I'm 21 years old and I've been taking care of my Dad who is suffering from Alzheimer's and Dementia for 3 years now. I just need some help.

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I'm so exhausted. I know he's suppose to be my dad and I have to take care of him but it's so challenging. I wasn't trained to take care of anyone suffering from his disease. My mom lives with us but every chance she gets, she leaves the house. Yes she's the only one providing for the family but every time I would get a job. She'd guilt me into quitting to take care of my dad. I haven't had a job in 8 months and my mother is giving me crap about not contributing to the family forgetting that I'm the one taking care of her husband. And when I would ask her for a little help or a shoulder to talk to, she'd brush me off saying that she has bigger problems. And when I would recommend getting a nurse or putting my dad in diapers, he sh*ts everywhere, she'd act like she's so offended. I don't know what to do. I've been having suicidal thoughts just to end this. So I would not have to deal with my family's just be patient crap when it comes to dealing with people with Alzheimer's and Dementia.


I think you need to leave. Give two weeks notice, find a job and tell mom she needs to make other arrangements.
Jane, I was about age 23 when my mom was diagnosed with dementia. I did NOT know that this disease can last for decades. That was 26 years ago. And I'm still here. I remember the time I put my dreams on hold. A plane flew overhead, I looked up at it, then I started crying. Do not make the same mistake I did. The only difference between us - is that Dad did early retirement so that he can take care of mom full time. I continued to work fulltime. Sometimes, I had to go part-time when mom became too much for dad and needed Two Caregivers to handle her. Once we got over that hump, I went back to full-time.

Your father's care is actually your mother's responsibility. She's palming it off to you - to be the full time caregiver. What's worse, she's not even supportive for you. Remember - this can last for decades. I think You need to find a job and make your way in the world. You can still help your dad by putting aside time to be with him - you decide how much you want to do this.

I'd start by contacting the various organizations: Alzheimer's org., your local government elderly division , Meals on wheels, etc... Find as much programs as you can to which your father may qualify. If he's on Medicaid, I believe they cover diapers. Why won't your mother have your father wear diapers? Pride? Ashame? Denial that he has dementia? Of course, if She was the one cleaning up after his mess, I'm positive she would be fast to get him on the diapers. As it is, you're doing all the work, and she thinks you have it easy. I mean, you stay home all day doing nothing. {eyes rolling} As long as you're home taking care of your father, your mom has no incentive to make any changes. She likes the current status quo.
Listen to Book.

You can only be a doormat if you lie down (I think that's from Dear Abby). If your mom won't consider any resonable changes (Diapers, Meals on Wheels etc) then you need to leave.

Have you dinished school? Ever held a job? What is going to happen when dad dies? Will you be employable? How will you support yourself?

These are hard questions. Think about them.
Dear Jane, you are far to young to be responsible for all of this. First please do not hurt yourself. There is a way of of this. Do you have any other family you can talk to about whats going on? Is the selfish behavior your mom is displaying new or has she always been that way? If its new it may be a reaction to the stress of not knowing how to handle things. In any case its no excuse to put all of this on your shoulders. I agree you need to make plans to leave. Tell your mom she needs to seek outside help or place dad in a facility because you cannot do what she expects. Find work and a place to stay, maybe a friends amd offer to help out when you can. You need to plan for your future. There is no shame in leaving.
Jane - in your first sentence you say "I know I have to take care if him". Says who? Your mom? Taking care of your father is not your responsibility. Period. If you can handle it - give mom your two week notice. During that time make a plan to get out. If you cant take one day more - wait till your mom is home from work - then leave. It may sound harsh but you have missed too much of what should be the most fun, carefree, responsiblity free time of your life. If you don't think your mom can or will care properly for your dad call Adult Protective Services and get them involved before you get out. Yes - your mom will probably be mad but that's not your worry or your problem. If she doesn't see in a short amount of time that you did the right thing than your better off keeping her at a distance. You have already proved your a tough, strong young woman by doing what you have for your dad. Now be strong enough to care for yourself!
Dear Jane, I agree with the suggestion of Babalou; that you may leave. It seems that your mom didn't realize how stressful you are in taking care of your Dad alone by yourself. You can leave a note to express all the things that you want to tell her, to make her understand what you are going through. Your mom needs to address this concern. Organizing things will help you and your family to face this problem properly. If you have faith in God, seek His guidance first. He will help you.
Dear Jane, I agree with the others--this is not your job! Mom needs to figure out how to meet Dad's needs. I doubt your dad would expect or choose you to be his caregiver throughout your young adult years. Mom is being selfish and/or running away from pain she cannot deal with.

Give mom notice to quit. She will forgive you on time. You can help her problem solve caregiving without being the caregiver.

Also look into free support groups for caregivers. Often hospital community education departments either have the groups or know where they exist in your community.
Sending Hugs to you!

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