Been a Caregiver for One Year..counting the days until I can move.

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Hello all. Im so grateful for all of the advice I read and receive on this site. Its been so helpful to me. I cannot believe I have been this role for a year. Im overwhelmed. However its not the physical care that is overwhelming. My father can perform of the ADLs on his own. Im overwhelmed with the little things. Im ashamed to say that because there are so many caregivers in a much worse situation. In the past year Ive probably gained 10-20 pounds, have become quite argumentative and lonely. My friends are no longer there for me in this situation. They see no big deal with dealing with a "sweet old man" every day. Sweet ? HA !! Im tired of his unwillingness to listen regarding most everything. If my sister doesnt say it, he doesnt listen. I tell him to stop answering the million sales calls he gets every day. If I dont pick up the phone, he does. If I pick it up, he is listening on the other end. I told him to stop sending money and using his debit card for scams. Yet he hides his debit card as if Im out to run off to Hawaii with his money. I tell him not to buy so much food. Its exhausting. Hes been told not to go down the stairs at night, yet after midnight he is in the kitchen "checking on the house" aka spying on me and my children. Watching every move we make while in the kitchen.
When it comes to my sister, everything must cease and we all must gather around. No matter what plans Ive made, they come second to acting as her personal servant when she visits. Couple that with feeling that I work for our caregiver. She makes her own schedule which many times consists of living early or bringing her own child. It doesnt bother my father at all. But I find myself using my lunch break to assist with putting away the groceries or unloading the car. In short, my life is no longer my own and I need to take it back. Im planning on staying with some close friends during the summer. However at this point I dont want to stay with anyone ,even for a visit. I just want to be alone with my children and I hate feeling that way. Have any of you felt this way ? Thanks for listening....


I think taking back your life and setting boundaries with your father, sister and caregiver will give you a much happier time.

Who hired/pays for the caregiver? If it's your dad, let him call the shots. Quit worrying about her schedule. Quit helping her unload the car and put away groceries. You're not her employee.Let it go. If you hired her/pay for her, then tell her when to get there and what to do and if she doesn't meet those requirements, let her go.

When your sister comes over, use that as an opportunity to get out and let you dad and sister visit. You only are controlled if you let your dad and sister control you. If you can't control your dad's nighttime wanderings, quit trying. It's a no-win situation for you.

Is it possible your dad has some dementia? A lot of the things you're mentioning are symptoms of a loss of cognitive function. It's something to consider.

Seek out other local caregivers who will understand what you're dealing with. And still get out with your old friends whenever possible.

This is a marathon and not a sprint and you have to learn how to pace yourself. I've been doing this for 13 years and have had my ups and downs and have to constantly relearn that I can't control everything and whenever I try, I make myself miserable. Once I let that illusion of control go, I'm much happier.
That Blannie is one smart Chickie. I'm just gonna add a DITTO. Good luck sweetie!
You don't have to be a servant for your sister as well. Next time she brings groceries, tell her you're busy and that she'll have to unload them herself.

Don't allow others to control you by making you feel guilty you're not sacrificing your entire life for them.

Blannie's advice is good.
Blannie thank you for your advice. I dont want to keep going over the same old stories I have been telling for the past year. It really does boil down to not allowing myself to be controlled. Now if I could just figure out how to do that. I tell myself every time my sister comes to visit that I will make myself scarce. What happens ? Dad asks the weekend caregiver to make elaborate meals for the two of them. By the time she is finished, it is past her time to leave. So she informs that she has asked me to serve the meal and clean up. Happens every time. I tried to stay out of sight during her last visit. As soon as I walked through the door, Dad starts saying he's ready to eat.

The consensus is Im not paying rent so I shouldnt balk at being asked to do anything. Yeah, same way you would treat a child.
Play their games and be better at it than they are.

Now that you know she'll create a meal then leave, do so before she starts and don't come back for hours. Or maybe tell her that if she makes an elaborate meal, she'll have to serve it and clean up because you'll be gone. Or maybe hide the dishes and provide paper plates. Take the whole family and just leave them alone.

Unfortunately she could just leave a mess for you, and probably will to retaliate that you're standing up to her.

Wish I had some better suggestions - I've never been good at playing the manipulation game, and that's what this sounds like.

The problem is also your father, who expects you to be subservient. The work you're doing is likely far more than any rent you would pay. You're also the housekeeper, laundress, cook, probably financial and legal manager .... you name it.

I probably missed something somewhere, but are you living in your father's house, which I assume is the situation since you write that you're not paying rent. Can you afford to find a place of your own?

Maybe it's time to consider moving your family out. If your father can perform the ADLs, why does he need you to take care of him?

You know, in the long run, this is not healthy for you or for your family, especially for your children to see you being abused by your father and sister. You don't want to grow up with low self esteem and feeling as though they need to be doormats. I don't mean to hurt you by being blunt, but as I read it, you're burned out and your sister and father just keep lighting the fire.

I don't say this angrily but rather to give you support - I think they're both using you and enjoying getting away with it, and will do so as long as you're in the house.

I know it's not easy; for me it's an issue every time my father wants something. I've said so many times I'm not the family garbage collector, chauffeur.... you name it.

I've had to remind myself that as long as he has clean clothes, food, heat and the basics, I don't have to run out every time he wants something that he could have told me about before he ran out of it.

Now I'm more firm and just say "NO."
toomuch4me, Are you really counting the days? Do you have a plan that you'll put into action on a certain date? That is awesome! I wish nothing but the best for you.

Dad can do the ADLs alone. He has a paid caregiver. He has another daughter that he adores. There is no reason for you not to move out. Will supporting yourself and your children be a problem? Apply for whatever help you might be eligible for -- career training, for example. I don't know your circumstances at all, but it sounds like you will be better off on your own than being the underappreciated live-in help. It is a matter of respect and dignity. Once you have recaptured those qualities you could reconsider a more formal arrangement with Dad. For now, I wish you well on your own.
I have a great job that allows me to work from home Yes I am counting down the days, it may only begin with a vacation but while on vacation I will be looking for permanent housing in a much less expensive area that I currently live in.
Good for you! Your father and sister know of your vacation dates, I assume?

After vacation, if you do consider returning, be sure to see an elder law attorney and have appropriate personal care agreement set up. Spell out what you do and what you get in return. This 24-hour personal servant business doesn't fly.

Or if you decide not to go back, that is perfectly acceptable, too.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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