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I honestly am making myself totally ill about this and I want to be a better daughter/caregiver to my Mother. How can I do this? Are their forums to help boost my opinion of this and where would I find these forums? Maybe they are here? I really want help for myself to be the best I can be even when my Mom is not. I guess I'd not be in a good mood either at 81.5.

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Has anyone here had people say to them that you should be a caregiver because your parents use to drive you everywhere when you were a child, and took care of you, etc? That use to really bother me until....

I thought of a really good comeback.... yes, my parents drove me everywhere, took care of me, etc. but my parents were in their 20's and 30's, not in their 60's... BIG DIFFERENCE!!!
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Codependency-Caretaking-Caregivng material quoted was authored by Elizabeth Kupferman ):


I had never encountered the term Caretaking. Wonderful information can be discovered by Googling. So many conversations and articles exist but hide within the choice of terminology (words).

My career has been heavily involved in Knowledge networks where members participate share their knowledge and ideas. These become ubiquitous social networks with the plus that you get to know the members skills and abilities and areas where you can work together.

I'll be eighty in a couple of years {G} and spend my days looking to learn and share on the Net as I care for my ADW.
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My mom does not have dementia, but she is very frail. Today I took the folks to Costco ( I hate the crowds) and I thought we were having a good day... until she couldn't hear me (needs hearing aids.. is resistant) and I "yelled at her" She finally admitted I did it so she could hear me, even Dad with ALZ said "sometimes you have to".. Sometimes they just need a pity party, and sometimes You do too! I felt like I did something wrong... but I got over it. Sometimes when she does this I just pretend nothing is wrong.. yes I hurt.. but then I remember what I was like at 15....OMG Just do the best you can.. that is all there is ;)
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I think this is a great forum for expressing feelings and feeling understood. Caregiving is stressful, not being the caregiver is stressful, worrying bout your loved ones well being is stressful. Every day is up and down. Do your best, don't beat yourself up or feel guilty, and start each day anew. If yesterday was bad, mom gets a do-over today.

Learn to let go and not control everything nor fall apart when the day doesn't go exactly as planned. Flexibility in the caregiver roll is going to be key to you and your moms happiness.

Consider joining a caregiver support group to learn new coping skills, have adult conversation with others who share your joys and pain, and have a few good laughs, learn some new tricks from those who've done it before. These groups meet thru churches, hospitals, AL, Senior centers, NH (and you don't have to belong or have a loved one in one of these facilities) --these groups are open to everyone. If you can't find one, consider organizing a small group on your own and spread the word via the senior center, your church, school, etc.

Best of luck.
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frustrated3, I know what you are going through and feeling... same here. I was thrown into being a part-time caregiver for my parents who live independently, I never interviewed for this *job*, I have zero training or any nursing experience, and where are the "vacation days" and "sick day leave time"? What? No 401(k) matching funds?

My main duty is driving my parents where ever they need to go. I finally had to put my foot down after 5 years as they were overwhelming me with errands that they wanted to run. It would be different if I wasn't employed, and if I enjoyed driving, which I don't. Finally I realized that if *I* suggested to go to Target to shop, I felt much better about myself then if my parents were asking to go to Target. Guess it gave me more of a sense of control.
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Educate yourself about dementia/Alzheimer's. The more you know about it the more you can understand and sympathize with what your Mom is going through..

Keep coming back here to AC. You're not the only one dealing with these issues and we stick together. Keep venting on here and try to see some humor in the things that annoy you the most. Find a local support group and find outside help through your local Elder Affairs..HUGS... and CHUCKLES...
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Dave, thanks for sharing the almost scholarly distinctions between caretaking and caregiving. I wasn't aware that there was a category called "caretaking" but it certainly describes a situation I've observed. However, I think the majority of people here kind of fell into caregiving because they had to and are sincere in their desire to provide care for their parents/relatives.

I also think that the caretakers (at least the few I've observed) have had lifelong issues with low self esteem and controlling others. Just my opinion, not challenging you or your professional sources as I've copied the references for future use if necessary.

You offer an interesting perspective on the negative side of caretaking.

But retaining a psychiatrist or social worker is very costly and not something that I would think most caregivers could afford. The self help suggestions are good; books are more affordable! Again, just my $.01 (less inflation) worth.
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How can I begin to think positive about being a caretaker? tgerrific question!

My advice is serious and difficult for individuals to act on. I strongly advise caregivers to engage the services of a shrink or social-worker.

I came across Elizabeth Kupferman a counselor in Southlake, Texas (Dallas/Fort Worth area) dedicated to helping women overcome depression, grief, and anxiety so they can find happiness and achieve their dreams.

She has an excellent site with great information,which I quote:
expressivecounseling/codependency-caretaking/

Codependency: Caretaking vs. Caregiving

Codependency is a group of behaviors that cause us to have unhealthy relationships.  Caretaking is one of those behaviors, and what we want is to replace caretaking with caregiving.  There are crucial differences between caretaking and caregiving and you will notice: the healthier and happier your relationship, the more you are caregiving rather than caretaking.
I view caretaking and caregiving on a continuum.  We usually aren’t doing both at the same time.  The goal is to do as much caregiving as we can and to decrease our caretaking as much as we can.  Caretaking is a dysfunctional, learned behavior that can be changed.  We want to change so we can experience more peace, more contentment and more fulfilling relationships.  The people in your life may resist your healthier actions, but modeling caregiving is a huge gift you are giving to your loved ones

Here are some key differences between caretaking and caregiving:
Caretaking feels stressful, exhausting and frustrating.  Caregiving feels right and feels like love.  It re-energizes and inspires you.
Caretaking crosses boundaries.  Caregiving honors them.
Caretaking takes from the recepient or gives with strings attached; caregiving gives freely.
Caretakers don’t practice self-care because they mistakenly believe it is a selfish act.
Caregivers practice self-care unabashedly because they know that keeping themselves happy enables them to be of service to others.
Caretakers worry; caregivers take action and solve problems.
Caretakers think they know what’s best for others; caregivers only know what’s best for themselves.
Caretakers don’t trust others’ abilities to care for themselves, caregivers trust others enough to allow them to activate their own inner guidance and problem solving capabilities.
Caretaking creates anxiety and/or depression in the caretaker.  Caregiving decreases anxiety and/or depression in the caregiver.
Caretakers tend to attract needy people.  Caregivers tend to attract healthy people.  (Hint:  We tend to attract people who are slightly above or below our own level of mental health).
Caretakers tend to be judgmental; caregivers don’t see the logic in judging others and practice a “live and let live attitude.”
Caretakers start fixing when a problem arises for someone else; caregivers empathize fully, letting the other person know they are not alone and lovingly asks, “What are you going to do about that.”
Caretakers  start fixing when a problem arises; caregivers respectfully wait to be asked to help.
Caretakers tend to be dramatic in their caretaking and focus on the problem; caregivers can create dramatic results by focusing on the solutions.
Caretakers us the word “You” a lot and Caregivers say “I” more.
As with changing any behavior, becoming aware of it is the first step.  Watch yourself next time you are with someone and ask yourself where you fall on the continuum.  It will take some work to change and you may experience some resistance and fear in the process — but what is on the other side is well worth the struggles of transformation.
I recommend the work of Melody Beattie who is a groundbreaker in codependency education.  If you find yourself in relationships with people who have addictions or if you struggle with your own addictions, I recommend Codependent No More:  How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself (also Al-Anon, which is a 12 step group).  If you aren’t in relationship with someone who has an addiction or if you do not suffer from an addiction, I recommend her new book “The New Codependency:  Help and Guidance for Today’s Generation.”
Reference:  Beattie, Melody (1991).  Codependent No More:  How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself.
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This is probably going to sound extremely corny, especially after reading the two earlier (and very good!) answers, but I try to feel grateful for having the ability to care for my parents. It probably helps that we lived in different states for more than 20 years and only saw each other annually or even less. Now that I see them almost every day, even though they aren't really "themselves" any more, I feel lucky to have the opportunity to do some of the things for them that they did for me when I was young (feeding them, getting things done for them, taking care of their paperwork and errands, shopping for things they need ... just like they did for me when I was a kid). It doesn't make it any less hard, but it does make me feel a bit happier about the situation. Also, having counselors, Area on Aging folks, and senior services folks to talk to helps a lot, too. I go to a support group about once a month and just hearing that I'm not alone is so helpful for me. I hope this has helped and provided a different perspective for you.
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I don't know if this will be a comfort or not, but I'm - kind of - confident that it's true. I am my mother's youngest child. I have never been her favourite, but I think I probably am the one who's most like my dad. I am not patient. I have a regrettable fondness for sarcasm. I am not laid-back about things when I ought to know better, and I need to get MUCH better at picking my battles. I find routine caregiving tasks tedious at best, and mildly disgusting at worst. I'm not sure I'd pick me as a nurse. Scratch that - I DEFINITELY wouldn't pick me as a nurse.

But here's the thing: given the available options, my mother would still rather have me looking after her than anyone else (and the other people she's encountered so far are very nice, professional caregivers). Yes, it makes me feel that I must try to be sweeter, gentler, kinder and remember what I'm doing this for; and I do try, and I fail most days and try again the next.

On the other hand, if I did suddenly metamorphose into Ms Caregiver 2014, my mother would say "who are you and what have you done with my daughter?" I think it's the same as it is with children - you may not be the world's greatest, most glamorous, most adoring etc. parent, but (assuming you're not abusive) your kids would still rather see you at the school gate than anyone else.

You are allowed to find this job mind-blowingly boring, frustrating, pauperising, exhausting, thankless and depressing. In some aspects, it just is those things. But we're here because there is no substitute for us, at least for as long as we can take it.

And if it is not MEGA karma I do not know what is.

And if you really, really can't bear it, you are also allowed to think again. Don't let anybody ever make you feel you don't have a choice.
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Hi there, I agree with the first answers. It is the hardest job you will ever do, and if you have been doing it for at least a year, the way you feel now, is probably how you will continue to feel. My mother will be 82 in January. I really thought that when my dad died in 2012, that she would move in with my husband and myself, and all would be right with the world. Funny, when you haven't lived with someone for decades, you forget how they are. If my mother was in better spirits, and not so negative all the time, then maybe it would have been a good situation. After she was here a year, I needed a break. We started using respite care, which was fine for a while, but after a couple of months (she would go for 1 week a month) I would start dreading her coming home days before it was time to pick her up. We went on like that for 6 months. (My husband said that respite was only putting a band aid on the situation, and he can't believe I held out as long as I did.) I was in tears all the time...mom could be a professional complainer. I'm 43, and felt like I was missing out on so much. In the 19 months she lived here, I managed to gain 39 pounds, and my face broke out like I was a teenager. I hid in my bedroom, and began to feel like a prisoner in my own home. We found an assisted living facility 1 mile from our home. We moved her in 1 month ago today. I'm not saying this decision is for everyone. If you mom and you really get along it can probably be a wonderful experience. I had a false sense of what it was going to be like. I thought we were going to take walks down memory lane, looking at old photos. She didn't want to do anything. We tried to take her out...her stomach always hurts and she hates to ride in the car. Since her assisted living is so close, I go over there every other day..she has a cat that I drop off in the morning, and pick up in the afternoons. The first week, I was sick to my stomach over what I had done to her..but her aide told me today, that she saw her laughing with some other ladies at the breakfast table...LAUGHING..I almost fell over. Needless to say, this decision was best for us...I was starting to snap at her, and that wasn't fair to either one of us. I've lost 16 pounds as of today, and my face is clearing up. I can see her on my schedule, and I'm not constantly on hers. I'm feeling like myself again. My husband bought me Cher tickets for my birthday, and the concert is tomorrow night. I have my oldest daughter "on call" if something were to happen to mom. I wish you all the luck in the world. I would do a Google search regarding forums on caregiving. Maybe even go to an assisted living place..most of them have someone to talk to. I went in not knowing if we were going to move mom or not. I went in a couple of times...cried...kept in contact by e-mail. They started calling me to invite mom to activities they were having. Somehow after the back and forth for a few weeks, I made my decision. We are all here too!!!
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I think this is one of the toughest aspects of caregiving. As demands increase, it's easy to feel more "sucked into" the responsibilities and in turn less in control of your own life and your own needs. Frustration, anger and resentment begin to grow.

You're wise to address this issue now. There have been times that I've become so frustratd and angry and just felt sucked into a situation over which I had not control. Then I told myself I'm the only one who can control how I feel and how I respond, and started making changes.

First, value yourself as a person, not just as a caregiver. Make a list of all your assets and talents, hobbies, interests, and devise a way to continue them at least on some level on a regular basis.

Second, if you have options to hire any chores, do so and use the free time to spend alone or as quality time with your mother...lunch, dinner, walking, whatever physical activities she's capable of. A change of pace will be good for both of you.

Third, be reasonable about what you can and can't do and don't (repeat DON'T) be afraid to set limits. Your mother is probably feeling more and more helpless, less self reliant and more dependent on you.

It's at this time of life that priorities need to be re-evaluated and some tasks that aren't critical just fall to the bottom if not off the list.

I've told my father repeatedly that I can't do everything and some things just aren't going to get done, so we need to prioritize. I just can't do everything.

What are your interests? If you're a gardener, join a gardening forum. If a quilter, crocheter, or other type of crafter, google and find forums you can join. Don't just stick to caregiving forums - they'll provide a good understanding of your feelings but you also will maintain self confidence and respect by sharing expertise on areas of interest that have nothing to do with caregiving.

Spend some time asking yourself what makes you feel good and bad about caregiving? Can any of these attitudes be changed and if so, how? If you can move past the reaction stage into the analysis and conception of alternatives stages you'll begin to feel some sense of control and achievement.

Don't forget that this is probably the hardest job you'll ever have, so be kind to yourself.

And start right now by having a cup of tea, juice, whatever you would have to relax you, and think of what you would do if you didn't have these responsibilities, then think what you can do to integrate them into your life.

Good luck - I've been done this road several times and still get lost on the side paths occasionally.
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If you have been doing this more than a year and you aren't feeling at all positive about it, perhaps you never will. Perhaps, for you, it simply is a negative experience.

You want to be "a better daughter" and you seem to have equated being a good daughter with being a good full-time caregiver. But a good daughter will try to set up the best, most positive experience for her mother, whether that means taking care of her personally or finding excellent alternatives.

Not everyone -- not every "good" person -- is a good caregiver. Not every family dynamic lends itself to child-caring-for-parent.

Try to focus on what is best under the circumstances. Maybe in an ideal world it would be best for Daughter to be upbeat, positive, and in love with day-to-day caregiving responsibilities for Mother. But it sounds like your particular reality does not match this ideal fantasy.

I urge to see a counselor who has worked with caregiving issues. He or she may be able to help you change your attitude or (more likely) to change your situation. Either way, the time you invest in some therapy sessions can be very worthwhile.

Good luck to you! If you have been miserable for a year, something has to change. You deserve it -- and so does your mother!
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