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I have been a basic caregiver for many years. My mother was very ill for over twenty years, and although I weren't the major caregiver (my father), I was very depended on.

Now, my father had a major heart attack last year and requires alot of care. He lives on his own but I have to do all of his medications, business, set his budget, plan his meals, make and keep drs. appts., etc.

I have also been taking care of my grandmother for the past (approximately 10 years.) She's 94 and I recently had to place her in a nursing facility. I feel guilty because I promised mama before her death, I'd take care of grandma. Is a nursing facility really taking care of her? the nursing home is 35 miles from my home. I try to visit 3-4 times a week. Plus I have to take care of her business now too, plus go to court to get guardianship of her (no POA).

Here's the problem, I'm 53, disabled with Fibromyalgia, and bipolar. Yes, I'm on medication and do pretty well but I'm afraid the added stress is going to send me back to a psychiatric hospital (been there, done that ) It really hurts me to drive and I'm just so tired. I also volunteer at my church, however, I haven't been able to do as much as I like lately. I have no time for myself, little time for my wonderful husband and I'm scared.

PS: Yes I have siblings as well as cousins but might as well not!

[This message has been edited by KIGIRL (edited 02-16-2006).]
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Hi KIGIRL:

It sounds as if you have been spread a little thin with your grandmother and father both needing assistance. It's tough when you get sandwiched between two elder generations... What a dear you are!

Sometimes we can't do it all. Especially when your own health issues must be considered. You need to get some help! If your father has enough money, consider hiring some help or having "meals-on-wheels" bring in meals Monday - Friday. There are volunteers that might help with visits and cleaning.

You mention that you have siblings and cousins - perhaps now is the time for a family meeting where you approach them with your health concerns and tell them what dad needs help with. Ask them what they can do to help... Now, that might not be something that you feel will be productive or would rather not do. However - it is NOT right that one person in a family carries all the care-giving load for our elderly loved ones. Carrying the guilt alone is enough...

As for guilt-trips, you should not feel that because your grandma's at a nursing home that you have abandoned her. Because it is obvious that you haven't... Driving a 70 mile round trip to see her 3-4 times a week shows a lot of love and caring.

You need to care for yourself too... Take a little break with a cup of hot chocolate and pen and paper. And start writing down your ideas, do some journaling or, better yet, just let your mind float and relax for a while... Gather your strength and seek some help before your health suffers further dear one...

Love and Hugs from Glenda



[This message has been edited by glenderella (edited 02-16-2006).]
HUG HUG!

I have fibro as well! I have depression/bi-polar as well, I have it from my dad's side of the family.

All the stress of caregiving makes the depression "cycles" worse. To quote 2Pac, "it's just me against the world". Sometimes it feels just like that!

Don't feel guilty about placing your grandmother in a nursing home. That is caring for her! She has people taking of her and helping her in a good safe enviroment.

I caregive for my MIL and my FIL alittle bit. MIL is very indepentant but she takes some "behind the scenes" caregiving. My husband can't caregive, it just breaks his heart to see his mom that way. She has "dementia chatter" really bad and it gets on his nerves.

Hubby has 2 brothers but they only come around when they want something. :P LOL! Useless like being in a outhouse without any toilet paper and just a glossy magazine LOL!

Glenda is right, you've spread yourself too thin! Caregivers need "me time". It's not selfish at all and it's a neccessity.

Today for example MIL was running around like nuts washing curtains and just everything in sight. She has been a handful this week and I reached my breaking point.

Hubby took me out to grocery shop and we rented a movie. It was the break I needed, I was about to scream if I was in that house any more!

Try to take one day a week just for you. Go shopping, sleep in (8 hours is good for fibro), just whatever will give you "you" time

I hope you get better and don't try to take on personal guilt. Caregivers are alitle more than human LOL! but we're also not Superman.

Katrina
Thanks so much for your advice. However, about the family meeting. It wouldn't help. The mere mention of needs and they run the other way, but like Katrina said, if THEY want something, "Get outta the way!"

I have always been a type A personality, so I'm not real good at relaxing to begin with. I really don't know how exactly. And with all this extra responsibility, I'm really at my wit's end. Any ideas would be welcome. BTW, I live kinda out in the boonies, no shopping center, restuarants or anything very close by. Oh, and love the outhouse analogy. LOL Sandi

[This message has been edited by KIGIRL (edited 02-16-2006).]
Hello Sandi

welcome... two things come to mind to help you find some rejuvenation for yourself.. you can do some deep breathing and yoga.. or some other form of relaxation on a daily basis.. there are dvd's etc that you can learn from... the other is to journal... it';s carthartic and can be a very insturmental tool for helping you to come to terns with all that is on your plate.. it isn't an easy journey but you will find a great deal of support here at the support, so please feel comfortable posting..

blessings in all you are doing

gail

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