After 4 years of caregiving for my 82-year-old mother with Alzheimer's, I am just done. I am an only child, and we were always very close--almost like sisters more than mother and daughter--but now I just so regret bringing her into my home. I have no life at all. Her care is not difficult but it is unrelenting, and the daily grind is getting to me because I am not by nature a nurturing person.
First it was a family friend who had been an aide coming in 20 hours a week. Then her needs got to where I could not leave her alone, so put her in adult daycare, where she is thriving. But still the mornings, the evenings, and the weekends are all on me. I had resisted respite care but started doing it about a year ago, say 4-8 hours on a Sunday every month or every other month. The turning point came last month, when my job asked me to go out of town for 5 days. I knew this was my chance, and I took it--hired the agency we already used to bring an aide in 24x7. I felt like I had been let out of prison, and I hated coming back to the daily grind. Thanksgiving weekend was torment. Now I have to face Christmas and New Year's, too--six solid days of caregiving, listening to her sigh and moan over nothing, toileting her, dressing her, having her ask can she visit her mother, who died before I was even born. It's not her fault she has Alzheimer's but it's not my fault either. And she went so far downhill those 5 days I was away that I don't think live-in care or a nursing home is an option--daycare really delivers the maximum quality of life for her. It's just that I'm too the point that everything she does irritates me, and I know I'm short-tempered with her and scream at her on the slightest provocation. I just want off the merry-go-round. But can't afford unlimited respite. What do I do? I want my life back!