Being a Caregiver
It's easy to focus on everyone and everything other than yourself. In this online support group, we focus on the "i" in Caring and your role as a caregiver -- offering tips, advice and support to help with self caring.
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What's New Today
4 days ago
Foster daughter always plays the victim card saying she had No Mom....but I disagree. Her Mother died when she was 8 months old. She lived with her Dad and grandmother throughout her toddler years and early school age years and her dad eventually remarried and so she had a Step Mom throughout her school age years through Junior High...her life was rough with her Dad b/c he was an alcoholic. When her High School years began she came to live with me where she stayed till she graduated High School. All three of us women did our very best to be a Mother figure to her that she needed...but truth be told she made sure we all knew that we were not her Mother...and biologically we weren't but she still had a Mother through out her child hood even if we were not blood. it takes more than blood to be a Mother.
She became a teen Mom. She had her first child one week after she turned 18 and just 2 months before her High School graduation. She tells everyone she grew up without a Mom and on facebook she recently said she knows she is not a perfect Mom but she was clueless on how to be a Mom b/c she never had a Mom....but she had me. I was there every single second. I was even in the delivery room with her and I did my best to be supportive and teach her and help her but I was met with constant rejection from her and all b/c I am not her Mom. I wish there was something short, sweet, and powerfully to the point that I could say to her to make her realize she was not a victim and she always had a Mom, It was just her choice to reject us all. Maybe if she thought about that for a minute she would stop playing the victim card.. Her sister grew up in the same house and in fact they have the same Mother but different fathers. her sister in fact grew up without either one of her biological parents b/c they both died but her sister didn't sit around feeling sorry for herself. She made a life for herself. She did well in school and went to college and met her husband and now they have a little boy and her husband is serving our country...So it is not like my foster daughter couldn't do the same for herself...if she tried. I know we weren't her biological Mothers but we most certainly were the next best thing. we all loved her as our own and unconditionally. How do I get it through her head she is wrong in her thinking without making her angry b/c she loves to walk away and not speak to you for a year or so...until she needs something from someone.
14 days ago
Not proud of myself. After work yesterday, i had pick up one of my son's meds. It wasn't ready. I got very angry because I just wanted to get home . i restrained myself at the pharmacy, but not so much walking away and while calling my wife to see if we needed it that day.
When you can't get angry at work or at the people who need you, unfortunately the cork pops off the bottle at situations like these.
Once i got the meds and got home, i was fine, btw.
17 days ago
I am a 51 year old man who is a dedicated Christian (don't worry, I won't proselytize) who struggles with anger. I live with a wife who has a learning disability, a mood disorder, and frequent migraines. My oldest child graduated high school almost two years ago, but is focused on her transgegenerism, utube hobby and her anxieties to the point she can't work for a living. My younger child is 16 years old and is on the autism spectrum; he is non verbal and severely delayed in all areas. I am looking for a place to vent and not feel quite so alone. Is that alright?
24 days ago
Gd afternoon, I am hoping someone can give me some creative ideas. I care for a 30yr. Old male with a motor neuron disease. I have only been caring for him for about 1 week now but, he seems very depressed. He doesnt want to do anything that has to do with sun light or fresh air. Any ideas on how I can help him get motivated?
about 1 month ago
I'm 48 years old and taking care of my 70 year old mother who suffered a series of strokes in September of last year. My mother and I have always had a combative mother/daughter relationship so now that I'm her primary caretaker things have only gotten worse. Some background information, my mother has suffered with bipolar and depression prior to stroke. In addition, she also has abused prescription drugs since I was in grade school. Needless to say and understandably so, she has become even more difficult.
It is not as if she is severely handicapped by the strokes, it was scary and a wake up call or should have been. Oh she also suffers from neuropathy so she is in constant pain and has been for last 4 years or so she says. Doctors are treating her for neuropathy although none of the tests have confirmed she has it. Is it horrible of me to think it is just another ploy to get more pills? Sorry I digress.
She has weakness on left side arm, hand, leg and foot. She can get around with wheelchair, walker or cane however, she is constantly holding on to furniture, walls etc... So she won't fall. Btw she has fallen on 6 occasions that I'm sure of and has many close calls everyday. I tried to insist that she use a walker or cane when she came home, but she refused. I worked hard to get her home physical therapy because she refused to go outside the home and she pretty much blew it off. Refused to do exercises except when therapist was here. For me there was always an excuse or a huge fight or the accusation that I'm trying to control her. She started physical therapy again last week, the therapist insists that she use her walker not only for safety, but as a tool to strengthen herself and train brain to walk again. She is doing great at excercises this time, but using the walker...it is a challenge. She will not use it, I will remind her she needs to use it and then it becomes a battle. She'll put it away and refuse to use it as some sort of punishment. I try to explain that it punishes her more than me. I only lose peace of mind, she hinders her recovery. Once again, is it wrong of me to think she does it on purpose for attention and to punish me? I was always her punching bag both metaphorically and literally perhaps as much as she hates to give up any control to me she loves the feeling that I feel obligated to care for her and help with her recovery, no matter how unhealthy it is for both of us.
Then there is the matter of her medications and pills, as I said before she has abused them most of my life. First there were diet pills, then sleeping pills, then pain pills, and then pills for anxiety. There were prescription drugs and over the counter drugs. Thank God, no illegal drugs or alcohol. She finally stopped taking the diet pills which she took for nearly 30 years from a series of quacks about 12 years ago however until the stroke she never stopped taking any of the other pills. So at least I don't have to worry about the diet pills, except when she threatens me once a weeks that she could now order them online and have them shipped to her. My mother is not overweight and hasn't been for decades upon decades. Once again I digress, sorry.
My mother has suffered from severe hypertension for many years, she was on blood pressure pills prior to stroke. She was on diuretics due to severe edema for years in legs, this was before neuropathy. Now the uncontrolled hypertension was the cause of the edema and the severe uncontrolled edema lead to the peripheral neuropathy. Remember I said she was on medication but also use the term uncontrolled.
For years my father has had to lock up pills from my mother. All pills, because she abuses everything. Every day he would give her, her allotted number of Vicodin and Xanax, her Ambien for bedtime, her bipolar medication, blood pressure pills, diuretics, etc... He organized them for her so she would know when to take them and so that he could make sure she took them. He would lock up everything, however she picked up the pills from pharmacy and somehow the pharmacy always shorted the bottles. My father isn't a fool, just doesn't want a confrontation so he would let her get away with it. He isn't a fool, just has no spine when it comes to her somewhere down the line he just stopped standing up to the woman. So there would be all these extra Vicodin, Xanax and Ambiens and then she would go through roughly 150 over the counter pain pills every two weeks, about half that number in the same brands nighttime equivalent in the same duration and about 6 to 8 over the counter sleeping pills every night in addition to 1 to 3 Ambien every night. Mixed with her other pills and bipolar meds it was an adventure. I walked in the kitchen one day to find her standing at the counter with a butcher knife trying to cut the dish drainer. I knew it was drugs, my mother and father tried to convince me it was early signs of dementia. Yeah, drug induced dementia. I'm the only person to call her what she is an addict, everyone else makes excuses. Me I know it is all about the pills.
So anyhow last September she suffered her stroke. Not gonna lie, it was scary but I knew the hospital needed to know what medications she was on and how much. Yeah, the cat was out of the bag. But even worse as I started to go through drawers, hiding spots and purse I not only found all what I refer to as her "fun pills" but her blood pressure pills, diuretics, bipolar meds etc.. See she was stashing (hoarding) the fun pills to take at later times, but she wasn't taking the pills that were possible life saving pills or treating severe issues. The result a stroke and peripheral neuropathy.
So now she's home and guess who's job it is to not only control my mothers medications but give them to her? That's right folks! Me! She is constantly trying to get more pain pills, Xanax or Ambien out of me and my father. "She hasn't given them to me yet." "She is punishing me and not giving them to me." "Blah, blah...blah, blah...blah blah." I'm on top of it and log everything I give her. My dad...poor lovable sap falls for it. She never knows what time she last took her Lyrica for her neuropathy or remembers when I last gave her her blood pressure meds, but she sure remembers every 6 hours she gets a pain pill. So when I scold her for getting a double dose of her Vicodin or Xanax and that now she has screwed up when I can give her the Lyrica or other meds because some can't be taken the same time as others (she is on a strict schedule) she gets mad and refuses to take anything.
She gets mad at anything with me and she won't take meds. On a daily basis at least one time per day, I have to beg her to take her pills. There is a battle, etc...
Today it happened again. Says she's an addict and should take anything...including blood pressure, etc... This time it was because she stole a Xanax from my father yesterday and was confronted. So she is 2 hours overdue for her blood pressure pills, her physical therapist is due anytime and I'm writing this post instead of fretting about her. Although, I am. I feel guilty that I'm not begging her to take meds because what if she has another stroke today? I'm worried that if I'm not with her and her physical therapist I won't know what exercises she needs to do and it will hurt her recovery.
Look I know, my mother and me have a dysfunctional relationship and I'm probably the last person who should be taking care of her for my own sanity. But I truly believe I'm the best person to take care of her for her. Because left to her own, she'd only be getting worse or dead already. My father...he has his own problems, my brother is another problem and little to no help and she won't go into a home and if we hired help to come into home she would scare them off weekly. But I need advice on how to try and stay sane. How can I get her to take pills and stop thinking I'm trying to control her. I know it's really that she's upset I control her pills and it's more the addiction than the stroke or bipolar but what if it isnt? I've read that stroke patients can be argumentation and combative, so how do I know the difference?
Anybody out there taking care of a parent or loved one who is an addict too? Or a loved one who has mental problems as weak as an illness or someone where there was a pre-existing dysfunctional relationship? Please I want to hear from you, I need to hear from you. I need to talk to someone, anyone to know that I'm not alone. To reassure me, I'm doing the right thing. To encourage me not to give up on her and walk away. Despite everything she is my mom and I love her although she doesn't make it easy. I don't want her to get any sicker or die. Do I beg her to take pills or just as I've done today, just not give them to her until she asks which could be never except for her "fun pills". I just don't know what to do and at wits end.
about 1 month ago
My mom has been diagnosed with vascular dementia. I had her going to senior care , where it was a group of 5 people that were fairly high functioning. My mom has begun to sleep most of the day and now the center has called and said she can no longer participate due to the fact she sleeps the entire time there, or says she is too tired to do any exercises and even will not take her lunch out of her bag to eat. I have noticed she is much more confused and the best way to explain it is, she has seemed to have lost her ability to reason, cannot process what you are saying to her, and if she can she cannot formulate an answer to a question. she has not forgotten the name of anyone, and can talk to you if she starts the conversation. I am at a loss, I have her full time and need to figure is there a program that she can go to during the day once a week, to give me a break and stimulate her. My concern is if she is just sleeping, the program would be a waste. The center she was attending felt another program may not benefit her
about 1 month ago
I'm new here, but need a new perspective. I am the caregiver for multiple people in my home. My 82 year old mom, who has multiple health issues, ie: failing eyesight & hearing, short term memory loss which is failing quickly plus fibromyalgia osteoarthritis etc; my husband (11 years older than me) who has stage 3 copd, had a massive heart attack 12 years ago(died on the table) & open heart surgery about 10 years ago; my 41 year old son who has Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, a sleep disorder, back trouble (3 surgeries since he was 19) & bladder problems from scarring to his nerve; my 39 year old daughter who has fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis (needs a knee replacement) chronic Lyme disease, heart damage from a strep infection, migraines,& is now soon facing her FOURTH neck surgery. She had 1/2 her thyroid out 11 years ago, the other 1/2 out a year later; 4 years ago she had a mass removed (a vein & salivary gland both nicked during surgery), & now a new mass is growing. Her 2 children also live with us; my grandson was born 11 1/2 years ago at 3.5 lbs, 9 weeks early. We just found out he's recovering from mono, his vitamin d is way down & his thyroid is off. His sister, 9 inherited hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (heart muscle grows, which can cause sudden death if not monitered), from her father & we have to watch out for her. The biggest problem is that, at almost 59, also have : fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis everywhere, my back has severe problems neck to tailbone, I get migraines, have thyroid issues, depression, I just got diagnosed with Lyme disease myself & there's much more. I am the one who now has to take care of all the housework (sometimes my daughter will do dishes, she does her own clothes), I fire our coal furnace, carry out ashes (this year the pipes came apart, our house filled with smoke & I had to put them together myself; my other son bought aluminum tape & I taped them; our blower motor went screwy & for multiple days/nights I was on watch for screeching & had to run to the basement & spray on grease; now it just clunks all the time), I do all the outside work except mowing, which my husband does with his riding mower. Last year our basement flooded from an exceptionally heavy rain; a local Christian group cleared out 50 years of excess ruined stuff, thank God!). My biggest problem, other than money, is my mother. When my daughter moved back in 4+ years ago she was pretty manic due to her as yet undiagnosed health issues, & my mom wasn't very nice to her. Because of that my granddaughter is very antagonistic to her. My mother is not easy to live with & her memory loss, combined with her increasing health issues, are really getting me down. I told my 5 siblings almost 3 years ago, after a major fall (frequent falls) that I wouldn't be able to handle things much longer. Unfortunately this past 6 months my 39 year old nephew died from pancreatic cancer, another sister developed strep in her knee, became septic & almost died, ending up here for over a month recovering, & 1 brother has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The last 2 are the ones who live close. The others all live away; 1 other brother just an hour away, the other 2 very far. I am falling apart. I tried over a year ago to get my mother to accept outside help from the area agency on aging. She refused all help, afraid someone would insist on helping her shower. She spent 1 night 3 years ago after that 1 severe fall, in a rehab/assisted living facility where someone inadvertently injured her back even more. Now she's terrified of any facility. I don't know how to deal with this anymore. My depression is deepening & I resent my mother terribly. I know it's not her fault, but I was with her as we had to put her step mom in a facility after an adverse reaction to meds that she would have come out of, enabling her to stay at her home longer, but my mother couldn't handle the stress of being on call for her anymore. She is also much worse off than her aunt, who stepped in for her when her mom died) before she went to an assisted living facility. She won't look at the reality of how difficult she is, the stress I'm under with all these problems & how much it's effecting me. She's fallen multiple times in the last year, also fallen asleep & we couldn't waken her twice (in our doc's office once - she was taken to the hospital by ambulance) & gone via ambulance twice from home for falls. I have nobody to turn to for help. My daughter's been trying to help by organizing mom's meds (she screws them up all the time, even though they're in a medicine case), & finding the many things she loses daily. But surgery time will be coming soon, & I will have my daughter to take care of & her children to see to by myself. Finances are tough; my husband has only SS retirement, I receive 275 disability, my son is on ssi, my daughter gets very little child support & is waiting for a disability determination (her docs & a local social security rep agree she'll get it) & my mom's tiny 153 monthly pension & small social security retirement. I know that my mother is fighting her decline, I realize all that entials emotionally & mentally. Unfortunately that doesn't make things any easier on me, & I've about had it.
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