Thursday, January 12, 2012

ME TIME!


Before you read on please know that I'm not here to whine or complain. I'm looking for solutions, guidance, ideas, etc regarding TIME. Specifically ME TIME!

Since my mom came to stay with us in November 'me time' has been non-existant. My days have been consumed by my mom's needs but she's not an invalid (she's suffering from short term cognitive impairment). Sigh I was biding my time until the day I took her back to Texas. As a family we've decided that my mom is staying with us permanently - it's the best decision for her and her needs. This decision impacts me the most so I need your help.

I'm trying hard to find time in a day to work on some projects. I made the decision some time last year to focus on small projects in 2012. Even time to work on small projects has been elusive.

I willingly admit that I crave alone time. I enjoy time in my sewing room - it's really my sanctuary - I feel very at peace in there! In my personal Disneyland. LOL I can't remember the last time I spent time alone in my sewing room - just me and my thoughts. Sigh!

I thought I might be able to find that time in the evening after my mom goes to bed. Guess what? She refuses to go to bed until I go to bed (yes, we've tried tricking her but she figured us out - LOL) and when she finally goes to bed I'm exhausted. I'm an early riser so I've considered enjoying 'me time' in the early morning hours but then Cooper is demanding my time. aarrgghhh! LOL

So, can you offer some suggestions? Please I need help. I have to find a solution - really I do.


In Friendship!

47 comments:

Mickie said...

Oh Darlene, I know exactly what you are talking about! I've been a caretaker for my husband and more recently my mother and I know how difficult it is.

Every family deals with this situation differently. I was lucky that my husband at least understood. A friend of mine insisted that a caregiver be hired to sit with her mother at least one day a week. People think you should be able to reason with your parent, but often this is just not going to change things.

I am going to remember you in my prayers. Hugs and feel free to email me anytime (even just to vent). Mickie

Sharmayne said...

Hi Darlene,
Carer stress is what you are describing and it is very real! I work as a nurse with chronic disease patients & carer stress is a biggie!! I would def suggest looking into some regular respite time for your mum. You can get carers or volunteers that work specifically to come into your home a couple hours each week to "visit" (mind) your loved one - giving you the option to stay & do your own stuff or head out. Sometimes when the rapport is built up the workers might take them for a drive etc. You can also get respite away from home - however this often requires an assessment of some kind (I'm unsure what it would be in the US). Hope this helps a little. Hugs Sharm

Sandy said...

Hi Darlene, I was thinking along the same line; having someone come in for a few hours or maybe adult day care. I am not in your situation but can empathize. If I lived close, I would give you a helping hand.

Bless you!

sunny said...

You definitely have to have some "me time" to be able to care for your Mom. Is there an Adult Day Care in your area? I'm guessing you don't have any other family members nearby to help? What does Mom do all day? Can you sew while she watches tv? Sorry I really don'thave any answers, but I do feel your pain.

Sandie @ crazy'boutquilts said...

That is a tough spot. Does your mom stitch any? embroider? make yo-yo's? Could she work on a little project in an easy chair in your sewing room while you sew? A one afternoon a week companion might be a good investment... good luck in whatever you decide!

Denise in PA said...

Darlene - Iknow how you feel! I, too, crave alone time, and your sewing room being your Disneyland, well, you've said it perfectly! You do need time to do what you love - it will make you a better caretaker! I don't have any better suggestions that folks have mentioned here, but I will keep you in my prayers that you get the time you need - because you do NEED it! Hugs

Dianne Mitzel said...

Do you have adult daycare available near you? Our neighbor goes there 3 days a week, and loves it! They play games, eat togther, and have the companionship they need. You must have time to "recharge". It is unreasonable to think that you can do this day in and day out without a break. I can tell you from experience in my family, that you must take care of yourself..what good will it do your mom if you break down? Do not let guilt come into play , as we do at time. We kept my mom at home, and she died at 99. She told us all her life, "don't ever put me in a nursing home." And we didn't. I will not do that to my children. There are too many options out there to give you the relief and time you must have to live your life.

Cathy said...

Is your mother able to get out of the house at all? In moving to your house, she is in a new location where she doesn't know anyone but you. Can you help her make some new friends, maybe at church or a seniors' group? If she had someone else to talk to, you might get a break. Do you have a sibling nearby who can take her off your hands a day each week (or a couple of half days)? Or, if getting out is not an option, can she afford to pay for some care?

Jayne said...

Darlene, I really feel for the predicament you are in. When my grandfather was failing due to Alzheimer's, my grandmother came to the point where she was suffering from depression for the toll it took on her to care for him! To alleviate the demands, she hired a companion to come in 3 or 4 days per week; he helped with a number of things - from grooming to feeding to just sitting and talking with Grampa. The gentleman who helped out was such a comfort to both of my grandparents! If there is no adult day care in your area, you might look into this option. Blessings and hugs to you!

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Yes, Darlene - it's best for both you and your Mom if you get scheduled breaks. Call the county for Public Health Services. They can direct you to what you need. We used this when my Mom couldn't take care of Dad by herself anymore. Hope to talk to you soon.

Cheryl said...

Yes, I agree with others. Having a caregiver come for some time and there will really help. We are just at the beginning stages of dealing with this ourselves.

swooze said...

I had this problem with DH. He was perfectly content if I was within his eye sight but as soon as I went to sew he suddenly needed me for everything. I pretty much quite sewing and have not found my way back to it just yet.

Just keep trying. Maybe you can get a friend or relative to come sit with her to kep her company to give you a break.

~Laurie~ said...

I am agreeing with all the others. Your community health services will be able to help you with a volunteer or adult day care program to help you - even if it is just one day a week. Good luck!!

Michelle said...

From the moment I found you in blogland, I've been amazed by you. You are crazy talented, kind, funny, giving...just plain AWESOME! And now you are taking care of your mother...I am in awe. What a special family!

I really like the adult sitter/day care/play date idea. I hope you find a solution becaue one thing I do know is that 'me time' is good for the soul.

Deanna said...

Relief or respite care is available in many communities. If you have a local hospice system they might be able to give you information, or call your community hospital. There may also be services or support through a church, if you have one. You need a break. Having your mother eat lunch or dinner at a local care center might also be a possibility from time to time. You may be in this for a long haul. Get some plans in place as soon as possible.

carol fun said...

I think other have made the suggestions I would have (adult day care, etc), but I want to add do not feel guilty. You deserve some me time. When my son was very young his special needs required constant attention. I was exhausted. Finally I found an adult who could watch him for me a couple of hours a week. It save my sanity and made me a better mother. Take care of yourself - sending hugs and prayers your way.

ytsmom said...

Is there some kind of project your Mom could work on at the same time you sew? Not sure if you have a chair for her in your sewing area, or perhaps move it out to the living areas? Also what about some kind of day services for your mom? Maybe 1 - 2 mornings or afternoons per week.

Allie said...

Darlene, you MUST get some time alone....what does Cooper require in the morning? I would try to carve out some time then, daily, but also do like everyone else suggested and get some help in. I am praying for you hon!

Diane said...

You have been given much good advice here. I hope you will be kind to yourself. You've been given a huge responsibility. I know that I'm a 'schedule' kind of person. I don't do well flying by the seat of my pants so to speak so I would think if it were me I would be looking for a regular "me time" arrangement- something that I could count on whether once a day or twice a week- whatever.
I'm praying for you as you adjust to this new phase. And sending you a big hug.

Melanie said...

Any chance you could talk her into some needlework as well? or maybe she could read if you put her a chair in the room. Maybe she could iron pieces while you sew them.....

You are in an incredibly tough spot. I remember my fully cognitive MIL came for a week and all I could think about was ,'when can I have my needle and thread'.... what do people do who don't quilt?!?!?

Vivian said...

I'll echo all the logical suggestions given to you already. If you have any access to Adult Daycare or volunteers or county or local organizations who can help relieve you--please run, don't walk, in that direction. I'm sorry that the stress of the situation has fallen in around your shoulders so quickly and so heavily. I have empathy for your situation, seeing a similar one with some friends.
The previous ladies have given you wonderful ideas, and I hope one or several will work for you.
Hugs, warm wishes, positive thoughts, and a couple prayers -- all sent your way Darlene. I hope you'll be able to show us a few things before long that came out the other side from under your presser foot.

Quilt Hollow said...

I wondered about you and this. I concur with what everyone says. Even parents of small children need time for themselves. I think you will find that You not only need the space and time....but hubby will also miss the alone time with you. You mentioned she waits for you to go to bed...is there anyway you can tell her that you need some eves with just hubby? I do hope you are able to find a good resource like a Senior Center for her to go socialize and meet new friends...even if just an afternoon a week. I bet your time at your DISNEYLAND would be even better if her time with a caregiver was outside of the home rather than in.....I would have guilt if they were there and I was quilting. That is just me though. I never knew how a friend of mine could have a maid service while she stitched.

Patricia said...

I am a nurse and I am sure there is either an "adult day care" or "senior citizen" center in your area. I agree with others that although an "in-home" person would be nice, it would probably be better for you and your mother is she got outside of the home. Just getting out will help her cognitivily- more so than staying at home. The stimulation would be wonderful. Since it appears she is just beginning her decline, at first she may not like leaving you, but if you can find a place that has experience in working with the elderly person with some cognitive decline, in no time they will have her won over. Please move forward and do something for you---you can't take care of someone else if you don't take care of yourself. Hope all this helps and gives you some ideas! Take care--

Karen said...

In our area, we have a place called "Joe's Club". People with memory impairment spend time there to give the family time for themselves. Whether it is a job or just rest and relaxation. I don't think there is any overnight stay there. The people don't just sit while they are there. There are activities galore to entertain them and help with their memory.

Tammy said...

There are usually agencies in every community that can provide relief for caregivers. Some have a program to come into homes and do that. Take advantage of that. If you don't take care of yourself first, you're not going to be strong to take care of the other people in your life. You may think that sounds selfish, but it's not. You're in my thoughts.

O'faigh said...

Hello Darlene, a friend of mine has a disabled daughter who needs 24 hour care..respite care works well for both mother and daughter....my thoughts are for you......I think respite care would be a good solution ...Warm Regards, O'faigh

Quilterbee said...

I'm not sure how much income a month your Mom, has but if she qualifies for madicaid, not medicare, they will set up caregivers in your home for your Mom, at no expense to you.This is cheaper than a nursing home for the goverment. They will fix her medicines, her meals if needed, send in a nurse if she needs that, also Dr. home visits, meals on wheels. It doesn't matter that you live there too they will still provide this care for her. This would allow you time to leave the house or go to another room and she would not be alone. My Dad, has a caregiver from 8am to 8 pm everyday seven days a week even though my stepmom is living in the house too. No cost to them. They fix his meals, dress him, bathe him, fix his pills, do his laundry, whatever he needs.My step mom is older too and just cannot wait on him hand and foot and care for his personal needs by herself. It might be worth checking into.

I agree do not feel guilty. We want to do it all but sometimes all is just too much for any one person. It doesn't mean you love your Mom, any less or that you're being selfish. You have a life to live too and you only live once and when it's gone it's gone. You cannot totally give up your life or the needs of your family's life to care for your Mom. You, your DH and your kids are just as important as your Mom.

onlymehere said...

I could have written this post when my dad lived with us. I'll be watching to see some of your comments bz I never could work it out to have some "me" time unless my husband took over his care. If I was home I couldn't have any alone time bz he was right there or needing something. My alone time came in long walks and time spent away from the house. I hope you find a solution that works for you. God bless you for taking care of your mom. I know how draining and hard it can be. My dad had early Alzheimer's and it was pretty challenging having four young kids still at home too.

mindingmomma said...

Caretaker burnout is very real. You have to make time, in the afternoon maybe, that is your time. (Or in the evening/night before bed.) Just make it one of the things that happens as regularly as mealtime.
It isn't easy to explain, or even do. And you do not have to justify it. Though you may feel like it.
If you aren't at your best physically, emotionally, and mentally - you cannot take the best care of anyone else like you want to.
hugs to you during this adjustment

Cheryl said...

My heart goes out to you Darlene. I have a friend whose husband has Alzheimers. She had a male companion come in 2 days a week to occupy her husband and give her some free time. I don't know how she arranged for it, but you might investigate that option. I see others have mentioned the same sort of respite. Hugs to you!

Lori said...

I completly understand! When I brought my mom to the coast I tried sneaking out super early to go for a run but she always got us. Same with bed time.
I'm not sure I have any ideas other then I really do understand. I hope you find a few minutes to yourself to regroup and rejuvinate.

PunkiePie (Jen) said...

Darlene - I have no advice but some virtual hugs. (hugs!)

It has be difficult for all concerned. But I'm liking the idea of an adult day care or community center for a 1/2 a day a week or something.

Know we are all here for you. :)

Shelley said...

There are lots of organizations and care giver assistance out there. You need a sitter. Contact your Dr's office for direction on where to look. If money is an issue, some organizations have low income options available that you may qualify for. And don't for one second feel guilty about wanting and NEEDING "me time"!

Vicky said...

Yeah, what they said. You absolutely need some "me" time to stay refreshed. Would Mom like to work on a puzzle? That might keep her busy for an hour or so a day. I'd say at home try to stir her interest with something she enjoyed doing in the past, if possible. Thinking of you and sending big hugs your way! xo

Gwen said...

Darlene, like so many have said I don't have any other suggestions to offer, but want you to know how important it is that you work this out. Having had a family member in our home that slowly needed more and more care I understand where you are coming from. Fortunately, my husband was able to do the things needed for her care until recently and I got some time away. Other problems developed recently and we can no longer care for her at home, at least for now. I have only just realized how confined we had become since we didn't make plans for help early on. Please explore all the avenues you can find. You will both benifit from the help.

Lynn said...

I feel for you Darlene. Some of our best thinking and creativity occurs during our alone time. Is there any kind of adult daycare center in your area? Do you have an elderly, competent neighbor that could spend some time with your mother? You, your mom and family are in my prayers.

Helen said...

my God I feel for you ,I too was in your situation a while back , my Mom in law moved in with us she was with us for 9 years, after a while I had to get help, so a couple time a week I would get somebody to stay with her and I would hide in my sewing room that was my me time ,now my husband has parkinson and when he sleeps witch is often i sew ,My me time ,so take some time for yourself, good luck

Caro said...

Our community has services for senior citizens, one of which is Adult day care. Our neighbor goes three days a week. A bus comes to pick him up or a volunteer driver and he returns home at the end of the day. He loves the socialization. Good luck to you.

joan said...

I don't think I can tell you anything different than what has already been suggested. Here, in NS Canada we have Home Care and that encopmpasses "Care Giver Support" . I have my 92 year old mom living with me but we have a granny apartment and she is still able to look after her needs. She just needs help with the big tasks and making certain there is always someone available if she needs anything. I am very lucky. Is there anything your mom enjoys? Puzzles, crafts, and she can focus on her projects while you go to your special place? If you do not take care of Darlene who is going to take care of mom and cooper? I thnik the idea of having someone come is very important now, before she gets too used to the routine. Changing their sdchedule is something that is not easy so where she has only been with you since Novemebr it could still be encorporated in the daily routine. Maybe?????
E-mail me anytime..
Hugs, Joan

Deb said...

You really do need me time, it's required. I agree with the others, you need to bring someone in at least once a week to help care for your mom so you can have some alone time. Or, do you have any family that can come and help for a day so you can have some time.

Quilter Kathy said...

This is a tough one for sure.
I would get a relative or friend, or hire someone to keep her busy for as long as she can tolerate (like a walk for an hour twice a week, or other outing). And write it on the calendar and make it a formal commitment to yourself. Otherwise it's the bottom of the priority list and always falls by the wayside. And that's not good for you :(

Erica at Sew So Crafty said...

Darlene ... you are such an angel to do such a selfless thing. I wish I could give some good advise but all I could think of was perhaps distracting her by finding something that keeps her attention & keeps her busy for a couple of hours at a time. Hope you find alone time ... will send good thoughts & energy your way! So excited about the xmas thru the year ... hope it keeps your mind off things!

Thearica said...

All of the advice I would have given has already been stated so I will only add that I have you in my prayers. Even though we can tell you not to feel guilty about needing your own time, she is your mother and you will no doubt have that guilt feeling. It is just natural. But you do need your time to just breathe, meditate and be fresh for another day. It will only make you a better care giver.

I also wanted to thank you for having my blog on your sidebar. You are my blog's largest source of traffic. :)

CQMadhatter said...

I am in similar circumstances...my DH is a liver patient and we live with my 82 yr old dad...I have taken to doing "framed" hexagons because I can work on them on and off for 10 minutes at a time anywhere in the house. I have an extremely hard time finding a "block of time" to do conventional quilting.
I recently began to read Joel Olsteen's "Every day is a Friday" and it had some passages that really helped me. Just know you are not alone and help is sent when you need it.

QuiltNut Creations said...

Me time is oh so important. I also had the idea of getting a caregiver to give you a break a few times a week; you also need to care for yourself as well.

Thinking of you.

Victoria said...

My dad came to stay with me when he was having TIA's & had lost his memories. I felt just like you did.
The Red Cross finally got the message that I was in distress & they sent a worker out twice a week for two hours each time so I could get a break.
These little things are in place but sometimes you have to dig to find them. There is also respite care for Seniors for overnight times but it is usually booked months in advance.
My Dad is now in long term care, has full memories, is wonderfully cared for, comes home to spend nights whenever he feels like it & was dancing at the Christmas party. By the way, he is 104.

Karen said...

Darlene, you've been in my thoughts. I hope since you posted this maybe something has changed. Haven't read all the comments, but maybe finding a sitter/friend to sit with your mom for several hours in the aft. where you could steal away. My studio is also a sanctuary for me, I know exactly what you mean. Hang in there friend.

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