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I am really struggling lately. I used to spend hours and hours a day taking care of my mother after her strokes. I felt it was an honor to take care of her and give back to the family circle of life. Now, six years later, I am exhausted, short tempered and my patience runs out after about 30 seconds! Is it possible to rekindle the feelings of love and honor? There are days I feel so bitter about my life/her life.

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You are not alone, there are quite a few people on this forum facing the same issue. A burn out is inevitable, but the question is are we going to let it take the better of us? A guilt trip and pent up resentment is definitely not helping. We all need people to connect to, so never disconnect from friends, no matter what. Always take time out to socialize and meet new people. Take some time off, but do not make it a habit to take time off only when there is a burnout or wait for the burn out to happen. Maintain a healthy social life at all times, and not meet friends only when you suffer from a burn out. Only this way can you regain the love and honor you had before. You always need to energize yourself to provide the energy to others, so recharge yourself.
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I know how you feel I am there myself. In all honesty we know that the job is killing us, we just keep doing it because no one else is willing to step in and take over. I have care for Mom for 7 years; my Mom got sick and was hospitalized after spending days and nights with her, I couldn't take it any longer and told sisters, that I was ready to leave, I could no longer handle EVERYTHING with no help and Mom's condition was worsening so I was considering a nursing home for her. Amazingly I began getting some help from one sister. I also found a new Gerontologist who gave Mom medication that helped her behavior issues.

Although things are much better, I still realize that I too have feelings of resentment and feel trapped, depressed, overwhelmed, not appreciated, lonely, abused, etc. You name it and I pretty much feel it. I do realize it can end tomorrow if I put Mom in a NH but many years ago I promised her and my father that I would NEVER do that to either of them and now I feel like a dirty dog for even letting it enter my mind.

I too need respite, time off, a vacation, a boyfriend, a dinner out, a movie, being able to sleep in until 9 am if I want or go to bed a 2 am if I want. WE LONG TO HAVE OUR LIVES BACK! I never realized things would get this bad or last this long and I am sure you never did either.

The bottom line is we are the only ones who can make the changes, we either put them into a facility or we can seek help from outside sources to give us a bit of free time to find ourselves and our own life again.

A doctor will be more than happy to give us drugs for depression, but I don't want that, I bought a juicer to get healthier, I began exercising, I bought a romance novel to read and I am leaving the house on the weekend at least one day to seek some time with my daughter and I began praying. Is everything fixed? No, but I am trying to find something that works. I may look into taking a class in...anything, I don't care, I just need time out. Hey that is what we need..... we need to be put into "time out!" I think if our own depression could be alleviated we could find a way to get back to "that loving feeling" of caring for our parent, but when we are wasted away, we have nothing left to give. I am not giving up, but I am trying to look at things differently and maybe be a little selfish, I want time to myself and one way or another, I am going to find it, so I can find myself again.

Best Wishes to You As Well!!!
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Find respite care, you need the unbroken sleep (and, am I right, time to cry?) - but there's good and bad news. The good news is that what you'll see going on in many residential care settings will remind you of why you want to look after your mother yourself. The bad news is that finding a respite care home that's as good or better than you offer is proving really hard! My siblings are putting me under pressure to rush my mum into respite care, saying that I need a break. I do need a break, I can't wait, but over my dead body is she going into any of the places they seem to think are good enough. I wouldn't leave my dog there.

But more good news - this recent pressure from them and investigating care homes has really helped me get back that sense of love, patience and duty you feel you've lost, and I know I had lost. I think of my mum being handled by strangers, and what kind of week's "holiday" she would have in an unfamiliar place, without her cat, living to the staff's timetable, eating their choice of food, being treated like an idiot because she's not understood ... Not happening. When you get to 89, you shouldn't have to fit in with other people's ways, you're entitled to have things the way you like them. It makes me realise how good her quality of life at home is simply because I'm her carer, and that is a big comfort.

I am not a "sweet" person. I get sarcastic, I get angry, I get frustrated, and omg do I get bored. How can it take her 20 minutes to eat 4 French fries..??? Why must she hoard used Kleenexes in her pyjama sleeve??? Why are the nights when she wakes 6 times always the ones when I'm already tired out - and is she doing this on purpose?!?!

A tip I find helpful is a kind of mantra: "watch yourself. Listen to yourself." It helps me slow right down when I'm afraid of being rough with her and hold my tongue when I want to say something spiteful.

In a way, it's just like with little children, only without the hope for the future or the hormonal imperatives. No wonder we get depressed!

And the big question: how long is this going to go on?

Wishing it was all over is not the same as wanting your mother to die. You wouldn't be human if you didn't sometimes look ahead to a time when you'll be living a different life (your own life. You remember that?) and your mother... won't be there. But here in the present? How would you react if she had a stroke, or a heart attack, or a fall? Yup, straight in there with first aid, desperate to save her. It's because she's your mum, and you love her.

I think I have found a good care home. We're visiting next week to have a look, and she's on the waiting list for a week's stay at some point. One tiny problem: it's very near five out of seven adult grandchildren and guess what? My brother hates my choice of home because he doesn't want his busy son "burdened with guilt" if Granny's close enough for him to be able to visit her. My nephew hasn't been consulted on this, but he's a loving, kind young man and I'm pretty sure he won't feel the same. Don't we all love the non-care-giving siblings and how hard they try to do their bit?!

Wish me luck - and I hope you find a place very soon that you're both happy with too. Even making plans for it gives you a little oasis of rest to look forward to. A hug to you, and one for your mother because if you didn't really, really love her you wouldn't have taken her on.
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Oh my god Rebecca! I am too having chest pains as im smoking too much I keep telling myslef that its indigestion????? And good for you for stopping under all the stress. You are lucky to have a bro like that good for him too to even notice.
I never get a break not that I cant I dont have the money to go anywhere but i have 2 nights at a friends to watch a movie which helps me switch off but when I wake up the dread starts!
I think there are 2 things that could be going on with sakh 1 you are burntout and need a long holiday at least 2wks OR youre done doing this and need your life back maybe its time for your mum to be cared for in a NH and you can get your life back.
I lost it with mum yesterday yes I snapped I felt like crap today as I said some nasty things but there you go this is our world we are human we snap its when the snapping gets worse you need to think about a break either a holiday or your cargiving days are over and mum needs a home.
I know when enough is enough for me right now I know i need a holiday and I will when I can afford it!
Good luck and hope you resolve this soon off now to smoke as mums just gone to bed YIPPEEEEEEEEEEE I can watch TV!!!!
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Sounds like caregiver burnout to me. Please take some time for yourself. As other have suggested, a nice vacation can give you that boost to provide you the patience you use to display.

Good Luck!
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Take it from me, you cannot do it alone. It may kill you as others have said on here. I was attempting to do it 24/7 and not telling even my brothers until it got really bad. My one brother saw how it was getting to me. I did get respite. I'd go to the beach for a week. Then a couple of months later I'd go to casino for a couple days, but I called home every day to make sure all was fine. I couldn't let go. I worried constantly. I'd lay awake at night wondering what I could do better or what I did wrong. In trying to get her weight up, mine fell to 111 and I'm 5'4"

I had to be wonder woman. All my life I fixed anything I attempted. Retired with decent money at 51.

When my brother saw how it was affecting me he stepped up and took over a day and I hired a woman who does her cleaning to come in for lunch 3 days a week.

Well, then I started getting chest pains. I didn't know if it was stress or my heart. A year ago I had a stent put in. Quit smoking. Went to Planet Fitness 3 days a week, etc. Lived a good life until Mother got really bad.

Well, last week, I got out of the hospital after 8 days, 4 in ICU. I had 3 stents put in and had a femoral hematoma. During the stent procedure, a wire ruptured the RCA and the pericardial sac and fluid filled the sac.

The doctor says he is pretty sure it is all from the stress. Stress kills.

The woman who was coming in 3 days a week for lunch is now coming in 5 days. My brother and I are sharing evenings and weekends until I can find someone for the evenings. Tomorrow I am interviewing my person evening person.

I hate giving up the care of my Mother, but I must in order to still be her daughter. I have to learn I am not wonder woman and maybe some people can do it better than I. The important thing is to keep my Mother in her home and happy because she still has her daughter around. I am going to trust that others will do for my Mother what I was and maybe they can even do it better.

You need breaks and you need to get some help. We like to think we can do it all, but we can't.
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I agree with the idea of some kind of respite. You're not a machine. Like others have said, that's why hospitals have shifts. Can you get your mom into respite care for a week or two, so you can both have a break? I do a lot for my mom but now I take every Sunday off and it's glorious. My mom doesn't have dementia and lives nearby, but just having a day where I don't have to do anything towards her care really helps me deal with the pressure the other six days a week. Hugs to you.
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How much respite have you had in the last six years? How many vacations? How much time to yourself?

You absolutely cannot be an effective caregiver 24/7/365. Can't be done --- at least not by mere mortals.

Go find your patience in the cruise, cabin, or island lsmiami mentions. Or maybe it is hiding at a ski resort, or dude ranch.

If you have had sufficient respite and you still feel this way, perhaps seeing a therapist would help you. You deserve good care, too!
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You patience is hiding in a cruise, or a cabin, or an island.
Maybe all you need is a little me time away to recharge.
Best wishes
L
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