Caregiver Stress - A Hamster on the Wheel...

by Paula

I am an activities director at an assisted living, plus I have had to recently move in with my 85 (almost 86 year) old stroke victim mother.

After my job at the assisted living, I go "home" and care for her, in order to give my friend a break... it's off the wheel for her, and on it for me... I work 8 to five with the elderly, who are in various stages of decline... we have anything here from active seniors, to those with one foot on a banana peel and the other on the door of the Nursing Home... we are an Assisted Living, which means nothing really.

It's a short stop-over for extended care in a locked "Dementia" unit, or a nursing home. SO I am burned out before I get to my mother's house.

I have no siblings, and my two children are busy with careers, and college etc. I have been divorced for many years... so there's no husband to rely on. I also take over at my mother's on the weekends, so my friend can have a break...

I am the only one NOT having a break! My job at the Assisted Living is my BREAK!! My own health is less than stellar, and I had a near fatal accident last year that was probably due
in part due to my constant worry over my mother's condition. She refuses to even entertain the idea of long term care...and wants to die at home etc. Having home health helps, but they are not with her but a few hours a day... My friend who is the 8 to 5 care giver and late night shift person, is now dating, and goes out every evening... leaving me the late night duties with my mother, as well... I'm sinking, quickly.

Actually I'm plotting my great escape. I'm to the point of abandoning all contact with my mother, and my children; and "vanishing". I have step one and step two formulated... but I know I probably would not be able to live with myself if I enacted my plans to leave. However, I would at least LIVE... My mother has run through her savings paying care givers... can I leave without regret?

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Another Yes Vote
by: Anonymous

Thank You to "I Vote Yes" for the laugh this morning.

It's so refreshing to see someone just come out with it, and speak the silent scream.

I have no advice for the Hamster. I write on this forum all the time, with all this sympathy and advice, while I, at the same time, am trapped on my own wheel.

I keep telling myself all the right things to do for me and for mom. But I'm so busy working, shopping, banking, going to doctors, running errands, giving rides, that I never seem to have the time to do my life. Am I going to need a health crisis wake-up call of my own in order to get my priorities straight?

I work at home, I do freelance contract work, and just these last few days, a job fell through, and instead of spontaneously running up to the mountains for a long week-end getaway (which is something I've been "planning" as soon as I get the time!!!!!) instead, I did all of my mom's back-burner requests! So now my job comes in today and I get right back on the wheel and start all over!! And then she says to me, "I'm glad you had a few days off so we could get all these important things accomplished."

What about Bob???

I feel stress everyday. I take the walks, run my dog, visit a friend, it's just a band-aid. Yesterday I went shopping and bought three pairs of shoes. This is not me. It's not solving the underlying stress level. We can fool our minds, but we can't fool our bodies and our souls. We need our freedom, we need our independence...blah blah blah. Here I go, more advice that I need to take myself.

I called my brother last night, and told him I spent the afternoon with mom at the bank, figuring out her Trust and accounts, and he tells me he went riding quads in the sand dunes all week-end with his family and friends.

What is wrong with this picture?


So I vote YES. Let's OCCUPY our own lives.
I vote YES for you, for the Hamster, and let's get real...most importantly, I vote YES for me.

I Vote Yes
by: Anonymous

If you have a chance to leave this disaster we call living, go for it. I wish I had the guts to do the same.

However, I predict the guilt will eat you up. That's the thing about people in our situation. If we were the kind of people who could "vanish", we wouldn't be stuck in this situation in the first place.

Oh, how I wish that I'd had foresight regarding this fiasco.

Good luck.

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