Been caring for disabled mother in my home 4yrs - would like support group.

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I am 38 and been caring for my bedridden mother for almost five years. I am an only child and moved her in after my father's passing. My marriage didn't survive and it seems like it is getting harder every day. I love her and don't know why I feel such strain lately. None of my close friends have dealt with this issue. What little family I have doesn't offer assistance. A visit here and there, but nothing to speak of besides that nothing much else. I have been needing some support system of people who understand where I am at currently, possible future issues to come. I hope I can find someone who knows how I feel. I have aides who come so that I can work during the day. But it has become to the point where I feel I cant continue. I have no kids, which makes me feel it shouldnt bother me to care for my mother. I feel like my life is stuck in a mode that I didn't choose, and have given up all hope for a life I want to live, but can not. I know this may sound selfish but I hope to find one person who understands something to give me hope, I know her being with me is what she needs but I am starting to feel angry bitter and guilty. She has gotten more needy of my attention this last year since my divorce. She used to want me to do things and said she wasn't going to move in unless I continued my life. But that just hasn't happened. She is gotten worse, and I feel like I need to have a life too, I have given up many things and now I don't know if I can continue to be the "good daughter" sometimes I think she would be better in a nursing home, but I know I would miss her and feel even more guilty as I promised my dying father I would take care of her. And what point do I get to live again? I am stuck? Will I never have a life that I choose and not what was given to me? Please any advice would be so appreciated. Thanks you

18 Comments

The AgingCare forum is a great source of information and support. Also your local Agency on Aging will help you find elder resources, care, and support in your area.

Like you, an only daughter, at age 38, I gave up a great job, even better paying job offer to attend to the needs of my elderly parents. I wanted to be a good daughter and not let them down. And they both let me know this was what was expected of me.

Nearly a decade later, I am almost making what I was 10 years ago. There are gaps in my employment history because you can't be at the dr's office twice a week and still work full time. And telling clients of being a caregiver is just as effective as withdrawing your name from consideration for a perspective job.

Now for the bad news, you are living the life you chose. You simply chose your mother over yourself. You ARE a good daughter. You are a great daughter! You are selfless and you are faithful. Find a counselor to help you focus on yourself. Then start working on placement. If your mother is bedridden, she should be eligible for a nursing home where they assist her with her routines of daily living, Yes, you made a promise to your father; you will still be caring for her while others assist her.

Most people's parents want their kids to live their life and not be burdened by them. My parents told me they "groomed" me to care for them. And I resent that with every fiber of my being. After I read "the five regrets of the dying" - with #1 being ' I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me,' I realized I already had all those regrets. That was a huge wake up call for me. I realized, I did deserve a life. So do you. Get a counselor, group, someone on your side. Realizing that you are just as important - more important - than a promise, is the first step.

My dad is 91, still drives, and living in his home. Even so, I run myself ragged continuing the pretense he is living "independently." When he no longer can do his daily living skills, he will ne placed. I am at peace with that because I know I need (and want) to be true to myself. Life os too short to be living it for someone other than yourself.

Go out there and reclaim your life.



Only, you are too young to be even considering additional years in a caregiving role. You have started to reclaim your life by working and reaching a status you had accomplished prior to caregiving. It is time for you to find an appropriate place for mom. As her needs continue to increase your ability to do your job well will become more and more difficult. My own children are close to your age, and I would never expect them to take care of me, I would never ask them either. You may have promised your dad that you would take care of mom, but that also includes finding an appropriate living situation for her. There is nothing for you to feel guilty about you have done extremely well and started the caring at an age when you should have been enjoying your accomplishments and gatherings and activities with your friends

A good place to start is the Area Agency's Aging usually within the Council of Governments in the US. I too have interviewed for positions where I was asked "what happens to mom if you come to work for us" to which I answer placement. Maybe the thoughts of interviewers were that I was unfeeling or uncaring that I would have placed my mom? I just do not know.

Good luck to you, you have many good years for you to live your life and take care of you.
Hi OnlyChild75,
I am in a situation with my Mom with Parkinsons Disease. I'm a 40 year old male. Had to give up my friends. I have no job, no girlfriend & no life like I used to have. I've been dealing with this for seven years. My Mom is very important to me ..... but she can hardly walk and can fall at any given moment (which she already has 2 twice) and I can't put her in a home. So I guess I am sort of going through what you are too. Sometimes it really drains me but I try to stay strong for myself and her and hearing people tell me I'm a good son makes it worthwhile sometimes. Hang in there !
This is a wonderful support group online, Im unsure if there are ones we can actually attend. You already have great advice, so I really cant add much except you have my support :)
Read and reread what onlee1 wrote. It is spot on for you.

A promise made to take care of someone does not mean you have to give up your life. Choose your life. Allow others to give her care.
I totally understand. What. Your going through. ...but 38 is so young to be a caregiver ive been taking care of my mom who is 82 for 6 yrs she has become. Someone i dont know within this last yr....i also kno. How it takes your llife. Away. You should think about seeing a thearpist its helped me. Also you need to make time for you. Go to a book store. Get a pedi. Make yourself. Do something with friends this is vital. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.....
Yes, you made a promise to your father, but things have changed since then and it has become difficult for you to keep that promise unconditionally, or in the manner in which you have been caring for her. The promise you made can mean care in a facility as well and at this time, it seems that mey be the best option for both of you.

Check with your local hospitals for support groups, and also Google them within your area. In my neck of the woods, more and more SNFs and AL facilities are hosting support groups.

Start with one day or one evening and just do something you want to do - join a book club, go to a free concert, go to the library, or just go out to dinner. Then gradually increase the time you spend for yourself.

Even if you prefer to spend time at home, take care of what needs to be done that day/evening, then go in a separate room and spend time just doing what you want.

And don't feel guilty! That's a common psychological burden among caregivers. You owe it to yourself to maintain your own physical and mental health or you won't be able to tolerate caring for your mother.

Make a list of things that others can do and start hiring so you can spend more time on things you need to do.

Good luck with your new plans!
I'll offer support. I don't have any kids either, but I can tell you that taking care of an adult is nothing like taking care of children. It is more difficult in my opinion. We are in a similar boat. It is hard to make that step sometimes to take care of yourself and put yourself first but it must be done.
I to am taking care of my mother and am also an only child being that my brother and sister died at young ages, i am 56. My husband has been wonderful but see that i am tired and suffer from hypoglycemia. Mother is having a very difficult time with the the disease PD and see the disease progresses. So i have decided to join a few support groups for caregivers and attend some meetings as my mother can walk and do somethings for herself. The more knowledge I learn about Parkinsons the better I can make sure my husband and i can handle and when enough is enough for our health and marriage. Become very vigilant about your health and future, try a Parkinson group to learn the stages and what stage you cannot handle. Your are a strong and loving daughter for your mother and she knows it and she will be taken care of because you will do what is best for the both of you. Take care.
I am 38 as well and attempting to take care of my 67 year old Father who appears to have early-onset dementia. I was warned by people very close to me that being a caregiver is not the life I should choose. They too were caregivers and they felt they gave up their own lives for the role. Morally however I am bound. I refuse at this point to give up my own life. When Dad's needs get higher, I am going to try and offset the additional time with aides. When and if that fails I may consider placement as the more I learn the more I see the caregiver is thrown under the rug. I don't' see us chained to them. We may need to re-work our belief structure. We may also need to re-work us.

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