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Reply with quote  #1 
Does anyone else worry sometimes that they may die before the ones they are caring for? I'm exaggerating a little, but the stress is intense. I posted a week or so ago about moving my mother to a nearby town...the first couple of weeks were rough with her negativity, but she's actually doing a little better now. Had to tell her Saturday when she called to tone it down a little. Had an insight to just be honest (if a little vague to prevent a hysterical meltdown) and told her to hang on a minute. I paused with the phone held away from my ear, took a deep breath, prayed a micro-prayer silently and told her she was "hard to listen to when she was acting that way". And so far it seems to have helped! We still have a lot of unpacking to do since she's a little less mobile than I thought and energy levels not what they used to be. My dad's nursing home is located very close to my mom's apartment complex which is handy, but I haven't been able to visit him much recently since I've been busy with her. Fortunately it's an excellent facility and I don't have to worry about him--they take excellent care of their residents. I've also been busy this past week with my mother-in-law. My husband and I are trying out an assisted living for a few weeks since she's no longer to take care of herself as she should and lives 90 miles from us. Just got her moved in yesterday, she did pretty well but today she seemed miserable and confused as to why she was there.....aargh. Going back there to eat dinner with her tonight thinking that will help settle her down a little...between some dementia and her hearing (needs new hearing aids, that's one of the other reasons we moved her so we could get her to some appointments--I've already scheduled that one for Monday) it's making it difficult. My husband and I have been doing some level of caregiving for one parent or the other for the past 18 years and I'm getting a little burned out. It's partially because now we have 3 people at once that we're having to manage. It's exhausting to me to make decisions for other people anyway, and this trifecta is a bit mind-blowing. Long story short, I haven't been to the gym for over 2 months. It's a great stress-reliever to me to do the weight machines. Think I could lose some weight (clincally obese since I need to lose 100 pounds) if I could control my eating better. I'm generally in good health, have been fortunate so far in that regard. But also know I can't continue this way and not get sick...diabetes and heart disease run in my family--heck, that's the main reason I've been involved in caregiving! Don't want to end up like my parents and yet having trouble changing behavior. In my late 40's I know I need to take care of me, but just feel like it keeps getting increasingly difficult to carve out time for me and my stuff. I told my best friend several months ago that one of the reasons that I overeat is that I truly enjoy food, the other reason being that it is something in MY control (when so many other things just happen). Kinda like an anorexic in reverse, lol. Anyway, didn't mean to write a novel but was just wondering if others feel similarly and what coping techniques are employed to change your own behavior/responses to the stress. Feel better already just writing this!
Reply with quote  #2 
Thanks so much for posting on my thread today.  It sounds like we are both in the same boat, and unfortunately, it is the TITANIC.

I made it through close to 2 years caretaking my husband with brain cancer. 8  months after he died, my mother collapsed and it has been six solid months of her relying on me for everything.

Through the help of this board and my therapist, I know I cannot let her live with me, and yet every week it is getting increasingly hard for her to live on her own.   She is a hysterical woman who had emotional issues all her life. Just being around her has made myself and my brothers nuts.  Now that she is old and sick, it has only gotten worse.

I feel for you and wish there was some magic wand I could wave to make these issues go away.

People always say "be sure to take care of  YOURSELF" and that 's easier said than done.  When you don't have any emotional space for yourself, it's easy to turn to overeating the wrong foods, or, in my case,  just finding   the whole day slipping by while I am feeling just awful about everything and then feeling behind the 8 ball because I spent so much time ruminating.  Hate it!

I hope tomorrow is a better day for all of us!  Big Hug!
Take care
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi there!

Do I think that taking care of my Mom is killing me? Well....let me just say that I do NOT look or feel like I did three years ago when this all started!

I have gained 20 pounds, Ive suffered hair loss from the stress, I now have a
"frown line" between my eyes on the ridge of my nose and Im tired all the time. Hubby and I were eating like 5 fast food meals per week, and we still are dosing on chocolate, sweets and carbs ( the feel good food!) and things were looking ever more bleak. But....

We sat down and looked at each other about a month ago....and made some decisions. As I think you all may remember I put up a post called "I Will Not Go Down With This Ship"..? ...well we finally put on the brakes and are turning
this crate around.

First we got a brand new treadmill...a good one....and we have both started working out and walking on it. We have each committed to this four times per week NO MATTER WHAT. Already its helping. We are both sleeping better have more energy.

Second, we made a pact to eat no more than 2 fast food meals per week...this requires more cooking and shopping but we are keeping the meals nutritous and simple with mostly veggies.

Third we have given ourselves permission to have FUN again.....just being silly, going out to movies and having people over. A lot of people we have noticed stop living their lives when their parents get sick or begin to pass. Its like they are paying some kind of penance for having a life because their parent is dying and probably miserable and they feel guilty. But what is true is that the parent who is 25-30 years older than them has had those 25-30 years already and lived them and we all deserve to have them too. It does not diminish the care we give or the sadness we feel that they soon will not be with us....and if they are not that sick and making our lives hard or sad, it is essential that we counterbalance that toxic atmosphere with a life of our own well lived and satisfying and not allow them or the heaviness of the burden of caring for them the chance to rob us of it. When we realized that is what we were doing we STOPPED. Now does that mean that we dont still feel guilt it does mean that we are concentrating on living the best we can so that our duty does not take us down the same rabbit hole.

It isnt easy some days because even in the best of circumstances caring for an elderly parent is just plain rough. But at least now we get up in the morning enthusiastic about what the day will bring instead of endless bleakness all around. and for a while....that place was very very dark.

FWU to LaLa
Reply with quote  #4 
"A lot of people we have noticed stop living their lives when their parents get sick or begin to pass. Its like they are paying some kind of penance for having a life because their parent is dying and probably miserable and they feel guilty. But what is true is that the parent who is 25-30 years older than them has had those 25-30 years already and lived them and we all deserve to have them too. It does not diminish the care we give or the sadness we feel that they soon will not be with us....and if they are not that sick and making our lives hard or sad, it is essential that we counterbalance that toxic atmosphere with a life of our own well lived and satisfying and not allow them or the heaviness of the burden of caring for them the chance to rob us of it." __LaLa
LaLa-- That was a beautiful post!  Beautifully written and a beautiful sentiment!  Finallywokeup
Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks FWU...

I just hate seeing all of us living in sackcloth and ashes.......after everything that most of us have done to take care of those that depend on us, we certainly dont deserve it.

Reply with quote  #6 
Hi ISawtheLight,

oh my. THREE elderlies to keep track of? No wonder you are stressed and wondering if you will live longer than them. I had only the one elderly helpless mother, and that was stressful enough.

I hear you on the food thing, it is a nasty thing, you really do feel better after eating those comfort foods, but it is a vicious cycle, or rather a very bad habit!

I do not know if there is any magical way of turning off the worry and the stressful thinking. With three elderlies, you are probably getting at least one call per day, one of them needing something or the AL/NH notifying you of some such thing or other. It is very stressful.

yes, very important to take time for yourself, but as you say, what time?
We understand. I wish I had some wisdom for you. I do not. About the only words of wisdom I have (which are very unpolitically correct) is that the only time you will feel true relief and no worries is after they have passed. We are just the types to get involved, to try to help and solve problems, so we are the ones who are going to continuously feel the stress. There are some problems that just cannot be solved, and old age is one of them. You think you solve one issue, and in a week another one pops up.

didn't mean to be a downer! Just saying, I understand.

Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks to all you wonderful ladies (didn't think there was a male on this thread, lol) for your responses. This site is the most wonderful place to get some perspective and not feel like you're the only one with a difficult parent (my NM is the main problem. Mil is sweet but has some dementia, and my dad used to be an N most of his life, the last 10 years or so he has really mellowed and is pleasant to be around--thank goodness! ). If they were all like my mom I would run away screaming, or maybe just quietly slip away to the Keys or Hawai'i lol. Only problem is I'd miss my husband and cats and dog too much! One reason I think my mom is responding to my harder line is that she's at a point where she's still mostly independent but really does need my help on some stuff. And my sister is unable to help as she is still in school, plus they're sort of co-dependent and the relationship is very volatile at times. So unfortunate for me, because once again it all falls on me! (we have different dads). Oh well, I do feel like I'm getting stronger mentally when dealing with my mother-starting next week I should be able to get back to the gym and back to my beloved weights and water aerobics. Can't wait!
Reply with quote  #8 
This thread is no joke, my younger S who helps me on weekends with our difficult, hateful Nmom has just been diagnosed with lymphoma. Nmom is 91. She has lived a very long life and may, from all the life force she has drained out of her children, OUT LIVE us.
Reply with quote  #9 
I am the only family to my mother whose health is failing rapidly and she is in complete denial. I had been telling her (gently) for a few months that given the amount of trouble she was having getting out of the tub that it was soon no longer going to be an option and if something happened that I am not strong enough anymore to help her (she's obese and I have Fibromyalgia and a poorly healed Rotator Cuff injury from way back) <DENIAL> It took the humiliating experience of her getting stuck and me having to phone the fire dept to help her out to finally get her to see the light. Now she can barely walk the 10 feet from her room to the bathroom but still staunchly denies that a walker just *might* be of use to her. I'm gonna come home from work one day and find her on the floor, it's just a matter of time. I live in fear of getting sick myself or having an accident on the way home from work because there is NOBODY, it's all on me. When I try to discuss it with her, she just shrugs my feelings and needs off as unimportant. She is so completely selfish and self-absorbed that I am impressed in spite of myself. She has no comprehension of why I need a few minutes after work to just sit down and be alone to gather myself. Her greatest joy in life is waking me on the weekends; I know this doesn't sound like much but she's been doing this for years with no regard for what time I may have gone to bed the night before (I used to work nights so bedtime was usually about 9am); if it's noon then I've slept long enough and need to get up and spend time with her, which consists of sitting on her bed being bored out my mind while she watches tv or just stares at me blankly...
Sorry about the rant but it's been a bad week.
halli to thanatos
Reply with quote  #10 
I hear ya!  I am currently waiting to see my own primary care doctor on Monday because I feel like somebody is shooting adrenaline straight into my body.  

Just like you, I am the only one my mother can rely on.  She lives about 35 miles away on her own, which likely can't continue.  Every day it is a new emergency and she just plain doesn't give a rip what I have to cancel, or how I feel. As long as I drop everything and race out there and take care of her problem.

I am detaching further and further and I MUST take care of myself.  There is nobody to take care of me.  If I have to go  no contact, I will, because she has used and abused me. 

She insists on emailing or calling me FIRST with any problem she might have. Instead of calling her doctor and discussing it with them, she tosses it in my lap and acts like it is a 911 emergency.  Sometimes it is!  But, it is like the little boy that cried wolf and now I can't ever figure out what truly needs my attention, and what I should ignore.  I can't take much more of it.

Good luck to you.  I feel for you 100%.  Wish I could give you a big hug!
Reply with quote  #11 

I understand how you feel with mom out living everyone.
My grandmother is 98 years old and my mom will be 76
smoked all her life and never exercised and eats like a bird
literally and they are both healthy.  Mean and healthy.
My mom everytime she has surgery and she has had so
many she will brag about how the doctor will tell her
for being a smoker her lungs are that of a 20 year old.
Help I want to scream!!!

I was sorry to hear of your younger sisters diagnosis.
We are here for you and for her.
(((((((((((((((Many Hugs to you both and your family))))))))))))))))))
Reply with quote  #12 
In recent news, I spoke to our family Doc. on Thursday and she agrees that the situation is rapidly getting out of control and something needs to be done, so she is helping me to start the process to move mom into some sort of assisted living facility.  The only down side to this is that it's gonna take awhile and I'm not sure we're gonna make it. On Tuesday mom took a couple of Exlax (she SWEARS only 2) and she has had the expected results since then....including the one time she did not make it to the bowl and COVERED the bathroom floor and wall; guess who got to clean that up?
I'm gonna die, I swear she's killing me!!!!!!!
Reply with quote  #13 
I am 50, but look and feel 70. We moved my mom in over 4 years ago. She was a wonderful mom so i feel bad to say, every day and year is a struggle. My marriage has been over since im more married to my mom.My kids still have issues but i havent been a mom to them. My mom demands my every minute, but the dimentia has taken away any common sence to understand shes killing me. I often think of killing myself faster. I just have nothing left.
Reply with quote  #14 
Depressed- I just wanted to acknowledge your feelings. You are not alone. I feel the same way and my parent isn't even in the same state anymore. I'm sure there is much advice to be given but for the moment, try to identify something that interests you--interested you before all this started. And simply just do a google search and read just a little on whatever that is/was, or pick up a book, or handcraft, that interested you before this started. Not to go full bore into it-you don't have time and surely not that much ability to concentrate. The point is to remind yourself that there is something that does interest you and to just spark a memory cell that gives you even a moment of positive. 

Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #15 
Oh yes. I am 51, and take care of my father who is 89. He has COPD, hypertension, diabetes, and is a three time cancer survivor. Even though he gets around well for his age, it is a constant strain to deal with all of his issues, appointments and everything else. I have asthma, hypertension, diabetes, insomnia, and a degenerative nerve issue in my arm. I wonder what would happen if l die before he does and there will be no one left to care for him? I know my brother would not step up. He never has. We just plug away, and hope for the best.
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