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How do I cope with the burden of caregiving?

I(Daughter) have been very Independent since my Divorce in 2005. I have my own home and just retired in Jan 2014. My Mom has come to stay with me since a hospital stay(June 2014) and now we feel she cannot go back home. I have a brother who leaves in another state, and a nephew who lives 4 blocks away and doesn't come to visit only when I call for him to bring the bills.

It is very overwhelming for me when my life has stopped and ! have to care 24/7 for someone else. I do all of everything for her and try to take her everytime I go places.

My Mom is still very alert and bright at 90, but gets around very slow, she has CHF and kidney disease. I am afraid to leave her alone, due to many falls in the past. So that leaves me at a resentment level of her being a burden.

We had a big arguement today and I finally told her in so many words that she is a burden, and now I feel horrible but yet relieved. I just don't feel that I am a very good caregiver and feel that my life has come to a stand still.





Status: Open    Dec 18, 2014 - 08:05 AM

Caregiving, Relationships

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Expert Answers

Dec 18, 2014 - 08:07 AM


Let's start with the guilt. You had only been enjoying retirement for six months when your mother joined the household. Although you did not describe your relationship with your mother growing up or as an adult, I am assuming it was similar to many mother/daughter relationships--as in complicated.

Even if you and your mother have gotten along swimmingly all these years, taking on the role of dutiful daughter caretaker is a huge challenge. Some adult children are NEVER up for the task...but you were. So give yourself a break if you now find that you are suffering from a bout of compassion fatigue.

Today's argument erupted in words that may have been hurtful to your mother, but unveiled a truth that she probably already knew.

My advice would be to sincerely apologize for hurting her feelings. You don't have to say you didn't mean it because you did. But you can tell her that you are going to work on ways to relieve your stress.

Here are some suggestions:

Search for an in home caregiving service or care companion to take over a couple days during the week

Enlist your brother to plan a long visit so you can either travel or have a "stay-cation"

Purchase a personal emergency response system with a pendant she can wear around her neck

Join an online caregiver support group

Be kind to yourself. All things do pass.

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By carema61 on Sep 11, 2016 - 06:36 AM | Like (0)  |  Report

24/7 caregiving is a very challenging task. I found myself going back to church helped me understand the way I need to approach her care is to - 'do good with others and never expect anything in return'. Little things like this is a reminder and a fusion for your soul. Do get private CNAs to help you. I don't know what I would do without them. And most of all, stay positive and remember this is temporary - you will always feel resolute that you did your best with her care; and that you will never regret.

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Voted Best Answer

Dec 18, 2014 - 08:07 AM


Let's start with the guilt. You had only been enjoying retirement for six months when your mother joined the household. Although you did not describe your relationship with your mother growing up or as an adult, I am assuming it was similar to many mother/daughter relationships--as in complicated.

Even if you and your mother have gotten along swimmingly all these years, taking on the role of dutiful daughter caretaker is a huge challenge. Some adult children are NEVER up for the task...but you were. So give yourself a break if you now find that you are suffering from a bout of compassion fatigue.

Today's argument erupted in words that may have been hurtful to your mother, but unveiled a truth that she probably already knew.

My advice would be to sincerely apologize for hurting her feelings. You don't have to say you didn't mean it because you did. But you can tell her that you are going to work on ways to relieve your stress.

Here are some suggestions:

Search for an in home caregiving service or care companion to take over a couple days during the week

Enlist your brother to plan a long visit so you can either travel or have a "stay-cation"

Purchase a personal emergency response system with a pendant she can wear around her neck

Join an online caregiver support group

Be kind to yourself. All things do pass.

Source: 

Comments (1) | New Comment

By carema61 on Sep 11, 2016 - 06:36 AM | Like (0)  |  Report

24/7 caregiving is a very challenging task. I found myself going back to church helped me understand the way I need to approach her care is to - 'do good with others and never expect anything in return'. Little things like this is a reminder and a fusion for your soul. Do get private CNAs to help you. I don't know what I would do without them. And most of all, stay positive and remember this is temporary - you will always feel resolute that you did your best with her care; and that you will never regret.

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Answers

Jan 18, 2015 - 02:32 PM

Forgive yourself!! You my dear have compassion fatigue!!
1. Have brother split the cost of having someone in the house with your Mom. It's easey to write a check MUCH harder doing what your doing.
2. Make a nice help wanted flyer and leave them all at the hospital employee lounges. Usually found on each floor. Find out the going rate for a CNA and place that amount on your flyer. DO NOT GO registry they will bankrupt you. You will already have a back ground check because these people have a thorough check before working at the hospital.
3. Get out- get over your guilt. Now with a caretaker go get your life back!!
4. Yes there will be times you wish your mother would hurry up and die!! This is normal .. Trust me it's just wanting the pain to stop.
5. Join a support group either online or in person. It helped me more than I thought with my own guilt.

Feb 23, 2015 - 05:26 PM

I can truly feel your pain as I am going through a very similar situation. My sweet husband started with dementia at around 62 years of age. I have been taking care of him for 5 years; as well as taking care of my mother-in-law (RIP), my 91 year old dad (RIP), my oldest brother (RIP) and now my mother with diabetes and my mentally ill brother.

I am so burned out that I am running on fumes. I was a firecracker waiting to explode every five minutes. I hated myself for being angry at him. It is not his fault. In fact, he is such a sweet and gentle soul. It only made my guilt even worse.

After a year of looking, I finally found a caregiver who comes in M-F for a few hours. She cooks his meals and makes sure he takes his meds. I finagled our finances and squeezed out money for this very important expense. This last month, I was "free" to be sick with this awful cold going around and slept more than usual.

I still have to take him to all doctor and therapy appts., buy groceries, pay bills, take care of the dogs, etc., etc.,. But at least I know he will eat well every day. With my frail health, his meals were iffy. More guilt.

His family has longevity genes living well into their 90's (even with Alzheimer's). So I am prepared to care for him for many years. And then I will have my mentally ill brother when my 86 year old mother passes.

I am trying to contact all resources I can find to help me stay healthy and sane for their sake. Be kind to yourself. As good as you are to your mother, be that good to yourself. Take it 5 minutes at a time and remember that this situation has an expiration date. You are very important in this crazy world of ours. Blessings

May 25, 2015 - 03:07 AM

I too take care of my mom by myself who has dementia. I have done it now for two years and work fulltime. I had to go to third shift to be here in the day. It is consuming, I have no life. I do everything for her. She still knows me but that is all. There is nothing that is like my mother. This is a hard job and not for everyone. I just always said I never wanted her to go to a nursing home if I could help it. You will just have to decied what is best fore you and her too. If her mind is still bright maybe assissed living would be the answer. Good luck
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By byovino on Sep 10, 2016 - 08:47 AM | Like (0)  |  Report

Remember the words of a pilot on a plane. Put your own oxygen mask on first, then help the one next to you. I took care of my mother in law, my mom, and my husband who was very ill for ten years. Not easy especially with a demanding mother in law! I took that advice and made sure that I did something good for myself every day. I was able to get help a few hours each day, and made sure that I took that time for me. Also always remember, you are doing a good job! Pat yourself on your back at least once a day!

By carema61 on Sep 11, 2016 - 06:29 AM | Like (0)  |  Report

Caregiving 24/7 is very challenging. As I have experienced it with all trailing negative emotions, I found that going back to church has helped me tremendously to understand and act without regret. I also do have excellent private CNAs that help me during the day and night so I can have some 'me' time and be able to sleep. Do get help with your MOM as it is a task that cannot be done by one person alone. I always remember that my mom took care of me without complaining or regretting it, so now it's my turn to return the duty. It does get easier once you establish a pattern and know that it is temporary and a fulfilling duty. Stay positive!

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