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How can I make her understand?

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I agree with the others. She isn't a friend. Life is too short to be friends with people like that. I would drop her completely. Not have another thing to do with her.
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She shouldn't judge, but if it helps ask her to imagine caring for a helpless person who fully and completely demands everything from you. You need to rest to be able to fulfill your care duties. That's all, you wouldn't go to work if you had a flu so bad that you couldn't function, well your now your just preventing the flu with rest.
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What is your friend's relationship with your loved one?
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This "friend" is a 100% waste of your time. Life's too short. Move on. If you're willing to take a break from caregiving, then you should be willing to meet new friends. The next time your "friend" says something critical, tell her to sit with your loved one - for one entire day - dawn to dusk - while you are out taking a break. She'll stop being critical of you - immediately. I guarantee you this. I personally get so sick and tired of people passing judgment on my situation - but don't bother to ask what I'm actually doing on a daily basis for my mother. I don't even talk to my core group of friends anymore because they were passing too much judgment - and I got tired of hearing it. I have a lot going with my mother - I don't have to time convince my "friends" that what I'm doing is best for her.
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Dear Susie,

I'm sorry your friend's lack of understanding is hurting you. Its true what the others said, she will not understand because she does not walk in your shoes. Kindly tell her, you need to be with your loved one. And you find her questions hurtful.

I too was always taking care of my dad. I never felt like I could take time away unless it was to run errands. I turned down everything from lunch dates to going out to the movies. But for myself its not a regret because I wanted to be with my dad. I was always afraid he would die on me and he did. And now that I have the time to do a little for myself, I still don't feel like it very much because I miss my dad so much.

Please do what you feel is right. And let others think whatever they want. Its your life. Your choices. Its never easy being a caregiver, but do what you feel is right. Thinking of you.
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There are a lot of people who feel that the wife should always be there, no matter what. Couples need some time apart even when there is no health problem. When there is a problem that requires caregiving, vacations are so helpful. Even if we love our mates, it is still quite a job to care for them.

The only thing I would say is not to let her feelings make you feel like you're doing anything wrong. She just doesn't understand.
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Maybe she would volunteer to stay with your LO so you can get time away. After a few hours I bet she would gain a better understanding. If not, so be it. You do not have to justify yourself to anyone!
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I agree with the writers above, unless one has been in the trenches with caregiving, they will never understand.   Especially if the health issue is Alzheimer's/Dementia [as you had posted on your profile].

One of my best friends stopped calling me because I never had time to go out and do things with her.   Her parents were the same age as my parents, but her parents lived way out of state and her siblings and their children were doing all the heavy work.   She did call them, sent money, flew out to see everyone, but wasn't under the umbrella of doing caregiving around the clock.

I even had caregivers helping out but I was too drained to go anywhere, just from all the stress.
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You can't make her understand. And if she is critical of you for something she doesn't understand, I have to question how a good a friend she really is. With friends like that, who needs critics?

Respite ... time to ourselves ... is the number one way to stay sane. Staying sane is pretty valuable when you are caring for a loved one. Burnout is very bad for all concerned.

Perhaps you can lower your expectations of this friendship, and downgrade it to a casual acquaintance that you occasionally do things with.
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Why on earth do you feel you have to justify your actions to this friend?
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You don't owe her an explanation but, if it comes up again, you can tell her it's healthy that you take time away from your loved one and that you have healthy boundaries. Ask her whether or not she will martyr herself for a loved one. If she says yes, run away. If she says no, then ask her why she is judging you harshly for doing what's best for you.
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Sorry if this sounds brusque, as it's not meant to, but life has taught me that you can't make anyone understand what they haven't experienced or what they really have little desire to understand. And you don't owe everyone an explanation of your choices, if you know you're doing your best, then go forward, and if others don't get it, it's their problem not yours.
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