Caretaker Fatigue?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by tawnya, May 31, 2010.

  1. tawnya

    tawnya New Member

    I know we are all here because we have difficult children, but I am talking about older/other family members.

    I also know there are many on this board that are in the same situation as I am.

    I am just sooooo tired of taking care of all of the rest of my family that I could scream. Well, I have actually.

    I should go back. My dear mom died almost a year ago. She was one of my best friends in the world. She did most of this "care taking", so I promised her I would take care of things when she passed.

    My dear dad didn't even know how to write a check, so now I am paying his bills. Not a big deal in and of itself.

    My grandparents are still alive and in their 80's. My pop is in the nursing home, and my mam is still living at home, but mostly crippled. She can live by herself, but I have to get her groceries, etc. I take her every day to see my pop.

    Then, we lost my mom's oldest brother withing nine months of her death.

    My mother in law has either Alzheimers or the very least it is dementia. For that I am certain. My sister in law is in a group home (very small with only six "girls"), because she was being very violent to said mother in law. sister in law is 54, but has had many problems since birth. mother in law won't go to the doctor and husband just puts his head in the sand about the whole thing.

    difficult child is still doing stupid things, etc. etc. etc.

    It is making me so tired I can't hardly see. There is no respite because no one else in the family gives a

    I'm still trying to work, too. We have a little truck farm (produce) that we try to run and get by with, but I'm behind on that, too.

    I've looked into adult care and other avenues for help, but it just doesn't seem to be working.

    Sometimes I think this is just so much harder than dealing with a difficult child. BUT, then again she has been out of the house for a long time now. Maybe my brain has just erased the worst parts of the difficult child.

    I have never liked the "buzz" words, but I really do believe that caretaker fatigue is true to form.

    I feel for all of you here doing the same thing. Sometimes it is just too hard to respond to your threads, and for that I am sorry.

    I'll keep going because I promised my mom and everyone counts on me, but it really gets me down sometimes.

    Thanks for listenening.

  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Wish I had some answers for you, tawnya. Sending many hugs and some extra strength to get through.
  3. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I experienced this with taking care of husband and trying to continue working. Caretaking is damned hard work, even if you only have one person to care for.
  4. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I don't really think of myself as a caretaker but I guess I am and maybe that is why I've been a little irritable lately.
    My mother is 95 and is amazing for her age but she doesn't drive anymore so I have to take her to doctor's appointments, hair appointments, etc. I balance her checkbook and clean her apartment. I try to keep track of appointments, bills due, etc. as she is getting a little forgetful. I'm an only child so I have no brothers or sisters to rely on for help.

    On top of that, my younger son lives around the corner from me with his wife and three kids, ages 5, 4, and 1 1/2. Daughter in law broke her right arm and left leg before Easter so I have been doing their dishes, cooking their supper every night, babysitting (not my favorite thing), driving them everywhere (he lost his license and she can't drive in her condidtion), and doing whatever else needs to be done.

    I try to remember that my mother looked after me for a lot of years and I will certainly miss her when she's gone. And I shouldn't have had kids if I didn't want to help them when they needed help, but sometimes it all gets to be a little much.

    I don't have any answers to the problem but I sure do understand what you're saying and I can sympathize.

    I thought that when I retired I'd have some time to do the things I enjoy but right now I feel like I'm running the rat race and the rats are winning.
  5. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Tawnya, I so can sympathize with this. On top of difficult child I have husband, and help with my grandfather quite a bit too. I have found that every few weeks, at least once a month, I have to have a me day. If I don't, I cannot help anyone else. It is hard, and I think being popular and needed is way way over rated. I would love it if no one needed me for a month.
  6. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hugs-I have no doubt caretaker fatigue is real. Wish there was a way to ease your load-it's way too heavy.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Caretaker Fatigue is real, no doubt about it. I remember when I was taking care of my mother on top of my kids and trying to deal with my issues and attempting to work. Couldnt handle it at all. Work fell first, then my health fell apart, then about the last year of my mom's life she got too hard for me to handle so she went into a nursing home. It was hard.

    Look up places like the division of aging or simply call social services and ask them who to call, they should know. There is help out there to get you help. You dont have to do everything.
  8. tawnya

    tawnya New Member

    Thanks for listening ladies.

    Sometimes I just get so tired, but other days I'm back with my A Game.

    I just love them all so much, and like Mutt said, I keep feeling like I owe them for all the things they've always done for me.

    As an aside, mother in law wrecked her car into husband's truck this afternoon, we go again. LOL

    Thanks again for your support.

  9. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Have been stressing out over my mother who is comming to stay, now isn't, now is - been months where I have ben researching what she will need, lining up doctors, what I will need, who I will have to get stuff from. . Now SO's mon may have to come out as she can no longer live on her own - luckly I have all the researched information for him

    You may want to check out - they are a wealth of information for elderly care.

    I sympathize - no one is actually "here" yet and its stressful just "thinking" about stuff I ill have to do

  10. tawnya

    tawnya New Member

    You know one thing that really, really bothers me is that I DO have family the same city. A brother, a sister, and an uncle ( who makes sure everyone knows that he has power of attorney ), cousins, etc. husband has older children who could help with mother in law.

    One would think that maybe just ONE DAY someone would help. I've seen enough from friends that this doesn't usually happen. Once you do something, it is now your job. One of those "no good deed goes unpunished" things. There is usually one "kid" that takes care of things. And, actually, that's fine with me, but sometimes I just need a break.

    We've tried the "elder care" and every time they have "fired" the person/nurse within hours.

    For some reason I just can't let the ball drop. I can detach from difficult child, but not my dad and grandma and pop.

    Lord help me, LOL.

    Thanks again for the support.

  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    is your grandmother lucid enough that you can tell her that you need a break, and will hire someone to drive her to see her husband? There are community svcs that provide rides, and some are free.
    Is mother in law a danger to herself or her husband? Does she leave things burning on the stove, etc? I know how worrisome that is. I'm wondering if you can skip taking care of them or thinking about them a few days a wk.
    I'm just trying to pare down the list ...
    I know exactly how you feel.
    My dad has Alzheimers and lives in another state. My little sister is his main caregiver, and even though he is in assisted living and has hired nurses and caregivers, she still goes over there almost every day because some of the caregivers are not effective, and can't get Dad out of bed. When you're dealing with-someone like that, you have to think on your feet and outsmart them, use a lot of humor, etc. to get them to do what you want. (Like get out of bed!) One thing she does is tell him he is meeting a friend for lunch. He will hop out of bed, she will help him dress, they go downstairs, and by the time they are downstairs, he is in a good mood but can't remember why he's there. Then she makes sure he eats (either with-her or someone else).
    I flew up a cpl mo's ago when she was out of town, and I will fly up again this mo, because she is having surgery.
    I am also caring for my cousin, who is 82 and in major league denial about ever living on her own again. We are in counseling (it's mostly her ... I'm not sure if I'm sitting there so the therapist doesn't have to repeat herself or what ... you really have to repeat yourself with-my cousin and it drives you nuts). Then I go pick up difficult child at school and all h*ll breaks loose.

    All that is to say, I HEAR YOU!!!

    I know what you mean about people firing the people you hire. My cousin did that a lot. I hired a svc to come to her apt last winter, and the manager and I decided to just assume she would fire the first 3 people. In fact, she only disliked 2, and it took her an entire month to tell us! But it's always best to be prepared.

    If your uncle has POA, why are you writing checks for your dad? Your uncle needs to put his money where his mouth is. Or something like that, LOL! Yes, that is time consuming ... I do it for my cousin, too. Good thing she doesn't need a good credit rating because most everything I do for her is late ... ;)
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Muttmeister, arrrgh! I am so sorry. When will the arm heal?
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Tawnya, I just read the other note you wrote about your m-i-l wrecking the two cars. This may be a way to get her license taken away.
    You can have one of the cars towed and just have it never show up again ...
    then have the ins company insist she take a test ... or something.
    Do it now, while the crash is still fresh, so to speak. Then you won't be the bad guy.
    And whatever you do, once they have no transportation, do NOT offer to take them everywhere! Make sure they get a svc, someone from church, etc. Split up the responsibilities.