Are you an adult caregiver to a relative?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. Principessa

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    Are you an adult caregiver to a relative? How do you manage without losing your sanity? :confused:

    I have now been in Georgia two months. One of the main reasons I moved here was to assist my mom with the care of my dad who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. He is also diabetic and has high blood pressure, though both are under control. His mind is still pretty sharp but his body is failing and he is quite stubborn about accepting assistance. He has what the neurologist calls a shuffling gait and his hand eye coordination is not what it should be. Yet, he will not let me or mom drive him to his doctor appts. I know he feels that not driving means he is no longer a man. I don't want to emasculate him; but I also don't want to have to apologize to someone else's family if he causes an accident. He will allow us to accompany him on errands and to the doctor or physical therapy, but I think he'd sooner die then let mom or me drive his precious Mercury Grand Marquis. Mom and I know that the day will soon come when we must do the driving I just don't want him causing an accident before that day.:worried: How did you take the keys away from your parent(s)?

    Mom is in decent shape comparatively. Though she moves a lot more slowly than she did two years ago. In the last 2 years she has had knee replacement surgery and surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. So she moves a lot more slowly. My ideas and suggestions are usually ignored. However, the suggestions of outsiders are always welcomed and often acted upon. :aargh4:

    Then there is the matter of privacy . . . my room is on the other side of the house but I have little to no privacy. As my mom feels that anything in her home is her business. Grrrrr! :mad: Yes, my bedroom door has a lock but I never lock it, in fact I leave it wide open during the day so I can here if dad stumbles or falls, which has thankfully happend only once thus far.


    FWIW, mom is 77, dad is 79 and I am 41. Though a major part of the problem is that they both treat me as if I were 16. Anytime I try to take over a chore or do something in the way of minor household repairs I am accused of "acting grown." The only thing I do which seems to please both of them is cook, clean, and do laundry. :aargh4:

    I didn't mean to go on such a tear; but I know this will get worse before it gets better. I need to find some decent coping strategies. Any suggestions?
     
  2. whatireallywant

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    I fear this myself. My parents would actually want me to pick up my entire life, and move back to a community I absolutely can't stand to live in, and lived in for FAR too long (30+ years!), in order to take care of them! Or rather, my mom would. My dad would probably refuse to admit that he has a problem until he dies. It's not that I wouldn't want to take care of them at all, it's more that I need my own career, which I can't have there (too rural and small-town!), plus I get along much, much better in a city than I do in a small town. I have trouble with small town attitudes, I guess. Also, I am really, really not a "caregiver" type personality, and it shows.

    Then there's the lack of privacy, and the fact that parents generally think of their grown children as "children". My parents do know that I have (or have had) a sex life, though, and they took it surprisingly well! I wouldn't want to have to explain to them some of my actions though! They would not take that as well. They took the fact that I have had sex with longer-term relationships fairly well, though. I just wouldn't want to explain the concept of "FWB"...or my presence on this site!
     
  3. MidwestGal

    MidwestGal Member

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    I was for almost a year NJ and it was hard. I kept myself busy online doing things others may find inappropriate (fuck them). You do what you need to do to take care of yourself and keep yourself sane! But finding an outlet being pictures, chatting, going to a movie with new friends, do what it takes to keep you happy or you will end up more sick. I tell you that from experience.

    There are genereally respite places for caregivers that will come in when you have hit your limit. You can find adult activitity centers that maybe your parents would enjoy or senior bus trips. Call your local county and see what they have to offer in programs to help caregivers. Hon, don't make yourself more sick tha you already are, it's not worth it!

    I'm sorry about your dad's diagnosis, it is a hard one. Hugs my friend. I am always around if you need to talk!

     
  4. whatireallywant

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    Very good advice. Of course, in my case, my parents would not enjoy the senior activity centers or bus trips - they prefer to just stay at home. They have very few friends and prefer it that way. They like to live WAY out in the country so they don't have to be around other people! My dad does have his church stuff (and he may be on national TV doing his music too! He's a Southern Gospel singer/guitarist.) My mom just has work, and she's always talking about quitting. If she does, she won't have any social outlets, because she just doesn't like social activities.
     
  5. gjorg

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    Get a stance on humour. You are not 16 and tell them so. You are now the adullt and making the best decisions for them. Remember when they told you that.Let them know---You took care of me, now I am taking care of you.If they object ,say remember when I objected to you taking care of me well this is for your own good. OR----Just do it ,take control
     
  6. Principessa

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    Thanks babe right back at you! :smile:

    ROTFLMAO :biggrin1: Why bless your heart, that is so not gonna work with my parents. :redface: :rolleyes:
     
  7. Ed69

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    Sorry to hear things are so stressfull for you NJ.When my father presented with full on dementia my wife and I applied for legal guardianship of dad.After that was granted by the court we talked with his primary care Dr.He sent a letter to D.M.V. and dad's license was revoked immediately.
    Like you I did not want to do it,my father spent fifty years driving log trucks!But like you I did not want him getting hurt or hurting others.Sadly my father will spend his last days in a rest home with 24/7 care.Sorry I can't write anymore it hurts too much.
     
  8. SpoiledPrincess

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    What about installing a baby alarm, then you can lock your door and if he does fall and need help you can still hear him. When it comes to taking him to the doctor's invent an errand you need to go on that involves 'women's products'.
    I'm afraid NJ that we always view our kids as our kids and no matter how old a child is if they come back to live with their parents the child has a tendency to revert to being a little like the teenager they were and the adult goes back to being 'mom' despite the fact that while you weren't living with your parents you may have had a very different and more adult relationship.
    I know that you don't want to make an issue about things with your parents but I think you have to view it realistically - you could be living there for 20 years and you need adult rights while you're there - the privacy to do whatever you want in your own space. You came back to help your mum and dad, which I admire, but you can't allow yourself to suffer because of this. As you know I have both my adult children living with me and I allow them the freedom to do whatever they want as long as it doesn't impinge on my quality of life. To me respect is a two way thing, and part of that is respecting that they have a right to an adult life with all that entails. Can you bring yourself to have a chat with your mother and remind her that for x years you've been living alone and you're used to your own time alone and doing just what you want and that you're finding it very hard not to do that, bring to her attention how much times have changed since she was a girl and that her values don't have to be yours but that she does have to respect your values as you respect hers. If you don't find some way to be able to live a little more freely you're going to come to resent your parents and find every day living with them a little more like hell. Tell her that you value your privacy much more now that the space you have is smaller and that she MUST knock on your door and wait for you to tell her to come in, if she can't agree to this then tell her that you will have to lock your door, it may be her house but this is only normal practice, every parent should give their child the security of not being caught legs akimbo and vibrator in snatch :)
     
  9. DC_DEEP

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    I don't have much to offer in the way of advice, dear... I'm getting the feeling that you were "3% asking for advice, and 97% venting."

    So, with that in mind, I'll try to inject a little levity. Please, laugh, it'll make you feel better!

    As far as "the only thing you do which pleases them both is cook, clean, and do laundry..." Go online to one of those costume shops, and get a French Maid Costume... and wear it while you do the "acceptable" chores. Maybe they would find it easier to let you do the other chores, too.

    My thoughts are with you, qt. I know it's tough. Taking away Dad's keys will be agonizing, but it's one of those things you know you will have to do.

    Have you thought about finding a support group in the area? I bet you could probably find one or more. This may be a good place to start...
     
  10. taven

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    I don't have any magic answers for you. I've been doing this for 21+ years and the last 6 have been truly difficult...almost totally an infant now, physically, and confusion is setting in. For years I thought if I only do a little more, I can control this situation. Finally I realized I can't control anything...all I can do is react to the current problems as they arise.

    Some of the comments irritate me; we all grow older unless we die young. We don't necessarily lose our humanity, and we should be allowed to retain (and be treated) with dignity. Treating older people with disrespect is unacceptable.

    On the other hand, I also had to care for a parent for six years who was truly vicious at times, (actually most of the last 6 years) so I know how frustrating that can be.

    As for your situation I would only say be brave and hang in there. You know you're doing what you can and that's a lot more than some (in fact many) people will do. Kudos and deep respect to you.
     
  11. naughty

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    Workin' up a good pot of mad!
    NJQT,

    I am so glad you started this thread. I have known for a long time that there were many of our members dealing with this particular situation. I would like to take my hat off to all of you. I know it isnt easy. I too have had serial caretaking duties since my 20's and it takes its toll. You also have to take into account that your personal health is not the best so it could make it a bit more trying for you. I hope we can keep this thread going for a while. Or morph it into something where we can be of support for one another. Keep your head up.
     
  12. shad24

    shad24 New Member

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    I know the feeling. my dad had a stroke, multiple heartattacks, diabetic, ect. he finally decided not to drive anywhere anymore. of course this meant he didnt go anywhere. his dr said he had the flu at the end. but he got madder than hell when he fell and couldnt get up by himself. finally he just didnt get out of bed. had to get rubber sheets and he had to wear diapers. had to feed him and give him his shots.
    He passed last december. I am just grateful that I was able to be there of what he had given me.
    he passed from cancer
    sure as hell a long cry from the flu huh?
     
  13. Not_Punny

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    Wow, nj, my sympathies. (And good idea, DC_deep!)

    I don't know whether to cry uncontrollably or cheer because I will never be in this position (both my parents are gone).

    However, an older friend of mine recently spent three years as caretaker for her mom who had dementia and two different kinds of cancer, one after the other. My friend had no life, and her mom wouldn't go to a facility. It was horrible. Funny thing though -- without various life saving operations, her mom would have died years ago. The saddest part was how BITTER my friend became toward her mother. I never want to experience that kind of bitterness from my children.

    I am NOT saying to let people die, but I AM saying that medical science has extended our life expectancy waaaay beyond what it used to be, and those added years bring responsibility: just because we are ABLE to live longer, doesn't mean we have the right to detract from other people's lives for years and years at a time.

    I know that I'm paying serious thought to my "golden" (less able) years because I don't want to burden my children to the point where they resent me.

    So, nj and anyone else reading this, this is "food for thought" -- we are going to live even longer than our parents.... so think about what we might do to our loved ones... :eek: ... and plan ahead for it.
     
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