How do you deal with caregiver burn out?


My dad is retired military and still wants to be in control. He can't drive anymore. I go to his house every day after work. I make his dinner and make a store run for whatever he needs. I have used all my vacation days for his appointments. It's a long commute for me to get to his house then back to mine. He has COPD, on oxygen all the time, and needs a walker to get around. He's hard of hearing and is becoming forgetful. He refuses to admit he needs any help. If I didn't go over every day and drive him to his appointments he would die. He says I'm being "overbearing." I know his health is failing and things will get much worse in the future. How to deal?

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It's tough, my mother still claims she can "do it all herself" even though she's been unable to walk for going on a year and a half. You will not be able to keep up your current pace forever especially when and if things go south, I live with her and I can barely keep up sometimes. Start looking into your options NOW and don't put it off, if there was one thing I could change in my case, it'd be being better prepared.
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JodyAnn, time for your Dad to look into Veterans retirement housing where he would get 24 hour care, and be around people of his own generation. Maybe this is something your Dad would enjoy and you could go back to being his "daughter" instead of a "caregiver".

I remember using up all my vacation days, sick days, and days without pay to do things for my parents because I didn't set any boundaries with them. Did this for 7 years, and yes I crashed and burned from the stress. I just didn't know that I could say "no", and nothing terrible would happen to them.

So you either have to learn to say to Dad "sorry, I just can't possibly do that" and/or learn that he isn't going to die if you don't go over there.

Curious, does your Dad make his own breakfast and lunch? If yes, why not call Meals On Wheels and then Dad can have a dinner he can heat up.
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Military retirees do not give in. Ever. You have to convince them that every good idea was theirs. If you can convince him that assisted living is his idea, he will not be held back from going there. '
Overbearing means you are getting underfoot. Go less often or stay a shorter time, like an hour. My Dad was USAF. What a handful.
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