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We aren't super heroes so why do we feel like we have to be? Fear, obligation, guilt? That our parents took care of us so we HAVE to take care of them? When is it our turn to have a nice life? When we are old enough that our kids have to take care of us? If that's so, then the cycle will never end....

I am trying my hardest to realize that I CANNOT do it all; work full time, take care of Mom's financial, medical and household needs along with all of my financial, medical and household needs. I have a great husband who helps me when he can, but now his Mother is needing more help. I am very lucky and grateful that Daddy left Mom well enough off that we can have caregivers so I can continue to work and have some respite care. So why do I feel guilty for asking for weekends off so I can have a life too?

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my mom has been with me for 5 yrs. she is now 94 yrs old and I am running out of patience and sometimes I feel like I am losing my mind. I am with her 24/7 65 days a yr. my husband does nothing to help it's my mom, my sisters do nothing to help except say take care of yourself but they don't visit, rarely call and live their lives. I don't know how much more I can take with her ever changing moods. my sister told me i'm her caregiver now not her daughter, well caregivers at nh's leave after an 8 hr day and they can regroup go out with friends etc, tat s not the case when you live with the person thanks for letting me vent.
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Put yourself first. Take you care of you and then you will come back refreshed and be able to handle whatever comes your way.
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I think you are doing fine.. And as you said Mom has the money to pay for care... Before Mom needed your help did you spend every weekend with her?
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Baby Boomers go from 1946 to 1960. I was born 1949. What happens with some in my age group is they also help or are raising grandchildren. Throw in a parent with health problems...when your in your 60s the energy level is not there. My Mom had 4 kids. All the children should play a part. Even if it's an occasional weekend or even a day so the caretaker gets a break. Take a week of their vacation time to stay with Mom so caretaker can get a vacation too. I'm fairly new to all this and just in the six months Moms Been here, I know I won't be able to help her when she gets worse. And, it's not fair to my husband. He is good about everything but he wants to be able to come and go. Dementia and All is not like a terminal disease The person can go on for years.
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I know it sounds cliché, but you need to be your own best friend. What would you say to a cherished friend who was distressed and told you your story and how you were feeling? You'd encourage her to not have such unrealistic expectations of herself, and to take care of herself, right?! Well, take that wise advise and own it! I would encourage you to seek counseling to work through your emotions and find a better balance. I did when caregiving for my mother with ALZ got to be too much. It not only gave me skills to cope better with my caregiving situation, but has given me the tools to find a better balance (without the guilt!) in every area of my life. I wish you peace and harmony on your journey. It is possible if you'll make time for yourself to find it.
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The way I look at it... if we didn't have an elder to care for, would we go to an caregiving agency to become a Caregiver our self and make that our new career? Bet most of us would say no.

If I ever wanted to make a career change, I wouldn't be hired as a Caregver because of a variety of things. I just wouldn't qualify, yet society believes I should jump in and help full time care of a frail individual.

No thanks, I want the best for my parents and that would mean when the time comes, they will need to reach into their pockets and pay for professional care [they can afford it].

We now are seeing a generation of baby boomers caring for elderly parents and chances are as we age we will never reach the age of our parents. I know I won't from the stress of being a logistics caregiver for two very stubborn parents who are in denial of their age [90's] and capabilities.
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tempestmir, Your words really struck a chord with me:

"She's never been a woman to compromise, and now she is self-sabotaging in the name of maintaining a false sense of independence. It's frustrating the h*ll out of me and the guilt and stress are equally destructive to my own health."

Thank you for saying that as it has helped me to clarify my own feelings regarding my mom. She is in an AL but refuses to go to the dining room for meals, join any activities or ask for help with simple things. I provide damn near everything for her and have for over 4 years. If I balk or complain she withholds love. No wonder I'm a mess! She's sabotaging herself and me at any chance of happiness.

I've been working on distancing myself from her over the years. It's a one-step forward, two-steps back process. Right now I'm in the pits. Once again, thanks for saying what you said. You helped me today and I want you to know that. ((hugs))
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Even though I feel like the fumbling and awkward Clark Kent at times, my goal is to be Superman to my grandmother. She was Supergrandma during my earliest years when my mom would drop me off by her before going to work in the morning. Then Supergrandma would go and work her night shift after I was picked up by my mom. So her full life later...and into her late 80's as the cognitive decline began to take hold, out of the children, grandchildren, other family and friends representing any kind of superwoman or superman figure that my grandma could call...she called me. I wonder if somehow they know who to call...who will step up and has the potential to care give...to listen...the family member who will not chalk it up to "Oh, that's just grandma being grandma and starting her fires in the microwave again." I will always remember the first calls from her about her "needing help right away (and it could not wait) because she couldn't turn on or off the TV!" I and my co-workers didn't think much of it at first...but quickly I realized that she was "talking" to me. She was telling me in her altered state that something was wrong and not comfortable with her in her life... and she needed help. It was up to me (I mean...she called me...so why not; correct?) to try and figure it out...to make her comfortable again. Fast forward after many calls per day,having to resign from my corporate job, taking caregiver courses, seminars, conferences, etc. to try and figure this out...to try and find a solution to dementia/ Alzheimers. WOW, what it takes to try and be the best caregiver one can be. To not feel guilty for not knowing just what to do for her when something new occurs with the decline. No one asks to be a caregiver from what I have observed. All of a sudden, there we are...the ones with what I call the "caregiver gene" stepping up and making things as comfortable as we can for our loved one as they near end of life. Continued best to you caregivers! May we all find more moments of rest this Memorial Day weekend!
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Remember that commercial back in the 70s when more women were going back into the workforce. It showed her working, cooking, taking care of husband and kids with a smile on her face. After I worked 8 hrs a day, I just wanted to go home and do nothing. I'm retired and I can't imagine working and coming home to taking care of a parent and my family too. When it comes to MIL, your husband needs to take care of her.

When Mom came here, husband felt I should be with her most of the day. I'm in a split level. Mom is in the bottom level. Her bed and sitting area are one and has a full bath. She eats breakfast and lunch in her room. Dinner and until bedtime are spent with us watching TV. My afternoons are spent doing errands or just reading. 2X a week I watch GS who I was watching before Mom. I have not been able to have a full day to myself in 2 yrs. I should be enjoying my retirement. I feel when Mom was home she was pretty much alone. Here, she is never alone. Even if I'm in my Den reading, I check on her. She was never a game or puzzle player and it's not going to happen now because of her short-term. I need my time. As long as your Mom is well cared for, take the time u need. If not, u will become sick. As soon as Moms house is sold, it will free up some money and I am taking advantage of babysitters and respite. I'm it out of 3 kids and always have been. I have paid my parents back over the years. I 've been told it's only going to get worse and Mom will have to go into a NH. At that time, I will visit and make sure she is getting the care she deserves. I refuse to feel guilty about that and now.
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Because society was on that kick of women can "do it all; have it all". Humph. Like the comment about even super woman tripped over her cape. LOL.
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This. So much this.

I was adopted when my parents were older, so I'm 40 an caring for an 84 yr old mother and an 89 yr old father. My father, thankfully, was finally placed in a good nursing home after doctor intervention, but that's left my mother alone for the first time in her life and her obvious depression and growing dementia is exacerbating her tendencies to throw temper tantrums when things aren't done her way. She's never been a woman to compromise, and now she is self-sabotaging in the name of maintaining a false sense of independence. It's frustrating the hell out of me and the guilt and stress are equally destructive to my own health.

Yes, our parents took care of us, but an infant eventually grows to be a self-sufficient person and then the parent can step back a bit and do their own thing. The elderly are going in the opposite direction, and depending upon longevity there's no telling how long we'll be in some form of caregiver role. Thus, it's absolutely imperative to take time to yourself or you'll go certifiably insane. You'll probably still feel guilty, because you sound a little like me in that no matter how much you do, it still doesn't feel like enough, but regardless of what you're telling yourself, you are.

My fiancee pointed out that there are some people who essentially abandon their parents to homes or less and only show up when it's time to collect the inheritance. When I visit my father I feel as though I'm also visiting his roommate, because in all the years I've been going there I've yet to see a single person visit that man, so I try to include him in the conversation here and there, just so he knows someone sees him.

You're allowed to have your own life, and it sounds like your mom is in good hands when you're not able to be right there, so for the love of all that's holy take your weekends and enjoy them. You'll actually be a better caregiver to her because of it.
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Even Super Woman trips over her cape now and then. Sure you feel bad her life is not perfect, but you need not feel guilty. Be thankful you are there to help her and ask your angels to guide you.
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