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Its not easy. I did it for my Mother who has always been and still is the most uncaring person I have ever met. I mourned the loss of my mother ( who is still very much alive ) then moved on and realized I needed distance and help from outside sources. You cant spend your life caring for someone who has never cared for you, the resentment will swallow your soul if you let it.....
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I don't think empathy is required, just matter of fact proficiency. It might help to think of the situation as though you are an outside caregiver and they are your client... easier said than done I know. If possible keep some physical and mental distance and allow outsiders to share the responsibilities as much as possible.
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Badly. I did it badly. Then I got better at it. I came to terms with things, most of them anyway, one issue at a time. Then my focus changed from wanting my mother to acknowledge reality to more pressing matters, like how to get her into the car without its taking all morning or ending in tears, or learning to use a hoist safely. Events overtook preoccupations, as they do tend to.

You know how there was a gradual shift in emphasis a few decades back from modelling perfect parents to accepting "good enough" parents? If you're doing your best, and there isn't a clearly better alternative available for your parent's care, you might just have to cut yourself some slack.

If you are afraid that you might cross a line, DO something. You can:

try emergency breathing exercises. Seriously, they help.

come here and rant away. We understand.

pretend your parent is somebody else's mother or father. I would never have spoken to any other elderly lady in the way I sometimes did to my mother. I would have gone ballistic if another person had been so unkind or sarcastic to her. Role-playing helped get me through some stressful moments, and the rest I will keep on repenting.

bring in reinforcements. An aide to help with bathing. Someone to "granny-sit" while you take yourself out for some fresh air, or nap for an hour. Find out what services and support groups are around in your location - there are probably many more than you realise.

And in a real emergency, report yourself. You can always call your Area Agency or APS for advice and support, you know. You're not turning yourself in, you're asking for help.
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Do you mean they are not appreciative of care now? That can be the result of the disease, and should not be taken too seriously. (Easier said than done.)

Or do you mean you are caring for someone who did not care for you in the past, for example a parent who was neglectful or abusive? An abusive spouse? That is generally an unhealthy situation. The best way to handle it is from a distance. Advocate for this person and do your best to see they have adequate care, but do not provide it personally.
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I do what I feel is right and no ‘feelings’ are necessary. While I’m with my parents I try to find some time for myself to drive around cursing, screaming and crying. It doesn’t take long and I feel better.

When I’m back home I call to see how things are going with them and otherwise I don’t think of my parents at all. They’re safe and healthy. Mom’s in AL and Dad’s at home. For now.
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I am being the example for the next generation. I am treating others the way I would like to be treated. It is what the Lord expects of me. All of these reasons keep me going.
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Dear keepingup,

I know its hard to be a caregiver and to show empathy, care and concern when it is not returned. All I can say is we all do the best we can. I wish the person we are caring for could validate and acknowledge our contributions but sometimes they just can't because of their illness, personality or upbringing.

The anger and resentment is real. I hope you will consider talking to a social worker and making alternate care arrangements if it is getting to be too much for you. Also consider talking to a family therapist, counsellor or joining a support group. Seek out as many resources as you can.

I recognized too late that anger is a terrible poison and a sign of burnout. I kept struggling along when I needed to make other choices. Hindsight is 20/20. I hope you can find the help you need.
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