Hello and Merry Christmas to all!
I'm a caregiver to my mother-in-law who will be 80 in a few more days. I'd like to address first the guilt trips I put myself on for not being more patient. It's a difficult job and I keep reminding myself I will be there soon myself and how would I like to be treated. Respite is available, however in the two yrs. we've taken care of her she's only been away for 2 wks. and that was because my husband was having surgery and I couldn't care for two people at the same time. She came home from the NH claiming that someone had taken advantage of her while there and she won't go back. Bless her heart, she told us she might even be pregnant. I'm 100% positive this never happened. She has suffered with paranoid schizophrenia all of her life. She is physically disabled enough to be on a walker for several yrs. now and falls frequently in the night (only when getting on the bedside commode). I've situated it right next to the bed w/plenty of light from a night light, but I'm guessing she's not allowing her BP to adjust before she stands up to sit down on the commode. You can reiterate this repeatedly, but with her alzheimers you may as well save it. I'd love to take her out more as I know it would be good for her, but she's a handful even w/the walker (that has the seat to sit in when she tires). She wanted to shop for Christmas and we took her against our better judgement and 5 min. into the store and she was ready to leave w/o anything in her basket. Even before the alzheimers really set in when she would ask how you're feeling & if you are truthful and say perhaps that you have a headache then she in turn has a headache too, etc. I politely tell her even when I'm feeling absolutely horrible that I feel real good today. If I were to be truthful then she automatically has the same symptoms you do and require sympathy and bedrest. I think it's a triple whammy as she's been diagnosed with schizophrenia, senile dementia, and alzheimers.
My mother-in-law may outlive both of us (hubby & myself) because the responsibility does create many health problems with the caregivers. I have an anxiety disorder which was pretty well under control before this and then since I'm taking coumadin my physician took me off of my hormone replacement medicine so I am having power surges and mood swings that leave me feeling like a piece of burnt toast. I had two deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) in my leg a year ago this month and I'm still suffering the consequences of it (edema and pain).
I need to take better care of myself, however there's always something to be done. My husband is an only child so there's no one else to help with the responsibility. It's very depressing. My husband works in the medical field long hours and because I was unemployed @ the time she couldn't do for herself anymore it was my suggestion we move her in with us. I've worked as a CMA/CNA and beleive me it's much easier to care for a patient like Mom when you're not related and closely linked. Lyn, I've often thought about the fact that the Chinese/Japanese people revere their elders and they're seldom institutionalized. Their whole family and extended family gets involved in their care. Wouldn't that be fantastic if more of us in the U.S. could do this? By the way Lyn, what is OCD? I know it's probably similiar to my CRS syndrom. LOL
My health has been failing for the past two yrs. and I feel like I'm stuck in a turnstile and can't get out. I'd appreciate hearing from others with their experiences regarding this subject. Meanwhile I'll keep asking God to give me the ability to accept that which I cannot change. I couldn't find a spell check on here, so please forgive me if I've mispelled some words.
God bless you all and don't do as I do, but do as I say!
Take care of yourselves!!!