I’m tired and go from feeling fine to crying. I’ve been caring for my MIL 6 yrs. She is 95 and sharp in her mind, probably more than I am. I'm not sure what to do.

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My problem is I’m tired. I can’t go to sleep early like I should and I’m up at least 2 times to 4 times a night to help her to her potty chair. If I nap during the day, I don’t sleep at night. I miss my freedom and that makes me feel guilty! We thought we would have more help from other siblings but that has not worked out the way we had hoped. My husband had a stroke this spring and although he is doing well and back at work I’m still afraid there will never be a time for just us. This sounds selfish as I write but it’s the way I feel. I’m not sure what to do to get out of this slump.

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Getting consistently inadequate sleep/interrupted sleep is a serious risk factor for all sorts of health issues. It could seriously take down your own health if you don't make some changes to this situation. To be blunt, what if something happens to you?
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Kw, you have what is called caregiver burn out.
You are NOT selfish.
One person can't successfully be a 24/7 caregiver and not burn out!
Constantly being up at night is not good for you on a long term basis, and it bears a dressing with your mom's doctor. Is she up because she's on a diuretic? The timing of that may need to be changed. Or mom may needs to wear Depends at night.

Start with a call to mom's doctor and try to get this one issue addressed on Monday.

Do you have caregivers coming in to help with mom? Respite so that you and you husband can take a vacation together?

Come back and let's talk more about this!
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You can't get to sleep as early as you'd like to - is that because you're not sleeping, or because your MIL keeps later hours than used to be your habit before she started to depend on you?

I for one don't underestimate how big a problem this is. My mother always had to stay up for "the news", which meant not even beginning to get ready for bed until twenty to eleven, and given how long that routine took, plus her "night cap", plus the meds... you start this last job of the day already tearful with exhaustion and by the time you get to bed yourself, knowing you're going to be up again at 2 or 3 am... phew. It really is no joke.

The thing is, this is a bit more fundamental than romantic notions of you and your husband having cuddles by the fire or glamorous weekends away. Miss your freedom? I'm sure you do, but what about missing just one night's unbroken sleep every so often? Still think you're being selfish?

Start with respite care. You and your husband, especially as he has had a heck of a year recovering from his stroke, should be absolutely entitled to at least one week, preferably two, to yourselves. If siblings won't step up and have their mother to stay, then look for a facility that offers respite breaks; and make no bones about who's paying for this - it's MIL's bill, for MIL's care.

What is MIL's attitude in general? I'm sure you're careful not to hurt her feelings, but does she show any awareness of the impact her needs are having on you?
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What is the compensation for having MIL live with you (or do you live with her?)? Sleep deprivation is a form of torture/abuse. And that is what you are experiencing. It MUST stop.

Respite is great, but, quite frankly, you need far more than occasional respite. Can MIL's money pay for overnight caregivers?
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Dear kwkweb,

Sending you love and hugs. You are an amazing person to support your husband after a stroke and your mother in law, but it is too much. We women try and try to be everything to everyone but its too much. Because the other siblings are not supporting you and your husband, I wonder if it would be possible to talk to the family about assisted living or a nursing home placement.

It is only natural that you are tired and burned out. I think all caregivers no matter how kind hearted do get angry, frustrated, resentful and good and tired. In the short term, I hope you can find some respite care as Barb has suggested.

Thinking of you.
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Kwkweb, time to tell hubby that the world has changed, no longer is it up to the woman to do ALL of the caregiving.

Since hubby is well enough to go back to work, and if he has a job that isn't as demanding as your caregiving, then it is time for him to do his share of the caregiving evenings and on weekends. You need to work as a team. Time for him to GET OFF THE BENCH.

Also, let hubby know that almost 40% of full-time caregivers die leaving behind the love one they were caring. Then what? Would hubby quit work and do ALL the caregiving? Or would it be time to place mother-in-law in a higher level of continuing care, or hiring some day time caregivers, if MIL has enough funds to pay for such care.
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There is money for help and I’m just going to stop feeling guilt and use it. A “nursing home” is $4000-$6000 a month on private pay in our area. Private help from what I hear is $10-$12 per hour. I hear some may charge less at night, like $50 at night and hourly during the day. If I can get 4 nights a week, 3 to 5 days a week depending on what weeks she has health appointments which automatically takes 2 of us and then 1-2 full weekends........we might can do it for less than or cost of placing her somewhere else. She is happy here and the times she has been in nursing home for rehab, the family insisted on sitters 24/7 then.
Someone asked about her attitude. It is a rare occasion for her to get “short” or show anger towards anyone! Her mind is clear and her memory is great! Her poor body is just failing her. She is legally blind, hearing is not great and not moble except with help. She only stands with assistance. We do try to keep her exercising her arms and moving her legs some each day. At this point she would not try to get up or down without help which is a blessing!
I read stories of caregivers having parents that are mean and ugly to them and we do not have that problem for which I am thankful.
I can not say enough about how hearing from those on this site has helped me have some hope of getting things under control with some help from bringing in extra caregivers. I love this lady and you helped me realize it is not fair to me or her if I’m overloaded and burnt out. It’s dumb to not have done something sooner. I’m tough but I’m 67 and not “Super Woman”! Now when you hear from me later.......hopefully things will be better. Thank you for the encouragement!
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@ freqflyer Hubby is able to work and he does help especially when I’m too tired to cook! He is still under Drs. care for another blockage in his leg. We will know more what is needed next week. He is also getting used to his new life with Diabetis II which they believe caused the stroke. He is totally behind us getting help and his brother and sister in law agreed this weekend that we need extra help. It seems I’m the only one who feels guilty about spending MIL’s money.😳
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