What do you do when you as a caregiver, just lose it?

33 answers | Last updated: Nov 04, 2016
Jw812 asked...

What do you do when you as a caregiver just lose it? I made my sweet mother cry this morning because I overreacted. I feel like such a horrible person. My mother has never been anything but the most loving and caring person to me and I know she can't help what she does. The Alzheimer's has taken over the person she once was.



Community Answers

Xxa answered...

I just accept it as my expression of frustration over the situation, and go on from there. My mother is so demented that she does not know who I am anymore, and forgets she was yelled at within an hour. As it is now, she cannot remember how to stand up correctly anymore, among other things of daily life skills, so my days are filled with anger and frustration and disappointment.

I have ceased to berate myself over "losing it." I am doing the best I can, in so many aspects of her care..."losing it" comes far down on my list of things I worry over at night!


Crys answered...

I know exactly how you feel. I yelled at my grandfather one day. He never raised his voice to me in all my life. I felt so guilty I cried. My grandmother came in when she heard the commotion, but took it in stride. She simply reminded me of his condition and went on as if nothing happened.


Ca-claire answered...

I spend a lot of time feeling guilty for getting upset. I do try to remember to tell myself that I just lost my husband, and my parents are much further in dementia than I had thought they would be. It is so hard. I have learned to distance myself - the more I give, the more that is expected. It's hard to distance myself, but I push myself to do it. Most of the time, the person being cared for, especially those in dementia, will not remember you yelling.


Msanitra answered...

Well, I am taking one day at a time and agree with CA-Claire because it is so true that the more you give the more that is expected of you and the more obkigated you feel. Enabling them is easy when you feel that we're responsible for them when other aren't and it isn't going to get easier but I believe that we as caregivers deserve a break or a vacation and more so that others for the reality of taking on the job when no one else cared. You are in my prayers and love comong to this site for educating, reading, and ability to vent w/o feeling guilty about how I feel. We're only human and to not be effected by the weight of caregiving is only motivated by people who will take advantage of them or abuse and neglect them. Keep reminding yourself that it won't be forever but losing it will hurt you more than the situation or the one you care for. You are not alone.


Orien2 answered...

Well normally I drink a beer or smoke and then write and eventually drink enough alcohol that I forget about it. Anyways it ain't easy for anyone. Stop beating yourself up because it's messed up forget it and she is probably crying not because she is sad but because she wants you to feel guilty. Don't take it personally it's not your problem at least you didn't threaten to whack her with a piece of wood and so far haven't killed her or put her into the hospital with injuries. You sound tired, worn out. I take breaks when I get frustrated find a place that is calm safe warm comfortable for you and pray or do whatever calms you down even if it's clutch a stuffed animal or suck your thumb get some juice or water that you like and have that. Or go for a short walk before your elder gets up. Read books that make you laugh Carl Hiassan is absolutely hillarious. Read that Tourist season is a howl. Also attend church or pray by yourself. Mostly I'd advise praying to god. Praying "I want you yawi in my life and I cannot hope to understand you or your ways at all. That I give up on trying to do things my own way that this whole thing is messed up badly enough to classify as a disaster and I need your help to get through it." or some variation of that. Give it all to god everything you cannot deal with and focus on the things you can do to change things. Tell god all your problems like you would tell you best friend in the whole world. What have you got to lose? If I'm not mistaken you feel trapped yet feel guilty about that and a soda can shaken enough usually explodes when opened and makes a mess all over the place so what you lost your temper everyone does at one time or another even christ lost his temper and trashed an entire room. There's alot of emotions brewing there. You didn't beat her senseless or kill the pope so stop feeling guilty about everything you do and that is an order from Dr. Katz Heitmann. Do something your mom will hate but is harmless like shave your head or play loud rock n roll in the kitchen while cooking this is your chance to be a wild crazy teenager. Just drive her crazy. It's better than drowning her in the lake.

Just today she kept bugging me about my UNCG sweater I turned it inside out and backwards. Then she kept complaining about the tag. I nearly lost my temper and smacked her but had the good sense to walk away before I did anything stupid. I think they should sell tranq guns with demerol issue them to anyone who takes care of old people issue them. Or you could threaten her with the men in white coats with nets that will take her away every time she annoys you. Find something to laugh at and stop beating yourself for things you can do nothing about. Stop torturing yourself and wasting your time feeling guilty about something you cannot reverse tommorrows a new day and there are no mistakes in it yet. The past forget about it mostly but try not to make the same mistakes our dad will forgive us if we try to do better the next chance we got. All you got a hoice about is what you decide to do and what attitude you have towards life. You got food or means to get it and you aren't homeless or in Iraq or Afganistan so what have you got to worry bout? Sometimes there was no food in my life but I remembered hope and that one day I'd have food. One day I would not have to worry bout being killed by someone since no one shot me so far I believe I have it pretty good. No one tried to blow me up or threatened me with death recently. So I don't have much to worry about except if my mom decides to cook. :)


Gschodorf answered...

I seem to be the one feeling quilty everytime I go to visit my wife. She has early onset Alzheimers and is now in a nursing home. She makes me feel guilty by complaining I never take her anywhere, or that no one comes to see her. It takes two people or a wheelchair to take her anywhere, I am there everyday to visit her after work and she does not remember I was even there to visit her. She is 61 and has had this for 6 years. Last night when they took her from the dining room to the day room she could not even hardly walk, they had to hold her and go get wheelchair, when I left I set in my car and just sobbed for about 20 minutes. I am watching her die a little more every day. I am not going to go see her tonight because I need to gather my thoughts up. I get so lonely and feel so helpless some times. I am trying to work a full time job, see her, have a life, and what a challenge it is becoming. Any comments appreciated.


Jonce123 answered...

I guess I am fortunate that my 95-year-old mother (who now lives with me) only has early-onset Dementia.

Recently, she has had some physical problems (Osteoarthritis, causing disc degeneration and compression fractures); she has aged considerably--no longer having much stamina or strength; because of not doing much of anything, she has no appetite.

I work full time, but when I get home, I spend most evenings and weekends giving her more one-on-one.

My brother thought it was easier to estrange himself from our lives than to try and help.

My husband died nearly 5 years ago; kids are busy with their families & careers, so it's all up to me; I can't afford help--and I sure can't go on a vacation.

HOWEVER, I have begun doing something just for myself: taking a "mental health day" once a month; no one (except my friends) knows about it, so it seems like kind of a "guilty pleasure"; it recharges my battieris.

TexJ


Ms caregiver answered...

Is there any support for dealing with a sibling 55 years old with MS??


Night owl answered...

I think we all need to give ourselves a hug along with each other. We hang in there day after day sometimes with tears in our eyes just to get us to the end of that day. No, it doesn't feel good to "lose it" especially when the person it's aimed at is so volnerable. But we are not Gods, we do not have an unbreakable heart or emotions of steel. I may not continue as my father in laws caretaker; but then again i may find a way to keep going as many of you are doing. I send hugs and prayers for your continued struggles and for you to have the strength you need to get through another day or long sleeepless night.


Night owl answered...

just wanted to share a success. I used a dry earse marker a few days ago and wrote 'use soap' on the shower wall. it worked, when he bathed for the first time in a week. at least today he used soap. it may seem small but it felt good. I guess these are the things that keep us going.


Ca-claire answered...

Well, I'm back after 11 weeks off work. My Dr's felt I needed rest and time to let my meds work. I am only allowed to work 50% right now. The Dr was impressed that I decided not to tell my parents that I was off work, and just did things for me. I also backed off on the visits - they were getting frustrated. I now wait for a phone call from them inviting me over. It feels good.


Gschodorf answered...

I have come close to loosing it several times and i wish I could just go into a corner somewhere and cry my heart out, but I have to stay strong for my daughters and grandchildren. My wife has Early-onset Alzheimer's and Hospice was called in two weeks ago to start to take over here care at the nursing home. She does not know me anymore, but I still see her every day. They have to move her in a sling which I can't hardly watch because she looks like a slab of meat hanging on the end of a hook. I pray that her suffering will end soon because she does not deserve this. Being a caregiver is a thankless job and till someone walks in your shoes they don't have any idea what it is like. Hang in there and be strong and we'll all get thru this together.


A fellow caregiver answered...

Forgive yourself. God does.

When I lose it with my mother. I pray to God for forgiveness. He reminds me of the fruit of the Spirit. My heart is at peace with myself and I just remember the loving person who cared for me when I couldn't care for myself. It was my mother.


Spockula answered...

Yes, we are all human, & have our own frustration limits. Sometimes, it takes a 'bad incident' to make us step back, & then we learn. I have 'lost it' quite a few times. I, now, know when it's time to 'take a break', or a 'time out'. No need to make a sad situation even worse. Plus, give oneself a break. Guilt, & worry are useless emotions, yet, as caregivers...we tend to feel them a lot. Just accept the people around you, & yourself. It's hard, & takes time....but, can be done. I still worry, & 'lose it', but, not as severe, & just 'the knowing' makes it easier to deal with. Also, knowing 'it's normal' helps!


Jeciron answered...

One night, after Esther had gotten out of bed who knows how many times for what incomprehensible reason I lost it. I physically tried to put her back to bed. It's embarrassing to say it, but in my anger I was too forceful. Luckily I didn't hurt her. She became hysterical, crying, wailing, hitting and kicking me. I don't remember how we got through the rest of the night but things did settle down eventually. I felt horrible. When I guiltily admitted the incident to my psychologist she smiled at me and said, "Well, I guess you won't try that again". She earned her fee with one sentence that day.

I think we have to accept that we're not going to get through this without making mistakes or hitting our limits. Two pieces of advice that have worked for me: If your going to make things worse take a break. If you can leave the room go. I have a couple of terrific friends who have agreed that if I need, I can call them at any time, and they will help. That is a wonderful safety net and just knowing I haven't reached my last resort helps me through tough spots. Secondly, don't dwell on mistakes. Think of the next best thing you can try and do it. For me, cultivating that attitude helps a lot.


Farkleplenty answered...

I just yelled at my 95 year old mother. She said, "what's your name?" I said I'm your daughter..and gave her my name, and she said "you're not my daughter...you're being mean to me". wow! I felt like I was beating a puppy! All I had done was tell her to take off her bathrobe so I could help her go to bed...at the same time that I was exercising her legs so she would be able to stand up. She has stroke-induced dementia that has progressed to the point of not remembering what happened or was said minutes before. She can barely stand up (with help) and no longer is able to use her walker. I get so angry at myself for getting frustrated and angry at her. I know..on a conscious level...that she doesn't understand anything and is not doing these things to upset me, but I still lose it. I will leave the room and count to 10 or take deep breaths. She doesn't deserve my anger but I just can't seem to help it. I don't understand this whole thing in my heart, I guess. She lives w/ me and my husband. I have 2 brothers who live far away and haven't seen her in years...my sister died 7 years ago, which is when Mom really went downhill. So, it's just me. My husband helps as much as he can but that's not much. I have developed an umbilical hernia from lifting her and I just don't see how to keep from continuing to do that. I can't afford a nursing home....how does anyone afford that nowadays?? She still eats, though her appetite is waning; it's a challenge to get her to drink her alloted amount of liquid daily but so far have been able to manage that; she sleeps constantly and that's not an exaggeration... I don't want to be "mean" and that shames me terribly....how do you hold your temper? I have tried mentally distancing myself but I still have to deal with the here and now. I go see my grand-daughters (ages 3 and 5) who live 500 miles away (I fly) about once a month and it is forever a trial to get Mom to accept that I will leave. I get a lady to come in 3 times a day and help her and that's very expensive, but I have to see those little ones like I need to breathe. It is what keeps me going, literally. I just feel like crying all the time.


Spockula answered...

Yes, the stress, & sadness become anger, at times. It's 'normal'. But, taking a time out....even counting to 10, & taking a breath helps. It's hard, & no one understands the 'day-to-day' 'stuff' unless they live it. Taking some personal time...even a small amt. of time is helpful. Don't fret about the cost! It's worth it!


Opalsky answered...

She will probably forget it quickly. When you go in, just smile and say something nice, and if she likes it, rub her shoulders for a moment and hug her. My mom didn't have alzheimer's, but she was on oxygen 24/7 and her reduced capacity for oxygen uptake left her more than a little 'dingy' some days. She'd get very childish then and like a child, she craved a hug, a loving tone of voice and to be told that she was fine, and she was loved.

MOST of the time, I managed that, even after she'd done something amazingly nuts-making (heating the coffee maker carafe on the gas range, which melted the handle and set off all the fire alarms, for example . . .) and I'd have to take a deep breath and force myself to be calm and soft voiced. When I lost it I apologised and went on from there. Care taking is the hardest thing I've ever had to do and only other caretakers know the depth of exhaustion and frustration we sometimes feel. Please, don't beat yourself up over it!


Spockula answered...

Yes, find help....even if it costs money. Or, just enjoy the 'alone' time while she's asleep. It's very hard to watch loved ones get that type of illness, & no one 'gets it' unless they 'live it'.


Bertac answered...

Just joined this group. Need a group to vent & help others. I try to use comic relief. I agree, feeling bad about losing it, is way down on my list also. My mom forgets about it in a minute. I always treat her with respect, but we all have our breaking points at times.


Delayne answered...

So many people think that they know better than the caregiver, especially siblings.

After my step-dad passed away in 2007, I discussed quitting my job and being part of my mom's care with her. I did.

One of my brothers (POA of mom) 'decided' that I "need" to break her of her habit of staying up all night, monitering her diabetes more closly, the list goes on. He has Type 2 diabetes and mom has Type 1 and is brittle. He thinks he knows better than I. He has a Cereberal Palsy son (18),is married, and has Medicare help. He does not do any "caring" for his son, yet he feels he is an expert.

I started assisting in caring for mom in 2008...she fell 3 times, (broke both hips, separate falls). The hired help wanted more money, didn't show up or didn't show at all hence it was all on me 24/7. I am currently separated from my husband, (he left when I was visiting mom in June of 2009), although the separation was bound to happen as he won't handle the everyday things, wants life to be a party all the time. Yes, this added to the stress. Him not being here is hard yet when he was here, it was compaining all the time...no understanding on his part but he insisted that I understand his "situations" all the time. All take. No give.

My brother (POA) decided to take all of mom's stock out in 2009...all the money she had except for her IRA. Has used her money for his own use (I have proof!)

May of 2009, after another fall, I felt that it would be better if she come live in my house due to the fact that it's carpeted, not as large as her house and that we would have to sell her house anyway and it would be easier for all...his response to this was I wanted to have control over everything, but mostly the POA situation. APS was called and made a case against me for not taking good care of mom as she has fallen with me 3 times. (I was doing everything myself, no help from the husband, brothers...)

The APS agent, after a few vistits with me and mom actually apoligized to me for my brother's actions...he used this as an excuse to put her "away".

May of 2009, she was put in a facility for Alzheimers (sp?) patients 60 miles away from me...I went every other day for a year and a half until recently where she is now 10 mins away from me. In her stay at the first facility, she fell 10 times, each resulting in a breaks.

In Oct. of last year, my brother "decided" that she should be moved closer to me. The ONLY reason he did this is because the cost was going up...the ONLY reason.

I have two brothers...one is in AZ and the other in Houston, TX (POA).

November of 2010 my older brother needed $15,000 for the care of his wife who was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. My mom agreed to this...2 weeks later, he asked for another $10,000 for back bills...again my mom agreed, but with hesitation.

I could go on and on...but it's scary to see your parent "leaving"...

I have no children of my own, (emergency hysterectomy at 24, I am now 52) but my "mommy instincts" are very prominent. I LOVE my mom as she was the only one is this family that cared about me and was there for me through thick and thin.

This is my way of saying "thank you for loving me when no one else in this family did/does". Thaks for listening, yall!


Gschodorf answered...

I want to thank everyone that has over the last 8 years helped me get thru a difficult time with my Wife having early onset Alzheimer's. It is support from Caregiver and other organizations including Alzheimer's support groups that helped me get thru it. She went to heaven on Sept 12th of last year at the age of 60. I hate to say it but I could feel the weight lifted off my shoulders. I have now been able to finally put it to rest and get on with my life. I am here to help anyone that needs confort and support at any time.

Gary


Spockula answered...

It's helpful to know that I'm not alone. My Hubby has Schizophrenia, & many other serious health problems. I feel totally alone, & he's alone while I work, &/or sleep. It's been very hard. I feel I have no one to talk to, most of time. Not too many folks 'really' understand. His family has not been there. We're young....but, for his 'conditions' not so much. He presents higher functioning than he really is when in front of 'professionals'....which, I am, for my 'real' job! But, watching the 'day to day' 'stuff' is just so stressful. This is the only place I really have to 'vent', etc. Glad I found this site! Stay strong, Y'all!


Geneg answered...

I don't have to do anything when I 'lose it' which I do occasionally. An inner voice reminds me I love my husband, he may or may not know what he is saying/doing or insisting upon and I should be thankful he is still with me. His is a direct-speaking, controlling, compassionate, very successful business man personality: therefore, his Dementia-related outbursts/demands can be misinterpreted as 'business as usual'. But it isn't. I see it in his eyes, I see it in his lack of energy. I know these symptoms have labels, i.e. depression, etc. but I listen to my inner voice which sets me back on track to do everything I can to make him comfortable and safe. Our children do not live nearby, have their own families and tho I wish they were more helpful in the day-to-day caregiving I realize they lack full knowledge of the disease and that I am no longer the successful consultant of their youth. As for the angry outbursts, the repetitive activity and managing the entire household...I have never felt so alone.No, we are not young people - we have been married 56 years.


A fellow caregiver answered...

You are under alot of stress probably haven't slept well at all for a long time. Everyone loses it sometimes pobody's nerfect. Just do not kill her think of the mess and never argue with a fool it's like wrestling apig you get all dirty and the pig likes it. You aren't perfect and I'm not either and no one is so relax with the knowlegde you did what you could and stop beating yourself up that is what other people are for also if you have a ghetto blaster then put some tunes on that you like.


A fellow caregiver answered...

Burnout is so hard and some lose total control. A family friend just hit his Alzheimer wife in a grocery store. The store had him arrested and jailed. The wife was put into custody and placed in a safe Alzheimer's unit. She is fine, happy as a lark. He however is in deep trouble. He is out of jail but has a no contact clause. His kids are down there and trying to sort everything out. She will be left in an Alzheimers unit. However, there is another question - if they get a divorce how will her assets and money be preserved for her. It is a non community law state, Florida.


Spockula answered...

Very sad he hit his wife. But, it's unacceptable. They should, at least, get him some help, too. & maybe some supervised visits.


Omg~ answered...

What do you do when you lose it?? Your kidding, right? You are a human being...it's PERFECTLY NORMAL to lose it. This is what i have done and it has helped me tremendously..first and foremost- i forgive myself!!!! and then take a little look at what exactly caused me to act inappropriately (in a manner that doesn't benefit anyone and basically is pointless because i won't get MY way no matter how harshly i lose it) and make a mental note of the cause, because it will happen again. Now, when mom gets me to that point, and it's oh too often now, (sadly) i will have another way in mind..a more constructive approach..which STILL does NOT guarantee that the situation will be any less intolerable, annoying or MOST OF ALL hurtfull..because that's where it all stems from, the horrible hurt inside i feel that accompanies the act of watching my mom die slowly more and more every day and there isn't a damb thing i can do about it...so i get angry, that my intelligent mom is "allowing" this to happen..which i know perfectly well is not the case!! Lately, i have been making a joke out of it, hoping to make her laugh,,which fortunately is still occuring periodically...in between the dr. jeckle/mr. hyde act she is most willingly performing now...again, sadly! i make sure i take little breaks thruout my 24/7 caregiver shift i'm on..as well. & i must say, let your mom cry..crying is another normal human behavior...she probably wanted to cry all day..all this BS is extremely frustrating for our mom's as well. wen my mom cries, or wen i accidentally handled a situation in most probably not the best way..aka: raising my voice or speaking to her in an immature manner..and i am a grown woman and a mom myself who is raising a little one at the same time all of this is going on and KNOW BETTER..i will just hold my mom and cry with her...apologize and remind her i did not mean it and how much i love her..then QUICKLY direct the attention elsewhere..like, let's go water the backyard..which she can't do alone either..again, sadly! 1 more thing..after i tuck her into bed with hugs and kisses and wishes of sweet dreams..I POUR MYSELF A NICE GLASS OF RED WINE! I DESERVE IT..think of the day quickly, and pray for the strength to do it all over again tomorrow...and HOPEFULLY BUT MAYBE NOT...til the very end...& i cry again. One day at a time..sometimes one minute at a time..but i will persevear for as long as i can. Hope this has helped you a little...good luck..and don't forget to laugh...take care!!!!!
P.S. THIS IS THE HARDEST, SADEST, LONLIEST existance for me..and i AM EXHAUSTED...i have to remind myself that i am doing the best that i can..that's it..but, this is not my time to be self centered..YET-I AM VERY PROUD OF MYSELF AND BREATH....BREATH IN...BREATH OUT....REPEAT-


Joy answered...

OMG had some very good responses that she had taken. The time to think through and practice. I admire her for that. One she didn't mention that is vitally important. Get away for at least 4 hours every week. Take time just to be "normal" and "free". Hire someone if you can, find a repite home, or ask a friend, relative, or your church to give you that break. This is what I am afraid of for us all. We think we can handle it and are doing pretty well. Then something triggers it into Elder Abuse. I am helping a dear friend right now because he snapped in the grocery. Luckily for all the store took appropriate action and called the police on him and took her into safe keeping. Now the whole family is aware and everyone is getting the care they need. However it is costing much, much more now than the 4 hours a week! Now lawyers are involved big time.


Old bill answered...

Most if not all the comments seem to be from emotional people,likely female.I have always been an unemotional hard a--.When I was a young child my Mother would say "Bill,your going to be an old fart all your life"how correct she was.I am now 84 and my wife's only caregiver and a person she never knew.I have become very emotional and unglued easily.When I lose it with her,I clam up,go to my office room,boot up the computer and go to "my pictures"a history of 54 years of happiness together-anger and frustration disapear.Then I return to my wife,who doesn't know who either of us are.When I sit down she will go to the fridge and get me a beer.


J ann answered...

After having read the above postings I realize that my "losing it" is pretty mld compared to some. I have never ever thought about "smacking" my dad. I have, however, talked to him sternly, telling him to stop holding on to life for so long because he is in pain and I am worn out to the bone. I've said, "Dad, just let go! You gotta go to be with Mom. I cant do this any more! He is 100% care, bedfast, cant feed himself, cant walk or stand, wears diapers. Big tall man over 6 ft and weighing 228. Has been taken care of since late 2008. Living with me for over two years. Whatever you do...never EVER hit or smack. If you are THAT stressed get someone else to care for them for a few days or at least go into the other room for an hour. This is hard on us, but I know it is much harder on the one who is ill.


Joy answered...

Yes it is "normal" to get angry and take it out on another. However, it is also a sign that you are trying to do way too much on your own. Time to take a time out. Recommended is four hours at minimum, twice a month. Ask a friend, church, agency to spell you while you get yourself some free time to pull yourself together. Take mini time outs. Say to the person you are caring for, Stop ... give me 10 minutes to myself. Set a timer even and go into the bathroom to cry or read, or out onto a porch. I am very concerned about abuse when we don't take really good care of ourselves. Truthfully we can't do it alone. No human kind without damaging their own health. So find a way whatever you have to do before you go over the top and physically abuse the person you love the most. I know of a man who refused to ask for help, then struck his wife in a grocery. He was arrested for abuse and she was assigned a state guardian. Too bad he wasn't helped before he blew his stack.


J ann answered...

Joy, you are so right in all you say. I have never thought of "hitting" my parent. I never would. I have been so tired I could barely drag myself to his room. I have recently gotten grouchy with him. I hate that. But he is totally helpless in ALL areas. He cant do one thing...he cant even sit without being propped or seat belted. No arm or hand movement, no leg movement. He cant even turn his own head to the side when his neck hurts. It is so draining. I DID go out to dinner with two friends the other night and my son and his wife took care of Dad. It did me a WORLD of good and I have been softer in my voice tone this weekend. It doesn help to just get away and do something NORMAL. I appreciate this site...I appreciate those who are here to help caregivers. God bless you all.