How do single people manage the caregiver role? I feel overwhelmed and angry.

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Friends help and private care is outrageous. I'm a newbie to caregiving for my mother. Folks tell me to take care of myself and I just laugh. I love my mom but sometimes I think I've gotten way over my head. Not only is she dealing with short term memory issues but she's a diabetic as well. My doc wants me to start anxiety/antidepressant meds. I just keep looking at the bottle. Not sure what I'm asking right now but I just don't like how I feel.

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If your feelings are affecting your ability to care for your mother, then consider taking the medications. Otherwise, try to find a different outlet such as exercising or getting relief once or twice a week so you can get away for a while. Sometimes I close my mother's bedroom door, then go to my bedroom and close my door and turn up the radio and just lay on my bed - and cry. A good cry every now and then is actually good for the soul. You need to release those stressful, angry thoughts so they don't eat you alive.

I'm an only child (no other relatives in the country) caring for my mother. Her care hasn't worn me out but I'm terrified every day because I'm all she has. I like to ride my bike for grocery shopping because the exercise is good my mind and body. (My mother is bedridden, cognitively declined from vascular dementia so I don't have to worry about her being a fall risk when I have to run errands.) However, I'm scared I may get hit by a car - then who will be there for my mother? Next year, I'm supposed to have a few surgeries which require overnight stay in the hospital. My relief caregiver will stay with my mother but I worry I may suffer complications during the surgeries so I have to stay longer in the hospital. It's very scary not having immediate family for a support system.

My advice: Don't prolong your mother's life just for the sake of her existing. Whenever it gets to the point your mother no longer has quality of life, then consider comfort care. This is where I'm at with my mother. I'm not trying to be mean. I'm just being practical. Being single and/or an only child is very difficult as the sole caregiver. I'm not angry but I'm saddened that I've missed out a good chunk of my life while solo caregiving both parents. I'm a better person as a result of my caregiving but it's been a huge sacrifice personally, professionally, financially, physically, and emotionally. I don't even talk to my friends anymore because they pass judgment, stick their noses in the air, because they would never do what I'm doing. All my mother does is watch television. That's it. She's low-functioning and it's just so hard for me to see her like this.
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You're not alone MsElaine. I've been single 7.5 years and caregiving for parents during that time. It is rather scary because there is no one else but me. My father died five years ago. My mother has dementia and diabetes, along with other ailments. I do the best I can just to keep my sanity because I live with her. I have to escape to my room often during the day or I would go nuts. I avoid medications. My mother has taken sedatives since I was a young child. I don't want to go that same route. I try to find other ways of self soothing. Exercise and talking to people are the two things that work best for me.
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Its a shame children have to medicate themselves to care for a parent. WE CAN'T DO IT ALL! Mom is only going to get worse. What r her finances. Does she own her home? Maybe its time for an AL close to you. Selling her home, if she owns one, would help cover the cost. Takes a lot off ur shoulders. Hope you have a POA for financial and medical. Now is the time to search ur options.
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When I graduated, in the late 60's, the age of dying was in the 70's. I don't really think our parents realized they could live longer. And that when/if they did that their health may not be all that good. I don't like where the commercials tell seniors to get a reversed mortgage. You can live in your house by hiring caregivers. Most of our parents can't afford in home care. It's not fair that some feel the children should be held responsible for this care. Most of us are Seniors too. How much more of our lives will be able to enjoy it. I bet our parents enjoyed their retirements. I find that if you had no health problems up to 80 you will after 80. So this means your children are in their 60s or younger. In this country, you need two paychecks to just pay bills. If you are single, it's worse than that.
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LOL. I was thinking the same thing. Our parents are driving us to drugs! There is something a little sad about that. Very good advice, JoAnn.
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Thank you for your response. I'm trying. It just sucks sometimes and my heart hurts for her as well.
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MsElaine, I know that feeling about not wanting to take meds for myself. I could have kicked myself for not trying them years ago. The meds I am on now, it gives me the "whatever" feeling, thus ignoring high drama situations.

As others have mentioned, it will take time to tweak what is the most helpful dosage. Some were too strong, thus cutting a pill in half was the winner. I tried several different meds to see which would work. Now a days the doctors can do a DNA that will tell the doctor what meds would work best and what to avoid for your system.

I use to remember people telling me to take care of myself... right, in what universe... I knew they meant well, right now I am 3 years behind on my own medical care because my late parents were into and out of so many doctor offices that I thought I would scream if I saw one more waiting room :P

I see from your profile you are near my neck of the woods. You're in an area with wonderful doctors, and a lot of Assisted Living/Memory Care facilities, thus a lot of choices for when that time comes. Plus really good nursing homes.
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Reading all the responses tells me that if we get to the point where we need to take drugs then it’s time for a nursing home. I know how everyone feels..I am behind on my medical as well as everything else, I just don’t have the desire to do anything and takes so long to get just one thing done. I also work part time. My health is declining and since starting caregiving my BP has gone up to 145 where it used to be 120. I am noticing a lot of health problems with me, but I just “don’t care”. I have thought about meds but I feel if I am to that point, then I need to search for a healthier route and maybe it’s nursing home for my mother, because I just can’t start exercising, I just can’t do it. I say I will, but I don’t. I almost want to try to catch up with my desk full of stuff before I start exercising, and I don’t even want to bend down much less exercise. I am a whole different person now, I don’t even know who I am, meanwhile, my mother is just getting better and better at 92 and I am getting worse! Drs now say mom will probably live another 10-15 yrs!!! I am NOT DOING THIS ANOTHER 10-15 YEARS!! I just don’t know when my cutoff point will be that I will stop caregiving, especially since caregiving is not my personality type. I want to go to caregiving support groups, but I don’t even have the time for that.
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... I know many on here constantly say "you're doing the right thing" and "you'll get reward later".... first of all, the right thing has never made the actual act easier, less painful, nor somehow magically a sweet lite smiling task. Many decisions in life are made by the reasoning that "it's the right thing" ..when in fact even placing a parent in a facility could be "the right thing" ... there's so many d*mn variables between moral acts/decisions and rational acts/ decisions and allot of the times it's a twisted confusing blend of both. Most who are taking on the sole care of an adult elder could probably admit that "that choice was never a "rational decision when looked at from an outside view.

Straight up; You have one (sometimes two) elders at the ending years of their life, and that timeframe can last 2 to 20 years ... I said years. That care provided can be a very daunting care, even very gross care (at times,) and it's usually very mentally taxing care that's causing the care giver to be surrounded by both monotonous and then irrational environment if /when dementia, AH,& memory loss etc are existing. ...yeah the elder needs very real help, and yes their financial status dictates what and how that "help is acquired and by whom it's offered. ...but what's really happening is 9 times out of 10 you have the forgotten entity, the care-giver who has found themselves sucked into the task for what ever reason. Reason I'm even reiterating all this, is its those caregivers who need to make the very rational decisions and leave the morality out of it. They need to leave the "oh sweetheart you're a great daughter or son, you'll be rewarded later in life crap out of it because  I'm not talking about the care-givers who are in their late 60 and 70"s who enjoy the caregiving role and for what ever reason enjoy spending every waking moment with a degrading parent .. .. I'm talking about all the rest of us. 

This poster is not liking her true feelings, she admitted it to all of you on here... probably because she's being twisted in that dark moral and rational murk of a mess she's been thrown into. No one should advise her to take meds to get thru it and soldier on.. you all should be telling her to find another avenue to take to get other care for her parent so she's "NOT" stuck in the h*ll shes feeling right now. We as humans have feelings for a reason... it's to guide us thru life on this earth to live the life we have as fulfilling as we can ... need I remind all of you.. one life. So rational and practical truths are what we all should be discussing, not the other untouchable stuff. That type of thinking is why people stay in bad marriages for decades living off the few sweet memories but not looking at the reality of daily life... get real folks. So help her-rather than trying to convince her to stay in it. 
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.... Dana, I don't know you from Adam, but I can read between the lines and your lines are already very transparent... it's not that you're not cut out to be a caregiver, it's that you're not cut out, nor ready to give up your life ...just as I am not.  

Caregiving for our elders was never intended to be shouldered by one, it is not like caring for a child who grows and changes day to day being full of life, energy and excitement of new challenges and the day by day wonders and learning, experiencing all the beauty of life that creates a communicating, feeling and thinking human who strives to be independent in life... No, full time round the clock elder care is daunting, exhausting, and we are forced to witness and be saturated and surrounded by our own mortality by watching them degrade day by day ...... that is not ok, not for anyone. 

 When elder care is strapped upon one,  it destroys that one person, and it does it's damage from the inside out.  Dana, you need to stop what you're doing and live again... you're daughter deserves more than to have her mom literally dissolve, fall literally apart, become frail and or possible die prematurely ... for what? To take care of another person when that person can actually be taken care of by others to a degree even we ourselves will be alright with (a facility.)

There's somthing I want to ask all of you who are being stripped of life by this awful position we've found ourselves in.. ask yourselves this, if the one you are taking care of was with their full mental cognent selves, would they have ever asked or even wanted you to end your life for them....yes or no. If the answer is no then put them somewhere safe, then, live the one life you have left... (if the answer is yes then you need to fix that destructive situation for yourself, or, don't... it's all up to you.)
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