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Should I have to give up my life to help my mother and grandmother?

76 answers | Last updated: Jul 24, 2014
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An anonymous caregiver asked...
Is it wrong to force a caregiver to support themselves? My mother is a caregiver to my grandmother. However, she is unemployed and has been living off of an income from my sisters and me. She refuses to give up any of her duties to get even a part-time job, so I have had to move in with her to help cover the cost of both of their care. I feel like I can't move on with my life, and that I'll be trapped here forever. I can't leave them because of guilt.
 

Answers
Caring.com User - Ann Cason
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As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved...
27% helpful
answered...

Stop and think: How many years did you feel trapped being Cared for By your mother? Now you feel trapped caring for your mother and your grandmother.

Any time you See also:
Is there financial aid for caregivers?

See all 224 questions about Depression
feel trapped by caring, stop and take a breath. Picture yourself in a cage. Feel the bars of that prison.

Are you trapped by guilt? Is the guilt sharp like the bars of the cage? Is it cold? What color is your guilt? How does it smell? Can you taste it?

Make friends with your guilt. Think about how fortunate you are to have identified your problem. Appreciate your intelligence.

You are not trapped by caring for your mother. You are trapped by your own mind. Try to find some help. You indicate that your funds may be too low to find a counselor. If so, start with these suggestions.

  • If you are a member of a church, ask your minsister for help.
  • Try to find a caregiver support group. Get a referral from the Area Agency on Agiing
  • Try going to al-anon meetings. It is free and they are good at working with family relationships
  • Find a meditation group. Meditation can be a gentle and effective way to make friends with yourself.
  • As you feel better about yourself, the goodness will spread to your mother.
  • Starting with yourself is most effective. You won't feel trapped by caring for your mother.
  • Soon you will be ready to explore creating a care team or a circle of care so that the task of caring for your grandmother is spread around.
  • Instead of giving up your life, you will be taking a beneficial fresh start.

UPDATE:

My response above has created a great deal of discussion. I would like to add more information so that readers are clear on my meaning. Feeling trapped by caregiving is a very common feeling. I sometimes felt trapped when I was caring for my father. I loved him so much and sometimes I felt he demanded too much from me. Over time I began to see that my guilt at not being able to help in the way that he wanted was just that: guilt. I needed to work with my mind. I got some counseling and also attended a support group for awhile. It was especially hard as I was a professional and felt that I should know what to do. That's why I wanted to offer advice to the woman who sent in this question, who indicated a lack of funds to find help for herself.

I have always felt that ONE person should not have to be burdened with care, although many are. They say it takes "a village to raise a child." For someone who is old and at the end of life it takes even more. The reason it takes more is that elders often do not want help except from family. Because it is often a thankless job, we as caregivers need to find ways to appreciate ourselves for the care and compassion we give. My desire is that this questioner will find a way to let go of her guilt and find others to help her care for her family. But she needs a helping hand.

There are many more ways to find help than those I suggested. Many of the people who answered gave excellent suggestions. Also, if your community has an Area Agency on Aging, they will be able to direct you to other resources. This web site as well as others have chat rooms where you can communicate with others in a similar situation. Most hospitals can suggest support groups and connect with people with county services.

 

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80% helpful
DolphinsCry answered...

I can totally relate to this poster. I live with my grandmother, and am her primary caretaker. It is very frustrating!

I understand the guilt. I keep trying to move out, but who will take care of her? She is completely home-ridden, except for when mom takes her to her doctor appointment.

She is also a control freak, and emotionally and verbally abusive. She's always been that way.

See about counseling....some places have a sliding scale fee. It helped me a lot.

One thing I have to disagree with in the original response is this:

"How many years did you feel trapped being Cared for By your mother? "

First: Her mother made a choice to bring a child into the world. I don't think the granddaughter made a choice to be burdened with the responsibility of financially taking care of Mom and Grandma.

I keep saying....my grandmother, my mom...they both got to live their lives as they wanted. Me...I'm stuck taking care of a bitter old woman who never wanted me born in the first place.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Not to be harsh re Ann Cason's response, but too many times adult children are advised that caring for their elderly parent or grandparent is the equivalent of being taken care of as a child. This is simply not true--there is no such equivalence. Many people were raised NOT by loving attentive parents but by indifferent, harsh, selfish parents who did a poor job caring for them even as an infant. Being old and in need of care does not automatically make a person a saint. Being a parent does not mean your children "owe" you no matter how ugly and uncooperative you may have been all your life. Professionals--please give your readers a break and refrain from the "she cared for you when you were a baby" nonsense. My family and I have cared, willingly, for 3 terminally ill adults and one grandparent who lived past 100 and did this for decades and with love. But NONE of us would ever suggest to OTHER families that this is appropriate FOR THEM. It depends. I empathize with the granddaughter whose mom won't contribute to her own finances. There is nothing wrong with this mom. If this middle aged woman chooses to care full time for her own mother, okay. She needs to apply for welfare for herself and her elderly mother and let her kids contribute what they can. They did not make her choice, she made her choice. No one is "obligated" to help her. I do know people who felt trapped and in fact they WERE trapped by someone else's selfishness. This was a reality not a state of mind. A major issue for caregivers is that if you choose a course of action, you don't get to make decisions for the rest of your family--as much as you would like to. This is not fair to them. They have a choice not to financially support your choice if they are unable to. (Alternately, we all know many well off adult children who won't lift a finger--despicable, but an entirely different topic.) Again, I have a life time of personal experience in caregiving and have also seen as many caregivers make dumb but well-intentioned mistakes as good ones. I don't know anyone who has quit her/his job with no visible means of support (and without enthusiastic family contributions) who has not created chaos for their family. Loving care comes from willing contributions not manipulation. "Trapped" should consider moving out and giving her mom a chance to make a more thought through plan.

 

87% helpful
jw812 answered...

I, too, struggle with that line between giving and sacrifice.

After my father died, I quit my job to care for my mother who has Alzheimer's. First problem, loss of my income. In these economic times that has been a big hit for my family.

Fortunately, my children are pretty much on their own, but I still have a husband that I see, if I'm lucky, three days a week, more often it's two days a week. I spend most of the week with my mother at her home because she is more comfortable there and frankly it is easier to manage her there. When I take her to my house for the weekend, it is very difficult for her. I understand that the transitions we make during a given week are difficult for her to handle and are confusing and scary. But I have to get to my house to take care of the chores my husband can't get to while he's trying to work and care for his own 88-year-old mother.

Secondly, there are some people that just aren't made to be caregivers. I'm afraid I might be one of those people. However, I'm an only child, the only available caregiver. The finances aren't there to allow for a great deal of outside care. Last time I had someone stay with my mother so my husband and I could go see our children it cost $128 for eight hours. My mother doesn't have the funds to pay for that kind of care at length, and my husband and I certainly don't either.

The question is where is that line between giving and sacrifice? My husband has been incredibly supportive, but how long can I expect him to remain so? He is overburdened with trying to hold onto a job so he can support us, manage our home basically on his own as well as try to manage his mother.

At what point are we sacrificing our marriage and relationship? Yes, I've told myself all that about I should be happy to care for my mother because she cared for me. And I do want to make sure her last years are as good as they possibly can be. But I'm worn out, stressed out and there is no timetable for when this job might end. And saying that makes me feel quilty. But I'm afraid the stress is going to get me first and then I'll leave this situation for my husband and children. The thought of that just kills me.

 

89% helpful
DolphinsCry answered...

I very much relate to the end of your post, about no time-table for this job to end.

When we have a job we don't like, we can look for another, and know there is an end in site.

But when we do the care-giving/Family Slave thing.....I don't know, I get pretty depressed reading about people turning 93, 99, 107....argh! Even people like Michael Vick knows there is an end to their prison sentence and have an idea of when it is.....

I feel bad saying that, but yes...sometimes care-giving does feel like being in prison.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I took my cue from the airlines. When they go over the saftey instruction, they tell us if there is a decrease in altitue, take the oxugen mask and put it over our own face, and THEN help someone else. You have to take care of yourself if you want to be of any help to someone else.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I am the full time care giver for my husband.

He has 2 sisters, a brother and a mom. I am the only one who is not free to work and this has been a financial hardship. Being the caregiver for a person with dementia places restrictions on one's ability to work and earn. He cannot be left alone. I am sacrificing my time and the money I could be making. I don't think that a grand daughter should be asked to contribute financially. But certainly sisters and brothers, as well as healthy parents should. Now that it's apparent that the situation is permanent, I need to find a solution. It's not fair to expect only one person to make these sacrifices. The solution they offered was to let my husband move in with the oldest sister. She would also become his Guardian. I would be left to fend for myself. As Guardian, she plans to disolve our marriage (he is now legally mentally incompetent), and sell our home. It is legal in some States for the Guardian to disolve a Wards marriage regardless of the wishes of the 2 participants. I would have no claim to any portion of the proceeds if our marriage was anaulled.

 

72% helpful
DolphinsCry answered...

Anonymous....I would consult a lawyer ASAP. As your husbands wife - you likely have rights to become his Guardian, or to part of the money from the sale of the home.

If you have been taking care of him all this time, and likely put some equity into the home yourself, you deserve some of the proceeds from the sale.

I think you would need a Family Law attorney to advise you on this.

 

90% helpful
shou2 answered...

I understand to some degree how she feels. I am having to care for my grandparents because their only child, my mother, will not. She never even calls to see how things are going. I have a 16-year old son, and am also having to take care of my 5-year old grandson. My grandmother has demetia, my grandfather just got over pneumonia, they are both feeble, and my life has totally disappeared. My son and I had to give up our home, move into their home, and this is after losing my husband, my son's father, four years ago to an unexpected death. Some people just will not take their rightful place in the family. They just won't, and that makes it much harder on the ones who have to do what she should be doing. I resent it terribly. I was just managing some happiness after losing my husband unexpectedly. Now I've had to put my healing on hold, all because someone else is too selfish to do what they should be doing. I just wonder if she'll find the time to come to their funerals. Cause she sure don't even have time to make a phone call right now. By the way, my mother is single, she has no children, it's only her. Like I said, I fight resentment to the core of my heart. This is the 3rd Sunday in a row I could not make church. My mother doesn't even go to church. I've gone for 16 years. What in the world has happened to my life. I swear, if one more person tells me God will bless me for what I'm doing I think I will scream. I don't care about the future, I want my "right now" back, enjoying life day 2 day. But, not going to be, at least not right now. What scares me, I read somewhere that 30% of the caregivers die before the one they are caring for does. I hope there is a life for me after this is over.

 

88% helpful
MidKid33 answered...

Anonymous CCC Member's answer is wonderful.

She says it like it is AND grants that others are not like her. Her remark to "Professionals - ..." is very on point.

Some of us just weren't so lucky, and those platitudes actually foster an undeserved feeling of guilt.

Bless you, thank you, for your understanding.

 

100% helpful
Juno answered...

huh? Dissolution is Divorce. A marriage annulment is a legal procedure that dissolves a couple's marital status by establishing that a valid marriage never existed. In effect, it nullifies the marriage, returning the parties to their prior single status. It's a common misconception that short marriages can be annulled, but the length of the marriage is not a qualifying factor. Generally, for a marriage to be declared invalid, one of the following grounds for annulment must be met:

"¢One or both parties were not old enough to enter the marriage contract; "¢There exists a close blood relationship between the parties; "¢One party was still legally married when the current marriage occurred; "¢One party was impotent and unable to consummate the marriage; "¢One of the spouse's didn't have the mental capacity to enter into a marriage contract. (i.e. due to drunkenness or mental disability) "¢One of the spouses entered into the marriage under duress, threat, or force. "¢The marriage was entered into fraudulently. This may be due to the concealment of impotence, criminal history, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. To get an annulment, a person first needs to meet the residency requirements of the state that they live in. The annulment procedure is similar to that of a standard divorce, so it's best to seek the advice of an attorney before your proceed.

 

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83% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

Juno; Thank you for your response. Yes,- I should have used the word 'annulment' when I said that the sisters who have offered to be my husband's Care givers/Guardians live in a State where the Guardian has the legal right to annul the marriage of the Ward. They sought to move my husband to their State, thus establishing his residency and Guardianship there.

I was and am totally opposed to having a sister-in-law annul my marriage - even if I am exhausted by being the sole care giver. However, in their State, should they succeed in becoming Guardian and moving my husband, the Guardian has the legal right to annul the marriage regardless of the wishes of either spouse.

An annulment would leave me with no rights to any of our marital property. The new Guardian would have the right to sell our home, use the proceeds for the upkeep of my husband (Ward), and I would be without my husband AND a home to live in. As his new Guardian, the SSDI check would also go into a payee account that she would control. In our State, the spouse has a recognized right to support, which can be Court ordered if need be. If the marriage were annulled - regardless of the State, not only would I be without marital property that took years to accumulate, but I would be without any support. Any spouse/caregiver in a similar situation with a Guardianship in place, needs to become knowledgeable of the laws in their State - and the State that the Ward/spouse may be moved to.

Re a personal update that readers may find interesting. Last month, my husband collapsed from a stroke and entered the hospital. His Alzheimer's/Dementia has advanced and all his doctors say he cannot live safely at home anymore. He is presently in a skilled facility and I am applying for medicaid long term care coverage. If the original poster cannot care for her grandmother - emotionally or financially, she may need to check out Medicaid LTC. There is rarely a happy answer when a loved one cannot be cared for at home as previously.

 

80% helpful
cccarter2005 answered...

Well, to put some ...lets say...lightness on the subject.. I do not have a clue! Call a good attorney! All, I know is never judge anyone else unless you have walked in thier shoes!

 

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14% helpful
A fellow caregiver answered...

I love my grandmother more than my own mother. I want to do what ever I can to help. Her older daughter{my aunt} and I have been attempting to do it and we have been helping but I dont think it has been enough. Gmas loosing her mind. We need help. What do I do?

 

83% helpful
hcarey answered...

This fine line is crazy! I am making plans of my own to take care of myself by myself! I don't want to do this to my kids! I want to "make arrangements" to die before I become such a pain in the a** to my kids. This is too much! Guilt, fear, anger, dissapointment...the list goes on. Sure there are some good days, but I can only lead a horse to water...I can't make him drink it! I am NOT the best person for this job, but I am the only one she would want. The lieing and mental manipulations as well as the selective memory is nuts! How you all keep going is beyond me, and I have been doing this for only 4 months! How does one hang on?

 

67% helpful
DolphinsCry answered...

Hcarey...

I've been doing it for 6 long years.

My mom had to move in to help take care of my grandmother. 4 months into it, and she's almost walked out a few times now.

The old woman has never been a nice person, and now she is even worse. She has no consideration for anyone else; the verbal and emotional abuse is worse. She's more demanding than an army Drill Sergent could ever be. Leave her alone for an hour and pray she doesn't answer the phone - she almost had mom's friend come to help her to the bathroom, whined about how we'd left her to go eat.

She got mad at me for just having to pee the other morning. 2 minutes in the bathroom and I ruined her entire day and inconvienced her.

We keep hoping she will pass on. She's so mean though that even Hell doesn't want her.

My b/f and I have discussed things - if we ever get to the point she is physically - nursing home.

 

88% helpful
azalea answered...

I am the sole caregiver for my 92-year-old mother. I am an only child with no husband or children. My mother's surviving siblings are all older as well and have their own problems. It's all up to me. I have no "circle" of help. My mother suffers from severe arthritis and can no longer walk, so I have to "transfer" her from chair to car, etc. I am a small person, and I have a bad back, so it isn't easy.

We are lifelong church members, and I take my mother to church every week. But my church members, especially my pastor, would be no help to us, so I don't understand why someone would suggest that.

Until you have taken care of a person full-time by yourself, you will never ever understand. Most caregivers I know have someone to relieve them now and then. Not me.

I do all kinds of things I enjoy. I love my TV and computer. I play piano, quilt, do embroidery, exercise, read -- and, yes, meditate. I like myself just fine, so getting in touch with my mind and spirit isn't the problem.

I can leave my mother alone long enough to go to the grocery store and choir practice, but if I wanted to go out for the evening or -- heaven forbid -- on a day outing, forget it. I have to take her along or stay at home. I do take her places, but she gets very tired and starts to hurt if she has to sit in her wheelchair for more than an hour or so.

The person who said some people are not cut out to be caregivers was absolutely correct. I never ever would have invisioned myself doing the jobs I do every day. I am constantly told that I'm doing a good job, and I always say, "No, I'm not." To me, this is a dreadful way to live, if you can call it that.

Trapped? Prison? House arrest? Yes, that pretty much describes it. Sometimes it gets to me very badly.

I am a retired teacher, and most of my life I was very busy and creative. I need to be around people on a regular basis. My mother is a sweet lady and we get along great, but for my own well-being, I need to do something outside my home. I am only 60 years old, but I look much younger and am in excellent health. I am wasting away here when I should be doing all the things I worked so hard for and dreamed of doing at this age.

I don't have any answers for you. If I did, I'd have them for myself as well.

But I will say that I am offended by people who tell me how "blessed" I am to have the opportunity to care for my mother the way she cared for me. It's not the same thing AT ALL, and they don't have a clue what they're talking about.

Edited to add: Yes, I have consulted an attorney. Yes, I have met with doctors. Yes, I have taken classes. Yes, I have read books on the subject. No, I am not angry or resentful, and I am just fine with God. I was merely giving the asker of the question support in knowing that she was not alone. Sometimes there are no answers. You just have to take it a day at a time. Caregiving is not easy.

And I might add that in every book, article, or TV segment I have encountered regarding caregiving (including a Fearless Caregiver's conference I attending in 2005), the number one rule always stated is "take care of yourself first." If the caregiver is broken down, sick, depressed, stressed out, discouraged, or unhappy, he/she cannot give proper care to anyone. Everyone suffers. And that's not whining, my friend. That's just stating a fact.

 

53% helpful
cfsrn94 answered...

WOW! My heart griefs as I read the anger, bitterness, and resentment in the above posts. I also care for my mother. I am an only child. My daddy passed away 7 years ago and we took my mom in (figuring she would go soon after because of the love she had for my father) My three girls were always there when my husband and I went away overnight. Anyway, my husband was transferred three hours away from 'home' so now we have no one to help up. I was feeling so much of what everyone was saying above...it was all about me and what I was missing. I am sorry, but my mom DID take care of me when I was a child...and I was a very sick child. She and my dad sacrificed so much... Anyway...I wonder how many of you truly have God in your life. (Just going to church every week does NOT count. I did that for 30 + years). I amt talking about a personal relationship with Him. Now I am not saying everything will change and be all rosy and wonderful, but I will tell you from experience....you will never be able to get through it without Him. Even then, it can be tough. As I said, I was feeling resentment big time...because of mom, we were limited to go see the kids and grandkids (one child lives 5 hours away) because mom couldn't be left alone overnight. It was really get bad when I realized I was trying to get through all this on my own (without leaning on God) so I had a talk with God. I asked Him to change my heart and attitude...to let me show the love to her that He has...And He answered my prayers...my circumstances haven't changed...but my attitude has.
Three days ago the Dr. told us she has lung cancer. The realization that she won't be here forever and that soon I will have my life back has hit me full on....and let me tell you...I am taking every moment I can with her because it could be the last. It is so sad however that it took cancer to make me fully wake up and realize that my current situation will not last forever. I was supposed to head out this weekend (husband staying home to be with mom) to spend it with my grandkids) but mom isn't doing well since the biopsy so I am staying home. I have no resentment or bitterness...with love comes sacrifice...that goes with any 'love' relationship...marriage, kids, etc. As I am looking back over all the posts, I realize this answer is more for all the 'other' answers and not for 'Anonymous'. You don't give any ages...which can make a big difference. Is your mom old enough to get SS? While that may not be enough to 'live' on, it would definitely help. I feel bad for you being the 'granddaughter' trying to take care of both mother and grandmother, but I applaud you for stepping up to do it. (many selfish people would just walk away) Your grandmother should also get SS. You don't indicate to what degree you grandmother needs care. Could she be left alone for a few hours while your mom would work, or must she have someone there 24/7? If so, would it be a possibility that you and your sister could take turns being with your grandma while your mom worked? There are a few other options, but without knowing the entire situation, it's hard to offer advice. I guess the biggest thing I would suggest would be to sit and have a heart to heart with your mother. Tell her your true feelings about the situation and that it can not continue to go on. Put your foot down in a stern but loving way. Just as parents sometimes have to use 'tough love' with kids...occasionally the kids need to use it with parents. The best of luck to you. I will pray for you and your family.

 

55% helpful
Junier answered...

OK folks this "poor pitiful me" is whining. Blood ties do not make you the answer. If you have not taken classes, have a collection of reference books, made extra doctors appointments to better understand and get professional advice you are not care taking. Finances seem to be the underlying issue. I hear I'm owed, I want money or recognition or something. What are your real reasons for being a care taker? My Grandmother took care of her older relatives. Mom took care of Grandma. I gave up my bedroom for three years when I was a kid so we could make sure Grandma would not wander. I am now taking care of Mom. My father died caring for Mom, because he would not educate himself and he refused help. He said he was so worried if anyone else was involved it would make Mom worse. Dad was a fixer, everyone called him to perform magic. Mom can not be fixed. She has a desease. His unwillingness to look at Moms situation allowed the house to be almost condemned, because of hoarding. He ruined his finances. He died rather then admit he could not do it right! He could not let go (the control issue). When I took over I did three things. 1st finances, with any business there is the black and red ink figures. 2nd with any business there are Health and Safety codes, learn them and use them. 3rd there is your client. There is a reason for all actions. Take yourself and your emotions out of the equation and study the facts. I have asked older relatives that knew Mom when she was just a child. I have researched a number of issues and tried several different strategies and people. I also made a list of "my limits" and stick to them. Nothing is perfect. Mom is actually happier and healthier for her stage in the desease, and she is now in the black with finances. I have been called cold hearted and arrogant at times but I am open and honest and ready for any type of scrutany. Just like the desease, solutions rarely happen over night.

 

93% helpful
handbaglady answered...

You don't mention how old you, Mom and Grandma are. If your mom is providing most of the care for her mother who I assume is over 65, she is eligible for funds the state makes available to caregivers who provide in-home care to a relatives. Here in Oregon it can be over $1000 a month, which should help out a bit. You need to contact the state elder/disability department for more info. Additionally, Mom and Grandma are most likely eligible for Food Stamps, which is generally over $200/month for one person. This is not charity, I have no doubt that your Mom and Grandma were productive citizens and paid their taxes year after year, so go on down and apply. There is no stigma either. This economy has placed many in a poverty position that never dreamed it would happen to them.

I understand your feeling of being trapped. I was the sole caregiver for my dear mother for 8 years. I moved her into my home and adjusted my life to be able to be there for her 24/7. I had no respite care, it was just me, and only me. My brother who lives a state away (although his job brought him to this state frequently) let it be known that he and his wife would not be able to help financially or personally. He displayed an unhealthy interest in Mother's financial affairs and was very vocal about making this known to both of us. My mom died in October at the age of 88. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about her sweet smile and gentle ways. I have not been able to quietly grieve for her passing however, as my brother launched an investigation into "elder abuse and financial mismanagment" that was quickly dismissed. I could go on and on, but I won't. Don't expect for any family member to praise your efforts. Their feelings of guilt will manifest themselves in bizarre and hurtful ways, directed at you. Caregiving is the ultimate sacrifice and you cannot go into it by expecting an earthly reward. You do it because of the gratitude and love you feel for your family member, and the consolation is that when it is finally over you can hold YOUR head high and not have to endure the overwhelming guilt that most certainly engulfs those who couldn't be bothered.

 

82% helpful
lelectra answered...

Without knowing a thing about the person's situation she goes on this disconnected sermon about how being trapped is all in her mind. Gee, would she give the same phony baloney to a miner runnning out of air in a collapsed mine? A person in prison? This person's situation is every bit as valid.

Grandma may not have much cognition about how her care (and that includes the grandchild who must support them), is costing the poster emotionally, but Mom surely does and she is being selfish and manipulative if she expects this situation to continue indefinitely. I say that with qualifying that I don't know the details either. Has the poster had an honest talk with family members about her situation?

But imagine this. Imagine the poster meeting a perfectly wonderful man and falling in love and they would like to get married but his job takes him to another state (fairy tales do come true). Or maybe the poster's dream is to go to medical school. In another state or not, it would entail full time student status and less income to support Mom. The possibilities are endless.

Yes, we all make sacrifices in the course of life for loved ones. But this person needs to evaluate her choices and be allowed to express her very valid frustration without the guilt trip (make friends with your guilt!) and mindless platitudes foisted upon her.

Really, is that what this site is for?

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

How familiar some of the responses sound to me.. I moved my mom in 8 years ago when I realized things were becoming too overwhelming for her, hoping that we could "survive" together in my home. My husband is deceased, my children are grown and on their own and I work a full time job. Unfortunately, my mom has always been a manipulator in order to get things done that she wants with no real regard for anyone elses needs. I should have thought about that more before moving her in. As she has aged more, her disposition, though sweet and kind around others, is so pointed and argumentative toward me. I have always been there for her, when my dad died some 40 years ago, when my brother became disabled, and have continued to pick up the responsiblities that really were hers through the years. She resents my friends, my wanting to have time alone with my children who live out of state. I cannot get to visit and spend time with my grandchildren because she cannot be left alone. She does not have funds for her own care, and when I set up home care for when I am at the office, she found fault with everyone. I would like to place her in an assisted living facility of some type, however the cost is outrageous. Through all this, I have prayed, and prayed, and asked for patience, guidance and grace to deal with each day, but the stress is really beginning to show on me. I have reached out for help, but the doors never seem to open. Myself, I am getting older too, would like to be able to retire, move closer to my children and have more of a life before I am no longer able, but it doesn't seem that is in my near future. In a country like ours, none of us should ever be in this "Trapped" situation, those who have aged should have coverage for whatever their needs are. I have opened a long -term help account for myself ;my children were upset with me ...but until you really live with this everyday you can't understand the restraints and stress it puts on you, and I don't ever want to do that to them... They try very hard to understand how things are, but being so far away and only around their grandma for short periods of time, don't see what I really live with. My prayer is that we all, as caregivers, are granted understanding, patience and guidance.

 

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CathRN answered...

No, do not give up your life for them but don't let anyone else do it either. My sisters wouldn't give up their lives to even help me by taking every other weekend, I had to take care of them for years by myself. When my dad got senile, he started fights between each of us, got everyone hating me, and I was working myself to death. After 4 years of full time care, the only other person, our priest, who saw what was going on in that house, begged me to go home and let them find out themselves that they needed me, and it might stop the abuse. It didn't. Dad totally cut me off, my sisters jumped in like vultures to get his will in their names, and his power of attorney, and they believed all of his stories about how terrible I was even though they knew that was not how I am. They took advantage of him and stole the last 2 years of my mom's life by having her believe I was some horrible person not to be trusted. Don't let anyone else take it on themselves, no matter how they may believe they can do it, and if they do, stayin constant communication with them so you know what's going on the whole time every day. Not by what the parents say, your mother needs help. everyone has a life even if they're unemployed, get home health care for her to get a much needed break, caregiving is a harder job than any full time or part time job like you're talking about. You koow this by the little you've been through. Your mother has been doing it for much longer and is probably burning out, the fact is, when you're burning out, you don't know it, you thihk you're doing the right thing, that you owe it to your mother. But to give your whole life to another person at the cost of your own is not a life. Put yourself in your mom's shoes and the guilt that you are feeling, she is feeling 1000 times more.

 

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annieb answered...

There are so many good posts from family caregivers -- I hope the orginal anonymous young woman who posted the question finds some help and solace from those answers. There are so many wonderful posters on this site who offer loving and very constructive ideas from their own caregiving experiences...I draw great strenght from their wisdom and compassion and hope anonymous will also find comfort and help on the site.
However, I found the professional response totally inappropriate to the question. A young woman is struggling to find a balance that allows her to start her own adult life while still helping her mother who quit her own job with no other source of income and who expects her adult daughters to support her while she cares for their grandmother -- and a professsional starts off by saying "Shame on You. Your mother raised you and didn't complain". The two are not at all comparable. And frankly, the professional's update did nothing to acknowledge how hurtful and useless the opening of her original'professional advice' post was. I wish the poster of question grace and fortitude as she figures out how to help her grandmother and mother in a way that does not trap her by guilt into a life too full of sacrifice to fully participate in her own life.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I am the original poster of this question.

Thank you everyone for your responses. Most of them were very helpful. I am in my early 30s, my mother is in her late 50s and grandmother in her late 80s. For several years, my grandmother has been able to be alone for hours at a time. During that time, my mother did not attempt to find gainful employment. My sisters and I took out loans to help supplement her income. I am currently still paying off those loans and will be paying them for the next 20 years. I have been emotionally frustrated for many years because of this fact. I worked several jobs through college and graduate school, and still work side jobs to meet the needs of my bills. Though it seemed my anger was justified, I felt tortured with guilt when my mother would manipulate me into giving her more money for better groceries or a nicer car. She grew very VERY defensive and upset when I attempted MANY times to confront her with it. At the time I originally posted, I was at my wits end. Really what I needed was someone out there to say they were going through the same thing, or knew what I was talking about. I appreciate those that shared.

My sisters are not financially able to help or move in with my mother because the nature of their work. Additionally, one sister recently had a nervous breakdown on her own and is currently being supported by myself and my other sister. I sought professional counseling soon after this post and negotiated with my mother so that she would move into more affordable housing so that I could live in another part of the country. Things have been much better for myself since then, even though now I am taking care of my sister here.

The professional response, I found offensive and discouraging. I am glad she edited her response and added clarification.

 

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1019wolfram answered...

I have found that I caregive much better with God in my life. I care for my dad with advanced alzheimers and my mom who is 83 who has been married to this special man for 61 years. I lost my husband when I was 36 and I had a 3 year old boy. I cared for Ted and watched him die from colon cancer. The doctor says it can be any day now for dad to pass. I cry, call the alzheimers support line, go to my support group and take one day at a time. Being a caregiver is a very special thing. Not everyone can take it. I know I can and to be able and ready to care for dad as he lives his last days (sometimes very afraid like a 4 year old) is very good for me and him. Dad calls me grandma sometimes and I comfort him as well as I can. God bless all of you caregivers. joan

 

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DolphinsCry answered...

Now that Grandmother has passed on, I look back at the time I spent being her caregiver.

I would say "don't do it". Especially if the person was not a mild-mannered individual to begin with.

You really cannot compare it them taking care of you as a child. You are dealing with a Terrible Two in an adult body.

Advice for those who do: You definitely want to see a Elder Law Attorney, and work out details like finances, etc. If you live in their home, pay rent. (I have another thread on this). Take time for yourself. And definitely know where to draw the line, when to not take abuse, etc. And don't feel guilty.

 

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DolphinsCry answered...

Reasons why I would never be caregiver again, nor recommend anyone else do it:

  • How many people here have ended up in a divorce as a result? While caregiving was not 100% to blame for the breakup of my relationship, it did have a huge part. I simply did not have time to be intimate.
  • Apartment hunt after the person you were taking care of passes on? Ha. It was hard to find work in Michigan as it was. Add to it - trying to find a schedule around Grandmother. So since I have not had steady work, it's hard to find an apartment, even when you have the money to pay your rent for a year, in advance.
  • Jobs. Well, since I had to work around HER schedule....my work history is now a Poor work history. I lost $60K+ in earnings.
  • Health. I am supposed to go to the gym 4-5 days per week because of my own health needs following a car accident. In the past 20 months, I was lucky to go 1-2 times per week. As a result....weakened muscles, pain from the weakening of muscles I needed to keep strong, weight gain.....

Friendships fail. You lose your social skills. Well hey...when you are TRAPPED in a home and are lucky to leave to go grocery shopping...you do not get to socialize. And my Grandmother hated everyone, so no visitors allowed to visit her grandchild.

More anxiety, so more anti-anxiety medications when panic attacks hit. And they hit. When she was accusing me of stealing, you bet I was upset and panicked.

I seriously considered suicide. I have a mark on my wrist from just seeing what it would feel like. I knew I could not keep living in a situation where I had no life, was told daily what a hated piece of crap I was to her.

 

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dsand answered...

Caregiving should be a choice. NO ONE should be "trapped" into a caregiving situation.

My sister is my mother's primary caregiver. For the past year, I spent weekends at Mom's...to visit with Mom and to give my sister a break. When my mom was in a rehab center (after a fracture, from one of her many falls) I visited with her several times a week. I truly believe that my mother would be better served...physically, mentally and emotionally...in a nursing home. Mom even thinks she might like it. But my sister refuses to even entertain the idea...because she "prayed about it and God told her" that what SHE wants is the right thing to do. So now, I visit Mom once a week.

I don't spend the night anymore because I KNOW I am not equipped to care for Mom properly. Mom fell, the last time I was helping her walk to the bathroom. She fell, even with a walker in front of her and me behind her. It was HORRIBLE to watch my mother lying on the floor, knowing I was incapable of helping her stand up. I had to call someone to get her up off the floor. I will NEVER put myself (or my Mom) in that position again.

My mother is deteriorating quickly, since she got "home" from rehab. In rehab, she was walking (assisted) daily. Now, she can barely stand. Mom tells me she feels useless and worthless. She says she would like to see what a nursing home would be like....being around others her age and in a "similar circumstance" (her words). But my sister is all knowing. My sister has decided that Mom needs to be at home. And that's the end of any discussion about it.

So...I don't feel "guilty" about how hard my sister's life is...what she is "giving up"...how "selfless" she is, etc...because it's all a bunch of b.s. This situation was my sister's choice. My mother has lots of loving family...some in the medical field...and ALL of us, except my sister...believe Mom's life would be better in a nursing home. So while my sister "sacrifices" herself...our mother is wasting away and is miserable.

Caregiving at home may be right for some. But it's not the right answer for all. And, as far as I know, ANYONE in this country who needs either a nursing home OR in-home care, but is lacking finances to pay for that, can get help from Medicaid. My sister is a whiz at scooping up FREE in-home care from my mother's state's Department of Aging. There IS financial help out there.

I know this: I will NEVER put my daughter in the situation of having to care for me, should I need help when I am elderly. I LOVE HER TOO MUCH TO STEAL HER LIFE FROM HER. I completely agree with others who have said that comparing caring for a child to caring for an elderly parent is ludicrous.

 

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DolphinsCry answered...

Here's other ways in how you cannot compare a senior to taking care of a child.

  • A baby weighs little. And is not 4'9" and 100 pounds.
  • The baby can't call you every foul name under the sun, threaten you.
  • The baby can't accuse of you stealing money, tampering with their food, etc. -You can take the baby out to the store with you. If you can't get an elder out, they can threaten you with elder abuse charges if you leave them alone...
 

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dsand answered...

Yes. And changing a baby's diaper is COMPLETELY different than changing the diaper of your elderly parent, while you are helping them stand up from the toilet at the same time.

Just like how not everyone is cut out to be a nurse, or an EMT, or a counselor...not everyone is cut out to be a primary caregiver for the elderly. Loving someone does NOT automatically make you capable of caring for them properly. As a matter of fact, it can sometimes be the most loving and selfless thing to give up the need to control, in favor of getting TRULY appropriate care for your loved one.

I get angry when people us the "ask for God's help" pat answer. I have asked for God's help...and so, supposedly, has my sister. Guess what? We both received different answers.

The hallmark of my sister's personality is her bull-headedness and need to be in control. I am now watching my mother quickly decline from her progress she made in rehab...all because my sister insists my mother remain in her own home.

Becoming a caregiver is simply not right for everyone. It does NOT make someone selfish or "God-less" if they know they are not appropriate caregiver material.

Being cared for by even well-intended family is not always the right thing for all elderly. Sometimes, it is the more loving, selfless thing to step out of your comfort zone and let PROFESSIONALS who know what they are doing, give the level of care that the elderly person needs.

 

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heartsick daughter answered...

My family and I have been caring for my mother who has ALZ, for most of the last 8 years. Originally it was 6 months out of the year, then 9 months, then full time. She lived 1500 miles away from us,so we would fly in to be there. Our daughter moved in with her for three years, only to burn herself out totally. My husband and I paid our daughters bills while she was there, not mom. Then I went there, and my husband commuted to see us. There is a brother who lives within 18 miles of moms home, but their work schedule has been such that they didn't participate much in her care once it got all inclusive. We tried to sell our home, but after 4 1/2 years gave up. We have finally moved her to our state and she lives with us full time. Three years ago though, we had major medical issues for both my daughter and my husband, so mom rotated through the homes of the other three siblings, landing her in the hospital for months at a time. They called to say what time I should pick her up at the airport, as they were bringing her back to me. She is 94, full time care. Can't dress herself, can't feed herself some days, can't walk, so is wheelchair bound. Has Dr appointments 6-7 times/month and is on a special diet. I have not been able to go back to work because of mom's constant care. We probably should have sacrificed her home (which we're third generation there) and put her in a facility. Instead, we decided to open a small assisted living facility in our own home, thus caring for mom and making a living. We have no other income!!! We're not old enough for SSI, but no one hires a 60 year old woman who hasn't worked in years! My siblings are now sueing us, since mom is paying her way in our facility, like everyone else. We have filed for control of her house and they feel they should have a share because they "helped her and dad for over 40 years".... well we all did. Just not full time, in their home, for the last eight years. The reason for starting the small ALF, besides my mother, my MIL also needed care and that side of the family was thrilled that she would be in a "facility" that was family run. What a difference between the families. Statistics indicate that daughters average the loss of 11.5 years of income. I quit corporate life 11 years ago and ran a B&B so that I would have flex hours, caring for mom. That income went away with the drop in the economy. But all my other siblings were able to work until full retirement. The care of my mother and My loss of income, has been a huge burden on my family, financially, physically and emotionally. There are four of us siblings and they were all fine with her being here with us, right up until we needed money to pay for her care, which has been 1 year our of the last 8 years. We've tried to figure out how to survive in this economy, yet care for our moms. However, I'm being called greedy, immoral, etc. even though they admit mom has had wonderful, personalized care and lived lots longer and better than she would have, had she been anywhere else. Mom's Dr's are amazed at well she has done, since being here with us, as we give her total one on one care. Yet my family members have never expressed gratitude to us for all the years of care for her. Now, we're greedy and immoral. Ageing parents seem to either make or break families.... mine is irrevocably broken.

 

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juj answered...

jw812 I hope you found some advice - you made me sign up to answer you - just know i didn't bother to read the rest of the responses, your's was enough to say something. There is no difference btn giving and sacrifice - it is the same thing. and " Secondly, there are some people that just aren't made to be caregivers. I'm afraid I might be one of those people." I am one of those ppl.

I gave up MY LIFE, house, almost everything I owned, to move home and take care of my mother. I didn't want to do it, but there's this thing called obligation - and yes after 40+ years I do 'owe' her. And yes, there are other family members who don't give a dam.

How dare you say you're sacrificing or giving. Everyone here knows that. You are duty bound and you know it, or you wouldn't be here online looking for a way out. WELL I WILL TELL YOU IN CAPS YOU HAVE NO WAY OUT. It does feel like you're in a cage, but you deal with it and move on. Have you ever watched someone die naturally? I was forced to watch my 94 grandmother die w/o food or water for 7 days, as my aunt held POA calling all shots, not even the drs/rns would tell us anything. Don't sit in your situation and say you don't have control of your thoughts, actions...no matter you belief, what you give on this earth, you will find in heaven.
Don't waste time feeling sorry for yourself, your mother needs it more.

With most love - juj

 

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yanotk answered...

I am discontinuing getting an email every time someone comments on this question. I don't want to be reminded of the idiotic "expert" advice offered. The explanations, to me only obfuscated the original.

Perhaps, everyone should know that after 16 years of a catholic education (theology major in college, Jesuits) I recoil violently whenever anyone proposes that there are answers through believing in fantasy world.

More people have suffered and greatly and more wars started because of the hoax perpetrated on them by their parents wrt to god.

Pure gibberish!!

Added 12/29/11

The reason that I use "bad" grammar is because the lunatic nuns were only concerned with how sinful I was and didn't really care about teaching something I could use.

I am unaware that I am trying to sound intelligent. The respondent defending me is correct is saying I;ve made a ton of errors for which I am culpable. Also the hypocrites go to church every Sunday and malign each other. Atheists are usually intelligent and morally superior. INHO

God is the problem not the solution.

Sort of a vent I needed for a catharsis.

 

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Sadder answered...

Oh, my word! Lots of anger and guilt here.

Back to the expert reply: you say don't feel guilty at the same time you are laying on the guilt about mom taking care of you as a child? Very few women practiced birth control prior to the 70s so a good many children came about by accident and not necessarily to people who should be parents. I wholeheartedly agree with all those herein who pointed out the stupidity of that comment.

And for those of you who offered God: yes, I personally believe in God and I still don't know why the innocent (caregivers!) must suffer. My husband and I were in the ministry when cancer tore him apart. My only peace after that hell, is knowing he is in heaven now.

The worst part of caregiving for me (after husband, came parents) was the weight of responsibility; it nearly crushed me. The physical part, the bad attitude and ungratefulness, the social and financial toll weren't the worst. Choice or no choice, being responsible for another human being's well-being is HUGE!

I won't do any of that to my family; I applaud the post about making plans for one's self. I will gladly go into a nursing home or hospice when necessary. I'm even clearing out some of my junk NOW to make it easier for my family.

I just wish I could help other than asking God to lighten your load.

 

CorW answered...

PLEASE do not feel any guilt! I helped care for my sister for years before she passed in 2007 and when my mother had a colonoscopy in 2010, the doctor perforated her colon and I cared for her 24/7 until she passed in October 2011. She was advised by AARP to put everything in her name so she would be able to reap assistance from the county, etc. I was unable to find work that would have been doable because of her medical situation ( I am not a nurse or trained healthcare provider) and she didn't qualify for medicaid so I was unable to obtain a "waiver" from the county for homecare. When she passed, I lost everything...the home I had lived in for 27 years, car, assistance, even the attorney that drew up her will refused to help because there was nothing in her "estate". Months before she passed, she cashed in all her policies because she was worried about money and obtaining ostomy supplies. The home reverse mortgage was cleaned out as was her burial insurance. I loved my mother but the biggest mistake I made that hurt us both was agreeing to homecare rather then place her in a facility. That is the only guilt I have now...she would have been happier in the long run and at 55 years old I would have a life. After my sister passed in a nursing home, she begged me to never place her in one and sadly that decision destroyed not only her but her grandsons and me. Guilt is a wasted emotion...Please think with your head, not your heart when making critical decisions about homecare. The outcome could quite possibly destroy everyone!

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

My heart goes out to all of you--this is just an awful situation to be in, and platitudes do not help at all. I'm single, an only child, and have been sole caretaker of my mother for 12 years. There is no money for assisted living / nursing home. So many people advise you to "get help." Yeah, right. Where? I am ready for the loony bin. One of us just needs to die, and I don't even care which one.

 

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yvette24 answered...

I took care of my mother a few years ago after an illness and now I find myself in the same situation only this time its 100 times worse. I have been given the full responsibility of caring for my mother 24 hrs a day....every day. My mother needs constant care and cannot be left alone due to her extensive illnesses. The rest of my family just sits back and watches as I go about my daily routine of changing my mothers diapers, cooking, feeding, bathing, cleaning, shopping, doctors appointments, medications etc. I am beginning to feel extremely exhausted and overwhelmed. I don't understand how they cannot see how hard it is to care for my mother by myself. I literally don't have a life anymore and my husband and children are tired of it. How can they even sleep at night knowing that they are not contributing to the care of my mother. My only desire is to get a few minutes of sleep then maybe I could go on another day. Sometimes I wish it would all be over with because the emotional pain is unbearable. I just pray that they would open up their eyes and hearts.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I can also understand to some extent, I was part time carer for my mother, late 20s, and believe me, it is more than physical pain and torture, it is the fact that sometimes they can not cope and the emotional burden gets moved onto the carer.My dad cares for her now. it's difficult for everyone, i'm glad he can do this now, as I find with my mother, she doesn't see that I should have my own life. I have discussed with her, and she can get very depressed and low and would be happy for me to spend all my time about her. She always talks about how she took such good care of my sister and I as kids, until she became ill when I was about ten. My sister does not believe that people should be carers for others.

One thing would make things easier, if people, when ill were in a good mood and able to cope, but that is not always easy when they are ill.

For all of you that are kind enough to help another in this way, you shoould at least take comfort in the fact that like me, you are capable of such kindness. I don't expect that person who spoke about athiests to understand. But always remember it is very noble to be kind- and above all be kind to yourself., whatever way that is. If there are any spiritual lessons may we all learn. And if possible, just some way try to get a laugh in as much as possible, it really does make things feel better.

Much love to all who are going through this.

 

lettinggod answered...

I am having the same issue I live with my mother and grandmother. My mother is the caregiver of my grandmother my grandmother is very abusive verbally and phisically she has even hit me and my sister. I just hate seeing my mom cry and feel like she is trapped her and my father are divorced and my grandma is my mothers step mother she is my grandfathers kid. She is home-ridden and cant really do much for herself my mom works over 40 hours a week and uses my grandmother SSI check to get her everything she needs like meds, certain foods, walkers, bath chairs. My mother has done nothing but good to my grandmother but my grandmother still causes drama she tells her nurses that we abuse her which is a lie and we tried tell her nurses everything she does and have tried to get her into a nursing home but the so called state rules says my mother is responsible for my grandmother until she dies. My mother also still is taking care or me and my brother and sister. We were told by her nurses that if she tries to attack us or harrase us to call the cops and we do whenver she starts having her outburts and they even offer to take her for the night. I just want to help my mother by getting my grandmother into a home and I dont know what to do I pray everyday and it never gets better but i still have faith that maybe someone will read this and help us. She threatens to make up lies to up me and my mother in jail for things that we never did I have even spoken to her nurse myself and she told me just to avoid her and I do but she still tries to attack me and start fights I just walk away. She tells us that she is going to tear my family apart because she hates the fact that my mother is dating a black man in her words its a N***** and my boyfriend which is mexican and says that she hates us for dating them.. My mothers boyfriend doesnt come around much due to this fact and me and my boyfriend rent the basment apt from my mother. But I never go upstairs unless its to eat. I just need any help I can get Please Im begging anyone that knows of any good lawyers or anything I can do I dont want my mom to go through this she has done nothing but work hard everyday and try to make my grandma happy but its never enough this is my last resort. I just pray that someone can help I wish I could video tape her and show each and everyone of you how she is. Then people can see why Im so desperate to get help. Please.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

For "lettinggod," your situation sounds extremely difficult to put it mildly. Try contacting your Area Agency on Aging--this is a federal agency with branches all over the country. Call information or google it for your area. They are knowledgeable about various resources, and may be able to help your family.

 

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playing~with~fire answered...

omgosh that sounds like my grandmother. What a terror. She finally died. I went to the funeral simply to make sure she was dead. Sounds horrible but she was cruel. Grampa was such a sweety tho. He's the only reason I would help care for them. When she'd get nasty I would threaten her with a bath. I would catch Grampa out of the corner of my eye smirking.

To Lettinggod: How about a voice activated recorder like uni students use for lectures. Or/and a hidden video camera so there is never a case of them taking her word for you 'abusing' her. Personally, and I don't know all the particulars of your situation, I would simply pull out the camera and start taping. "Hey gramma this is going on youtube!" I wouldn't of course. Well, maybe. : p I'd find something to play with in all that. My prayers are with you and your family. Your gramma would start my creative juices flowing. My mom does. Mean drunk. I finally found the cure. I laugh at her. She hates that and doesn't drink around me. Atta girl mom.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Omg people they took care of you for years! They put clothes on your back,they feed you,put a roof over your head! Guided you to become who you are. Take care of your parents as they took care of you with no questions asked.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

truth is if adults thought responsibly of feeding us, raising us and putting a roof over our heads they should of took the time to save up and think of the roof over thier heads in elderly years they should not "expect" for thier children to take care of them or be responsible for them, im hispanic and we are just programed to take care of our elders but not everyone is cut out for it and they should not be classified as bad people because they choose not to. In the end its our responsibility to plan for the future years point, blank, period!

 

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manito7o7 answered...

I am 23 years old, and I have been a part time caregiver for my mom since I was a freshman in high school. The only real thing I've learned in that there is no easy answer. My father is the sole caregiver. I know that he can hire someone to help care for my mom, but it will deplete his savings greatly. One thing that helps my family is applying for social security disability and having a savings/ retirement plan. CDs have helped in the past, but the interest rates are horrible for the past couple of years. Another thing that I've seen a lot on caring.com is applying to get paid as a caregiver. I haven't applied for it myself, but I can see how it can take off some financial burden off the family. If you have health insurance, you should look into hospice. Say if your mom went to the store or to the restroom, she wouldn't have to worry about her mother. My dad is also stubborn and denies that my mom needs something like hospice because "that's for people who are dying." That just irritates me because hospice isn't for people who are on their deathbed. To all of the people who think that children should take care of their parents with no questions asked, I disagree with you to an extent. I am 23 years old. I live at home and still share a room with my older brother. I can't move away to find a full time job because my father depends on me to feed, shower, brush her teeth, watch her ,etc... it is impossible to do it alone. It feels impossible to have two people do it especially if that person's state declines. Personally, I would LOVE something like hospice because my dad is old, and he is in denial that we need help as long as I'm around. I would love to have an expert to watch her so that I can move out, find a full time job, and have my own life so that I can enjoy my time spent with my sweet mother instead of being frustrated with it. Try to do the best you can in encouraging your mother to have her own life while looking into assistance. In terms of guilt, what helped me deal with guilt was going to a therapist. This was when I was going to school, and the counseling sessions were included in my tuition. I don't know if there are any programs where you and your mom can get counseling for free as caregivers, but it really helped me change and mold the way I thought. I thought that I was a horrible daughter even though I was going to school, working, and taking care of my mom. I haven't looked into it myself, but I read a lot about group meetings for caregivers.

In the end, there is no best resolution, in my opinion. It is difficult and often painful because you are always giving up a part of yourself for another person. Remember to always take care of yourself in health and mind because you are #1. Remind your mother this. How can you take care of another if you can't take care and love yourself? I still struggle with this, but I always do the best I can find happiness for myself. Good luck.

 

Theoophilus answered...

My situation is somewhat similar. I am a 55 year old man who assisted Dad when he was bed-ridden (15 years ago) and now am the primary caregiver of my mom who is 91 years old and needs my help. I work full-time, have five sisters but only two come to help me (each one takes a different day as I work. That means the rest of the week i have to hire a caregiver from an agency ($100 a day). Mom 's life insurance was cashed in to pay for the care, but now that is gone, and she only receives $8oo dollars a month in social security.I did place some of the money in a irrevocable trust set up with the funeral parlor to pay for her expenses when she is gone.. I have had to spend much money as her money decreases. Sisters will not help financially as they are either retired , have their own family to care for, or have medical problems themselves. When Mom went into rehab, my sisters got together and threw out many of my belongings telling me that I don't need them because i need to spend all my time with Mom. I was also told that they felt I should quit work, and that they did not like coming to the house because they just want to visit and not have to clean. I have developed depression and my sisters tell mje that I have nothing to be dpressed about; 'you have your mommy, and you got the house'. I have not been able to save money for the last 10 years. My sisters get angry when i go to the store for more than 30 mins, they can only come in 1 day of the week and only stay for three hours. I no longer see friends. My girlfriend was considering marriage, but is looking for someone else because I cannot see her, and it would not be a good life to have her move in with me an contend with my sisters, or place a burdan of care also on her. Anyhow- not a positive answer but just to let you know that there are other people who have burdans also. I would like to have a life, and i cannot even do the things i want in my house because many of the things were thrown away,

But on a positive note: meals on wheels. The church paid totally for new plumbing (now we can flush the toilet without throwing a bucket in ) and we now have running water in the bathroom. Mom has a couple visitors from her church which i find refreshing; Can't find any volunteers though to watch Mom for an extrended period of time; everyone has a life and things to do. I have just begun going to church again but about twice a month, when I feel Mom is alright to be left alone for an hour. I am depressed but am tryuing to do things little by little. Nomatter the burdan: FInd out what she likes to do, spend time doing positive things with her, reading to her, playing music on my guitar and singin with her, praying, and talking about the good times. I really don't mind being here to help her, but sure wiould have liked it if there was more help. Hope this helps.

 

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balinda answered...

I also cared for both of my grandmothers, and resently one passed away. I also felt very over welmed,but now miss her very much.I am a caregiver and am looking for another elderly lady to help. I take care still of one of my grandmothers which is 95, she lives with me, I also help a lady that is 81,still cant make ends meet need someone else in mornings from 7am-11am if you are anyone else needs help I am glad to do it. I love my job!!!!! I live in Farmersville Tx. Please contact me if needed.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I probably shouldn't even respond to this post because I'm not as of yet, a caregiver. However, it is inevitable that as the only child, the task of managing my parents' care will fall to me. So I need to prepare. Having said that, this is the most depressing and yet enlightening post that I have ever read. It confirms my worst fears about caregiving. People, you're not in prison...you're in purgatory. After reading these entries, I can honestly say that you're all up for sainthood. You've collectively convinced me that I cannot and will not be a caregiver. I'll change my name and move to Canada first. These are truly horrifyingly awful situations you're describing.

My parents are not very old but they're starting to regress. They have money but they're not the most reliable twosome I've ever met. I don't trust their judgment so even though they've "made arrangements" - I know that I'll be left in the lurch. Even so, there's no filial duty law in my state so there's nothing legally binding me to care for them. I would love to see them in a retirement community and then assisted living and then end of life. Instead, they live like they're in their twenties: impractical, unrealistic, short-sighted and beyond their means. They're both in denial about their limitations. My mother relies totally on my father and my father is self-serving. I have NO money so their care will have to be arranged through their retirement money and government programs.

What a mess. I'm glad to hear that the original writer was able to sort of move on. If you're reading this, eventually, I hope that your sister might regain her footing and then all of you can try to restore fragments of YOUR OWN lives.

What did any of you do to deserve such lives of indentured servitude...and sometimes to truly undeserving family? You are ALL really good people, better than I'll ever be. Please try to find a way to reclaim YOUR lives. This seems to be a cruel hardship for most of you to endure.

For the writer who is bound by filial law...what about moving to another state? Again, I don't see how a state can order anyone to provide for an adult over 17, even if it is a parent in need. This is a very old and obscure law by the way. We all want to be looked after in our declining years and we all want our parents to be looked after but if there is abuse or other extraordinary circumstances, such as in this post...it seems morally wrong to force the rest of the family into debt and despair.

For all of you who are caregivers, you are special people. You deserve personal happiness and fulfillment and I hope that you all find it. For myself, I can barely take care of my own mess let alone taking care of two elderly and infirm people. No....there's got to be another way, even without much moolah.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I can truly say I understand where you are coming from, and you have to remind yourself that YOU MATTER TOO. Your Mother needs to give you some help- you are not responsible for supporting her and your Grandmother. Your hopes, dreams, finances, health, career and your own family (spouse and children) matter. This is not to say that we should not care for family, and care for each another as we would like to be cared for ourselves, should the need arise. I stupidly gave up my life to care for an abusive parent who has multiple health problems (mental and physical) and I feel trapped in hell and think about suicide daily. No one else in my family would help and my guilt got the best of me. My health is a disaster, I owe almost $200,000 in student loans because I supported my mother while I was in school, as she bounced from job to job. My dreams of becoming a doctor will never happen, and I have PTSD that is so severe that I avoid going out of my house at all costs, except to work. I have not dated since I was in junior high school and never wanted children. And now I am caring for and financially supporting my abuser. My Catholic faith is about the only thing that has stopped me from ending it all. As anonymous stated so eloquently "too many times adult children are advised that caring for their elderly parent or grandparent is the equivalent of being taken care of as a child. This is simply not true--there is no such equivalence. Many people were raised NOT by loving attentive parents but by indifferent, harsh, selfish parents who did a poor job caring for them even as an infant. Being old and in need of care does not automatically make a person a saint. Being a parent does not mean your children "owe" you no matter how ugly and uncooperative you may have been all your life. Professionals--please give your readers a break and refrain from the "she cared for you when you were a baby" nonsense." Please don't end up like me. You can continue to provide some support and care, to your mother and Grandmother, but you matter too. Start setting some boundaries and go achieve your goals and dreams. Peace to you, you deserve it.

 

nice666 answered...

I know how you feel my mother had cancer..she went treatment for a year I gave up my life..to take care of her..now she is sick again..has a tube out her back for pee..she is in bed ..uses a bed pan and has to go about very 20mints..my sister want help my brother want help..mom mind goes and comes..had to put her in a rehab...I feel really bad but she has around the clock care..she gets better ..I will bring her home again

 

Tkrysta answered...

My husband (24yrs) is being forced to support his mother and brother as his grandparents say they can not help his mother anymore. The Mother is 44 yrs old and does not work. My husband and I are separated as I refuse to support this crap. I feel he is brainwashed and made to feel guilty about everything so he stays. Can anyone give me some advice please.. I'm desperate to get my husband back.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I live with my Partner and his grandmother of whom I love dearly and would consider as my own flesh and blood, because of this and other things in our relationship I worry we will never get married and never have children. The grandmother can do some things for herself but because she has dementia she needs a live in carer (my partner) if we left she would for certain end up in a care home and lose the last piece of independence she has. There are other family relatives but they are to far away to visit or stay frequently, but I'm afraid I will eventually lose my partner to this situation and I love my partner and his grandmother too much to walk out. I don't know what to do anymore.

 

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jtrailblazer answered...

After reading some of these comments I felt a need to respond. No one has the right to say to another that they either have an obligation or that no one has an obligation to care for a loved one. That is an individual decision and one that must be lived with when all is said and done. I opted years ago to commit to caring for my mother when the time would come. Well, it came and we 9my husband and I) have been assisting my mother for the past 5 years. Up until a short time ago the aging process was slow but steady. We watched her grow older, weaker, unsteady on her feet. Then we noticed gradually increasing confusion and memory loss. Over the last month the confusion and memory loss has increased faster. There have been times when I've felt trapped but I'm so glad I've hung in and stuck with my commitment to care for her. I've chosen to let go of past "wrongs". After all can I change anything at this point? Would holding a grudge help me, or her? Guilt is also useless. Beating myself over the head doesn't do anything positive for myself or my mother. I found myself lying in bed tonight unable to sleep. Mulling over the future and what it will brin for my mother and how quickly it may or may not come. In my process of thinking I decided much of what I've written concerning what I think is best for me and for my mother. I will love her the best I can until she is gone. I will give her all of the care and love I can. I will seek respite care when I need it. And I will miss her terribly when it's over. Past wrongs? I don't care about them any longer. Each of you will have to make a decision that is right for your relative and for you. No one can make it for you. If they try just turn and walk away.

 

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RaeRae1986 answered...

Im 27 yrs old, and have been living with my schizophrenic/bipolar mother for the past 10 yrs.. My parents divorced when I was 12 and my mom tried to commit suicide a year later. From 13-17 I spent time taking buses&walking(without n e one knowing) or having my dad after work drive me to visit her in whatever psych ward or "home" for mentally ill that she was living at the time... My dad was INCREDIBLE to push his emotions and anger to the side, to make it possible to still maintain a relationship with a mother that had always been soo close, who had become a completely different person, physically and mentally. Finally at 17 I saw my mom more stable than I had seen since it all started.. So I started slowly moving in with her. I went from a beautiful home in the suburbs with everything a kid could ask for, to a 1 bedroom rental in the "downtown" part of my city. But I didn't care.. I felt soo bad that her life had flipped entirely and she seemed soo sad.. That's not who I knew my mom to b. we have grown soo much together.. She's hardly EVER in the hospital anymore, except she is now needing Oxygen 24/7- due to being in a coma and having a trake which is luckily out now. Her life has become dependent on my presence just even to make her smile.. My dad is amazing and spends a lot of time with her while I'm at work.. But I'm to the point where I'm starting to worry about not making a life and family of my own. My boyfriend of 7yrs(who grew up being my sisters best friend) has been soo supportive and has lived with us for the past 7yrs.. But I have EXTREME GUILT to think what I'm gonna do and if this will ever move forward with us finding a place for her and one for us. My bf is going on 30 and I'm 27.. I love her soo much, but this is not healthy for n e 1 anymore. Any suggestions on how to make this work?? PLEASE HELP!!

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

My situation is probably worse than most of yours. I'm 40 living with my parents. I never left home. My parents both have been verbally and emotionally abusive my entire life. My mother would not pick me up from activities as a child because she was too busy having affairs so, being scared about being abandoned, I stopped going to activities. I've never been asked on a date and have no friends. When I was in the hospital in 2009, no one but my parents and brother visited; my co-workers said they were scared of my mother.
She has undiagnosed histrionic personality disorder and anxiety as well as a phobia of things like travel, taking medications, and lots of things. My father went insane three times in the last decade and was diagnosed with biopolar I, and he now has early dementia. He mostly stares at the wall and sleeps. If you try to engage him in conversation, he either ignores you or screams and curses. My mother has end-stage chronic cancer (although she will tell you it's not cancer until you believe it). I lost my job a few years ago and haven't been able to get a full time one because she won't allow me to get out of taking her to transfusions and other appointments. She attacks me verbally daily; everything is about her. I have to tend to her bizarre needs such as toothpicks and ice packs. She urinates on the floor and bed because she "doesn't need diapers." Now, I find out that even though she keeps saying that she's dying, and she's so weak, she wants to move her bedroom to another room in the house and have two bathrooms completely renovated, all without any input from me because "it's not your house." For 25 years, I and I alone have done most of the house and yard work and given them 25% of my earnings. Yet, I'm worthless. I did see a therapist years ago (my mother tried to have me committed because I couldn't sleep) who said my mother was destroying my life. How can I go on with zero control of my life? Oh, I have to get the Queen's nightly stuff now.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I, too, am not yet caretaking for my parents, but it will happen very soon. Dad, at 78, has had a heart attack with 3 months of complications and is about to be released to a rehab facility, and home ultimately. Mom, at 71, is rapidly moving out of her "absent minded" phase and is running (not skipping) down the dementia path. Alzheimer's runs in the family. She's in denial, but I contacted her doctor and suggested a cognitive screening might be in order with her next physical - soon! I have a brother, but he lives in another country so he's limited in what he can do.

But I just can't do it. It's not just concerns for my mental and physical well being, I have a husband and a 7 year old to consider. Mom refuses absolutely to move out of their home, so my husband and I would have to quit our jobs and move to another state, to my parent's low-employment rural area and send our son to the sub-par school system. My husband is in his 50's, and it's hard for guys his age to find jobs in big cities, but there? I have known kids who grew up with caretaking in the home. If you think parents suffer from the squeeze of caregiving and parenting, what about little kids? I don't want his childhood to be scraps of my attention squeezed around his grandparents needs, grandma accusing him of stealing from her, events missed because of doctor's appointments and grandpa's adult diapers. Yes, I have an obligation to my parents, but I also have an obligation to my son. They've had years to plan for this (considering family health history they should've planned a bit better. Or planned, period.), his childhood is about to go down the drain. Their refusal to admit risk factors and plan means their plan was to uproot us all rather than face unpleasant facts long ago. My Dad has known about Mom for a while, we now realize, and he was covering for her.

Yes, I'm a little irked. Dad never had to caretake his parents. After my maternal Grandpa died suddenly, Grandma went to a nursing home. Neither parent was obliged to caretake, but I'm obliged?

And I am not a natural caretaker. Oh, I've done it. For a few years after college I was the "house mom" for mentally challenged adults. I lived-in with a sick friend for a couple of years after that and continued to help her family until her death. I helped both my in-laws until their deaths (cancer and diabetic complications). Now that I think about it, much of my adult life has been involved in caretaking. Maybe I'm tired of it and don't want to swing back into the saddle just as my son is getting more independent. Selfish? I suppose so, but isn't that a good reason I shouldn't be the sole caretaker for my parents for the foreseeable future? Honestly, if we can all admit not everybody is cut out to be a parent, why can't we also admit not everybody is a capable caregiver? If you know the former, you choose not to reproduce, but if you feel the latter is true it's too late, you came into this world unasked - you have to stuff it deep inside or suffer the outcry - and believe me, I'm already hearing it from my parent's church!

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I feel it is responsibility to take care of my dad (who is the widow now), but I feel stressed out and not sure what to do..

He does not go out with others.. and feel lonely. I have a stressful job. I go home late. My sister is married and moved out. She has her own problems as well.. so can't be taking care of dad as well.

I watch my friends go take jobs out of the country, possibly expanding their career, exploring new challenges, etc.

My dad did not have to worry about taking care of his dad when he was young. He started a business in another country, and was bit successful somewhat; however, a bad decision he made meant that he is less financially stable.

I feel I am stuck by boundaries I cannot control, and knowing my "explorer" personality, I crave the adventure of being in another country. But giving the circumstance.. it is not going to happen..

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I do not know what situation any of you are in as to the person you are caring for and their veteran status, either being a veteran or the spouse of a veteran but my father was a veteran and after he passed away leaving my mother at 90 years old my brothers and I ran on to "Aide and Attendence" through the VA. My father was a WWII vet so he and my mom were both eligible. My mom qualified because she needed help with her daily needs and she did not drive so was essentially housebound. She receives $1100.00 per month to pay for help. Where we live that works out to home health coming in three times a week for 41/2 hours. That gives me and my brothers not only rest but peace of mind. Maybe some of the caregivers on this board could benefit too. We just ran onto this benefit by accident but it sure has been a lifesaver. Wish we had known about it when my dad was alive because they both needed help and the benefit would have been higher for the two of them. Another thing about this money is if she goes into assisted living it can go towards the monthly amount there too. Anyone who is a caregiver needs a break and the more the better!!

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

It's your responsibility the second you bring that child into the world to take care of them. And when they're grown up to let them go.  But you shouldn't expect them to do anything back. They don't owe you anything.  If they do anything for you it should be out of love.  You brought that child into the world, and from then on it was your responsibility to be selfless in their case.  At least that's how I see it. 

 

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Shazam answered...

I'm a 38 year old who now cares for my mother who is 79 and suffered and disabilitating stroke 5 months ago. I have a three year old a 15 year old daughter and the sweetest husband ever - my mom went from superior health and as active as a 45 year old then a dissected aorta left her disabled. I promised her I'd never place her in a home, but now i want my life back. I'm more or less house bound with her- i love this gentle woman so much. She spent so much of her own life in the service of others. Caring for her husband and her mother as they both suffered with cancer and died 4 weeks a part- as much as i wish i could find other options the bottom line is at this point i still have to keep trying and doing this for her.

 

Gogorina answered...

I have become bedridden recently, from progressing muscular dystrophy. I have been to a number of websites searching for what to do for my depression, partly due to a lack of care. All I find is information about caregiver stress. What about the stress of those receiving the "care"? We who must have help are acutely aware what a misery we are to take care of. Ever wonder why so many want to commit suicide? I'd do it in a heartbeat if I had the means. I cry when I wake up in the morning because I am still alive. When's the last time you had a shower or washed your hair? Went outside? You still have freedom and a life. Quit complaining.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

DONT feel stuck that your caring for someone. First of all I am 56 and I lived with my Mom when I got back in 2006 from living out of the country. My Mom was fine then in 2012 she had a stroke and it changed allot of things for her. I have 5 other siblings and I was NOT going to have them make me feel that I because I was the single one that it was my responsibility to care for her. When one of my married sisters did come around she was like a bull dog taking over and that to me was more stressful for my moms recovery. What a mess when a parent gets ill and they have allot of kids all they do is FIGHT. My Mom would lay on her bed and put the covers over her head she could not stand to hear all the yelling and screaming, I was ready to leave quietly but did not want my Mom to suffer like this so I got rid of my sister and her horrible family told them to stay away . With the help of the Sheriffs department. It is now over a year later and my Mom is on her own she loves her SCAN insurance with therapy and transportation she is almost new again. My Mom raised us with the saying "life is not a pity party" and I used that one on her. I told my Mom that I am here only like a room mate not a care giver. That I come first. My finding a job comes first, my finding a nice man to love comes first, my social life comes first. Just because the rest of my siblings are married my life stops HELL NO !! THAT made my Mom stronger to heal and live with. I found a job in healthcare and I am gone all the time. I have a younger sister that lives near by and she checks in with my Mom. My Mom knows what her options are. She can be 90 and sit around like an old lady and be depressed and sad OR she can get up and out and have fun. She gets up does her hair, puts her make up on, calls her friends, gets rides, uses her SCAN free taxi rides to medical appts. ALL on her own. She wants to be independent. I taught her to be like that. I think that some of you whose parents can still walk and talk may be letting you be over caring. They get like children. They like the attention of that and will let you fuss over them. DONT be stuck!! YOU have a life too!! if your not happy its worse for your old parent to see and feel that. That's why most of them are depressed is because they don't want you to be stuck with them. I could have been like that with my Mom but I was not going to let that happen to me or her , my Mom and I at are ages are too attractive to be sad and depressed for any reason. Now we are great. I have fun, come and go as I please, I pay her rent, she stays home all day while I am gone. She finds projects to do around the house, she does not over whelm me when I get home and if I had a date after work I just call her and tell her I wont be home and she tells me to have fun !! Its better for them to feel that they are not old and can still do things like normal. Remember your not stuck!! YOU come first with your life and health. There are many programs to help you with them that Medicare and their insurance offers. Use them. If your parent lives in California make sure that they are in a managed Medicare not just plain Medicare. SCAN is very good. Covers my Mom with everything.

 

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I'm very tired. answered...

Caring for your parents is a blessing for them but a burden for you. I've been taking care of my family finically for the past 15 years & the past 3 years i have been taking care of my father financially & physically. I'm very tired, real tired. I'm a 38 years old single women with no kids my dream is to have a family of my own but now i'm so exhausted can even think straight. I don't know what to do. I'm lost. Help God!!!

 

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Barb1953 answered...

I know exactly how you feel. I feel like my life is on hold. I am divorced and had hoped to one day settle down with someone, but now it appears that's not going to happen. I just turned 60, my mother is 94, and in very good health considering, but I know eventually I will have to devote more and more time for her care. I have no siblings, no one else to help. I know she was always there for me, and I will never let her down. But I can't help feeling resentful. About so many things. She interferes when I have conversations with my sons, she doesn't contribute to expenses nearly enough even though she has the ability, and she is oblivious to the sacrifice I am making to keep her in my home rather than going to assisted living. I would just like her to say thank you once in a while. I always thank my sons when they assist me... Why doesn't she ever consider how I feel. She had a good retirement with my dad and enjoyed her golden years. Mine are spent catering to her. Don't get me wrong, I take care of myself, I take vacations (which she resents) and I get out of the house when I do volunteer work in my community. But it's not the same as being able to plan any kind of future for myself.

 

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musician1889 answered...

i know how all you feel i am a 36 year old virgin man and and am stuck taking care of my mom who has a milt-valve heart she never did anything for me now am a 36 year rold virgin who cant drive cause she said she could not afford drivers ed now am in hell ...... .............she depends on me fianlically .........i been paying rent since i was 18 and i cant have no girls over........but i recenclty told her am moving out she try to put the gulit on me saying making it on my own is very hard and i told her ...u think it was easy taking care of you and putting up with all your foolish rules.......

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

My mother for many years even as a teanager made me feel I had to give up all hope for her to help my siblings. Years went by and I moved to Sydney and all she did was call me for supporti have 3 older siblings and 2 younger. She would always put me down in front of them so they could feel better. Bit I am a lot stronger today and have realised I need to look after me and that was 40 years later. When I went through my hard times all my family totally ignored me and this I was then identified they were all selfish and could not deal with the fact I was successful. I have decided to move on with my life and not allow any toxic people intrude in my life including my family even though they used their heal fans a form of sympathy a swell as totally ignore me even when they were with me in the house for over a period of time. I know I special and will find someone who appreciates this

 

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Mairbair answered...

My 93 year old mother recently passed away after having dementia for several years. She lived with me for a good portion of my adult life (I'm now 56) and I quit work a few years ago when it became apparent she could not be alone at the house. Unlike many others however, I have a husband who was supportive of the decision. Even with this blessing, I will tell you it is emotionally and sometimes physically draining to be the caregiver of an aging parent even if you love them. And my husband and I either had to take her with us wherever we went or stay at home. My life (and his) was altered to the point I felt like I would never have my own life back again. At some point she began not always knowing who I was and although she had been a loving mother, she would now yell at me and get hateful. I knew it wasn't her fault but it hurt me. Then one day I found myself yelling back at her and was mortified. I knew then that the time had come for me to look into placing her in a care facility because it had become too much for me to handle. We couldn't afford the monthly payments for a nursing home and her small pension and social security wasn't enough either. I was aware of a Medicaid program offered by the state we live in (Texas) that assists with the expense of a nursing home as long as the person qualifies. I applied for this help on her behalf and because of the small amount of her monthly "income", she qualified for this program and I was able to place her in a facility that had a section designed for Alzheimer and dementia patients and I saved my sanity. I felt guilty as h**l for doing it and I cried for days but I knew that I was becoming no good for her if I was falling apart....and I was falling apart. She was in this facility for 2 years before she passed away and I saw her several times a week. She received good care and I made it a point to get to know the staff there. While I miss my mom...before she had dementia that is....I have no regrets today for the decision I made.

I decided to post this information to encourage others to investigate ways to obtain assistance from any programs your state might offer through their Health and Human Services Department. And if your family, etc. has a problem with it or criticizes you, then you can offer to bring your parent over to THEIR house for them to care for. Unless you have been a caregiver to an aging parent, you have NO IDEA what it is truly like and it is NOT like caring for a child you are raising. I hope this information helps even one person out there and I pass along my prayers to all of you who are in this challenging position.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Taking care of someone who needs your help can be the most difficult thing, and also the easiest. In reading these responses, there are many answers, but the one answer is "What feels good in your heart?"

I will be sixty years old in a few months, and it's going on four years since my mother (who I was primary care giver) passed away. I would give most anything to once again see her smile, but she was 93 years old and led a good life.

I had a good job for 22 years. Top of my field, things were going great. But when illness strikes an entire family, it becomes a time to make decisions. I lost my entire close family within a short period of time. The young nieces and nephews I had were losing their father to a heart condition, and there was no one but me to step up to the plate. I quit my job, used my investments to pay bills, used my good credit to pay more bills, and ended up cashing out my retirement. Because of what I did, my mother lasted another eleven years. I was always told that "men don't normally do what I did."

Unfortunately, my brother had a major stroke two years after my mother needed my help. My brother was a widower and neither of us had any children. My sister's husband died two months before my brother had his stroke, and she moved right in to "take charge". (I am the youngest sibling) So far, she gotten all my brother's property, both his pensions, and her husbands two pensions besides her own pensions. She's sitting pretty. I helped with my brother's care as well as my mother's care for many years. She didn't need to hire anyone, as I was always there to fix everything. Her kids rarely visited and didn't help. Four kids with college degree's and good jobs.

Many things happened over those years, and I wish I could change them. But I turned a blind eye for the sake of peace. My sister blamed me for everything, she hated my mother and wouldn't talk to her, she called my mother "The Evil Witch" and she was abusive towards all of us, especially my brother, who was paralyzed on one side and could not talk.

I'm writing a book about what happened and is happening, as I need to tell the story. I would love to change things, but you can't change people, they need to change themselves. Bottom line is, after years of taking care of family, especially my mother, I would do it again. I may lose everything in this economy, but that is my problem. My mother was a wonderful person and she made a difference in the lives of many people in her lifetime. Always a smile and always willing to help people.

Never second guess that much about helping someone.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I just read a new book, by Roz Chast, called "Can't we talk about something more pleasant?" This is a memoir chronicling the authors experiences caring for her parents in their 90s; dad had dementia, and mom was just plain difficult. This was worth ten psychiatrists for me. My mom died last year at 103; like this author, I'm an only child, and took care of my mother for 13 years with no help--fortunately the dementia did not show up until the last two years of her life, but those two years felt like 50. I was going crazy myself and felt like I was in jail. This book really brought it home what a common reaction that is; as much as I did for my mother, now that she's gone I look back and think I could have done better. I'm over that guilt trip now; I did the absolute best I could at the time and 99 percent of the time went the extra mile--like, I'm sure, all of you caregivers who wrote in on this question, This is a very, very, very hard row to hoe. I got to the point where I just wanted to slap everybody who told me to "take time for yourself," blah blah, as if. My prison doors finally opened, and yours will too. Meanwhile, my prayers go out to all of you who are still in the middle of this.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I meant to add to my response above that I was just plain insulted by the "expert's" pollyanna, la-la, totally unhelpful answer, which appeared to be deliberately intended to SHAME us caregivers and insituate that the difficulties we face every day are really just in our imagination. I HATE the platitude that "your parents took care of you, blah, blah." Oh, please. There is a HUGE difference between changing a baby's diaper vs. an elder's diaper, just for one example, and I could go on and on. I guarantee you that this lady has NEVER had the responsibility for an elder with dementia; I don't wish this on her, because I would not wish it on my own worst enemy. But she certainly does need to educate herself about what this is really like before doling out this kind of snotty "advice" from on high.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I got a different vibe from this post/question....the mother is a caregiver but is unemployed and the child is supporting them financially without any support or hope of a life of there own....How are you to find a human to raise kids with and instill the values you have if there is no chance for it because the people you are supporting have not made the necessary changes or steps to be productive for themselves. I'm going through the same thing. my family lives with me i pay for everything they have made no effort to change or help themselves and they are not physically or mentally incompetent. There have been some obstacles but when i speak to them and find that nothing has been done to help the situation(bills piling up because I'm not just taking care of myself, inability to date or have time to or for myself, constant worry of eviction, consistently being late on essentials to live a productive life, going into therapy and having to take anti depressants because of the stress and void of the situation) NOTHING EVER CHANGES....i have come to the realization that nothing ever will unless i change it. This is where the guilt comes in,,,wha will happen to them? shoould i try to get a second job or a higher paying onne to support them and even if i did will they make the move to live for themselves and change their lives. or is thiis my family and future. I am single no children dont get out much because i cant afford it and cant have casual nights with friends. I even share a room....this is a road to no end unless i get off it. I think the same for the post this is a painful and stumping situation that some will say but they are your parents...I would expect them to act how they have raised me.

 

Lorianne answered...

I just finished reading "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant" by Roz Chast. She is a writer/cartoonist who has written a number of books and her material is often published in The New Yorker Magazine. I cannot recommend this book highly enough--it is a memoir, illustrated by her cartoons, about her experiences as caregiver to her elderly parents--her dad had dementia, and her mom had just always been a very difficult person. Plus, like me, she is an only child so all the responsibility fell on her. I was sole caretaker for my mom for thirteen years, the last three of which were extremely difficult because of her rapidly worsening dementia. I felt this book was worth ten psychiatrists! My mom died about a year ago and it frankly was a huge relief to be out from under all of that, but of course I felt somewhat guilty that I was not a little more patient and that I could probably have done a better job. I was very jittery and on edge after she died, and sought out a therapist, who told me that I was probably experiencing some PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) because of the unrelenting responsibility and the hyper-vigilance that this often involves. The short-term therapy helped, and this book has also been enormously helpful in confronting all of that, because the author's experiences and feelings are so similar to mine and, I'm betting, to many, many of us on this site. The author handled the various (and so familiar) difficulties with both compassion and humor, and was very frank about her own frustrations, which matched mine almost exactly. I'm pretty sure most of us are doing the very best we can at caregiving, under very, very hard conditions, and this book helped to underscore that. It was extremely comforting but at the same time just as compassionate as it was amusing. If you need a break, pick up this book! It will stay with you, and make your journey a little bit easier. God bless all of you.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

My husband brought his mother and her sister a few months after we got married, and they lived with us or in our hoyse for years and years. They literally trashed our house with 2 large dogs and 2 cats the took in our house for which they had not took care of ..I was working 10 hours a day to take care of bills while my husband was away from home..while my mothers inlow were trashing the house ..was comming hometired from working long hours to a durty smoked out house( smoking in the house) full if hair from 2 oversized dogs and cats which were vomiting behind the couch. Beside all carpets and bed were smelling like pee since tye old mothers inlaw were overdosing in sleeping pills and sleep for 16 hours while the animal were peeing everywhere. They never had joney to pay rent but they were feeding steaks to their d8gs out of gouverment money tgey got when never working. I kept cleaning every day but next day was the same hair everywhere stink like smoke and steped on a peed and puped carpet by their dog while rushing to work. Kitchen was literally unhuman crambs margarine and dried fry oil everywhere....pee and pup in the bathroom ..they did not shower for weeks untill all furniture (couches chair toiilette) stink...We live like that for about 8 years until my daugther come aloung and she was a few months when they had to move out. After everything I did give them ..more than any other person will do..they consider me tge evil bitch that ruin tgeir familly by taking tgeur son awayfrom tgem..or pretty much tgeur servent since he use to do all tgeir durty jobs including washing all dishes cleaning everything after them repair their car to park it clean when they camp, to do groceries whike they rest their 280 pound bodies while were treating tgeur own child like a humiliated boy, long before long before we meet, since he was a teen age. I will never ever wish anyone to go through this..and I do not believe thst any mother that truelly loves their child will do tgat to them..... you husvand and your kids are your life and mothers you love but is not your responsibility to take care of .....Please do not do that to yourself and do not wish what I been through to anyone is not ok to ruin your life for your mother and uf shecreally loves you sge will never allow you to do so. My motger inlaw ended up alone wuth tgeur son going once a month maybe to see them.

 

tidge answered...

I grew up in a small town, in a dysfunctional family, under tight religious restrictions. Having childhood trauma from family events, and a disconnect from their religious dogma, I dreamed of moving far away and living an exciting life. I married young and had my son at age 20. 2 years later I was divorced and 1 year after that I was remarried with 2 new stepdaughters. I was clearly not moving far away now. 14 years later, divorced again, and then 5 more years working an hour away to stay home for my son until he was old enough to be on his own. At age 41, I finally had the opportunity to leave. So I became a travel nurse and moved to Southern California. I love it there! People are more open minded. More active. I was FREE!

Then, 3 years later, the end of a romantic relationship took me back home. Temporarily. But my sister wanted me to move in with my parents and care for them. I need to work. I have bills to pay. And until 3 years ago, I had not put any money toward my retirement. My sister is Power of Attorney and is in control of all their medical and financial needs. I can't stay. 1. I'll go crazy. 2. I have to work to pay for bills now and retirement later. There is only one hospital near here, and there are no openings. I feel bad about it, but I just can't give up my new life and my career and my future financial stability to care for them. I will definitely look like the bad guy, but I have to take care of myself. We all have to take care of ourselves. That's the bottom line. Is it more important to be viewed in a positive light, or to do what is necessary to secure your own future?

 

Veronica78 answered...

Yes definitally secure your own future, or you will end up in the trauma you had when you were home. Nobody deserves that and your sister should never ask you to do that it is selfish. You have your life your kids and your romantic partner or find one to love you and suport you for what you are. Your kids and you are the future..your parents are the past expecially if they abuse you emotionally. Iif all kids will have to tKe Cre of their families will never be hapiness never be a vuture for amybody. Your parents had tbeir life much easier than ours now..so never feel quilty they can go in a retirement home and live tgere have friends and your will live your life and be happy....don't let judgemenal people or any guilt distroy your life. I believe in karma and remember there is alway a reason why people end up alone. My husband and I took care of my mother inlaw, read previous story and they kill all my soul in regard to them. Do not miss them nor ever want to see them as other many people think about them. They ruin everybodies feelings with their sellfishness and disconsederence. I am in your side and feel free to email me if you need my support.

 

 
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