Have you quit your job to take care of your loved one?

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Hi everyone, I understand this is my decision but I love and admire everyone here that is in the same boat as I am. I work 7-2 during the school year and now have at-home care as Mom cannot make it to the daycare in her condition any longer. I pay out almost about $550 a week for her care from moms low income. This leave no money for diapers, pills, the occasional bills such as denture repair, sneakers, bedpads, food, etc not to mind the heat that we have to keep on 70 for her in winters. This is all okay, not my complaint, its been working but now I am home for the summer. My caretaker is here part time so I dont lose her over the summer, and she does just 3 hours 3x a week for me, its wonderful! I lost my other 2 day a week caretaker and am having a horrible time finding a new one. I am having people apply that only want the job as they have no job and its all they can get. Thats not what I want, I want someone who enjoys seniors and their heart is in it. After 20 applicants, I am suffering in finding the right person and am second thinking going back to work now. I thought being home would be harder but with the 3 mornings of help and no rushing out for 7 hours a day, I enjoy it so much more. I just became vested and can leave my job with health insurance now and the money is okay but its not much compared to what the caregivers here make. Will I regret leaving my job? I am at retirement age . Thinking outloud here... I work 7 hours at my job and then race home and do 7 hours with Mom. There is no money left for diaper, etc and no weekend help. I have no time for my husband, adult children and grandchildren. I have done this for over 3 years now. If I were to stay home that extra non-caregiver money could go to weekend help so that I could have a life with my family with help. My family is great and they come over most weekends. I love it but as you can all relate, my mind and eyes are always on my Mom. I am feeding her, helping her to drink, changing her diapers or clothes and there is no time to run outside or in the other rooms to enjoy the rest of the family without saying" Oh can you watch her?" They all try and help of course but with kids, grandkids, cooking and cleaning, dogs, etc, as you all know the blunt of it is with ourselves. We can make it moneywise if I were to leave my job, its something I cannot decide on but am leaning towards it as I cannot find another special person 2 days a week and I would love a caregiver her for weekend time. (even thou its awkward to have someone here in the house) We have a small camp on a lake we cannot even go to, no dinners out, no movies, no babysitting the grandkids, etc. Has anyone out there left their job and are happier for it? When Mom moved in I felt as though my life was on temporary hold and now I am realizing this is a long haul here, not what I ever expected in her condition when she moved in. My Mom is a peach, and other than the dementia, she has had heart issues but is happy and pretty healthy here and who knows, she could love 5-10 more years, we never know. Then again, after reading the caregivers stress article on our own health, she could outlive my husband or I and that kind of scares me too as I wonder if there is life after caretaking. I want my Mom and my life and dont want to lose either, I am not a career person, I've worked for 18 years because i have had to for health insurance ,and I would love to be home with Mom , and be a housekeeper again, which has gone to the dogs due to my working so much. I have started to organize my home and enjoy Mom more without all the stress of work and the help of 3 mornings someone bathes her for me. I would absolutely Love your thoughts out there caregivers. What have you all done and do you regret it, or do you love it? IF I do leave my job I will never return to work. I cant stand the bs that goes on at work but there is an element of socilizing which is minor but yet still there. I also think, if I retire, is this the end of my life, weird feeling to describe. Thanks for your thoughts, I need encouragment right now from your experiences.

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twin1jg, I wish you and your husband well in picking up the pieces. Since she is not living in your house, I think it would be wise for your husband and you set some boundaries concerning that future issue. I suggest reading the book, Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You by Susan Forward.
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You know everything you just said is so right. I am angry at my family for not stepping up and helping and I am angry at my mother for manipulating me and my husband. I felt so trapped and I felt like quitting was my only way out. So needless to say I am lost and my mother has got what she wanted. Now my husband and I have to pick up the pieces of our lives and try to carry on. Sometimes I look at what happend and think what will happen to us if we are in that situation. Oh well, I can't change what has happend just try to get moving forward as hard as this is. The resentment and hurt goes with me and hopefully will be loss along the path. Thank you for your honesty.
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Your intentions are noble for giving your husband some help, but there is not really an easy answer for your feelings of loss after quitting your job. Where is the guilt and anger coming from and aimed at? Do you feel guilty that you quit your job? Do you feel angry at your mother for not accepting outside help and thus taking so much toil on your husband which now will be shared toil between the two of you with much less money coming in and no way for a break? Do you feel angry because maybe your mom manipulated you into quitting your job so that she could have you there anytime she wants? I'm sure these are not the probing kind of questions or response you were anticipating, but it sounds like your mother has taken great advantage of you and your husband just to have things the way she wants them as if she were the only one to be concerned about. This sounds like being used and abused to me as well as plenty to feel very angry about. Your intuition and your gut reaction to this change is telling you something very important. I feel sorry for everyone on here who quits their jobs only to discover the hidden costs to themselves presently and in the future.
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I know it was a few months ago when you posted this about quitting your job. Well about 2 weeks ago I did quit my job to take care of my mother. It was a horrible feeling because I was a stayed home mom and when I went to work 10 years ago it was great feeling for myself. My mom does have her own place, but she really needs to have care now. I have tried to have people come in, but she doesn't like, so needless to say it leaves me and my husband. I am hit or miss with my family. I feel so helpless because my job was an outlet. My husband has been a champ, because he has helped me with my mom so much. Seeing the toll that it took on him was heartbreaking. I just feel so loss right now, because I feel my Mom has gotten what she wanted, me there anytime she wants. The guilt, anger is all there. I don't want to feel this way. Oh how I feel for all of us in these situations. Please I need just caring thought to know it was ok.
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Hi, thanks for writing. My husband says whatever I want to do he is supportive. If I feel I need to work to get away, then keep looking for a caretaker and go for it. He says if I want to be home, thats fine too, he is great with either. The only thing he does care about is my health and he thinks I am at the end of my rope sometimes. Me? Hummmm I think I prefer to stay home and get weekend help but I am not 100% yet. IF I do go back to work, I will continue to have no family time as I cannot afford a caretaker on weekends or any evening. (my husband said we can pay for help ourselves if thats what I want also, we will make it work, but is that right ?) As far as silbings, I have had no commitment from them and they vist mom 4-5 afternoons a year and wont lift her out of a chair when here in fear of hurting their backs, forget them. A nursing home is out of the question and she is beyond assisted living, here she stays forever and thats what I do want, that I do know and my husband agrees its best for her. but also wants me to get help so I wont get sick. My morning caretaker said she will stay and help me in whatever decision I make which is great. The way I see it, the only way I will get relief is if I get a weekend caretaker and we cant afford that paying out for fulltime help if I go back to work. (yes she does get the A&A, thats already included) Most days I do not like my outside the home job, I think I am leaning towards retirement and weekend help. I guess I just need encouragement that this isnt the wrong thing to do and wondered if anyone else has done it. If my Mom were to pas away within a week afterwards, would I regret it, no, I dont think so as I would love to get myself and my house into shape and start living like I would want to without stress in my life. Thanks for listening to me think outloud and babbling on to relieve my stress!
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I agree with the above. As I read over your post, I see Fear, Obligation and Guilt all over it in big red letters. Have you and your husband had a heart to heart talk about this? I hear your frustrations, but what about his. Three years is __ along time to put a marriage on hold! I'm glad your adult children and the grandchildren are supportive, but how do they feel about all of this? I think ya'll need to think outside of the current box and do whatever is best for everyone. Doing things for others out of Fear, Obligation and Guilt is not love, it is slavery. I wish you well in getting out of the fog!
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You may be feeling conflicted because when one "normally" retires it is to do the things that her or she loves and is been waiting a long time to do. When you retire to caregiving, you are really just giving up one job for another BIG one. I can see the practical side of your reasoning; the financial element is important too. My concern is that, even though your job is not perfect, you need that "away time" from your Mom and caregiving. Also, the fact that your Mom lives with you would give you very little respite. Perhaps it is just a matter of switching to a different part time job or even a hobby that you have been putting off.
Have you thought of other alternatives? You say that your family is supportive...can another sib step up to the plate and take Mom in for a year or so, just until you get a chance to settle into retirement and have some time to yourself. I know from your past posts that you are fully committed to in-home caregiving, but have you looked into facilities in your area? I like that they now have a "tiered" approach so that your Mom can get only the care she needs without having to pay for extras that she doesn't. Was either of your parents a veteran? If so, apply for the "Aide and Attendance" benefit.
Even professional caregivers do not live with their charges 24/7 or they would burn out too. Do what is best for you, your Mom, and your family. Avoid guilt....it is a killer.
Good luck...Lilli
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