Should I seek professional help? - AgingCare.com

Should I seek professional help?

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I have been caring for my mom by myself for 7+ years. I have been starting to feel caregiver burnout lately. My boyfriend, who has been VERY UNDERSTANDING, has said that he thinks I need to talk to someone professional. I don't think so. I mean being able to be on this site has really helped me and I don't really see how talking to a professional will help me. They will probably want to give me drugs, which I don't want. I really value the people on here because unlike a "professional psychiatrist" you all KNOW what I am going through.
I guess I should tell you what the issue is with my mom. She has started smoking again. She is on 3 different types of b.p. meds because of the strainon her heart from the sstrain on her lungs. No heart disease-yet. But she and I fight about the cigarettes. She stopped with the help of the patches. I want her to live a long life, but I fear that the cigarettes are shortening her life. What do I do? Keep buying and making them for her knowing that they are killing her. Or do I fight her about every cigarette she smokes? I have always been the accommodating child. But I am at a loss here. This is why my boyfriend said I need to talk to a professional. So that is why I am asking all of you---my professional people. I will take all of your opinions over a professional any day. Please tell me what I should do.

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Mulata88. I'm not moving out just yet. We will take care of her together although plans are not set in stone. I don't know what I am ready for. She and I used to never get along but I'm hoping that we can get along after a long time away from each other. There WILL be ground rules established when she moves in.
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Hi Zena, hey, just wondering. ?.... When your sister moves in, are you going out? Or the two of you will care for mom? So you and your sister will be sharing the care of mom?
When is she going to get there?
Since she's a smoker... are you prepared.....or preparing for what just lies ahead?
Do you and your sister get along pretty well or..........??? Thanks. !
M88
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I made a previous comment to 'let mom have her smokes' and am reconsidering the wisdom of that! Smoking isn't good for her or for you (second hand) and putting an end to it seems the only way to go. It is difficult indeed, I wish you and mom luck. I would like to say, though, that the patch might be better than the lozenges. The lozenges can make one nauseated, upset the stomach, and cause incredibly painful heartburn. She'd be better off, truly, chewing clove gum or sugar free lollipops.
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Mom is 70, has copd, hypertension, and basic old age issues starting. I just wanted opinions on if I needed to get help to handle the guilt or not. I have decided that I won't feel guilty about her habits or ways. I love my mother dearly, but I cannot let this issue turn my into HER mother when I know that as her dementia progresses I will be taking on that role. I have a great guy who is my sole support and cares about my mom. If things get worse later, I will deal with them as they come. When my sister moves in, SHE can handle the cigarette issue because she is a smoker too. I will be buying another air purifier for my room. Thanks all for your comments and suggestions.
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I help her with her meds, which she is on a lot for her blood pressure and breathing. I pay her bills, makes sure that she eats. She can do and does a lot for herself, but I don't take too much Independence away from her. I will try the lozenges for her. But I think that she just does it because she is bored.
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I know someone who is suffering from some serious medical issues due to being in the same house with her dad - who smokes like a chimney. Maybe your mother would be ok with nicotine patches or lozenges, but I really think that if you are around her and caring for her ( to keep her out of a nursing home) that you have the right to breathe air not contaminated.
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zena, thank you for the update that Mom is living in her own house and the cigarettes are being paid for with her own money. And that you are her caregiver. What caregiving does she need? And may I ask how old is your Mom? Age makes a big difference when it comes to answering certain types of questions.

I have never smoked but had friends who did, and I remember them telling me that one brand tasted between than another. So I am thinking, ask your boyfriend what brand of cigarettes did he find tasted the worse.... then buy your Mom those cigarettes. Tell her her brand wasn't available so you bought her Camels or is she a Camel user already. And be ready to deal with the guilt.

My concern is for the future as dementia will only get worse, and we wouldn't want Mom to be a fire hazard to everyone in the household. If she is in her very late years, I would say don't bother, let her smoke until you find she is being careless. If she is still young, then you don't want to see cigarettes be the death of her.
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Zena, Would nicotine gum or lozenges help? It sounds like she has quit before.
If you can get her to stop smoking and she wants to do so again...tell her she is a nonsmoker and it is odd that she would want a cigarette. This tactic worked on me as I smoked for 21 years and quit cold turkey 20 years ago. It was hard but telling myself I was a non smoker and that it was strange I would want a cigarette stopped me from lighting up ever again. I also kept a log of what smoking would cost me and put that money away for awhile...then I bought some nice clothes and took a trip. I wonder if such an incentive of buying something she would like instead of cigarettes would work with her?
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THANK YOU ALL FOR SO MUCH ADVICE AND WISDOM! I learned so much about myself from all of your comments. I don't know if boyfriend will leave because he is a smoker too. He is concerned about my well being. Anyway, thank you all again for your help. It has helped me with a lot of the anxiety I have been having. Tatianna, thank you for your wisdom and understanding of what I am going through. I guess I needed to hear from you most of all.
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Hey Zena. I don't really have any words of wisdom. I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. I'm in a similar situation with my mom. My mom is about to turn 60 and she's been a smoker for 40 years. She tried quitting with patches, but she only lasted a week. She smokes almost 2 packs a day. She's in a wheelchair, and she's can't walk very far with her walker, so I'm the one who buys her cigarettes for her. I know i'm enabling her by buying her the cigs, but I feel like even if I don't buy them for her, she can just buy them when we go grocery shopping. Basically she'll find a way to get them regardless. So I just keep my mouth shut and buy them for her. Which is still not right I know.

I've tried everything to help her to quit. I ordered the patches for her. I bought her sugar free lollipops to help with the oral fixation. I've written her letters expressing my concerns about the future of her health. But the fact of the matter is is that she doesn't wanna quit. They have to WANT to quit. It's sucks because it's like we're watching a love one commit a slow suicide. Believe me I KNOW your frustration. I'm still coming to terms and learning to just accept things. I'm not saying we should give up on our mothers, but we need to realize they're just some things we can't change.

I think finding a therapist could be a really good outlet for you. You might not even need medication. Sometimes just learning better coping mechanisms can make a world of difference. My old therapist was AMAZING. She was very laid back and chill, she had a great sense of humor. I learned a lot from her. Even though we talked about a lot of serious and depressing things she added some much needed levity to our sessions, which helped a lot, because I have a very melancholic temperament and I can be rather intense. So, you know therapy doesn't always have to be a drag or this huge thing. If nothing else it can just be a place for you to blow off steam in a judgment free zone.

Anyway I'm sending you and you mom lots of good vibes and I hope something clicks and she quits for good :))
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