I do not know what the future will bring

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Joanne Mazzeu, New York

I am a retired administrative assistant only two years now and it was probably the right time to retire, because I am now a full time caregiver to my 96-year-old mother.

In the past two years her dementia has gotten worse and although her health is excellent her mind is going. The realization is that, at 67, I am now taking care of a 96-year-old child. When I look at her I cannot believe the devastating effect the dementia has on the caregiver. I have a great amount of patience, but it is wearing very thin because I am looking at a women who is now trapped inside of a world that I cannot even comprehend. I'm hoping that this will give me more of an insight into how to deal with this. [Note: FCA’s informative Fact Sheet Dementia, Caregiving and Controlling Frustration is available here. To view a listing of FCA Fact Sheets, visit www.caregiver.org/fact-sheets.]

She will not let me leave her side and because she lives with me, I deal with it on a 24 hour basis. I am a vibrant 67-year-old, educated women who has a life outside these four walls and the brief trips to do shopping or laundry does not give me relief. I do have someone who will keep her company while I am out, but my mind is so focused on how she acts when I am not there that it makes me rush through the tasks and return home. Most of the time I do not complete the things I need to do because my mind is focused on her. When it warrants, I take her with me, but her constant insistance on going home makes it daunting.

Right now, an adult living facility is out of the question. She has been there to support me through my marriage and divorce, the birth of my two sons, the home which she helped me purchase, and many other things and I feel it is my duty to take care of her until the end. She also took care of my four grandchildren until she was 88. I cannot in good conscious, and a sense of duty, put her in any kind of home right now. I do not know what the future will bring.

[NOTE: readers should consider viewing FCA's Family Care Navigator for support and resources in your state. FCA also maintains a toll free number (800-445-8106) where you can speak with our national resource and intake specialist who may be able to assist you with your local caregiver resources. Calls are returned in the order received.]