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Burned Out dealing with elderly parent

I feel so alone and so terribly guilty.  My father is 98+ and, thank heaven, lives in a retirement apartment.  Mother died at age 98 a few years ago.  I have been "helping" them for about 15 yrs.  I have one sibling living in another country. Frankly, I have had enough. My patience is gone.  I feel so guilty but they have sucked the life out of me over the years. My father is confined to a wheelchair after breaking his hip this year.  He complains about EVERYTHING.  I dread going over there. Even if I manage to stay an hour or 2 every week, he lays on the guilt with "thanks for spending a few minutes with me",  "why dont you come more often" etc.  I'm so depressed.  I didnt ask for this, I didnt volunteer for this.  I so deeply resent being forced into this position and then here comes the guilty feelings. I have no money for  counseling and there are no support groups here. I can barely function anymore. This is not how I imagined my retirement would be.

Newbie

I understand this so well. Ive lost all of my patience and now im just angry so much of the time. And then the guilt on top. I have a half sibling in another country too, zero help, wont even come see his own mother. Feel like I'm gonna lose my mind, or maybe ive already lost it. If you wanna talk, maybe we can be each others support?

Contributor

Hang IN THERE ! I know these words can sound “hollow” but truly, re-read everyone else’s posts here (know you are not alone & many can relate) & definitely call any resource #’s !! I am ridiculously fortunate to have caring neighbors that have come over from time to time to sit with my Mom. I also hired a home health care aide to come in for a few hours almost every day to give me some respite & my Mom someone new to talk to ! & She loves her ! My point is ~ start seeing what resources are “ out there” get bold & ask a neighbor or friend to come over for an hour or two, if nothing else, just for you to stretch your legs & take a walk - hopefully in a park or a nature reserve. It helps. Always, Always, REACH OUT. Don’t get overwhelmed & WHEN YOU DO ! Reach out !! It’s saved me ! Peace & Grace 2 you !

Contributor

You may be alone but you are in good company because I struggle every day to care for my mother. I have had most of the feelings from your post and the replies.  Over 10 years ago I moved from another state back to live with my parents because they were beginning to struggle.  I am an only child.  My dad passed 7 years ago.  The first 10 years I really handled it pretty well but recently it all has been soul crushing for me.  Some days I'm good and some days I'm on the edge of tears and just want to run away.  Mom is not happy with her situation because she has lost her independence so she is angry and negative and so so critical of everything I do.  Her health is not good but currently pretty stable.  Recently I have noticed signs of dementia.  She has a hospice nurse that checks in twice a week and a CNA that comes to help her with a shower and she changes her bed.  If it were not for that help that we were able to get two years ago I could not have made it this far with my sanity intact.   I try to get a night out once a month and a couple days away twice a year to refuel myself but that fuel doesn't last long these days.  I recently took some advice from a friend who watched her mother be a caregiver to her grandmother.  When I am holding on at the end of my rope and she is sniping away at me I just say "I'm sure you are right" and move forward.  I know this phase of my life will not be forever and I will miss her terribly when she is gone but the emotional toll it takes on a caregiver is real.  I understand.

Contributor

When my mother was in assisted living - I would take her out for ice cream or on a drive just to give her some different scenery. Sometimes, it helped her mood and mine too! If he can't get out - maybe you could bring him a treat to lighten his mood some? Maybe he's depressed and needs to be seen by a physician? Just some thoughts .... 

 

It's a really rough job to be the caregiver - hang in there!

Contributor

Hi Burned Out,

 

Maybe we need each other. I, too, have my mother living with us and she is 95 with dementia. I could not wait to move out of the home I shared with my mother when I was younger. My parents divorced when I was 10. And I chose to take care of her, more or less, from that time on. I finally broke the my pattern when I refused to continue supplementing her income. That decision eventually landed my mother in Florida sharing expenses with her sister. I was finally free. Then my Aunt died suddenly and what do I do? I say to my Mother you can always come live with us. Well, she toughed it out for a bit then came out to me August, 2011. The lose of my Aunt was a tough blow for all of us and my mother has gotten worse as time has passed on. Now, she doesn't know a remote control is not a cell phone, she has no short term memory left, she is nasty and she has no money. I find myself wishing she was dead so I could enjoy my retirement then the guilt lands hard for feeling like that. I feel like I am on a hamster wheel with no where to turn. You are not alone 💜💜💜💜💜

 

Contributor

I feel your pain ! You are not alone !! I wrote this hyper long hopefully supportive response to you but because I didn’t yet have an aarp account, my response just disappeared from here, after I had to leave the page to sign up, it didn’t take me back to the comments I had just written - so, bummer on that, but I persist & will give you a newer revised condensed version now: basically I just want to say 1.) it’s super brave of YOU to SHARE YOUR STORY  and 2.) THANK YOU FOR FOR DOING SO, plus 3.) you are n-n-n-n-not alone ! I am in a similar situation & it is tough, no doubt about it… I’m glad you came forward and shared, because now I know *** I am not alone !!!!! “ THANK YOU! 
it would appear they have a resource care line here, have you tried calling it to see what’s avail in your area? That’s why I even jumped on to this website in the first place, to find some community support groups. Please don’t give up - you’re worth it ! Thanks for helping ME cope better, today simply but having the Grace to share your story, thank you 

Bronze Conversationalist

Along with this forum, we have a system of senior centers in my area (Salt Lake County, Utah).

Do you live anywhere near a town that has a senior center? Sometimes, the folks at the senior centers can provide help directly or can refer you to places that can help with the counseling side of dealing with an aging parent.

I guess my Dad and step-Mom made it all look so easy. They both always expressed their appreciation for our help and visits right up to the end. Their need for our help only got serious during the last 3 or 4 years, during which they were still living in the familiar surrounding of their home.

Dad passed away a few months after his 100th birthday and my step-Mom of 26 years passed away at age 92 just a few months later.

My brother and I had only a small taste of what you have described with a just a few years of trading off 2-day stretches of staying with and helping my parents. Ours was still more positive. We were invited back any time either of my parents thought to include that in the good-byes, but it was never a backhanded invitation. My other three siblings gathered round from their various states of residence during the last few weeks to months to help. Two of my step-sisters also alternated taking my step-Mom home with them to each of their other counties for a short 2- or 3-day visit from time to time.

Whether from this forum or from other sources, I hope you can get the help you need to regain your equilibrium so you can share emotional support with your Dad.

Stay well.

-Lynn

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