How do I keep from losing my mind?

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Dad is 95 and mom passed 13 years ago. I've been his caregiver for the last 10 years. Last year it all got to be too much for me. I'm the youngest of 3, disabled, and the only one helping Dad. So I set Dad up with in-home care, I thought it would give me a break. But, it only compounded the issue by having to oversee everything and of course Dad not being happy about it. It didn't take long for me to seek a different resolution: a very nice, and I mean upscale, assisted living facility. The first 24 hours resulted in an early morning call from the nurse, "Your father is refusing his medication." and for the last 6 weeks it's been one thing after another. I'm more exhausted, frustrated, and unable to cope now with all this help than when I was doing it all. He's started lying, being mean, not eating, not talking all his medications and I feel guilty. I don't want to hear that I did the right thing or any other vacant platitudes. I'm at my wits' end. He has literally sucked the joy out of my life.

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Everyone: Thanks for your comments today. Interesting that you all have found similar methods of coping with these various issues. It actually is a relief to know that it is apparently only one person from each family that takes the lead while everyone else sits back and watches from their vacations or retirement. I guess we are the strong ones. That kinda makes me laugh because I'm crying as I say that. I guess I can't fix it overnight or in a few weeks. It feels mean to have to treat dad this way. I've told him that if he wants to be miserable then he'll probably be miserable. But if he wants to make the best of it he can meet people and do activities and most likely enjoy himself a bit. My husband says guilt is a useless emotion and I should get rid of it. I've got to concentrate on my health... just not use to making myself a priority.
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Rainmom:
Ah yes, the versions of "help" from the self-serving.
They grin and beam like they've earned a gold star for doing something they should be doing in the first place. While at the same time creating more work and grief for the caregiver.

Sigh...shakes head.
"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. .."
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Mojorox- I use to have a saying very similar to yours - "If you don't help, you don't get to criticize". Unfortunately, my brother who visited our parents for an hour twice a month- as long as it didn't interfere with a vacation or time he spent in his "cabin" - think Street of Dreams - in the woods - unfortunately for me, he considered this helping.
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No sleep. No joy. No break. No help.
Frustration. Anger. Sadness. Anxiety.
I feel completely alone screaming inside my head all day long. And I'm tired, so f'n tired....
I'm becoming someone I'm not and don't want to be.

I realized one day, sitting in a zombie like state, that I could control some of the burden by simply not accepting it. The guilt I had was placed there by me and I could remove it as well.
I do the best I can with love and sympathies but it is what it is. I guess in short, I grew a thicker skin and use a more of a tough love approach. Nothing harsh, always with love but, sorry, I can't do that/change that/deal with that/live like that etc. I no longer cater, bend over backwards, or have people walk all over me. I've put my foot down with family who don't help or people who snark and complain. They will have something bad to say no matter what I do so why am I killing myself? And if someone is not or cannot help, they are not allowed to comment on my choices or decisions. Period.
I've asked family members to please leave my home for doing just that. Feel free to return when you are willing to participate.
I try to solve moms temper tantrum's with hugs but insults will make me leave the room usually singing the Rolling Stones' you can't always get what you want ...but sometimes you get what you need...

I'm human.I know in my heart that I'm doing Allright, not perfect, but I do care and I show it. I work hard and do whatever I am able. That's enough. I no longer carry guilt (although in my case I think I mixed guilt with worry about what others thought)....
I cannot change others only myself. It has helped a lot, and has earned me respect from others where there was none before.
At the end of the day, I lay my head on my pillow, knowing I'm a good person and I've done the right thing. It's day by day but I am regaining some control of my own life and feel I am slowly returning to normal.
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Forgot to mention...in the process of the roller coaster ride and fighting with my sister I got the Shingles. I was only 54!!! You do not want the Shingles...
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Jelly,
"How do you not loose yourself"? IMO and in my case it was next to impossible and sometimes impossible. I too have a husband that can't hear all the "bad stuff". In the depths of any given crisis he would suggest "let's go to Las Vegas "or something similar. It would drive me nuts!!! The energy it would take to get myself ready for a trip then come home MORE tired?!? But, the times when I was too tired to fight him and got away it did help. I was the "fixer". I thought I had to over see everything. I had to help everybody. Unfortunately, we can't fix everything. Somethings are destined not to be fixed. Some of us think if I just fight harder, try harder, make them happy, we as the "fixers" won't fail. I think that's where we loose ourselves.

A Geriatric Psychiatrist helped my Mom greatly. Hospice helped me deal with my Step Dad and Grand Mothers situations. Everything else I was trying to do was basically spinning my wheels.

7 yrs in the trenches and I am now trying to find myself. Trying to not feel so tired. Forcing myself to try to eat better and sleep on a regular schedule. Trying to finish one task before I start another. And guess who wants to go to Las Vegas?!?

Sorry, I ramble. Its IMPOSSIBLE to not loose yourself if you are trying to do too much and hitting brick walls at every turn. STOP! Take a couple days off. Line up some professionals to deal with your Dad. And the saddest one is to try to accept the situation with your Dad as it is. He may not want to be fixed.
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Jellybean - i mentioned that my dad was very angry about being in the nursing home so of course he felt better taking it out on my stepmom or me when we visited.

This is what we did - if he started in (phone or in person) we would say "I'm sorry you feel that way" and then hang up or leave. He stopped getting to us because we wouldn't let him.

Eventually he started being pleasant. Try this approach.
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Rainmom, thank you! I'm going to check into this. Something must change before I lose myself. You are a very strong woman. I hope I can hold it together the way you did. I'm glad you had that year to repair and enjoy each other. I want that so badly.
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* rushing not flushing!
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Rainmom I am so glad you didn't just go away with my first bitchy comment. Thanks for that. In the last two weeks I've been letting calls from dad and AL go to voicemail. I feel a little mean doing it, guilty. Of course dad tends to keep calling till I answer. I'm sure I'll get passed that feeling.

And isn't it fun to have critics! Siblings who cannot be bothered to help but can find fault with everything you do. As you well know, there are so many other issues than just the parent and their actions. The hard decisions, like taking the car away, finding out he has had insurance for LTC but never mentioned it for fear someone would take action. We were literally interviewing contractors to update our home with an ADA approved suite for dad. Lowest bid out of 7 was 50k! And of course I thought it fair for dad to pay at least half since his first year in AL would run about 50k. But apparently I was trying to "remodel" my home and have dad foot the bill. Oh yes please, let's eliminate the garage and put in ADA everything! I'm sure that will be a lovely selling feature... To less than 1%. Siblings!!!! But then the lying started. I was being judged by friends and family and they all have no problem coming to me directly and voicing their opinion or shaming me. None of whom are willing to do anything to help. Dad started telling lies even to my children so I was getting grief from my oldest because dad told him I wanted 80k for him to to have a new toilet! Fortunately after a few months my son finally realize he was being played. That's when I halted the planning on the addition and found dad had a LTC policy. So I decide to go visit my eldest and all of my g-kids at Christmas. Just days before we leave, dad takes some anti-dizziness medication while I'm out preparing for our trip but his caregiver was with him. He either took took much or something. So with just days before we leave, I'm flushing to after hour doctors and planning with a company to come out and test oxygen levels while he sleeps. Hoping they get results and oxygen delivered before we leave. No, dad I'm not changing my plans. Well you know how conniving they can be. After 7 hrs of travel I have a VM message from the in home caregiver... And that's when I started breaking out in hives or what ever it is. He apparently had an extra set of keys, drove to get a Christmas gift and had a wreck. The caregiver was with him but he still denies it. So many things they do to make our lives difficult. And now I know he's told people he's doing it intentionally!

Anyway... Someone said you had psychiatric help for your mom. Did that help?
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