I am the only child drowning.

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I was curious if there was other only children caregivers out there like myself that felt like they are drowning? I'm an only child, my mom passed in 2010 from ovarian cancer, I myself have had a chronic illness since age 17 (I'm now 42) that is "currently in remission) I am not married & have no children. My closest family lives 2 1/2 hrs away. She tries, but has her own problems (husband, son, financial issues)... Other than her I have no one. The othet closest relative is in Wisconsin & I am in Alabama. My dad has early onset dementia & severe back problems & is as stubborn as a mule. And as I said I have health issues of my own... but compared to him they are way on the back burner (always with a fear that I will relapse from stress). We live in a house that is too large for me to manage (but moving is not an option), I am in charge of EVERY THING (bills, home maintenance, cleaning, his meds, his care, his chauffeur everwhere) & there are days I feel like I'm drowning... And the last "so called friend" that was going to help me out with some things, literally broke in to my home while my dad, myself & the realative I spoke of went out of town for ME TO HAVE SURGERY... I let her live in my home for a month, we had a falling out & I came home to a find a break in. I'm having trust issues with Everyone... a friend before that stole money I loaned her so she would get thrown out in the street & then split. I have no close friends & feel alienated. Growing up my parents & I moved around because of my dad's job... so we never really had a network of friends. I feel like the pressure is weighing down on me like a ton of bricks. I don't feel like I don't all the right things for my dad, a constant guilt trip on myself... I just feel lost. I will have the best intentions & they seem to crumble. Anyone else out there feel similar?

6 Comments

Yes, many of us are in the same boat. Siblings don't help and friends slip away quickly. Many times it is us slipping away from our friends, since our circumstance is pretty demanding and not much fun. And then there is the house that used to be fine for a growing family. Now it is too much for one person to keep up. Many of us know exactly how you're feeling. Vent away!
I'd consult with an Elder Law attorney and make sure your dad has signed the important documents that you'll need to care for him and his affairs, if you don't already have them. I'd also explore planning for the future and what rights to the house you may have if you stay in the home and provide care for a number of years and then he has to go into a nursing home or MC. I'd want to ensure that you and your rights are protected, if Medicaid is a possibility. Getting all of those things cleared up would make be feel better and take off a lot of stress.

I'd also explore what resources you may need down the road as you care for your dad in the home, as well as outlets for your own interests. I would not allow anyone else to move in and learn to be more curious with others in general. I'm not sure how you steal money that is loaned to you, but, I would put a hold on loans, gifts, etc. of money and attend a class on budgeting. I'd try not to take on other people's issues. You have your hands full already with your father. I'd seek help on how to establish boundaries.
I agree with the other comments. I found this site of total strangers and yet I am so comforted by the many topics and helps. You may feel alone, but you are not. There are a lot of people who are feeling the same or similar problems as you. We are doing the best we can. Please, get your legal affairs in order and make some time for yourself. Your health is of utmost importance and find new friends. Or maybe better simple acquaintances that aren't going to ask for money or mind your business. I always tell my daughters that not everybody can be a close friend but you can be friendly to others and have contacts that just plain like you. I grew up moving with my dad in the Navy so I know what being the new kid on the block is. Take care.
I was in a very similar situation with my mom a little over a year ago. Differences being that I was a son and my mom was as gentle as a lamb.
There was no one to help. Nieces in the same city wanted nothing to do with us. So called friends disappear because they do not want to share the burden you bear.

Loneliness, anxiety, fear of the future, and depression are also part of that burden. I know it very well.

I was overwhelmed. As my mom's health worsened, I didn't know what to do. It was more than I could handle. She wound up in a nursing home. I blamed myself for not doing more. . . for her death. I couldn't forgive myself.

Here's what I learned. Trust in God. You have been chosen by God for a very special job. Do the best you can. This is your finest hour. Don't beat up on yourself. When you get frustrated, find a place where you can get away (physically or mentally), be alone for a little while. Go there, clear your mind. Pray. Place your burden in His hands. He knows your needs better than you know them yourself.

You are doing all you can by yourself. Take consolation and comfort in that fact. Just do your best. Let Him take care of the rest. I wish I could be with you to share your frustration, loneliness, fear, and isolation. They don't disappear. I still carry them today.
Dear Madhatter,

I'm so sorry to hear how you are feeling. Its only natural to feel like you are drowning when there is so much on your shoulder. I can relate to so much of what you are writing about. Its hard to find the right balance when our parents depend on us so much. We love them but we must also love ourselves and try to find the right balance. I know its not easy especially when we start to feel so desperate.

Try to take a step back. You are not alone. We are all here for you. Try to talk to social worker if need be. Talk to a doctor. Try to access any community resources you can. Talk to a counselor or join a support group. There is help. I wish I had found help sooner. I feel like I let the anger and resentment consume me. I know you love your dad and want to help him. But you must also try to help yourself as well.

Thinking of you. Sending you extra hugs.
I really relate to your overwhelmed feeling. I find it hard to do things that aren't really that hard to do.

You need some hands-on help. Look for a social worker through the hospital or his doctor's practice. Do get in touch with your local "Area Agency on Aging." Google it with your city or county name. You may be able to get a volunteer or two to give you some time off. None of this is new to them, and they can help you a ton when it comes to procedures and options.

I'm guessing money is tight, but if you have maybe a thousand or two to spend on a professional geriatric care manager, they might be able to set up some very helpful supports for you in a short period of time.

As for having no siblings, that's a funny thing. If you had two or three loving, mature, generous brothers and sisters, that would be great. Too often, though, siblings bring resentment, greed, efforts to control and no help whatsoever.

I am mostly grateful that my husband has no family nearby to stick their nose in and criticize my imperfect efforts. My siblings don't help at all, other than emotional support and assistance when we are all together. One of the best things that happened was when we all went to a hotel and everyone realized that he had NO IDEA where we were or how we got there. For the duration of that trip, someone would keep an eye on him to stop him from wandering off. It was a real lift to me to know that they were seeing just how bad it really is.

Please post here daily or weekly to let us know how you are doing. We can't change diapers or sit with him, but we REALLY understand what you are going through.


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