My father and I have been living together for over two years. I'm 28. I'm his primary caregiver. He's finally on waiting list for an ALF. Over the past two years, I've been increasingly reliant on prescription medications for myself to help cope with the stress at home. This is directly attributed to being a caregiver of someone with Alz, so I'd appreciate if the Mods don't move this thread to the addiction board. I'd like to here feedback from other caregivers. Has anyone else had this problem? I plan on placing my dad when his spot opens up, and, money willing, will remove myself from this environment for a couple months. I'm hoping that this will help me stay away from the meds, though I know that I'll be looking forward to a whole new round of stress just by placing him. I'm now suffering from the typical caregiver isolation, especially considering my age and that I'm a guy. Instead of meds, I work compulsively to take my mind off of what's happening at home - but work isn't really enough of escape.
Anyway, am I the only one on this board with this issue?
I am glad to hear that your Dad is on a waiting list - I hope it is short. This kind of round the clock caregiving is enough to seriusly impact the caregiver's health. I didn't have trouble with meds, but did suffer from insomnia, depression, low self esteem and many other problems - only after starting over on my own when my brother took over Mom's care did I straighten out. I needed therapy I was able to find a good family therapist in my small town, and went to regular counseling sessions for nearly 2 years. I highly recommend this kind of help - it takes longer but works better than finding relief through medications.
I wish you luck, success and a wonderful life. You were and are there for your father, now once he is placed, you need time to rethink your own life, find new friends, and recover.
after 3 years, just this month i got relief, and my other crutches are disappearing
and i'm a professional on helping folks with there crutches
after i got relief, I realized i was working compulsively, for me it was not the work, but the caffeine that helped me do the work
so, whereas folks think one thing, it can be another, i had gone back and forth with this caffeine as a crutch for two years, heck, it is caffeine for sacks, i've drank it for 30 years
there are 4 ways to handle emotions
learn and grow
for me, imho, i was avoiding one big azzed guilt for one kind of dumb azzed reason, and rather than dealing with it, i just dealt with it, struggled thru with it, and fwiw, if you asked me, i got lucky and once i got lucky, all revealed itself, and i was like man, why did i let this go on, lol
Welcome to the board UJG. I do hope your father finds placement soon. It sounds like you both need him in a good care facility.
Yes, the stress of caregiving 24/7 is tremendous and each person deals with stress differently. I do not turn to medication. It is not how I deal with problems. I prefer to be in control of my own emotions. I have spent time dealing with my own guilt, anger, and resentment. I have freely discussed my feelings with those that can help me work through them. It has help me grown in other areas of my life as well.
Don't expect your Dad moving into a care facility to change how you deal with life stresses. There are always stresses to deal with. Find a good therapist or life coach to help you. You are doing a wonderful thing caring for your Dad. You do need to find time to take care of yourself as well. Until you find placement it would be a good idea to get yourself some inhome help or a daycare setting for your Dad and spend part of that time away from your Dad taking care of your needs. You have to take care of yourself first in order to be able to take care of others. That was the best advice anybody ever gave me!!
I do hope you get the help you need, your Dad gets his placement, and you can go on from here to find a full and happy life. I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.....
I'm on meds, 24/7, due to a 2 major back surgeries within a week, a broken back, a month in a nursing home, pulminary embolism and throwing clots into both lungs. I am still in PT after 4 years, still do not have full use of my left leg and will remain in some sort of pain the rest of my life. I hate pain meds, but they allow me to live my life somewhat akin to what my normal life was before my first surgery.
I am sorry that you have had to bear the burden of your father's care. That is a difficult thing to do at such a young age. It takes a toll on all of us no matter what our age is. It is perhaps easier for those of us who have seen life a little longer in that we know what to expect from the stages of aging. Doesn't make it any more pleasant, but it can be more bearable. One thing you have to do is to take care of yourself first. If you are not well, then there is nothing to give to your father. That is a primary rule for care-givers. Not all caregivers can seem to do it, or it takes them a long time to figure that out, but it is of foremost importance. You need to be of a good frame of mind to take care of someone who isn't that way themself.
Stress is all around you and always will be. You need to learn to cope with it. You might as well learn now as later. It is a good life skill. Better that you learn how to cope without the need of drugs now so that the dependancy can be cut off. It only gets harder as the time grows longer. I know that you will say that as soon as your father is placed you will be able to get off of the drugs. But then a crisis will arise either with work or with your dad being in the home and you will need the drugs just to help you get over this little bump in the road...Although it is good that they are helping you, they are a vicous thing to get off of. I hope that you can find a way to deal with the stress and not only by using drugs.
Instead of being isolated, join one of the support groups that are out there for caregivers. There are alot of them around. I am sure that you can find one that would suit you. Not all of them are full of older folk. Ask your dad's doctor for recommendations or your local AZ association for a list. Don't sit at home alone with your own pity party. Get out and find the other folks that are in the same boat. They may have suggestions that could help you cope with your problems also. Or you may be able to help them and that is always a good feeling too!
Last edited by ibake&pray; 12-13-2008 at 01:10 PM.
i feel for you i truly do, you are very young to have this scenario to deal with. is there anyone that has been able to help you out in the past 2 years?
I know with my mum, i do not live with her, but i do stay with her in her AL apt. for increasing periods of time. i can honestly say that it is the most stress that i've ever had to deal with and i'm 50. But you are finally looking at relief, so the question only you can answer is are the medications for stituational stress or for something more serious. Once your father leaves you may be able to answer that question more clearly, and start thinking of your own needs.
In my situation i'm the only child and mum is the only family i have left. I am having great difficulty in dealing with that truth and am only now starting to deal with it. Meds...no. Therapy..yup. But i must remember that i am the one that will still be around long after my mum is gone and i need to be intact for my own children.
That said...boy, i'd kill for a tranquillizer every now and then.
I understand the place you're in. I'm a guy, 39, and have been the sole caregiver for my grandmother for the past five years. She lives with me, and is now about stage 5/6. There is no other family. I understand isolation.
Other than work, my life consists of taking care of my home and grandmother.
I've been lucky enough to find a good lady to stay with her when I'm at work, and she can also come if I just need a little time away. Until your father is placed, if you could find someone to stay with him for short periods of time, even if it is only once a week, it could help. I think it is more difficult being a man dealing with this; by nature we're not nurturers or caregivers.
I get depressed, angry frustrated, but I have never turned to meds. I had an alcohol/drug problem when I was a young man and have been sober for nearly 20 years. I've found that it's easier in the long run to face my problems head on, with a clear mind so I can make good decisions. I try to find small things to take pleasure each day, even if it's just house or yard work. I love to read, and that's a good temporary escape. Sometimes I can find relief just by going for a walk outside and finding beauty in nature. I also take comfort by knowing that this will someday pass, and that I will have a life after Alzheimers. Every day I pray that I will make it through this with my sanity and health intact, and I'm confident that I will. You just have to look inside yourself and find the strength that is there.
Nope, you're not the only one. I'm 37 and caring for my husband's 85 year old grandma and I feel ripped off most of the time. Not enough of me to give to everyone--we have 6 children--and a lot of anger and depression.
BUT, I used to be on Lexapro for depression until I started working out and eating right. I take a good vitamin supplement, too, and I feel MUCH better. With her moving into our house, I thought I'd be living on the edge of that anxiety and depression again--and don't get me wrong, sometimes it's bad and I want to scream, pull out my hair and drive away and never come back!--but those 3 things help me so much. I HAVE to take time to exercise or I fall apart.
Find that thing just for YOU and cling to it. There's something out there that will keep you sane and you need to find it for those bad times.