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Hello again, It has been some time since I've posted but I still read and keep up. I'm still taking care of mom(she's 86 now). It seems like I've been doing this forever. I can't remember when it actually started but it has changed drastically since the beginning. I thought it was hard then but I had no clue. We've gone from being in the recliner and using a potty chair to the bed and the bedpan. It would be so much easier to understand if there was a reason for her being in the bed. As far as I can tell its just a lack of effort on her part. She claims its her stroke that caused her inability to stand or take steps but that happened 18 yrs. ago and she was walking and taking care of herself for a long time after that! Since shes been here (next door) she just got weaker and less interested in things. It just makes me angry because I have no life due to caring for her 24/7. I can only leave for very short periods and even then she usually calls to say she needs the bedpan. Then I race home only to find she can't do anything. She is almost completely incontinent now but she says she can't feel it when it happens. Is that normal? I don't understand how she can't feel a bowel movement against her skin!? Also, since being confined to the bed we now do sponge baths but I need advice on soaps. I had some septi soft soap from the hospital that goes in the water and its easily rinsed but I can't buy it anywhere and I can't find a soap that would be good for a sponge bath. They're all too soapy and hard to rinse. Any one got a good suggestion? Sometimes I hate myself for feeling this way but I am so tired of this life. My husband has been gone nearly 4 yrs now and I'm ready for someone in my life but who wants to jump in this mess? And how the heck do ya meet someone when you can only leave for a couple of hours between meals!!!! When my mom was my age she was traveling and having fun. She didn't even take care of her own mother! When I got pregnant as a teenager she forced me to give him up for adoption because SHE didn't want to have to help with him. It makes me so mad that everything I want to see and do is passing me by. I got a little carried away there. I'm just feeling really trapped. Sorry this is so long. I should post more! Jane
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Dear Jane:

I am so sorry and know how you must be feeling! Such hard times for both you and your mother...

It sounds like your mother may have had more strokes. Perhaps she may have had some TIA's which are called "mini-strokes" and not always noticeable when they are happening. She may need an MRI scan to be sure.

It sounds like you probably need a little respite or some help. It is hard being available 24/7 and it is also hard to watch your mother change over time. It is hard every which way. Perhaps there is a Faith in Action volunteer nearby that can help you with your mother. Here is their website: http://www.fiavolunteers.org/

All you have to do is enter your zip code and see if there is one near you and contact them. It may help just to have someone help out a little bit now and then...

Sometimes, while it is so hard, we never know how long we will have our elderly parents. It is a challenging and life changing experience. Meanwhile, know we are here for you and hang in there.

Hugs, Glenda
Hi Glenda, Thank you for your understanding. I read the posts often to keep up but its been too long since I posted myself. I checked on FIA in my area but apparently there isn't one here. I do have help from Elder Services for respite care. They will pay up to $250 a month for respite but its up to me to find someone and then I pay them and they reimburse me. In my area that is VERY difficult! Everyone is trying to hire help here and there's just not enough people to go around. All I can do is just "keep on keepin on!". I still am in need of advice about the bathing problem with soap. They're all difficult to rinse. Anyone have any ideas? Also I do have another question. re: TIA's I understand what they are and I agree that mom has likely had a couple but would that in itself cause incontinence? I am fortunate to have the help I do have but it just seems like I'm getting tireder with each passing day. Sometimes I hate the promise I made to keep her out of a nursing home but I hope that if I should ever need it that someone would do it for me, at least for a while. It just feels endless sometimes.
Hi Jane,

For bathing your mom have you seen those microwavable wash cloths? They sell them in most drug stores. You can microwave them for a short time until they are warm - the soap is already in them so rinsing is pretty easy. I used them on my mom. She too was incontinent. I know what you are going through. Maybe there is an aging office in your area that would be able to find someone to help you out? There is another organization - Caregivers of America - (www.caregiversofamerica.com) I looked into that organization when caring for my mom but she begged me not to have anyone come in and take care of her besides myself so I had to respect her wishes. Maybe they can help you.

Hope this helps you a little.

Take care,
Jackie
Hello Jane... it is difficult to comprehend it all and sometimes even to just have an answer for everything.

Were you able to find a mild soap for bathing? I did a search for mild soaps and a ton came up that you could check on... from baby soap to oatmeal????? Did a search mild soaps to use for sponge bathing in adults.. or else there will be many for infants which may not be so bad.

It is possible to not feel her bowels releasing.. and the incontinence can be for many reasons.. no exercise, aging, etc.

More importantly what I am concerned with is the resentment, anger, hurt etc that is building within you from having to give up your own child, to not having a social life and not being able to go out.

Have you every sad down and had a serious one to one talk with your mom to find out what it is that she may want? Have you ever been able to share your own mixed feelings? I am hoping that you will be able to work through these feelings other with your mom or with the assistance of some professional care.. your life could shift remarkably... you are an incredible daughter doing incredible work... but you need to reach out for what you are needing as well...

please keep us posted..

richest blessings
gail

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