The following are true stories sent in by today's caregivers:

6/15/06

It's nice to know I'm not alone! I have found it interesting that so many people like myself, carry the burden of looking after an aging parent alone, even though they have other siblings.

My father died when I was 19 (he was only 52) and since then, I have lived with my mother (I am now 43). At first, I didn't feel I was missing anything because my siblings still lived in the area and I had some freedom. But by 1992, they had moved away (except for one) and I found myself basically alone with Mom and her health issues.

After turning 40, I began to wonder what happened to my life and at times feel myself in a state of panic! And I know the situation is only going to get worse as my Mom's health declines (she has COPD, among other ailments). My siblings have proven they will be of little help, so I've been wracking my brains trying to figure out how I can preserve my life while making certain my Mom is taken care of. This is what makes me sad: that I will myself die never having experienced love, marriage or children of my own because I've spent too much time playing caregiver. I guess we have to play the cards life deals us. Good luck to everyone on this site, especially those of you with other commitments (i.e., children).

Heide
heidive@aol.com

6/15/06

Wow, I have been reading through some of the stories posted on here and had two feelings. It's nice to know there are others with similar problems out there but also that my situation could be worse. I feel bad even writing this but I know what the future holds for me and my family so it has to go somewhere and hopefully somewhere that I can find help and release.

I am 30 years old. I have a 12-year old daughter and am currently going through a divorce. My mother died 6 years ago from multiple medical problems inflicted by her own behavior. My father, now 73 years old, is still with me. He lived alone for the past 5 ½ years and did relatively well. He is a smoker, so has bad respiratory problems, emphysema, COPD type stuff. Over the last few years I have had to watch him go down hill mentally. I have two older brothers who live out of state who are no help. So I am left with everything. I don't mind because I know that this is what I am supposed to do. I just feel like I am not doing it right. My dad's well being is the most important thing to me. However, I still haven't had time to deal with my own trials and changes in my life, divorce.

I moved my dad in with me. Unfortunately he is overly independent, according to him. He thinks he can do more than he actually can. Since January 2006 he has been in the hospital. The first time was short. The second time, I was ready to lose him. You know call in the family to say good bye. Well, thank the Lord, he made it through and spent three weeks in a rehab facility to build his strength back up. He has since quit smoking but I truly don't think it's his choice. You see I have had to keep him from driving. I tell him if he gets out on the road he will kill someone, but he doesn't care. My dad has a habit of talking to himself so I hear all the mean things he says about how I treat him. But the truth is, I treat him like a king and do all I can for him. I am a single mom, full-time job, going through a divorce and now taking care of my parent. I cannot allow him to drive. My main concern is his mental health.

He has never been a social type person. You know bingo and dinners and such. He sits around my house board and unable to drive anywhere. I hope that someone can make a suggestion about how to deal with his changing mental health. I know there will come a time when he will need more care than I can provide but until then I don't know what to do. He is very forgetful. Not of important facts, you know bills and addresses and places but little things. What day of the week it is, conversations, meds, and he misplaces things on a regular basis. I don't think it's anything but old age but I want to be sure. My concerns are if you can help:

  • What can I do to help him be more entertained?
  • How can I have his mental health evalutated properly?
  • How do I deal with his inability to drive and him hating it?

Thank you for any support, guidance or suggestions you can provide.

Amy
tavagirl15@comcast.net

6/2/06

I wonder if there is any way I could keep this short! Complex to say the least. My husband and I moved here to Florida from Michigan last summer, partly due to his job not being secure much longer and also I wanted to live close to my mother and uncle who live together. They have been alone for the last several years (in their 80s) because my mother has cut off relations, she has not gotten along with others for some time now. She has no friends for she has broken off relationships with people over the smallest thing and is bitter with many people.

My mother has mental issues and takes meds for that and her heart as well. When taking her meds she is much easier to get along with. This is a woman that has never been an easy person to get along with, so these last few months with her as she continued to take her meds have proved to be the best time of my life in my relationship with her.

A few weeks ago my brother suggested I talk with her about a living trust since she is well to do. He said we should avoid having to go through probate court etc. after she dies. I agreed but he wanted me to talk with her and all along he has been the executor of her estate by her choice. The relationship between the two of them has always been on a better level than with me and my mother.

I argued that point but he talked me into it. I foolishly did speak to her as gently as I could. At the time she was on her meds and went completely along with it, no problem but as she does sometimes she got to thinking about it and got it in her head that I wanted her money, that I wanted her dead so I could get my hands on it! this was heartbreaking since this was not the case. Brother then comes down about three weeks later and by this time mother is not at all taking her meds, she is so angry with me that she wants nothing to do with me and consequently when they go to the paralegal (brother asked me to find and make appointment with) she gives all to him and leaves me with nothing.

Now that is one thing but worse to me is now she wants nothing to do with me, a first time wonderful relationship with her has been destroyed. Meanwhile brother goes back up north to his life and is sending nasty e-mails telling me to watch over her when I can’t even get her to talk on the phone with me. I know going to her home will not work either. You would have to know her; once she makes up her mind that's it!!! So here I am 20 minutes from her and wondering what she needs and how she is doing. Uncle is with her and is in better shape but he too is in his 80s and certainly could use me and my husband's help and company as well. Living with my mother can be very stressful so I know he is probably getting worn out. He mentioned to my husband once how he just wants peace and no upsets but if you knew my mother that is impossible. She is up and down in her moods and when a bad one comes in she is impossible to deal with. This is a woman that was difficult as a young person so of course that problem has multiplied through the years. Frustrating and heart breaking.

Linda
sunnygirl@tampabay.rr.com

5/8/06

My mother has had M.S. for over 50 years and has been in a wheelchair for about 15 years. Up until last August she was able to stand briefly to transfer to the car, bed, etc. and could cook her own meals, tend to her personal hygiene.

Then in August she had a cancerous tumor removed from her breast. She came through it a little weakened and was urged to go from the hospital to a nursing home for a few days (I live an hour away and worked then so this seemed reasonable to both of us) After she was at the nursing home for a few days she got very ill with fever and other alarming symptoms.

The nursing home reluctantly sent her to a nearby emergency room and called me at 2 in the morning to get over there. The E.R. doctor said mom had sepsis and was in critical condition. She was hospitalized for three weeks. After that she could not move her legs at all. Then she had to go through the radiation procedure and in the process got tendonitis in one of her shoulders that spread to the other shoulder so then she couldn't lift her arms! To top this off she could not urinate either and had to be catheterized and still needs to be catheterized twice a day. She refuses to even consider a Foley catheter. She does leak urine now in between catheterizations and fills up pads.

There is someone who stays with her at night and does general duties around the house in the daytime but won't catheterize her. I have had to stop working and I go to her house seven days a week. Since it's far, I go early and stay all day. Nothing gets done at my house; my husband has filed for divorce and things I once enjoyed have disappeared. I love my mother and don't want her to suffer, but I do feel overwhelmed a lot of the time. Besides her medical needs there are doctors’ appointments and lots of other things that she needs. She is a little senile as well and very stubborn and manipulative. Most every day we argue about something as she won't listen to reason. She doesn't see any reason why she should get anyone else to help her but me.

I don't think I can make her do anything, because she is still in control of paying her own bills, she is aware of world news, etc. She told me if I don't help her she'll just lay there and die because she won't consider a nursing home. Any suggestions?

Laurel
laurelmedina@aol.com

5/5/06

I'm an only child and my father died in a car accident when I was 12. I moved out and married when I was 21. I am 53 and live with my husband. Our kids are grown and have left home all except one. My mother and I have never been particularly close. She was always close to one of her sisters in particular more than the others. She was closer to that sister than she was to me.

That sister died last year. Since then my husband and I moved her (she agreed) from her apartment in NY to live near us (5 minutes away) in a senior community. Since then she complains all the time about how she does not like it where she lives. She was used to going whenever she felt like it but here you have to drive everywhere and I'm the chauffer. I take her to doctor appointments and shopping, banking and bring her by our house whenever I can.

I am disabled and have health problems and sometimes I don't feel well enough to get out and go myself and I'm always in pain. I'm doing my best but it’s getting harder to keep a civil attitude with her. I keep trying to get her to go to the Senior Center but I guess I'll have to take her to let her see it’s not so bad and she can meet other seniors.

Jackie
PlibraOne@aol.com

Home/About/Support/Join/Caregiver Guide/Helpful Links/Donations