I am SO overwhelmed!

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Hello, I am very grateful I found this site, I'm 48, I work full time, and I have been living with an elderly friend for over 3 years, he is 79 and he's definitely in decline with mostly age-related concerns. He means a lot to me so I don't at all not want to be here, I just don't know how to sort through all the details: running the household, taking care of his not so healthy cat, errands, cleaning, cooking, doctor appointments, prescriptions and on and on. I work full time as I stated, in a pretty demanding job but they are extremely accommodating and flexible so it's fine, but time to myself is rare, at least not big blocks of it, I can get snippets here n there. My biggest concern lately is his short term memory loss, I feel so helpless because it's a battle against an unseen enemy. His family have been completely useless, yes I'm being judgmental, because I can count on two hands the numbers of times each of his sons have called just to say hello, let alone offer to do something, if anything just to give me a break. Quite frankly I'm disgusted and I can barely contain myself when I have to see these people. This smartphone is my only outlet, it provides immediate at the ready entertainment whether books, music, or movies, in addition to its obvious functions. Kinda lame that this is my only social life I suppose, but I just don't have the time for anything else. I have had to give up every hobby I had, for reasons stated, but also because of the guilt. Guilt. Oh the guilt. Did I mention guilt?! My friend certainly doesn't cause me to feel this way, in fact he's encouraged me to go out and do things with people. But picturing him there alone really upsets me and leads to unnecessary worry not unlike first time parents leaving their children with the sitter for the first time. Because taking care of my friend is like having a child, and I don't at all mean that in a disrespectful way. So please please please respond in kind with whatever you can offer, just knowing there are others out there in the same boat makes it a little more comforting, even though I don't know why that is.

3 Comments

Has he appointed a Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare POA? 
Dear berukno,

I certainly can empathize and sympathize with what you are saying. There is a lot on your shoulders. It is good of you take care of your elderly friend but given how things have escalated maybe it would be a good time to suggest to your friend another option. I know you care a lot but I don't feel the situation is fair to you.

Your story reminds me a lot of me. I was the only one left to take care of my dad. I too was working full time and taking on all the responsibilities you mentioned. I was growing increasing resentful and angry. After my father's stroke the responsibilities only increased. In hindsight I wished I had maybe let my dad live in assisted living or a nursing home. Or sought out counselling or joined a support group.

I know others will have more to share. Thinking of you.

Now is the time to prepare for what's coming. As Sunnygirl asked does he have a Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare POA? This is VERY IMPORTANT especially since his family is "useless". Does he have income to hire in home caregivers? Does he need to apply for Medicaid? Could he afford assisted living so that he could be cared for and interact with other people his age. Then you could continue helping him by visiting and making sure that he is getting good care. What are your plans for when he needs more help? Don't wait until something happens. It will be a nightmare.
I don't mean to be negative but these things are very important and at this time it seems like you are the only one willing to take on this responsibility. He is very lucky to have you.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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