I am starting to regret the decision I made to let me elder family member move it with my family and I. I think I made a mistake but feel guilt for feeling this way. Does anyone else feel like this?

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I should qualify my answer and say that IF I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW - My MIL would never been invited to be here.

I never realized how tired, trapped and unappreciated I would feel nor how weird things would get with her thinking and how much she would hurt me. But, hindsight is 20/20.

I started out being this idealistic, kind-hearted 'I'll help with everything' person who ended up wearing herself to a frazzle and HITTING THE WALL. I fell into that deep, black hole of depression and despair and have somehow (and I hope it is not just temporary) managed to crawl part way out. I see light at the end of the tunnel for the first time in a long time - it is just a flicker - but I can at least see it.

Would I or could I ever recommend to someone I love or care about that THEY should become a caregiver? NO. NEVER. Sorry. It is just too darned hard physically and emotionally. It isn't fair either. There isn't ever enough help. Breaks are few and far between. You are on call 24/7. No one who isn't a care giver even understands and there just isn't enough of anything except CRAP.

And a lot of the time it isn't anyone's fault - it just IS THE WAY IT IS. People get old, they get cranky, they get mixed up, they get difficult and they can be hurtful - especially if we love them. That's when it hurts the most.

We can't fix what's wrong with them and they can't stand what's wrong with them - they get angry and depressed and take it out on us - the one person who is trying to help. But we represent - not their caring friend - but we REPRESENT EVERYTHING THEY HAVE LOST. The more we must do represents the more they have lost. They take it out on us.

Sometimes they just 'lose it' completely and they can't help it and we can't help it. But it is hard just the same. There needs to be more assistance that is available to the care giver. It is all left to families and a lot of time families just don't care for the care giver - they haven't done any care giving and they just HAVE NO IDEA or just don't give a care.

That leaves the caregiver DOING IT ALL for years and years. All the while watching their loved one get more and more frail and knowing how it will end. We also are reminded DAILY of our own mortality. Our 'golden years' are spend nursing someone through their 'rusty years.' How does it end? We all know how it ends. Sadly. We lose them. After all this, after all we have done for them - we will lose them - if we haven't already due to dementia.

Nope, if I had it to do again, I would be a kind onlooker who visited regularly. I don't want any of my children to go through what I have - it is far too painful.

I know that not everyone feels as I do. There are those strong, noble folks out there with the strength of a giant who 'just keep on ticking' like the Energizer bunny. I am not one of them. I am tired.

Take care everyone. I hope I didn't dampen your day.
Helpful Answer (34)

As we have found out waaay too late - we can be our parents advocate and caregiver WITHOUT having them live WITH us. Wherever they may live - whether it be an apt., assisted living or nursing home - we, as their children, should still visit often, do what we can to make them comfortable.

Can we MAKE them HAPPY??? NO! Happiness does not come from another person. It comes from within - from living a fulfilling life. When an aged person loses their independence and they have nothing to look forward to but more illness, pain and eventually death - well, how in the world can they be happy? We certainly can't fix it. All we can do is be supportive.

After 8 years of in home caregiving to my MIL - I would say to anyone even beginning to contemplate what do do with Mom or Dad - DON'T BRING THEM INTO YOUR HOME!! Believe it or not, as bad as moving from their home into assisted living may be - they will STILL feel MORE independence there than they ever would living with us. Everyone needs that autonomy. That way anything they don't like can be blamed on the 'workers' and not us.

Looking back, I would never invite my MIL here if I had it to do over. As she aged, lost more and more independence and we had to do more and more for her (and it was 99.9% ME who took up the slack) the more unhappy and resentful she became.

I only recently found out that she has been on a 2 year crusade to destroy my good name to anyone we know mutually. She is this 'sweet little old lady' and really is a Jekyll and Hyde - treating me one way and the rest of the word another way.

She is to the point now that there isn't a thing she says to anyone that is totally accurate. Everything is EMBELLISHED and STRETCHED and often - just a pure fabrication! My hubby is flabbergasted at the least and DISGUSTED and ANGERED at some of the things she has said about me to others. She cannot be trusted.

So, our 'separation' continues. I still clean for her when my hubby takes her to the doctor (he takes her to ALL her appointments now - I will never again be alone with her for any length of time), I still make most of her meals (she has meals on wheels 3 x a week), pay her bills, shop for her, make her appointments, fill her medicine boxes (I do them 2 weeks at a time - less interaction). The only thing that has changed is that I am no longer spending time with her. I no longer try to make her happy. I do not escort her anywhere. She eats in her own apt. We only invite her over for a meal once in a great while.

She lives her life and we live ours - our caregiving is not so much hands on anymore. I am pushing 65. I am beginning to have some health issues that I know will preclude my ever being able to help her physically. She outweighs me 2 to 1. IF the day comes when she cannot care for her own physical needs - bathing, toileting - she will leave here. Hubby knows I cannot do the hands on caregiving that I did in the past. (I nursed her through 3 surgeries with lifting, turning, etc., etc.) Those days are gone for me. My husband had shoulder surgery and his 'lifting' days are in the past as well. IF she ever falls, it will require a 911 call to get her up. It is just the way it is.

I have gone over this scenario so many times - trying to figure out how in the world to do it differently - but, I cannot ever go back to how it was. She has broken my heart, ripped it out and stomped on it, betrayed me to our friends, impugned wrong motive to most everything I have ever done for her and still does. That's the clincher - it never stops. Anyone who calls, anyone who stops, it's always the same. I AM STILL TREATING HER THE SAME - AND SHE IS SOOOOO LONELY. She gets more visitors (church friends) and phone calls in a week than I do in a year. She is NOT lonely. She is just MAD. And never an apology - EVER.

So, I SAVED MYSELF. Things are the way they must be for me to remain sane. As the bible says 'we reap what we sow' - she is reaping the results of her own disloyalty and anger. I am going more for her than most would do under similar circumstances. She has two other children and their spouses who NEVER call or see her - maybe once every year or two. Should I feel guilty? I don't think so. I am working past my guilt. Almost there.
Helpful Answer (21)

For all the NEW caregivers out there - be careful. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is to keep the money separate!!! That will then leave you with the option of moving them into other forms of care such as Assisted Living or a nursing home. If you co mingle the money - you will screw yourself up. Don't co-mingle the money!! EVER.

Yes, set limits. It is your home. And yes, it starts out with them just being there - but as time goes on it MORPHS. You will do more and more as they are able to do less and less. It doesn't end until the move on to another type of care situation or they die. Sad, but true. Either way - you will feel ENORMOUS GUILT. Some of you will destroy your marriages or strain them to the point that your relationship may never be the same.

Those caregivers who have husbands or wives who think they are NOT caregivers - well, I will just say your situation isn't good. You need the support of your mate. Often they are the ONLY ones who support you. If you are not on the same page - it will turn out badly.

READ everything you can on this forum. Look ahead at what old age brings. Yes, it brings on crankiness (at the very least), dependence, dementia, incontinence, lots of ER and doctor visits - you name it. As the older loved one gets older - everything goes South. It just cannot be helped. It happens. Most of us are ill prepared to handle the demands - and you will soon find that most of your family are perfectly willing to sacrifice YOU to their parent without so much as a thank you or a dime.

Sorry to be so dismal. It doesn't matter how much we love the older one - it is just plain hard. Period.
Helpful Answer (20)

You sound like a lovely, caring person who had a wonderful childhood and beautiful parents. You have been blessed. But, many of us on here can't relate to that.
I didn't have blissful days or peaceful nights. (Still don't)
There where no shopping sprees as a teen nor did my parents help me with any schooling. I grew up in a very dysfunctional home.
I take care of my parents I think mostly out of a sense of duty.
I find no joy in it. They are a burden to me, but I continue to give them excellent care in my home.
My mother took care of me as a child out of a sense of duty, she found no joy in it. The care I received was not excellent.
And I was a burden to her. She made me very aware of that.
Some people are mean, angry, bitter because that is who they are for whatever reason. I am tired, in pain and have lost my way of life and I am not mean, angry or negative. I would never take out my frustrations on anyone.
I read your posts with interest. How I wish I would have had a childhood like yours.
Helpful Answer (15)

I am new to this website but I thought it might be helpful to hear what others are going thru. My mother in law is not at the end of her life. She is only 64. She moved in with us because 4 years ago her overall health was very poor, mostly her knees were shot. She was barely walking which then lead to weight gain, diabetes etc.
My husband and I knew that she was in over her head and he asked me if she could move in to get a handle on things. Between the health and her money issues, I realized that this was her only option other than bankrupcy. Assisted living is not an option because she lives paycheck to paycheck with no savings.
It has been 4 years and she had knew surgery. It went well and she is more mobile now. Her financial is better but not at a point she has money to burn or a has long term financial security. I think she loves living with us but now I have regret. On one hand, she makes poor decisions about her life choices and exercise. My kids are young but I am thinking this must be what its like to have a teenager in the house.
On one hand I don't want to boss my 64 mother in law around but on the other I don't want to pretend I agree with her decisions. What worries me is that often my husband and I are at odds of what to do about her. I can see how a situation like this can break even a strong marriage apart.
Helpful Answer (14)

HelloKitty I grew up in much the situation you describe, my Mother's Mother lived with us. Grandma was difficult which is the kindest way to put it. She was NEVER happy. My Father
( a real saint ) was VERY kind to her. He was more than patient with her and tolerated alot. Eventually at 90 she went to the nursing home because my parents bought a small farm. She was NOT going to the farm!!! She lived to be almost 98. My Daddy is in heaven now too, and I am very sure he has extra stars in his crown because he was so good to her. I would have a long serious non confrontational talk with your Mother in law. Point out that you want to help however she needs to understand some basic rules!!! Seriously set some ground rules. Such as she does not correct the children if you are at home. She cannot interrupt your private time (in the bedroom alone together)....Those are just examples but you understand what I am trying to say. She is not a quest really but she needs to be courteous and gratiful. I would point out that there are other living options for her if she is unhappy. Even if she does not have money, I think most states have an elderly waiver program that will help with finances. take care and God bless...
Helpful Answer (12)

I'm sure people have! It is a big decision to take on the care of someone in your home! My husband decided it would be better for my mom to move in with us than for me to travel an hour each way each day to stay with her. While I understood what we were undertaking (my daddy had Alzheimer's), he was surprised by the care that was actually needed. I must say, he has been a real trooper since discovering the reality of the situation but it is hard. We were empty-nesters enjoying our grandchildren on occasion but essentially traveling as we wanted when we wanted when we weren't working. Now our wings are clipped! I consider myself lucky to have a sister that will come down for a weekend each month and let us get away.

I don't know your situation but please, don't feel guilty. I'm sure you didn't realize the impact it was going to have on your life, whatever it may be. You're going through the stages of grief, I'm sure, because that's what it is like.
Helpful Answer (11)

I understand exactly how you feel. The same thing happened to me. In 1987, before my father died, I promised him I would make sure to take care of her in her elder years. But...I took that promise to another level. From 1987 to now, I have put myself last. I do nothing for myself. I take care of my mother and my 2 children...the eldest turned 18 and left.

When my mother first moved in, it was very rough because I have always been a single parent...and paid my bills as well as hers. I would not allow her to interfere with issues between me and my children because it was not her place...basically because of the pessimism and negativity she brought with her. I spent all my money trying to make her happy, and she was still miserable. The kids were doing the same thing also.

Sometimes, I would hear her talking to my children in a low voice...and I began to worry about what she was telling them. I had just paid off all of my bills, and she made some statements about never wanting to live in an apartment, she needed a yard, I don't own a home (not true, I had another house in another state), etc. I made the wrong decision...I buckled under all of this, bought a huge house with a huge mortgage, and moved her in. I lost my privacy, and had begun to lose control of my children. I pay all of her bills...her car note, cable, phone, etc. She has NO bills at all. I pay for everything. One day she turned to me and said she doesn't understand why I never have any extra money...well, it's because I'm paying all the bills...not hard to understand.

She even told me that any man that comes my way would only be interested in the material things I could give them...but isn't she doing the same thing?

My siblings have logged off, and won't help. On three occasions, I tried to get her to realize that I just can't go on like this...and she was going to move...but it didn't happen. I fell into a deep depression...because I don't see any way out. I'm miserable, and I know it's my fault. When my son turns 18 in 3 years, I told my mother I would be downsizing and going back into a life on my own. She then stayed in the bed in her room for 3 weeks. I am the youngest, and the only one that she will live with...she said she'd never live in the house with a man...that's why she didn't want to move in with either of my other 2 sisters because they are both married...and I am not.

In 2002, I had a near fatal accident and ended up with a brain injury with permanent brain damage. Still, she expects me to take care of her needs regardless of my condition. She's not happy, so here we go again...large sums of money wasted and my mother is still unhappy even after I've assumed another large debt that I didn't want...another house.

I made the wrong decision, I accept the blame, and I don't see any way out. She has taken good care of me after my, I guess she feels this is adequate. I have always honored my parents, and I won't put her out.

But for you...if it's early...if you just moved her in and realize it's a mistake...try to reverse that decision as soon as possible. As time goes on, it will become more difficult to make any changes. I feel that there is no way out for me...but I hope you can find a way out because everyone deserves "a life". Fight for it...I didn't have the strength.
Helpful Answer (11)

I think of all the diapers my mother changed when I was born. I think of the shopping sprees we went on in my teens...just the two of us...and I remember how we all cried when my mother and father dropped me of at college.

It never dawned on me that one day the roles would be reversed. That I would become the caregiver, and she would become the person in need.

I never thought my father would die 3 weeks before I graduated from Engineering school...and I never thought I wouldn't have a chance to give something back to them for putting me through school.

I think of these things..and I become selfless as I've often written in my earlier notes. When the going gets rough...think of the wonderful times you spent with your mother when she was young, and you were a child with blissful days and peaceful nights. She made those days possible, now all you can do is try to make her remaining days as worry free as possible. The elderly are all afraid of nursing homes, assisted living, etc. Mostly, they are afraid of being alone.

My mother is still in her right mind...but when she deteriorates, I will be there to provide the care she will need. Search deep inside of your soul for strength and force your mind to bring up the wonderful memories of holidays and Halloween candy...watching her check every piece of candy for safety before she would let you eat it.

There are such wonderful people on this board...including you. Use it to the fullest. It's true...there is power in numbers... and strength in unity...
Helpful Answer (11)

I imagine a great many people regret the decision made out of love or fear or desperation or necessity...It is such a complex task to care for an aged loved one...And when one realizes there is no guarantee of an end in sight one is apt to fell they made a real mistake in inviting this situation into there homes. Look for help anywhere you can find it.
Helpful Answer (10)

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