Burned out and a long way to go. Anyone else feel this way and can relate?

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Only child here, dealing with my parents' decline for about 6 years. This weekend I have come to accept that things are only going to get worse with each passing week, month, year. It's very demoralizing. They are each likely to live at least another decade. I'm only 50, married, working way more than 40 hours a week in my business. I'm becoming afraid that I am losing control of my own life. The situation seems to finally be getting under my husband's skin. My work is suffering and I've given up on even attempting to keep up with friends. I feel like I have no future. I'm really only here commenting to reach out and vent. Anyone else feel this way and can relate?

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AmberA: I totally understand your feelings at this point! My mom is just downright mean and nasty and so bitter. I dread dealing with her and I truly anticipate feeling relief when she dies, rather than sorrow. Ever since she turned 70 she has been telling me she would rather be dead than alive and "old". She mentions suicide at least once a week. She will be 76 early next year. I believe she has many years ahead of her.
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Warning: Whining rant

Upstream,

I feel ya. Years ago my sister and I tried to get Mom and Dad (in their eighties, Mom with dementia) to give up housekeeping and start looking at senior living options. We were especially concerned about their driving and begged them to give up their driver's licenses before they killed themselves or someone else. Sis and I were told under no uncertain terms to take a hike, mind our own business, back off, etc. So we did. We backed off and waited for the inevitable. And of course, the phone call came last year, just days before Christmas. Sis and I put our lives on hold for months to try to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, but of course, we couldn't. Dad died. Mom went to memory care. And then we were faced with the huge mess of cleaning up their finances, possessions, and property. I almost lost it. I still feel myself teetering on the edge, finding it so hard to move forward. The worst of it is, Mom at 92 is spry and mean. I think she runs on sheer bitterness. She could live for years and years. She might outlive me.

Please, don't tell me I'll miss her when she's gone; that I'll long for one more oft-repeated story; that I'll wish I'd been more patient. I feel empty, used up, drained of compassion. But I see no end in sight.

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep."

My apologies to Robert Frost.
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Great advice & thoughts, SunnyGirl
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“I can not possibly do that”. Thank you frequent flyer. I’m going to start practice saying that. Great advice. I’m an only child as well. Seems to be a lot of us.
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Upstream, practice saying "I cannot possibly do that" over and over until it feels natural to say.... comes in handy whenever a parent wants something done that you can't do right now. Don't give them any other excuses.

I remember my Mom telling a caregiver "I don't need any help, I have my husband and my daughter who will help me". Earth to Mom, Dad is 94 and I am pushing 70. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry, I was so emotionally drained.

Usually us grown children have to wait for a major medical situation before we can get more control. With my Mom, she eventually had a major fall with serious head injury. Thus she spent her final months in long-term-care.

Dad immediately asked me to call back the caregivers to help him. He was a sweetheart and knew he was aging and needed more help then I could give. He saved for this rainy day, and it was pouring.
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Wow, freqflyer your situation sounds a lot like mine. Yes my parents moved when I was only 3, far far away from all family. My parents are very anti social so they have no friends. We've lived in the same town for 40 years and they know nobody...there is no one to help. I never imagined they would be this bad in their 70s. They were absolute health nuts and swore they would never, ever become a burden on me. By the time they were in their late 60s they started saying they were old and just wanted to die. At that point their health was golden and they had ample money to enjoy life but they pissed it all away squirreled away in their house, drinking and arguing.
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Upstream, my gosh your parents are quite young to be having this type of health issues, but it's not all that uncommon.

I am also an only child, and my parents couldn't understand why I was so tired trying to help them. I lived literally around the corner. I was working full-time, and taking time off to run them here and there as they had stopped driving. They had no idea how terribly stressful it was for me to ask for time off at work.

This was all before I found Aging Care website and found out that I could have set boundaries. But I was already into too many years of helping my parents. If only someone would have told me how difficult this phase of life was going to be, as I never saw my grandparents aged as they lived quite a distance away... and had dozens of relatives to help them. I tried to explain that to my parents I am the only one doing all the work but it fell on deaf ears.

My Mom refused professional caregivers. The first day a caregiver was there and was making dinner for them, when they were served their meals Mom got up grabbed Dad's plate and dumped the meal into the trash. The caregiver tried to reason with Mom with no luck, apparently Mom didn't want any other woman makes dinner for Dad. If he was hungry, Mom would cook. But Mom was a major fall risk at 97.

Time to set boundaries, one at a time. I realize one's parents will try the guilt approach, my Mom did.
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From what you describe, your mom sounds like she is NOT able to care for your dad. I'd make sure that idea goes no where. (Not feeding him, mismanaging medication, refuses home health care. Spells trouble.) Totally unacceptable, imo. You did the right thing to get him out. It sounds like she's not dealing with reality, if she thinks that her type of care is acceptable.

If she's still competent, to care for herself, then, I'd let her do it without getting pulled in to her drama. Some adult children can't seem to let that happen and get played like a fiddle. If that is the case, I"d get professional help like counseling to gain strength and support to stand up for yourself. And if she's not competent, is she really able to run her own household without help? I might get a legal consult with an Elder Law attorney to see what the standard is in your jurisdiction. At least, you'll know what has to be proven, if you take it to court.

If she can't take care of herself, then, I'd either file for a Guardian to be appointed or report her to adult protective services. Sometimes, seniors need too much help to stay in their home. It's not safe and the work required constitutes too much for a person who works another full time job. That's why the family member trying to give care gets overwhelmed and burned out.

Only you can decided what you are willing to do. I am often reminded by reading stories on this site that no good deed goes unpunished. lol
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Mom is on anti depressants but they've not done a whole lot. When dad was still at home she ran off the home health care that was lined up. Basically she resolved to administer meds twice per day but would not help him out otherwise. She would say that if he couldn't do something for himself, she wasn't going to do it for him. That includes food preparation...they weren't even eating (mom said because SHE was not hungry). Dad is miserable at the ALF and wants to come home. Mom wants him home but I know she won't take care of him and will refuse home health care. Because I live down the street I will get the daily phone calls. I thought when I moved him to the ALF I could resume my life. And yes, SueC1957, I really thought at 50 my life would be better! I never imagined my parents would deteriorate so much in their 70s. I tell people that my parents didn't want to be in their 70s so they skipped right to 80. Honestly that's what seemed to have happened.
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I am dealing with similar issues. My father lives with my wife and I and some days my 'burn out' level is through the roof. My father is on two different wait lists for nearby Long Term Care facilities but the wait is very difficult. Some days are better than others but the strain it has put on our household is beyond what I ever imagined. Most days I have to collect myself and breathe before exiting a room. My father began needing help with daily things such as using the washroom so my wife and I decided to hire someone to come in 3 days a week to give us a little bit of a break (a much needed break!). We use an agency called 'stay in place senior care', we live in Mississauga Ontario Canada. It is definitely worth the money to have the extra help and our support worker is wonderful with my father. I would suggest an in-home service to take the weight off. I hope for you and your family that things get better soon, you are not alone and getting help may be the answer. Take Care
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