My mother recently turned 92. A trip to the ER a couple months ago landed her in the hospital, and then into skilled nursing. When she is released, she will go to an assisted living facility. The problem is, I am the only person who is responsible for her care. My sister lives in another state, too far to do anything but the occasional visit. My brother is in England. He contributes by making phone calls, arranging for her admissions, and taking care of insurance. That is helpful, but it still doesn't equate to the day after day wear and tear of caring for my mother. She has never been a pleasant person, even before she became older. She has driven away all friends and family members. It has been such a relief to me to have her in skilled nursing where I don't have to worry about her safety, hygiene, dressing, medications, or the dozens of other things that are required. In order for her to have a room reserved for her in AL, it is necessary to have all of her things moved from her apartment within 10 days. Of course, this again falls on me. To say I am burned out is an understatement. I need to take some time for mental health breaks, but when I don't go to see her for a few days, I end up feeling guilty. When I go back to see her after being gone, she'll tell me that everybody was asking where I was. This is her not so subtle way of letting me know that SHE wondered where I was and why I wasn't there. How can I take much needed breaks for myself and not let the guilt consume me? I admire all of you who post on this website. Until someone has "walked in our shoes" they have no idea how grueling and exhausting being a caregiver is.
If the person you're caring for happens to be bored and need something to do, you may want to consider getting the person a tablet or an iPad to keep them occupied. The only downfall is that it's a touchscreen, and touchscreens are so sensitive that you can accidentally touch something that you don't mean to touch. Overall, having an interactive electronic can keep a person busy with games and with YouTube having a wide variety of videos. You can actually give the person something to do around the time your planning to take time out for yourself. That way the person will be occupied when you slip out to take time for yourself.
I have hired movers. One group will take the things that aren't going to AL back to her house. Another group will take her furniture, etc. to AL. I've spent 2 days, so far, clearing her apartment. She has hoarding tendencies, I think, as I was able to throw much of it away. Does the hoarding go with the aging, dementia process? I always thought it's because she grew up during the Depression and learned not to waste a thing. Anyway, I'm rambling. Thank you again for your sincere replies. It feels good just to hear that I'm not alone in what I'm feeling and that there are others who understand. I have thought in the past about seeing a therapist/counselor. I will look into that. God bless you all.
And space out visits more. Let the facility do their job of caring for your mom. She WILL be fine in spite of her efforts to make you feel guilty. You are the only one that can control how you feel. You are letting Mom make you feel the way you are feeling. Get out and do something fun for you today and every day. Get involved in activities that you enjoy doing.
My method is to go over a weekly schedule with her. I find out what days she has things that might keep her busy (at the home, any holiday festivals or events etc) and we go over what days I will be with her. We were with her yesterday, I will talk to her today for if she wants me Monday or Tues. She is busy Wednesday and perhaps Friday we will both go down and Saturday my sister is having her. Sunday is church, and then, another week is done. So #1...set a schedule.It helps her relax to know when I will be there. Supplement with phone calls.
#2. guilt- we can't take as good and patient care of someone else when we are exhausted. We have to recharge our batteries.
#3...tell your sister and brother how you are feeling, and let them call on days you won't be visiting....it will let them help more in their own way, and perhaps appreciate that you are getting burnt out.....and go get a manicure or have a nice lunch somewhere...spoil yourself. you deserve it. And lastly, if she never appreciates your help, hopefully all of this hard work will clear your heart of any more guilt for the time that is coming. You know you have been a wonderful daughter to a difficult woman. Bless you!
Feeling guilty about taking care of yourself? Do it anyway ... and push that guilt far, far into the back recesses of your mind! :)
Thank you again for your understanding and encouragement. :)
Your mother is I think attempting to make you feel guilty, and it's working. The expectation that the adult generation of children is going to take care of their parents seems to be widespread among that older generation, and many take it for granted that their adult children will fall into that role and accept it. Not so.
The important thing to remember is that you did what you felt best for her; from your description of the situation, it wasn't feasible for you to care for her at home. She'll be mad and she'll take it out on you, probably not even realizing how miserable she's making you. She's angry and wants to vent at you.
Ask yourself this: if you did bring her home and care for her there, how long do you think it would be before you developed such severe health problems that you ended up hospitalized, or with depression worse that you probably have now? How serious would your illnesses be and could you recover from them? If you could not and the illnesses were such as to be for the rest of your life, or to damage the quality of your life, how would you be able to continue even visiting your mother? You wouldn't.
So if you remain at the mercy of the guilt feelings, at some point it will build so much that you're not able to function effectively, either for yourself or your mother.
I think the first step is putting a little distance between your visits. Let your mother learn to appreciate you and look forward to your visits, even though that may take some time and actually may never happen.