Sherrie from North Carolina

Looking after both parents in nineties. Some of caregiving duties started about twenty years ago. Both have dementia to a certain degree along with other health problems. I also have health problems and have put my health needs on the back burner often to look after them. I stay tired all the time. I also worry about finances and how to pay for things that are needed. I do not have much of a social life, and my parents were never much to socialize, so adult daycare is out of the question. We live in a small town, so we had limited resources that way, but I have been able to get into a respite program which does help some with stress relief. Also dealing with family strife due to disagreement about decisions that were made and boundaries. So far I have done great - nothing but praise from social workers, medical staff, etc. I am not afraid to challenge doctors about care and the latest research that may contradict previous treatment ideas. However, the stress of dealing with limited resources and the behavior that comes with dementia has taken a big toll on my health and I sometimes feel that it has likely shortened my life span. Having support to talk things out would be helpful as well. There are a couple of people online, but sometimes just seeing someone face to face is better. It is demoralizing to not only be dealing with parents diminishing capacity, but also with my own problems. There is no cure for what ails them - and apparently no cure for my health issues. On the plus side, I know that I am making them comfortable and have (so far) made the right decisions. Everyone says they are very fortunate. When I was growing up, if someone had told me that I would be able to do all the things that I have done, I would not believe it. Have found out how capable I really am, and resourceful.

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