What do you do to take care of yourself while caring for your loved ones? - AgingCare.com

What do you do to take care of yourself while caring for your loved ones?

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I feel like I am not doing the things I enjoy doing because I hate to see my mom alone. I come home from work and sit with her. It seems like all she does lately is sit on her chair and watch the news. She does make every effort to garden but her arthristis doesn't let her do much. It just breaks my heart to see her look lonely that I try to take her out. I find myself getting angry though because I have three brothers that could easily come by to take her out but they call every now and then but do not offer to take her out. They wait for us to call and tell them instead of them offering. I do have one sister that lives with me and her 24 year old son as well. My sister has mentioned how she too wishes they would step up and help out. She is to the point where she wants to move out and get her own place. I too would like to do this but the guilt kicks in. I have tried talking to my siblings about this but nothing gets then. I am tired of talking. I feel like I am not doing enough to take care of myself. Just recently I have been getting sick. I feel it has to do with feeling overwhelmed, tired, spent, guilty and angry at family members for not offering to take her shopping or out to enjoy a movie or a restaurant.

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"My father in law had the same pcp and same kidney doctor for nearly a decade and they both said the same thing when I broke down crying in their office. They both said it is normal for only one family member to do the care."

And they said this to you...why? To tell you to "put up and shut up"?

I take it the divorce is to get yourself away from this situation which is so severely compromising your health? What does your H do in all of this? Is he away working and you are at home taking care of FIL? Does H do any of the caregiving when he is home?
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Reply to CTTN55
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Candi8. You are a good person. Why on earth do you have a responsibility that should be your husband's? You surely have been through a lot considering u r not dealing with your own father. I would definitely put my feet down and demand that the husband step up to the plate or I would be out of there in a jiffy if my financial situation allowed me to. Your father-in-law could live to 100 yo. When they get good care, they live long at the expense of the caregiver.  Who will look after you when your FIL is gone?
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Reply to Celmira9
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It is common that siblings won't step up. I am in my 11th year caring for my father in law in my home and hoping I can be ready to divorce in a year or so. Not because I dont love my husband, but because caring giving has taken a toll on my health up to the point of 3 hospial admissions last year for pneumonia each for one week and now my husband asked me to loan his brother $1,000. My husband and I havent gone anywhere on vacation in 11 years because no one will take him, but we have to loan him money? Guilt is normal, but my advice for you is to get your limits set now because your mom isnt going to get healthilier and your siblings will never help. My father in law had the same pcp and same kidney doctor for nearly a decade and they both said the same thing when I broke down crying in their office. They both said it is normal for only one family member to do the care. Either way you go it is complicated, but if you dont find your limits now and set them, then your health will get worse. Frankly the amount of stress I have lived with since his stroke 11 years ago has left me wondering when my next weird diagnosis will be. In 11 years from age 37to 48 I have have chronic headaches and migraines, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia more times than I can count with hospial admissions, arthritis, spine surgery that my doctor said is rare and normally only happens to people over 65, gallbladder surgery, hepatitis, shingles 4 times, etc..... theres more, but you get the point. Yoy have to give at minimum 51% to yourself first. Remember the plane? Oxygen for you first, then your mom or you won't be able to be there for her for the long haul. God bless you and all the care givers out there.
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Reply to candi8
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Hello ! I feel as though we are in the exact same situation.I have decided to just make the best of it.I am lucky to have my mother and I love her. I Thank GOD to have my mom still .It's hard to always try to feel so upbeat,but it's worse to feel that I need to go somewhere else ..I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I figure WE ARE RIGHT WHERE WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE..no sense in being upset ...when we all should just be thankful to have had this time to spend with our mom's, dads,aunts,uncles ..I know we are only human and can't help it sometimes .Believe me I understand, I guess that we shall just accept our lives ,as they are and feel blessed
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Reply to Lorraine2
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Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to share. Mom would definitely enjoy getting out. Every time I ask her she says yes. She likes keeping busy and I hear her tell her friends that when she can she gets out. She doesn't stay indoors. I watch her. I see her go from her bedroom to the window to peek out. She also gets on the phone. I've also heard her say to her friends when she is feeling down and not herself she will pick up the phone and call people. This breaks my heart but I am grateful that God allows me to be there for her. It's just getting harder for me for she has accumulated so much and the house could use some down sizing. She has taken some falls and I'm usually the one that hears her and finds her and helps her up. I've been injured at work since I work and assist adult women with special needs, some of who are in wheel chairs and are a bit on the heavy side. I assist them by taking them to the bathroom and transporting them to their apartments and the developmental training building, where I work. I've since asked to be moved and work is accomodating me but I am still in need of recovering from accumulated injuries. I love my work. I love my mom. I just wish family members would be a little more helpful, more attentive and would remember they have a mom. It isn't easy asking them. How many times does one need to point out that mom needs help and that sis and I can't be doing it all the time. It's disheartening. I am so grateful that mom is active and for the most part able to bathe and cook for herself. At times her arthristis kicks in and she is in great pain. She has taken so many falls as well. It is time to move out and find a place with no stairs and everything on one floor. I've asked my brother who is co-owner of house with me.  My brother says he will talk to the other brothers but it's been months since I've heard from him. This saddens me but what more can I do. I am tired of talking about this. Thank you all for your wonderful insight. All is truly appreciated. I've decided that I will try as best as I can to continue helping mom. I am currently seeing my healthcare provider and getting myself checked out. I am quite a bit emotional and physically hurting but I keep asking God to help me through this. Don't don't how much I can do this but I know I am doing the best I can and trying not to forget myself. God bless us all.
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Reply to Peace4Soul
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We are seven siblings. Four girl and three boys. I have an older sister who is 66 years old and I am 65 just retired. Our mom is in 82. I carry most of the responsibility of caring for her. However, I discussed with my sister that we will take turns taking care of her. That means that now she is overseas in a warm country with my sister. She was with me in US from June to October during which time I took her to a senior center practically everyday. She used to go there prior to her mild dementia starting about two years ago. She should be back with me next summer God willing. In the meantime I have several vacation trips planned b4 she returns. I plan to take care of myself as much as I can. My grandmother, my mom’s mom died alone overseas and never saw them to say good by b4 dying. Very sad.
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Reply to Celmira9
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Thank you all for sharing from your heart. Today I felt a beautiful peace. As I sat with my mom at church I received the beautiful message from God. I guess I can be at peace knowing that I am doing the best with my mom as God will allow me to. One priest once told me to look at it this way. What is it that I can offer to my mom? He then said that I should be ok with whatever it is that my siblings can offer to do with mom. I should be accepting to that. That does help me. I do look at it this way. I will not have any regrets when God calls my mom home. I sat with her, I helped her with bathing whenever she needed and yes, I told her to ask me because this breaks my heart that she can't at times scrub herself. I can't live with myself knowing I can easity bathe and feel refreshed and here is my fragile mom struggling. I wouldn't want to put her in a home. I don't know but I just feel like gosh she brought 11 children into this world and she dedicated her life to us. Why can't I help this little bit. I am a person that believes we should help the helpless, the less fortunate. I love working with my angels... adult women with intellectual dissabilities... how can I not care for this precious soul who gave me life. Granted, it was not a great life growing up in this household but God loves me and has helped me be the person I am. He gave me a heart of gold. It isn't easy let me tell you. I so want to run away so many times. I so want to give up many times but He gently reminds me. God is awesome. But I still tell him... gosh Lord, I want to meet someone and enjoy life with that companion. :) (Big sigh) I keep on keeping on! It's not easy but so grateful to be on this site with all of you. God bless us all. Peace and love to all of you precious souls!
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Reply to Peace4Soul
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I would go stark raving mad if I was sitting watching news on the tv all day, whether I already had dementia or not. That is very unhealthy for anyone....Now, i know you seem to feel guilty you aren't making mom's life a gay mad joyful whirl, but you can't do that for anyone. NO one can make everything all better for anyone! She could go to a senior center for a few hours a week, it's paid for by Medicaid, I think. They send a shuttle bus and pick her up, weather permitting, and take her back. It's like day care.   You have to get her up, dressed, and ready, of course (an ordeal in itself) and be there when they bring her back.  And weather permitting, too.  Call the office for the aging in your area, there are probably programs all over that you don't know about. As for your siblings stepping in, don't hold your breath waiting, it always ALWAYS falls to one daughter to shoulder the entire burden.  It's not like we live in a Waltons-type world.  My mother had 8 brothers and sisters, 16 nieces and nephews, three children, 5 grandchildren, friends from church, friends from work, and when she got dementia, guess who was elected to be head caregiver?  
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Reply to Lassie
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This is so typical where one adult child of the elderly parent gets the caregiving work. BUT you must take care of yourself, else you will be good to no one.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I tallied up. There are 6 of you. It is lucky they are all in the area. I'd have a get together without mom so she doesn't feel guilty, and everyone takes a day of the week, with you, since you're the most likely to do the bulk of this, taking 2 days. Either that or they can chip in to pay for a companion or someone or something to occupy mom. I am gradually accepting the fact that I am alone in my situation, taking it one day at a time, and after getting so run down and exhausted (much of it was lack of sleep and emotional stress because I'm the type that is detail oriented and cares so much about things being right) that I got sick for 2-3 weeks with bronchitis last year, I am looking out for me more. My mantra has become "I can't do everything for everyone" and "I have to look out for me, too."
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