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Ann
Reply with quote  #16 
Elder care giving is impossible unless you really desire to wind up disabled, abused, exhausted, broke, isolated, and basically living in a slum-no matter how hard you try to do otherwise or how intelligent you are. Elder people betray their promises to you in a myriad of unexpected ways-and, trust me, there is nothing you can do about it. You will become a slave, a nurse, and a constant lay doctor.Your family will be torn apart. Churches get sick of you and so does everybody else. You won't be liked at all. People will run from you. Or condescend.Or worse, blame you for any and every problem they can that is even remotely connected to your parent. Your outings will be to ERs, hospitals, and nursing homes.You will be a total nervous zombie 24/7 365 if you do survive. No amount of meditation, etc., is going to do the trick for long. I have done this out of love for twenty years. I wish I could tell you that you can manage this- but there would be no truth in saying that to anyone. Elder care cannot be compared to child care. Unless you want to say child care is almost like doing nothing by comparison. I mean, it becomes unbelievably unbearable what the caregiver goes through. Misery seems like a mild word that just doesn't encompass all that you feel, think or become. If you are not physically dead, you will be in every other way. And if you love them like I have, I cannot tell you not to care for them. But then, do not wonder what has happened to you. You knew.
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Splotchy
Reply with quote  #17 
Your post really resonated with me, Ann.  I came here tonight because I was feeling pretty low, and when I saw your post, I realized that lots of us feel alone.  Caregiving can be such a lonely and exhausting experience.  And it's true...no one seems to care about the stress we experience. 

The only thing that's keeping me sane is the belief that there is a heavenly afterlife.  I just hope I don't do something drastic in the meantime that sends me to a different place. (My mom is about to be kicked out of yet another assisted living facility and the thought of moving her again is making me have lots of uncharitable thoughts and words.) 
 
But I do have some good news to report....my dentist is getting a lot richer because of me.  I've broken three teeth since April due to grinding.   And yes, I do have a night guard....but I probably also need a day guard....and maybe a body guard.

And definitely lots of right guard.

Lots of right guard.
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Splotchy
Reply with quote  #18 
I think the constant crisis after crisis is what wears us down.  As caregivers, we are either in the middle of a crisis, trying to regroup after a crisis, trying to prevent a crisis, or waiting for the next crisis to happen. When you are under constant pressure like that, you need a release valve.  But sadly, for most of us, there is grossly inadequate support. Intellectually, I understand why two of my siblings have chosen to walk away from the carnage, but emotionally, I wish they could provide some emotional support.  But like everyone else, they are tired of hearing about the crises.  It's much too draining.

I have tried to put boundaries in place to prevent burnout, but the pull of the medical professionals has drawn me into the latest series of crises.  Our current eldercare infrastructure is really not set up to handle the increasingly complicated and long-lasting needs of elders who are living well into their nineties and hundreds.  And if you pile mental health issues into the mix, the challenges are out of control.

We could walk away, but for many of us, we would find no true relief with that choice.  So instead, we move forward, feeling like we are trapped. 

As I said in my last post, my only relief these days is spiritual.  I keep clinging to the idea that there is a deeper lesson embedded in all these experiences.  I just have to find the energy to calm down long enough to make time to pray.... 
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StrongMaple

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Reply with quote  #19 
I totally agree Splotchy.

I try to be positive as much as I can but some days I'm so burnt out I think it will be the end of me first.
I finally have come to the point where my own survival is paramount.
It will be interesting to see if others come out of the wood work if I say I can't do it all anymore.

I made a list of things that make me feel better. I try to do at least one of them a day or when I have more time or when things are especially bad.
Just having them written in front of me helps me to see I have options.

My list:
Meditation
Nature walk
Swim
Listening to motivational speakers online
Bike ride
Baking cookies
Mailing a letter
Coffee on the balcony
Walking my friends dog
Self spa day
Local photo safari
Etc
If I can do one thing a day depending on my energy is it good self care

But yes there are many days I just think I can't go on but somehow I do.
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StrongMaple

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Reply with quote  #20 
Oh and dreaming about going back to school!!!

Looking up courses....

Dreaming about my future!!!
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Christa4

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Reply with quote  #21 
I really love that list, StrongMaple. Tomorrow, when perhaps I'm not so freakin' tired, I will make my own list.

And I agree with Splotchy - I try to rely on spiritual strength. Many times I just say a little prayer for strength to get through the moment. I have so much resentment at not getting support from family members. I've mentioned that in other posts so I won't harp on it. My need for emotional support is so great and I get so little.

I'm sick of dr appts and pharmacists and talking to insurance people and blah blah blah that I don't even want to do the basics for myself. I have no social life and feel overwhelmed at even how to -

And I can't stand self pity which I am wallowing in myself big time.

Guilt is my driving force. It's what gets me up and gets me going.

Sad.
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StrongMaple

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Reply with quote  #22 
Christa4
I can totally relate. I am very burnt out. There is always something to do or that comes up. Missing wallet, cancelling credit cards, finding Dads wallet calling all the banks again, the paperwork, the appointments to book, the list goes on. I feel I have been slacking off a bit because of the burn out. My Dad needs a new wheelchair and a physiotherapist to come see him and I still haven't booked it or made the calls. I still haven't mailed the letters I was supposed to mail last week.. I just don't seem to have the energy. Sometimes my Dad calls and I don't answer the phone right away.

Now that I am working a bit more I haven't had a lot of me time. But I did spend some quality time with my cat lately. And I did a little gardening in my two planters I have... I am in a flower club that starts up again this month, it is once a month I hope I can attend it this year.

I think the care giver work never really has a down time, so I think if we can remember to love ourselves as best we can through it that's all we can do.
And sometimes that's just a self pat on the back for getting up in the morning, or for taking the time to sleep in. I have really learned I need to self care first and foremost but it certainly is a delicate dance.

If my Dad finds out I didn't mail the letters he would be upset and stressed out, this of course causes me stress because I know it's something I Was suppose to do. I am on a learning curve with this as well because my In my family dinamic my Dad says jump and I say how high. I am learning to just tell him I didn't have time because #1. I had the flu, #2 he was going to change rooms again thus changing his address again,#3 I had to work.

I am learning to sit with him being possibly upset and annoyed with me because I am not on his schedule but he needs to learn as well it has to be on my schedule as well to get things done.
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StrongMaple

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Reply with quote  #23 
Today I would say yes. This is one crazy ride.
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Christa4

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Reply with quote  #24 
I have been dealing with Irma the last 2 wks so have not been on here.

I am so numb right now from dealing with all of that while caregiving.
And my father is angry with me. During the storm we did everything we could to make him comfortable, reassure him, etc. And now I have to deal with his anger over stupid silly trivial things - and get lectures from a sibling on how to communicate with him more effectively.

If I were going to lose my mind, tonight would be as good a time as any.
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StrongMaple

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Reply with quote  #25 
Christa4

I'm thinking of you I was wondering how everyone has been coping with all the crazy things in the world going on, the hurricanes, earthquakes etc
My thoughts are with everyone coping with these crisis and being a care giver as well. I can't even imagine.
Hugs to you, Wishing you all safety out there.

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Christa4

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Reply with quote  #26 
Thank you. One day at a time ----
I re-read this whole thread. I need to make that list. And I need to be with other people more.

For those of you working full time AND caregiving, I don't know how you do it. For those of us caregiving full time, we sometimes look at the working world and think at least you have some time away from the caregiving - although I know the weight is always there.

There's just no perfect scenario, is there? I guess the people that are caregivers in a perfect situation haven't had need to find this website!
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