Have bipolar disorder, caring for 90-yr-old Dad who broke hip, too cold for me to get out, going crazy. Any ideas?

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I almost single-handedly care for my father. Brother helps a little but works 14-hour days and must spend a lot of time with his wife. Friends either disappear, have their own medical problems, or are often too busy to help. Paid nurses often cannot come at times I need help. I live in a cold climate and cannot leave the house, due to a skin condition, when it's below about 20 deg, as it is almost all the time now, so forget about going out to walk or exercise. I have had to cancel my therapist and psychiatrist visits because I cannot get to them due to the weather. I am living on a razor edge, falling apart whenever things go even a little wrong. I have to handle my father's physical therapy to maintain what strength he has, because of having to cancel so many PT appointments due to the weather. Plus, of course, there is endless cleaning, dressing and undressing, food and dishes, in a dust moldy house I am not even supposed to be living in due to severe allergies. Are there other caregivers out there like me? There is not much of a caregiver support network in my area, and I couldn't get out to meetings anyhow, so am hoping for a little comfort and helpful suggestions online.

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You seem overwhelmed which does not support clear thinking. Seems like the first thing to do is separate the issues which involve your father and his care from issues regarding your own health conditions which would be the same wherever you live.

Next, take action on those things that can be fixed. For example, people can be hired to treat the mold, to deep-clean the house and to assist on a regular basis with your father's care.

Also you've received clever suggestions from others about keeping current with your therapy, getting exercise and artificial sunlight. These things actually work!

Or, it could be that you just plain don't want to be with your father any more and should look into alternatives for both of you. I know this is difficult if you feel depressed, so please first get yourself on an even keel. Good luck and God bless.
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Your father should be eligible for in-home PT services provided by visiting nurse agencies. Give his PCP a call and ask for that to be set up. It also may be time for Dad to go to assisted living, and you to move to a warmer climate. Is he a WWII vet? They have funding available to help pay for those things if he does not have enough of his own. In any event, do call and see what your local Council on Aging has to offer that can help.
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Are you taking your medication for bipolar disorder? As a fellow BD challenger, I get stressed with my dementia ill husband, but lithium carbonate keeps me stable. As far as the rest, you can exercise inside, just get creative. The exercise cleaning house would be a start, wear a mask always, and do what you can. The good news? The winter cold, ice, etc. will end, and then you can get outside. Get a full-spectrum light which will prevent any depression like SAD (seasonal affective disorder) so common when sunlight is scarce. There are millions of us with this disorder, so don't allow this to stop you from taking care of yourself or others. Due to your weather, find a therapist who can consult on the phone, and then you will see him/her in person when you are able. Everyone has stress. It all depends on how you handle it. You choose. Be well!
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you sound like such a good daughter! I can understand the pain of bipolar disorder as one of my three daughter's has it and I deal with depression and GAD and OCD. I am my husband's caregiver (he has AD at age 56). I feel for you. Try to find anything you can to keep yourself sane during these cold winter months when you are stuck inside caring for your dad. Let some of the less important things go and take care of your mental health so your physical health stays good too. There are some really good facebook pages out there for us caregivers. Sending hugs your way.
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Do you consider moving into another city that would be suitable for your skin allergy condition? You are doing an enormous task of providing care to your father when you also have to care for yourself. You need a break, but you are worried by the fact that you have to attend to your dad and household chores as well.

There are caregiver support organizations that are in a better position to provide you with help, they have expert that could provide you with plans on how to handle things. Check this list, and you might want to contact them: http://www.infolongtermcare.org/senior-caregiver-support/elderly-caregiver-support-organization/, they are trusted organizations with good credibility ratings. Hope this helps )
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I love kathyt1's suggestion of skyped appointments. See if it could work for you. You really want to keep your therapy appointments.

As you know so well, isolating yourself is really bad for your disorder. I know the weather contributes to isolation, so you'll have to be creative. Is there a friend or two who can come visit you? I used to schedule phone lunches with a friend who is in another state. This site and perhaps others focussed on something you are interested in can fill the place of interacting with others. (I belonged to a cake decorating forum for years.) Just don't sit at home alone with only your Dad for company!

I know that you need to see your psychiatrist in order to have your prescriptions renewed. Somehow that has to happen. Would the doctor be willing to do phone visits when the temperature is low?

As Kathy also suggested, call or google your state's aging office. Another resource is your county social services office. You may be surprised at the kind of assistance your dad is eligible for.

Do you have a case worker? He or she would be a good resource to help you get your own needs met and also to suggest sources of aid for your father.

It sounds like something also needs to be done regarding your housing. Your case worker may be able to help with that, too. Is this a house owned by your Dad?
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If the house has MOLD, get the heck out of there. Sheesh!
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Hello Heather,
Sounds very challenging to deal with even in the best of weather, certainly the cold adds more obstacles. I cannot really relate, my mom is mobile and requires less help, and I am in sunny Miami. I just wanted to reach out and wish you well.

Any good shows to watch on TV? Maybe download something from Netflix? Or download a good book? Beyond the tough work of caregiving, being cooped up would really get to me. Any support groups that can have online meetings?


Wishing you well.

L
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I would say most caregivers are like you, overworked, stressed, overwhelmed with duties and responsibilities. Forgive my lack of emotional support, i'm not good at it, but I can offer you some pragmatic advice. I also have a serious medical condition, Multiple sclerosis. I need to avoid stress, heat, my Dad needs warmth lol and stress comes with the caregiver job. I have suffered more relapses in the 2 years I have taken care of my 92 year old Dad, then in the last 10 years. I hear you. There are solutions if you make yourself a priority.

You need a break. You have to start to build a support system. Can you ask your therapist if he can skype your appointments, you need him, find a way to see him. Call or google your county aging office. Everyone has some version of it. They might be able to get your Dad to rehab for you, and give you a much needed break. They also have adult daycare. Is your Dad a veteran? Google www.caregiver.va.gov, they can give money, respite care, support. If your father has the money, hire a housecleaner, she will take that burden off you, relieve some of your allergies, and be company. If he doesn't this is something your brother can do to help. Can't help with time, then your brother can give money. Check with your Dad's Dr , Medicare will pay for someone to assist with bathing, wound care, and pt. All this takes time and effort, but it is worth it.

Encourage your friends to visit.I am sorry I am rushed for time. We are here for you. We understand, come here to vent, get advice, or just feel less alone.
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