Sometimes as I caregive, I find that it is rewarding in its own way. There have been times where I've had to be in 2 or 3 different places at once to bring or fix something then with the added task of the house, animals and my mother. There was one story in particular I remember where she was in the hospital one day and I had spent the entire night cleaning since she was going to have someone look at our house early the next day. So thinking she wasn't coming home, I went to sleep the following day. I get a phone call from her and some nurses that morning and I go drive over to the hospital, then figure out that she needs her motorized wheelchair. And so I drove back to the house, took it on the bus and drove it towards the hospital entrance to the e.r. room and essentially spent my day with her as she was trying to get to her urologist appointment. During the lengthy 2 1/2 hour wait in the lobby I was trying to devise a way for us to both get home but to no avail, I decided we would take the bus home instead. After that descision had been made, she was finally seen for a process which took 15 minutes and I remained positive while we got home, then immediatly put her to bed and had myself a drink. At the end of the ordeal I legitimately felt tired but overall proud that I could manage to pull any of this off.
Before she had passed away I had a lot of plans in the works for Easter, Mother's Day, her birthday Etc. Silly things like an Easter egg hunt for her where treats would be hidden behind giant rocks I had painted like Easter eggs or a photoshoot for her birthday. All these ideas with nowhere to go. I always tried to do things to make her laugh and to make a special memory. Give her something to look forward to instead of just clocking time like so many do in care facilities.
There were things like video taping her telling childhood stories (she was from Germany and we had no secondary relatives here) or map out our family tree, writing down family history that always got put off to another day and are now lost.
I guess the thing I guess the thing that sticks out most in my mind as I wish I had just sat and play the game of cards with her like we did when I was a kid. Or sit and watch MASH reruns with her a few times a week (the only show we both enjoyed).
I don't know where I could possibly have found the time but I wish I had made the time for simple things like that. She's gone now and I'm still doing dishes, laundry, cooking, and cleaning but my mom will never beat me at another game of Rummy.
It made me feel good and important when I could make her laugh, smile, or sing. I don't have that feeling in my life at the moment and I miss it.
There's no appreciation from her end and no help other than my dear husband in paying her bills, managing her finances, getting meds refilled, buying and bringing her what she needs, making and taking her to doctor and dentist appointments, and cleaning, upkeeping the yard and fixing things at her house, dealing with the guardianship court stuff, etc.
But having said all that...mom is in a nice place and gets excellent care and health wise (and even with her mental health) she is doing better than when I got her out of an abusive situation with my sister. The rewarding part for me is that I know my mom is safe and well-taken care of, and that she has the chance to be happy, if she so chooses. And knowing that I did the right thing by her, even if we had to go through a bunch of family drama to get here.
For me, yes, I found many rewards.
I worked full-time and was the live-in caregiver for my mom. We were very lucky though, there was no dementia, serious illness, disease, or pain. I had my own Suite downstairs and live in help as well.
After after a couple of years I was exhausted. The "Team" (sibs) that was suppose to help out and provide support were a no-show, a no-go, or a just plain no-do. My life disappeared into the great Abyss called caregiving. My stress and frustration levels were running at a constant all-time high. My health suffered. I grew angry and bitter (still am). I am heartbroken with every disappointment handed to me from family and friends. It got so bad I even disowned a sister. Enter anxiety and depression...
At least at least my mom appreciated me and respected my decisions when everyone else did not. Although she did not have a clue as to how much work went on behind the scenes of everything I did, her face would light up with a smile every time I walked into the room and that was enough. I was pleased and proud of all that I was able to do for her. There was so much more I wanted to do or wished I had done. I'm amazed at strengths I found that I didn't think possible.
When when mom passed away earlier this year, she went feeling loved and happy.
I did that.
I'm at peace knowing I was there and I did the right thing. She's only been gone a few months and when I look back over our time together there are far more smiles then there are tears.
I'm still recovering from the experience, physically, mentally and emotionally. I still haven't been able to find the joy in life again . Time will tell.
Taking care of a loved one is not for the faint of heart that's for sure.
They call it a labor of love. It's not.
It's a exhausting, mind bending, heartbreaking, soul crushing, life sucking, thankless, slave labor of love.
But it's still love.
Hugs to you.
My older sister...lived scott free at Mom's for over 10 yrs and then walked out WITHOUT telling me. Yes, she cut me out of the sibling circle, but leaving our Mom and step-father alone like that?! I tried to hire help, but because it didn't suit my sister, she didn't want it.
SHOCKED when I got the call from my step-sister who really runs neck/neck with my older sister!
Long story short, I went home to find out/see the situation given to me on extremely short now we need you notice. It was worse than I could ever imagine.
Tlook Mom to the doctor and found out Mom's Alzheimer's was worse than I ever knew! Dr told me that if things stayed like this, Mom would die before her next appointment in July!!
3rd trip home, Mom had to be placed in the hospital and that was her last hand because the Dr was going to place her in a facility. Me/husband had to place both in assisted living....I couldn't stop crying. I wouldn't let Mom see me when I had her discharged and taken to the group home.
Now I'm her guardian/conservator. When I had to see her Dr before he'd sign the Court papers....he told me I had done more for Mom's care in 2 months than my sister had in 10 yrs.
Family can disappoint and be cruel, but mine gave me the opportunity to get everything back to what she wants per her Will.
Siblings are expecting to get their hands on Mom's money, but I'll use every penny to make sure she is well taken care of first!
They don't have a clue as to what Mom needs, but I'll make damned sure she gets it while I'm living out of State!
She's my Mom and I promised to take care of her back when I was in the 7th grade! I just had to wait for God to answer my prayers.
Yes it's the toughest task in the World when You do it all on
Your own, with no cover no Carer to relieve You in the evenings or at week ends. Yep it's full on 24/7 X 365 and You are on the ropes ready to crash on the canvas but You don't, why ? because knowing there is no one else to take your Place makes You grit your teeth and keep going. I never once received an offer from my Family to head off for a week end while they take over Caring for Mother, and I never asked because I simply adored Mom as We were great Buddies, and I miss my best Friend. Yes Caregiving some one You really love is the most rewarding task You will ever do in Your entire Life. I never told Mom that She was diagnosed with alzheimer's as why worry Her, and I warned all of our Family not to let it slip. We used to recite old IRISH poetry together every day, and sing old Irish songs and recite recitations which to my amazement kept Moms Brain alert and pretty sharp, but nothing could have prepared me for the suddenness of Mothers death. It was on a really perfect day and Mom was in the best form of Her Life and as I was tiding up Her bed and We were chatting and laughing and I noticed Mom place Her head softly upon the pillow and like You'd blow out a candle, puff and Mom was gone with the most beautiful smile which remained. Mother died as She lived happy and with a smile. I think of Mom with happy thoughts at least one thousand times every day and I never want that to change, and when I Pray the Holy Rosary every day I Pray that I will meet my oldest and dearest Friend when I am called over to the other Side. Try to enjoy the journey because I Promise it will End far too soon.
Your're doing your best BUT you don't need to be doing this alone! I am surprised that the Social worker with the hospital hasn't given you help by providing a list of in-home help!! I'm NOT talking about in-home care.
There are many services that will help you get respite so you have time for yourself, even if it is to sleep!
Do you attend Church? Many Churches have their womens societies who volunteer their time to help too. You can also call a few Churches and ask if their womens circle provides this service too.
My best friend back home in AZ, she was the department head JUST FOR THIS PURPOSE!
Look or Google senior services in your town. The social worker should, again provided you with a list for these services
JUST MAKE SURE THEY AREN'T GOING TO TRY AND TALK YOU INTO HIRING THEIR IN-HOME CARE
You will be surprised at the services you can find to help you. If Mom has a membership with AARP, call and find out if they have resources to help you.
Meducate, depending on the plan(s) Mom has, will have a few services to help too.
DON'T STRESS ABOUT SOCIAL SERVICES CHECKING YOUR HOUSE
They know that people get their homes all cleaned up for inspections just to get their family member home. That's not to say they aren't looking for issues that will show abuse etc....why so many children and foster children end up dead....they are most interested with safety access for your Mother to be able to get around on her own.
Does she use a walker in the house? Make sure there isn't anything that would cause her to fall/trip.
Make sure she has a direct/safe path to the bathroom
If she can bathe herself, make sure she has safety bars, a seat so she doesn't have to stand.
Is the a towel rack so she is able to wrap a towel around herself, a safety chair so she can sit to dry herself off
Can she handle her medication by herself? If not, provide a written schedule of all her medications and have them placed in a travel type compartments that clearly show AM/PM and have filled for the week.
KEEP A DETAILED DIARY!! DATES/TIMES MEDS ARE GIVEN/IF YOU HAD TO CALL DR OR HER DR APPOINTMENTS WITH A DETAILED COPY OF WHAT THE DR DID DURING EXAM. THEY MUST PROVIDE THIS IF YOU ASK FOR IT
Reason: as long as social services is involved, they will show up unannounced!! I'm not saying you would harm your Mother once the visits stop, BUT some States appoint caseworkers to checkup at any time UNTIL they are satisfied with your care for your Mother.
Hire someone thru a State certified service who will come, stay with her and Mom like she is a friend. Keep your Mom in the conversation. Play cards etc until your Mother becomes comfortable that you will be able to have "me time" so you can go shopping, lunch with your friends...just try not to bring up issues about Mom. If they ask, try to keep them short.
I hope this helps. I live out of State, but I tried to do all of this for my Mom, but my older sister nixed because it wasn't 24/7 so she could live scott free at Mom's without the responsibilities to care for Mom.
THEN I had it out with my step-sister about the same things in reverse. She's married to a doctor so money is nothing to her. She LIKED to spend other's money....Oye Vey!!!
Begon to look into assisted living facilities too. Don't place her in a Medicare only facility. Those are just wait for the resident to die.
My husband and I found an absolutely wonderful assisted living group home. One would never guess it is an assisted living group home. Just make sure Mom has the $$ for 5 yrs at the least to care for her if you need to place her in a facility.
A lot also depends on the person you're caring for, their condition, and any help you may be getting. TNtechie, your situation sounds rewarding, but you may be in better circumstances than some. I hope it stays that way for you.
I never saw this way of life coming. I don't want it and I feel like crap for thinking it, but I won't be sad when it's over.
My father has advanced vascular dementia and is often quiet hateful. Dad has paranoid personality disorder and was a bit of a bully before dementia made everything 100 times worse. I helped my mother care for him for over a decade, locating my home near theirs so I could pop in every day when needed. Later I went to court to gain guardianship of Dad and to invalidate a POA signed for my brother 9 years after his doctors' deemed Dad incompetent. I placed Dad against his wishes in MC and sold his home to provide stable financing. I am estranged from my oldest brother and one of his sons - and to a degree from my father. Still, I do find satisfaction that Dad's needs are being well met. That he is still able to curse about me during my estranged brother's daily visits.
There have definitely been times when I felt resentment, especially during some of the most difficult days, and I still feel that sometimes even with my mother. That's very normal. Still you are hanging in there - if not for your parents then to meet your expectations of yourself and to support your sister. I suspect when your care giving days are over and you have recovered from the exhaustion, you will look back on this time and find some rewarding elements there.
So its not rewarding, unless you are so STRONG person and can ignore unfair treatments understanding that he or she is not in their minds now....Very frustrating "job"....
I enjoy cooking for her and eating meals with her. I often hear stories about meals eaten decades ago with her parents and siblings or Sunday dinners at Grandma's house with the extended family. Even when she tells a story I have heard before, there are often some new details.
The best reward is probably seeing her interact with her great-grandchildren (ages 3-13). The older ones show off grade cards, school projects, new clothes and shoes. The youngest has decided Grandma is his reading buddy. He picks up the books and says "Come on Grandma, let's read!"
Taking care of someone who is always around and who's needs must always be met and knowing that their needs will only increase as time passes is a challenge; sometimes an overwhelming one. But there's also a certain pride in meeting that challenge, in being a person that is counted on.
I find it rewarding when I'm appreciated, and when I feel I'm able to contribute something meaningful rather than just being used as an unpaid provider of services. There have been some good moments all throughout my 7+ years of caregiving, but most of it has been drudgery and conflict over what I wanted to provide vs what my mother wanted from me. Finally, in her last days, we seem to be on the same page, and it is very rewarding. I hope to take away good memories from this even though I think I'll miss her very much.