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Or the man I care for. I moved in 5 yrs ago to help mom and step dad. I worked full time, then part time and then my mom died 4/15/16 and I quit working and took on caregiving and running the house. My stepdad has 5 biological daughters and I’m 1 of 2 of his stepdaughters. Only one of the biological comes to help for 3 weeks every 5-6 weeks. When she’s here I do get a little time to myself but not w/o judgement. I wonder how it’s so easy to make a choice to not help? I wonder if their choice is more intelligent than the one I made? I’ve lost relationships over this. I barely get to see my 4 year old granddaughter. I never go anywhere. I have no life of my own whatsoever. Every thought, decision and move I make is about caregiving. I’m lucky if I make it through a day w/o crying. I miss waking up and only having to think about anyone but me or going to bed whenever I feel like it. I have to force myself to face the day every morning! I promised my mom I would take care of him if she went first and I will but I’m losing everything that matters to me in the process. I never knew how difficult this would become!!! The incontinence, dementia, fear and insanity of it all!!! Feel so overwhelmed and crazy! Lonely too! Everything my parents own is mine when my stepdad dies but to me it’s just another burden I don’t want to deal with!!! I’d rather be having my own life with my own choices! I could go on forever!!! Just needed to vent and I hope I’m not the only one who has felt this way. It feels wrong, selfish and evil to wanna run but that’s how I feel. Wish I could find a way to go back in time and actually enjoy caregiving again! Can anyone do that for me ???


PS


I miss my mommy so much!!

You need a plan.

Step 1. Call the local Area Agency on Aging tomorrow and ask for a "needs assessment". You need a professional assessment of what level of care your step dad needs.

Step 2. Gather information about step dads resources. Pension, SS, CDs, IRAs etc. Figure out what his income stream is. Ask the AAA for help in determining what his eligibility is for public funding like Medicaid.

Step 3. Gather YOUR resources. Resume, financial resources, friends you can stay with temporarily, real estate agency. You need a plan to re-launch yourself and your career.

Step 4. Have a talk with yourself. Have this talk with a therapist if you need to, but get it through to your innermost self that destroying your own life and future security is NOT what your mother asked you to do when she said "take care of stepdad".

She meant "make sure he's cared for, has a place to live and decent medical care". She did NOT mean "impoverish yourself, destroy your future and abandon all hopes and dreams of a normal life".

Your stepfather may need (and be able to afford enough in home care for you to go back to work. Or me may need placement in a skilled nursing facility and require Medicaid funding to fund that. Either way, YOUR job is to manage his care and to advocate for him. You'll have plenty to do, believe me.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I joined this forum just to answer your letter. It made me cry. I've been caring for my Mum for 2 years. She has severe dementia and suffers from seizures and recently had a hip replacement due to a fall although believe it or not, the latter is a non-issue she's recovered so amazingly well from it. I can't even fathom doing what I do all alone. My husband and myself are both disabled but between the two of us we get things done. At this point my Mum is still able to eat and go to the bathroom by herself for the most part. I do help her dress though. I was very fortunate to get very good advice from both her Dr and a good friend who had just lost her father after caring for him for a year before his death. My friend told me that she waited waaaaay to long to get help and that when she did, it changed her life. Unfortunately, that change was only for the last few weeks of his life, but that's exactly the point. Our Dr. advised me long ago, while my Mum was still able to understand, that when we got help, it should be hospice. Thank goodness he did! Because hospice does not necessarily have to be end of life. If your step father has an illness that is continuing and not curable so to speak, he can be on hospice for years. Also, the Dr. said that she'd get better care with hospice than just hiring a caregiver and boy was he right! Plus it's covered by Medicare/Medicaid and a caregiver would be out of pocket. That's a no-brainer. As it turns out, because of her seizures, her last hospital visit sent her home with hospice, so I didn't have to do the work myself. The blessing for me was that it didn't set any alarms off for my Mum because the Dr. had already discussed it her. My Mum's going to be 86 next week, and I'm sure you're aware of the generation that feels if the Dr. says so it must be right no matter what. Not to mention the fact that we happen to love and trust our family Dr. implicitly, however I am of the generation that would get a second opinion if I found the advice questionable and the admitting Dr. who actually put her in hospice doesn't have the best track record with us, but in this case, he got it right. Girl! Get yourself some help! NOW! My Mum has a CNA that comes in twice a week and bathes her. If I wanted her to come more often or if they felt she needed it more often, she'd be here more often. She has a RN that comes in twice a week. I have a Chaplain at my disposal. I can get a person here with a phone call. Call your Dr. and get hospice care!! Take all the help you can get for sanity's sake. You deserve, if not more than your average bear, to have a life of your own. Not to mention at some point you'll need those relationships that you've let lapse. Call a friend and get a cup of coffee, it'll do you a world of good.
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I was diagnosed with breast cancer about a year before my husband was diagnosed with Dementia/Alzheimers. I can't take care of both of us. So he is in a facility and I am living in our home. It is emotionally devastating for me to have him in a facility and he continually tells me he wants to be home.

My husband has moments of lucidity and then he is off the wall again. He calls me 7-8 times a day and even though it is good for him to hear my voice. And I don't want him to feel abandoned or unloved. Our conversations often exhaust me. And I find it hard to get things done that must be done. He left lots of messes behind for me to clean up before he was put in the facility. So, periodically I get angry at having to do it all myself. And sometimes I feel lonely. So it is normal to have a myriad of feelings under adverse circumstances.

My lawyer knows that I have seriously contemplated bringing my husband home and trying to get some help via medicaid I would be taking on the bulk of the help he needs. My lawyer told me that he has seen many caretakers die sooner than the person they are caring from due to the constant stress. Maybe it is time for you to find care for your step Dad and take your life back. It is not selfish for you to take care of yourself.

Note: I'm not saying this is going to happen to you but it is important to understand the strong impact of feeling helpless and trapped in impossible situations and stress and creating dis-ease in your body. See Mira Kelley's work, Dr. Joe Dispenza and Dr. Bruce Lipton.

Time for you to take care of you, Akward.
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Do you realize that you made a promise that you had know idea what that promise entailed? What it would cost you? Please don't think I am judging you because I'm not. I think your heart was/is in the right place. We all make promises with know idea what we are signing up for. CM has a very good point "it takes four to seven people to do this job."

You are not alone in wanting to run away. I have offen thought about it myself. When I get to feeling this way I know I am getting burned out; therefore, it is time for a break whether it is 10 mins or a few hrs. You my friend are becoming burn out as well. I would think about--look into what Barb's plain is and explore it, then but into action.

Trust me your mom understand that what she asked of you was unfair and it is my belief that she knows that now. The vail has been lifted up and she sees it clearly. She still loves you.


Hugs!!
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 7, 2019
You said it, Shell! No one really realizes how tough this will be!
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YOU are facing serious burnout and need to get respite care quick. YOU should not be facing this burden all alone. I feel you! I too want to run away, take back my life and see my friends and partake in my interests and hobbies. See if your step-dad could possibly go to adult day-care or have someone come and give you respite care. And what the heck is up with the biological daughters???? They are the ones that should really be stepping up. I feel you and just yesterday had to talk to my nasty, mean brother. My 92 mom has been under my roof for the past 3 years and while independent is starting to falter. Especially since my brother died suddenly at 69. I sent my brother a long text message explaining that our mother was going to need more assistance as I work full-time and am a single home owner. I do for her non-stop and barely get a moment to myself to even go get a haircut or visit friends. He called and after about 5 minutes starts yelling at me! I will not stand for his bullying as he took all her money several years ago so she can get on Medicaid. It's almost 22K - I told him she will need some of that money to take care of her personal business. I also told him I was diagnosed with a severe eye condition which is probably not going to allow me to continue working full-time. I'm so tired of this burden - I feel annoyed, disrespected and ignored. Immediately his answer was well she probably needs to go into a nursing home. No one wants to go there and she is lucid and can still cook, drive somewhat but not much and bath, dress herself. I'm thankful she is still in decent shape but she literally wears me out on the weekends with all the errands, major grocery shopping, banking, etc. So yes I hear you and I'm working on getting her to move into a senior apartment as she's going to need people around her as she does not need to be alone all day in my home. Good luck to you - it's a shame we have to get almost completely burned out before anyone takes notice.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 7, 2019
Well said, TXGal. I feel exactly as you do. Everyone should pitch in. All kinds of excuses are made constantly for others but if the ones that didn’t help all of a sudden had everything dumped in their lap, oh my gosh, they would be the first ones to cry for help.
(5)
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Awkward48 I'm sorry you are so stressed about this.

When you promised your mother you would take care of your step-father, did you promise you would do everything for him day and night and be there for him always? Or did you simply promise to take care of him?
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 5, 2019
No matter what she promised. She is burning out. Things change. Needs change. Not all promises can be kept. Let’s hope she reads your reply and thinks about that.
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No person is a 24/7 care facility... and it sounds like you have been trying to. Your Stepdad's life is important but so is yours.

You need some respite to think out the situation. When the one daughter comes for 3 weeks - take the time off and away if possible.

Ask yourself:
What is important in your life? Friends, family, pursuits...
What would a better balanced life look like for you and stepdad?
What aspects of care can be delegated to others?
What are the resources, including finances, top gain better balance in your own life?

You are in the position to make the decisions and the changes necessary. You can do this and regain rest, strength and care that doesn't wear you out.
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"I promised my mom I would take care of him if she went first and I will but I’m losing everything that matters to me in the process."

and
 
"Everything my parents own is mine when my stepdad dies but to me it’s just another burden I don’t want to deal with!!! "

Well, this might explain why your stepdad's bio daughters aren't helping out. I actually think you're lucky that one of them comes to help. Do they know that you are to receive everything when stepdad dies? And are you sure that's the case, as in have you actually seen the will?

And, really, how much is it all worth anyway?

Dementia? Incontinence? How bad are things going to get?

Your mother was selfish in making you promise to take care of your stepfather. Would she want you to die before him? Because that is what could very well happen.

PLEASE get some counseling -- you are worth far more than being a slave to your stepfather's illness. Your stepfather needs to be in a facility.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 7, 2019
Awkward,

Read this posting carefully. CTTN55 posts makes perfect sense to me. Everything said here is really important and extremely useful advice.
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You say: "I promised my mom I would take care of him if she went first and I will."

And so you will. INDEED you will. This man was precious to your mother who was precious to you.

So... where in that promise does it say that you, yourself, will take on the work of the four to seven people needed to meet your stepfather's level of care?

The four absent bio daughters - are they refusing to participate or has it not even occurred to them?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Hi, I too want to cry for you when i read your story. Let me first say i would imagine the promise you made to your mother carries the greatest weight on your shoulders to start.
I want you to think about this... you promised to make certain your step father was taken care of correct? and bless you for doing so! Sounds like there was a lot of love between you and your mother! That makes me smile for you!
There are two ways to interpret this, To make sure a loved one is taken care of, does not necessarily mean you personally have to be that caregiver, there are many ways to make certain a loved one is taken care of.
Taking care of someone and making sure someone is taken care of are really two different things, please recognize that. You cannot let the guilt of not being at the bedside consume and define who you are. It is perfectly acceptable to reach out for resources.
I see some really great feedback as far as respite ideas. Is he by chance a Vet? They offer great respite services, even though it does take some time to put them in place. Do you have a local church you could reach out to? I have often had many volunteers through the church take shifts on days to sit with a loved one. Does he qualify for home health for any reason? The daytime care centers i know have been really helpful for some of the families in our community.
If a facility is an option financially, please do not let the promise you made remove that idea from the table. You would absolutely be making sure the loved one is taken care of. Utilizing the healthcare resources, who can take good care of this loved one, is still respecting the promise you made.
Could you possibly contact your local college, often nursing students and or certified nursing assistant students need a part-time job, for a fraction of the cost of an agency employee. I know the nursing instructors will help connect to a promising student you could meet with, to determine if they fit.
I wish you the very best!! I'm sorry the bio daughters are not helpful. I think the comments are right, make the suggestions needed, or create a schedule with designated times for each shift and sent it out!
Best to you!!!
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