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Anyone else here a caretaker for a parent??

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
At 28 I have done this for nearly five years( I have yet to grow up myself)..I am finding parenting the parent at times well sucks... . Some days are easy and predictable others are so hard I cry myself to sleep... Yes I could use a support group and you all are the best one I have found... Please share ...
post #2 of 11
Sometimes I feel like I am her parent. We live together, I am 15 and she is 33.
post #3 of 11
I was caretaker of my s/o's grandmother from the time she could no longer care for herself, right up until the very moment she died. It was the most difficult thing I have ever done, and the best. She was an ornery old broad, and a dear friend for many years. She had cancer, emphysema, diabetes, and Alzheimer's. Whe she came from her daughter's house where she was not being given decent care, she became so disoriented she did not know me, and attacked me with a kitchen knife. I did not know what to do, or if I was capable of caring for her, so I called Senior Services and they hospitalized her for a few days to see just how much care she really needed. The rest of the family flipped out over that, and accused me of trying to put her in a nursing home and take her house. My s/o was out of town when all this was dropped in my lap. We got help from hospice care since she was so ill, but I had her 24/7 for months. We had been tricked into moving back home to help care for her and so someone would be living in her hoiuse, when what his mother was planning all along was to wait until he made this long planned trip, then drop her off with me. It was funny, I was the only person that she always recognized, and never having been an affectionate person, she would play with my long hair when I would sit with her. I would not have missed that time her with for anything. I will always be glad I was there. I was also acccused of killing her, buth that is a whole different chapter to this little saga.
No one knows just how difficult caring for an elderly loved one can be until they have to do it.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Glad to hear someone lived thru it...
post #5 of 11
You will, too. There is a really good book called "The 36 Hour Day" about how to live through it. Not that you probably have a lot of time, but it has short chapters, good for bathroom reading.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you... Mom just told me I am lousy at this caregiving..lmao.. I ghet depressed when she does this ...
post #7 of 11
@ sharky, I don´t know you and you don´t know me. But, what I want to say is: I look up to someone like you. Get a kiss.
post #8 of 11
My mother was my grandmother's caretaker for her last few years, and she lived in our house for as long as she could (she broker her hip, so we had to move her into a nursing home). My grandmother had cancer (lung cancer spread to her brain (5 cm tumor was removed from her frontal lobe) and kidney). After the brain surgery, which was in all intensive purposes a labodomy, and the chemo and radiation, she was very sick. If you can think of a side-effect of chemo or radiation, she had it. If there is a medication she was on, she had the side effects. It was a really awful four years for my mother especially, since she was the one spending most of her time with Grandma.

It was the worst in the last year, when Grandma's memory started to go. She'd mix people up (I can't tell you how many times she called me by her sisters' or my mother's name), she got very argumentative (she couldn't walk, but she'd insist that we were trying to hurt her by keeping her in bed), and she was just very confused all the time. It was so sad to see my grandmother in that state.

If you even need a pick-me-up or a rant, my inbox is open.
post #9 of 11
No, I've never been the primary caretaker to a parent. But I will drop in on the conversation...

Try calling her doctor's office, and ask for resources to help you out. We have a day program for elderly, where they go by bus and are cared for during the day. One of my patients was set against going to the groups, but once she tried it she was delighted to find a dear friend from FIRST GRADE! I can't tell you how this has improved her life-and I'm sure improved the life of her caretaker!

If her doc can't help, try the senior center, churches, etc. If you could just get a little respite, it could save your sanity!

You are an angel to care for a crabby Mom. I'm sure if she were thinking clearly she would give you a BIG HUG and say, "You're doing a great job!"
post #10 of 11
I'm tempted to start with my grandmother, who moved in with us about 10 years before she died. But that was my parents' experience being caregivers, so I'll leave it be. Suffice to say it was not easy on either my Mum or Dad.

My Dad moved to Vancouver when Montreal winters became too much for him, leaving behind all the rest of the family. He had a ground level studio suite in the same house as us, but separate, for 10+ years, and for the first 5 or so was quite self-sufficient. He had dinner with us, but took care of his own breakfast and lunch, and toodled around the neighbourhood at will. Then he had gall bladder surgery, and the downward spiral began.

The recovery from that was long, and he lost a lot of ground. Then followed assorted other episodes, many of which weren't all that big a deal of themselves, but cumulatively, they contributed to the downward spiral. By the late 90s, he was dependent on me to take him anywhere, and by 2001 he couldn't do the stairs anymore to come up to our place.

We began bringing dinner down to him, and brunch on the weekends. Taking him out anywhere was a major ordeal, and eventually we stopped doing it.

He had his share of health issues, not least of which was a spinal stenosis which, had he been 40 years younger, could probably have been dealt with surgically, but by that point in his life was too far advanced -- so: major mobility problems; circulatory problems; then he got a pacemaker; then he had prostate cancer...and on it goes. And who ferried him from doctor to hospital to wherever?

Somewhere along the way, he asked his doctor about an alternative treatment for something, and got not just a negative response, but a total unwillingness to discuss why the negative response. So he found a new doctor. At a time when getting out was becoming more and more of an ordeal, it was wonderful that this new person actually specialized in geriatric patients and made house calls! Little did we know that he would do ANYTHING to keep the patient in the home, whether that was a good thing or not.

During his reign, Dad had a number of medical issues, requiring various running around, and various medications. The running around of course was during normal office hours (did I mention I was working 9-5?) and the meds seemed too often to give him the runs. I got a lot of 3-in-the-morning wake ups to deal with that, and not a lot of support from the doctor.

Don't need all the gory details. Also during this phase, we managed to get some homecare support -- right! One hour a day, five days a week, at the most generous, to deal with bathing and dressing. The real caregiving phase was about four years. Things came to a head in June 2002, and my brother, bless his heart, suggested to Dad that "maybe, until you're over this hump, it would be an idea to go into a nursing home" and Dad, bless his heart, hesitated only a moment before saying, "yes, perhaps, but if I do that, it'll be permanent" and got off the phone and asked me to get it under way.

I spent my vacation in 2002 literally looking after him until we could get an extended care placement. The care had become a 24/7 thing. There was nothing he could do for himself in the home situation, aside from eating. We got the placement at the end of July.

He has been in extended care for 3 years plus, and it's the best thing that happened to him in a lot of years. He has friends and activities, like he did not have at home, and all the care he needs.

He's sliding now. He could have another 10 years, for all I know, or he could allow the next frustrating but non-life-threatening thing to take him. It's anybody's guess. I'm basically his only support outside his facility. I see him several times a week, and when he's in good spirits it's great. When he's bored and frustrated because he's not been allowed up for whatever reason (and they're valid ones), it's all I can do to spend an hour with him and get out of there without bursting into tears. And then there are the times when he gets confused -- sometimes it's just events that get mixed up -- sometimes he wakes up from a sleep and, not recognizing the person there, tears a strip off them for something trivial -- and then has to be peeled off the ceiling when he realizes he's been unkind. I love the old guy, but some days...

So, yeah, I know what you're dealing with. PM me if you want to chew the fat.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you all

I have got her on a senior buddy list but that could be years...
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