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I left my career to take care of both of my in laws. He is 83, uncontroled diabetic she is 74 and recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I have a 2 year old and a 7 year old. I am full time student, and my husband works 60 hours a week to make up for my lost income.
I understood what I was signing up for when I left my job, sold my house and moved my family in with them. I didn't know I would struggle so much emotionally. I started school because I have to be able to go back to work when I am no longer needed. I want to be a nurse, so the information I am learning is really helping me with their care.
My husband has recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea and has had an umbilical hernia repaired within the last month. We are struggling financially and that is more stressful on me than the care giver part. I didn't realize that I might qualify for unemployment, I have never been unemployed, and just found out today that it was denied because I am unavailable for work due to being a caregiver. I have to be here for their needs, it's not an option. I take all of my classes online and the one class that I do take at the school is in the evening when my husband is home. I keep getting told that Medicaid might be able to pay me for taking care of them, but I can't find any information on that and I feel incredibly guilty even thinking about it. I am sooooo lost and don't know what to do. I know in my heart that I made the right decision so that someone that loves them can be there for them but I had no idea that it would be this emotionally challenging. I have already had to get on medication my self because I am such a mess over this. How does everyone do it? There has to be a way....

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If you can't afford therapy with a counselor, consider pastoral care through a church. I have a good friend who is a pastor and did a lot of counseling and didn't charge for it.

You are obviously a sharp cookie. You just need someone to validate your feelings and help you make sure you're doing what you can do. You're a lot more together than a lot of people out there.

But remember, this is a marathon and not a sprint, so you have to take care of yourself along the way. And I second StandingAlone's suggestion to consider care for your in-laws beyond what you're doing (i.e. put them in a facility). It's not right for you to sacrifice your health and happiness for them. Your life is equally as valuable.
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I get that money is tight, and you can't afford a therapist. Can you afford not to get help? If you go down everybody goes down. Therapy will pinpoint your angst, and find you solutions. My going once a month helped me resolve sibling issues, and helped me be a better caregiver to my Dad. Two years into 24/7 caregiving,for a 92 year old stage 4 parkinson's patient. I am happy and fulfilled. That is my therapist's work.
What gives you joy? Maybe you could take the time
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mopooo, you can go to the Medicaid office and speak to a caseworker about being paid for caring for your family member. Here in Oregon, once the elderly person qualifies for Medicaid, the family member can be paid, by the state, to take care of the person. It is less expensive for the state to pay you than it is to pay for a nursing facility.
I do agree with StandingAlone, if you have small children, and are married, this is only going to become more difficult, not easier. People with dementia require lots of supervision and care. If you can check into the Center on Aging, some of them have "funds" that will help you to pay for respite care. Someone who can come into your home and do the cleaning of your inlaws rooms, etc. Prepare meals, those types of things. It isn't an unlimited amount of time, but it will help with some of the costs. We qualified for $1K to be used toward respite care, one time only.
Also, find out about Medicaid covering respite care or home health nursing to come in and help you. This will require that their doctors state whether or not they have been diagnosed, whether or not your inlaws are able to feed, clothe, shower, etc. themselves. Then Medicaid will begin to help if you are doing all of those things for them.
Seek out as much help as you can from these agencies. It sounds like you need it, we all do when caring for someone with dementia/ALZ.

Good luck to you and yours.
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When do you think that 'you'll no longer be needed'? This care giving role can go on for another decade or two! Do you have plans to put the in laws into a NH? If not, then you could possibly be looking at endless years and years of care giving! Personally, I don't believe that anyone should give up their jobs, careers and financial security to care for elderly parents or in laws. It ends up costing the care giver everything, including their peace of mind, well being, and happiness...not to mention their relationships. An Alz patient will never get better, it'll just get so much worse. It'll end up being a 24/7 job, and I guarantee that you won't have time for anything else, including your kids or your marriage, not to mention time for yourself. And a career? Forget it. I'd start thinking of alternate arrangements now, before it gets to that point. Best of luck!
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A lot of us struggle with the emotional challenge. Don't get down on yourself because you are getting upset. Being upset is hard enough without unleashing the hounds of self-criticism.

Elder care is different from caring for a child. The child will get older and more independent. Your in-laws will definitely get worse, not better. Your FIL probably doesn't comply with his diet and treatment, yet you still have to care for him. You are a kind responsible person, but sometimes you may just plain get tired of the job.

I personally am very fond of money. I like having enough to be able to go to the movies or to the dentist without having to worry. Not getting a paycheck makes me feel very insecure. It is normal to feel bad about not having enough money. You are very wise to study nursing.
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You sound like an incredibly strong, caring and with it young woman. Vent all you like here, you're among friends!
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Thank you so much! I did get them signed up for Medicaid at in April of this year. They are very low income, and only live on SS. I just found a link for help through the VA and I am researching that as well. I have considered getting professional help, but at this time we can not afford another dr. bill. I will get a hold of the case worker and see what/if there is something they can do to help. I am so grateful for finding this site. I need some support and I think having someone is in the same situation I am will help me tremendously. I just need an outlet and reassurance, as I write this I am in tears. Thank you for caring..
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You certainly sound like a well-organized, productive, and caring person. That doesn't mean you don't get stressed. Finances seem to be your hot button right now. Did moving in with your in-laws help financially with housing costs? How does that fit into the picture?

Medicaid has a program specifically to help elders stay in the community instead of going to a nursing home. Each state administers this differently. If one or more of your in-laws are on Medicaid, make an appointment with the case worker to discuss what they are eligible for. Then utilize whatever help is available. For example, they may qualify for cleaning help. Take it! It won't cover cleaning your kids rooms or yours, but it will reduce the amount of time you have to spend cleaning. Maybe one or both would be eligible for help taking a shower or bath (or this might be needed in the future.) Take it! They might qualify for so many hours a week of a home aid/personal care attendant. By taking some brief training, you could be paid for that. You won't know until you get a needs assessment.

My brother (who is handicapped and doesn't work a regular job) gets paid for cleaning for our mother. She lives with my sister, who is getting paid for a certain number of hours a week for providing care. It is low pay compared to the career she recently retired from, but she says it helps her feel validated -- that what she does is important and worth something.

If they are not currently on Medicaid, start the application process. They must qualify financially and medically. It can be worthwhile to consult an attorney who specializes in Elder Law.

One issue at a time. Finances seem stressful now, so focus on that. Do NOT feel guilty about wanting/needing to get paid! Some people are in the exceptional situation of not needing to make up for lost income. But your situation is the typical one, and doing what you can to get your loved ones the help they are eligible for without paying for it out of your pocket is part of your caretaking role.

If your in-laws don't now qualify for Medicaid because they have too much income or assets, then they should be paying for your caregiving services, as part of the plan to spend down to the point that they are eligible.

It is going to help you to get a handle on the finances. I also suggest seeing a counselor. Don't wait until you actually do have a nervous breakdown! This is a stressful life change you have made. You deserve to talk about it with a caring professional.
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