I pit being a caregiver !

That’s right !

I pit being a caregiver, all of it.

I hate it so much sometimes I just want to burst.

I pit the stroke that turned you into such a miserable old woman, I pit the urge to blame you for it by never addressing your morbid obesity. I pit how it grinds us down to hear you constantly complain, ‘Don’t take my covers off, that’s cold, don’t do this to me’. I pit that you’ve totally lost the ability to see how anything affects anyone but you.

I pit that your daughter is not your caregiver, as you would prefer. But she hasn’t offered, she was content when you were in that home. I pit that you hate respite care (short stay in a long term care facility) and cannot help but deride us for needing to use it. Knowing how much you suffer there keeps us from accessing it more, which is just wrong.

I pit that I haven’t slept in two nights, because you haven’t slept in two nights and that I’m sick with this cold, and that I’m frustrated with who you’ve become. I pit that nothing will please you, it seems. I pit that I cannot stop trying to please you. I pit that I am sometimes resentful. I pit that I can’t always meet this challenge with a sunny smile.

But mostly I pit that you can’t understand any of this, that you’re tired of hearing our worn out explanations for why we have to do your bodily maintenance.

I pit that you can’t understand, even after 5 + 1/2 yrs, that you’re not going to wake up one day and suddenly be healed and able to resume your old life, up on your feet and able to walk again. I pit that this causes each of your days to be filled with bitter disappointment and frustration.

I pit that for all the care we give you, you see us as torturers and not people who love you so much they could not do otherwise.

I pit all the people who think we are saintly for providing you such care, and I pit myself for finally breaking down and giving voice to these feelings, even if only on a bulletin board, it makes me feel vile. But it’s the early morning and everyone else is sleeping, I’m the only one up.

Oh, yeah, and another thing, I pit menopause which insures when I get up with you in the night, I’ll never get back to sleep. And I pit how you wake me and manage to fall back to sleep before I’ve even left the room (okay, not really that’s kind of a blessing, but since I’m being so petty I’ll leave it in.).

And I pit the pettiness this whole challenge sometimes produces in me.

Bleck, bleck and more bleck.


I don’t even know if I’m angry at you, at your fate, at myself, or maybe, at all the God’s of creation who let this happen to you. You deserve so much better an ending to your life than this long drawn out world of suffering and frustration.


(Thanks for listening.)

You have my sympathies. May 2006 bring you all peace.

I’m sorry, elbows. It sounds like you’re doing a really tough job. I’ll say thank you for doing it since I know the person you’re taking care of can’t.

elbows, get some help. NOW. Get a nurse in there to give you a rest. You need a break, as much as for yourself as for your patient. You are wonderful to do this, but it’s hard work and you need a break before you explode. You are not vile. This is perfectly natural.

Go to lunch, go see a movie, go to the spa. Who are you in relation to this woman? If the other family members won’t donate their time, they need to donate money to help you.

Recharge your batteries. You won’t be any help if you collapse.

I didn’t quite understand your relationship to the person needing care, but I do sympathise.

My father is a lovable man of 85, who has several health problems (Parkinson’s Disease, mild stroke, macular degeneration and very high blood pressure). He doesn’t want to go into a private facility and currently lives at home with my 84 year old mother, who is pretty healthy and energetic for her age.
Both my sister and I live reasonably close and are happy to visit and stay. There is a marvellous local health service, which provides a weekly hospital visit for a checkup, plus occasional district nurse visits and there is also a local Parkinson Society with charitable vlounteers who help with shopping etc.

Despite all this, everyone in the family feels tense at one time or another.

My Dad feels guilty that he needs constant care.
My Mum feels guilty that she sometimes resents having to constantly look after my Dad.
I get stressed when either parent feels guilty.
My sister feels guilty that she can’t come over more often, even though she has a demanding job and her own family to care for.
Both my sister and I worry that my parents will have an accident when we’re not there.
And so on.

My cousin is a health care worker, and she told me that it is very natural for all this stress and resentment and guilt to happen. She also stated (gently) that my Dad’s health will basically continually get worse.
I was really grateful to her, because I now understand that I must be a sympathetic listener whenever my Mum or Dad or sister feels bad, and that I must also be ready for the inevitable.
Of course I knew that, but stating it out loud clearly really helped. Plus knowing that other families are going through exactly the same pressure and trauma does comfort me.

I hope this has helped you.

Absolutely, 100% in agreement. It’s completely natural and normal for a caregiver to vent stress, anger, frustration, and sadness. It’s also completely okay for that caregiver to insist on assistance and time off.

if this is work you’re talking about, then you need to quit. some people can handle it some can’t. i know, because i have been a “caregiver” for the developmentally disabled for the past three years (i am also a csr for directv). some people just don’t understand how i can be happy with a job where i have to clean up feces all the time (we have a guy that saves it up and then explodes and smears it everywhere, and even eats a bit of it). i never gag, i’ve never puked there, and i rarely complain about it. if you can’t handle the work, there is somebody out there that can.

oh yeah, i’d like to say i agree with that saint thing. people have said the same thing to me. if you knew me, you’d know i’m no saint.

elbows, I just want to say that I feel you are one of God’s Chosen, for your job is one of the toughest on earth, yet you have the guts and the grace to do it. You are one of the quiet heros who never get the praise they deserve, and probably never will. Just realize, though, that there are some of us out here who greatly admire what you do and the people who do it.

I delivered Meals-On-Wheels for about a year before I couldn’t take it any longer. I was always late returning from my run, because I spent so much time with my deliveries. I wasn’t supposed to, but I put loads of laundry on to wash, picked up prescriptions and did whatever the people needed, even if it was just to lend a sympathetic ear.

I never minded it-- I was happy to help them. I had twenty-seven grandmas and eight grandpas. They always had little gifts for me to thank me: a can of soda on a hot day, or a mug of chocolate on a cold one; a small plate of cookies, or an offer of a sandwich (they all said I needed to be “fattened up.”) One old man always gave me a piece of candy when I left (once it was a Hershey’s Kiss with a big, salacious wink which had me laughing for hours.) One woman gave me a set of wooden utensils in a jar when I got married-- I still think of her when I use them.

After a year, I found I couldn’t do it any more. It was killing me. I walked in to find one woman covered in vomit, so sick she couldn’t move. I rang the doorbell at one adress and was told by a weeping granddaughter that the lady had died during the night. I heard tales of familial neglect and outright cruelty. It started to cause me anguish that the reason they all loved me so much was that I, stopping by for a few minutes each day, was the only person in their lives who seemed to care.

I had to leave. It was too much for me. Having had that small taste of what it must be like to be a caregiver, I have to say that those who are strong enough are truly wonderful people who should be rewarded.

What destroyed the job for me was

I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I was a caregiver for my husband, but it only lasted five months, and he was a pretty good patient. My favorite cousin and her husband would come over so I could get out of the house for an hour or so every couple of days, and I’ll be forever grateful to them for that.

Don’t just ask for help, demand it. From relatives or public health agencies, whatever might be available.

You’ve probably already tried this, but can she be distracted? Does she have a TV in her room? Books, puzzles, magazines, handcrafts, stationery or cards to write to people, a radio, CD player? Can you park her in front of a window with a bird feeder to watch?

Sometimes, to divert my husband from demanding attention every minute, I’d ask him “What can I get you?” and he’d say “Nothing, I’m fine”, and he’d relax for a longer time. He just wanted reassurance that I’d be there, and I think he thought he was helping me by not asking for something.

Is there a medication she could take to improve her disposition or calm her down when she gets cranky? Are her pain meds adequate? Can she take something to help her sleep, so you can sleep?

Thirding this. I cared for my Alzheimer-stricken grandmother in high school and college, and it got positively grueling at times. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my grandmother dearly, but it was exhausting and constantly drained my mother and I both.

You are one of my favorite posters, elbows. Please get some help soon.

elbows, as one caretaker to another, you’ve put everything much more graciously than I ever could. My anger right now is at the boiling point, we’ve finally got respite thanks to the local elder service agency (3 days of day care for my mother), plus 1 day a week of housekeeping, and it’s still not enough.

I just haven’t pitted because I’m afraid once I start, I won’t stop.

Better you do it here instead of at your mother, kiz.

A salute to all the caregivers in the world. What strikes me as most relevant about the OP is the total lack of appreciation and constant criticism for her work. Most of us can not be immune to the negative effects of that emotional abuse.

There’s a very good chance that I will require a caregiver one day. Perhaps we all will, but I have a number of chronic diseases that threaten mobility and mental acuity long before old age sets in.

I hope against hope that I will not burden my family or some other kind hearted soul who gives of themself to keep my body in the best possible order. I truly hope that my frustration won’t make me the kind of bitter person that makes it hard for anyone to spend time with me.

I’ve already mastered the notion that life isn’t fair. I’m looking now for the ability to do this slow slide gracefully.

I too think that what you do is amazingly selfless. I appreciate your honesty in this pitting. I hope that I can learn from it and remember it. Perhaps you’re not a saint - but you’re far more giving than many people.

I hope you find the strength to continue . . .

Another caregiver here.

My mother had a stroke last September, and the Alzheimers is progressing. I don’t want to list the degenerative changes that have been going on, and are accelerating, but I’d just like to say that I can empathize with what you’re going through.

Somebody has to do it. I’m an only child.

Now, I have an 84-year old child of my own.

Well, it’s now much later the same day.

I’ve had some sleep, a shower, a good meal and, did I mention the nap?

As for my original rant, I give it a 9.0 for pissiness and a 9.5 for pettiness.

I’m sorry for what I wrote, now, in the clear light of being well rested and fed and generally feeling much better.

I am sorry if I alarmed anyone, y’know into thinking I need help…NOW…

It’s not as bad as I made it seem, well, it is, but I can handle it. When I get to this dark place I need to remind myself that I chose this life. The grinding structure of it all, was a real departure for us. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, maybe I didn’t know how hard exactly, or how it would try me, but I knew it would.

I do get help and we do access respite care, I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer, this is my Mother In Law. And I love and adore her and when it’s very stressfull and challenging, as it often is, I remind myself it’s not as distressful as trusting her care to someone else would be.

Each day, when I count my blessings, foremost amongst them is the ability to rise to this challenge. Daring to step up, unsure we had the fortitude to go the distance. Sheer hard headedness to be sure. But most people aren’t in a position to offer such care to their loved ones, we really are blessed, don’t let my words mislead you.

It often seems that my lowest moments are in the quiet of the night when I’m alone.

After five plus years I’m pretty good at getting up in the night and making one small adjustment to successfully relieve her discomfort. Of late, I seem to have lost my Mojo,
nothing seems to comfort her, it’s very frustrating when you’re used to success. Watching someone you love suffer is, of course, the most difficult challenge on this earth, I believe.

Thanks for listening to my pissing and moaning. My usual response is to put my frustration aside, a different challenge and probably healthier than giving it voice. But, just so you know, it felt wonderful to just let it all out. To say all the unsaid things. I guess once every 5 yrs it’s maybe okay to vent.

I am experienced enough to know, we have to take care of ourselves, and we try, we really do, and we have some effective methods but it’s not a perfect world, Lord knows.

For five years I have had Balance preached to me by many wise and caring people. But it’s just not that easy to find sometimes.

I am considering a change in her bedtime meds, her Dr. has long given me the go ahead, but I’m not a doctor I’m a daughter in law and so I am hesitant to do so. Clearly I should, though. Thanks for the reminder, I’m on it- this very evening.

I am also aware that part of what I’m really angry about is subtle decline that I register but don’t want to acknowledge. Does that even make sense?

Thank you all for your encouragement and advice, your kind words and your prayers, but mostly for your ears, what a difference it makes to feel you’re being heard!

God I love the dope, it’s been a saviour to me on more than one occasion, here I sit all but house bound in this little insular world and yet I’m connected to such a vibrant and lively community, brimming with compassion and loving kindness.

But know this, with a little sleep deprivation and I’d give up the state secrets in a New York minute!


Thanks again!

God, now I know the value of this forum !

elbows, I wish a had a tenth of your composure in the face of such trials. You are a far stronger person than you give yourself credit for.

Absolutely, at least to me. My grandmother is in assisted living. She is likely to be making a move to skilled nursing soon, which sucks–on a number of levels which are not germane to this thread. One reason it sucks is that it seems like she just moved into assisted living. The truth of the matter is that she probably should have been placed in assisted living long before she actually was, but a reluctance to move her there against her will, mixed with some willfull self-delusion on the part of her three sons meant she lived “independently” after she was no longer capable of doing so.

The other reality is that it is very difficult to watch someone die by inches. Very painful. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a part of you which would be happy to wake up one morning and find that she has died in her sleep. Then this struggle would be over, you would grieve, and then get on with your life. There is another part which feels guilty to feel that way, no matter how slightly. Also, you may well be scared to think about what will happen if her health declines to the point where you can no longer provide adequate care for her. And maybe you are feeling fear or guilt that you could have prevented the decline if only you’d done X . . (where X may not have been practical or even realistic.)

Put these emotions together, and it is only natural to feel angry about a subtle decline that you don’t wish to acknowledge.

Remember: YOU are NOT alone. Other caregivers are going through many of the same emotions you are. Even people who aren’t caregivers may be going through them. There are worse things you can do than vent a little frustration on an anonymous message board.

…and come back to rant, rave and blow off steam as needed. Sometimes, it’s really needed. (My husband has a 95 year old grandmother who is very, very demanding, and the other close family members can’t/don’t want to deal with her to the extent my husband does.) It’s so very stressful, especially when the afflicted are ungrateful, demanding, or difficult.

It’s tough, even when they’re sweetiepies.