I'm just suddenly realizing I may never have my own life. My Mom has always leaned on me. When she was younger she did not have friends the way others do so I would accompany her to concerts, drive her places she couldn't drive, help her with home repairs. Looking back I now realize she was using me like I was her husband. Then she started getting dementia. Yesterday, our Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., I spent my day hauling her around to visit friends. And on the way home I realized that I may never get to have my own life. I used to kid myself, humor myself into thinking it was just around the corner. But I'm over 50 now and my life is working 6 days a week to pay her care costs and 1 night and the 7th day providing her entertainment. I have no life for me. The time I do have "off" is laundry, paying bills, grocery shopping....just a real hoot of a life. A depression overwhelmed me last night as I drove home in the dark, recalling the evening. Her friends telling me all the things I could do to make things better for her (like I could get her a DVD player and lots of DVD's she could watch....a woman who can't work a dial microwave or dial a phone, they think can work a TV/DVD player), her telling me absurd things my Dad is dead, but I'm lying about that because I just don't want her to see him over the holidays. BTW, they divorced when I was in HS and never really saw each other for the last 40 years of her life. She remembers that they were divorced but now it was really a happy marriage that ended for unknown reasons so I'm keeping them from each other. )
I don't want to regret this post. PLEASE don't tell me ways I could be doing better. PLEASE don't offer suggestions. Honestly, I've had enough of that. I guess I've just had enough in general. I think I just really need to vent.
One thing for certain, I am so very, very grateful I didn't have children. I'd kill myself now if I thought I would ever do this to them.
there is no life when we live like this. i am lucky i have my father to help out with my mother. you actually chose this lifestyle and i dont think you can change now. do you have a spouse? i told my husband to help me kill myself if i ever get like my mother. my 3 kids and i love them dearly are in denial about my mother. they just dont wnt to see it and they dont want to see me upset. too bad for them. glad you can vent because thats all i seem to do.
Apparently her "friends" have no clue on her condition. Obviously they overlook the changes and the limits your Mother has.
You have chosen to care for her, and you should be commended to walking the extra mile for someone who gave you life. Too many children choose to walk away from parents in a challenging situation.
Please make time to care for you. I care for my Mother who has dementia and is in a wheelchair and diapers. She raised me and my adopted brother as a single parent after my father died when I was 6 months old.
I always give myself some free time to visit friends, or even just get in the car and go for a drive. I work full time so it is at times stressful and tiring for me.
My Mother sleeps alot now, so she doesn't miss me. At times she doesn't know what day it is or where I am going.
As long as your Mother is safe in the home, be fair to yourself and do something you enjoy. Get a good book and get lost in it.
You have a life in caring for your Mother, but you need to find other avenues to fill the void you apparently are feeling.
I can truly understand how you feel. I'm over 50 and also wondering if I'll ever "have a life" as I always dreamed. Part of my dream came true being a wife and mother...but now I'm a mother to my mom and major caretaker to my aunt.
How I want to sell my house; move to Florida to be with my brother and his family but no...my mom is now in a NH and I have an aunt who is pretty much the way your mom is...very dependent on me as she never married; is 82; and I'm about all the family she has here. Luckily, she is still cognitive; drives; and has friends. But how I wish I could just chuck it all and leave.
I guess you make your own happiness.
Last edited by sunnydaze1; 11-28-2008 at 06:47 PM.
They are very aware of her condition. It's getting pretty advanced. In front of them she twice asked me what my name was. But it's like they can't follow the logic through to understand that if someone is forgetting their daughter's name they likely will not be able to work an electronic devise or,for that matter, get any enjoyment out of a 90 minute movie.
On the way home my Mom turned to me in the car and said "you'd think that they would have served us a meal. I think I'm hungry." Of course, she'd had a huge plate of food a short while earlier. Hate to admit it but that was a little lesson to me about mind/stomach issues and my overeating!!
Probably true. But I know I'm not a "good" enough person to thrive in this environment. I think the drug companies need to work on this. If I could take a pill in the morning that made me rejoice over nothing but work, no romance, only thrift store shopping (heaven forbid it be new), entertainment found in laundry, grocery shopping, cooking and mowing the yard, I would be close to nirvana.
And I will say that the one thing this experience has taught me is empathy. So many people do not have a clue what others are suffering through. I am very hesitant to throw stones these day.
I see your point to a degree. I have 2 brother who both turned their backs years ago. So it was sort of a "who ever wants to take care of Mom, step forward." They not only stepped back, they ran. And this was BEFORE the dementia. They'd see her once or twice a year until the past 3 or 4 when they just vanished. But I did chose it because I didn't run with them. It wasn't in me.
No husband. Not much of anything. I've actually been sitting here thinking of anything good I have in my life. I'll come up with something. It's just taking longer than I like.
Oh, I just thought of one.....I have a great dog. Are you ready for this? She's dying of cancer. (Doesn't this sound like I'm making it up?) BUT....aside from the cancer....she has been a great joy. Big old pound puppy who has been a complete privlidge to have in my life in spite of all the puppy chewed shoes and the adult trash can raids. So there. One thing. A dog that will be dead soon. (If anyone else has a warped sense of humor, you can go ahead and laugh. It really is absurd to the point of funny!)
Resolution09 = I understand completely. It is, of course, just a matter of time (now we can feel guilty about that too). My "life" generally consists of an hour here and there to read when everyone else is sleeping, and the day or two a year that I can take a vacation day for emergency chores when DH is in daycare.
I have met others who were in our boat, who do eventually report having lives again. Martha has reported that her life post-AD caregiving is her own, and that she is happy. Our 50s aren't great, but our 60s might be fantastic...who knows? (My Dad met a lady in her 60s and they got married ten+ years ago - anything can happen!).
Not giving advice or suggestions (I'm sure you've heard it all anyway) - just hugs.
Hi, I'm Martha and I was mentioned above. YES! I have a new life!
It is not tooo late. I am 69. I live alone and have my own aprtment. I retired the same year I left my Mom in my brother's care, 3 years ago, and now live on a small SS check. That's why I moved to this small town where the cost of living is lower.
I went to therapy sessions for 2 years to get over the guilt I was dragging around on my back - guilt because I ran away from an unhappy and abusive marriage, guilt because I then ran away (well, handed over her care to my brother) from Dementia care after doing it for over 5 years.
I found out that I did not have to feel guilty. I chose life. I chose health. Being in a bad marriage was making me sick, and after 5 years of it, so was taking care of Mom. My brother did a good job with her for 3 months, but then she fell and broke her hip and had to go to a NH.
During the time I was her caregiver I got all kinds of dumb advice from people who should have known better - give her more water to drink, then she will be fine. Don't let her watch so much TV. Get her a cell phone (this after she wandered off 3 times) ... Mom could no more work a cell phone than a space rocket. Mom could no longer turn on the TV, and she was totally incapable of answering the phone or making a call on the home phone. But those people think they need to 'help' you, so they make their inane suggestions.
I was close to suicide when my brother agreed to take Mom in. I can never be thankful enough.
After the fall she wound up in a good nursing home, incontinent and wheelchair bound, but happy and cheerful as was her nature. We all visited her when possible, and she always enjoyed company after being told several times who they were. She passed away Dec 29 last year at the age of 99, and I miss her!
You are still young! I am nearly 70 and feel young. There are many things I like to do - none involve a partner, since I closed that chapter of my life when I left my marriage. I have nice neighbors, a wonderful town library, books and films, parks and trees, grown children and grandchildren some near, some overseas. I have a wonderful friendly church which accepts me as I am. I swim in the summer, walk all year round, ride a three wheelled bike for adults. I like my neighbors, we had a block party recently. And I feel I have real friends on this Board who are coming along behind me, still taking care of their loved one but almost ready for their new and happy life.
I think I am happier now than ever in my life before --- so you see, there is life after Alzheimer Care!
There are days when I feel exactly as you. I am 53 years old. My life consists of work and taking care of my elderly parents. Mom who is currently in Rehab with numerous medical conditions and Dementia. A dad who is very overwhelmed from all of mom's medical conditions. No, this is not the life I would have envisioned for myself BUT it is what it is. I have come to ACCEPT why and what I do everyday to be a good thing for them. In between on most days I DO make an appoint to take time out for me. Mostly going for my 3 mile run or walk every night. Yes, that may seem like such a simple little thing BUT it is what keeps me sane and grounded and ready to take on more. When I am having a bad day and feel ready to throw in the towel, I just keep telling myself this to shall pass. It won't be forever. That always straighens me right out. Hang in there. It won't be forever!!
We don't throw in the towels....we hang onto them...tight. It's what keeps us going.
You have chosen to take care of your mother-and for that I commend you. And for you dog I am sorry., I have three rescue myself and we treasure them dearly.
But only you can decide if you are going to be happy or not. That is a choice. Day care for you mother would give you a break that would free up time for you to have you time which is important to every one. I was recovering from two major back surgeries in two weeks while dealing with my mother with this disease and daddy with AAA and vascular dementia. I know how awful it can be. But you can make the decision for it to be better. Do it for your sake.
Last edited by ibake&pray; 11-29-2008 at 10:31 AM.
Your right Ibake somedays I only have the towel hanging by the threads.
Then I realize I am letting go and tell myself you cannot do that just yet. I then pull onto the towel and hold it firmly in my hand!!!
just to let you know i have 2 dogs and a cat. my 1st dog is 13 and is almost blind and deaf. these animals mean so much to me. if i didnt have them idont know what i would do. can you try to adopt another dog. i think that is so important. why did your brothers turn their backs? is there anything you can do or they not worth the aggrevation?
I too am a survivor but am still trying to adjust to my "new" life without my DH who passed away last May. I'm 54 and work full time. Of course you will have a life after, but it's getting through your current life that's exhausting. I felt like I was going through the motions most days and wishing them to "hurry up" so I could go to bed. It wasn't a life, just an existence. I used to daydream about the things I wanted to do once I had the chance but I think it's going to take a bit more time for me before I feel like doing some of them. I adored my DH and did everything i could to make his life as comfortable as possible and in doing that, lost a bit of myself. I'm still trying to find the parts I lost and most days I'm still exhausted, but I'm moving forward. I believe that one day I will feel better and get "me" back along with my energy.