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Topic: New here

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Subject: New here
Date Posted: 1/28/2010 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2010
Posts: 1
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I just joined PBS last week and just found the forums tonight.  I was a bit surprised to find a caregiver forum, and a lot pleased!


I made the decision 4 years ago to help my parents stay in their home.  My father was dying from Huntington's Disease (fatal brain disease) and my mother is physically disabled.  At first I cut back hours at work, started dropping by often but their needs soon increased.  I ended up giving up my career, selling my house, and moving to my parents house with my two sons.  I'm also a single mom.  I'm the youngest of 6 siblings but no one else cares to help out. 

My father passed away 6 months ago following a brief stay at a nursing home.  He went quickly and I was very thankful.  I was able to keep him home except for the last 6 weeks of his life.   My mother is struggling with his death terribly and is blaming herself for not getting to say goodbye.  She was having her own medical emergency at the time in a separate hospital.  I almost lost them both on the same night. 

Caring for my dad was hard because he had to be watched 24 hours a day, he had no set schedule and couldn't keep track of time, he needed a lot of physical help.  But my mother is emotionally exhausting for me.  She's very depressed, she's an alcoholic, she is her own worst enemy.  I've gone through some trying times.  Things are better currently than they have ever been.  I've gotten better at drawing some boundaries.  I can sleep at night again because she sleeps.  When my dad was alive I was lucky to get an hour of sleep at a time.  I was so sleep deprived... for years.  Sundays are reserved for me.  I can't physically leave the house but I do get to lounge around and relax more than usual. 

I do not regret making the decision to move out here. And I think my boys and I will take away so much from this experience.  On the plus side, I get to read a lot.  Which is my one and only true passion.  I read about 15 books a month.  Both of my parents were serious readers and they have passed that on in full.

I look forward to getting to know everyone!

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2008
Posts: 56
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Hi Meghan.  I am staying with my daddy now 24/7 and find myself extremely exhausted all the time.  I left my home in va and moved to wv to take care of him.  I miss my husband alot and my home.  I don't have anyone who can actually stay a few days so I can go home and visit.  I know how hard it is and how mentally challenging it is to take care of a parent.  My father can't walk and is incontinent and has many health issues.  He is 90.  It is a challenge and I'm trying my best to help him.  He also had a stroke and heart attack 2 years ago.  Well, you know all the challenges.  Hope things go well for you and it's nice meeting you here.

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 12:48 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 200
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Hi Meghan,
My husband and I lived in CT, both worked full time and took care of my Mom & Dad who are now 88 and 91 years old.  My sister lives in TN, and she and her husband said "come on down with Mom & Dad and we'll help".  We designed a house for my husband & I with an attached single story house for Mom & Dad (we already had some property in TN), my husband moved to TN to build the houses and I moved down with Mom & Dad when the houses were finished.  We both quit our jobs in CT, and when we arrived in TN my sister and her husbad suddenly couldn't do a thing to help us.  We spent thousands of dollars in the process of moving and building two houses, and probably wouldn't have moved if we knew we'd have no help.  At least we live next door to my parents instead of 10 miles away, and can give them constant care.  There is an agency that comes twice a week to check in on them, but the visits are brief.  One person comes to bathe Mom and get her dressed on Monday mornings, and another nurse checks in once a week just to take blood pressure.  I guess these visits are different faces for Mom & Dad, and different people for them to talk to besides my husband and I.  Unfortunately, they don't provide me with enough time to get away.  I can't even have an overnight away with my husband - vacations are totally out of the question because we have no help. 

You're fortunate that your Mom abides by your boundries, and also that you can have Sundays off.  Appreciate the time you have for yourself and also take care of yourself.  What you're doing for your Mom, and what you did for your Dad, is something that many children can't (or won't) do for their parents.  It's a special opportunity, and remember that you're a special person for doing it. 

All the best to you, and I hope we get to talk again.  PM me anytime.
Donna



Last Edited on: 2/2/10 12:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/3/2010 10:18 PM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2008
Posts: 56
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I've been told, "don't expect any help and you won't be disappointed".  I am at the point where I feel blessed to be able to help my daddy and am enjoyiing all the quality time I have with him.  Memories are being made.  :o)

Date Posted: 2/4/2010 11:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 200
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Deonne,

That is sage advice.  I learned years ago that the only person you can depend on is yourself.  I just didn't expect my sister to be the one to reinforce that lesson. 

Furthermore, you're right feeling blessed and enjoying the quality time.  It's an honor to be able to care for our loved ones, and we have a special relationship with them because of it.  I believe that God gave us the means to care for them because we're the best ones for the job for some reason.  (I don't mean that in a pompus way).  We're given the opportunity for a reason. 

Thanks for your input.
Donna