Only 25 and a caregiver. Getting tired and could use some advice.

Started by

My mom has a chronic illness, she has no short term memory, wheelchair bound, and is unable to care for herself. My father has been sick for 1 month and (thankfully/finally) went in for surgery. He is still in the hospital. My mother's side of the family has never been involved in her care. And the support from my father's side has already started to dwindle. I do have a partner, but just found out he reconnected with a woman who tried to split us up in the past. Most of my friends disappeared with my mom's illness.
I work, clean, cook, run back and forth from the hospital. I feel trapped inside the house - I get invited out, but its either mom, dad, or just too tired.


Perhaps you could go out one evening a week, for a change of pace, or at least do something special for yourself, during the day before you get fatigued. Although caregiving is very fatiguing, possibly you should make sure that you are not anemic, as anemia can be very fatiguing. I admire you a lot for helping your folks, and hopefully you can plan some time for yourself.
Question, once your Dad is out of the hospital/rehab will he be able to care for your mother? Or will you be caring for both of them?

Another question, if your parents didn't have you to help, what would they do? I asked my parents that very same question since I am an only child, they couldn't answer me. Heck, what will I do if I needed care? That might happen since I am also a senior citizen myself I have no siblings and no children. So I need to plan ahead for that very rainy day.

Even with the limited care I give my parents since they are still living independent, I am their *driver*, I feel very frazzled. I have also lost my friends because after saying *no* to going out with them a couple dozen times, they stopped calling. And now my significant-other and I are barking at each other, because he's getting very impatient with my how my parents think. If he walked out, I couldn't blame him... I am ready to run away and hide.
You should have a talk with your parents about them hiring help. I know its expensive, but you cant do it alone, esp since your dad just got surgery, he may need help as well. See what services are available in your area. Good luck
Are you living there? If so, you need to start making plans to move out. It is time for you to have your own life. It will only get worse, if you stay. Your folks probably aren't all that old. They need to figure out there own care.
I have three granddaughters who are 26, and three more slightly younger. I would be appalled if any of them were full-time caregivers for family members. This is your time to be building a career, making friends, dating, building the foundation for the rest of your life. This does not mean you can't help your parents for a short period, for example during your father's rehab period. You are young and have energy on your side. Grin and bear it.

But it sounds like your mother needs full time care, and that it might be too much for your father. (Does he work?) This is a good time to start exploring their long-term options. You being their full-time caregiver should NOT be one of the options.

Is Mother on disability? Any kind of financial aid program? Does she have a case worker? If so, start there. Make an appointment to see this person.

If there is no case worker, get one. I suggest calling your county's Social Services department and asking for a Needs Assessment. The county employee who does this will know a lot not only about what the county offers but other programs that your parents might be eligible for. Even if your parents are not eligible for financial help with care options, it will be good to have needed services identified.

You are probably right that you'll get little support from family. Ask for it, but don't spend a lot of time spinning your wheels waiting for them to pitch in. Move forward to finding other ways your parents can get what they need, without giving up this important period of your own life.
You need some help..! Many of us are in the same situation, just not so young.. Not sure of your financial situation or age of your parents, but here are some channels for help..

VA: either parent a veteran..? Help is available..
Hospital Social Worker: They can refer you to local agencies that can help (Aging Care Centers)..
Caregiver Support Groups: Wealth of information from those who are going through the same..

It takes a special person to do what we do as caregivers.. Blessing to you, to us all..!!
Jeanne wrote exactly what I would say. The social worker will know what you need and how to go about getting the help needed. You're a wonderful daughter, but you need to be building your own life now. Many hugs coming your way. It is a lot for young shoulders to be carrying.
Thank you everyone - the support is wonderful. I know all of you are dealing with these situations and it means a lot that you have taken the time to write these comments. Thank you!!!
I have a PSW for mom 6 times a weeks for 1 hour each day and she is in day programs. It was just that when dad was going through the worst of it she was going through an exacerbation of her illness and couldn't go - she first got really bad 8 years ago and was in a steady decline for 3 straight years. Dad and I were able to tag team care to avoid burnout. Hopefully in a couple of days her strength will be back up. She does have a social worker and is receiving disability. I will talk to the coordinator to see if there is a way that mom will qualify for more hours during dad's recovery time.
Dad will not be a rehab candidate, he will not be able to participate in mom's care for 4-8 weeks, he got a really bad infection that collapsed his lung and even though it was re-expanded quickly the infection stopped it's ability to work - thus surgery. He is getting stronger each day and the surgeon told us yesterday that they expect a full recovery (:D). He will be back home in a couple of days - at least it means no more driving to and from the hospital.
I will take the time with dad, once he's a bit stronger, to start talking long term about mom's care.
Personal note: I was able to finish university and get a job in my field, up till dad's illness I did go out with friend's, and I was able to move out (only 10 min away and I was still by everyday - but I had my own space, I still have it but moved back in to help). What made me reach out was that I was going through a bit of shock over which one of my friends/dad family stayed supportive (not giving care to parents, but just checking in) vs. just stopped answering phone or telling me they can't handle it. It shows who the true friends are, but it was surprising who vanished. However, my best friend proved, once again, that she is amazing! My partner and I had a chat and the 'reconnection' I was told about, was this other woman following them to a, he reassured me that he thinks its creepy and no way would he ever be involved. Normally I am better at just talking to him, but have been stressed out and finding it harder to deal with other things. He came by, got me out of the house, and made sure I ate a good dinner.
Once again, thank you all for the support, it was so needed! Thank you all!

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support