Has your relationship with your husband changed while being a caregiver?

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I have been the caregiver for my 96 year old mom in our home for 9 months now, She is in a wheelchair and can do some things, like wash her face, dry the dishes, fold laundry, with her hands, but I need to help lift her many times a day for potty breaks, etc. Since she has lived here, I am inwardly angry because she has a way of putting me down and when I try to explain how it makes me feel, she won't answer and just says she wants to leave. Anyway, the topic is my husband. He is retired and leaves a lot to help other older people and repair work they need on their homes, but forgets when I ask him to do something. Its almost like he's glad I've got something to do everyday so he can do what he wants and not feel guilty. I know its unrelieved stress on my part and even though I do try to get away an hour or so a day when I can, the responsibility still lies heavy on my shoulders when I get back. Does this happen to anyone else? Its getting so that even when we might be able to go alone, I don;t want to go with him - and that makes me feel very guilty too. Guilt is a terrible feeling and I want it gone in my life!

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joyfuljo, there were much larger families back then so many hands to help out, and they continued to live in the same town.

Today more women have careers, so it's more difficult to stay home to care for one's parents.... why can't the men quit their jobs? Why is it always the woman?

Ouch, about your fall, that must had been scary.... and I, too, try not to tell my parents if I even have a cold, otherwise they become helicopter parents calling 10 times a day to see if I am ok and asking if I have aspirin, I could borrow theirs, etc. Good grief, do they really think my pantry is empty of medical supplies?? I know they mean well, but it can drive me crazy :P
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Thank you for sharing your life freqflyer. You know that we all relate to you in one way or another. I'm so sorry about your health issues with cancer, etc. I never tell my mom when I'm ill or hurt either -- because she has moderate dementia and she would ask me 50 times a day if I'm better etc. Yesterday I fell off a raised flower bed in my yard while picking blackberries. I fell backward and my head hit a metal pointed chair leg and blood poured all over me. My first thought was -- Jesus make me OK - my mother has no one else to take care of her. While that was nice to think of her needs first, I would just like to think of me for a change and how I feel. My cut required stitches (staples they use now) and I pretended all was fine when I got home from emergency so she wouldn't get scared. But all she did was complain that my husband didn't feed her right away and I wasn't talking very nice to her. How did people in the early days handle caregiving? I think because they had such large families there was also someone available to care for mom or dad. Or maybe they didn't live as long back then? My mom is 97 and still healthy except for dementia. My husband wants to sell our camper -- I think he's giving up that we'll ever be able to use it again. But, I tell him we will as long as we take care of ourselves!
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Joyfuljo, my parents still live in their own non-elder friendly home on their own [92 and 96] and my significant other can see how much stress I am under.... I am always on the verge of crying because I feel so overwhelmed. I jump on AgingCare to escape.

Part of that overwhelmingness is also based on recently having cancer [which my parents don't know about] and a newly found heart condition. My S/O is trying to help out by driving my parents to a lot of their doctor appointments, and delivering them their groceries before he goes to work.

He feels cheated because when my parents were my age they were traveling all over the country sight-seeing, going out to dinner, going to the movies, etc. But we never do anything fun any more.... we feel like we are 100 years old with all our aches and pains, and recently memory issues of our own.... how we loved to go hiking and be out in nature, now a walk around the block has become too much :(
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I re-read your comments from my post last year in August of 2013. Thank you for your kind words and honest responses. It has really helped me to see another side of the journey. Life hasn't changed a lot and I am still a grumpy at times 66 year old, but when this is over, I pray that I will still have the energy to do all that I want to do and a kind heart and stable mind. I pray for that for you all too!
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My relationship became very stressed with my husband and son. Both of them kept telling me that things had to change and even though I knew that my guilt ate me up alive. I knew in my heart that my dad had to get more help than my family could give him anymore but it took a nervous breakdown to finally take that step. My husband is a saint for putting up with all that he did and I still can't break free. Even though dad is in a home I don't feel he is taking a downword spiral and that weighs heavy on my mind as I feel it is my fault for putting him there. He has stage 6 dementia. Hopefully someday I can get past all of the guilt that I could not take care of him until the end of his life. It's a tough road!
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Just like a newborn baby, caregiving changes everything. But it takes two to tango, so sit him down and have a heart-to-heart; especially if he agreed to have your mom move in. If that wasn't the case, and if my wife were in the same situation, I'd probably do what he's doing -- selective memory and all. And if I could afford it, I might rent a room in the outskirts of town just to have some peace. The problem is that the distance from the home to the room will eventually increase until I lose sense of where my heart is supposed to be.
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My situation (like JennyM's) is not the same as what you are going through, joyfuljo. However, being a caregiver seems to change all relationships involved and it changes us. The stress and guilt seem to be endemic aspects of being a caregiver, especially for a loved one with Alz. That doesn't mean it should not be addressed! Talk to your husband. Don't listen to your mother's insults - they're coming from Mr. Alz., not her. Remember some of the good times you shared with her in order to tune out or switch the subject. I used to be able to lean on this strong, caring man, my best friend, my lover. We could share stories, have meaningful conversations, have fun. Now I can only remind myself of those times in order to be able to deal with taking care of the person he's become. As my brother once told me, Alz. puts a whole new spin on "through sickness and in health!" Alz changes everything when it invades our homes.
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I'm my husband's caregiver and, sometimes I'm more his mother than his wife -- BUT he still loves me and I still love him and it's part of our lives.
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When my mom lived here, there was a difference in that I became a different person. I felt like my mother reduced me to a child - that I was once again living in her home, doing what she said, instead of her respecting that she was living in MY home. When my husband came home from work he would ask how my day went...at first. It got to the point where he started to avoid asking me because he didn't want to hear the laundry-list of complaints for the day. I tried getting her into a program where she could have a paid caregiver, who was originally supposed to be me, but my husband put his foot down & said if she were accepted into that program that I was to get a job outside of the home & pay someone ELSE to come in and care for my mom. He saw what she was doing to me before I even realized it myself. I did not have any help from my siblings, my oldest daughter would help out when she could, but she was working a full-time job & raising her own son, so I didn't want to drag her down with me by asking too often. My mom was in and out of the hospital several times, with each hospitalization leading to a stay in a skilled nursing facility..finally...I had my life back while she was gone. My husband noticed that difference immediately, and I once again felt like his wife...until Mom returned... again and again. It was a cycle I really saw no end to. Finally, the beginning of this year, in addition to her multitude of chronic medical issues, she was diagnosed with a DVT down the length of her thigh (from not moving as she was supposed to) and wound up back in the hospital, and then back to the SNF. It was at that point that I spoke to the social worker and told them I'm done...I can't keep riding this rollercoaster any longer, and the social worker agreed that my mom's needs far outweighed what I could safely give her at home at this point. They were a blessing in disguise! They found room for her, and told me she could stay. If I could, I would give my husband a medal for putting up with what he put up with. There were times I thought for sure he was going to leave...he was spending sooo much time out on his boat fishing, working, doing whatever he could to avoid coming home and listening to me & my mother. I started to feel a little bit of resentment that HE had a job he could escape to each day, that HE had time to himself virtually whenever he wanted it, yet I was stuck at home with my mother, whose demands seemed to increase by the day, while her appreciation for what I was giving up for her became non-existent. I have been married for 31 years, and I have never had the amount of stress placed on my marriage as I did when my mother lived here. The guilt that went along with everything took a toll on my emotional health as well. I finally decided enough was enough...my mother could receive better care elsewhere, and I regained my life. Do I feel guilty about that now? Absolutely NOT!
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I also take care of my 89 year old Dad. He's able to walk with walker. I also get 2 hrs a week alone. I have 3 siblings that are retired but its all on me. My nerves are shot. When Dad goes to bed I just melt down and thats when my husband gets in from work. The Dr. Told me if I dont get more time I'm going to break down. All I new to do was ask my neices if I payed them a little would they stay with Daddy for 2 nights while me and my husband get away. They agreed I would have loved a week but I will take what I can get. My husband is excited but I'm nervious leaving him. I have been with him for 1 year 24 hrs a day. My husband thinks I can just have a good time but my nerves and emotions catch up with me when I'm not with him and I just cry from being so wore out.
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