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My family has always let activities revolve around my stubborn, outspoken, and often unreasonable and selfish dad. Now this intelligent, yet extremely overbearing parent is very fragile both physically and mentally. I never had that big, cathartic "F-you, Dad!" kind of moment that would have been helpful when we all were younger and stronger. I feel so badly for my dad. At least there seems to be a protective mechanism that comes along with dementia...he just goes along with things and has not complained once about his "new normal". He does complain about physical ailments, but not only to me, and kind of treats me like hired, but unpaid help!
But now I am feeling guilty for feeling stressed out, exhausted, angry, and resentful about "my" new living situation. I moved my dad from his own apartment in another state into an assisted living facility 6 minutes from my house. I have been going over almost every day for the past 2 months, but there have been about 5 that I haven't gone over. Lately I've been sticking to my work schedule and doing other activities that I'd canceled in the past so I could hang out with Dad - though he doesn't really talk to me. Now he's in the hospital and I still went to work and even went to "fancy" dinner with a friend the other night. I know we're supposed to take care of ourselves, but all I hear in my head is the voices I assign to others: "She's so selfish!" "If I were her...", etc.
Anyone else feel (know?) they're doing it all wrong and not doing enough ever??

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Oh I feel the same way. I do all the necessary things for mom but other than meals I do not spend much time with her. Her companion plays scrabble with here as well as another friend. I do not have the patience to sit there while it takes forever. I feel the more time i listen to mom I get angry having to hear it over and over. I do invite family over a lot and she is always there, which I am not sure if she enjoys it or not. I just don't want to lose my temper. I sound awful and I feel guilty. The companion is here now and she said why can't mom go for a walk. She has bone on bone on her good knee and it hurts her. She has the opportunity to go out but she says no she does not want to. I never feel good anymore and I am tired all the time but still I feel bad. Don't get me wrong we talk everyday, I tell her things about whatever is going on. Shame on me for feeling this way.
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Bat your eyelashes at him and said it was SOOOOOOO good for mother's morale to have him with her for a weekend. Maybe he can be flattered into making a habit of it (pretty please with sugar on it)???
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I feel terrible complaining, because IT was nice of him to come but he really only lives 4 hours away and he is retired. but...
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thank you SO much and in fact he has told me repeatedly that I am a drama queen and if I managed my time better things would be smoother for me. but I totally see your point, because before I left, I did the blood test, i digitally relieved her fecal impaction, I drained her catheter and did the laundrey so he basically cooked for her and I get it I just wish he did!
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Hi Jaybee,
Am I safe in thinking that you are a woman?
First off - good for you for going to the seminar! It sounds like your mom lives with you. You have good reason to be crying and exhausted.
My theory: your brother being there was a novelty for your mom. Her daughter is old news. If your brother is not there all the time, she was probably on her best behavior to impress him enough that he'll come back more often. She's showing off for her son.
Has your brother told you he thinks you're a big drama queen? If he has, try to let that roll off your back, and if you want to reply to him, stick to the facts about your daily schedule.
If he has not actually told you he thinks that, he probably does not. I was always worried that my family would think I was a big whiner too, but I was projecting. I hope you are too! But if you're not...maybe you could be a bit devious so that he comes back and does the more day-to-day tasks - flatter him! Compliment him on how well Mom did when he was there and say wouldn't it be nice if it were always like that? :)
It really is an awful situation.
But whatever you do re: your brother, don't ever feel like a big complainer and whiner. You are going above and beyond. Every day. Your brother came in for one weekend, like some hot-shot firefighter, but you're the bigger hero.
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Jaybee, on the count of three now: "IT'S NOT FAIR!!!!" Darling, I know exactly how you feel!

So she kept it up for a weekend, big deal. If your brother is the kind of caring and game human being he sounds, given that he actually bothered to do this stint for you, then I am 100% sure that he will realise that this caregiving business is a lot less amusing once the novelty's worn off.
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I feel so awful. I am 54 and have been taking full time care of mom since 2009 plus running my own business. I had to leave town this weekend for a seminar and my brother came to take care of her and I am acting like a brat because she was awesome for him she ate ALL her food, she went to bed on time she needed no help in the bathroom, she waled and did her exercise as prompted and now he thinks that I am a big drama queen when I call him crying and exhausted. I should be happy that she seems to be thriving, but instead I feel angry and resentful that I now look like a big compainer and whiner.
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@freqflyer: So sorry you're going through this. The Life Alerts do make sense...That said, you are doing and saying all you possibly can. At some point, as difficult as it is, if they are alert and lucid, we need to let them decide...until they can't
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^^^^ Oops, my post above was "submitted" before I even finished it.....

One time Dad laid the backyard for almost an hour, Mom tried to call my house but her phone wasn't working for whatever reason...... thank goodness a neighbor saw Dad lying on the ground, she's ask my Mom for my phone number and used her own cellphone to call. Thus my panic of not being too far from home.

Said neighbor suggested my parents get one of those medical alert buttons for Dad to wear. Dad's answer was "that's for old people"..... [sigh].

Really wished I could have talked my parents into a retirement community a decade ago, but now at their age it would be too difficult. Been trying to get my parents to downsize within their home, but that is very slow going.
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How does one gain confidence to even feel comfortable to enjoy an evening out or a couple of hours at a movie? With my parents still living on their own, I would be checking my cellphone and calling my house to see if there were any messages from my parents in case Dad had fallen [he tends to forget to use his cane].

One time Dad layed in the backyard for almost an hour until a neighbor saw what had happened and she called my significant other
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Valerie, you're doing a brilliant job. I get that it's the "going out to dinner while papa lies in his hospital bed" that freaked you out a bit? How can you have a nice time when he's so ill and alone, your heartless ingrate?

Well now. I always think, when there is a possible sacrifice to consider, that it has to have a POINT. And what benefit would your father have gained from your sacrificing that good dinner and good company? None. So what would have been the point? Now if a nurse calls you and says it's not going so well and your father is asking for you, of course you'd make your excuses and not stay for dessert. Otherwise… dine on! x
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@Captain: I think your response to that hospice worker was the only correct answer. Because of course you were!
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Thank you all so much for your thoughtful and helpful responses. (I'm trying to click the "Helpful Answer" buttons, but for some reason can't do it) It has been so helpful to, first, read some of the other discussion threads, and then to post my own and then to truly know (not just know on an intellectual or abstract level) that I am not the only one experiencing these feelings. Thinking good thoughts for all of you!
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caregiving is a huge responsibility. so huge that most people turn and run away. you dont need anyones approval. ill never forget a hospice nurse asking me if i thought i was doing a good job. i firmly told her " yes i do " and then let the ensueing silence eat her ass up . oddly and deliberately i didnt ask if " she " thought i was doing a good job. i didnt give a damn what she thought. this task requires some self confidence but its not handed out freely. you have to battle for it.
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The friend I lost, her mother lived alone and did for herself until she was 90 when she broke a hip, went into hospital and passed shortly after. Oddly enough this former friend has been, with a group, to NHs with her dog for years so she's well aware of what the residents are like, however she doesn't know any of them and can just walk around chatting with the group for an hour or so then leave. Basically it's a time each week to socialize with her doggy pals Go figure.
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We all struggle with guilt...It's scarey being responsible for another adult especially a loved one..

What would you tell another member on here who was asking the same question? I thought so...Try your own advice....At least give limited visits a try..
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Ashlynne, you are so right about losing friends during this caregiving time. Lost several really close friends because they never were involved with helping their elderly parents. They never understood the logistics involved and how tried it can make someone feel. Boy, how that hurt.
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Valerie no-one can "know" unless they've been in our shoes. Your dad is being well taken care of in the ALF and he's very lucky to have you. If you're content with the care he's receiving limit yourself to visiting maybe 3x a week and get on with your life.

freqflyer I found most friends don't understand and I lost one friend due to the fact that I was always strung out and miserable which makes people not want to be around you.

I've resorted to changing my phone number and having it unpublished to avoid the screaming tantrum phone calls from my mother (in a NH) which were making me ill.
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It's so easy for a caregiver to fall into the trap of guilt. Guilt should be banned from your journey. It serves no purpose and drains your energy. Enjoy your Dad and make plenty of " me " time. Dad is safe and cared for. You need time to recharge both physically and mentally. You will both benefit from striking a healthy balance.
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I know actually what you mean.... I also have it easy compared to most caregivers but I, too, feel worn out and resentful.

When my parents were in their mid 60's they were traveling, vacationing, enjoying life to the fullest, and never had to help their own parents.... now that I am at that age, I can't do any of those fun things because who would get their groceries, take them to the many doctor appointments, to hair cuts/salon, to the mall, etc. My life has stopped, and it's been over 5 years now since my Dad stopped driving.

I had friends who would remind me that my parents took me everywhere when I was a child..... then I remind those friends," yes my parents did that but my parents were in their 20's and 30's, not in their 60's when I was a child, big difference".

You are lucky that you were able to have your Dad go to an assisted living facility, so many elders refuse to do that. My parents are in their 90's and still living in a single family house.... there aren't any neighbors their age to chum around with.... if they were in a senior community, there would be new friends to bond with, plus such communities has transportation.

I, too, feel like I am not doing enough. And how I resent when the phone rings and Dad wants me to drive him and Mom somewhere. I am tried after work, I want to stay home.
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You have no reason to feel guilt. It's normal to feel it; I think the majority of us do...because - just like when we were small (at least in my case) I could take a problem to my parents and they would help me get out of it, or at least be there for me through it. I think most of us want to "solve" the dementia, solve the depression, solve the loneliness, the ailments, aches, and fear for them. And, we can't. All we can do is what we are doing; which is to love them, hold them, listen to them when they have to vent or express feelings, and let them know that even when we aren't there at their sides due to other obligations or our own needs, that we are not far away and we will be with them again soon. You have to stick to your work schedule. Honestly if you only missed 5 days in a month do the math percentage on that; you are there almost every day to see him. No guilt there, my dear. You're doing a good job; not only for dad, but for you too!
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