I've started this entry about 10 times and deleted it because I don't want to sound like a you-know-what.

I took this on. I know that. NH wasn't an option for ME. I can't reconcile placing Dad in one just yet and where I live, private pay NH's with Memory Care cost more than the AL I just took him out of (that was just reprimanded HEAVILY by the state). Call me a snob, but the Medicare / Medicaid facilities are atrocious. I could never live with myself if I left Dad there.

OK... onto my question. There may not be an answer BUT... I was wondering if there were any fellow introvert caregivers out there and if so, how do you get that much needed recharging time?

On nights when I have a caregiver, I will just leave work and go somewhere and sit in a parking lot in the car because I don't want to be around people after being around them all day. I've used my employee discount from my part time job to get a hotel room a couple of evenings, but that seems like a waste of money. I don't want to pay $80-$100 for a hotel room that I won't be staying in overnight.

Last week I tried to sneak in the back door to take a bubble bath, but soon realized that my dog would continue to scratch at the bedroom door (essentially giving me away) and that Dad. Talks. Constantly. Loudly. As soon as I lowered myself into the tub and opened my novel, he decides to engage the caregiver in one of his mindless rants. It was as if he was in the room with me. Epic. Fail.

So, today after getting Dad settled, I thought I may be able to retire to my beautiful master suite, lie in bed and read my novel. Apparently Dad doesn't like to see that bedroom door closed. He kept jiggling the handle or knocking every few minutes. I then found him in his room crying because he thought I was upset with him.

I'm finding it challenging to even take a long shower. I've had to jump out a couple of times to check on Dad.

Should I just accept this as the new normal and expect it to get worse as Dad continues to decline?

...and is it bad to close my door (unsafe?)

I really don't want to always have to LEAVE my house to get silence. Is there a happy medium?

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You should just ACCEPT this as the new normal if you have CHOSEN it as your normal. You have options. If this is the option you choose, then get used to it.
Helpful Answer (11)

Tiny, what Jeanne says, unfortunately is true. You’ve gone through a heck of a lot of planning to set up this situation. You did know what your dad was like, so how he’s acting really shouldn’t be a surprise. Even though the reality of the situation isn’t easy to accept,

I’m so programmed to take care of my husband that I’ll think I hear him and when I go to check, he’s sound asleep.

He watches the same 40 year old reruns on television every day, all day. I can also tune those out. I have an iPad and I can be in the same room with him and be “miles” away.

You need to develop some strategies to disengage when the caregiver is there. You don’t need to focus on what he’s telling the caregivers. Go to your master suite then with instructions to the caregivers that while they’re there, you are not to be disturbed.

I believe there is a “happy medium”, but you have to create it for yourself.
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This is helpful. I went out and got some noise cancelling earbuds to wear the next time I decide to attempt a bath while the caregiver is there. The dog will just have to scratch at the door.

Those earbuds were actually a lifesaver last night. I popped them in while I was preparing meals for the week and let Dad just chatter away. An occasional "Uh Huh" or "Oh Really" seemed to keep him happy.

What the [expletive] are you talking about?

"and to those that say "what about your Dad"' you say - as though there's page after page of posts saying "hah! You weak and selfish brat! How dare you whine on like that about luxuries for yourself when your poor dear father is suffering so..?"

Well, have another look. Because the ONLY person taking that point of view is you.

I take issue with other points. You may call me a hair splitting pedant if you wish, but listen. To yourself, again.

"She left when I was an infant and died of a drug overdose when I was six. At the age of nine, I transferred that care to my baby brother when he was born"

Excuse me. You "transferred that care"? You have transposed your thoughts, there. Your mother left you, an infant, giving you no care. When another baby was also left without care, you - aged nine - attempted to supply the deficit. But that was not a transfer. If you had been given love, and had passed a habit of care and security on to your baby brother, that would have been a transfer. The point is that you were not. What you were doing was not transferring, but compensating.

Compensating is what you have done all along and are still doing.

Your father gave you something to cry about, did he. Think he was right?
Two wrongs don't make a right. How many wrongs make a father you are justified in staying away from?

But actually, I don't suggest you should abandon your father. In spite of his glaring faults, you have also described many admirable qualities that he has shown, and some that he has passed on to you. For example, determination, grit and aspiration.

This isn't about being able to read in the bath or take a couple of hours down time doing nothing, is it?

What do you think it's about? I'm not sure.
Helpful Answer (6)

Though my caregiving situation is not as intense as yours, as an introvert I totally relate. I love to be alone -- one of my favorite things in the world is a long, solo hike in nature, with no need to interact with anyone else for hours.

However, at this time at my life I care for and am with my dear father for hours at a time virtually every day. Luckily, he is a quiet type of guy, but he needs someone nearby at all times. Lately I've found my biggest problem is his love of news, on TV and radio. It drives me bonkers, so I have advised him (trying to do so in a neutral, non-judging way) that I need to wear headphones periodically to limit my news exposure for the sake of my mental health. He has accepted this, and I find it also gives me at least a sort of simulacrum of "alone time" as well.
Helpful Answer (5)

Hi Tinyblu

Firstly, say everything you want to here, no one will criticise you as most will have gone through (or similar) and we all feel for you.

May be go to a church (lovely buildings - so peaceful) Or if you are a specific religion, or atheist then what ever suits you.
Hospitals have non-denominational places that are silent and restful.
Libraries are good too.
A cup of coffee in a cafe (You can be alone in a crowd of people)

Get your self a recording saying
"Just coming Dad"
"Wont be long" or anything that soothes him. ONLY when the caregiver is with him though.

Try an get yourself a new routine (for you and Dad) where he is occupied (safely), while you do something else.

But yes, sorry to say the centre of your life is now DAD. It does not mean you should forget about YOU. If you get 5 minutes peace, just sit there and enjoy it.

Take care of yourself. Without you being healthy Dad had nothing.

Hugs and good luck
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I've got to clear this up before I can say anything -

You don't want to sound like a you know what what? No, I don't know. Like a person who needs occasional privacy for things like going to loo and having a bath?
Helpful Answer (5)

I don't do needy well. No one is allowed in my kitchen while I am working in there. Hate to turn around a have someone right there. Kids especially. Never considered me as an introvert but as I get older I don't seem to need friends like I did as I did when younger. When Mom was here I left her in her room most of the day. ( Moms room was the former family room which was on the lowest level of a split. She was able to see the activity out her room) I served her breakfast and lunch in her room. (Husband and I ate breakfast at different times and lunch is not something we do) She ate dinner with us and spent the evening watching TV with us. For me to be able to deal with having Mom here, I needed my time alone. My husband thought I should have her with me all day. But I just couldn't. I also went from babysitting 5 days a week for for my gson right into 24/7 for Mom.

I agree, you need to take time for yourself when the aide is there. Like said, this needs to be your private time door locked.

Where I live the facilities are not just medicare/medicaid. There are private pay individuals. My daughter has worked in these facilities for over 20 yrs. She said staff aren't told who is Medicaid or private pay. All residents get treated the same. We had Mom in a nice NH. My daughter and I agreed that maybe we should have skipped the AL. Mom was taken better care of there than the AL.

I think this is just as much as a journey for you as Dad. Maybe there is something you need to learn from this experience.
Helpful Answer (3)
JoAnn I think we are kindred spirits!

...and the only way I can cope with EVERYTHING I've endured in this life is to think that there is something I need to learn from this all. Boy, I wish I could rush those lessons sometimes...
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Dear Tiny, just some thoughts. I don’t find sitting alone in a car relaxes me at all. What works for me? I’m not religious, but I can feel the stress wash away if I sit in an empty church. Perhaps because it’s dark and quiet. Perhaps because many people have brought their troubles there, or because people have tried to make it beautiful. Perhaps there is indeed a God who finds me there. God is very like Good, and I can worship Good.

If the weather is OK, drive to a park, get out and sit on a bench that has a pleasant view. Practice some deep breathing. Make yourself smile. If the weather is rotten, see if there is a public building you can sit in quietly – an art gallery is good. Some department stores have a place to sit with comfortable chairs (outside the rest rooms, perhaps). Once when I was a bit desperate I went to the bedding department and told the staff member that I needed to lie down on three mattresses in turn for 15 minutes each, to ‘test’ them. After all, that’s what they suggest!

How can you be alone in your own room, without making your father cry? How about buying a hotel-type ‘Do Not Disturb’ hanger, and using it often enough that it gets to be normal. You just want a few minutes’ peace, and it shouldn’t come across as if you are angry.

Perhaps the bath at home is not going to be an ‘alone’ time. Could you put your dog outside? Or wear your ear plugs in the bath? If it’s a dead loss (I remember the toilet with a two year old crying at the door), focus on finding another place to go.

You’ve made a choice, you don’t regret it, but yes it’s difficult. You have a lifetime of caring skills, now you must use them for yourself. Love, Margaret
Helpful Answer (3)
Ahmijoy Oct 2018
With a dog and four cats, I’ve come to accept that I never have privacy for anything I do in the bathroom. I just leave the door open. When she was a pup, my Lab mix would jump in with me. If all the dog wants is to be with Tiny, I’d just let her in the bathroom and close the door.
I I wasn't going to say anything in response to the narcissism comment, but the key is education and awareness. So I would like to share the following link regarding the similarities between narcissism and codependency.

I'm sorry, but I can't accept that label. Read and learn.
Helpful Answer (2)
jeannegibbs Oct 2018
That site has a list of therapists you can access. The therapists pay a fee to be on the list. Seems a bit like an advertising outlet for therapists, don't you think?

What label can't you accept?
Hi, Tinyblu. I always enjoy your posts. (If I didn't, I would simply not read them and read others instead or go to another website, do something else, etc.)

I hope you'll come back soon and update us about how things are going at a later time. We codependent introverts have to stick together! :)
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