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When do you know it’s time to get help taking care of an elderly parent?

My mom takes up a lot of my time. I'm starting to feel out of balance. Is it time to get some help?

Answers

Some say their parents get 'clinging' as they start to realize they are forgetting more often or more tired than they used to be, it is important you recognize the stress as it starts and ask for help at the beginning, as you seem to be. It is just as important that you talk to your Mom or Dad or loved one at that time. This is a difficult start of a journey ~ you can make better with openness and lots of patience & love.

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I agree, the answer is in the question. It's common to feel burnt out and in need of some R & R. Review your needs based on budget, frequency and skill set P/T or F/T or just respite once a week to take a much needed nap, an outing with friends or a loved one and time to enjoy the luxury of doing nothing. Go get some "me" time. Everyone needs it.

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That is a question many children with aging parents are asking and have asked themselves.  The answer is very individual.  Have read all the answers and they are all good and make sense.

Took care of my elderly mother after my father died for 8 years.  Their needs change as their problems become more pronounced with time.  I finally hired someone to be there 3 times a week for 4 hours and take her wherever she wanted to go. I was involved in her primary care and the person I hired was very good about reporting to me any changes she could see. 

About 8 years into her dementia she fell and broke her foot.  She went into dementia full time.  We placed her in an assisted living facility and I worked 12 hour shifts caring for her.  She died 5 months later on her 96th birthday.

My answer is this:  every situation is unique to that person, but sounds like you need someone to help you with your loved one so the time you spend is quality time.

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User in Yelm, WA
July 5, 2017

Your answer is in the question . If you are asking when do i ?.....it's time. When it's more than you can do without feeling out of balance or just not thrilled/happy to be doing it..it's time.  With what you said ..you did answer your own question...just feel good about it..and what you do want to do is enough...more is too much. Enjoy your decision to get outside help and it will be best for all involved.  I think all or most answers were saying the same thing different ways. so you must just be ready to just do it!

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User in Katy, TX
July 6, 2017

Yes, if you don't take care of yourself you wont be able to take care of her.

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Yes. Look in the mirror. If you do not look like you are the happy, well-rested person you once were...then you do need to get help. Do not feel guilty either. It is better for you to ask for help. That way, you are keeping your options open should an emergency arise with you that keeps you from caring for her.

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Lynn in Mesa, AZ
Nov. 16, 2018

part time maybe

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yes yes YES you will burn out and also attend support groups check them out here for starters [depending on your area and if none you may care to start one] www.meetup.com

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Martin in Dallas, TX
Oct. 21, 2018

Please find bellow some signs to get help. Bounced checks, calls from collections and late payment notices. Broken appliances. Changes in mood or extreme mood swings. Cluttered, dirty and/or disorganized house. Confusion and uncertainty when performing once-familiar tasks. Depressed or low energy temperament. Disheveled clothing. Expired/spoiled groceries that don't get thrown away. Forgetfulness. Forgetting to take medications. House and yard need care/maintenance. Loss of interest in activities and hobbies. Missing important appointments. Poor diet or weight loss. Poor personal hygiene. Trouble getting up from a seated position. Unexplained bruising. Unexplained dents or scratches on the car.

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User in Tacoma, WA
Oct. 18, 2018

Absolutely. If you think it would help, just start off for a small amount of time weekly and gradually increase as your mom feels more comfortable with the caregiver.

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yes it is time. You just answered your own question.

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Laura in Garner, NC
Oct. 15, 2018

Help is mostly for convenience. If your life is becoming inconvenient, then it's time now for help.

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User in Surprise, AZ
Oct. 9, 2018

Hire one or a few caregivers so you need some break sometime.

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Elyse in Houston, TX
Oct. 2, 2018

If you are feeling out of balance then it certainly is time to get help.

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WHEN ELDERLY CAN KNOW LONGER DO FOR THEM SELF OR THE PERSON THAT THEY LIVE WITH TAKING CARE OF THEM IS FEELING BURNED OUT.

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Eva in Seaside, CA
Sept. 24, 2018

If you are start to feel in such way, it would not be a bad thing to search for some help. Start with a couple hours here and there. Being responsible of a family member full time is a job all on its own, so seeking help could make you feel much more at ease and hopefully give you some personal time to recharge and still provide your mom with the care she needs. Best of luck!

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Mcmillen in Cullman, AL
Sept. 22, 2018

I think you probably need a break. I am sure you love your Mom and love caring for her. However; you are human and have your own life. You shouldn't feel guilty to think you need help. All Caregivers need their space to take care of themselves. I have been a live in Caregiver in past years and I am aware of how you must feel. Get yourself some help so you will remain healthy enough to spend quality time with your Mom.

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You will know when is the time to get help. It is all depends on your life style capability.

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When you know they cannot be left alone and you're overwhelmed in trying to fill in the gaps.

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Beth in Peyton, CO
Sept. 4, 2018

yes, look for someone to help out. call senior social workers .

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Elena in Austin, TX
Aug. 27, 2018

Ask family members to commit to helping out on a regular schedule. Enroll your senior in an adult day program - socialization and care for them, much-needed rest for you. Hire in-home caregiving help. Find a volunteer senior companion program in your area.

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It sounds like you have answered your own question. If you are feeling out of balance, then it is time to get assistance. Care.com is an excellent resource with a wide variety of caregivers with different levels of expertise. Good luck!

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When it becomes a burden on your own personal life.

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Yes. Taking care of family (parents/people with disabilities/special needs/even difficult kids) can cause something called health care provider strain or health care provider fatigue. We all know that as much as we love our said parents or loved ones that the day to day activities and needs of them can cause some strain and stress on your own life. If you feel like you are starting to "wear out", become impatient, dread anticipating the needs of someone else then it sounds like you need some help. Needing some relief from the constant care-giving roll is not unusual and is perfectly normal. There is definitely help out there, even if you do not need an actual health care professional yet at this point. Talk to your parents doctor/nurse/social worker or even your local community health department should have some recommendations. I hope this helps!

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Unfortunately getting help is expensive. Plus in spite of interviews, you never know if the care provided is comparable to what you provide. A good caregiver can actually give you tips and through experience might actually provide a better form of care. Fortunately you don't need to jump in full speed. You would be amazed at how rejuvenating getting away for three hours, even once a week, can feel. By starting small you can also see how well your caregiver fits in with your loved one. Experience is great, but if the personalities differ it sometimes just doesn't work.

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When you feel overly stressed and your parents are taking more of your personal time then you spend with your own family.

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Susan in Oxford, NC
Aug. 14, 2018

There you already answered your own question. Things are out of balance. Get help so you don't get care giver fatigue.

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Jackie in Sparta, WI
Aug. 14, 2018

if your feeling out of balance and alot of your time is being taken up its time to hire caregivers

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Yes ;I think when you started feeling out of balance and you need help to accomplish the patient`s safety and comfort;then I think it`s time to ask for help in taking care of her.

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Maybe she's looking for someone to share her stories with, or play card games with? When you say take up your time, are these day to say life activities (getting dressed, feeding, bathroom, pills)? Then I'd say yes, it is absolutely okay to ask for help. You need to be able to balance your time appropriately in order to focus on your kids, husband and job just as effectively. That's why this site is up!

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Tamala in Venice, FL
Aug. 10, 2018

It is definitely time to get help. Self care takes precedence over caregiving for others. Recognizing that you "feel" out of balance probably means that you have been out of balance. Even taking a few hours off and getting away are truly a blessing, a time of recovery. Make sure that you spend the time doing what is the very best for you. Coffee with a friend, walk on the beach, a game of tennis to blow off some steam or to laugh at yourself. Laughter really is great medicine and helps you and your mother!

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Alan in Nutley, NJ
Aug. 8, 2018

You answered your own question....When you are no longer able to do it all yourself.

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C in Maitland, FL
Aug. 2, 2018

When there is a risk of danger living in the home without more assistance.

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I have learned that I need to take care of myself first, before I am of any use to help others. If you are feeling drained or burnt out, it is time to reach out for some help. Deb RN

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Laure in Edmonds, WA
July 30, 2018

yes when you are fatigued from helping your Mom at all hours of the night or morning which are NOT in your normal routine, then YES Get help.

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If you feel that having someone with your mother is more helpful to open up your schedule then I would say yes. If you feel that you are not ready to leave your other home alone out of your own supervision then I would say no to getting outside help.

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Karina in Redmond, WA
July 30, 2018

when you know you cannot provide care and you are starting to neglect because of your time with other responsibilities and you as a family member is having a hard time or don't know what to do...

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This can be a strain on the entire family and keeping yourself in balance is of the utmost importance. I only wish I knew this when I was faced with my mother's situation. Odds are that if you're starting to feel out of balance it is time to get some help. Maybe start out with a few hours a week and see how it's going from there. I sincerely wish you and your family all the best.

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Care giving is very stressful always ask for help

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Robin in La Porte, TX
July 24, 2018

Depends on the situation. If she cant take care of herself, it's time to get some part time help so you can have a life too. Just remember they are getting older and need much love and caring from you. Sometime it's take a while to adjust. Most elderlies doesnt like the change.

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Susan in Jackson, MO
July 23, 2018

You bet. You can get her help through Medicaid if she has it.

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Yes because if you don't you will get yourself sick and you need to be well, both mind and body, in order to care for her.

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When the family member becomes stressed for lack of time and the loved one requires more hands on care (and attention), it is time. The family member does not want to become the burden on the parent. The elderly still have a mind and feelings and always need to feel loved, not a burden. Start with a few hours of basic care (bathing, dressing, feeding, companionship) and increase as needed, and only if you & parent feel comfortable with the hire. Never be afraid to discharge/replace a hire. You are the boss.

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Keri in Spooner, WI
July 18, 2018

it is definately time to get help when you feel you are starting to need it.

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Definitely, even if you just need help with a few simple daily tasks for her that you don't have time for.

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Megan in Elyria, OH
July 14, 2018

When you start to feel overwhelmed, or when mom is always overwhelmed. It's a hard job to do 24/7, and if you are feeling burnt out your mom will too. Even if its just a few times a month I'd say get some help.

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Tina in Elm City, NC
July 23, 2017

When she no longer is able to take care of herself. Mentally physically and emotionally

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Its time. If you dont take the initiative , you will become, if not already, super frustrated.. so if you live in the Richmond Va area, look my profile up Geneva E.

For me, the time to get help is when the situation puts both or either me and the client in danger or at risk.

For me, the time to get help taking care of an elderly parent is when the situation puts both me and the client or either one of us in danger or at risk.

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yes maybe for a few hours per week

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User in Bronx, NY
May 4, 2017

Sigh! If there aren't others able to divide the time and effort, and it's leaving you drained or stressed, look into extra help where possible.

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Like help of friends or school mates to study... Get a part time job

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Yes, it would be time to get additional help. Sometimes caring for elderly can become overwhelming. Additional help will insure that your loved one is receiving all the attention that they deserve and need.

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It is hard for our parents to ask for help... They feel they Don't Need it... It's Ok to ask them how they would feel about bringing in someone to help out a couple hours a day 2-4 times a week... I have had clients that Don't Need help, Don't Want help, Wont accept it only to come in & end up being with them for years & becoming part of the "family" So, talk to her & don't be afraid to Insist on some help, she May surprise you by allowing it!

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Yes, That way you can have your free time as well. You have to take care of you too.

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Sure! Take care of your self first to stay fit for the job and pretty sure you care for your mom or any client not to fall because of your inability, right?

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When it comes down to our parents of course we're going to always want what's best for them. But it is common for anyone to become overwhelmed and there is nothing wrong with a little help from time to time. Even if it is only a few hours a day just to allow you time to catch a break.

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YES DO SO BEFORE YOU GET FUSTRATED. YOU CAN ALWAYS FIND HELP.

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Yes: Do not get your self down.

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Peyton in Biloxi, MS
April 30, 2017

If you feel like it is too much to handle then you know you may need help. 

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User in Salem, MA
Feb. 15, 2019

As soon as they are not able to get through one single day without needing help.

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If you are totally stressed, feeling fatigued, teary and burnt out...it is time to get professional help.

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User in Tampa, FL
Jan. 21, 2019

When you notice she can't do most things for herself or forgets alot you can hire someone to help her to free some of your time start gradually until she needs full time help

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This is a tough question. It varies depending on the loss of abilities. For Alzheimer's it can be more difficult. See www.alzheimershomehealth.com/education.html for tips.

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How much should you pay for a babysitter?