Do any caregivers feel at a complete loss at what to do when they actually have free time for themselves?

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Between work, commuting and taking care of mother with Alzheimer's and cancer, I'm in a whirlwind. But on the weekends when I have a little time for myself, I find myself standing and staring at the floor. I can't seem to switch into "me" mode, then the weekend is gone.

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I couldn't believe it when I read the question. I could have wrote that. I had a couple of hours to myself yesterday. I threw in a load of laundry, did the dishes, and then kind of wandered aimlessly about the house. We recently got help from the Area on Aging, and I have yet to leave. I keep saying "next time". I didn't even answer the phone when it rang. I wanted to be alone. I didn't want to have to interact with anyone. I locked all the doors so my neighbor couldn't suprise me. I think it is much needed time to recharge as others have said. I think it is very important to just "be". We are human "be'ings not "do"ings. It makes me feel better to know its not just me, I was wondering if there was something wrong with me. Great question. It seems like I do spend a lot of time on this site since I found it. It is so wonderful to be albe to talk to people who truly understand what you are going through. Peace and Blessings, Vivian
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What is hard is not just the time but the expense of having hobbies or things that bring us joy....I find it hard to not focus towards my mom and kids with all my resources.
I know it is a false economy. They will all be gone in 5 years, and then what?
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Marilyn
It sounds like your mom is upset about the change of life/address and is taking it out on you, or hoping if she makes it difficult enough, youll abandon the idea. I'm not justifying it at all, this is just something I see in my mother sometimes.
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Me too! Even when I do something for me I can't enjoy it knowing the that I will get that disapproval when I return. My mother is 89 and mostly indepent except she doesn't drive anymore and lives with me. She has been with me a yr. and I still have trouble with that, but am starting not to care anymore. I feel that her attidudes and personality is changing my mostly optimistic view of life and I hate it. She is very negative and worries about everything, and wants control of it too. I am moving her into an independant living June 1st. She is so stubborn that she is refusing to ride the elevator one floor to the dining area even though the meals are part of her rent. She insists she will stay in her apt. and cook all her own meals and does not want to make new friends. All of this is to try to make me feel guilty. I have set my bounderies for how often I will go see her. She also refuses to pay the help to do her laundry or clean her apt.......guess what I am not doing it. And she will have to learn about the transportation they provid to appts. etc. Her place will be 10 miles from here, so I won't be at her mercy. This is still hard for me to stick too, but I am forcing myself. I have to do this. She could be happy if she let herself. We are not responible for anothers happiness just our own. Best of Luck!! God bless!! Marilyn
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I sometimes call to see if the babysitter is available and she takes the kids for a couple of hrs. Then hubby and I can have a real quiet time but with the stress of this and that we both end up napping when my son goes to kindergarten next year I will be able to keep this house in tip top shape and dealing with new anxiety of my son being away from me. I still have to limit my errands and I promise my daughter a date at the local chinese/cantonese restaurant but need to make the next few months balance out first before i do something like that but I get all of next wk with them which is what I wanted and of course spring cleaning if i beat this crazy head cold and submit pay stubs to finalize my case. I am thinking of appealing the cut of my food stamps but not prolly won't do it since the state mistakenly approve me for tanf when i didn't qualify. I am just tired and tired of the system ...I may not be taking care of a parent but I am taking care of a spouse slowly increasing to needing more help..yes did i mention I am on my 12th burnout cycle ...ur are not alone.
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Fortunately several years ago I volunteered for two different activities which take up only a couple of hours each week. When I have more time than usual, like you I feel lazy if I'm not doing something "constructive". However I did learn that even brief change of scenery can help bring back a sense of equilibrium so a visit to the library, or stroll through an antiques mall, even a eating a sandwich in your car while listening to the radio at an quiet small city park can help. Consider it a time to re-charge, it is better than becoming so overwhelmed that one may become embittered and spiteful of the circumstances.
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cattails... yes it is my daughter.. thank you for your response. I think that all of us who caregive family members have such an intimate relationship with them that to me the real burden is not necessarily the physical manual labor that we endure daily, of corse that is deffinately a factor, but it is the mental stresses and the realization that the person that we knew before, is just not the person that they are now. That to me is so major in how much physical strength, I have, to give at any given moment. I think it is amazing how drained I am, by emotional upheaval, I find it almost impossible to disconnect the past with the present. Trying to sweet "Lemonaide" ... with sour lemons just isn't possible...my trying to pretend that the lemonaide is sweet has at time been unbareable. But we all do what we have to, to go on to that next moment!! Right??? God's Blessing to you too! Thank you all for sharing !!
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Bbrady: I read your profile and I can relate to your feelings about care giving. What I deal with, giving my dad 24/7 care is exhausting. Nevertheless, I can't imagine the grief you carry with you everyday for the loss of your beautiful daughter. You didn't mention in your above comment that she is the one you are caring for. How utterly heartbreaking. God bless you and give you peace. I am so sorry for your loss and heartbreak.
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I have found the same exact problem... I think "wow, a couple hours of empty time"! This truley is a big deal.. empty time!!! The problem I come across is that I cannot organize my thoughts to prioritize the time. I have so many things I have put on hold that I wonder which one of the things can I do, in that allotted amount of time, and still feel as if I did something for myself. I waste more time trying to figure out what I want to do that by the time I go to do anything the time is slipping right by me. I find it hard to selfishly do something just for me.. a massage or shop... it is like I have to do something that would pertain to the house or grocery or errends that have been put on a back burner. Sometimes when I do go out and do something just for me I find my mind is agitated about having to go back home and assume the caregiver roll again. I miss my old life. I miss who I was and I feel the hate that I felt for those that abandon my daughter to pursue a "new personal life" of their own. I feel as though I am in a constant state of "LIMBO".... a "WHAT IF"... state that manifests into what my life is and has been for the last 5 1/2 years. I don't feel so alone right now... knowing that there are others out there that feel the same exact way!! Thank you for that great question!!
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I can relate as well. When I do have free time its to go grocery shopping or to run other errands. And when I do leave her for alittle while I'm constantly thinking about her. The only time that I feel relaxed is when I do alittle gardening and even then the flowers I plant are for her to enjoy as well. Take Care of Yourself Hugs to all Caregivers
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