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Mom moved in with us 5 years ago. She is 91 (in 9 days). Before that I drove 45 minutes several times a day to help her with step father (invalid). She is just getting old, very easy going and very very happy in my home. I think I'm getting some burnout - depressed, isolating myself, etc. I am taking very good care of her, and I love her so much...but I have this gut wrenching feeling of guilt...even I don't know why. No one in family helps...don't even come around or send cards - haven't for years - my husband is very good about her living here and he loves her too. I just don't understand what "Guilt" means or how to deal with it. I should not feel guilt, but I do.I'm giving her so much love and care and I don't resent her?? Some people call me a Saint....but I sure don't feel like one...I feel like I'm not doing enough.

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sweatpea,

I think you need a support group, boundaries, look at the thread on this site "the power of emotional blackmail, get a therapist, look for somewhere else for your mother to live and thereby reduce the stress that is causing this ulcer.

https://www.agingcare.com/discussions/power-of-emotional-blackmailers-176430.htm

Right now you are in a very unhealthy emotional dance with your mother. It takes two to dance. So, choose how much longer you want to dance and then take steps to proceed accordingly. If you choose to stop the dance by setting boundaries, be prepared for her not to like that, but you need to do that in order to stop the dance and protect yourself from being used further.

Good luck and let us know how things progress.
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I feel very used in my role as a caregiver.
my mother is 92 and she is very negative..she lives with me And rarely thanks me for anything All she does is complain. My brother rarely takes her over night which I would love for him to do as I need a break. She is jealous of my friends and my boyfriend. She calls him names behind his back to me and it upsets me that she does this. I really like this guy and he is very kind to my mother..I feel like I am getting an ulcer because of this situation. What can I do? I would like to run away but I own the house we live in...maybe I need a support group.
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I'm sorry to hear that your sister's moods are so all over the place. As someone with bipolar disorder, it sounds to be like her meds need to be re-evaluated because I'm hearing more than just depression there. It sounds like she needs a mood stabilizer.

Well, I am glad that you are in such a very good mood now and wish you well with your stress relieving techniques. Let us know if we can ever help you with your down days of being on guilt trips. I wish you the best!.
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I am far from suicidal, some people are pill takers and some are NOT I am NOT! An the suicidal rate for people on anti depressants is Hugh! My sister takes anti depressants and she is up one day down the next, and off the wall other days. I can't justify these type of drugs, there are so many other ways to get rid of anger and frustration, walking, listing to music, talking with others, even a good old fashion yell! I tire of Dr's who think drugs are always the answer when there is so much more out there. Even for pain, there is massage, therapy, swimming! I understand meds are the only answer for some but for me it is a last resort! Thank you for your reply but I believe there is better ways. :-)
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careingfortwo, you sound in a completely different mood that you did 23 hours ago!

Sorry, but I thought you were 55 from your profile. Not that it matters, but I'm 57.

It does sounds like you are the 90% 24/7 caregiver for some very old parents. Are there any other options that you have for their care other than you doing this 24/7? That is very nice for you to do, but flying solo as a caregiver could put you in an early grave for 1/3 of caregivers die before those they are caring for.

I am also wondering on a practical level how well prepared you are at 54 for your own retirement one day?
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Medication, if you are depressed, should not be a last resort. It is the first line defense against developing maladaptive behaviors and becoming suicidal.
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Cmagnum
Thank you for your reply, my mother has been this Italian gunslinger most of her life at least that is what I hear from all my brothers and sisters, I don't remember her being that way. But than again I was always a very happy go lucky living on the edge kind of girl. Nothing every got to me or bothered me, I always seamed to find the best in any situations.
Lets see what kind of help do they need from me, lets just say because I'm here I do it all. Cook, Clean, Care, Comfort, Coddle, etc. They are both 90 years old both use a walker (have wheelchairs don't use them) ? I do 90% of everything.
I sometimes think I should be on meds but that will be my last resort, a therapist would cost money and time I don't really have, this is why I deiced to look into a site like this. I see so many other people going through the same thing I am going through so I thought maybe this would be helpful on my bad days.
Thank you so much for your kind heart and loving response, more later.
By the way I am ONLY 54 years old not 55 although lately I am looking and feeling 60. LOL
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careing4two,

Has your mother always put you on guilt trips or is this something new?

What type of help does your father and mother need from you?

At 55, you should really have a life of your own. Are you currently working?

You sound very depressed and in need of both a doctor for meds and a therapist for emotional support to overcome these guilt trips from your mother and creating some healthy boundaries for your own well being.
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Oh GOD the guilt! So deep inside it hurts. It controls the whole day and makes me angry and upset. Someday's I cry all day when I'm alone and put on a good face when I'm with my parents. My mom has a way of making me feel guilty and no matter how many times I tell myself this is not going to make me feel bad it still does. Mom says things like I do more for my dad than I do for her. Or when she is dead I will be sorry. I am crying right now just typing this. I do everything I can for both of them I don't know how much more I can do or take. I love them so much and can't handle the thoughts she specks of. Why do so many elderly people do this to us?
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I think you are having "survivor guilt." Like "why is this happening to her and not me?" that is a very common human experience when you are OK and someone else is not. Its something we are taught about, if we are lucky, as rehab docs in training, to focus on what you can do to help and carry a low burden of guilt for the circumstances of other people - your job then becomes helping them prioritize *their* goals and achieve what is achievable. You can't live the other person's life, no matter how much empathy you have or how good a person you are.
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Where does that guilt come from? As long as you believe that you are responsible for others (and not for yourself) you can't find the peace within you. A therapist could help you sort out what is really yours and what is deception, illusion, futile goals and so on. Once you set your personal life in order you can set boundaries and love turns into respect and real discourse, not just an emotional tug of war.

We are all equipped with what we need to find freedom, peace, and love within. It might take helpers: counselors, spiritually wise friends or clergy.

In the last 5 years I went from being a happy person to a depressed and angry daughter who wanted to wake up and be somewhere else. That state of mind was pathetic and toxic so I changed! One friend of mine who was used to me being submissive is outraged that I am happy! Bye bye to that one. Don't need it.
Prayers and confidence that you can find your way back to joy.
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I have no answers! However, Man O" Live, I sooo relate to all of you! Life is tough when you have such a life changing responsibility! Hubbie & I have been home alone ( no children) for 36 years, us, ready to retire, Mom (87) breaks her hip, moves in with us, Boom! Life is no longer your own! I treasure each day I have with her, don't concern myself any, ( been 4 years they are not coming) w/ 9 non contributing siblings any longer, and try to be true to myself and do what I do to my best abilities. This is not to say it is easy, that I don't spend my time crying and wishing I could just sleep uninterrupted for more than 2-3 hours, and yes, I don't know how I will handle Mom's death, but, with help from above, I will survive! This is short version of all of it, there was a huge home to empty and sell and on and on, family drama galore, once they figured out no money involved, magic they went away! Thanks for listening, I appreciate all the strong, kind people on this forum!
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My mother-in-law moved in with us 6 yrs ago at the age of 81. She is now 87, 88 in March. 3 1/2 yrs ago she was diagnosed with Parkinson's and is 68-70% deaf. Since that diagnosis, regardless of what the physicans tell her, she has stopped doing most things, she did previously such as her own laundry, daily walking, talking to friends on the phone. She used to do everything her physicans would ask of her. She is being treated for depression but she says she is not depressed. We have tried to taking her to senior centers and elder care, but she refuses to engage with anyone. She says it is because she is a private person and doesn't want to know those people. In the last couple of years, she has developed "wet" macular degeneration which has not helped. Per her physicans she only has very minor old-age dementia. Otherwise, she is in really good health. Her son, my husband, and I get frustrated with her, although we really try hard not to. I get that we are children and she doesn't want to listen to us. We are just trying to keep her safe within our home, such as no longer using the gas stove, using her walker consistently due to recent bouts dizziness and falling. We have modified bathrooms, given away furniture, rugs, etc. to make the house as safe as possible. We recently, hired a home health aid to help with her with her bathing, laundry, light tasks, companionship other than us. Her other 2 kids, 1 daughter and 1 son are no help. Daughter (age 58) continues to try to get MOM to give her all her money because she can't handle her own affairs. (this no longer happens, since we are DPOA) and son, says he just can't handle it, its just to hard and doesn't have the time. (He is 49, single, no kids) just selfish with his time when it comes to helping us with day here or there. We are doing everything we can for her to keep her in our home, however we don't want to lose our sanity or health, either. We are trying to remember when we do get time away, we try not to talk about her issues, but that is really hard. When she has gone to stay with the daughter, its almost like we don't know what to do because the "kid" is not in the house. (we have no children, but that is what it feels like when she is with us. "the kid who just won't listen, not because the kid doesn't understand but wants to see how far he/she can push the buttons.) We have discussed, nursing home facility may be in the future but it is not what we want for her, but we have to remember we have to take care of us. Caregiving does take a toll on person. I'm glad that I have come across this site. It reminds me we're not alone.
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I too had my mother move in with me about 6 years ago. It is getting so difficult. She has what I call episodes where she doesn't sleep and is into everything the whole time she's awake. The longest one lasted 6 days. They are now coming so often it's almost constant. She sleeps maybe 1 or 2 nights or days and then is up again for days. My husband is also very good to her. We take turns sleeping when she is like this. We both work so my daughter comes while we are working but this is starting to take a toll on all of us. I feel so much anger,guilt, sadness, etc.... It's good to know that others out there are experiencing the same things. I don't know how much longer I can do this!
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golbhard,

I'm glad the insight was on target, but I am not phsyic! My perception comes from both observations and experiences in my life as well as in the lives of others.

I'm glad things are going better not that you are not as emotionally enmeshed in the drama of your mother's decline which means you have a bit more of your own life with some emotional boundaries and most likely other people (particularly your husband) may well feel that you are more fully present both emotinally and intellectually when around them.

Keep working through those emotions and keep writing here as much as you want to write.
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Thank you everyone....great insight. Crowe you must be phsyic! You described my husband to a T. Things are really getting better now. I let myself get so worked up and involved in the stress of (fear of loosing my mom) that I dwelled on that.

Isabel you understand as I realize you all do. I am so glad I found this forum, I had been thinking about seeking a cargivers group, but haven't seen one listed in our paper...so this is it. I think just knowing I am not alone and there are people who understand because they are living it too. Thank you all! I can't remember all the names but everyone who commented. I hope I can help out others on this board...dialoge helps.
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Hi, golf. It's good that you may be delving deeper into your feelings. Your sharing that you guess you don't want to face reality is a great start to get you looking at what that reality may be. It might be the butterflies that I get in my stomach when I sometimes think about the fact that there is no turning back the clock on my mother's aging. It can be a scary feeling because aging is a one-way street. For me only, the way out of that feeling, or any other feeling is to allow yourself to experience it and recognize it for what it is. It is the only way to move forward. No, you can't make your Mom younger, and you are not getting any younger, either. You are doing, and have done a terrific job in caring for her, though, so please remind yourself of that often, ok? What else could you possibly do that you aren't already doing, golf? When you have done your best, angels can do no more. Blessings always.
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It was her decision and 71 is not old - I am almost 70 and my husband died almost a year ago and being independent is very important to me as it probably is to her and since it sounds like your sisters are there they will be the ones to help her and since she was here for all that time this seems to be what she wanted to do-do not worry about the future.
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my mom who is 71 years old moved back to her country where she was born and her husband die almost a year ago. I feel bad that I can't take care of her although she is still able to take care of herself, but if something happens to her my two sisters will have to take care of her because I am not moving back to my country because I have my job, husband, daughter, grandson and my life established here. she worked here for 35 years and she decided to move back there. I didn't want her to move back there but she did it anyway. I feel sad that now she is alone living by herself, but that was her desires.
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I can tell you no matter how much you do for someone it never feels like enough,thats just part of loving someone.Your feelings are very normal.
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Amen Emerald
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Another thing I thought of: I think we tend to (or at least I used to) is to make up for the lack of attention by our siblings. ABC and XYZ was not being done for mom, and siblings didn't have the time, so I just did it all. Less time with my family and less time for me. Sure your mom will not be here for ever, but think of it this way: you are already doing a lot more than your siblings, you just cannot do it all. You cannot give all of your time and that is ok. No guilt is needed. Do what you can and rest in the fact that you have done something (not nothing) for your mom.
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golf: I did the same thing when my Mom moved near us. I was there at her beck and call and I really burned out fast. Then I found this forum and discovered I was not alone. I was treating my Mom like a "guest" and putting all her needs above everything else. After 3 years, things have leveled out and she seems happier and I feel less put upon.
You really need some serious "me time" either to reflect, take up a hobby, read, meet with friends, whatever. I joined a local women's group where we talk about everything BUT caregiving - it recharges me.
Guilt is useless emotion because it lacks motivation or creativity and saps your energy. I think when caregivers say they are "feeling guilty for not doing more" what we are really saying is that we love our parents so much and we know that the inevitable is just around the corner. There is nothing we can do to stop it so we go into overdrive to try and make them happy.
I was burning the candle at both ends and found that there was not much left in the middle. Take care of yourself first and everything else will fall into place. (PS: ya' got a good hub there)
Lilli
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SUZANNE:

A therapist would probably say your guilt has nothing to do with your mother. Take enough "me time" to do some deep, honest soul searching. I'm sure caring for your mother makes you feel good and is quite edifying, but it's not going to fill the void created by putting things on the backburner until you completely forgot about them. What was your life like before your mother became the focus or center of your existence?
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Golfbhard, you sound like a good person who is doing her best. The comments from the caregivers on this thread are superb. I say "amen" to all of it. You don't have any reason to feel guilty. If anything, you need to do more for yourself, to nurture yourself. Counseling would be helpful for you, to help you get perspective. But the caregivers here are already giving you that "reality check"-----you are doing a great job....no need to feel guilty AT ALL. Just enjoy your mother while she's here with you. And come here to visit this site and talk with other caregivers.
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maybe you feel guilty because you didn't take care of her before? but let me tell you...don't feel guilty because before wasn't time for you to take care of her. she could do thing for herself including living alone, but now she is with you and the present is what's important now and you are doing alone just with your husband. so don't turture yoursel mentally
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golfbhard,

I'm so glad for your continued typing and don't worry about spell check. I"ve slautered a few words and collasped some sentence construction which is very easy to do when venting.

I'd say much of what you are expressing is part of the normal transition of facing our parent's mortality which forces us to face the reality of our own plus let's us now that we are joining the ranks of the elderly as they move on.

I am proud of you for recognizing that you had distanced yourself from your husband but now are working on reconnecting. If I were you, I would work very much on reconnecting. If he is one of those very, ultra patient and rather quiet men, his heart might be crying out for this and has been for longer than maybe he can say with words. I guess I'm trying to draw a paralell between the empty nest a couple has once the children are grown and gone, plus the empty next a couple has once elderly parents die. Those are two times that a marriage can either be awesome for each has kept connected with the other or crash for the connection was lost long ago.

Your venting has uncovered two keys to your guilt which you stated. 1. Feel guilty that you can't make her younger. 2. Possibly feeling guilty about not being able to keep her alive for the rest of your life.

Sorry, my friend, but it is not a matter of if you mother dies, but when. I'm glad that you are already face something many times we are in denial of when others can see it so clearly and I bet your husband already has this psychological road map figured out in his heart if not also in his head.

Right now, you have far too much on your plate to get in order before I'd get as bold with my encouragement as Pamela, Austin,, and Secret Sister plus others have seen me do before. I'm not a therapist, but I'd seriously take this whole delima to a trained therapist before your mother dies and for sure once she dies. I think that you are already aware of how tough a road that is before you, but know that you will make it through and that you are not alone as a daughter who has been so super close with her mother that it felt extremely alone, sometimes totally abandoned and often overwhelmingly afaiid about life without mom still on earth, but others have made it through this harder journey as well.

Keep coming here and keep wriiting!
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Lose that word guilt instead use fantastic and good five years is a long time and I hope you use the advice others have given esp. Crowe he is a very wise and caring man you should be very proud of yourself but you do need to do things for you some day you will done with this part of your life and if you can follow some of your own interest now you will be better off when that time comes-I am so glad I had friends from my activities when my husband was here so that when he died I was not alone-even though there were many times I had stay home I was able to get out from time to time and am a happier person now
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I will be 57 this July. Marriage has always been good - lately I've been pulling away but realized it and have made changes and we are reconnecting.

Siblings (2) passed away - the one left doesn't live around here or ever call or care. He has alineated (where is the spell check) himself from us. So it is like I'm an only child...grandkids have never came around her.

I guess I just needed to vent. I'm really lucky I still have her. I am also totally freeked out about if she ever dies. Very close.
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SO SORRY...typo. I drove 45 minutes several times a week. 3-4. When there I would mow the lawn, take them to lunch (ramp van with electric chair) just get them out of the house, plant flowers things like that. That was about 7-8 years ago.

Now she lives with me. I think I feel guilty because I can't make her younger - I guess I don't want to face reality.
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