WARNING: I'm whiny today - need to vent.

Started by

I'm having yet another irritating day in my continuing saga of Caregiving alone. I use that term loosely because my Dad is in a ALF. Hats off to those that have their loved ones in their homes.
.
Today I recognized that I have not had a weekend to myself in 15 months!!! There was a time when I would get a little relief about every six weeks when one of my Dad's other daughters would pick him up and take him to our hometown for a weekend. After an incident where I was unfairly cursed out by her bratty daughter and called selfish because I couldn't answer her phone call due to working a second job, those visits came to an end. Now I have to do EVERYTHING by myself.
.
My life is not my own. I work two jobs to cover the expenses that Dad's VA benefits don't cover when the income from my first job should cover me and then some. I don't go out. I don't shop. I don't have time. My life is either working, visiting Dad or trying to get a little rest which is often punctuated by frequent calls from Dad.
.
My weekend routine is the same. Get up early (because there's h*ll to pay if I'm not at the ALF to pick up Dad by a certain time). Take Dad to greasy diner and eat the food because he's going to have TONS of comments if I decide not to eat that unhealthy, greasy crap. Run errands with Dad (lift scooter, lower scooter, check oxygen tank, SLOWLY navigate store... rinse, repeat). Clean Dad's bathroom (the once a week from ALF cleaning staff doesn't cut it. He pees on the floor and it stinks!!!). Rush to gym and squeeze in a workout. Rush to grocery shop for self. Head to part time job until 11 PM.
.
Sunday, get up early to cook meals for week (trying to lose the weight I gained from caregiving). Rush to do personal laundry. Go pick up dinner from one of three restaurants Dad eats at. Buy or prepare something I can eat. Take meal to ALF. Eat with Dad in his 90 degree room. Clean up. Go to part time job until 11 PM.
.
This is EVERY weekend. During the week, I am working my full time job, two days of which I leave early to go to my part time job until 11 (8 AM - 11 PM workdays). I visit Dad on one of the days that I don't have to work the part time job (and clean his bathroom) so that leaves two days for me to try to ... I think it's called rest?!?!
.
Is it bad that I miss my weekends? I would just like a whole weekend Dad free and work free. I don't want to have to wake up early to eat food I don't like. I miss my Sunday morning hikes. That was my life before. Get up. Hike. Eat greasy food I wanted. Get a massage. Take a nap. Prepare food for the next week and do laundry.
.
No more. Now I just work and take care of Dad. I have NO help. Even evil step mom/ ex wife has cut back their Sunday visits because going out with Dad is becoming more tedious.
.
Why did I get (bad word coming ) BURDENED with this? I'm sure I'll miss some things when Dad is gone, but how much longer can the old man fight? He's miserable! I'm miserable!!
.
I'm just tired.

22 Comments

So sorry Tiny.
Keep venting.
Hi Tinyblu
It sounds like your dad does pretty well to go out for food. I'm sure he really enjoys it but the only person who can give you the weekend off is you. You don't need Dad's permission. You should take at least one weekend a month. Check to see if you can find him a delivery service for those two days. It doesn't sound like he is on a restricted diet. Maybe start with one day out of the weekend and work up to the entire weekend.
This is your life you are living, the same as him. Even if the first time you didn't take him out, you might order in for the both of you? Even the smallest break can make a difference in your mood and energy level and ultimately Dad benefits as well as you.
Give it a thought. You are a good daughter. Happy Father's Day to your Dad.
OK,, your dad is in AL,, so I assume he can get meals there, or is able to prepare SOMETHING on his own? Tell him you are sick,, for gosh sake lie if you have to , to get a day off. He may /will be angry,, so don;t answer your phone.. heck leave it home! You are paying for AL,, tell them you want the bathroom cleaned more often.. you should NOT be doing this at the rates AL charges (think about that for a minute.. you are paying...) Maybe he will quit peeing on the floor, or they will step up, that is is not your job. You say Dad has other daughters.. is there more than the one you don;t get along with? I understand they have dumped all the bills on you, but maybe you need to remind him about them,, for meals out, etc. Stand up for your self and start to draw back a bit at a time. He is is AL,, let them begin to assist a bit more or you will sink. Hard I know,, but you need to do this for your own health. And quit answering the phone every time he calls....really!
Hi Tinyblu, yes, keep on venting.... My mom receives care at home (for now)...she can't remember that she calls me up to 15 times a day... i.e., don't answer the phone all the time, or you'll wear yourself out! I haven't had a 'vacation' for 10 years.... we all need to take some time for ourselves... Yes, keep venting!
Tinyblu - Vent away. I'm so sorry you're going through this. It seems to be the way it goes, that the most dutiful/concerned adult child gets stuck with all the effort, stress and expense while everyone else skates off breathing a sigh of relief that they're not stuck with it. I do think you would be better off setting some limits here. If you have to work a second job to help pay for your father's assisted living, it's not fair that you should also have to give up what's left of your free time to ferry him around and see to his meals. I'm sure he's come to expect it, so he'll resist any efforts to cut back, but you have the right to carve out some time for yourself. You need to have a life too.
Yes, vent away!

But venting isn't really enough.

WHY are you accepting these burdens? WHY don't you take a weekend off at least once a month? WHY are you doing things the facility is paid to do?

Are you paying for food at ALF? What's with all these restaurant meals?

My parents were reasonable people and would never ever have imposed on us to this extent, so I suppose that is why I'm having a very hard time understanding why you enable this behavior. Is it guilt? Duty? Fear? What is it that is strong enough for you to be giving up your life.

Do you believe that your father's life is more important than yours? Why?
If I had dementia, I would certainly hope that my adult children were using proper discretion and not overloading themselves due to my illness. Over- exerting, overly stressing, will take a toll on the body. A LTC facility is capable of caring for the residents in their care. I'd try to let them do their job and then have reasonable visits that can be enjoyed and savored, since you're not overly exhausted and burned out.
I agree with all above.....You NEED to take care of your self and if dad is upset so what he's not alone and he won't starve to death. If I were you I would only visit once a week sounds to me like the time you spend with your father isn't quality time. Let your sisters do some of the work make them! I am one of 4 and the only one taking care of our mother but she isn't demanding of my time I can't imagine going thru what you are doing.. This coming weekend go to the movies and get your hair done and then eat what you want for a change.. You can't help dad if you've been beat up.Be good to yourself you both will enjoy your visits more.
sissy
I agree with all above.....You NEED to take care of your self and if dad is upset so what he's not alone and he won't starve to death. If I were you I would only visit once a week sounds to me like the time you spend with your father isn't quality time. Let your sisters do some of the work make them! I am one of 4 and the only one taking care of our mother but she isn't demanding of my time I can't imagine going thru what you are doing.. This coming weekend go to the movies and get your hair done and then eat what you want for a change.. You can't help dad if you've been beat up.Be good to yourself you both will enjoy your visits more.
sissy
You can just stop visiting for a couple weeks to give yourself a break. Why are you working to jobs to pay for him to be in assisted living and taking him out to eat? I would recommend that you quit paying for him to live in assisted living. It's fine to treat him to a meal once in a while but not on a regular basis. That would force him to make his own meals or God forbid (if they have one) go to the dining area to eat. Let someone else pick up the slack.

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