Caregiver to my 97-year old Dad Not Easy
I'm new here and was a daughter/caregiver to my Mom for 7 years. She was on dialysis and I gave up my full-time job to be with her. She still had interests in going places, shopping, and hobbies which we both enjoyed. She knew as a mom that caregiving was difficult and always told me to take time for myself.
Now, at 66 I am taking care of my Dad, since May 2022, who was driving and well up to the age of 97 even still snowblowing the last winter. We live in the same home. After a fall he started having back issues and had to have a sacroplasty and recently a MILD procedure for previous spinal stenosis surgery. He then had to be in hospital for gastrointestinal workup due to gluten issues and irritable bowel.
I work full-time now, close-by, and go home every noon to get his lunch. I also get his breakfast and dinner. He gets nasty and expects me to be there for him following him around. Getting his eyedrops on time. It seems that whenever I'm trying to do chores or just relaxing around the house that he feels I am ignoring him. He gets up frequently to use bathroom at night. Since he is using a rollater I hear the click-click of the handles as he gets out of bed and it wakes me up. He tells me that I have problems. I'm an educated woman, work for the state and am doing the best I can to care for my Dad and get him to his doctor appts. He also had PT at home but now does it on his own at home. He just doesn't get how much caregiving takes away from your daily life.
I had an abnormal EKG the other day but my doctor and I thinks it may have been due to poor lead placement so now I have an ECHO scheduled. You can see my post if you wish under Heart Rhythm Conditions. He refuses to have anyone else come in to help. He says it takes away from "OUR" schedule. LOL.
Anyway, glad to be part of a supportive community.
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Caregivers Support Group.
Hello, @mainecoon Welcome to Mayo Connect and I'm glad you found the caregivers group here! I am Scott and I was my wife's caregiver during her long war with brain cancer.
I can empathize with your feelings due to the demands of your father. I'm not sure if anyone in a caregiver's care understands the demands of that job and how it can be so all-consuming. Plus it must be very difficult for him at his advanced age to deal with his increasing fragility. I know each change with my wife caused her new concerns and demands. My wife also never wanted anyone to help her other than me.
Do you have the opportunity to have some help come in to give you some respite times?
Strength, Courage, & Peace
Thank you for your response. Yes you also had a lot of responsibility as a caregiver. I believe after taking care of my Mom I had caregiver burnout and it’s a long recovery. So now with my Dads age I know it won’t be long term but it is still stressful. I have a brother who does come over and lives 45 min away. He has offered to come and stay with my dad and he can work remotely. I have to be on a work assignment out of town during the day for two days and return in evening so I will discuss with my brother.
Absolutely stressful, @mainecoon Absolutely! Burnout of caregivers is a huge concern and I get down over how our society seems content to simply go on with so much of the caregiving being delegated to unpaid family, etc. But I guess the large medical insurance companies haven't figured out how to make money off of caregiving yet 🙂
I hope your brother can help out. How is your dad doing today? Calmer and in a better mood I hope! Wishing you a sunny day — they always helped me!
Strength, Courage, & Peace
He always moves past his bad moods. I’m having a quiet day at work so all is good and yes brother will probably be calling to check in and to invite me for Thanksgiving and I will give him an update. Dad will have his dinner at home.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
It is so very difficult to become the parent to your parents. As much as you love and care for him you must take care of your emotions not to mention your physical side. Maybe even two days a week have someone come in and give him his lunch. I found that even a very slight change in schedule can help you feel the load lift just a smidge. He may be feeling scared as he understands his fragility at this stage. You are doing a wonderful thing and giving of yourself. Maybe a little white noise would keep you from waking up when he gets up like a small fan or something like that. You need your rest and sleep for sure.
Don't have any answers, just echo the good advice given above. You do need a break…good luck !
Thank you for graciously taking on one of the hardest jobs in the world. If you and your brother have the resources, there are senior visitors in many places. They are people who would love a little supplement to their income in exchange for serving lunch, chatting for a half hour or an hour, even occasionally running an errand. Generally they don't provide direct care, but may do light chores. We find them through our local senior center or many churches. They are background checked and trained to be with vulnerable adults.
Have you checked on such a service to make your life a little easier and provide a different person for your Dad to talk to?