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Old 09-26-2016, 12:26 AM   #1
Tasty_GA_Honey
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Stress of Caregiving - Learning to Cope & Needing to Vent

For as long as I can remember, I've been a caregiver of sorts -- either personally or professionally. I'm a people-pleaser by my very nature. I enjoy taking care of others and making sure everyone's needs are met.

During the last six months, I've found myself in the position of primary caretaker for a parent who has been very ill. To say that this has completely turned my whole world upside down is an understatement.

I could go on and on about my feelings and emotions related to my current position.... but, before I dive deeper, I am curious if there are other Litsters overwhelmed or frustrated in their role as a caregiver for someone (parent, spouse, child, etc)?
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:41 AM   #2
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Caring for someone that is ill is one thing. Sometimes just doing too much for someone will lead to them taking advantage of you.
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Old 09-26-2016, 04:44 AM   #3
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I wrote of stress being in the role of carer to a partner here before.

"Looking after yourself is essential if you want to offer the best to the person you may love and who is suffering. Don't feel guilty if you need a break sometimes and organise so you can."

My situation was a little different than yours but I believe the same advice applies: Educate yourself as much as possible for the role you are in and the condition of your parent. Find support groups or arrange contact with people who are in the same situation as yourself.

Carers need a lot of care as well. As mentioned, never feel guilty for asking help. You have to find outlets to reduce your own stress.
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Old 09-26-2016, 07:20 AM   #4
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care giving stress

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tasty_GA_Honey View Post
For as long as I can remember, I've been a caregiver of sorts -- either personally or professionally. I'm a people-pleaser by my very nature. I enjoy taking care of others and making sure everyone's needs are met.

During the last six months, I've found myself in the position of primary caretaker for a parent who has been very ill. To say that this has completely turned my whole world upside down is an understatement.

I could go on and on about my feelings and emotions related to my current position.... but, before I dive deeper, I am curious if there are other Litsters overwhelmed or frustrated in their role as a caregiver for someone (parent, spouse, child, etc)?
My personal experience was with a dying mother. My indirect experience has been watching my spouse care for both of her parents in their last days. It definitely consumes whatever life was before, and changes what life will be after.

As a fellow Georgian, I can just say that there are resources here to help. Depending on the specifics, I'd love to share or at least offer a listening ear.
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Old 09-26-2016, 10:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hipshot1554 View Post
Caring for someone that is ill is one thing. Sometimes just doing too much for someone will lead to them taking advantage of you.
Very true, Hipshot! In this instance, my situation involves caring for an ill family member.

Thank you for your feedback.
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Old 09-26-2016, 10:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightL View Post
I wrote of stress being in the role of carer to a partner here before.

"Looking after yourself is essential if you want to offer the best to the person you may love and who is suffering. Don't feel guilty if you need a break sometimes and organise so you can."

My situation was a little different than yours but I believe the same advice applies: Educate yourself as much as possible for the role you are in and the condition of your parent. Find support groups or arrange contact with people who are in the same situation as yourself.

Carers need a lot of care as well. As mentioned, never feel guilty for asking help. You have to find outlets to reduce your own stress.
Everything you shared is so true -- and all the same things that I've taught other caregivers in my previous professional roles.

I currently volunteer my time outside of work facilitating two support groups: one for families who have a loved one that is diagnosed with a mental illness, and one for individuals who have lost someone close to them by suicide. I am a firm believer in the power of peer support, and I know that support groups work.

NightL, my own struggle has been finding a support network of like-minded peers that I connect with as a caregiver. Everyone in my area of the Bible Belt wants to bake me a casserole and put me on their Sunday School class' prayer list. Meanwhile, I just want to enjoy a Jack and Coke after work and fall asleep after watching porn before bed at night. Which I suppose is what led me to reach out to my fellow Lit friends to see if anyone could relate. All of the caregiver forums I've checked out online just haven't been the right fit for a professional young lady in her early 30's who is still trying to maintain a healthy, balanced life outside of caregiving.

Thank you, too, for the reminder that I should never feel guilty for making self-care a priority or for asking for support when I need it. Both principles that I try to embrace, but also two important points every caregiver needs to be reminded of often.

NightL, thanks for the encouragement and validation.
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Old 09-26-2016, 10:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tasty_GA_Honey View Post
During the last six months, I've found myself in the position of primary caretaker for a parent who has been very ill. To say that this has completely turned my whole world upside down is an understatement.
You have my compassion for your circumstance, Honey. It consumes your life if you let it, and in some cases, you have no choice. Getting help as others here advised is great...IF you can get it! When you are an only child, it is tough. Or when siblings are too distant to help out...or simply find their lives too busy! It can cause some VERY harsh feelings.
It's great if you have someone to express your feeling to...that helps some, but most people cannot understand if they havent walked in your shoes.

Remind yourself that you are only ONE person doing the best job you can do! People in long term nursing facilities have a staff of dozens doing what you do by yourself! Be proud of that and give yourself credit where credit is due!
You may also want to check to see if in your state they have a Dept. of aging and disabled (DADS)...they can help some in certain circumstances, but you have to call them and push for an assessment of your situation.
*I just checked and in Ga. it is called DAS (division of aging services...call dept of human services and they can direct you on the proper channels to contact)

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Old 09-26-2016, 11:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManofExperience View Post
My personal experience was with a dying mother. My indirect experience has been watching my spouse care for both of her parents in their last days. It definitely consumes whatever life was before, and changes what life will be after.

As a fellow Georgian, I can just say that there are resources here to help. Depending on the specifics, I'd love to share or at least offer a listening ear.

Mr. Experience, your compassion and empathy means so much!

In one sentence, you described perfectly what I am experiencing right now. My whole life has become a never ending cycle of work, caregiving, sleep, repeat.

I am incredibly furtunate to have a significant other that I've been in a long term committed relationship with for almost nine years, and he has provided more unconditional love and support during the past few months than I ever could have imagined possible. The flip side of that is that I feel guilty for being so emotionally needy and physically exhausted in my relationship with him during this challenging time in my life.... even though he is always reassuring me that we're in this together. Again, this is just the result of caregiver fatigue causing me to feel this way I know.

Again, thank you for your support and your listening ear.
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Old 09-27-2016, 03:42 PM   #9
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Caregiver stress syndrome is a very real condition. Everyone who cares for an ill person in the role of caregiver needs to know about it and recognize it when it happens.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caregiver_stress

Support is only support. It can't replace what you're losing through your dedication to your patient/family member. You need to take care of YOU. Whatever it takes, YOU come first.
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Old 09-27-2016, 04:08 PM   #10
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Buy, borrow, beg, or steal a copy of "The Selfish Pig's Guide to Caring" by Hugh Marriott. That book has saved my sanity more than a few times.
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Old 09-28-2016, 12:03 AM   #11
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Holliday - you are such a gem!! Your kind words and caring spirit were what I needed yesterday.

Thank you for your encouragement and reassurance, as well as the resource (which I am already connected with).



Quote:
Originally Posted by holliday1960 View Post
You have my compassion for your circumstance, Honey. It consumes your life if you let it, and in some cases, you have no choice. Getting help as others here advised is great...IF you can get it! When you are an only child, it is tough. Or when siblings are too distant to help out...or simply find their lives too busy! It can cause some VERY harsh feelings.
It's great if you have someone to express your feeling to...that helps some, but most people cannot understand if they havent walked in your shoes.

Remind yourself that you are only ONE person doing the best job you can do! People in long term nursing facilities have a staff of dozens doing what you do by yourself! Be proud of that and give yourself credit where credit is due!
You may also want to check to see if in your state they have a Dept. of aging and disabled (DADS)...they can help some in certain circumstances, but you have to call them and push for an assessment of your situation.
*I just checked and in Ga. it is called DAS (division of aging services...call dept of human services and they can direct you on the proper channels to contact)
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Old 09-28-2016, 12:11 AM   #12
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As I read your link from her bedside in the emergency room after working all day.... my first response was, "Damn. This is me."

Wow. I never knew this syndrome existed, but I am living it right now.

Thank you so much for sharing this wisdom, HisArpy. I certainly plan to be well-educated on the topic when I schedule a visit with my doctor.

Thank you again for your insight!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HisArpy View Post
Caregiver stress syndrome is a very real condition. Everyone who cares for an ill person in the role of caregiver needs to know about it and recognize it when it happens.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caregiver_stress

Support is only support. It can't replace what you're losing through your dedication to your patient/family member. You need to take care of YOU. Whatever it takes, YOU come first.
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I'm not the girl that your momma warned you about -- her imagination was NEVER this good.

If you love southern women, raise your glass... If you don't, raise your standards!!

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Old 09-28-2016, 12:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tasty_GA_Honey View Post
As I read your link from her bedside in the emergency room after working all day.... my first response was, "Damn. This is me."

Wow. I never knew this syndrome existed, but I am living it right now.

Thank you so much for sharing this wisdom, HisArpy. I certainly plan to be well-educated on the topic when I schedule a visit with my doctor.

Thank you again for your insight!
Unfortunately it's not wisdom, it's experience directly from the school of hard knocks. From which I had to retake several remedial semesters. Because it's just more fun the fourth and fifth time around dontcha know.

If the syndrome diagnosis fits, then you MUST take care of you. If you don't, your patient has no one to take care of them.
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Old 09-28-2016, 04:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HisArpy View Post
If the syndrome diagnosis fits, then you MUST take care of you. If you don't, your patient has no one to take care of them.
yes


FUCK...
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:15 PM   #15
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Gods yes.

Where you are, you have company.

I don't know how my Mom did it, having to take care of her father, her mother, and then her husband in a six year stretch of time, doing it mostly solo while still holding down a job. I was there when it counted the most, but being on the opposite coast, my role had been at best token support for the most part.

Right now, though, I'm on week three of taking care of my housemate, whose family can't -- or -won't- help, so it's me or nothing. Thank gods for having a job where I can telecommute and a very understanding manager.

And I'm definitely feeling overwhelmed.

I think I needed to see this today, so... thank you. And feel free to vent at will; I'll listen. It's one of the things I've always been good at.

-CT
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tasty_GA_Honey View Post
Holliday - you are such a gem!! Your kind words and caring spirit were what I needed yesterday.

Thank you for your encouragement and reassurance, as well as the resource (which I am already connected with).
I only today found the thread again, Honey. It seems there are several of us willing to at least lend an ear or a shoulder for support. I'm just hoping you are finding some time for yourself. Caring for the disabled or an elderly person is quite different and more exhausting than even being a parent. I'm not sure why, but it is! Just know, we are all behind you. And like I said before...don't forget to look in the mirror every morning and remind yourself that you are ONE person, not a staff of dozens! Sending love your way!
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Old 10-03-2016, 12:07 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by CoyoteTales View Post
Where you are, you have company.

I don't know how my Mom did it, having to take care of her father, her mother, and then her husband in a six year stretch of time, doing it mostly solo while still holding down a job. I was there when it counted the most, but being on the opposite coast, my role had been at best token support for the most part.

Right now, though, I'm on week three of taking care of my housemate, whose family can't -- or -won't- help, so it's me or nothing. Thank gods for having a job where I can telecommute and a very understanding manager.

And I'm definitely feeling overwhelmed.

I think I needed to see this today, so... thank you. And feel free to vent at will; I'll listen. It's one of the things I've always been good at.

-CT
Coyote: After three weeks? I remember being there, and let me tell you, if you are feeling overwhelmed now, and hoping for it to get better...it doesn't! I wish I could tell you something more encouraging than that, but alas, the best you can hope for is an occasional break. For some, those breaks simply don't come. Either because of the progression of the disease, and the level of care required, or because there is no one willing to take on such a monumental task.
In any case, let me commend you on caring for a non-family member. You must have the patience of a saint!
It is indeed overwhelming, and I don't believe that the numbers of those requiring around the clock care is going to drop any time soon. All we can do, is the best we can do; to care for one another to the best of our abilities. My hat is sincerely off to you, Coyote.
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Old 10-03-2016, 03:29 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holliday1960 View Post
Coyote: After three weeks? I remember being there, and let me tell you, if you are feeling overwhelmed now, and hoping for it to get better...it doesn't! I wish I could tell you something more encouraging than that, but alas, the best you can hope for is an occasional break. For some, those breaks simply don't come. Either because of the progression of the disease, and the level of care required, or because there is no one willing to take on such a monumental task.
In any case, let me commend you on caring for a non-family member. You must have the patience of a saint!
It is indeed overwhelming, and I don't believe that the numbers of those requiring around the clock care is going to drop any time soon. All we can do, is the best we can do; to care for one another to the best of our abilities. My hat is sincerely off to you, Coyote.
<chuckles ruefully>Thanks, Holliday. It's more that the housemate is being a horrible patient -- and the speed that they went downhill in the past couple of weeks has been alarming and demoralizing for both of us.

Tuesday we have an appointment with a doctor, who might be able to shed light on the problem - and then we figure out if it's a quick fix, a 30 year thing, or a 'make your final arrangements' thing. It's the not knowing how long things are going to be that is the roughest part.

Patience is supposed to be my strong suit; Mom says that she sometimes regrets raising me like my grandfather raised her - never learning to save yourself or quit helping no matter how much it hurts or how long it might be.

I just never expected to be living that particular nightmare this early in my life. Let alone with and for someone I'm not in a relationship with.

-CT
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Old 11-01-2016, 04:50 PM   #19
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I am so sorry

Yeah, been here too.
When roles get blurred about what they expect it gets hard.
Nothing is more lonely than a 2am diaper change.
I feel for you.

Hugs.
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Old 12-08-2016, 11:51 PM   #20
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Being a caregiver is a special kind of lonely. One day is as the past one, and as the future one. My husband had dementia for ten years. The last two years he had to be in a secure facility because of verbal, emotional and physical aggression. I simply couldn't trust him, not to hurt me. And he did many times, until our children gave me no choice.
The day I had to put him in a locked facility, I went back to my car and cried for an hour. I don't know if they were tears of defeat, or relief. Nothing has made my heart hurt, like walking out and leaving him there that first day.
It made no difference to him.
Bless you caregivers in all that you do. You get a gold star behind your name for the selfless love and care you provide.
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Old 12-09-2016, 02:43 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by TheOldWidow View Post
Being a caregiver is a special kind of lonely. One day is as the past one, and as the future one. My husband had dementia for ten years. The last two years he had to be in a secure facility because of verbal, emotional and physical aggression. I simply couldn't trust him, not to hurt me. And he did many times, until our children gave me no choice.
The day I had to put him in a locked facility, I went back to my car and cried for an hour. I don't know if they were tears of defeat, or relief. Nothing has made my heart hurt, like walking out and leaving him there that first day.
It made no difference to him.
Bless you caregivers in all that you do. You get a gold star behind your name for the selfless love and care you provide.


I can't even imagine.

I've been my husband's caregiver for the last 3 years. I just put him in a nursing home last week. It was the worst feeling... like I'd failed him. But I knew I couldn't care for him at home anymore. I understand that emotional rollercoaster... guilt and sadness vs relief.
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Old 12-27-2016, 09:20 PM   #22
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I just saw this thread. Yes, I was the primary caregiver to my mother and at times it became quite the ordeal. If you need to vent my inbox is always open to you.
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