I spent a great deal of time crying tonight... why can't family understand or be supportive?

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I have been living with my parents {Dad: 87, getting slow and forgetful... mild confusion that comes and goes, very stubborn, difficult at times, etc... Mom: 81, Severe Dementia, (don't know who I am 99% of the time, or my dad, lives in a fictional world, and not always a happy one!) O2, incontinent, diabetes, severe scoliosis, ambulation problems, swallowing problems, thickened liquids, needs to be watched closely at meals or she will stuff 1/2 the plate of food in her mouth at once... diverticulitis, sun downers and the list goes on....} for 1 1/2 years now.

Background: I worked as a geriatric nurse for over a decade, but the hours didn't work for my kids, so I started a in home dog grooming business...For years I have brought and cooked supper for my parents every Sunday and did all their grocery shopping, errands, etc, while my 4 siblings (I am the youngest of 5) have had almost nothing to do with them. I knew SOME of their problems from the weekly or more visits. With the economy, I ended up loosing my house and business. I stayed with my parents for a "few days" until I could find a rental. Well, after getting into the house, I realized just how bad off they were (the things you don't see from the outside) and knew then that I couldn't leave them. my mom no longer knows who I am most of the time. Typical dementia, some days better than others. needs constant supervision. My dad can't tolerate her for more that a little while at a time. I worked at the nursing homes here and know that ISN'T an option.

My one brother will come over and help my dad with "projects" fixing things and such but my other 2 sisters only come for short "visits" enough to clear their conscience. Barely. Definitely not long enough to see the whole picture. They refuse to help toileting (I guess they are way to good for that.) or any cares while they are here.

Tonight my brother informed me that my 2 sisters have been talking, and they think MY MOM??? wants my herself and dad to move to the city where my oldest sister lives and get an apartment where they can LIVE ALONE and she could "check in on them once a week or so" ??? (She couldn't even put together a complete thought like that...)

My other sister put a nasty note on my face book about "Just goes to show you some people will run home to "mommy and daddy" no matter how old they are!

They think that I am just "Sponging" off my parents and that they would be better off without me. ??? Seriously? I have given up my life, my freedom, my sanity, to take care of our parents. I know for a fact that if I hadn't moved in when I did, they would both be gone now. They were both at wits end, but hiding it the best they could. Neither sleeping. My mom a danger to herself and my dad. Started fires in the kitchen 2 times in a matter of days. Falls.

I don't get any money doing this. I am going BACKWARDS. I am not getting any younger, and I am giving up my productive years to do this. I am broken hearted. I am burned out, but they won't even stay for 1/2 hour for me to get away. Nobody understands what I do. The sacrifice. then to think I am taking advantage of them?? I don't know how to handle this. I know hiring someone would cost a great deal more than ME living here.

Silly me, i would like some acknowledgement for my efforts, but instead I get only judgement on EVERYTHING I do. I know this isn't uncommon, but I needed to vent to someone who would have a clue of what I am talking about and dealing with. I am not expecting "answers" but hopefully some understanding and support. I don't think I could take any more right now. :(

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Honeys, you tried to do what is right. More so since your mom did not raise you. More so since your sisters and your mom lived in the same place and you did not. You tried but your family saw what it was doing to you and out of love for you, they intervened. Your are soooo fortunate to have them in your life! You did the right thing and shouldn't feel bad since at least you TRIED to give the care you thought your mom should deserve. It is time to reclaim your life. Take care!
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Thanks to everyone for your input. I am so glad that you agree that I am doing the right thing. This makes me feel so much more comfortable about it. God Bless all of you
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Darcey,
I feel for you. My mom and dad live alone for now. They are 91 and 88 both with
dementia. My brother expects my dad to still drive, take care of the yard and buy their own groceries. He expects my mom to cook. She has serious dementia and early alzheimers and only knows how to warm up food. Some times when I leave prepared food for her in the fridge she can't even locate it when I call her.
My brother however, controls their checking account so I cannot have funds to provide food or a caregiver to come in and service them. I know it will be only a matter of time before one becomes incapacitated to the point where they cannot
take care of themselves any more. My brother does not speak to me. Both my brother and I work though I am closer to retirement. I feel it is difficult for me to take care of them should I rush my retirement under conditions where my brother is handling all the purse strings and legal and financial power.(especially when he is narcarsistic, arrogant and controlling). I sing Karaoke at a lot of really nice
assisted living facilities that take good care of seniors. The seniors love our bi monthly visits where we entertain them. They have activities like bingo and crafts and ots of socialization opportunities. My dad is very socialable and he'd love it there. Their clients are clean, well groomed and they have a beautiful dining room with nutritious foods. They also have medical personal for emergency and doctor visits. I am sure that parents would love to go there and their children can visit them on the weekends. However, the siblings have to be willing to dish out the monies (5-6K) per /per/mon.
Many are stingy about this and would rather have one sibling be the care taker
to save the inheritance for themselves rather than waste it away in some extended care facility. I myself would rather have my family member live in
comfort and safety. That is what they worked all their lives for.
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First of all...Honeys, you said a mouth full!!!
There are a lot of loving family members on here caregiving their life away....we appear to all be feeling about the same negative feed back from family/parents.

Second...Darcy, bless you for your love to your parents!!!!! PLEASE know that you are NOT in this alone. There are a lot of caregivers here in your shoes. These are good answers, I too am going to have tocheck into Area on Aging for whatever assistance I can get for me and my parents.

Keep taking care of you...for your health and peace of mind...hugs to you!!!!!! Keep in touch.....newtothis.
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Darcy, you have it harder than I do because my husband helps me and the only problem I have is that I am 68yrs. old, my husband is 70yrs.old and my mother is 84yrs. old. I have 3 sisters that don't even talk to me and I have no reason "why". My husband and I lived in the state of Texas and My mom & sisters live in the state of Ohio. I got a call from my sisters,May 2011and said that my mom was going to have open-heart surgery and I should come home. But my mother refused the surgery and the doctors were going to have her put in a nursing home. I am a retired nurse and I couldn't stand to see my mom put in one when I knew that my sisters and I could care for her at home. What I didn't know, was my sisters, who all live within 10 min. of my mom wanted her put in a nursing home. When my mom was discharged to my care, all of my sisters quit coming to see her and speaking to me. I have now been her for over a year without a day out of the house because my mom is on so many blood thinners that the least cut could cause her to bleed to death but she has a home and a small amount of money in her savings account, she does not qualify for medicaid. For the last 3 months, I have been ill, too and I have just kept on going but Thankfully, I have a husband that loves me very much and 4 grown children, & 7 grown grandchildren and they have finally convinced me that my mother can go to a beautiful assisted living facility in this little town that she loves so well and they are moving me out of here( for my own sake). I have went several times to the assisted living facility several times and at different times and they give the residents very good care. My mother doesn't understand why she has to spend her money to live there when I (being the eldest) should be the one to take care of her for free and my sisters can go on living the lives they have. My grandmother raised me! She was never a mother to me. I have prayed hard about the situation that I am in and I am letting my husband take me home where I can enjoy my children, grandchildren & great grandchild. My mother probably won't outlive her savings account, but if she does, she has her home paid for and a classic automobile that can be sold to finish taking care of her. Feel, that I have given her all I have physically to give. I feel I have lived a good Godly life and it is time for me to quit killing myself so I have made all the arrangements that I can make to see that she gets good care. My youngest sister is her executor and she or the other two sisters are going to have to take over. I am going home!
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Darcy, I don't know if this has been suggested but have you checked on hospice. My mom isn't terminal with anything but because of debility she is on hospice. I wonder if your mom would qualify. Could you talk to the doctor about it? I get help with mom as a result of this and supplies that relate to her diagnosis. My mom has dementia and is at about the stage as your mom. I get so much support with her care and if I have a concern I can call any time of night. All covered by medicare.
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Im in the same boat as you are with family members. Total of 5 children and I'm the only one like you taking care of my 92 year old mother that had a stroke last year. What I have learned from this is to find others resources to help you rather than family because I would walk around so angry all of the time and it made me so sick just thinking about how cold and unloving they r towards me when I needed the help. So what I did was find help through the office of aging and they gave me free help in my area for 3 days a week for 2 hours per day just so I can get to the store for 13 weeks. I also found a good agency and reasonable rates to hire an aide for my mom for 2 times per week for 8 hours just so I can get a day
or 2 off. I hate to say this to you but you won't get any help from family so just use your energy to find other resources. That helped me. Your doing a great job and you will be blessed from the man up above. Also there is nothing wrong with you living there and just ignore what they say. If their not part of the solution then they are part of the problem. You can also get paid for what you are doing through your parents income too. Just document everything.
God bless you for what you are doing
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Darcy123,

I am sorry if it sounded like as though you planned to abandon them
--that was NOT intended!
Others mentioned doing things that could be constrewed as that, and some caregivers get desperate enough to do those kinds of things.

Even for a day's break away.
Which could give other family members who are less than understanding, an edge to get nasty.

Words of support and advice are given both for the one who posts in need, and for those who "lurk" and never post, so sometimes answers cover more than necessary, for those.

Your ability to keep doing full time care-giving is very hard work; it needs and deserves to be supported and rewarded!
Anyone doing that needs all the advice and support they can get, to help cope, to keep from buckling under pressure.
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I feel for you. I am in the same situation. I am a nurse who has been living with my Mother for almost a year. There were all types of promises made by my siblings that I would have plenty of respite time. Well it has been a year now and I have had a total of 2 nights of respite help. I don't even expect it anymore. The real tragedy is that I am soooo angry with my siblings! Not only are they not getting to spend some time with their elderly mother in her last years they are totally screwing me financially. I don't even think that they realize. I have tried to sit down and tell them but there is so much denial. I am grateful for my training as a nurse because I watched this with so many families. Just did not think it would happen to mine. So venting is good, knowing that you are not alone is also good. My thought are with you.
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Chimonger, I have no intention of abandoning them?? I plan to be here as long as I can. If the day comes where I just can't do it anymore, I will make sure they are in an adequate situation. I am doing this because I love them... Abandonment was never an option or even mentioned, so I don't know where that came from, but rest assured... they will be cared for.
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