roxlang Asked July 2009

I got accepted into graduate school but I also take care of my father in law with Parkinson disease. Should I not attend grad school this fall to care for him?

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I got accepted into graduate school but I also take care of my father in law who has Parkinson disease as well as diabetes. Should I not attend this fall. He can't be left alone but I know there are other alternatives? Should I not be so selfish?

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Jamiea336 Jul 2009
OK, I AM A LIAR! NOW I'M GOING TO TELL YOU WHAT YOU SHOULD DO.

STAY IN SCHOOL!!! INVEST IN YOUR FUTURE.

Do not LET ANYONE TALK YOU INTO making excuses! Your one year old needs care and so does your father in law. - But it doesn't mean it's all on you to care for both! IT WILL ALL WORK OUT. Yes it will, but with the way you sound right now, IT WILL ALL BE AT YOUR EXPENSE!

By all means, tend to your child...but I'm sorry that hubby doesn't know what to do with his Dad. Please for your sake, LET HIM FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO FOR HIS FATHER!!!, If you can offer assistance between your responsibilities and classes that would be great / but otherwise there are services available.

Do not fall into the well meaning caregiver trap. Please!!! It is like a bottomless pit! But on the other hand, if you do...I've been in here for close to two years now-and I'll enjoy some new company!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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roxlang Jul 2009
Thanks guys. My husband just dosen't know what to do but at the sametime he dosen't want me not to go to school. It is more of a financial situation, besides adult daycare I will still need care for my one year old. My father in Law does have another child but she lives two hours away. I am thinking it will all work out.
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roxlang,
Go to school!!! Doesn't your father in law have children, sisters or brothers to care for him.? Why is the duty falling to you? What does your husband say? Is he in your corner, or does he expect you to do all the work? These are questions that need to be answered, because you seem to be doing all the work and not expected to have a life. I was in the same boat, brother did nothing and mom wanted me to stay with her and be her social life!!! Set boundaries, get your life back and hire some help or make the rest of the family step up and help. Good luck.
Linda
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Jamiea336 Jul 2009
Barthas is so right! I've been taking care of my grandma for almost 2 years now. I have no life, well not any that I'm happy to wake up to each new day. I have spent every dime I had in savings and I have no job other than 24/7 grandma duty. And guess what - there's NO benefits.

It's like I turned my house into a private rest home, and I never intended for that to happen. I thought grandma would function as part of the family, but she doesn't she just watches TV constantly and expects me to do everything for her (including change the channels for her!) She doesn't like for friends to come here and hides in her room. She won't join in at meal time unless it's just my kids and me. Is it any wonder that friends don't want to come around anymore.

I know I have to make some changes and reclaim my right to a productive life, aka: go back to work. I don't think it is selfish. But I do think it would be foolish for me to continue in self sacrifice. Hmmm...I think it's better to plan for when I'm old rather than ignore it could happen!!! The only thing she planned was to stay in her home for as long as she possibly could.

When I took all of this on I really believed it was the right thing to do. I have struggled from the very beginning, but I thought we were adjusting and it would get better, easier or something like that. No, I just keep getting more miserable and my kids too. Now all I can ask myself is, "Who exactly is this right for?" I won't say what you should or shouldn't do, but I hope sharing a little about my experience can help you make good choices **for yourself**

Take care,
Jamie
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jmhca Jul 2009
I will give you my advice, for what it's worth, knowing that ultimately, the final decision is yours and only you know in your heart what is best for you and your father-in-law. I will tell you that I do not know a single family caregiver that doesn't feel some kind of guilt. My guess is that even if you did pass on graduate school to care for your father-in-law, you might still feel some kind of guilt - perhaps that you're not doing enough, perhaps you had to take some time to yourself, or something along those lines. Additionally, the sad truth is that caregiving, particularly for a family member, is one of the most stressful jobs one can have. In fact, there is research that indicates that many caregivers actually die before the individual they're caring for. Stress and burnout are all too common. Personally, I do not think you are selfish for considering graduate school no more than I would consider you selfish for being thirsty for a glass of water. You have the right to at least consider it - let go of the guilt. Yes, there are other alternatives for your father-in-law. In addition to institutional care such as nursing homes and assisted living facilites, you could arrange home care for periods when you or your husband (or another relative) cannot be there. Then you, or your husband could fill in the gaps - i.e. spend time with him when you can. Under this type of arrangement, you will most likely even find that the time you spend with your father in law is "quality" time, as opposed to "caregiver" time. At the end of the day, everyone will be a lot happier. Feel free to reach out - Best, Jeff
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barthas Jul 2009
If you have the resources to take your father-in-law to daycare during the day and/or have an aide come to help you, I think it is important that you go to school. One of the biggest mistakes for caregivers is giving up their own lives.
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