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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Jellybean - please stay on this site. There are so many good people and good advice. If you look at different topics on this board - many people ask the questions about how to handle ALF.

Typically a parent needs a longer settling in period - usually several weeks. It is often recommended that the caregiver give some space - not visit as often or for very long periods to give the staff and the patient time to adjust to each other and settle in to their routine. Most patients end up adjusting well and making friends and participating in the activities.

Also - the ALF should be able to handle the medications issue. Ask them to handle and only call you for true emergencies - like a hospitalization. Otherwise you will indeed get sucked dry.

You mentioned that you do not want to hear that you did the right thing. I'm going to have to upset you and tell you that you did. You are a loving daughter who recognized that DAD NEEDED A DIFFERENT LEVEL OF CARE and you provided that for him. Yes, Dad is angry - he can't help aging and all that goes with it. But your role is to see that he is helped, taken care of to the best level possible. It no longer could be you hands on. You can only control what you DO, not how your dad FEELS.

Breathe deep - explore some of the other threads on this board and i think you will find good suggestions and encouragement. You are important too - how you are feeling physically, emotionally, etc. It is time to re-balance and take care of yourself too, so that you can advocate for your dad as needed.

My dad spent the past six months angry as h*ll that he is in the nursing home. He blamed everyone - but the fall that put him there. Yesterday he told my step mom that he understood that he needed more hands on care and that they took very good care of him at his nursing home, and that the staff was kind in spite of all of his rudeness. It takes time. Bless you!
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What would you like to hear?
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I'm very new to this site. I feel like I'm being driven over the edge by taking care of my mom. Just know you are not alone.
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Please stay here jellybean!

My "stress" has lightened up in just the few months I've been
People always say that raising kids is the hardest job ever...not true for me...aging parents are in my case...but the experienced people here calm my heart and give me better clarity! 
 And no matter what time of day it is there's always someone here with a shoulder to cry on or just someone to listen.

thinking of you, Bella
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Jellybean- for you and I not getting off to a good start it's amazing how much we have in common.

My dad was diagnosed with CHF in his late 70's and did really well for a while. But when it began to slow him down - dad was really active - and he needed to start medication and adjust his eating and his lifestyle, he couldn't accept it. So because the Lasix was interfering with his activities - having to pee all the time - he began playing loosey-goosey with his pills. This lead to him not sleeping since he timed the pills so he peed at night. Eventually, things compounded and another medical issue came into play - boom - five weeks in rehab and he was never the same.

Funny thing is - in the long run it wasn't my dad that drove me to the edge of complete mental and physical collapse- it was my mother.

My parents moved to Independent Living at this time. As luck would have it, my mom had a medical crisis at the exact same time. Dad had a hired full time caregiver but my mom fully recovered - except for a pesky little oxycodone abuse problem she had developed.

All of a sudden I was in charge of their lives in addition to having my own which includes an adult son with a sevear disability living at home.

Daddy was easy and we were very close. Although we did have several trips to the ER to get his lungs drained and a couple overnights in the hospital- largely due to daddy not eating right - trips to McD's for French fries - curtesy of my mother. Unfortunately he passed away about 18 months later. My mother on the other hand was a nightmare that just got worse and worse. She fought me every step of the way - actually went out of her way to be difficult, pick fights and in general - made my life h*ll. And that was before the dementia kicked in. Once that was in effect I was in for a real joy ride.

I know all about the rashes and hair loss. I had what I refer to as the "mystery rash". After months of seeing dermatologist and assorted tests and biopsys they said "stress induced eczema". Great. The hair loss I was able to fix with some research and my own vitamin/supplement cocktail. But I went several months with a bright shiny patch of scalp showing where my bangs use to be. Talk about kicking you when you're down!

Anyhoo - I get it. I really do. But Im just a no bs, to the point, straight shooter. Which I know isn't everyone cup of tea. But if I can help you with specific suggestions - let me know.
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He's probably not too pleased with you either. How are you handling the calls? What does the AL recommend? You have to give him more time. He's lived a certain way a long time. Perhaps you should hire a sitter to spend time with him and help him get acclimated? Did you have a helper at home that he is already accustomed to? Perhaps that person would come in a few hours a day? Ask the AL if they have a list of sitters they work with.
Take a breath. This is hard for both of you. If you wind up taking him home hire plenty of help so you can escape more often. This is a very hard situation.
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Jelly; has dad been evaluated by a geriatric psychiatrist? If he's got dementia, especially if it's vascular dementia, depression, anxiety and agitation often result. The right combination of meds can make all the difference in the world.

I'm assuming that dad was assessed before going to AL, and that they told you they could handle his needs. In the nicest possible way, tell them that they need to do that: handle his needs.

If he's refusing meds and you are his healthcare proxy, you need to discuss with the Director of Nursing how they are going to handle non-compliance. Toss the ball back into their court; what is THEIR plan?
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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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I was just getting ready to come back and recognize your other question - and actually the hair question was so much easier.

But you mentioned crying - so maybe that's a good place to start on how I managed.

It wasn't the crying that made me search and find this sight. It was why my mother couldn't change her Depends without covering herself and the bathroom in poo. So things had become pretty bad.

Without even realizing it was happening - in the time it took me to get out of bed in the morning, then walk to the kitchen to pour my coffee - I would have tears running down my face. Nothing had happened. The only thought in my head was "must have caffeine". Yet there they were - the tears every frickin' morning. I knew I was in serious trouble.

Things had just become so unbearable - it never let up and I had to take care of and/or fix EVERYTHING. Making the tough decisions- no more car, IL to AL, AL to NH etc and mom mad as h*ll - calling me, screaming at me, blaming me, accusing me. And me, all the while killing myself for her, putting my own family second - never mind my needs - trying as hard as I could to make things acceptable to her. I counted once - 47 straight days - days that my phone rang and it was either her or about her. And I'm not talking easy, pleasant chats. The doctor, the pharmacy, the insurance co, the nh, oh joy - my brother with a critique, on and on.

So - I came here and blubbered my way through my first post. And this is what I learned that saved me. I learned to say "no". As cold as it sounds, I had to detatch. It really had come down to "it's either me or her". I learned boundaries- sorry, cliche I know. But, no more running every time she called. If mom got mean while I visited, I pleasantly said "see you on..." and I left. Mom got her own ring tone and so did the nursing home.

Its hard to let go, I do know that. But here's the thought that put me over the top. - I had been putting off a surgery I needed for over three years in order to look after my mother. I no longer could avoid it. So in thinking about a four hour operation I considered things going wrong - and it struck me - if I died, would I be happy with the final five years of my life? The way I treated my husband? The attention I gave my son? Would I be happy with the person I had become?

Like I said - it came down to her or me. And when "me" includes my own family - there really was no other choice.
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Rainmom, I seem to recall that getting your mom seen by a geriatric psychiatrist helped too yes?
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