Dec 23, 2015 - 09:06 AM
Feb 06, 2016 - 09:43 AM
I don't have all the answers. In fact, I struggle with the resentment issues frequently. Not only resenting my father but resenting my siblings and even mother for essentially leaving all my father's care and all the responsibility on me. So, I won't suggest I have perfect solutions or that I am some sort of saint. However, I have gotten some advice and made some choices which have helped us and might help you too.
First off, try to stop thinking he'll ever understand how much of your life and your family's life you have given up to take care of him. He'll never understand. Chances are he is in the mode of 'it's all about me' and no matter how much you try to explain it to him he won't care. I know how hard that is because I've been awoken at 3 am by my dad because 'I don't know what I need' and I want to lash out with 'don't you know I need to sleep'. I have had the days when the kids are disappointed because we were supposed to go to a party or on an outing and we didn't because papa needed my attention or was ill or was so ill tempered that restaurant stop didn't seem like a good idea. While I still feel angry at times, and sometimes you just are going to be resentful because you are human, it has helped a little to realize I will NEVER get him to realize how much we've given up for him.
Another thing I would suggest is try to do the things that are really important to your family. We spent the first almost two years doing no travel because it was hard to travel with him. Finally I realized that our trip to Florida, or to visit my in-laws, or just a fun trip was really important to us as a family and the more we denied ourselves the worse the resentment festered. So, I decided to do two crazy things. The first was take a trip from the midwest to California, with a stop in Utah for the Senior Olympics my father-in-law was competing in, with BOTH my father and my mother. My sister thought I was nuts but having my mother along, who also needed some attention, gave us the opportunity to have someone watch my father who at least could call for help if needed. I was summoned to their room the night he made a mess in his pants, I did have some issues with other aspects of the trip, but we were able to watch my husband's dad compete, we got to go to some national parks and hike (my mom sat with my dad at the trail head or at the welcome center), and we even got an afternoon to explore Las Vegas without hearing complaining about everything. Then a few months later we took my parents and sister and went to Florida for New Years. My sister wasn't big on helping with my dad but again it was better than no trip. I did miss pool tiime when my father's needs took precident but we did manage to get one day at Disney World with just us four...memories for a lifetime. Figure out what is really important to you and your kids and then do what you need to do to make it happen.
Recently my husband was admitted to a program to become a deacon in our church but it requires weekends away for both of us...I point blank said respite care would have to happen because I realized if we didn't do this now it would never happen and there would be too much resentment if we didn't follow God's call on this. My father isn't too happy with the respite care but we need to do what is best for our whole family not just him alone.I know how hard to find, and expensive, respite care can be but if that it what is necessary see if you can do it even just every so often.
If you are a person of faith don't hesitate to turn to those around you at church. For the longest time I would put on this 'happy face' with family and friends...you know the 'everything is fine, we have this under control' when asked 'how are things going?' Now I've tried to be a lot more honest and while people around me can't take away the work at least I'm honest and I've found great suggestions and empathy where I never expected it.
Do your best and know that resentment isn't all bad...it means you care about your father and your family. If you didn't you'd be indifferent to their needs and that would be worse. May you find peace and balance as you deal with this terribly difficult issue.
Feb 06, 2016 - 02:28 PM
To begin with, see if there is any help you can gat from your local Office of Aging. Ours helped us to get a power of attorney for my mother-in-law, meals delivered for her, and gave us some one else to blame when we insisted that something needed to be done (like the delivered meals, or like certain doctor appointments.)
Secondly, establish times when you will go and help him.
You need to have time for yourself and time for the family.
Tell him (or write the letter) that you have other arrangements, and can't always interrupt or upset those plans. See if you can get him evaluated by the Office of Aging to determine if he needs someone to come in and help him--sometimes they can pay for a caregiver to come in for an hour or two each day. That person could help him take his sugar test every day, and help him take morning meds.
You must establish certain times that you will go and be available to help him or take him places, and make it clear that you cannot do that sort of running around every day. Stick to the schedule. He might want to go out and eat, he might lose things and not be able to find them. But, unless there is something life-threatening, you need your time. I don't care if you spend your "off" time admiring daisies, watching TV, or watching clouds. You need your time too.
"Hang in there! We're all in this together," as Red Green used to say.
Feb 06, 2016 - 02:40 PM
My father is 6 feet 5 inches tall, and 320 pounds. He has lived in a wheelchair for 5+ years. Do you think getting him to doctors' appointments is hard?? You're right. When I realized I was paying the price (physically and financially) for his refusal to walk, I started to contemplate my alternatives. There was no way my dad's dementia would allow him to contemplate my alternatives, or what caring for him was doing to me. Here is a point I want to make in response to the other answer: I believe all the lecturing, written or verbal, will have little impact. I believe it could drive wedges and sew strife. I believe the person i the parent ROLE has to take appropriate actions -- draw boundaries. Must a person run to the parent the very second he calls? Ignore the insignificant demands, close the door to his room, tell the father you are busy now and you'll be there when you can be, divide "grandpa duty" between family members in time frames so everyone serves and everyone gets a break from serving (all children can benefit from learning to serve the elderly as appropriate -- someday, that man will need his children to care for him; indoctrinating them now to the duty will be a boon to him is his later life)..
My bottom-line message: actions speak louder than words. Don't preach: DO. And secondly, we adult children are the only ones who can control how the parents' demands affect us, what boundaries we set, what mind set we adopt. Mom and Dad cannot control us if we are in control of ourselves.
And a huge, experience-driven toast to my fellow care givers! We EARN every commendation we receive. May love and appreciation for our parents drive our efforts, and difficulties be well handled before they grow to resentment.
Feb 07, 2016 - 06:04 AM
Aug 08, 2016 - 07:21 AM