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Newbie in Sad Shape

Posted by aunnie (My Page) on
Wed, May 11, 05 at 18:25

I just found this forum. I want to thank you all in advance. I don't even know what I want except maybe a sympathetic ear and a chance to vent. I think I'm too far gone for help.

I care for my 83-year-old mother. She's in the dementia process and has high blood pressure with frequent syncopal episodes (among other problems). I don't leave her alone for longer than about 15 minutes. Right now she's in better shape than I am. I have diabetes and high-blood pressure and don't have insurance. I didn't qualify for Medicaid and can't afford to pay outright for medical care. I'm in desperate need of counseling and an anti-depressant. I'm only barely functioning at this point. I'm 46 and don't work outside the home. I also cared for my father until shortly before he died from Alzheimer's Disease about two-and-a-half years ago. I'm divorced and don't have any children. I've given up my life for caregiving. I haven't had a 'paying' job for four years.

I have someone who comes in four hours a week so I can get out and go grocery shopping. I live in a rural area, and I don't get very far in four hours. My sister is of no help at all. She's living in a battered women's shelter now with her daughter. Even in the best of times, she never was much help.

My physical and mental health are at rock bottom. I can't do this very much longer. I'm so paralyzed with depression that it's very difficult for me to do anything at all. My mom is adamant that she won't go to a nursing home. I have thought about contacting Adult Protective Services or having her declared incompetent. I'll probably never get around to doing anything about it. Her physician's office isn't of much help. The discharge coordinators at the hospital always seem so pleased that they don't have to get involved. I sleep about three or four hours a night, and I'm absolutely exhausted. I'm getting teary typing this now. I cry all the time.

I'm embarrassed to tell you how bad I've let things get. I have one vehicle that isn't running, and one that has expired registration. I'm not keeping up with paying bills. The house is a mess. The living room looks okay because the woman who stays with my mom on Fridays takes care of that. Everything else is a mess. It goes on from there. I was very productive in my 'former' life. I wasn't a whiner. It's harder and harder to get through my days. I know I'm supposed to take it one day at a time, but it's getting harder and harder.

Everyone always says to take care of yourself. I'm a prime example of what happens when you don't. I never thought it would get this bad. I don't have any resources left. Considering the way I feel now, I don't think I'll be alive by Christmas. Thanks for listening to my little rant here. I know I'm not alone. I wish you all the best in your caregiving endeavors. Thanks again for listening.

Aunnie


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Hello, Aunnie, and welcome!

Oh, dear...I'm very sorry to hear of the situation you're in...sadly, we've all experienced various degrees of ups and downs on the roller-coasters we ride, so we can empathize with what you're going thru.

I imagine you're in the States (I'm in Canada), but I've read many posts here from others there, and think that there must be more assistance available to you...have you contacted your Alzeimer's Society?

Aunnie: I know it's early for me to say this, so forgive me if I'm jumping the gun here, but have you considered placing your Mom in a Nursing Home? We just placed my Mom, who's 91 years old, because frankly, as much as I always said that's something I'd NEVER do, I just couldn't do for her what that facility and those professional care-givers can provide for her. I couldn't lift her when she couldn't help herself anymore, I wasn't sleeping thru the nights because I'd hear her get up and know I'd have to assist her in the washroom, I dispensed medications, prepared her meals, washed, cleaned up any soils she had, and even though I had several hours a day of help provided by a care-giver, it was still too overwhelming. My husband also did whatever he could, but I realized our retirement years were not meant to be spent like that. Someone on here asked me if my Mom would have wanted me to go thru all that, and have it all affect my health (asthma and high blood-pressure) and I realized that she wouldn't want that, anymore than I'd want my Daughter wasting her years looking after me and getting ill herself.

I hope you find the help you require: many are here from the States and would have more information for you...but please consider YOUR life, too. Your Mother lived a long life, and I don't think she'd want to deprive you of the same opportunity.

Visit often
Blessings
Linda


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Well, it is a sad situation, but it's one you made for yourself and now you need to do something about it.

First, it's time to put your mother in a nursing home. Of course she says she'll never go, who does. The time is long past for the roles to be reveresed, it's time to make that decision for her, just as she made decisions for you when you were a child, and couldn't make your own safe decisions. As Linda says, your mother probably wouldn't want your life to end up like this.

What's going to happen to her when you die, probably before the end of the year by your report. Is she going to starve to death in the house because no one is looking after her? Probably not, she'll go to a nursing home. Well, what's the difference if she goes now or later? As you'll see if you read the posts here, your mother will receive very good care in a nursing home, and they can provide socialization and activities that you could never provide. That way, your visits with her will be pleasant times. If you can't do it yourself, then let the Social Worker/Discharge Coordinators do it for you. That's their job, let them do it.

Don't wallow in self pity, take action. If anyone reports your mother to Adult Protective Services, you will probably be charged with neglect and abuse, so be prepared for the consequences. Get your mother the care she needs and deserves. Get your life under control, get a job and get the care you need and deserve. Your mother has had a long life with care from a loving daughter, you deserve nothing less than that for yourself.

Good luck.


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Hi Aunnie & welcome to the forum... It broke my heart to hear your dilemna. I understand what you mean when you say you've given up your life for caregiving... However, I didn't have to deal with parents who had Alz and dementia. You really have your hands full. Aunnie, you need to find some help for yourself. What's going to happen to your mom if you have a breakdown??? Is it possible to change doctors? Have you tried calling the hospital and talking with the social worker? You may get connnected with a really good one who will be able to help you. Keep trying until you find someone who listens to you and plugs your mother into a program that will minister to her needs and offer you relief. (Maybe even someone in Medicare will be able to help you.) I'll be praying for you and your DM. God was the One who brought my parents and me through my years of caregiving. I called on Him constantly for help and mercy. He touched me and renewed my strength day by day, and He's no respecter of persons. What He did for me, He is able to do for you. God bless and encourage you, Dear One... ~abreeze


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Aunnie, welcome to the forum...first of all, you are not too far gone for help. I think your exhaustion with the situation has made it seem impossible to do anything...you have said yourself that your physical and mental health are at rock bottom. The Alzheimer's Society or Council on Aging would be a good place to start. A long term care facility might be able to give you some information. You can no longer do this by yourself, you need some help...there must be some resources that are available to you. My thoughts are with you...


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Aunnie, Welcome....caregiving has taken it's toll...please,please...get on the phone and call the alzheimer's 800 phone number in your area and tell them that you need help....it is a start....tell them everything...also call your local hospitals social worker...your local Division of Aging....my God open a way for you and your DM to recieve help. Keep us informed....God Bless, Nora


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Aunnie,

Do not let the sun set today without taking some sort of action. You and your mother are both at risk. If you drop dead (God forbid), who is going to take care of her? She'll end up in a nursing home and it may not be the one you would have selected, had you had a choice. Momj47 is right; if someone reports you to Adult Protective Services, you'll be charged with abuse and neglect. This is to ensure the elder's safety; much as we think we can take care of them, when they are at this stage, we simply can't.

I don't mean to pry, but if you are not working how are the bills being paid? If you are living off savings (yours and/or your mother's), that won't last forever.

Your mother wouldn't want you to hand her your life on a silver platter. Think about it: if you had children, would YOU want THEM to give up their lives selflessly?

Please start the ball rolling today by making at least one call to reach out for help.


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Newbie, my situation was similar to yours. No physical or mental strength left. Depression. I know where you are coming from. There is only so much that you can do. As Lasershow said, please take some kind of action today. You can't go on this way. Pearl


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Thank you all so much for your insights. Momj47, you are right. I did create this situation, and I need to resolve it. Thanks for pointing that out. You are all correct. It is time to place my mom in a nursing home. Assisted living isn't the appropriate level of care for her, and I can't continue to care for her much longer. I've known this in my heart for awhile now.

I've worked at being a little bit productive today. I left a message for a social worker from the home health care to call me back, and I set up online bill paying so I can get that back under control. In my past life, I was a very productive person. I've done two things today (in the midst of caring for my mom), and I'm exhausted. Tomorrow I will work on getting medical care for myself. I have a very small life insurance policy that I can cash in to help pay for some care. I've got to get help for my depression. The smallest thing is exhausting.

I'm going to call the Alzheimer's Association tomorrow. I need to do something positive every day to dig myself out of this mess. Thanks for your support. I hope that I can be some help to you in the future. I wish you all the best.

Aunnie


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

You go, girl.

I think what struck me most was that you said you were very productive in your "former life." That means you can get it back, and being productive is very gratifying. But always remember, the care you've given your parents should also be very gratifying to you, you've done a hero's job, and now it's time to take care of yourself. Little actions, then one day you'll turn around and see how much you've accomplished.

Take care.


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Aunnie, the county you live in should have a Council On Aging office and I would urge you to contact them! They can provide sooooo much valuable information! There is no charge and they will answer many of your questions. I went through something similar with my mom and I know how helpless you can feel. Just make it a point to do one productive thing each day and start taking care of yourself, also. There are many caring, supportive people here and sometimes just talking about a problem does make it a little easier. Please keep posting! Bettye


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Aunnie:
Depression certainly can take over your life. You've been through a lot. Now is the time to take care of yourself...get the help you need and get your life back in order, then you can take control once again. You sound like a very strong person, and a very loving, caring soul to have taken on the role of caregiver. DON'T FEEL GUILTY about needing to place your mom in a NH. You've done all you can. I realize you're probably thinking "easier said than done" but listen to the others that have "been there and done that". There are many wonderful people here to support you. The important thing is to get yourself healthy again so you can get your life back. We are all here for you any time you need to vent...my prayers and thoughts are with you tonight....be well Aunnie
Mimi


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Aunnie, you are already taking steps in the right direction...one day at a time. Please keep us posted on how you are doing.


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Aunnie: We just placed my Mom 3 weeks ago and all I did was cry right thru the next day and on and off the next week...I felt guilty, I felt I had broken a promise to her never to place her, and I felt like I failed her.

Now I see that she's in a better place with more stimulation, more people to see, and my frustrations in caring for her have diminished so much, that we're closer now that we've been in quite a while.

Yes, it's difficult...I know that...but please believe me that you'll BOTH benefit from the respite from each other and you'll be able to bring her special treats, take her for walks or just sit with her....Those horrible feelings will pass and there will be a light at the end of that tunnel.

I promise.

Blessings
Linda


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

What wonderful "advice" from them all.Don't let this situation drag you down. You will be no good to your mother if you can't get things under"control" now. You need help with this and also your health needs some improvement. It will only happen if you MAKE it happen. Take one step at a time, and when you get help and that phone call I am sure they will help you get the ball rolling.Please post again and let us know your progression. God will see you through. I had many days of hopelessness,with takign care of my MIL...for 5 years but this "higher power" seen me through it, and he will you....Many HUGS....Gabby


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Aunnie, It was good to read your positive reply...2 things you did and that is great....keep going and tell yourself that you can and know that you have done all you can for your DM. Keep us posted on how things are going....you talked about "letting things go"...been there and times are still there....just a suggestion....it's hard but keep pushing...when you walk in a room that needs help....set a timer for 30 min. and start cleaning starting to your left and go along the wall....after the timer goes off...walk away...try it again later on.....don't know if this will help but it helps me. Praying God will give you strength and send someone for you and your DM. Nora


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Hi Aunnie and welcome to the Forum. We are glad to have you. I am sorry to hear of your dire situation. I can relate to it because I had a long haul with my mother who also had multi-infarct dementia. Going it alone is definitely NOT the way to go, but, like you, I had no choice.
Sounds like you have gotten a good start. Hope the Sw returned your call by now.
Have you looked into MediCal for yourself? Treatment for the depression could make all the difference in your coping with this load. I would start there.
Adult Protective Services in your county may offer counselling to you on behalf of your Mom. Perhaps they can help you get funding for your health/depression.
PLEASE stay in touch and let us know what progress you are making. This is a good place.
Shalom....Derry


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Thanks again for all your kind words. It means a lot. We had a busy day. The home health nurse and physical therapist both visited, and I spent quite a bit of time on the phone. My mom has had a lot of pain and has been very confused (and challenging) today.

I had a productive day on the phone. The social worker from home health called me back. She advised me to apply for Medicaid again and gave me info about a respite care service. The fee is $16.50 an hour so that isn't an option for us. She also gave me some info about a local church that will make home repairs and modifications for seniors for a nominal cost. She was digging through her resources and said that she will call me back next week with more info. I spoke with the Alzheimer's Association and the local Council on Aging. The Alzheimer's Association hooked me up with a caregiving resource center for brain-impaired adults. I'll call them on Monday. The Agency on Aging gave me info about homemaking services and senior legal services. I got some good info, but my primary concern right now is getting help for my depression. I've got to get myself qualified for Medicaid and finish the financial planning to get my mom qualified also. I have a lot of work to do, but I know that it's got to be done. I'm pooped, but it feels good to know that I've made a little bit of progress.

Nora, I'm going to take your advice tomorrow and set a timer for 30 minutes of cleaning. If I did that twice a day, I could start to make a dent in my BIG MESS. HA! Thanks once again to everyone for your kind words.

Aunnie


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RE: Newbie in Sad Shape

Aunnie, You have been busy...you are on your way...you are so right about getting help with your depression....just my own experience...I am not a pill taker but was having problems with menapause...well to make a long story short...doctor told me with all that I was going thur with caregiving,life....I needed to deal with my stress...hate that word but it's a fact of life...he put me on zoloft....low dosage...the only way I can explain is that it takes the edge off of my stress...helps me so much and I will not be without it...LOL....as Derry said....start with your depression....you have already made such big steps...good luck with your "big mess"...been there and if you just take it one day at a time and look at it in "small mess"...you can do it. I am a saver...not good...have changed and started to throw away or give to charity....oh how good that feels!! Will be praying that all goes good from your calls....let us know....God
Bless, Nora P.S. May the Lord open doors and give you the wisdom and strength...give it all to Him.


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