I live with my parents, who have been caregiving my elderly grandfather for 3 years. The difference in them reminds me of photos you see of the presidents before they enter and after they leave office; that is to say, they look drawn, tired, stressed, and grey.
My dad had a heart attack two years ago, and they both drink in the evenings to deal with the stress of caring for my grandfather full time, in addition to their jobs. My aunts and uncles don't even call, let alone help them shoulder this burden. My grandfather, though I love him, is so selfish and doesn't seem to care or comprehend that he is ruining their lives... And that's truly what's happening.
My grandfather has bedsores that bleed all over the carpet. He is incontinent, and can't do anything for himself. They have to dress, feed, shower, transport, and entertain them. My mom goes to a caregiver group, and my grandpa has many different doctors and specialists he sees for all his diagnoses. He takes 20 pills a day. And yet, he is in denial that a home would be the best option for everyone. It's like he doesn't care that he could kill my parents with this burden. It's so wrong!! I feel helpless because there's nothing I can do. I try to support my parents emotionally, but there is real anger building. My dad had his heart attack (and his doctor tells him this stress will kill him), and my mom is depressed, anxious, and I worry about the consequences on her health.
Sometimes I fantasize about calling elder services to have my grandpa forcibly removed. I feel guilty for wishing he would pass quickly, but just last month he was saying he wants to live to be 100: 12 more YEARS of this. My parents would surely die from the stress first. I'm so angry at my aunts and uncles for not helping my mom. I'm angry at my grandfather for being so selfish!!
My parents have done everything right, and they're not getting the support they need. A doctor needs to tell them and my grandpa that he needs to be in a home, now. He requires skilled nursing due to his bad condition. My mom says that she's trying to get everything in line to have him put in, but I don't know if it's just talk or if he will really be moved. I just want them to be happy and healthy, and I know that they're trying to do the right thing but it's going to kill them. It seems so wrong to have such a life foisted upon the best, most decent people in this world. And yes, I know it could be worse... It always could, you know? But that doesn't make me feel better on their behalf.
As for me, I have a full time job and I see a counselor every week. I'm mostly fine, but the stress on our home and family is very real. I'm not sure what I was hoping to accomplish with this post; maybe I just needed to rant, so thank you for that. It's really made me think about what will happen to my parents and even me when I get old. I will not put myself in the position my parents are. Moreover, I may not have kids, so what will happen to me?! I only pray that I will die quickly before my health degrades to the point of becoming dependent.
All of you caregivers out there are truly angels.