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Caregiver mental health
Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2019 12:33 AM
Joined: 6/23/2019
Posts: 11

Dad is beginning to think I'm someone else other than his son. Most of the time he thinks I'm his brother. Dad will absolutely not do anything for me, if I give suggestion (I think you're putting your boots on wrong feet is why you can't get them on) I've been doing it this way for three months. Then when finally squeezes his foot into it he looks at me and says see. He absolutely resents me. If I hire a gal to come get him dressed. He does it, with no fighting. He resents me and I resent him. It's messing with my mental health and I'm on full dose of antidepressants. Anybody else struggle with severe depression and mentally unstable dealing with dementia?
Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2019 12:43 AM
Joined: 9/26/2019
Posts: 33

You are absolutely not alone!  I am tired and sad in a way that I never imagined possible.  Please know that people are here to help and support you (not everyone you hope maybe) but enough.  Stay strong and continue reaching out for help and support anywhere you can find it, and maybe bring that gal in a bit more.



Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2019 5:24 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 2153


At lease he'll get dressed for someone who isn't you. 

Mine did the same. It was about anxiety and trying to hold onto whatever shred dignity, independence and the long ago family dynamic that place him as patriarch, provider and protector. Understanding where it came from made it easier to let roll off. 

I found this helpful for developing empathy for a historically difficult person-

My mother, who got more of this sort of stuff from dad needed an IRL support group, psychiatrist and therapist to manage her depression and anxiety. 

Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2019 7:21 AM
Joined: 4/3/2019
Posts: 257

JQBA- Although I'm not a full time caregiver, YES, I certainly struggle with depression and anxiety dealing with my parents.  My parents also never believe anything I say, but listen to random people.  It's stressful and feels demeaning.  Do you live with your Dad? 

I have my "toolkit" of things I do to manage my stress/depression in addition to medication . . . . includes long walks on the beach, talking to friends, healthy food, petting my dog, and watching funny shows.  Also HUGS help!

Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2019 9:11 AM
Joined: 7/17/2017
Posts: 403

Yes, I did.  You're certainly not alone in feeling this way. I struggled with anxiety, guilt, anger, name it.  I was not a caregiver in the home, but as the only child, I had to take over my Mom's entire life and manage finances, caregiving, moving assets around, and when she passed away about a year ago, her final arrangements/funeral, and burial, picking out the grave marker, and obituaries. I had to clean out her entire house of a hoard and rent it out to take care of her incidentals.  I took my anger out on those closest to me and lost a few good friends and family members; if I had it to do over again, I would have attended more therapy sessions and started grief counseling sooner. It was an extra set of ears and someone else to cry to and listen; I overburdened my few close friends and family with my bundled up emotions. My Mom started calling me "Mommie" near the end, which was disturbing; at least she saw me as someone caring and helpful.  

 Please consider an Alzheimer's support group, counseling, and/or therapy sessions as an "add-on" to your existing support system.  I found I no longer had the empathy and patience as a nurse to carry on with that profession; I'm now in a different line of work and it's a shame. I'm now looking at having to take over my Dad's affairs in a different state because he is starting to show early signs of dementia and physical decline; he's got VA benefits and a plan for himself, although he has not been willing to be open with me about his finances; at least he has a will and is financially able to pay for his own care.  Please consider your work performance and how your relationships are being affected with those closest to you.  Warm wishes and please keep us updated on how you are coping!  


Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2019 10:04 AM
Joined: 6/11/2019
Posts: 510

First, I'm so sorry you're struggling with THIS on top of your own fight.

If you aren't already depressed when you start a caregiving venture, you likely will be before you're done. So my strongest heartfelt kudos to you for daring to take it on given your circumstances.

It DEFINITELY plays hell with your sanity. Especially when your own parent refuses to believe that you're you. And then, despite EVERYTHING YOU DO for them, they complain or else call you every filthy name imaginable. SO very hard to contend with. You just have to remind yourself that it is NOT them but the disease that's driving these behaviors.

You must certainly ARE NOT alone. I have considered whether or not I should try some form of antidepressant because this experience has thrown me into the depths on so many occasions this year. So far, I haven't done it but I probably should.

Good luck to you. IT's a tough road under circumstances much smoother than yours. {{{HUGS}}}

Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2019 7:09 PM
Joined: 9/15/2019
Posts: 94

You are so not alone!  I have been caring for my father 24/7 in his house now for 2 months, while my husband and life is 1200 miles away.  My Dad’s house is awful, no working kitchen, no tv, no internet or carpet in the halls.  I get yelled at all the time by my Dad, I can’t do anything right in his eyes.  Half the time he doesn’t know who I am. He says horrible things to me and uses foul language.  I cry all the time now, it seems my emotions are just always at the surface. People tell me “don’t put him in a home, it is a prison, a death sentence”.  Well I feel like I am in prison.  So I give up my life, my husband and friends, to allow my Dad to live in his house?   This is not right, something has to change.  Hang in there, you are not alone!
Posted: Friday, November 1, 2019 3:32 PM
Joined: 10/27/2019
Posts: 32

I think most everyone feels like you do.  I know I do.  For me it is anxiety right now but I know that is in part to mask my grief.  I also find myself disgusted with my Mom and not wanting to be around her, which is a HORRIBLE way to feel.  I don't understand it, but I think it must be tied in to the grief.  It's almost like I am pro-actively pulling away from her as a protective measure.  The whole thing is depressing.  I get weary of thinking of death every day.
Posted: Friday, November 1, 2019 3:45 PM
Joined: 10/27/2019
Posts: 32

GemsWinner12 wrote:

 My Mom started calling me "Mommie" near the end, which was disturbing; at least she saw me as someone caring and helpful.  

I read this and it made me gasp.  I just moved my Mom in with me and when she was trying to decide if now was the right time to leave her house, she actually said to me "she wanted to go home to momma" and felt like I'd be more momma-like.  They really do go full circle from being a child to an adult back to being a child.  :o(


Posted: Friday, November 1, 2019 3:46 PM
Joined: 6/11/2019
Posts: 510

FreakingOut -- I think part of that is that they are NOT the people we know and love. At least not all the time. Instead, we're left to deal with these unpredictable, exhausting strangers. THOSE are the people we are loathe to go home to … not the people we've always known.
Posted: Friday, November 1, 2019 5:51 PM
Joined: 11/1/2019
Posts: 1

I totally understand how you feel. Prior to my LO being diagnosed I was on the verge of my own mental breakdown due to my PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety. No one in my family saw it as being legitimate, but my closest friends rallied together to get me some help. While I was in the midst of my own recovery those same family members expected me to stop, which I ultimately ended up doing, even though they now knew the severity of my own issues. So here I am, back in the same place that I was before without help of any kind. Not only that, I am trying to still keep my head above water while simultaneously doing everything for my mother. I often tell people that I feel like I am two people... Person one is who cares for my mother and doesn't allow herself to feel at all as any weakness is problematic. While person two is me and she's a total mess. She cries at the drop of a hat, sometimes wishes that she never had mental health problems, etc. However, person two sometimes appears within person one because my mother calls me a liar even when I provide proof of otherwise over the simplest of things. I just hope that I find the silver lining in all of this soon as I am doing this all alone and the people that are willing to help me are several states away. I want to have some sort of hope, but the strained relationship that I forgave years ago is all coming back to me and honestly I feel like I have had a hard enough life and I just want some sort of joy during this time that I have left with her. I never knew that this disease would be this hard to mange, nor did I realize that my own mental health would constantly be in a state of limbo.
Posted: Friday, November 1, 2019 7:16 PM
Joined: 6/12/2016
Posts: 985

How long have you been caring for him? Do you have siblings who care about him and/or you? Is your Dad financially set or is he busted? You are struggling with your own issues and self care. My advice to you is to run as fast as you can. In your condition the chances of you going down the tubes long before your Dad are extremely high. I’m being blunt and painfully honest. I wish you the best. Good luck.
Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2019 4:45 PM
Joined: 5/22/2018
Posts: 359

JQ, I'm also on antidepressants. I know I could benefit from going to counselling but to do so I would have to pay additional time for the caregiver.

I'm so stressed right now because it looks like I will have to withdraw from my 401K funds in order to cover paying for mom's daytime caregivers while I work. Her small savings she did have went toward the caregivers. It's 3000 per month! That's more than she makes with social security. So, I find myself paying part of it each month. Now, I have to use my own savings. I can only hope I don't live so long. I'm serious.

 I have applied months ago for VA benefits for her for Aid and Attendance, it is just very very slow. She doesn't meet Medicaid criteria. She lives with me, and when I come home from working full time I am her caregiver. 

In other words, I have two full time jobs. I basically go to my day time nursing job to have respite from caring from my mom. Since my siblings are out of state and rarely call or visit, they don't seem to get it at all that I have no time for myself. I feel like I am shouldering so much. I have communicated this with them recently. They gave no response. NO ONE GETS IT, except the other caregivers here. I could cry but most the time I just pull myself together so I can care for my mom for another night, and another day, and another night, and another day....

Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2019 6:24 PM
Joined: 11/2/2019
Posts: 5

My grandmother often decides I am one of her daughters. Sometimes I think she even decides I am a friend of the family or maybe her sister. ... I can handle that, although I often wonder if I am giving the appropriate response when she asks a question about her parents who I never met.

The thing that gets to me is when she is excited about something I did, but she gives the credit to somebody else. (usually to my daughter) I don't know why I let it get to me so much. I do things because I love her, not because I want special recognition. But sometimes I just want to yell "I did that! I am a wonderful person too. Don't you remember how much you love me?"

My poor daughter feels awkward because she doesn't want credit for something she didn't do. I feel bad about being jealous of my own kid. But I figure the best thing we can do is let her be happy and be glad she enjoyed whatever thing she is bragging about.

Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2019 6:28 PM
Joined: 11/2/2019
Posts: 5

GemsWinner12 - Stay on that VA application! I have been trying for almost three years to get help for my grandmother. They keep saying it will take a few months to get to her on the wait list. Then she somehow keeps disappearing from the list! I am not sure if they are calling the wrong number or what. (I always make sure they have my cell because she is scared to answer unknown numbers.)
Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2019 6:58 PM
Joined: 1/28/2013
Posts: 2645

You're not alone.  During the last few months of my mother's life, after caring for her in my home for five yesrs, it was all I could do to deal with her and keep my head above water until the end came.  I was gone from here for a year getting my hands to stop shaking, being in therapy, and changing anti-depressants.  Don't let anyone guilt you about the resentment you feel.  You deserve a decent quality of life the same as your father does.

There was a wonderful older gentleman on here, now passed, who used to ssy that dementia is slready taking one life, don't let it take a second one.  Here's to Zolly, a wise and kind man. 

Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2019 9:55 PM
Joined: 10/22/2019
Posts: 7

Your'e not alone. I've been dealing with the exact same thing! I attended a Care Giver's support group last week and it REALLY helped.
Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2019 10:49 PM
Joined: 10/27/2019
Posts: 32

BumbleB:  I could so relate to your story.  I had a really bad time growing up because of my Mom.  Fortunately I went to years and years of counseling and it helped me a lot.  I just brought my Mom up here about a month ago.  I had no idea how bad she was as I lived 2000 miles from her and was only talking to her on the phone.  I knew it was bad, and that is why I got her, I just didn't realize HOW bad.  Anyway,  she was triggering me something awful but I think I have managed to get it under control.  I tell myself she is not the same person and neither am I from when I was a kid.  She will still throw fits and act like a "b" sometimes, but I have gotten comfortable bossing her.  When she gets ugly, I just raise my hand and say "stop" and walk away.  I do other things too, but I realize I am now dealing with a child and I treat her as one.  I get firm with her when I have to and essentially mother her in a practical way.  It isn't the same as I loved my kids tenderly and I don't have motherly feelings for my Mom, but I do love her as her caregiver.  I guess what I'm trying to say is it has helped me to re-frame all the prior dynamics.  Instead of seeing her behavior through the lense of the child I used to be, I see her as a separate person, not as my mother anymore, but as a fragile, injured person who needs my care and compassion.  It does get on my nerves and I do lose patience, as anyone would, but once I changed my perspective on her as a person it really seemed to help me a lot.  I hope this helps you in some way.  Please continue to take care of yourself emotionally because you deserve it, and try not to take whatever garbage she throws at you personally.  They aren't thinking rationally AT ALL anymore, and I know I tend to forget that sometimes.  When I do it starts to get harder, but when I can keep that in focus it helps me immensely.  It is like we are dealing with a crazy person but we forget and take what they say seriously when we need to remember we are dealing with a totally irrational person.  ((Hugs)) I hope this helps in some small way. <3
Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2019 10:55 PM
Joined: 10/27/2019
Posts: 32

MinutebyMinute wrote:
FreakingOut -- I think part of that is that they are NOT the people we know and love. At least not all the time. Instead, we're left to deal with these unpredictable, exhausting strangers. THOSE are the people we are loathe to go home to … not the people we've always known.

I think you are so right on this!  I don't know about you, but at this point in the journey I am having to keep at the forefront of my mind that I am not dealing with a rational person any more.  At times my Mom seems rational, and I forget, and start trying to relate to her like you would a rational person, and then the goofiness comes back and I think, "Oh, I forgot again!"  LOL  Anyway, I'm new to this and I am learning it is a "learning process".  I have to adjust to this new person while dealing with my grief and anxiety over losing my mother.  For me, also, it is triggering my own fears of immortality and that's kind of freaking me out too.

Space within
Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2019 11:23 PM
Joined: 10/7/2018
Posts: 70

JQBA,  I am so sorry you are feeling depressed. I understand,  you are not alone.

Before my mom was moved into a memory care facility, my dad and I were her caregivers. (My dad more so ).  Many times over the last year when my mom was home, she would lash out at my dad and say things in a mean tone , " he doesn't care!" , " he doesn't do anything, he only cares about himself.!"   - very hurtful things considering all my dad was doing. It tore my dad apart, he was always so upset.   But at the same time- she was very dependent on my dad.

I feel I have become more depressed since my mom has been in the care facility. I visit with her daily and as she has declined, she has very sad, self pity moods, as well as very angry and combative matter what your response to her question is-look out! - it's wrong and that's NOT . how . it . is, was, or goes!  

I too have become so upset and just angry inside when she is combative and gets raging mad when anyone tries to get her changed.    

I am in therapy, and although I go into session wanting to talk about other things going on in my life-  me dealing with my mom's illness takes up the majority of the sessions.

Know that you have support and are valued, and loved. Sending you peace. 

Posted: Monday, November 4, 2019 11:19 PM
Joined: 6/12/2016
Posts: 985

Unforgiven, I remember Zolly from the first time I came to the boards. I think of him often. Thank you for mentioning him. It means a lot to me to know that someone else thinks of him too!
Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 1:45 AM
Joined: 7/1/2019
Posts: 13

JQBA:  Caregiving is beyond difficult isn't it?  For me, the lines are blurred in my memory bank. I can't recall when my mom was last "normal" as the progression has been going on for several years.  However, she fell off a dementia cliff this summer.  In the span of about two days, I had a different mother altogether.  She no longer knows my name nor her name for that matter. She needs help with everything from having meals fixed, showering and dressing.  My mom is 83.  There is a part of me that keeps telling myself that she is very elderly and that we weren't going to have many years left regardless...just simple math.  But I'd take one wonderful year with my original mom over five years of what's going on currently. 

Get support from wherever you can.  I am my mom's caregiver 24/7.  We do not have friend/family for support.  Often I just wish I had a friend who would ring the doorbell and let me cry on their shoulder.  I have MS too which is making the caregiving more challenging.  Several people are encouraging me to put her in a memory care facility. I'm simply not ready to do that right now. With my limitations from MS, I would not be able to visit her and would always wonder if she was being cared for properly.

If only we could turn back the clock ten years instead of just the one hour

I hope you find some peace with your father.

Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 10:55 PM
Joined: 5/2/2019
Posts: 214

I have come to the conclusion that the thing that affects me the most is I have no say in my mom’s affairs but I am ultimately responsible for them and not only that but her decisions affect me but my decisions hit her like Teflon and bounce back.

It is incredibly frustrating and it affects every part of my life in a bad way. But unlike a lot of you 24/7 caregivers, I am not with my mom 24/7. I am only with her about 10 hours a day five days a week. Give or take.

I get a little respite. Though it is not much and it is definitely not enough. Being with my mom has severely affected me.

Ask my boyfriend. I come home and just rage at him over the dumbest thing. 

The thing that gets me the most, is my mom just makes the simplest thing hard...and fights me every step of the way.

The following advice has helped, though not always and not for long, but you need to pick your battles. Him not getting his shoes on correctly, does it matter?

Is it a risk or a nuisance? That question kept me sane for a long time.

Now, I do not find much comfort in it. Pretty much everything is now a risk...if not for my mom, then the other person on the receiving end of my mom.

I know find I fight back with my mom and that has proven effective for the time being. I do not do it meanly or emotionally but I do twist her logic back on her. She wants to pretend she is reasonable, then I will respond as if she is reasonable and I will pin her down with her reason.

People may think I am being cruel. My boyfriend does. I am being me and to her. And it is seems to be working.

I will take it.

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