Serious overload and guilt.

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I'm 44, married, 4 kids, 5 grandchildren, full time student working on master's, & 24/7 caretaker for my mom and pop as i had to move them in with me 3 years ago to care for them. I have 7 brothers and sisters who don't help, the 8 sibling that did help and was my best friend died 2 years ago. Anyway the last 4 months i have put on 25 lbs, i cry, get angry, and how in my room as much as possible so i don't get ugly with anyone. I feel guilty because i am tired of being the only caretaker we are talking everything but feeding. Any one else feel like the super powers are fading.


It sounds like you have a lot on your plate. I can understand you feeling overloaded. Providing around the clock care for two seniors, except for feeding, is not something I would take on. If none of my siblings helped, I think I would explore other options. Can you get some outside people to come in and help with some of the duties? Would your parents benefit from assisted living?

You say you feel guilty because you are tired of being the only caretaker. I'm not a particularly guilt ridden person, but I don't understand why you being the only caretaker would make you feel guilty. That might make me feel resentful, angry, ticked off, frustrated or overwhelmed, but not guilty. I would think that your siblings would be the ones feeling guilt. You have nothing to feel guilty about.

Why not explore options to eliminate the overload. I don't know what to say about the guilt, though.
I'm 52, single, take care of my 77 year old mother who is suffering with Myodysplasia, and is ill most of the time, or in her bed, or at the doctor's getting treatment. I came home 12 years ago to help take care of my dad til he passed. Then my baby sister passed. Two days later, her husband left their three girls at the house and disappeared for three months. Mom and I got custody. Two are grown. and the last is 15. Now mom is...hard to say, but dying. My brothers and other sister rarely even call. My son and daughter-in -law are near and visit, and my grandchildren stay some. But I do all the running, dr. apps. cleaning, and all the work entailed. I cry a lot, and feel angry. I understand how you feel.
Sunnygirl1 thanks for commenting back. I think my explanation might not of been clear. I feel guilty when I don't feel like i can do it anymore. My parents took care of us and never turned away so when i want to give up and put them in assisted living i feel guilty.
I have worked in state funded senior facilities as well as 5 star communities and i know what can go on behind closed doors and this is why i have not sent them ... well that and the fact that i promised them i never would.
Jonesgirl, oh, I see. I think that guilt in that situation is common. I guess you have to determine if it's really feasible to do all things and be all things to all people. I know that when I was under a lot of responsibilities trying to work and care for a loved one, it was too much and not feasible for long term. I suffered physically as well. It took a toll on my health and it took me many months to recover. I can't imagine the long term affects it will have on my body. Suppressing stress long term is not healthy. Would your parents really want you to suffer due to trying to overextend yourself. I wouldn't want that for my kids.

If you don't trust any assisted living facilities, are there funds to get in home help? Why not get some prices to see how much it would cost and then tell the siblings how much their share is based on dividing it by 7. (number of kids) All you can do is try. Besides, as your parent's health declines, it will be more and more difficult to care for them in the home alone. Have you given that any thought? I don't know the extent of their conditions.
assisted living. Now.
Jonsgirl71, please take note that 40% of caregiver die while taking care of their love one.... what would happen to your parents if that happened to you?

Did you promise your parents they would never go into a continuing care facility back when they were still living in their home, active, driving, doing all their own chores? I think most of us never envision our parents aging.... I know I didn't.

Don't be guilty, I know it's easier said then done. Right now I feel angry and resentful that my parents never took my advice a few years ago when I was pointing out nice retirement villages... now things are really spiraling out of control due to their poor future planning and serious health issues. Jonsgirl, can you picture yourself still doing the full-time caregiving for 5 more years? What about 10 more years? With modern medicine our parents can live into their 90's, mine are.
Jonsgirl71 - Thank you for sharing experience with working at state-funded facilities and the 5-star ones and why your hesitant. I'm also 44 though I don't have other family I'm not wining, I'm just letting you know I'm in the same position of caring for aging parent - and at point I was single-handedly caring for both 24/7. I won't put in my mother in one of those fancy schmancy homes because I'm fearful of what may happen - but I also haven't reached my boiling point just yet though my temp is very VERY warm right now. :-) I temporarily stayed in a "very nice" group home while my mother was recovering from a hospitalization - because I knew that if I admitted her to a long-term care facility for "rehab" that they would do the bare minimum, run up the insurance, and kick her to the next facility. I had a horrific experience with our traditional healthcare system when I took care of my father - and I've witnessed the true financial motives of this industry and this is one reason why I'm actively involved in my mother's care - because I call the shots. When I was at this nice group home, there were six residents - to two caregivers. I have just Mom - and I'm exhausted! So they were charging an astronomically huge amount of money - for no one-on-one care?! All group homes I've seen are at least this ratio. For now, just get some weekly help so you can have a break. Can you and your husband review the finances and see if you can get a caregiver for once or twice a week - at a short stint, like three or four hours so you can have some relief? What about your adult children, asking them to sit with your parents for just two or three hours on a Sat or Sun? They can all rotate in so it doesn't feel like such a burden - why should you be shouldering all the care? Getting that break will give you time to think about realistically how much longer can you do the caregiving while planning for some options down the road. As for the weight gain - I suspect there is more to this. When was the last time you met with your doctor to have a hormone panel testing done? For women, our hormones, particularly progesterone begins to decline starting in mid-30's. And with excess stress, the cortisol builds up making it harder to lose weight - even with exercise and diet - and boom, you've got the difficult to lose belly fat to now deal with. Excess stress (both emotional and physical) can lower your natural progesterone. You need to get your hormones balanced - now! If you have the opportunity, see a true naturopathic physician because allopathic doctors prescribe synthetic progestin -and this is so bad for the body. Just Google hormone imbalance, low progesterone, excess cortisol; symptoms of hormone imbalance are unexplained weight gain, fatigue, mood issues, thinning hair, acne, menstrual irregularities, etc. So, yes, you've got a lot on your plate - but biologically your body may need to be balanced out simply due to your normal aging process. Symptoms of perimenopause can happen as early at ten years before true onset of menopause - you need to begin regular follow-up with your doctor (ideally, a naturopath!) to assist you in this transition. I know, I don't like to think of me as someday entering menopause because I have a lot of youthful energy so how can I get "old"?! :-) But I also know the realities of hormone imbalance and how it can wreak havoc on your body! I'm on natural progesterone, myself, because I have excess estrogen (estrogen dominance. Google it!) I have ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, irregular and very heavy menstrual cycles - all from low progesterone - and all from years of stress in NOT taking care of myself. You need to put yourself a priority NOW! And if your parents are in a mentally competent position - they should be discussing advance directives with you. Don't assume they don't want to be a DNR. If they're not mentally competent, then look into what needs to be done to get that advance directive finalized. My mother is a DNR - and frankly - this is what keeps me going - because I know it will end someday! It's not that I don't love her - I DO but there's no point of living when you have no quality of life and this is where she's at now. She has no upside to her situation. I love her so much that I want her to spared from the misery of even more suffering than what she's experiencing now. I wake up every morning living like it's her last because I don't know when her "time" will come and in some ways, this attitude of the end will come gives me some semblance of peace - through the chaos of caregiving 24/7. Like freqflyer said, modern medicine is keeping our parents alive longer - but at what costs when there can be NO quality of life for them?!
I just want to thank each and every one of you for your comments ... i think the biggest relief is that I'm not alone (not that i want any of you to feel like i do). I am taking advice from all and hope to be on the right path soon.
Oh, Jonsgirl71, I feel ya!! I had to move my now 86yo mother in with me, my husband and teenage son four years ago. We had to buy a larger house in another city to accommodate this change, and it took THREE moving vans for her stuff, as opposed to just ONE for ours! Although I did work with my mom (who now keeps denying it) to donate a lot of her stuff to charity, she of course fixates on the ONE FRYING PAN, etc., that she wanted, which is no longer around. Doesn't matter that I have an entire kitchen full of tools, utensils, pots and pans. I am constantly thrown under the bus. I cannot do ANYTHING right, no matter how I try to circumvent things, and she is seldom appreciative of how we (me, husband, son) turned our lives upside-down to accommodate her, and CONTINUE to accommodate her on many day-to-day things. But that is the bane of being the daughter of someone who is a narcissist with a victim mentality -- nothing you do for them will EVER be done right. My estranged (from me) sister sails in maybe once or twice a year (she hasn't lived in the same state with us for over a decade) and takes mom for a couple of weeks or so, but it's simply not enough. I've just made an appointment with a therapist so that I can get the emotional and psychological tools I need to put up with my mom, cuz she ain't gonna change and my sister ain't gonna step up to the plate. I just don't want to put my husband and son through any more grief (I complain to them about her regularly, which isn't right). Anyway, what I'm getting at, is that if you have to accept the situation you're in, do something to ensure your mental and physical health, otherwise your energy will be sucked dry and you will be of no use to your OWN family, thanks to your parents! I've put on 35 pounds since my mom moved in with us. I'm DEFINITELY eating my feelings and it's got to STOP!!!
Oh, dear--please know that there are many of us with your same problems. What you first need to do is get yourself into a good relationship with a therapist. You have no reason to feel guilty, and no reason to feel responsible for all the crap that life has dumped onto you. The more you blame yourself, the more your physical self will suffer, the more you will develop psychological symptoms, and thus the more you need to have someone to discuss all of it with.
My mother hated me since the day I was born.Too complicated to get into here, but I survived by forcing myself to not believe she was right. I found a life away from her among many friends and, finally, a lovely husband (married 36 years). You can do it, but you must, must get help from an outside person, a good shrink. Please promise you'll get help. Otherwise, this will really screw you up for the rest of your life. Frankly, I'm still there, but hoping to get over it sooner or later.

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