Newbie needs direction and help with caregiving burnout. Any recommendations? - AgingCare.com

Newbie needs direction and help with caregiving burnout. Any recommendations?

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Hi, I'am 73 years old been married for for 48 years my wife is now disabled for the past 3 years and also has major depression. My wife is also 73.
I have taken over all the responsibilities running our household including cooking, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping etc. We also been raising our two grandchildren since they were 3 months old they are now 19 and 16 years old. they are both Home school by me and one the 19 yr old has graduated and pursuing a career as a audio engineer and the 16 yr old is in his 3rd year high school. Their father died of an over dose of Heroin and the mother she is my daughter Who is still not capable to raise her children. The two boys are a special blessing to me and my wife. Beside all this I have my own health issues to deal with and it's very hard to find the time too deal with them as being a caregiver to my wife and all, doing all the things my wife used to do as my partner, plus having to work to supplement my income by driving elderly people to doctors appt. shopping, work etc. So far in the last two years I have overcome cancer in both my kidneys, a quadruple heart operation, I have diabetes, neuropathy, sleep apnea, A stent in my aorta aneurysm in my stomach and a new thing called diverticulis. But I know there is a reason for everything that is going on in my life and I take one day at a time and try to spread love and enjoyment to all I come in contact with in each day. But after 3 years of care giving I am starting to burnout and resent doing it and see my difficulty getting worse. I started to see a psychologist and he is helping me thank God. My wife is always against any I try to do to help her trying to get her to see my doctor to evaluate her so we could get her on medicaid that would help me get her more help with a number of things including a health aid. Thank you so much for taken the time to read this. I seem to be going 24/7 never able to take a break and I think the stress is starting to take its toll on me. during the day I lose my energy to to my chores and work and etc. and I just have to lay down for 15 mins and I get energize and go on. I do that about 2 times maybe 3 times a day. We have no family to help us but my other 34 yr old daughter who is a lawyer, but my wife and her don't talk to each other and she is not the generation of old school that takes care of their elderly parents!!! I glad i found this site and hope to receive and contribute as best I could to help others too. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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Im sorry you are having such a rough time.I have found this website to be supportive and helpful.You should check out the"My Whine Moment" in Disscussions under caregiver forum.Its a spot just to vent about whats bothering you.God Bless You and Hang in there.luckylu
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Enlist your lawyer daughter with the task of helping you get the Medicaid paperwork done for your wife. That would be a huge task that she can probably do in her office and she would not have to be around her mother to get that done.

Bless you for all you are doing to keep it together for everybody!!! Hang in there!
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I have a husband with dementia and I still work. He has a number of problems and was finally referred to a "Senior Adult Healthcare" program where he is being treated for depression, PBA, and obsessive behavior. It has really helped now that he has calmed down. I think you could benefit from something like that.

Also, bless your heart for homeschooling your grandsons! They are old enough to take over some of the "chores" at your house: vacuuming, sitting with grandmother for sort periods, mowing lawn, washing dishes, washing clothes, cooking....I homeschooled my son and these household chores are "life skills" and I actually used that as one of the "courses" in his curriculum. Today he has a bachelor's degree in "audio...something" and he is a very good cook. He is also great at taking care of his two kids (2 mos & 2 1/2 yrs).

My philosophy for homeschooling was getting back to family values and taking care of each other was stressed... My dad was cutting lumber at 14 yrs and helping with farming at home. My mother was a farmer's daughter and she along with her brother and sisters were picking cotton and helping with the farming operations. Family values were very strong in my home and I didn't want my son to miss out on that. Now that he has children, he really appreciates what he lived and learned...so, don't be afraid to put more on the grand sons...they have a lot more energy than you have!

Please get help from her doctor...even if it is for a referral...I can't stress that enough...medical intervention has worked great for my situation!

God Bless You!
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erniegpa, when you think about it, both you and your wife were thinking ahead to retirement, then you found two children at your doorstep that needed to be raised through no fault of your own.... that in itself is very stressful and quite exhausting. It's hard enough when one is in their 30's and 40's raising teenagers, can't imagine being in their 60's and 70's.

What are the other medical issues in regard to your wife that made her disabled three years ago?

Hire a cleaning crew to come in every 2 weeks to clean. That would help you save some of your energy. When we are in our 60's and 70's, our energy level is cut in half compared to back when we were in our 40's and 50's, it is just normal age decline. As for the cooking, why not call Meals On Wheels for yourselves. Your grandsons are now at the age where they can fend for themselves in the kitchen, and probably want to eat on a different schedule anyway.

Good luck to you all.
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Has your wife every been hospitalized because of her depression?

Your wife needs to see a psychiatrist to get her on the meds she needs. I would think she's on medicare. Would she qualify for medicaid financially?

She's really being unfair to you, herself and the grandchildren by not getting any help for her depression. Sounds to me like she may be using a very valid health problem to escape from dealing with the reality at home. I know that sounds harsh, but I think that can and does take place. On the other hand, it is possible though that some dementia has developed along with the major depression that might be messing things up.

If she does not have dementia and is not open to get help for her depression then that is her fault for not being willing to get help for a disease that is not her fault. You are in one bad mix of a mess.

It sounds like she needs to be in a nursing home which I assume only could be paid for by medicaid if she qualified.
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It doesn't seem possible to carry the load you are under given all your own health issues. Any way to lighten the load? Can you hire some in home help for caregiving and housework? Are you still homeschooling the grandkids? Can they go to public school?
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erniegpa, I cared for a spouse. It is amazingly difficult in ways many people can't comprehend.
1) You need to continue doing what you've always done in the running of the household.
2) You need to take over the tasks your spouse has always done
3) In addition to all the tasks the two of you had been doing together there is a whole new set of tasks -- taking care of the disabled spouse.
4) And all the while we are facing this triple-whammy we have lost our main cheer-leader and supporter. In fact, that person may now have seemed to turn against us.

It is a wonder how any of us survive this. But we do. And you certainly will. It would help enormously if you could have your wife's depression evaluated and treated. She'd still have her disability but it would be much easier for you to find some joy together. Perhaps your counselor could help with suggestions for making that happen. Depression is a real disease. It is Not Your WIfe's Fault. It is not a character flaw -- it is a chemical inbalance. And it is treatable! Unfortunately one characteristic of depression is lack of initiative. "It's not worth the bother" can become an automated response.

You can't do all of this alone, and retain your health and your sanity. What are your financial circumstances? Can you afford in-home help? Might your wife be eligible for Medicaid?

Keep in touch here. We care!
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erniegpa, I wish there were a way to easily fix things. I know there isn't, but I wanted to send a big hug your way. I wondered if your grandson likes to do things like fishing, so you and he could get away from the house for a while. Or maybe you have a friend who likes to do these things. It's still summer, so you don't have to oversee the homeschooling right now. I would take advantage of it and give yourself some breaks from the humdrum of chores.

Living with someone with depression is one of the hardest things I can think of. Your wife needs to get help, if not for herself, then for you. I was trying to think of a way that you could successfully encourage someone with depression to get help. Depression can be treated if there is some sense of hope that tomorrow can be better. How can we get someone to see that hope?

If your wife won't get help, you still have to help yourself. Otherwise you can be pulled down deeper into the depression with your wife. Shouldering the entire load of your life is not something you should have to do. Since you are home schoolers, I wondered if you also have a strong belief in God. Do you have a church community? They may be able to help you, even if your wife remains remote.

I hope someone will have some good advice. Dealing with a depressed spouse who won't look for help is difficult. I hope you can get her to a doctor. There are so many treatments available that it doesn't seem right to suffer like this without trying.
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