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At first, I doubted my ability to care for Mom. However, as time has gone on I’ve done things that I never thought I would or could for another adult. Although she has tried my patience (and I am sure I’ve tried hers), we are still managing after more than a year and a half. Is anyone else surprised that they were capable of being a better caregiver than they thought?

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That is a great question EverHopeful1. I was very surprised at how I Cared for my own Mother in Her own home for 3 1/2 years of 24/7 with no break but I guess I knew in my heart this would be my final expression of love and respect for this great Lady Who was my most loyal and faithful Friend Who had no rival for 56 years of my Life. Mom had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and to my astonishment the gratitude Mother expressed towards me was overwhelming considering Mom had been doing and giving to all of Us through out all of Our Lives. There are so many Champions Here on this great site Who Care for their love Ones out of sheer love and respect. It is a very tough shift no doubt about that but the joy You feel in your heart after your love one dies will bring you a great inner peace.
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Anita61 Nov 10, 2019
Thank you for your post. I am tired, overwhelmed, and resentful. Your post gave me some strength to keep pushing through. Thank you.
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True love and sacrifice helped me be my husband's only caregiver through dementia of 7 years until he passed. It was never easy and the hardest part was giving up care to a nursing home when I could no longer care for him at home. Through it all he was angry,
but grateful for me, therefore I know I did my best.
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Dollie1974 Nov 8, 2019
God bless you, you are his Angel.
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Just wait until you have to change their diapers and induce bowel movements, and do so at a scheduled basis, then having to clean their vagina because poop got in there because if you don't they will get a urinary tract infection. A very serious one. If you never experienced these things yet--you do not even know the meaning of "caring for mom" -- also bedridden is a whole new ballgame. Been there, done that..and once they start it never stops until they die. Which can be years.
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 10, 2019
Amen, cetude! What you are describing is certainly above and beyond normal circumstances. Right?
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Often we can surprise ourselves in our ability to love and care for others. But you do need support, especially at home, by bringing in agency carers (from groups like Home Instead Senior Care [the name is based on home instead of a care home]). If agency helpers come in for one or two hours in the morning and/or in the evening, this gives you time to shop, see friends and keep a balance in your life. If you try to care entirely on your own, you will find that you burn out; and your loved one will end up in a care home or nursing home without you. Also, if you don't take care of your own needs, you will not be able to care for someone else. You need to be proactive and look not to the distant but to the immediate future and not try to do more care than is sustainable for you as a person.

I have been looking after my wife who is now eight years into Alzheimer's and confined to bed for the last year, but still at home and surprisingly calm and aware of her situation. She asked a recent visitor whom she had not seen for eight months, "How are you?" And when the friend replied, "Fine. How are you?" my wife replied, "Not 100%"--a very honest, sensible and friendly answer.

I have learned more from other carers than from doctors, social workers or health professionals. If you ask others who care for those who have the same illness as the loved one for whom you are caring, you will often get excellent advice. However, remember that you know best, because you know yourself and your loved one better than anyone else. You can be polite and still ignore advice that you do not find helpful. Often you have to try out possibilities for how best to sleep, exercise, eat and relax. Dr Rajan Chatterjee's "The 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move, Sleep" is quite outstanding in setting out goals for a healthy lifestyle both for caregivers and those they care for. Also, Michael F. Roizen and Michael Crupain with Ted Spiker's "What to Eat When: A Strategic Plan to Improve Your Health & Life Through Food" has many excellent suggestions and a comprehensive index. Reading often helps you to avoid problems, because you see how other people have dealt with similar problems.

We have up inside the entrance to our home a sign that reads: "Always remember . . . You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and loved more than you know." I think this is true whether you see your strength as coming from God, from within yourself, or from the interaction of God's will with your will. We are all complex beings who live our lives on many levels--spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional, social and sexual (SPIES-S). As we care for others we need to be aware of all these different needs, both for ourselves and those for whom we care. It's not easy, but it can be done.

If you have met one person with a chronic illness, you have met one person with a chronic illness. We are all different--all unique human beings. Life presents us with challenges; and we have a choice: face the challenge or hide from it? Once we decide to face a challenge, we are well on our way to becoming very good caregivers. Of course, our past relationship with that person will change; but love is still present in many ways. C. S. Lewis's book, "The Four Loves" is worth reading. The four loves are friendship, affection charity and Eros (the state of being in love)--easy to remember as FACE. But with many illnesses, especially all forms of dementia, you have to add a "S" for "Slowly," because you have to give the person who is ill time to take in what you are saying and consider how they wish to respond.

With my prayers and hopes for your continued happiness in your caring responsibilities. As my wife said to me yesterday, "We need as much happiness as we can get, because we need it."

Be encouraged.
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I wouldn't say I was surprised - I just kept saying, "I'll try." And somehow I managed everything. First I assisted my father for 7.5 years after my mother passed and I was there for his passing too.

Later my DH needed 24/7 care and I was there for him too. DH's children lived states away and really? They didn't want to take care of their Dad. I loved their father and I managed on my own.

The flip-side is the kids now expected me to hold their hands and I cut them loose. They were never mine, 2 of them being older than me, and they never accepted me either - so they can do whatever they want and I take care of only me now.

I am thankful I was able to tend to my DH - it was a blessing for both of us.

You are now feeling the blessing of being able to care for your Mother.
Bless you!
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 10, 2019
RayLin,

All of your answers are well expressed and honest. Thank you.
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Hi
You gotta know how lucky you are! Love can over come a lot of things.
I think you can draw on so many inner strengths that you dont need/use in your day to day until the situation arises and boom- you got this.

Me, Im on the other side of your problem- Which is why I think you should be so proud of yourself and enjoy your new found discovery.
I have the ability, always "had the role" in the family until they passed, one by one. I used the same talents to care for a mother who is just beyond anything you have ever been thru. My reaction, different than yours was- I can bring this, and it was used against me. Hence, I have walked away.
Be careful not to forget you in all this-take care of your self or it will sneak up on you. When you have nothing, you cant give anything.
Enjoy, be well! Rock it!!!!!
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Yes, actually Im shocked at how loving I am, sometimes I think its easier than it looks and we are doing better than anyone realizes. I even wonder if Im being naive. Im caring for my older husband, who is both blind and physically disabled. He can furniture surf pretty good at home, its when we travel that I can really see his vulnerability.
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Do it for nearly 15 years in your home, years before that along with your father in their home.

It catches up to you. A year and a half is a very short time compared to decades for me.

Then it goes to being overwhelmed! Then burned out. Just saying, everyone has different circumstances so it isn’t a fair comparison.
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Many of us have a capacity more than we thought at first. And if you want to be a caretaker, and can do it, that is fine - but not all of us are or want to be caretaker and many of us have other lives and responsibilities. My rule of thumb is this - they are not who they once were and nothing is going to fix that. They will get worse. If YOU want to be harmed by their behavior and words, fine but you are a fool if you allow it. I say when their behaviors and deeds start to have a big negative impact on you and your lives and family, it is time to move them out. Now is your turn to live life.
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I'm glad you are finding this path to be not so 'hard' as many of us have found.

A great deal has to do with the dynamic between parent and child. Some of us just...can't care the way they need and some of us don't want that in our lives.

I wish you the best in your journey, which will be yours, and not anyone else's. I hope your mom doesn't outlive your love for her.
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