Caring for both elderly parents, overwhelmed!


My husband, adult son and myself moved across country to care for both my elderly parents. My dad suffers from dementia and my mom has neuropathy in both her legs making it hard for her to walk. My dad constantly insults my husband no matter how much he does for him. For financial reasons I will return to work full time leaving my husband to care full time for both parents (which he is ok with). I am usually an upbeat strong person, however over the past 10 months I have become very depressed and don't even want to get out of bed to deal with them. I have a younger brother who is not much help, my parents treat him like a prince and don't like to inconvenience him in anyway. I am becoming very resentful of them. We lived apart from them for several years and I miss my privacy. I know we are doing the right thing by caring for them, however I am having a hard time channeling my emotions. I snap at my husband of 38 years constantly and he doesn't deserve that (he's in the same boat)! My son is working and is living with is until he gets on his feet, he is helpful.

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Nothing, ah yes, so common in some families where the parents refuse to burden a son as he is head of his own family, so let's burden the daughter because that is what women are for, be caregivers.

Would your parents be able to pay you or your husband to be their caregivers? That would help with the income issue. But with the health issues of your parents, that could become a 168 hour a week job.... with hubby doing the day light work, and you doing the night shift. Are you ready for that?

If your parents can pay either you or your hubby to caregiver, they could easily pay a trained caregiver to come in for the day.... thus, both you and hubby could go back to work.

You said that your son has been helpful with your parents... when he does fly the coop, his responsibilities will fall on either you and/or your husband.

Whatever you do, do not enable your parents.... meaning be there 24 hours a day, running to their every demands... you may never get them to eventually move to a continuing care facility, why should they, they have you and hubby. So be careful how you tread with this.

This situation isn't good. Things at home are not going to improve and in fact are going to get worse. What role does your adult son play in this situation?

My mother is 96 and my sister died, suddenly trying to take care of her. I had to step in twice to keep well meaning relatives from moving in with Mother. She did not want anyone there. Even after just a few hours, she was treating relatives as you describe being treated.

Plus, my mother needed full time skilled care. I suggest you hire some help, to give everyone some relief.

I have a feeling there's more to this back story. Why are you going back to work, leaving your husband to take care of your parents? Has he had trouble finding a job? In the current set-up, it seems like he's bearing the burden of caring for your parents, which doesn't seem fair to him, in my opinion, based on what you've written. particularly since your dad is verbally abusive to him.

I agree with getting your own place, if possible. Your dad can't help his dementia,, but the rest of you can work around so that your family is protected as much as possible from his behavior.

You mention you lived away from them for a few years, so it sounds like you've all lived together before? Tell us more about how you got to this point and the decisions you've made. But I feel bad for your husband in all of this. It seems like he's being asked to do more than you and your brother and that doesn't seem fair to me.

Your returning to work and presumably leaving your husband to care for your parents puts him squarely in the firing line of your father's insults. You write that you snap at your husband. Where is your husband on all this? I find it hard to believe that he could accept the insults and let them roll off his back.

Perhaps it's time for a family talk, minus your parents, and consider what Maggie suggests - moving out. Your husband can then work as well and regain whatever self respect he's lost.

This just doesn't sound like a very workable situation as it exists now, unless your husband doesn't mind the insults.

It's time to bring in some outside help for your parents and think of your husband and son as your priorities. That doesn't mean abandoning your parents, but rather, finding outside and/or additional help for them.

Maggie sums up the situation and options succinctly and well.

I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing you all moved in with them? If that's right, my advice is to get your own place. You and your husband can STILL take very good care of them -- and distance and privacy will much improve your mindset.

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