Is it okay to admit that being the caregiver of your elderly parents is too much for your health and sanity?


He is 79 years old and worse than my three children when they were little and doesn't appreciate anything that I do or have done. It is now affecting my health. I was hospitalized from having a mild stroke from the stress.



Judielyn, of course it is OK to speak the truth!

If you were pressured into a role where you were expected to play piano three times a day and you had no training, no aptitude, no interest, poor sense of timing and rhythm, don't you think it would be OK -- in fact advisable -- to admit that you cannot do justice to that role, but you'll help them find a volunteer who would be good at it? That you'd coordinate music services, but not provide them yourself?

Caring for elderly parents is difficult and challenging for most people. But some people have a higher tolerance for it and better skills than others do. It is certainly OK to recognize your own limitations and act accordingly.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to jeannegibbs

Yes - it is okay to do that. I didn't have nearly the problems you have, but I had to find a different living situation for Mom, where I wasn't the caregiver. If it was okay for me who had it relatively easy, it is okay for you.

I had to do this, even though Mom was cooperative, kind, grateful and could take care of most of her daily needs. Her caretaking needs weren't even that great. She lived in a MIL apartment by me and I didn't mind making sure she had groceries, taking her to doctor's appointment and being in charge of her medication. but her constant interruptions for help ranging from hunting through my refrigerator for meals, to the remote control not working left me no time for myself, which I desperately need in order to be mentally healthy. I always had to be "on", which I find exhausting. I also have to deal with my own health problems, which don't leave any energy for caretaking.

I worked with a therapist who helped me realize that in order for ME to stay healthy and maintain a healthy relationship with my Mom (vs. resentful), we had to change the caregiving situation. My siblings, all loving and caring people who wanted the best for Mom, agreed.

Now Mom lives in a nice assisted living place, which fortunately she could afford. She really misses her place by me, and part of me still feels twinges of guilt. But when I remember what it was like before she left I realize I couldn't have gone on much longer. A different person, with a different energy level or one who isn't such an introvert, might have been able to caretake much longer than I did. But I couldn't.

I like the previous answer about playing piano, and the statement that everyone is different and has different limits. A stroke shows you have passed your limit.

Go forth and make changes without guilt.
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Reply to chdottir

Yes. It is okay to say " I can't do this". Absolutely.

If you died, where would your lo be then!?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn

It is absolutely okay. You have to put your own well-being first.
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Reply to CarlaCB

Judielyn- It is absolutely okay to admit that.

Taking care of an elderly is VERY difficult. You may find a few of us here who think it's a blessing to take care of aging parents. But most of us don't think that. We think it's hell.

In the old days, people got old, sick and died. Now, people get old, sick, and take all kinds of medicines to prolong their miserable lives for years and sometimes decades. Caregivers get stressed out, burnout, and from what I heard on this forum, 40% of caregivers die before the ones they take care of.

You already got a stroke from the stress. That is your BIG warning sign. If you value your life (and your life is just as valuable as your father, if not more since he's already lived his life), you should find ways to either put him in a home, or get help to come in to take care of him so you care tend to your own health. Ask yourself how many more years of this can you take before you drop d.

If he has no money/assets, look into Medicaid. If he does, use his assets to hire help for his care.

Living is a curse if you have no health. So, take care of yourself. If you continue to have stress, you may have another stroke and it may not be so mild this time.
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Reply to polarbear

Absolutely! So many keep at this out of guilt, worrying what children, neighbors, friends will judge —but none walk in your shoes day in and day out. Everyone is different and have different limits. Worse so many of us keep going until we are plain worn out with nothing more to give until it’s too late.

It is soooo much better to surrender and get the help, assistance and or residential care for our loved ones really need and turn over the day to day caregiver responsibilities—then we can truly be the loving patient caring wife, husband, daughter, son, that we want to be and make our remaining years together pleasant, meaningful and fulfilling.

Hope this helps. No guilt.
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Reply to Sunflo

Sometimes they simply need more than you can give. Hugs to you!
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Reply to GrannieAnnie