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sharirouse

Caretaker (again) and update

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Hi all, remember me? (LOL)

I can finally start contributing here again because I finished college in May. I feel like a lot has happened and I am kind of in a pickle and frustrated.

Good news though, is that we are burying my dad tomorrow! After almost two years (hes cremated) I am ready to put him in the ground. 

Secondly, there are only two aunts left on his side of the family. My aunt who lives in my hometown and their older sister who lives in the neighboring state. 

Well, the aunt that lives in the neighboring state isnt doing too hot. She is 81 and is a cancer survivor. Yay! But all of a sudden in May, I hear she has congestive heart failure AND kidney failure. they should she was on her death bed and I about crapped myself. Excuse my language. But she started dialysis and is getting better. Its still scary though.

Now, the aunt that lives in town with me is very lonely, which makes sense. I will start taking care of her because she needs it. Her neighbors used to care for her and now they screwed her over. shes turning 76 but she had broken her hip soon after my dad passed. She is having issues with her eye sight and they think she had an optic nerve stroke or something is pushing on the nerve. both sound scary. lastly, she thinks Im a nurse, which is understandable because my degree is weird and its easier to say Im a nurse lol but she wants me to move in with her. We plan to move to the neighboring state in the next few years which is where my dads family is from and I agreed to live with her. I have no issue doing that but I think she needs an in house nurse. Especially since Im not one. She only lives about 6 miles from my moms house but Im not ready to completely move out of my moms house yet as I am a wimp.

The point of my long post is, Im not sure if I can take care of her. Taking care of my dad was hard and Im going to start working full time. Im also 22 and trying to grow up so Im struggling. My mom thinks she needs professional assistance. Im willing to stay with her but idk if I can live with her completely right now. 

I feel like a mess. I dont want to hurt her feelings but omg. I dont know if I can handle this! My mom thinks I need to be a kid for a bit. Just ugh.

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kayc   

I'm sorry about your news. :(  You will need help if you aim to caregive, esp. since you'll be working fulltime.  It will help her just to have you staying there at night and checking in on her, but she should have someone coming in during the day.  Have they put her on hospice, if not, check with her doctor about that.  Esp. since she's having kidney failure and CHF...that alone is a lot to manage.  She'll need her fluids monitored and Rxs adhered to.  I'm glad dialysis is helping.

I think your mom is right, you're very young and still need some time to be young.  Does she have any kids?  Contact Senior Services and see what is available for helps...it varies by state but here they'll send in someone to help with housework, errands, etc. a certain number of hours a week.  They offered it to my mom but she refused help.  

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MartyT   

Hi Shari ~ of course we remember you! Welcome back!

I must say that I agree with your mom and with Kay ~ You need and deserve some time to be young. Caregiving is a huge responsibility, and before you take it on your shoulders, make sure that you know what you're getting into.

Kay has offered some good suggestions for the aunt who lives one state over. (You'll find more useful information here: Caregiving in Serious Illness: Suggested Resources.) 

As I understand it, though, you are thinking of moving in with the other aunt whose eyesight is failing. Be careful about letting her think that you are a qualified nurse, as she may be expecting more of you than you can deliver. The fact that you will be working full time is an important consideration, since presumably you won't be available to take your aunt to whatever doctor's appointments she will have, let alone meet her health care needs. I hope you will think very carefully about this, because it's a very big decision that will impact your life significantly ~ and in ways you may not have considered.

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My aunt that is on dialysis isnt on hospice because she just started dialysis. She wasnt on it before so I think she still has a few years. My cousins will be taking care of her and theyre all older so I think she'll be okay. Shes tough! That part of the family lives in AZ.

For my aunt in town, I think it would help her too especially since she lives kind of out in the country. She lives off a dirt road and such.  I dont want to move out of my moms house yet lol Im not ready! She doesnt want me to either! And she has one kid but he lives in AZ and Im basically the life like. im worried she'll be upset if I call Senior Services but she needs it. I feel guilty and am not sure what to do. Ill definitely do that too. I wish she would move into town because she is literally across town from where I applied to work and takes 30 minutes to get there. Ugh.

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Marty, thank you! And I am the caregiver of sorts for the aunt that lives in town. Last night that we had the revelation that she thinks Im a nurse and is counting on that. I felt horrible! My diploma should be coming in soon but I have a certificate for completing my program and I think Im going to take it to her and show her that Im not a nurse. I also think she is worse off than she appears to be. Since I am brand new to my field, I have to earn my spot. I will be getting bad shifts and doing scut work until I work my way up and I dont know if Ill be able to help her. I tell her but I dont think she's hearing me. This aunt was also cut off from the family for a long time due to her ex husband who was abusive so I just met her around the time my dad died so Im very careful with her. She could cut me off in a minute. If she does that, I would call services immediately. Anyway, I dont think I could handle taking care of her. I sleep like the dead and I would need to check on her but gosh!

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MartyT   

All I can say, Shari, is this: Be honest. Be honest with yourself first, and then be honest with your aunt. You are not being selfish by saying "no" to this. You are on the verge of becoming an independent adult ~ and this is not the time to shackle yourself with responsibilities above and beyond your capacities. You say you don't think your aunt is hearing you, and this concerns me. You might enlist your mother's help to make clear to your aunt that you're not comfortable assuming this responsibility.

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kayc   

Tell her you called senior services to find out what options may be available.  Maybe a live in caregiver would be an option.  

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I told her the truth and I had before but most people don't understand my profession. I brought her my certificate. I was just afraid she'd cut me off but I told her that and she told me not to worry about that. She told me I may need to step in.

She went and got an MRI and they found a mass behind her eye, pushing on the optic nerve. We are both scared because we immediately thought cancer, as it runs in the family. Hopefully it wont be. But heck, if she does have the issue, she may be able to get a nurse who stays there! I feel bad because I don't want to be a caretaker. It was hard taking care of my dad. I don't want to be a caretaker all my life and then feel like I didn't do anything. I will be there for her but dang!

As for senior services, I couldn't find any in NM. We have a senior center but my aunt is very shy and doesn't like talking to people so she shot me down.

 

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kayc   

I volunteer at a senior center and the person in charge is a vast resource of information.  Maybe contact the site coordinator and ask for a phone number to senior services, there has to be some, even in NM!

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Ill have to talk to her doctors, they would know. She is coming onto the idea of getting someone in there to help her, thank God!

I feel bad but I dont think I should have to be responsible for that. Its too much! Ive only known her for about 2 years. Its stressing me out. I just got a new job and I havent had time to call her, how can I even take care of her properly? 

I tried to tell my cousin how I felt but he wasnt understanding. Although he called my aunt the same day we talked and she thought he was drunk. But what really pisses me off about that is he called my aunt a few days ago and asked her of I had been around. OF COURSE. I WAS VOLUNTEERED. Im 22, and Im not going to dedicate my life to taking care of her. I paid my dues with my dad and I will help my aunt but I cannot do what my cousin should be responsible for. He's 45. Its time. 

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kayc   

I'm glad you're going to take the step of having someone else help her, it IS too much for you with working.  And good luck on your new job!

 

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Thank you! I feel bad saying that but it exhausts me. It also pisses off my mom when Im gone all day taking care of her lol I feel like Im being taken advantage of. We go to 2 different stores to grocery and then I have to take EVERYTHING in. She doesnt even take in her cigarettes! 

Now I understand not being able to, but she is! Its making me mad at the family :(

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kayc   

Have you tried telling her, "Hey, you want to help me with YOUR stuff?"

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I truly respect your efforts to support your family members through their end of life!  I hope you were able to resolve this situation in a way that was beneficial for everyone.  You are so young to be taking on this responsibility.

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KayC, I should try that but since Im afraid of her cutting me off because she is that personality type! She didnt even want to tell her sister she had a brain tumor! Luckily, she has a man come over to help her once a week and he takes her grocery shopping. I almost feel like its a petty issue but for some reason it bugs me! Its a far walk with jugs of water and she just goes and sits in the recliner. She is a little too pushy sometimes.

 

Seachelle, thank you! I think I started doing it because it was also a connection to my dad. She looks a lot like him in her old age and they have the same mannerisms. But now, I am getting exhausted. We havent resolved it yet but I think Im going to call up my other aunt and ask for advice. Im hoping this aunt will move to AZ in the next few years so my cousin can help her. 

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