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goozieJune 5, 2007

I just lost my dad suddenly and unexpectedly to a heart attack a few months ago..he was the main caregiver of my mom who is in ailing health..there are still things she can do for herself but not much, which now it falls on my shoulders because I live next door. I think she sits around and looks for things for me to do..I do all I can to make her comfortable, but feel myself burning out very quickly because I suffer from depression. I know about caring for the elderly because I did it for 12 years..but this is so much more different. It would take me hrs. to post what is really going on. I'ts too soon to think about nursing home care, and she would'nt agree to "in home health care"...she's just not to that point...what do i do to keep myself sane without feeling guilty. How do I let her know I am stressing out and becoming more depressed. I want to be stong and enjoy caring for her needs. I am currently going through a difficult divorce as well, so seems like I have alot on my plate...I miss my dad, he was my strong arm and best friend and now I see what he went through..she can be quite demanding at times, and I think she can do more for herself than what she does...but Dad always did it. Please help. Goozie

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If you do what needs to be done, there will never be any reason to feel guilty. You must put yourself first for many reasons, most of all---you can't allow yourself to become burnt out.
Have you been open and honest with her about how you feel and what you are able to do without stress or strain? If not, try to get through to her. Maybe her motherly instincts will come through and she will begin to do more for herself.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 7:14AM
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You DO have a lot on your plate, and you already know how high the risk is of burning out and falling deeper into depression. So my suggestion is to set some boundaries now, in your own mind, before the problem becomes overwhelming. Decide for yourself how many hours per week you can help, what kinds of tasks you can do, and what you can't do. Write it down! Shuffle the 'maybe' items back and forth until you have a list of items for you and 'others' that you're comfortable you can manage over the long haul.

Yes, your mother may not welcome home health care aid -- but if she needs more help than you can reasonably provide, what other choice is there? You can hire a housekeeper, handyman and errand-runner without having it sound like 'nursing care'. Or you can hire nursing care so that the time you spend with your mom is more enjoyable.

But really, with your divorce, your depression, and your own loss of your father, I think you need to lay it on the line about where your limits are. Your mother is probably very aware of the strain her care put on your father, and she may understand more readily than you think. Do take care of yourself though, because it's a long, long road.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 2:21PM
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Thank you for the replies... very helpful... I did start counseling today to help me cope with my issues...any advice would be greatly appreciated...Eveything you said is so if I can do it is another story..I am trying to be more firmer and keeping my distance some, to revive myself...I also have a sister who could be helping more..which I plan to have a talk with. Thank you again

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 3:43PM
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Please get your sister involved - it's her mother, too! I know that's often easier said than done. As others have said, you MUST take care of yourself first. How else can you then help your mom or anyone else? After talking with your sister - how far away does she live? - perhaps showing your mom a list of what the 2 of you can/will do will help. At least she can't say she 'forgot'. If the finances are there, hire someone to help out.

Your mom has lost her spouse & caregiver; it sounds like dad spoiled her. Now she's wanting that some type of care in addition to adjusting to the loss of her spouse. Have you approached her doctor about what she can realistically do for herself? (who has durable power of attorney? Her dr may or may not talk with you without it) I may not be making much sense, but I do understand some of what you're facing. We're in a spot with my mom (3 of us) in that we feel she should exert herself more to help herself, but that's another topic.Our mom has always been independent so this change in her after an illness has us shaking our heads!

PLEASE take care of yourself so you can, in turn, help your mom.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 12:37PM
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Have walked more than a mile in your flip flops. Not the divorce part, but the caregiving did permanent damage to the marriage over the years. My folks moved close to me so I could be at their beck & call. Mom was demanding & grew worse with time. I also sought counseling, Dr. put me on Lexapro which has helped. My sister finally stepped up when I called & said I need you here NOW. Mom was being admitted to 1 hospital day before my hubby's knee replacement in another hospital. We did have live in help as need arose for both my folks. But I did all Dr appts and food shopping. Prior to that had mom's stockings to put on & take off daily so that was 2 trips over to their place daily at least. My best advice is get as much help as you can and you may still be overwhelmed at times. If you could find a roommate who would be of assistance with daily chores, offer a low rent. There are some special souls that could be a blessing to you if you find the right fit.But I took great comfort when my folks each passed last fall knowing I was there for them every day, making them as happy & as comfortable as I could.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 5:41PM
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