk with her several times daily, and see her nearly every day, take her out several times a week, and she goes to lunch mon-fri at the sr ctr in her building as well as activities there several times a week; gets her hair done every week; sits out and chats with the neighbors in the evenings. Believe me when I say that I keep all of these feelings in check and am never anything but loving with her, and accomodating. I believe that the lack of care in the environment is primarily physical, as her shoulders are so bad that it is hard to do everything. I do put myself mentally "in her shoes" and encourage my family to do the same.
I have poured myself into her care extensively over the past 3 years and sometimes I just get tired, that's all.
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It sounds like she might be depressed. I have arthritis myself and it beats you down in ways you can't imagine. I also have Crohn's and diabetes and can empathize with your MIL in her pain. Being on lithium can help with bi-polar but some depression is not something you can check with a blood test and shows up in behavior. Not caring about taking care of one's environment or self and lethargy are two symptoms. We can't just medicate away emotional pain. Be patient with her. Pretend that you ARE her. How would you want your daughter in law to treat you if you were in the same condition. She is in pain , likely depressed and giving up, and needs not just care but love and positive attention. Do you and your husband and kids include her in family activities and have her for dinner? She was once a busy mom raising kids who she now hardly sees or hears from (except your husband and you). I think she feels depressed, maybe unloved, and bored.
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Whoops, didn't actually post the rest of the question.
MIL here 3 yrs now, first in our home, then in sr housing around the corner. Her care needs fluctuate but on the whole continue to increase. She finally has someone coming in for showers 2-3 x wk, and homemaking 1x wk. (I did her showers for 3 yrs). She is fully incontinent despite extensive workup and tx.Does not follow through with timed voids. She is also full of arthritis and I know this makes everything difficult, though there are little things like picking up her used depends and getting them in the trash consistently that she doesn't always do. Yesterday I went over as usual for a Saturday, and the bathroom has to be cleaned (#2), trash overflowing, laundry (mostly bed/chair pads due to incontinence) needs doing, she has a grocery list (just did this 2x in past wk), scripts to pick up ( one not done, had to go back, 4 or more trips to Rite Aid this wk), "can you get me an iced coffee while you're out - I made a coffee this morning but I had diarrhea so I didn't get to enjoy it really". She is good about going to the sr. ctr in her building for activities and lunch. Otherwise spends a lot of time sitting and eating snacks, which is surely contributing to her significant wt gain. She is a very nice lady and appreciative, but the constant "little things" end up being frustrating to me. I have a neighbor who is going to be 90 and who also has a lot of pain from arthritis yet keeps her home up with a little help and is motivated to stay as active as possible. The contrast is striking. I know better than to judge, just seems frustrating to see MIL sitting and snacking yet too unmotivated to walk 50 ft to get her mail from the box or pick up the used depends from the floor. She does not present as depressed, has been on lithium for years for bipolar and her levels were just checked. She just does not have the drive to keep things up. I am keenly aware that her care needs are really minimal compared to many as I work in home care. I just get weary of it at times. My husband (her son) helps out a little. Her daughter is 2 hours away and calls her about once a week; her son is on the other coast and calls once a week. Neither ever calls to ask how the caregiver is doing or to get cg perspective on MIL's state of being. Anyway, I feel like I need an attitude adjustment to snap out of my feeling used. Grrr. I also have 2 teenagers (great kids) and a 30 hrs/wk job in home care physical therapy. Caregived- out!
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