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For those who don't know me, my husband and I live with my mom who is 91 and has Alzheimer's and a weak heart. I take medication for depression but it still gets a hold of me. We rarely get out together as my mom can't be alone. My brother and sister live far away...brother gives us breaks maybe once or twice a year. Sister doesn't lift a finger. I've been doing this for almost 5 years and making other arrangements is not an option for me. My husband says I'll feel better in the spring. I don't know... Guilt goes along with the depression. If I don't do anything I feel guilty, but I some days don't feel up to doing a thing.

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I deal with my depression everyday. Some days, I don't deal and just let it ride out. I just lay there and hardly move and barely speak. It's hard when you got to do it on your own. I think this whole guilt thing has got GO. None of us in this type of situation need to feel guilty for not wanting to deal with it for a while. As a matter of fact, that is our RIGHT. We deserve to do or NOT do anything for ourselves.

Have you looked into adult day cares in your area? i dang near jump in joy when I put my mom on the bus.. on those days.. not an ounce of guilt to be heard or seen.

Best Wishes
Kelley
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miz: Winter takes its toll on me...especially this year...it can certainly intensify those dark feelings.

The only thing that gives me mental respite is to do something creative...it is the only way my mind can wander and get lost in something more productive and satisfying. You can do so many activities at home.

I am curious as to why you cannot make "other arrangements" for your Mom so that you can get a small break. Are you in a town that has limited services? Are you unable to let her be in someone else's care? I really wish for you a break from it all...even if it is a short one. I fear for the health of your psyche.
take care,
Lilli
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MIZ:

All caregivers experience depression at one point or another. How we cope with it is the tricky part. Some people resort to "happy pills" like Prozac or Celexa to mask it; others accept it as part of a war in which all sides lose something. Some, always so free and easy on the advice, seem to be in total control. The fact is that half the time they're playing the Cleopatra Queen of Denial bit complete with teflon attitude, and pretending they're in control of everything and everyone. Some give in and become trapped; others go screaming into the night after the first week. The list goes on and on.

Miz, it sounds to me like you're grieving for a life you used to have before all these sacrifices of caregiving came along. And barely anyone around to help except those whose love for you you believed unconditional.

Every 24 hours or so take some "me time" and rewind the tape of your existence. Have you been happy, even if it's for 5 minutes a day? Is your soul searching deep enough to identify the causes or triggers of your depression? Of course you'll come across individuals handing out their spiel about people, places, and things. What they won't tell you is that those same people, places, and things are actually you.

All us, in time, will need a source of strength other than our own. Dig a little deeper within yourself, and you'll realize the answers you seek have been there all along.
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When you don't have a support system esp. within your own family,how could anyone not be depressed. Caregiving is hard in the best of circumstances. It does make a hugh difference when some one is there that you feel that loves your parent as you do,such as a brother or sister,but when you handle everything alone;it is a recipe for diaster.
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Thanks so much for all your comments and advice. I guess depression is sort of an not-talked-about problem with caregivers. I find a whole lot more information on the depressed elderly. Mom and I looked into day care when Dad first passed away. The problem was is is that Mom needs to lay down most of the time and the day care facility we have in town does not have beds. As far as the money situation goes, I am on a budget set up by my brother, sister and myself. I'm not very good with money. I DO get out to work 1 to 2 days a week. I think if I didn't have that I would go crazy. It's $19.00/hour for a CNA to come and take care of Mom. (My brother made the comment that I should be able to find someone for $5.00/hour. OMG!!) I'll be getting away this weekend to go to my in-laws for my and my husband's birthdays. It will be an overnight thing but I know it won't seem long enough. If my husband and I go somewhere together, I either take a day off work or we pay a friend/CNA $10.00 to stay with Mom. We try to get away but money IS a problem. Mom hates it when I go to work so I struggle with that guilt. I tell her I have to get out sometimes and she seems to understand that most of the time but she still wants me here.
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I've been doing this for about 4 1/2 years and sometimes I think I'm going to lose my mind. For some of that time I got out a lot more but the money situation has popped that balloon. I remember how social I used to be. My siblings are mad that my husband is living in the house. I moved him in about 3 years before we got married. What they fail to accept is that he makes life around this place so much more bearable. I guess everyone has the right to their opinion. :)
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Lilliput, the winters do suck. My husband says I'll feel better when spring gets here. Man, I hope so.
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Miz forget about what those siblings say, they are probably jealous that you HAVE a man. Whatever it takes to take a load off of you, go for it.

By the way you do look like a social butterfly-girl. Go on with your bad self.

You won't lose your mind, we'll be signing you up for the cruise that we'll be taking on Bobbie's Yacht.
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pamela, I used to be very social. I have let so many friendships lag and lost touch with others. It's just so hard to maintain friendships when you're depressed and can't get out much.
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pamela, I am SO THERE on Bobbie's yacht. It sounds like heaven to me.
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Depression? Oh heck yes. Today I am so depressed I've not been able to do the one little errand I had scheduled. So I totally understand.
Some days I feel like throwing in the towel.
My 90 year old Mother goes out once a week to go shopping-and that is the greatest time for me! Its like all the bad air in the house is gone for awhle and I can play music, walk around wherever I wish, dance, talk to myslef-whatever. This is one thing that doesn't get addressed very often. Emphasis is on the "getting out" part of respite, which is fine, but since most of us are adults, we also mourn the freedom to just "be" in our own homes!
Does anyone agree?
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ERAsDaughter Jan 2019
Ohmygosh yes!! I know this post was 8 years ago so maybe no one will see it... but this is a HUGE problem to me! I just want my own space to live my life in my own way on my own terms... ugh
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nins, I hadn't really thought about it in awhile but I do SO agree. Everyone needs alone time. There is no place for me to really be alone when I want to. It sounds so liberating!! I do know that lately I sing less and smile less and just want to go to sleep and not deal with anything. I guess sleep is a get-a-way.
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Nina I use too. Now since my sister took over, I am back at my own house. But the problem is that when I go to moms house, I can't wait to leave. I feel depressed every time I turn that key to enter her house. The heat hit's me, and the feeling of helplessness hit's me, then I walk into her room and there she is laying down in that bed and I almost just fall out. From the time I get there till the time I leave she's asking me to do things. It's like I never left. She called me at 4 in the morning today to tell me she felt great and was gonna go to the bathroom. I talked her out of it, and shortly thereafter my sister came into her room. I noticed they bought a baby monitor so now when I go over I make sure to turn it off so the "help" can't listen. When I bought one 5 months ago mom told me to take it back that she didn't want it.

I do feel for you though because your mom is there for you. I understand totally about when she goes shopping and you can be yourself. I can just see you dancing, singing, doing what-ever you so desire and I say ALLRIGHT Ms Nina!

What would happen if you turned on the music while your mother was there, and you held her hand and danced with her, I mean simulated dancing?
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Yes--most of us had LIVES before we became caregivers-were able to come and go as we pleased etc. I sneak around in this house trying not to make noise because that prompts my Mother to come out of her living area and tell a long tale (and its always a monologue) about something that happened 80 years ago or whatever. Usually its all about how she has been wronged in some way. Or she sits and tells me how inadequate I am. And I resent always having to tell someone when I go out for a few minutes.
Think I'll go back to bed until its time for wine LOL
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LOL Nina
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Pamela, OMG. Every morning I walk my dog and my mothers dog. I'm in a great place in CA and I love this. But when I turn the corner to the house my heart just sinks, and I feel so desperate! Its like the air is sucked out of me and so is my energy. Depression creeps up on me and I can hardly breathe.
Mother bitches up a storm if she hears my music-though I do have an IPod (which is great when I want to ignore her -I just gesture that I can't hear her.) Of course I pay for this later in some way.
I have even tried smudge sticks to get the bad energy out of the house-can't say that its worked...
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Wow. I can't imagine how bad it would be if my mom was disagreeable. For the most part she is pleasant. I am so blessed!! It frightens me to think of a time when her Alzheimer's causes her to not be so nice. I'm not sure my anxiety could take it.
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Oh lordy- stay tuned! i nevery realized how many of us have the "disagreeable" vairety until I came here. Its great to have the .so one feels less alone
Mine also wants everything I have-its like living with a toddler without the authority to tell them "naptime"---
Maybe your mother won't ever become disagreeable miz.
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Mizunderstood:
I get depressed too, and I get resentful sometimes.
Resentful because my mother ( whom I am caregiver full time for now) never even walked up stairs to come and visit me when I was confined to a recliner after my mastectomy. I had Catheters hangin out of my chest, and she claimed(her excuse) for not coming to see me was that she couldn't "stand to see me that way" She dropped a casserole off downstairs with my husband on her way to the casino. this was almost 5 years ago exactly
I know Depressed, But I also know that I can overcome it without medication. ON top of Caregiving I wake up every day and wonder when the cancer bomb is going to drop on me again.
I try to find solace in the fact that I am doing what I do in spite of what My mother did or didnt do for me,because I am a good person, I am a loving person. One day I am going to have to face her death and I want to know that I treated her as well and was as kind and loving to her as I could be.
I will be able to live with me.
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nins, I sure hope not. But, I do know it could happen. goinnutz, you (like so many others on here) are a true hero. I'm very proud of you.
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Thank u Mizunderstood, By the way You are a very beautiful person inside and outside, You are worthy of love and worthy to love yourself, YOU MATTER.
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ginnutz-I am speechless and I admire your strength, courage and great attitude.
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goinnutz, thank you so much!! I really needed that today. :)
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* blush* aww gawwrsh u guys..
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No one ever wants to talk about depression in any form, but I guarantee that every caregiver has had to face it at some point. Almost every morning that I wake up and think "I can't do this anymore." but breakfast won't cook itself, and if I don't get my butt downstairs gma will start tearing around the house looking for me. You're not alone-we're all here to support you. And the best think about the discussion forum is that it's always here-you could post at two o'clock in the morning :)
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Thank you to all of you....
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Mizunderstood....I too have been taking care of my mother for five years. It was interesting Edviragr about grieving for your past existence. That is exactly how I feel. OI had such a wonderful peaceful and carefree life with my husband and at times it is chaotic. Through the years I am learning how to cope with my new life, but it is not always easy. I feel cheated, these are suppose to be my golden years (will be 63) but I am working a job I don't like after putting myuself through college starting at age 44 to get a masters degree and work in a grocery store as a manager so I can be close to home (only two blocks away). Anyway, when I took this responsibility I didn't realize all the sacrifices I would have to make. One thing I have learned is that life is constantly changing and this too is only temporary and someday I will have my life back. Don't give up five minutes before the miracle.
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I was able to get out for a short time and was able to see a counsular who made me see that I was responsible for making changes myself and not waiting for someone to rescue me which I did deciding I could no longer take care of my husband by myself and was in the process of placing when he died.
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Depression is not uncommon but you might consider seeking help or talking to your Pastor.
Vitamin D3 and sunlight also is great help with this. I get down here in Northern Indiana when the skies are grey to many days in a row. A tanning session once a week helps.
You also might consider finding a caregiver to come in so you can get out on occasion even if it's just for that tanning session.

I can empathize with you as I am a Home Care Provider, and I lost to death a couple 6 weeks apart. He was 91 and she was almost 93. Then a month later my 84 year old mom passed away. 2009 was a rough year emotionally for me too.
God is good, put your trust in him and he will get you through it.
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Hi Miz,
I completely understand the inner conflict you're dealing with. I had to leave the company I started (which subsequently closed down recently) to take care of my mother, now 95 and relatively healthy. She moved in with us over 2 years ago and is no longer ambulatory. I was depressed, suffering with insomnia and digestive problems, feeling trapped (my sibling lives on the opposite coast and does not have the capacity to be a caregiver), resentful and of course, guilty. I finally had to recognize that at 60 years old, I don't have the same stamina on any level as I had 10 years ago, to continue managing Mom's care and the household. Office of the Aging provides a home health aid for 2 hours, 2x/week to shower Mom, dress her, prepare her breakfast and clean up her bedroom. It's a big help and I don't have to pay out of pocket. I then hired 3 different home health aids privately and pay them $12/hour to cover the hours I need the most - morning, mid afternoon and early evening with preparation for her bedtime. I'm not working and my husband's work has been severely cut so this is definitely a financial challenge for us. However, I've come to recognize - with the support of a local caregiver's group, friends and family members, that my health and well being must come first. I still have a daughter and 2 step-daughter's in college. I now use a treadmill, walk outside on the nice days, find time to meditate (even for 5 minutes), take supplements like Omega 3's, Vitamin D3, and a good multi. I also take melatonin before bedtime. I have eliminated gluten and dairy and substitute healthier options to support my immune system. I do lots of research online and subsequently, with my doctor's ok, am no longer on anti-depressants - they were causing more insomnia. It's important to take charge of your life to the extent that you make healthy choices for your well-being and by consulting with your healthcare provider (or a psychotherapist - even for a short term.) I hope someday, my daughter will take care of me the way I've taken care of my mother but not with the risky compromise over her own healthcare. I love my mother and am in a better frame of mind. Good luck and blessings to you and your Mom - you're a special daughter.
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