How do you make a schedule and keep to it? Is such a thing even possible as a caregiver? How do you plan for things at certain times not knowing if your loved one will cooperate or if they wake up while you are in the middle of something important and demand your attention? How do I deal with this? I feel as though caregiving has completely hijacked my life. Any ideas?
Caregiving can completely hijack a person's life. You have a chance of having some kind of life if you don't live in the same home as the person you're caregiver to because there's the option of hiring outside help. When you're in the same house it's next to impossible for them to not own you and every moment of your life even if you do have homecare services coming in to help out. What pretty much all the time ends up happening when you live in the same house as the LO you're caring for and they're elderly is they expect to be waited on hand and foot even if they still possess some level of independence. They will expect themselves to be the only matter of importance and priority in your life, and forget everything and everyone else.
The only way to limit some of this is to walk away from it and abide by whatever schedule you have made. Do not drop everything and jump to attention for their every need and want. Make them do for themselves in whatever ways they are still able. Make them learn how to wait and completely ignore them when fussiness and complaining start up. This is way easier if you're not living in the same house. My best recommendation would be if you're going to be a caregiver to an elderly person, don't live together. Otherwise the caregiving situation will own your life and there's not much you can do for it.
Late 2019 I sold my condo and moved into my parents house temporarily while looking to buy a new place. Then unexpectedly dad passed away followed by Covid outbreaks. My stay at home is much longer than I have planned for and now I feel stuck.
Since dad's passing, mom who suffered from CKD is getting weaker as she aged - she is 85. My brother is a very filial son and very controlling and protective person. In my opinion, he over cared for my mom. He will follow my mom around 24/7, afraid she will fall (which mom also refuses to use a walker or cane to support her) or being alone. By doing so, mom started to depend and rely on us more and more, even for things she is capable of doing. My brother expects us to do the same extend for mom. My sister will stay up all night to help mom in and out of bed to use the washroom and on average mom gets up every 2-3 hours throughout the night. And I am responsible for helping her change in the morning and at night, shower and soak her feet nightly. I am also taking care of vacuuming and mopping and doing laundry. Tension among my brother, sister and I are getting worse these days as my brother is stressing out and will let out his frustration at my sister and me.
I am the only one working and to be honest, I don't think I can commit to what my siblings are doing for mom. I love my mom is no less than my siblings but I believe in balance. We are in our early 50s and we need a life too before things passes by us.
I have a boyfriend but due to Covid situation, my mom and siblings are giving me the pressure that spending time with him, I may run the risk of contacting the virus and passing to mom. We have not spent time since last September. While he understands my family situation, I am not sure how long will our relationship be able to sustain. I am frustrated and torn inside. Don't know what to do.
A few years ago, I have suggested that we get a caregiver to come visit and take care of dad or a helper to take care of house work but all these are shut down by mom.
Once Covid is behind us, we need a solution. I really cannot commit to staying at home and taking care of mom 24/7 like my brother and sister do. This is not how I want to remember spending time with mom.
Hope that helps in any way, sending so much love and light your way.
All my best,
My mom has chronic pain, depression and cries several times per day. It sounds bad but I have gotten used to her crying and have to just continue going about my day when it happens. Doctors are of little help because they are all scared of prescribing pain meds. It is physically and emotionally exhausting. Sometimes when I feel stressed after work I'll go for a drive or a walk to have some peaceful time to myself. I can tell how her day has been when I call home during work. It's funny how well you start to learn their moods or how they're feeling that day by just a few words.
I care for my husband and I found it's hard to stick to the dance schedule everyday. Each day it's something different. I wish you well in caring for your loved one.
That said, make it a rule that you WILL make sure to care for yourself. Get 7-9 hours of sleep every day. Eat 3 healthy meals are a reasonable pace. Take care of your health. Take "time off" daily and weekly to have fun, connect with friends, and do what nourishes your soul. If you have to use some of the "cared for" person's resources to ensure your health, do so.
Lots of comments like 'I don't know how you do it' which would indicate they acknowledge you have a tough job, but no offer to help. At first it sound rather appreciative. Later on it just means - glad it's you, wouldn't be me. Healthy meals, full night's sleep??? maybe someday.
As for appointments, on the day before my mom will start mentioning if it is cold or raining or doesn't feel good, etc she may not be able to go. I say nothing or just agree. Why discuss it? Unless I can see she is really not feeling good, we're going.
There is no such thing as a daily schedule - except for meds and meals. All I can say is learn to accept the many tasks that are started and left unfinished and stacked all around you. . . they aren't going anywhere, and highly unlikely the good fairy (or the family) is coming to do them when you aren't looking!
I remember I had mum on a bowel movement schedule, bath schedule. And I kept mom moving by walking her in the park everyday for 5 years. Despite mom's advanced Alzheimer's she was only bedridden for 2-1/2 months but it was a terrible struggle keeping her moving. Keeping mom walking made her care easier for me...when she became bedridden wow was that hard. Her bowels were extremely stressful. Thank God for lactulose. With mom's chronic kidney disease that's all I could use since poor renal function means I could not use any laxative based on magnesium or phosphate--poor kidney function meant she could become toxic with magnesium or phosphate based laxatives. So I used lactulose and it worked great.
My mom eventually depended on me 100% for nutrition, hydration and even bowel management. She became a full time job for years and years, and when mom died I was left devastated. Had to find work, and get my life in order. I managed but it was very traumatic.
Some folks say old people become obsessive talking about constipation, I thought it was just old age, too. Finally figured out, the less you walk and move the slower the gut moves.
You are 100% correct about keeping older folks moving. I so hope my parent continues to understand my push to keep her walking, as well as her own desire to stay upright. I remind her when I let her struggle a little with a task, that when i do it for you several times it will become my task and one more piece of the body will have rested for good. While some folks tend to cater to g'ma because she's old and it seems the respectful thing to do, it also limits tomorrow's abilities. My mom doesn't even want a lift chair because she knows it would diminish her arm and leg strength she uses to lift herself up.
You can have a life being a Caregiver but if you're a 24 7 sole Caregiver, you will get burn out..
You should get someone to minimum, to Come in to releave you one day a week for you time.
You should still be able to have a schedule as there shouldn't be that many emergencies.
Install Nest Cameras so you can watch what's going on 24 7 from your phone or computer.
I found Nest Cameras easy enough to install and use.
When this conflict is dominating your life, it is time to hire help. You may sometimes find volunteer help, but I keep repeating the need to pay someone, b/c caregiving is not s free benefit in our society. People are sometimes surprised and angry that no one will come to their home and take care of their LO's for free, but they won't.
her she was going to the spa, meaning I would get her in the shower help her clean her private parts, and wash her hair. When she got out she would sit at my bathroom mirror and I would rub lotion on her legs, arms and shoulders.
she wore wigs so I would only have to blow dry her hair. She HATED bathing until I called it spa day. It’s a little extra work but she always smelled good and no hygiene issues. Also, ask friends to help, I’m sure you have some who have offered. Let them in, it’s a lesson for all, they see what you are going through and they want to help. It also helps them
prepare for the day they may become a caregiver. And last but not least, look to God every day! This was my only life saver and it turned my life as a caregiver from gloom to a blessing. Prayers your journey will be better!