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

Started by

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?

17 Comments

Each person has to decide what is reasonable and how much caretaking they can do. If you are overwhelmed, I'd examine why. Seniors, especially, those that have dementia or who are quite ill, may need a higher level of care. If they lack that care, it can make it much more work on the family.

What is causing you to be burned out? Do you have options?
Your father is at Assisted Living, right? Let them assist him! Detach from caregiving for him. Remain his loving daughter; visit, phone -- just don't take responsibility for his care. If he needs more care than an ALF can provide, move him to the next level of care.

Your mother lives at home? Would she be a good candidate for assisted living? You say that her main impairment is depression. Is she following a treatment plan? Does she need hands-on care? Can she perform the activities of daily living?

You need to get control of your own life! You need to nurture your marriage! Something has to change.

Can you tell us more specifically what you do for each of your parents? People here will have some suggestions about how to detach and still have your parents cared for.
HI Upstream and welcome,
This is a common problem our generation is facing. Earlier generations didn't have to worry about this because they died younger. 100 years ago, no one had Alzheimer's (or at least not in the numbers we have now), so everyone got to live their own lives.
I'm an only child too (actually a lot of us on this board are-I should take a poll!)
We, as onlies, have no siblings to turn to. (Lots of sibs don't pitch in to help either, I'm told.)
Your dad has Alz and is in AL, your mom lives with you suffering from depression. (My ex had depression-it's extremely hard as it brings everyone down with them.)

I tried to have my 94 year old narcissistic mom live with us but only lasted 3 months. We would have had to be committed to an insane asylum if we kept her any longer! Let alone get new bodies for the physical strain of lifting, etc.

I suggest you find a way to get your mom into AL also. Visit both of them once or twice a week. You will be able to carry on with your business and your relationship with your husband will improve.

Good luck 😊
Unfortunately they moved down the street from me about 15 years ago. Their marriage is not good and that's been a problem. They both have had drinking problems. Dad started to slip into dementia a few years ago and as he got weaker, mom became more and more nasty to him. I mean, to the point it was abusive. I moved him to an ALF 7 months ago. The facility is going downhill and he is higher functioning than most of the other residents. I don't think it is appropriate for him but we don't have a lot of options in our area. Mom continues to live alone (down the street) and is depressed, nasty, etc. I hear from her daily. Now she wants to bring him home and try again. Honestly, with decent care he could be kept at home, but, there is my mother's horrid attitude. I've got two basically out of control people that can't get along with each other and can barely manage their lives (well, dad has dementia, so...) Mom is the bigger problem because she is in control of her faculties, refuses to change anything about her ways, etc. It would be easier if I lived far away or had siblings to help. I try to step in for my dad's benefit because he is rather helpless at this point. If mom lives as long as her mother did I've got 20 more years to go....I will be 70 myself.
Mom refuses to move out of that house. I should note, she hates the house. But, she refuses to move. I was hoping when I moved dad to the ALF that I could get her moved to a senior apartment or something like that. She doesn't want to be around "old" people. Haha, she is 75 going on 90.
Upstream, is Mom's depression being treated?

(Did you mean she has depression or that she causes it in other people?)

If mom is of sound mind, then she has the right to stay in her home.
Since your dad is in a facility that is "going downhill", could you move him to a better facility farther away? Maybe Mom would want to live in the AL part and Dad could stay in AL with her until he needs memory care.
Just a thought.

If moving him doesn't work, you have to weigh HOW bad the facility he's in really is (call APS if conditions are bad) or hire caregivers and take him back to the verbally abusive wife at their home. Gosh, no easy choices.

Ha, and I thought this time of our lives would get easier!!! 😝
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
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.
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

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support