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CARENOTES | Past Carenotes | Let's Talk


Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 10/12/10

I am my 82-year-old mother’s caregiver. I'm 57, disabled due to depression, divorced, and overwhelmed with being a guy taking care of his mother—never EVER thought I could do it! And with NO help or concern from my brother. He lives two miles away and has not seen or talked to her since April—just worried about her land and money. She has a nurse, who I pay twice a week to bathe her.

My mother has the first stages of dementia/Alzheimer’s and several other medical problems. I have been taking care of her for about four years. She is pretty good about most things, but has fallen out of bed at night getting up to go to the bathroom, so I installed bedrails. She cannot unlock the bedrails, so I do it for her. For communication at night (or any other time), we use a portable baby monitor. (I tried using the intercom on the phone system—too much trouble. Same for the cell phone.) She can get me at any time—even on the deck or in the yard. This sure helps me and I hope it helps another caregiver. I've picked up some good tips here, but I just won't take everyone's advice to take care of myself. I am starting to suffer from it. I will try. Thank you, and may God bless... "

Charles in Georgia


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Name: Sharon
Location: Orlando
Date: 10/18/2010
Time: 01:30 PM


It is hard sometimes to be a care giver. It does put a strain on people. You need to have someone come and sit with your mom so that you can get out and do some things for yourself. It is important that you do that so that you will have the mental health to continue her care. My step dad was in a coma and was a diabetic and his foot was rotting off as they could not remove it due to his heart. I had friends and family that I leaned on for support to get me through it. If it was not for my husband to relive me for an hour or two on some days I would have been like you. You really need that as it will benefit both your mom and you. You need to take the advice of others that have been there and done that. Yes the baby monitor is worth it's weight in gold!!

Name: barb
Location: Colorado
Date: 10/14/2010
Time: 11:31 AM


Please contact your local Area Agency on Aging for some help. One program that would benefit you greatly is the Family Caregiver Support Program. It is geared to you the caregiver and could help with support groups, resources, and respite. Good luck!

Name: Barbara
Location: Orlando
Date: 10/14/2010
Time: 05:33 AM


Too often caregivers get a tremendous amount of help identifying social services and help on "how to" - I find lacking is the effective communication training between family members. We know about family counseling but family counseling when the youngest child is 50 is neglected. A wonderful forum to help families of older adults can be found through work with a gerontological counselor/therapist.

Name: Kathy
Location: Pennsylvania
Date: 10/13/2010
Time: 05:15 AM


Your mom is in good hands having a son who thinks enough of her to make sure she gets the care she needs. I have 2 siblings who help me care for my mom in her apt and I just am very thankful for any help they provide. What I always try to keep in mind is taking care of mom as I would want to be cared for -- kind of like the Golden Rule of Caregiving.

Location: Ohio
Date: 10/12/2010
Time: 07:44 PM


Charles, Go to her Doctor and explain that you need some help taking care of your Mother, Maybe he can recommend a caregiver that could spell you for a couple times a week so you can get out and relax, or be in addition to the nurse who comes in.. contact : and check out this agency for in home Care. or ask at Church, or your local Senior Center.

Name: millie
Location: fairfax, virginia
Date: 10/12/2010
Time: 01:27 PM


Dear Charles, I admire you. Most caregivers are women, I do not know of many male caregivers. I too was a caregiver for 24 years for my husband. He was hit by a drunk driver and left with massive brain damage. His needs were as a child. He went home to be with the Lord in 2009. I thank God that he gave me the strength and ability to take care of him all those years but like many caregivers, we have a tendency to put ourselves on the backburner. If I couldn't do something, I would always work around it and figure out a solution. However, looking back I should have taken better care of myself. I now have COPD and use oxygen. However, I wouldn't have changed a thing. I was not a martyr; I just loved my husband with all my heart and will hold on to those memories. In closing, I wanted to say that my mom has also been a caregiver for 11 years to my 93 year old stepdad and she too seems to follow the same footsteps as I did even though she has seen what it did to me. Keep on reading Caregivers Corner. It has a wealth of information. I still read it and have shared this site with many of my friends that are caregivers. God bless you.

Name: Miriam
Location: Georgia
Date: 10/12/2010
Time: 11:18 AM


Hi Charles, This is the first time I have responded to a carenote. I have been where you are now. Our stories are so similar (but I'm to a lot more people). I'm sure you know that in order to care for you mother, you must first care for you. If not, the time will come when someone will need to care for you. Contact a local agency that can give you time away from your cargiving responsibilities. Make an appointment to see a doctor about you depression. Being a caregive can certainly add to your depression. Once you can deal with the depression, you will began to see things in a different light. Make a schedule to have someone come in to care for your mother, so that you can began to do some of the things that you enjoy doing. Take it from me; when you are in a caregiving situation, it is so hard to see how easy it is to not care for yourself. Charles, I will keep you in my prayers in hopes that your burden is lighten for you. May God bless you.

Name: Jane
Location: Kansas City
Date: 10/12/2010
Time: 07:25 AM


Charles: You are not in a 100-yard dash. You are in a marathon. The problem is that none of us caregivers ever trained for a marathon. So there are time when most of us are exhausted; emotionally burned out; overwhelmed and don't know what to do. In order to complete (not compete!) in this marathon, we need some energy and drive. It is so important that we recognize our need for relief and renewal. Taking time away from caregiving is the only way to get the relief and renewal. So start simple: take an hour to yourself today doing something that you enjoy. Maybe when your mother is taking a nap or after she goes to bed at night. Try to get some time away from caregiving each day. See if a neighbor can help out so you can go to a local coffee shop or take a drive. Then contact your Area Agency on Aging and see if they can provide some respite care. That can give you a longer period of time away from caregiving each week. Keep to the schedule: an hour away each day; 2-3 hours away each week. About your brother: take the high road. Keep him informed (phone or email) about her condition and small stories about her activities. Let him know about decisions you have made (or need to make). Invite him to share some short holiday visits with your mother. Don't ask him for help again until he has warmed a little. At the very least, you have managed to keep him informed in a "professional" way so that he doesn't wonder what you are doing and how she is getting along. No one can guarantee that he will want to have a relationship with you or your mother. You can't control that. But you can keep him informed. Good luck. I think your mother is blessed to have you!

Name: Roxanna
Location: Champaign, IL
Date: 10/12/2010
Time: 06:57 AM


Your situation unfortunately is not different from many but I know to you it feels that way. It seems you are doing well as far as your mother but it troubles me even you recognize you are not taking care of yourself. Please seek a support group in your area. There is also a Caregiver Support Advisor in your area. Contact that person and find out how they can help you. Your brother unfortunately is like many other family members. Not available to you or your mother just waiting in the wings for what he can get but not offering any assistance. Please know you are not alone.



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