Drained from Caring for Aging Parents
(Seymour, Tennessee Blount)
My name is Cynthia and I am the youngest of three daughters. I currently live with, and care for my aging parents; my Mother who is 84 and my elderly Father who is 86.
I became a widow and was a victim of spousal suicide because of deep depression. I was married to the love of my life for 28 years. We had an amazing son together who has now graduated college despite the tragedy we had to overcome.
I start with this subject just because it was in May of 2008. We had sold our house and was living with my parents in a fairly large home. My son was away to college.
On May 9, 2008, my husband took his life here at this home. He had chosen a way to die instantly by hanging himself. This is even so hard to type.
Keep in mind this was in May 2008. Friends and family flocked to my son and I right by our side at that time.
In June, the very next month, my Mother fell and broke her hip. She was very mobile before the fall and I found myself drowning and consumed in taking care of her continuously, not to mention, trying to care for my Dad as well.
I had basically no help at all from my Mom's younger sister or my sisters, brother in laws, no one. Oh, they made their little visits to the hospital but that was around 45 min at the most, then on their merry way.
I remember it so well, walking the corridor of the hospital around 2 am, holding to my Dad, tears steaming down my face and trying my best to hide it. I was exhausted.
I was trying my best to hold him up, and I had no one to hold me up but I made it with Gods strength and help.
My Dad is not well and walks with a walker for elderly. He has neuropathy, which is such a risk for a fall as well.
As we were walking the hall coming home to rest, I looked at him with tears in his eyes and he says to me, "well kid, it's you and me".
We came home to a dark desolate house, nothing to eat, no sisters, beds unmade, no voice mails. All the while I am grieving so bad I hurt in my stomach like I had lost a limb, an actual part of me, my husband.
To this day I am a prisoner it seems in this house where my husband died so tragically and they (my family) still don't
get it. I have not had time to grieve properly, if there is such a thing.
I want to go away so bad by myself but I know my family will not care for my aging parents. During the hip recovery, Mother fell around 3 more times, hurt her intestine and had diverticulitis - we almost lost her.
Again in the middle of the night Dad and I were in the ER together to hear the news of a colostomy bag being placed on Mom for six months and then try to reverse it. I suppose you know by now who took care of that.
All I want to know is where is the compassion in people today?
What are they thinking and will it ever get better. Oh I have asked for help and they brush it off just like "well, you live here". It is so much more than just living here. It is 24/7.
The only rest I do get is mostly at night when they are sleeping.
If anyone out there has any advice for me PLEASE email me or something. I know God is with me but I'm not sure how long I can go on.
I wish I could reach out and give you a hug, Cynthia. I must say one of the most heart-wrenching aspects of working with the elderly is seeing families not supporting each other in their aging parents care.
I have few suggestions for how to bring your family together to help you. Instead, I would advise you to look into other ways of getting some help with home care for the elderly either through your public health system or privately if your parents can afford this.
You are certainly at high risk for caregiver burnout (from SO much stress) and need some respite (a break from caring for your aging parents).
Sometimes you might consider selling the large home and moving to a smaller one so there is some money to pay for caregiving. Or a reverse mortgage can sometimes provide some financial cushioning to pay for care.
Seek help from the local health care system or a social worker at the any health or aid society to point you in the right direction.
A few of our articles that might provide some assistance are:
Help for Elderly
Cargiver for Elderly
Home Care for the Elderly
Elderly Day Care
Fall Prevention in the Elderly
My thoughts go out to you!
There are a lot of compassionate people out there and I encourage other readers to comment and offer encouragement and advice to help Cynthia along.