How do I get my family to understand I have no life and being a caregiver is killing me?

Follow
Share

I have been taking care of my father for the past 6 years, and throughout this time he has let himself go, as he will not try anything to keep healthy. My father has always been verbally abusive, but because I care I had him move in with me. When he moved in and his health went worse, the stress got to me and my epilepsy came back around the same time. I am the only one of us 4 siblings that is not married and have no kids, and can't. My father has ruined some of my relationships because he is lazy and mouthy. It has now come to the point that I am seeing a psychotherapist every 1 to 2 weeks and a psychiatrist once a month.

My epileptologist has threatened to write an order telling me to move out, as they have said stress is my biggest cause, and that my seizures are getting worse and killing me, literally. I have begged for help, even just for them to come up with 100 dollars a month for me to hire a housekeeper 2 hours a week for a break.

I make less than 1/3 of each of their income yet I am the one paying for all of this, and my income is only SSDI. I have no idea what to do now, as I have also had to sell everything of mine to keep up with bills. My siblings always make excuses as to why they never come visit or they can't help. I know my father is mad at them too as he has had me set up a new will, trust, DPOA and so now when he passes, as I am the executor, I have to tell them it explicitly states they are to receive nothing and it all goes to me. I hate seeing my family like this and wish I knew what to do.

47

Answers

Show:
If your father has anything to pass on in a will, why isn't he spending it now, on his own care? Why is any of this coming out of your SSDI? Why did you have to sell your possessions? I don't get that. To the extent he can, he should be paying is own way. Inheriting everything isn't going to do you any good if he outlives you. Listen to your doctors!

But the financial burden is the small part of the problem, I would guess.

Why does your family have to understand that caregiving is killing you? Why is it your job to teach them? Your siblings are going to do whatever they are going to do. Why should that stop you from doing what you have to do?

Please take charge and do what you have to do. Do not abandon your father, however difficult he is, but transfer burden of daily care to professionals. Find a suitable long term care facility for him, and visit him often. Have breakfast with him on Wednesdays, and lunch on Mondays, and take him out to a movie or for a walk in his wheelchair on Fridays ... send him funny, cheery greeting cards. Continue to show your love. But not in your house, not 24/7, and not with your own money.

Sure you hate seeing your family like that -- who wouldn't? But their behavior is not your problem. If you don't know what to do, listen to your doctor and reduce the tremendous stress load you are under, before it kills you.

You are a fine daughter, and a worthy, unique individual. You deserve good care. Please take care of yourself!
Helpful Answer (31)
Reply to jeannegibbs
Report

SLEEPER:

Your sibs understand. They just think you're getting what's coming to you for hogging their "entitlements." Besides, you're single and w/o children. If you weren't caring for your dad, how else are you going to quell those instinctual, caregiving desires most people assume women have? In a nutshell, you're perfect for the job; even if it kills you.

Have a talk with your father. Tell him you're sacrificing your worldly possessions and yourself to care for him, and that it's time he pulls his own weight or make other arrangements. He can take it out of what you're supposed to be "inheriting": more verbal abuse, relationships gone down the drain, friction with your sibs. He's a real peach. Nothing's changed except his age.

I'd present him with 2 choices: shape up or ship out. People like him have a nasty habit of surviving their children, and you almost have one foot in the grave.
Helpful Answer (18)
Reply to Eddie
Report

Sleeper: What can I say, you have a bunch of losers for siblings. You can let that eat you alive or you can just understand that they are what they are. Obviously, you are the one who takes people in and tries to help them. That's kind of you and I understand that it is very disappointing when the kindness is not returned.

Now a better question might be, "Why do you put yourself in these positions where you are always giving and others are always taking?' You need to look inside yourself and ask why the need to be loved is worth more than your own health and potential happiness. I don't think you feel loved by those you have sacrificed for and that is the writing on the wall. Please take time to read it and weave into your being.

I give you great credit for trying to start your home business, but it won't help you if your brain is so scrambled from seizures that you can't think straight or if they cause your death.

Sweetheart, stop being the doormat for everyone else. Set some honest boundaries and make you the priority. I hope you understand that I am saying this with love and compassion. Nevertheless, you need to do for yourself what you do for everyone else.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to anonymous95109
Report

I am caring for my (severe dementia) mother, and the first thing I did when I took her into my home was to see an elder care attorney. I am the POA, and I was shocked to learn how I was legally entitiled to receive compensation caring for her and also receive rent--from her estate. In the first 10 minutes in that attorney's office, "my" responsibilities to her and "her's" to me (in order to live in my home) were outlined in a State Residential Lease Agreement, and a "Family and Personal Service Agreement." Without those agreements, I would have put her in Assisted Living Memory Care long ago.

The stress is still not worth it some days; and I also am looking into the very expensive care in an institution. But knowing I am not being taken advantage of financially and physically helps me to hang on, and at the same time giving her excellent care, which makes the situation much more tolerable. You need to be getting something out of this to feel good about caring for your father. I also have a ne're do well sister who did not visit my Mom, send a card, or make a phone call to her in 15 years, while living just down the street. She surfaced after learning my mother was declining, showed up uninvited at my mother's home, and all she talked about was she should get some of the money. My mother to this day does not know "who that woman was." I call it "divine intervention"; and she still asks me who that woman was. And, that is the reason I went to see the attorney; not to find out what I could get. but how to deal with my sister. The saints were lookiing over me when I made that appointment. I urge you to see an Elder Care Attorney in your area, and find out where to start, and what your rights are. At least then, you are taking care of yourself the best way you can, which will make you feel better and all the giving you are doing to your father.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to elnmrp
Report

Please be aware that if your father eventually has to be placed in a nursing home that his assets will be quickly eaten up. Here in Massachusetts the daily rate is $300 (or $9000 a month). I would urge you to spend his money now by hiring people to helpyou with his care. Chances are you will not come in to any inheritance.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to LloydBraun
Report

(((((Hugs)))) and kudos for starting up your own business. What a difficult situation!

You say your main issue is with your sibs. Indeed. There are many posters here with selfish siblings, who want what they can get, but will not be supportive in any way. I have one like that. You are the "care giver" in the family, and have been there for them. It is natural to expect that they will be there for you, but they are not. Sounds like dad is very self centered, even narcissistic, and your sibs are too. This is unlikely to change, and, as others have said, beating your head against that brick wall is only hurting you. I have found that I have more peace and protection accepting that is how it is. My mother and sister are narcissistic, and will use me to the extent that I allow it. I have had to put some serious boundaries in place, as my health was being affected. It sounds like you need to do more of that too. Living with an abusive person is very stressful and, in your case, could be lethal. I personally believe that no one should put up with abuse, and that anyone who is on the receiving end of abusive behaviour needs to make whatever changes they required for their own protection. Putting up boundaries like you are in terms of doing errands for dad on Saturdays is great. Just keep setting up whatever boundaries you need. If that includes finding other living arrangements for dad, so be it.

My main concern here is for you. What can you do to improve your situation, and decrease the stress which is killing you? Dealing with narcissistic self centered relatives is not easy. It was very kind of you to take dad in, from his point of view, but not kind to yourself at all.

I agree that Dad should be paying for his care - he has money coming in regularly. Your doctor is very concerned for your health, and how it is being affected by your situation.. Please discuss alternatives for your dad's care with your doctor, and possibly a counsellor/social worker, and how, in the meanwhile you can better protect yourself. I understand that you have a generous nature. Please apply that to yourself. I know it is hard when you have a "giving" personality, but I think you recognize that it is not working for you. There is no way I could ever live under the same roof as my mother. Her nastiness, and selfishness get to me far too much. She is well cared for in an ALF, even though she complains a lot, and still expects me to be at her beck and call. Typically, a narcissistic person has no concern for the health of others, and will continue to make demands of them, even though it is obvious to others that the caregiver is not well enough to meet these demands. You deserve better than that! Detaching, and distancing yourself emotionally from your siblings sounds like a necessary move. I know it isn't easy, BTDT, but it does help. Detaching from you dad and his needs, and looking at your own situation, and needs, and putting them first would seem to be a good move to. Again, I know it is not easy, but it is doable. BTDT, too. You can look after you, and dad's needs can be met too by a different arrangement. You say your sibs are your main issue, but if your doctor is saying you could die from the stress of having dad with you, i say that is your main issue.

We all want to be part of a warm caring family, where we can give, and other will give back to us, but not all families are like that. I had to grieve the loss of the family that I wanted, and was desperately trying to make function, and accept that my family is dysfunctional, that I have no control over them, but only over myself and my choices. It is my reality. It sounds like yours too.

Please come back and let us know how you are doing. It sounds like you have so much potential. If you dad ends up in another living arrangement, you still will have lots of opportunities to do things for him, but can limit that, and contact with him to what your health can tolerate.

more (((((((hugs))))) and prayers

Joan
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to golden23
Report

Short of dropping him on them you can't make other people see things they do NOT wish to see. You need to see this is hurting you and do what you can to alleviate your suffering and stop the ruination of you own health and peace of mind. Truly if you are so ill you need care, how does that help him? Find yourself some help however you must...
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Jsomebody
Report

How sad. But here is the reality: you cannot fix the relationship your siblings have with their father. You can suggest, you can plead, you can even throw a fit. But they are going to do what they are going to do. I do understand how this would upset you. I do get it that you would want to fix it. But try to let it go. It is not your responsibility or within your control. It sounds like you have enough just dealing with your own needs and your father's.

And I absolutely agree that your sibs should return the favors you have shown them in your more prosperous times. Perhaps they are selfish. (Sounds like it.) Perhaps they see the money not for you but for your father and they want no part of that. Maybe you should ask again, being perfectly clear that you are asking for something for yourself. That might not make a difference, but it is worth a shot.

Who get the money from the farm rental?

But I'm confused again. If Dad is not incapacitated at all, and if you can leave him to do errands, why do you need someone to come in to give you a 2-hour break? Can he be left alone, or not?

As for what he expects, well, so what? You are an adult, and it sounds like a very capable, strong, and industrious adult. He expects to know who you talk to on the phone? Tough. "A friend," or "A prospective client for my business," should be enough to keep things friendly. He expects you there every minute? If it is not medically necessary that he have 24/7 care, then that is not a realistic expectation nor one you need to fulfill. You are his adult daughter, not an indentured servant. You have generously opened your home to your father. That doesn't give him the right to take over your life. So, he gets mad. Surely you've survived his anger many times over the years. Let it roll off of your back.

If this is how Dad treats you, the daughter who is generously looking after him, I think I might have a sense of why your siblings do not have a good relationship with him, nor want to spend more than 5 minutes with him at Christmas. Behaviors have consequences and it seems to me Dad may be reaping what he has sown. It is sad, and I know you ache to change that, but I don't think it is within your power.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to jeannegibbs
Report

Check with a lawyer (and beg the doctor to write the order! at least you'll have a clear conscience!)

The question you need to ask is what would happen to your dad and who would step up if something happened to you? (heart attack, stroke, hit by a bus, etc.)
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Hank4422
Report

Find out how you can use his money now for his care. You shouldn't be using yours if he has some. Second, I think no matter what they would pay you to take care of him the stress of it all is just too much.You either need at home help or you should put him in a home. Of course his money will dwindle down a bit or maybe completely but trust me in the long run no amount of money can help you if you are sick or dead. I believe God only expects you to do your very best after that when it is harming your health and sanity I think he no longer wants you to do it especially completely alone. Please get help asap. This really isn't good for you. Anyways, if you keep up this way would you really be any good to your dad anyway? Just think about that.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Caring4Monnie
Report

See All Answers
Related
Questions