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Between washing her and changing her and taking care of her house, we are balancing our lives between what the caregivers can do in a certain period of time and what we have to do. What's worse is that my mom is always saying how she doesn't want to live like this. She's depressed, but yet has failed on almost every antidepressant. She takes Xanax for anxiety. How do you all cope?? Thank you!

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I don't know that she is depressed so much as she really does NOT WANT TO LIVE anymore. My father was the same. He was not depressed. As a nurse I OFTEN heard my patients say that while they had had wonderful lives they were tired, they were afraid of the losses still to come, and ashamed of the losses they already had sustained. There is no upside coming. It is a very hard time. Try not to negate what she says. Ask her what is hardest for her right now. She may say that it is your having to care for her all the time. These are real feelings that pills cannot change. If they cannot share it with family then they have to tell perfect strangers, their nurses.

And it IS hard for you. Don't deny yourself the truth of that. I could never do 24/7 care in the home. It is terribly hard.

Not everything can be fixed. The torment of aging and loss is so very difficult. It can only be endured. Sharing her truth with you helps her. Your acknowledging that this is hard helps her.

I am so very sorry for the suffering of you both. Allow the grief. And in it I hope there are moments you can remember the love and the joy.
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shareandcare Apr 24, 2023
This is very meaningful advice and thank you for your honesty. There is no way to get around aging and its difficulties. Acceptance will bring some peace.
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Would mom rather live in AL or a SNF surrounded by peers her own age? Living with her in her home, being chief cook and bottle washer 24/7, if thats the case, is a privilege for HER and not free of charge or w/o costs to your freedom and mental health.

I think it's safe to say nobody "wants" to live with disease or dependent upon loved ones to wash their bodies, let's face it. But life on life's terms often doles out such things anyway. We either keep trying to get help or we give up. If she chooses to give up, get her on hospice and meds to keep her relaxed. Or into a SNF w hospice if qualified. Decide how long you choose to provide the in home care yourself, and how much is "too much" in terms of sacrifice.

Wishing you the best of luck with a difficult situation
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It is normal. I recently posed on here about advocating for physician-assisted death for people who have finally had enough of growing old and sick. They know they will not get better.

I posted about death with dignity because I watched both parents die. They were in their 90s and didn't want to live any more. They cried out about wanting to die. They begged to die. But nothing could be done to help them.

I coped the way you are coping now. But I will always be an advocate for peaceful death for those like my parents and your mom. Perhaps after your experience you will be too.
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Fireworks Apr 24, 2023
I would like to find your posts on Death with Dignity you said you posted

thank you
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Exhausted and getting testy and upset is the definition of burn out. It's time to reevaluate - when nothing you do works then find a different solution that would improve your life. She may not be happy with any change, but then she's not happy with her life as it is now either.
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CaringDaughter, I think you need to acknowledge that your life is as important as your mom's.

If you become ill or die, she is left without an advocate.

Fellow poster Beatty always says that caregiving only works if it works for BOTH parties.

You need to sit down and look at mom's finances and see how far her money will last if she stays at home with enough help that YOU don't end up exhausted.

If Medicaid is going to be a factor in the future, then it may be a better use of her funds to private pay a facility for some period of time before she needs financial assistance.
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It's really funny (not ha-ha funny, odd funny) that I've simultaneously learned patience and lost patience. I am a bit more patient with the foibles of aging and far less patient with the general ridiculousness of everyday life. I work in a mental health department of an academic medical center, so I realize that medication and therapy can do wonders, but I also question if some of the clinicians are wackier than the patients. The world is one huge dichotomy and caregiving more so. Cut yourself some slack for those extra-testy days, you likely more than make up for it on the days you're giving 120%.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 24, 2023
Oh, how I LOVE your honesty! Great answer.
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My mother is 94 and is always asking why she is not dead yet. I pointed out she opted to get a pacemaker last year so she chose to live and I get upset when I have to listen to her complaining. I would prefer that she thought of her extra time as a gift. I limit my face to face time with her to a half an hour a day during the months I’m staying with her. I just keep busy doing the task oriented things and visiting with my father who is now in a nursing home.

It’s difficult navigating this time with our parents. Be kind to yourself and try to navigate with acceptance and grace.
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Reply to Hothouseflower
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I get testy and upset and I have a pretty functional 92-year-old father. I've been watching over him for 5 years, pretty lightly compared to most, and I just get tired of it sometimes. There's not always something, but there are somethings, and your life revolves around them no matter how much you keep your distance.

Your life also gets in the way. I hate my job, even though it's a good job and I mostly like it. I just have a a@@hat for a boss and his boss is worse. My father freaks out if I even talk about changing my job while staying in the area. If I could travel I could get a new job almost instantly but I can't with him, or I don't see that I can.

Wish I could get my father on a med. He took Prozac for a month and it transformed him. Of course, he didn't stay on it so every so often the anxiety rears its ugly head, and he goes off the reservation.

Anyways, it's a long hard road is many cases, even with the easy ones.
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MargaretMcKen Apr 17, 2023
If it helped, why won't he take Prozac?
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Of course you are. Caregiving is exhausting. It means you need to make a change in your situation. Pain,, emotional or physical, is not there to make us miserable to to alert us to take some action.

Are you able to lighten your load, take breaks?

I am concerned that she is on Xanax regularly. It may not be helping her depression but making it worse.

"chronic use of benzodiazepines is associated with depression,  cognitive impairment and an increased incidence of developing dementia. The elderly are especially sensitive to benzodiazepines.

" https://www.pchtreatment.com/what-are-the-risks-of-taking-benzos-for-anxiety/#:~:text=These%20medications%20also%20cause%20disinhibition,increased%20incidence%20of%20developing%20dementia.
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Reply to golden23
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At EOL, they are pretty used to throwing whatever drugs at the person that they think will help. Esp if they are on Hospice or Palliative Care.

I have found that people who are now in their late 70's+ are very opposed to antidepressants b/c of the stigma of being deemed 'crazy'.

I've been on and off AD's for 25 years. And benzos, which I am tapering down, VERY slowly for my chronic anxiety. Literally took a year to cut down my dose from 4 per day to 3. IDK if my psych doc will expect me to cut down further.

My MIL will NOT take AD's, b/c she says "I am not crazy! Stop saying I'm crazy'. Well, NOBODY said she was crazy (but she is). She has Xanax and also Ativan for the horrible anxiety. She waits too long to take a dose when she's having a bad day and so they are not as effective as if she anticipates it's going to be a rough day. (ie: a dr's appt, her CG's are coming in, someone (anyone) is going to come inside her house)...DH has recently stepped up to help care for her and he will simply give her one and make her take it or within a half hour she's literally screaming at him--and that's not good for anyone.

It's easier and much less stress on everyone involved if you stick to a regimen--you don't have to take a full dose--just enough to keep an even keel. Yes, it requires thinking ahead and such--but like my MIL, who is 92...her anxiety is not suddenly going to be "OK". If she's keep a level blood level of benzos on board, she wouldn't have these horrible panic attacks all the time.

She will, however, drink a small glass of wine at night. Somehow that is OK with her. The dr told her it was for 'her blood' which makes me chuckle b/c that's what my GREAT grandfather was doing 100 years ago.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 24, 2023
It is sad that there’s a stigma attached to meds.

My friend can’t let her mom read the list of side effects on her meds because she would freak out and not take it.

For some reason, some moms will listen to their sons more than they will their daughters. Old fashioned sexists thinking. The man holds all of the authority. So, I am not surprised that your MIL listens to your DH and takes her meds.
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