Heaven or Hell
People constantly tell us we are blessed for being the chosen ones to care for our parents and our reward will be with God, and yet we feel as though we are living hell on earth, not to mention we don't want to be the chosen ones.
My husband and I are taking care of now the 4th parent over the course of our entire married life, 15 years, on top of having an 8 year old daughter. He lost his job over a year ago and my business of over 12 years has dwindled to nothing. We have no income, two houses, and are taking care of both mothers, one lives with us and one we had to put in assisted living 3 years ago after not being able to help her with the basic needs of life.
It seems though that in actuality we have done this our whole life, even before marriage. Of course it is now to a stage where we have no life for ourselves at all. The focus of caring for our parents has taken total control of our lives to the point we cannot even focus on our own well being.
While I am short on advice, because my mother who lives with us now financially has no options and my siblings are not in any position to help either financially or physically, my first and foremost would be keep the faith. I have even come to a point to question this myself. Having said this, we do communicate as much as possible to our siblings even though we know that they either can't help or won't.
Nursing home doesn't seem like a solution and assisted living and in home care is not an option because of finances. We have requested "free" counseling through our church for every member of the family, excluding our 8 year old, and have contacted the senior centers for information from a case manager.
Aside from this, we have plans to have my mother evaluated by a psychologist for a geriatric evaluation and testing to see if any medications need to be adjusted or changed. This will aid in decisions as well. We can relate to every comment and situation that has been posted, and yes we
would love to dig a whole in our back yard and bury ourselves to escape the misery.
So, not only are we having her tested but if we were fortunate to be employed and have insurance we would be asking our primary doctor to prescribe something for clinical depression to get us through this as well. PLEASE learn to take time out to care for yourself somehow, even if it is just a 15 minute hot bath with a glass of wine and soft music!!!!! We are still trying to do this as well. We have come to realize that we CANNOT afford mentally, physically, or financially to have the life drained out of us anymore, so we will look for other options until we find something no matter how exhausting. The senior center gave us the number for home sharing which is along the same lines as an assisted living facility but hopefully not the price.
If your parent is fortunate enough to still be mobile to some degree, keep them out of the house as much as possible, church programs, senior outings, daycare etc. They NEED to be amongst people with the same problems. They need the structure as much as small children do.
Hopefully, you can arrange transportation through these programs as well. Of course they won't want it but it is not their choice any more. STAND YOUR GROUND! Transportation is a huge issue for us because my mother cannot drive, I have had to rely on the senior center for non-emergency medical transportation and any other transit system or cab service we can find.
Try to at least get respite care from assisted living for a weekend here and there if you cannot work something out with family or friends. Our prayers are with all of you, please keep us in your prayers also!
If somehow we could form a group outside of this blog to help each other that would be tremendous. Are any of you involved in care giving support group? Do these groups tag team with each other to help? Does this work if so? I would completely lose my mind if I see no answer to this in sight, so I would rather keep hoping and searching for a way out.