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How do you find yourself with no time off. I care for my spouse and 2 grandchildren . I have done this for 5 years. How do you find time for yourself, so depression does not consume you.

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Bjeanette, first of all depression is common among caregivers. You are not at all alone. You have complications many don't have so don't be hard on yourself for struggling to see this through.

You've gotten several opinions here and all have some validity. So much depends on your personality.

I agree that grandchildren can be a wonderful gift but caring for them as much as you do seems a lot. Please re-read CountryMouse's contribution. You're a mom and you want desperately to help your "child" with his own very difficult situation. However you have a lot on your hands with your husband and as you wisely point out, some of your depression may be about what you know is coming. You can only do so much.

I do think it's time for you and your son to figure out some options that will give you some breaks. I also think that some counseling could help, but as with any self-care, this can seem impossible when you already have so little time for yourself. Just the idea of attending a support group can seem impossible. Yet, you have to do something for yourself or your own health will suffer even more than it has. If that happens, then what? Your son will be scrambling for help with his father and his kids - and maybe you.

See a doctor for yourself. Try a caregiver support group or seek a few sessions with a counselor about your depression. You can't be last on the list or you'll be lost.

Blessings,
Carol
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You realize your limitations and you stop. If you have a sick spouse, your children should be helping YOU, not you helping them.
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Darling girl. Big hug.

My guess is that you are reluctant to admit to your bereaved, hard-working son that you cannot give him as much support as you would dearly love to. I expect you are also very anxious not to introduce further upheaval into the children's lives. You have been a rock, and it must be very hard to back down from that. But life goes on, and things change, and it's time for you to make necessary adjustments.

I'm sure you are finding it hard to face up to your husband's condition, especially with 44 years together under your belt. Keeping busy, aka sublimation, can be very helpful; but at this particular point you instead need the time and mental space to focus on him.

The little one, presumably, sees you as his/her mother? This is really difficult. Any other family members you can call on? The thing is, while it's good that the older sibling likes to help, it isn't good for him/her to have more responsibility than is appropriate.

Your son deserves to be consulted, and for that to happen effectively and honestly he needs to understand the truth of the family situation. Which is that it is more than one person of, forgive me, around 65-70? can handle unaided.

However you all decide to arrange it, you need more hands on deck. Family; a very carefully chosen nanny, housekeeper or mother's help; the children's friends' parents; whoever: more important than the status of the people you involve is that you do, without demur, call on others to help you.

You're not abandoning anybody. You're not going anywhere. But you cannot continue to do all this alone. You MUST be frank with your son and unembarrassed about asking for help. The presence of the children, and your critical role in their lives, make it essential that you all, together, find ways to make this work. Best of luck to you x
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Unlike most contributors I think taking care of your grandchildren is probably what's keeping you going - they are bringing you another slant on life so you're not totally wrapped up in your husband's situation which is probably what will cause you to experience depression. In my opinion you must sustain your relationship with your grandchildren because through this you also sustain your relationship with your son who may be much more inclined to take care of you when you get older and need it - as also maybe will be your grandchildren. They key to your problem is not to push your grandchildren away - you should enjoy being a grandparent - but rather to get help in to relieve you from the constant care routine you have with your husband - you're not a nurse and unlikely to gain pleasure from trying to be one, but you can certainly get many rewards from being a grandma
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I have to agree with Daughteronduty. I've been taking care of my mom almost 5 years and have 6 grandchildren (5 and under) that are here (in varying numbers) 6 days a week. It's exhausting, but the kids are a welcome distraction. As for the depression- I went to 3 therapy sessions. First session I wa diagnosed with "situational depression". Second session we talked in lenghth about forgiveness. Third session began-"I really don't know what else I can do for you. To lift the depresion, you have to change the situation." Needless to say , I'm not going back, but I did take away from it the need to change. I put her in a week of respite for a break. I'm working on arranging more volunteers and agency help. I signed up for a Bible study (haven't gotten there yet, but I'm at least trying.) Hang in there, sister! It's never going to be a perfect situation, but keep evolving the help that you are getting. Just having extra people come in for me to talk to breaks up the day. And keep coming back to this site to vent. We are all in the same boat. Hugs!!
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I know what you mean. I have been hospitalized 2x for depression since caring for my parents. I have since learned to set my boundaries and ask my family for help. But, as a nurse, that is really hard for me to do. So, I am now doing Equine Therapy for my depression. It seems to really be helping. It is one hour every 2 weeks, so I don't feel like I'm totally selfish. I also do a lot of crafts that I enjoy to provide some respite. I still feel like I am on call 24/7, but it feels more manageable now. Take care of yourself, so you can take care of others better.
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You set aside time for yourself and tell the other three, they can fend for themselves for one day! I allow myself Sundays off to go swimming, take in a movie if I like or just get out of the house by myself. No husband, no two dogs, just me to think alone with my thoughts and to talk with new people. You can do this. I don't get depressed (what good would that do, I would still have to take care of all of them?), but everyone who is a caregiver needs space and time alone. Take it, they will survive...
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You find time. You create time. You realize that you can't do it all and that trying to do it all will make you sick.

Hire a caregiver for a couple of hours a day or have family help a couple of hours a day. Do whatever you can to take care of yourself. You're making sure that your spouse and your grandkids are taken care of. Who's making sure that you're taken care of?

And I agree with Pam. With a sick spouse why are you caring for your grandchildren? Where are their parents?
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I care for my grandchildren 12 hrs a day due to the death of their mother. I have had them for 5 years. One is 5 12 and 1 is 11 1/2. My spouse has heart disease and has had 9 surgeries facing maybe another in oct or Nov. Has defib implanted and not doing well, Married almost 44 years. I think I am having a hard time facing what I know is coming. The childrens father works long hours , my son and takes the children 4 to 5 nights a week. The older one can be a help. Thank you Bjeanette
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Both kids are in school? I've never understood the "grandparents get to raise the kids" thing. Lordy. But to them? You're their mom, I'd think.

Try to think of what MIGHT work. For instance, dad takes the kids more than just 4 or 5 nights a week. Maybe he picks them up earlier. Keeps them longer. Maybe every night of the week during the school year, he picks them up right after work and brings them back early in the morning ready for school. You feed them breakfast and send them off. Feed them dinner; then dad picks them up. Or dad feeds them dinner. Keeps them all day Sunday; brings them back Monday morning all ready for school. Whatever. Something.

When the kids are with you, I hope you're teaching them responsibility by putting them to work on some level. Setting the dinner table/clearing the dishes. Emptying waste baskets on schedule. Oh, you know, some small 30-minute tasks every time they're with you that lighten your load AND nurture them into acceptance of responsibility.

Quite possibly, the responsibility that's breaking your back, so to speak, is that of your grandchildren. And that, my big-hearted friend, is your SON'S responsibility.

I assume he pays you to watch his children? Why do I make the assumption that he's hooked up with someone? If he's got a two-person family at home, he should have the kids every night for dinner and all weekend long.

In short, I guess what I'm saying is that I know darned well you aren't going to shed the children. They love you like a mom, and I'm sure you love them back more. You can't shed the responsibility of your husband at this time; because you both promised 'for better or worse.'

I'd start looking at my organizational skills. Poke your son to take the kids more to give you just plain old down time . . . get everybody helping out . . . if your son can't really take the kids more because he's working long hours, maybe he has to shed some of that overtime . . . if he's not paying for your caring for the children, then trade your watching the children for 8 hours a week of his helping you in your household some other way -- even if it's just grocery shopping from a list for you.

Become a benevolent dictator. ;) Since I think you're just in a funk right now because of your husband's upcoming surgery, be proactive to grabbing free time by asking those other four people -- two kids, your husband, your son -- to step up just a little more each. Lots of "man hours" there.

I wish you well. I think you're doing angel's work.
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