I feel trapped in life. Any advice?

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This year I brought my parents into my home to care for them. I had to do it for many reasons, to help with their financial problems, several health problems, etc, ( I'm an only child) and they just can't afford an AL. The problem is I am a young caregiver I guess, I'm 45 and I had a full life going on before. Now I feel the load is too heavy for me, having teenagers at home, a husband, parents with several health problems, cats, dogs, even a bipolar friend that needs urgent help sometimes! Everybody needs my attention and now I have started to feel resentful and depressed for helping everyone. I even had to quit my full time job to have more time for everybody. Why this things happen to women? I don't see men doing such a sacrifice. I'm not mother Teresa de Calcuta.

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Have you explored Medicaid for them? Adult Daycare services?

Have they had a professional needs assessment from the local Area Agency on Aging? That might be a good place to start.

As to your men vs women caregiver question, I think most men see themselves as not able to give up their jobs, because they are supporting a family. Did you feel that way about your job? Did your family feel that way?

In my situation, there was no question about quitting my job. If I didn't work, the mortgage wouldn't get paid and we wouldn't eat. No question that other arrangements needed to be made for my mom.

Sometimes, you will find you need to say no to folks, even family, in order to meet your own needs.
I feel the same way. I, too, quit my job for this. I am 68 years old raised two kids who are now married and out of the house. I am always miserable. I no longer smile. If I wanted to have another child at this age I would have adopted one. The only difference is that I have a brother and a sister who don't help. My heart breaks for you and everyone else who has to live like this.
I understand how you feel. I’m 63, have health issues of my own and am sole caregiver for a bedridden husband.

Divide and conquer. Next week, go online a research ( and apply for) Medicaid, research home healthcare help and when they’re accepted for Medicaid, if you care to, research facilities.

Now that the grandparents have moved in, time for the kids to pitch in if they don’t already. I’ve had teenagers of my own so I know this is easier said than done. Even pitching in with the pets!

Friendships are golden. But, you might need to consider dialing it back with this one. Be there for your friend, but don’t be 911 at least not every time they crash. You could even speak with your friend’s family, share what your life is like now, and ask them for advice on what they think your responsibility to your friend should be.

I speak from experience. I have ceased to exist because of my husband. I have no life of my own. I have many ideas about how to fix up my house, but by the time I’m finished with his care, there is no energy left. And, the saddest part is, I know he wouldn’t do the same for me...

Don’t become me. Put the whoa on things now! Good luck. Keep us updated. We’re always here for you!
Do not neglect yourself nor your family. Check out Medicaid and contact your Area Agency for Aging for any service that may be provided at a state or local level.

Once you bring parents into your home they are classified as “safe” and fall to the bottom of any waiting lists for aid, respite, even Meals on Wheels, etc. (at least according to the muliple VA and hospital social workers I’ve talked to.)

Until their health fails to the point they are eligible for a nursing home, you are just playing the waiting game. Sadly, it’s waiting for a catstrophe which as caregivers we strive to prevent to get them placed (offering some relief for us) or continuing things as they are (no relief.) What great options!

I moved back to help my “dying” parents when I was 37 (also an only child.) I am now 50 and still waiting for my soon to be 95 yr old father pass.

That sounds awful, but sometimes the truth hurts. I can’t wait to reclaim the more than decade, I’ve sacrificed. I am unwilling to do more than what I am currently doing.

I have learned my parents were deceitful, manipulative, and narcissistic; I would never make that decision again. I will not have him in my home.

He’s too rich for Medicaid, too poor for assisted living, too healthy for a nursing home.

So we wait...
I'm going to try to offer a different perspective. Putting other options as well as assistance is going to take some time, and you're already burning out.

I think this is the key factor I'd address: "Everybody needs my attention and now I have started to feel resentful and depressed for helping everyone." Note the emphasis on "everyone".

Think in management or military terms. You have a little squad of people who can help - your husband and your teens. You're the CEO, or General, and need to create assignments for your team. Delegate, and think of rewards for them - special outing, perhaps.

But do put them to work, more than whatever they're doing now. And make it a group affair so no one feels overly burdened (although they will at first if they're accustomed to your doing everything, and acting as the "be all" for everyone.

Make meal prep, laundry, cleaning, animal and parent care a group project. Inventory everything that you do, decide who can either help you or take over the tasks, and work with them to shift responsibility.

If they're not already doing it, there's no reason why the teens can't alternate with dish washing; they can also help with meal prep. They'll have to learn to cook sooner or later. And if your husband complains, give him the lighter duties, although unless he has a manual job during the day, doing dishes and meal prep or cleaning is light work. If he's an office worker, it'll be good for him to be more active.

Men can vacuum and clean and help with meals. So can teens. And there's no reason why they can't compromise tv or online time to help with the family needs.

You might even try to resurrect that old family habit of watching tv together or playing board games, or just talking about your day - something that brings the family, including your parents, together.

I'm sure there will be resistance, as I suspect they're all relying on you to be the "chief cook and bottle washer." That needs to change, and should, whether or not you have your parents to care for.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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