I have been caregiver for my mom (82, stroke in Feb 2006, vascular dementia) since Oct. 2006. One of my brothers and his wife took mom in after the stroke. They needed help, so I moved across country and lived with them for 4 months until I found a place for my mom and me to live. We've been on our own for 5 months now. My brother's wife gives me 5 hours of respite a week, as well as random time here and there, and I get another 5 hours a week of respite from a paid caregiver. 10 hours a week sounds like a lot but, up until a few weeks ago, all of it has been spent learning the area and running errands (groceries, furnishing the apartment, researching assisted living facilities, etc).
Because of circumstances, I can't make it to any evening support groups and wasn't having any luck finding groups that met in the afternoon. I finally found one that meets from 1-2 p.m. and will attend my first meeting on Monday. I'm gradually trying to take some time for myself, which I know is important, but hasn't been easy to do.
Things were starting to settle down and I felt that I would be able to handle being a caregiver when I started getting visits from other family members who live out-of-state. They mean well and have even been helpful, but it's like the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm exhausted and the littlest things set me off. They don't understand. I feel I should be grateful for the help, but I'm not because it upsets my routine and I feel that my methods of caregiving are being constantly questioned. It's probably just curiosity and trying to make helpful suggestions on the part of my family, but it feels like criticism. I know I lack confidence in my caregiving abilities because it's all new to me (I don't have children, so I've never had the responsibility of caring for another person) and that adds to the problem.
I think my visiting family are to the point of thinking that there's just no pleasing me. And if I try to explain just how overwhelmed I am because of the complete upset of my routine, I'm told that I need to put mom in a nursing home since I obviously can't handle this. I think I CAN handle this if I can just get enough time to settle down from all the moving and changes and if I can find a good balance between time for my mom and time for me. Is that realistic or am I just fooling myself? Am I being too touchy?