I am new, and this is my first time using the support group. My father is 85 years old; he broke his hip back in April of this year. There are six siblings in the family, but at times it feels that all the work falls on me. One of my siblings thinks that it is typical to age, and he says that I should not to worry about my father. I refuse to stop watching him and caring for him, but at times, I feel overwhelmed. My sister helps as much as she can, but sometimes, I have the feeling that she does not want to help.
I get it, we all got things to do, and of course, they have a job that they need to go every day. Unlike me, I go to school full time, have a husband, and I have grown up kids that I hardly see. But to me, my father comes first.
I went to visit my father on Monday; I heard him screaming for my name. I immediately ran inside the house to find him on the floor and confused. I freaked out and took him to the ER immediately. The doctors found out that my father's diabetes is not well controlled.
We hired someone to come and help during the day, and I stay with from 2-5: 30 pm. After that, my brothers are supposed to check on him. One of my brothers remain with him but does not monitor his glucose as he is supposed to.
I feel overwhelmed and always worry about him; I do not know what to do.
I got into a car accident today because I was thinking about him and did not realize that I was supposed to stop. I feel that I am having a mental breakdown, and I do not want to put this burden on my daughters.
@LauraG610753 I'm so glad you've reached out here! I can hear the stress in your voice. Caregiving is a lot of stress and prolonged stress can cause many mental and physical health problems, so it's very good that you are aware you are reaching a tipping point (or maybe already have!). I hope you weren't hurt in the car accident? I can identify - one day I was so exhausted from caring for my parents I was thinking about them and driving and all of a sudden I realized I had driven many blocks past my destination. That was a red flag for me - I was so distracted and tired that I really shouldn't have been driving.
So you've accomplished the first step already! You realize you need help. Good job - it's harder than it may sound to accept the fact that you need - and are willing to accept - help.
The next step is to figure out how you can adjust your dad's caregiving team for adequate support so you can feel a bit more reassured that he's being cared for when you aren't there. A few thoughts that may help:
You seem to be the defacto caregiving team leader.
Sounds like day time is covered with a paid caregiver.
You are there every day from 2-5:30.
Evenings sound a little iffy....does your brother fully understand how to ck the glucose? Would some training help?
Do you have a shared calendar among all siblings so everyone sees their allotted time? Sometimes if they visually see it they commit better, and also they will see that you are spending a great deal of time...
You might talk with your dad's doctor and ask about technology that can help with monitoring the glucose. There are all sorts of tech options now, like wearable devices that can help.
Is your dad a Veteran? If so, he may be eligible for some VA benefits that can help with the costs of his care (so you could hire more help) and/or provide paid help (for things like bathing etc.) If he qualifies, there are home-based primary care VA programs that are wonderful - the nurse practitioner and nurse come to the house and they tend to get a much better idea of what supports are needed. Contact the VA Caregiver Support program if your dad is a Veteran 1-855-260-3274.
It also sounds like you could benefit from a visit to your own doctor to make sure you stay on top of your own health and to ensure that you are doing what you need to do to manage the stress.
Here are some Tips for "Sandwiched" Caregivers (we are all sandwiched between something! For you it's your dad, your husband, school and your adult kids I'm sure!)
Please let us know how you are doing and how else we can help! Hope you get some good rest tonight!