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Hello. I am caretaker/POA/heath POA/ Guardian for a man who is 51. We used to date, and he called me after a major stroke from the hospital. He was already diagnosed with dementia & Parkinson’s prior to the stroke, and living in Assisted Living. However after the stroke he required a higher level of care. He called me because they would only release him to a Nursing Home, or someone to live with him 24/7. He was a friend, and I didn’t want to see him go to a nursing home, so I agreed.
This was over two years ago. Fast forward to now, his diseases have gotten much worse, and the more responsibility came on me....being POA and heath POA, Guardian (he was deemed incompetent). I basically handle and run ever aspect of his life, everything. I love and care about him so much, but I’m so scared for myself right now. As he’s been getting worse, he has become VERY mean to me, verbal and emotionally.
I understand it’s from the illness, but how much can a person take?
He yells at me for everything, everything is my fault. From the second I wake up till the second I go to sleep I am either helping him with something physically, managing his 14, and counting, doctors, “being him” in his divorce case (that’s been going on 3 years now) cleaning, cooking, or thinking about what needs to be done or taken care of for him, and everything in between.
I’ve tried to talk to him about how it is to much for me and tell him I can’t do it all, and his reply is always “ you can do it, you just don’t want to” then of course that makes me doubt myself, and I keep trying, only for it to continue.
He’s at the point in his dementia where he is now really realizing he can’t do, or be who he once was ( a very very successful business man) and he takes it out on me, he no longer asks for something he demands it, and if I don’t do it like he would, I get screamed at. This has been happening for quite awhile now, where normally I could take the verbal attacks, knowing it’s the illness, but I no longer can. So now I find myself saying “sorry” then my mind fights with itself, like why am I sorry, I didn’t do anything” then to trying to point it out to him when he does it, but then he turns it all around that I’m yelling at him, and how mean I am to him.
I guess what I’m asking from other caretakers is when do you really know if you can’t do it any longer? There is so much guilt involved as well. He will bring up “you promised to help me and not let me go to a nursing home” Which I did, at the time. He’s not taking into consideration that he would get worse, and I wouldn’t be able to. So when I try to talk to him about that, he cries.
He has no family, has a few brothers in different states, but they won’t help me, no one will. And he has no money, only disability. So what money I do make mostly goes back into him.
I do get paid through the state, for 5 hours a day, and have used all the resources they offer.
I’ve read, and tried the disconnect love, and it doesn’t work.
I know I need to seek counseling, but I was hoping to get other caregivers feelings and experience with it also.
The things a wrote here are just a very very small portion of all I do.
I’m really sorry this has turned out so long, and I hope I’m posting this in the right group. I just read some really old threads I found on google, and can relate to, so many.


Thank you in advance for any help anyone can provide.

Nicole;

Re-read everything that CM just wrote.

Next step; You CAN'T do this anymore. No one person can take care of a dementia patient alone. You need three shifts of trained caregivers; the patient needs to have access to a geriatric psychiatrist (is he seeing one?).

You are his guardian. YOU are in charge of where he lives. Get him on the waiting list of every Nursing Home within an acceptable radius and then start visiting them. Keep him on the lists of those you find acceptable.

THIS is what you can do.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Nicole.

There are lots of caregivers on this site who will immediately connect with your feeling of being overwhelmed by responsibility for a person's every need. The relentlessness of it, the exhaustion, the unpredictability of what each day will throw at you.

I do not think you are going to find many, though, or indeed perhaps any, who are simultaneously experiencing the type of emotional abuse - to the point of brainwashing - that has somehow developed in your relationship with this man.

You "used to date." When?

He is "going through a divorce" - which you are representing him in! When was he married? Who is the petitioner, him or his wife? How long has this been going on?

Can you explain, in as detached a way as possible, what you believe you owe this man and why you believe you owe him anything at all?

In case you're wondering how I have the cheek to jump to such a conclusion (I admit I jumped), the clincher was this sentence:

"I’ve tried to talk to him about how it is to much for me and tell him I can’t do it all, and his reply is always “ you can do it, you just don’t want to” then of course that makes me doubt myself, and I keep trying, only for it to continue."

Of course? "Of course" that makes you doubt yourself? Uh? Why is the natural response not a more logical "correct. I don't. Why the heck would I want to?"

Have you ever paused to ask how come he believes that he has any right to ask anything of you?

Please say a little more about how you got to where you are. Go back a bit.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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You are past the point of needing help. You have become a doormat and a verbal punching bag.
No one deserves to be abused. It is past time to get him in a facility. He will get angry but so what. He's angry with everything You do now. That won't change. Tell him he's going because you can never do it right. Your not a trained caretaker. Don't back down. It's too much for 1 person to do 24/7.
You are the abused girlfriend in the relationship, and your not the girlfriend! 
Best way to do it is if he has a hospital visit for his mental abuse/check meds and suspected uti.  Then he has to go to a facility. NO GOING HOME. Period. Not an option. Tell that to social worker.
I wouldn't handle the divorce. That what his lawyer is for. If he doesn' have one, and has no money what is the point? 
You need to grow a backbone or your health will go before his. 
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Reply to Jasmina
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Nicole,

Why are his needs more important than yours? Do you have a boyfriend? Friends? Do you go out and socialize? Do you have hobbies you love? Do you have a career? Or aspirations of one? Do you have any hopes and dreams for your life?

People can sniff out those they can take advantage of and manipulate. That's why he called you from the hospital. Think about that. Playing on a person's sympathy and soft nature shows a selfish heart.

If he really was worthy of your love and concern, he'd never put you through all this. He'd want you to be happy, healthy and enjoying life.

Yes, I know, the disease makes him act out. But I also know their core personalities are made manifest as the disease progresses. Look up 
" Caring for a narcissist" and you'll see oodles of examples and you'll get a clear picture of what's in your future.

Him saying.."You can do it, you just don't want to."...is clearly a manipulative strategy, making you the bad guy! What the h*ll have you been doing for the last two years then?!

I'm sorry Nicole, I just don't have the patience to hear someone give all of themselves and get kicked in the teeth.

Put him in a NH. Do not ask his permission! It's your choice. And Jasmine is right, he will get mad, but he's mad at you most of the time anyway.

Do it, your worth it! You matter!
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Reply to Pepsee
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Nicole-You are in my prayers. You have taken on a tremendous labor of love. Especially being that this person is a friend. What a good Samaritan you have been. Above and beyond.
Unfortunately, it seems that guilt goes hand in hand with this. I have yet to figure out why, as I am still learning and growing in God's graces.
But, I have observed that those who have that guilt associated with care giving are those who care above and beyond what is necessary for giving someone a good quality of life.
You seem like such a loving and caring person, and so I believe you have done your best and then some to help this friend. So, you have done nothing worthy of feeling guilty for.
With this disease it only gets worse.
You may want to seek out a facility that is able to offer good care and 24/7 assistance to your friend. I do not believe that you would be failing him or discarding him, if you were to find him help. You have taken on this deed out of the kindness of your heart, and may God bless you for that.
If you choose to continue on in the course of his care, and even if not, find your strength in Jesus. For it is through HIM that we can do all things.
My heart goes out to you and your situation.
Please keep us posted how you are doing.
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Reply to smeshque
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I agree with Smeshque that it is probably time to seek out a good facility for him. You could continue to oversee his care if you are able to but would not be wearing yourself out to the breaking point and impoverishing yourself with 24/7 care to a very ill man. As you say, it's been two years and the problems he had at the start have become worse, and unfortunately that will continue.

I admire your selflessness and deep sense of loyalty and duty. You've been a great friend and I'm sure you can continue to be just as much a friend when he is in a facility appropriate to his needs.
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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When do you REALLY know...? You know. As the question comes more frequently. When you barely recognize yourself in the mirror. Caregivers often pass away BEFORE the person they are caring for. Take steps NOW to lessen your stressful load. You know.
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Reply to OhMyMe2
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What a toxic mess you’re in! As you’re asking the question of really knowing when you can’t do it any longer I think you know the situation is unbearable and you truly can’t continue. Far too many people have made the mistake of promising “no nursing home” only to later find the issues grew to the point that care in the home was way past any one persons capabilities. This man needs nursing home placement as soon as possible, and that’s not you not caring. You’ll be able to oversee his care there without the abuse and exhaustion. It’s not selfish to consider your life and future either, both deserve attention and plans. Best wishes as you move forward
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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Nicole, you've gotten excellent answers, every one of them. The answers are insightful, tactful and helpful. I'm going to break with that trend and raise some very blunt issues, which I hope will be the clincher to your recognizing how unhealthy this relationship, that you're well past knowing that it's time to leave, and that you immediately start taking steps to terminate the indentured servitude.

How is he abusing you: "Let me count the ways". He's rude, inconsiderate, belligerent, insulting, demanding.

How is he paying or compensating you: I'm still searching. You make "a little money" but apparently return it to him. Why? Indeed, why, oh why?

What causes you to compromise your life for him? Painful, but it's a question that needs to be addressed.

There have been a number of similar posts of women in emotionally abusive situations. It doesn't take a psychiatrist to see that there are self esteem and self image issues involved, because if there weren't, you would have walked out long ago.

Pepsee summarizes it very succinctly:

"People can sniff out those they can take advantage of and manipulate. That's why he called you from the hospital. Think about that. Playing on a person's sympathy and soft nature shows a selfish heart."

He's a manipulator, and he knows he can manipulate, intimidate and bully you. Don't let him - only you can stop him.

So, what do you owe him? Nothing.

When will you walk out? Hopefully soon.

Call APS and turn him over to them; make it clear that you have no obligation, your health is compromised, you're a verbally abused woman, NOT his wife or family member, and have compromised your own health.

Write a revocation of POA authority and hand deliver it to him, noting on your copy of the letter when and where it was delivered.

If you have nowhere to go (and I suspect this is a major issue), contact agencies that help battered women and ask for assistance, first in housing, then in job training so you can learn to support yourself.

What obligations do you have to him: None.

What obligations does his apparent soon-to-be ex-wife have to him? Unknown.

Girl, he's playing you "like a fiddle." You have no obligation to him, but you do to yourself.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Nicole1126, in the mean time, have your friend checked for an Urinary Tract Infection. Such an infection can make a person act out, be mean, be unreasonable. The test for him is quite easy, and can be done at his primary doctor's office.

I agree with the other writers above, time to re-think where your friend needs to live. What you are doing will eventually cause you to crash and burn. Note that 40% of family/friend full-time caregivers die leaving behind the love one they were caring. Then what would he do? His family or soon to be ex-family will have him placed in Memory Care.

It won't be easy to get him to agree to move to Assisted Living or to a skilled nursing home. Or even hiring caregivers to come to the house to work at least one or two shifts to give you a break. You probably will need to do what many of us here had to do, wait for an emergency situation where 911 is called. ER, then hospital, then rehab, and then into skilled care. You will still be able to make sure he is getting good care, and still be able to go home at night and finally get a good night sleep.
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