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EDITORIAL RESPONSES  /Go Answer AliceEditorial List

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Go Answer Alice Editorial Responses
 
These are just some of the many responses we received from our Editorial of 04/16/09 - Go Answer Alice
 

I am in a similar situation with my father.  It doesn't involve substance addictions, but I have been feeling abused in the relationship.  There is a lot of "baggage"  in the relationships we have with our parents, and it complicates things when the caregiver roles become reversed when we begin overseeing their needs.  I struggle with so many things daily such as my commitment to be a better, more patient and understanding caregiver then my parents were to me.  I often fight the urge to react to my Dad's behaviors with the anger that he used to react to me as a child.  I struggle with understanding and making sense of the things he does and says.  I struggle with trying not to be hurt by the criticism.
In my case, I have small children and I try so hard to set an example for them, and then feel miserable when I lose my temper after being pushed past my limits.

What has helped improve my situation is reducing the time I put into  physically caring for my Dad.  I do not have help from family members.  I am still responsible for managing his needs and appointments, but I do have him in Adult Day Care two days a week, and I have a paid caregiver that spends two mornings a week with him.  This time that he is in someone else's care for a few hours make an enormous difference to me.  I have time to recharge, restore some of my patience, and just flip off the caregiver switch for a short time.  If you haven't already, try to find resources in your area where you can get similar help.

This of course, is not a solution to your mother's addictive personality traits, just as it is not a solution to my father's issues, but these little bits of time and distance can reduce your stress and help you to be better able to cope with her issues.
 
R.B.


A bit more information would be helpful here.  Does Alice have a support team such as siblings or other family and friends that could be helpful with the care of her Mother?  Knowing the financial situation would help too, in case there are funds available to hire more help to come in and relieve Alice especially during higher pain times.  Does Alice have a family of her own such as a spouse and/or children?  If so, they may need her too...if not,  Alice may be depriving herself of being available to have a life of her own while trying to do everything for her Mother.  My suggestion to Alice is to get involved in a support group and build a support team.  I am reading her letter with no feeling that Alice has help from any source other than herself.  If Alice goes down, there will be no other source for her Mother's care.  No one has to accept abusive behavior. Period.  We all want the best for our loved ones even when it sometimes feels they don't deserve us.  However, we are personally responsible for our response and our reaction  to verbal and physical abuse even when outside influences such as narcotics and/or alcohol are involved.   Alice's Mother is a very lucky lady to have someone so devoted to her care and wellbeing.  Alice deserves help just as much as her Mother and I hope she will build a team of supporters for herself, get some assistance, and get out there and do something for herself. She deserves it!
 
D. S.


This is serious and her father giving her mother extra meds was a felony.  So is knowledge of it and not telling the authorities.  Call adult social services.  She appears to be in need of “continuous skilled nursing” care.  This may seem harsh, but in my opinion this lady can no longer take care of her mother without endangering her own health and perhaps the public should her mother “go off” in the car and cause an accident and maybe kill someone or herself and her daughter.  In my opinion, this is no longer a care giving issue and I would sue her and social services for wrongful death if one of my family members were killed by the actions of this woman.  I would also sue her doctor for malpractice.  I am a caregiver survivor.  I took care of my spouse for 5 years and ended up with a heart attack and my health severely damaged.  My wife is in a nursing home now and I am recovering from a heart attack and several surgeries necessitated from not taking care of myself.  We now have a good relationship and enjoy every minute together.  I visit every other day at dinner time and we watch TV together and share wonderful moments.  She had two hemorrhagic strokes in March of 2002.  She was 55 then.  You can have a good life only when you understand that at a certain point you cannot take proper care of your mother at home.  No one can take care of someone 24/7/365 without an eventual collapse of your system.

Respectfully,
J.H.


Dear Alice:
 
My feeling and suggestion is that you get out of the situation.  She could become dangerous to you and harm you.  You may discover that you are a co-dependent.  There are limits to what you can do and should do. Can you afford to put her in a nursing home or similar place?  Your health is at stack here. You do not need to feel guilty about her.  If you can't find a place for her, you at least need to find someone to come in and help you to give you a break. I belong to a caregiver group (my husband has MS) and you need to find one, too (even if she doesn't live with you anymore).
 
J.T.


Alice,

We may be caregivers but we are not miracle workers.  If you can't get someone to listen go elsewhere.  All the Doctors need to be in contact so one knows what another is prescribing.  Anyone who is addicted has an addictive personality.  This means they will use you as far as you let them.  Love sometimes requires saying NO.  Your situation requires a higher power to intervene.  Trying praying for wisdom and guidance. The situation may not be removed but solutions to dealing with it may appear.  Don't beat yourself up.  It wouldn't bother you if you didn't love and care for your Mother.  Good luck and may you find a solution.


S.V.


           

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