Does anyone else have experience with the potential of relapse due to the stress of caregiving? - AgingCare.com

Does anyone else have experience with the potential of relapse due to the stress of caregiving?

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I've been clean and sober since 2005 BUT recently I feel that old nagging desire to use (in order to numb myself). I take care of both parents along with an unruly dog and a cat. I live here 24/7 with rarely an opportunity to leave the house for personal time. I feel isolated, depressed and overwhelmed. I'm scared that I will relapse if I continue down this path with no respite care in sight. Like others, I had no idea what I was getting into when I moved into my parents' house. My mom is well off financially but will not part with money for services she likely feels should be provided by a family member. The local cost of respite care is $20 an hour. My mom will freak out and insist that they can be left alone. I find myself wanting to isolate and sleep as much as possible. I'm always nice to my parents and responsible in my caretaking duties, but lately it's a show of false emotion, and that makes me sad. I'm not taking care of myself. My lower back is a disaster and I'm delinquent on personal doctor appointments. I don't have children, but I CANNOT imagine putting my child in a position such as this. I used to have a good disposition, always waking up in a good mood. Now I usually fake it. It's gotten to the point where I don't even want to talk to my siblings. I have realized that my siblings did not sign up for this. I did - so I'm really trying not to be resentful about their lack of participation. I usually can't even be in the same room with my parents because my mom refuses to wear her hearing aids and has the television volume at a ridiculous level. My stepdad is much more demanding physically; however, he's a genuine pleasure to care for. He has dementia, incontinence, Parkinson's, is on coumadin for heart valve replacement and is an alcoholic. He must be closely monitored to prevent falling. I am so torn on how to move forward. I know I would advise someone in my position to step back but I don't have it in me to place them in a nursing home. My step dad would have to be on lockdown whereas my mom could have more freedom. I don't think they could be in the same unit of a facility. I have a difficult time asking for help. I wish our government would allow Medicare benefits to follow the patient & be allocated to family caretakers. Billions upon billions of dollars are saved annually by caretakers providing In-Home Care rather than placement in nursing homes. Wouldn't it be great if respite care could be provided? Not asking for the world. Just a little help to keep us sane. I'm not sure if I have this right because Medicare doesn't pay for nursing home care - that would be Medicaid after all your money is gone??? Whatever. The only way I can afford health insurance is through the marketplace so I've been worried sick about the senate's ACA repeal and replace bill. Plus I paid over $3500 federal taxes on an annual income of $18,000. I bet our current president doesn't pay that percentage. I'm sorry to take up so much of your time. I feel better already by sharing my story. Does anyone else have knowledge of or experience with potential of relapse due to stress of caregiving? I'm surprised I can't find more on this subject. My thoughts and prayers go out to all caregivers and their loved ones. No one can ever know what this is like until you live it. P.S. I don't want to give the impression that I never have good times with my parents. We have a good belly laugh now and again. Based on their medical conditions, it's more like I'm the adult and they're the children. I sure miss them. We had so many awesome times together.

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Dear Shellybeau,

You are an amazing daughter for taking on as much as you have. I know you love your parents and want to help them with all your heart. But it sounds like it is taking a toll on you. I know its hard as a dutiful and responsible person to say "I've had enough. Or I need a break. Or we need to look at other options." But It is a must.

For myself, I let the anger and resentment take over my good judgement. I failed to care for my dad properly in the last year of his life. I deeply regret this. Your sobriety has to be a priority. You've worked too hard to relapse now.

Please consider talking to a social worker, getting counselling or joining a support group. There has to be some resources that can help you get away at least once a week so you can do some self care. It is important to have this balance.
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Huge hugs to you Shellybeau.

I'm not going to say a word about your being drawn back to using because I'm keenly aware that I can't possibly tell you anything you don't already know. Are you in touch with the obvious support organisations?

But the excessive sleep AND the lower back pain are classic signs of acute depression. I have two suggestions:

1. Get advice from your doctor.
2. Appeal to your mother to allow respite caregivers because YOU need them, even if she doesn't. Whatever she thinks about their being surplus to requirements, she must understand that it is impossible for you to relax if there is not a responsible adult in the house as your deputy when you are having downtime. This is a small (for her) expense that will make a large difference to your wellbeing.

Further thoughts: you are in the middle of a seriously rough patch in your life. You mention elsewhere that you've been through divorce, you've had to leave your own home unattended, your mother and stepdad are changing from the people they were, you have financial stresses too. It's a big load to carry. Be fair when it comes to what you expect of yourself. Hugs again.
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shellybeau, you have a lot of your plate, so don't get a bigger plate, you need to take off some of the things. My parents were the same way about not wanting to pay for strangers to come into their home to help, especially my mother. Oh goodness no.

By chance do you have any income coming in? Are your parents paying you for your help? Bet they aren't. Time to look for outside employment, find something that makes you happy even if the pay isn't great, it's a good escape from home. If your parents balk at that, sorry but you need money to survive on and for YOUR old age. Then maybe your parents might realize they really do need help, or not. Plus moving in with your parents the adult/child dynamics start over again... you are once again the "kid" and what do you know???.... [sigh].

Even if you can't find employment at the moment, do volunteer work which will help you keep up with your skills. It's a feel-good type of job :)

My gosh I can't imagine the stress you are going through regarding the current President and Congress, how they want to make major changes to the health care. I am spitting nails regarding the chance that maybe Medicaid will be cut short for seniors. Not enough is being talk about that segment of the population that needs such funds.

Be strong, take a walk each day to help clear your head. Depending on where you live, you might find a neighbor who walks and you both can walk together :)
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Well first of all your worth more than $1500. How's $4500 sound? If they both had to go into assisted living it would be twice that. I agree with freqflyer. Get a job. Use their money to have someone check on them. You have to start steering that boat in a different direction.our minds, and emotions get involved and the quilt is crippling. I know you care, and I will send a prayer your way. Take a walk, it always helps and invision how you can make this work. Maybe run it like a business. Caregivers while you work, and start out one night for yourself
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Hugs. Hugs. Hugs.

Please don't let your sense of duty override your self worth.

Yes, these are our parents and to care for them is the right thing to do but at what cost?
They chose to have children, raise us, care for us yes, but I do not believe we owe them our lives. It does not give them the right to abuse us or to twist our love and sense of duty into slavery.

Most parents have no idea what goes into a care givers day. The time, thoughts, research, effort, money....and the fact that we give up our future as well totally escapes them.

I have to put things in writing for mom to "get it". I filled in a weeks worth of time sheets to give her an idea of what I truly do. I showed all the things done for her behind the scenes. I wrote out the things I was giving up (friends, money, vacation time, travel etc) and the effect it was having on my health not to mention that once she moves on my future was looking bleak because we basically put our lives on hold for them and we can't just pick up where we left off. That time is gone forever. I printed out some average costs of other options. My mom thinks I exaggerate so I always print it out off websites etc.

I explained repeatedly, the line between where I'm capable of caring for her and where I'm not. I asked her to help me help her or it would no longer be in my hands.

It opened her eyes to things she was not aware of.

There are things I do out of a daughters duty, things I choose to do, and things that i should be paid for. My mom is limited income so I don't get paid but I live rent free. I enjoy amenities and can have my animals where I could not afford to on my own. So I am compensated.

You would not enslave yourself to anyone else in this way or be abused. Your mom will not have outside help yet under values your contribution to their well being ,running you into the ground. That's abuse.



A child's duty does not mean you owe them your life. You are not required to be a martyr for the cause. You would not commit suicide in the name of your parents, yet you are killing yourself slowly.

Do not allow guilt to erode your self-worth. You are important. You have a right to live a beautiful, happy, healthy life. Your future belongs to you not them. Do not assess your worth by the expectations of others, you will lose.

Am I saying walk away for self-preservation? No. I fear that guilt and regret would poison your continued recovery. But please, please, find balance.

It's OK to say no. It's OK to stand up for your self, to stand your ground. You can only do your best.

When you're tired and depressed it becomes hard to trust your own thoughts and feelings. Please come back here and read or vent or ask.....this site has helped me sooooo much in my times of need. I have found support from total strangers who understand instead of talking to friends, family, who don't have a clue or don't want to have a clue.

From reading your post i will say you are a strong and good person. Loving and generous. You are to be proud of yourself.

Please find your balance.
Hugs. Hugs. Hugs.
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I agree with Ihave1now -- you deserve a lot more than $1500/month! So if your mom is well-off, who is in line for the inheritance? Will stepfather get it, then his kids from a prior marriage (are there any?). Or do you have to share with your sibs, who are not helping?

Your mother and stepfather owe you bigtime.
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I have 40 years of sobriety. I have been Mother's 24 x 7 caretaker since Jan. of 2015 at a rogue Senior Facility until January of this year when my son and I prevailed getting her and myself out a very horrible situation. My cousin, brother and sister-in-law were on the side of the facility.    I was drug through the mud.  I got advice on Aging Care and tried everything that was being suggested. It is with their advice, prayer and God's got help that we got her out of the facility alive. Mother is relocated to a very nice facility and I am now her roommate/caregiver 24 x 7. Mother is improving and she has not lost her eye site though well on her way to losing it from the former facility being negligent and arrogant in giving her meds, esp eye drops. I am Mother's full time caregiver here. There is nothing like taking care of your LO through thick and thin. I joined the choir at my Church and singing praises to the Lord with my brothers and sisters in the Lord that brought me back to the realization that Jesus Loves me.  A lot started changing for the better.  If you continue on your path you could be setting yourself up for a relapse.  Keep corresponding with Aging Care, try meetings on line, talk to a counselor. Don't stop seeking and trying to get the situation in order. Leaving your Mother and Dad might not be the best alternative. Here at a heavenly facility they still have shift workers. They are good but residents still fall. Mother is going to be 100 in October. A fall could put her into a downward spiral and she could die before her time. Like wise with different Nurses on duty to administer meds it is easy for them to give her a critical med at the wrong time, that could cause blood pressure to spike or they can be new and give her eyedrops at night that flush each other out if given to close together.  Don't think placing your parents in a facility is the answer. Their is nothing like a LO wether at home or in a facility with them.  You urge to drink or use might get stronger if you have regrets. You can overcome this. First get yourself a support group. You have one here on Aging Care. When I was really tense, I took up candycrush and -multi -tasked watching TV  at the same time to feel no pain.  Prioritize what you are trying to get done. Once your folks are being cared for to your satisfaction and if by you, that can only happen if you are in a positive state of mind to carry on such work, clean and sober without mental relapse. When I stated in the Choir and attending Church regularly, that motivated my son to be there Tuesdays nights for practice and Sundays Mornings for me to go to Church. I give him a little money. Mother loves attention from him.   He stops over almost every day and there are times we bring Mother to the house when the great great grandchildren come over.  Start a campaign with other family members to get them motivated.  Send them pictures. Have your parents draw pictures or write them if you can, be creative.  A little relief has gone a long way for me. It is not out of reach financially especially for you caring for them at home. .  A full time Nurses Aid as a caregiver at a nice facility is out of reach for Mother.  She had an insurance policy that she lost when the insurance company went bankrupt. Our arrangement is very nice. If your family realized how much it would cost to have your mom and dad at a nice facility where you said they would probably be separated,  they would not be free from falls unless they had round-the-clock care (at $20 to $25.00 an hour for a Nurses Aid or over $200,000 per year each plus $3,500 to $5,000 each per month for anything above Independent Living) they might wake up and appreciate you more. That is what happened with my brother. He came around as far as my being with Mother 24 x 7 . There are other issues but Mother's surviving her ordeal and having a good quality of life was accomplished. Blessings. We will keep you in our prayers.
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Yes - - - but mine is 'stress eating' - 40 lbs worth :(

Let me explain - I am caregiver for my 95 year old hubby (96 in September!) and the stress-eating comes mostly from frustration.  Not knowing what to do in a situation and not knowing what I am dealing with.  Through forums like this and a lot of research, I finally realized we were dealing with Candida Overgrowth - - I still have no idea why this was never diagnosed; it would have saved a lot of grief and aggravation.

Anyway, my relapse was Cookies & Cream Ice Cream.  *sigh*
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Shelly,
We have very similar circumstances on a lot of points however you have two people, I have one. Mom is 81 with dementia. It's all me because brothers are worthless, you are lucky to still have a relationship with your brother! But.......big but.....I have never struggled with Alcohol or drugs, growing up with my Father being an alcoholic had a huge impact on me. Even though he left Mom when I was only 2, my brothers and I would go to visit. I have way too many stories. I do understand the stress you are under and the urge to "escape" even for a short while but nobody is worth throwing away your sobriety on! You are already sacrificing enough than to essentially toss your life for the sake of theirs. You have already fought that demon, don't go back. I also lost my favorite older brother to a heroine OD. It destroyed so much, my Mother never came back from that one. It just isn't worth it, nobody and nothing is worth it. Your Mom is financially well off you say, so time to get her to start paying! My mother is not wealthy so I am kinda stuck. If she were however, I would tell her I just cannot devote my entire life to this and like it or not, she will pay for caregiving because I am going to lose my darn mind! I know down deep if Mom knew I was at the "jumping off point" she would change her tune. I have told her when I start getting overwhelmed with her that I can sell the house, turn all legal power to one of my worthless brothers, and walk off into the sunset. I CAN do that and she knows it. That usually gets her to snap out of it and quit being difficult, at least for a short while. None of us are truly stuck, I think just knowing there is an alternative is helpful because " if " in your mind, there is no way out, then the "hopeless urges" start coming forward. Do what you have to in order to regain some control in your life and alternatives to being "the prisoner." There is help out there if you seek it. There were lots of great suggestions from other folks who replied to your call for help, start exploring some options, when you have a parent with money, a lot more options are available, it isn't fair you are not only making 1,500.00 a month, you are sacrificing your life, happiness and freedom. Those do not have pricetags!
Please start taking your life back and utilize the help that is out there for you. *Hugs* You can do it!
PS, I also have a very damaged lower back and truly understand how that takes a great toll on you. I have explained to Mom if and when she gets to the point where "lifting her" is involved, I MUST get outside help, if not, I will be so bad I won't be able to move, then how can I even live my life normally let alone help her out!
Gotta draw the boundary lines.
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Focus on how you felt AFTER you used. Not too happy with yourself, were you? Stay the course and stay sober. It's too hard to climb back out!
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