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Today is a gorgeous sunny day and I would love to be outdoors with my boyfriend sharing at least a part of it. I am lucky to frequently get away on a Saturday to spend some time with him, but for a long time now that is the only time we can get together. He lives out of town but not too far.

I am single and caring for my 87 yr old widowed dad who has diabetes (for 25yrs now). I live with him. Each time he sees his doctor for his quarterly visit the doctor says all his bloodwork is good and to just keep up what he's doing to take care of himself, (which is depending totally on me.)

I am a caregiver my nature. I took care of my mom for many years before she passed. I never married and that is why the caregiver responsibilities fell upon me. Siblings are out of town. My father does not want to be left alone. He does have some dementia but somedays he seems just fine. I just get so down and depressed. I'm almost 60 and want to enjoy my latter years. My gentleman friend is a few years older than me and has medical problems but they haven't slowed him down yet. he becomes so frustrated because he wants us to spend time together. I want to because who knows what's around the corner for us. His illness could progressl at any time. I believe my father is jealous of him. I come from an ethnic backround where the women sacrifice their lives to take care of the older members of the family. My father absolutely refuses a caregiver. He has actually told me that I must sacrifice my life for him. The guilt trips are unbelievable. They truly do know how to push those buttons to make you feel sorry for them and guilty. I see my life passing before my eyes. I'm afraid I'll lose my friend either from illness or out of his frustration with me. He has been so good to me and patient. I'm wondering if other's are going through this and how do you cope? Thanks. I needed to vent.

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I understand completely! My husband & I are both 61 & my dad lives with us. I really miss having time with my husband to do things & go places together, just the 2 of us. My husband retired 2 years ago. My dad has Alzheimer's, CHF & had a stroke. This is the toughest thing I've ever done. I just found out about a day programs for ALZ patients. I'm hoping to leave dad there & use that time with my hubby. My husband watches my dad while I go out shopping, have coffee with friends & play cards. But it's not the same, is it? My sister is here visiting this week, so we are planning a date night. I long for my former life.
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Dear Denni:
Funny you should pop in with your post. I live with my mom, who has vascular dementia. She expects quite a lot of me and I am the only pup, as she puts it. I thought I was doing pretty well one day until our neighbors came by and told me they pray for me every morning, as they know how hard it must be for me. For some reason my heart started to ache with sadness and tears came upon me as I had never experienced. I actually had to call one of my girls to spell me so I could go home to my husband.

Dopey me, I had no clue how much pain i had stored up and I get extremely homesick at times. My girls have families and can only rescue me when possible. so you see, you are not alone in the "pitty party." Some days are ok. I did tell mom we were going out for anniversary #38 one night. She had dinner and was watching telly when we left (only for an hour) and when I returned she had every setting of dishes out and tables set! Lol. She told me the guests must have gotten lost or had an accident. Coincidence? I think not.
Sorry to have rambled on, but i can still feel that wince of pain on my left shoulder to this day and even the tearsxform as i write you tonight. I am blessed with a great husband who took all his marriage vows to heart. Hopefully your SO will remain your buddy; it isnt that easy for guys to find women who are as nice as you sound. No matter what part of the world we come from, it is very,very hard to set boundaries with our parents. It seems backwards. I am doing so now though and my thoughts are with you tonight.
tonio :-) and hugs too.
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You say that your father does not want to be left alone. That is a different statement than your father is not safe to be left alone.

People with an ethnic heritage that is different than the mainstream of the country they live in have to make some choices. Which ethnic elements are they going to honor and preserve, and which do they want to trade in on a new model? Your father's heritage, which he chooses to honor and preserve is "the women sacrifice their lives to take care of the older members of the family." Sounds like you've honored that, too, taking care of your mother for so long. Is it still a viable outlook for you? Is it still a principle you want to uphold? If so, then please be clear about that with your SO. Father comes first, always and forever, even if he lives another dozen years. I suggest that you surround yourself with other women of your ethnic background so you can support each other in what you see as your duty.

Or, do you want to embrace a new outlook? In this culture we are not big on women sacrificing their whole lives for the elderly. We tend to set some boundaries, and our ideal is balance between our needs and the needs of others. (I don't say we always achieve the ideal.) (And it is entirely possible, Denni, that if you were to the "old country" you would find significant changes in the role of women, there, too.) If this is a path you want to take (and it is certainly the one I urge upon you, from my own ethnic perspective), you are going to need a lot of support. SO will provide support, I'm sure, and counseling may be a good idea, too.

Good luck to you.
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((((((Denni)))))) I am 75 and have a sig other. I also have a narcissistic mum who will soon be 100, and looks like she will have a few more years. She is in an ALF. There is no way I could live with her. She would take over my life as your dad has taken over yours. Even at a distance (she is in another city by her choice) she tries to involve me in every detail of her life. I ignore a lot of it. I have POA, and basically, oversee her care, though cannot be intimately involved. Life is short. I agree with Bette that you have no obligation to give up your life for your dad, and also with your gentleman friend that you are "brainwashed" by your dad. It is very hard to keep perspective when a parent hammers you with their demands. There is a website - google daughtersofnarcissisticmothers - which would apply in your case with your dad. I found the information there very helpful. Information is power. I agree with Bette -see a counsellor, also I will suggest that you get in touch with the aging agency in your area to find out what resources there are for your dad, and plan a trip to spend some time with your friend. You do not need your dad's permission to take a break. Then with your friend and with the counsellor and any other people trained oin the care of seniors, make a plan that provides for your dad's care, and also allows you a life of your own. It is not all up to your dad to decide how and where you are going to spend your time and energy. Good luck and let us know how your make out. ((((((hugs))))))Joan
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BettyB,

I apreciate your insight on the microchip comparative. I like that. That is very interesting. I was seeing a therapist for awhile then took a break. I definitely need to start going back. A good clear mind is exactly what I need to keep this situation in perspective. My gentleman friend tells me that I am brainwashed from being around my father for so long. If I died he would need to go straight to a nursing home. He should actually be there now, but as with many other caregivers from what I've been reading here, but for our respect and love (whether the elder is deserving of it or not) they are safe and taken care of in the environment they are familiar with.
My father is so terrified of going into a home that I believe he will do practically anything to prevent that. If my quality of life is diminished he could not care less. Besides the fact that he has narcissitic qualities, I suppose it is also self preservation. Thanks again. I sincerely appreciate your advice.
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Denni, have you considered talking with a counselor? Professional help of this kind might be useful in just laying the issues out, the way you've done here. But there's something else, too. You say that you are feeling sorry for yourself, and those words come from a different part of you than the part that is able to state the situation objectively AND make clear statements of how you are feeling about the whole situation. In other words, there's a part of you that is telling you everything would be fine if you would just stop feeling sorry for yourself, and that part of you is like an implanted microchip from your family system and its expectations, and that microchip has one job and one job only: to keep repeating that message on a continuous loop. A counselor might be able to help you challenge that voice and rely more on your clear mind and your good, clear heart. And if that's not an option, you might get the same benefit from a support group. Bottom line: no matter what your father says and no matter what he wants, you are absolutely not obligated to sacrifice your life for him. He needs to know that if he is going to continue to be supported in the style to which he has become accustomed, he needs to cooperate with you. Ask yourself what he would do if you died. As for the guilt trips, you asked how some of us cope. This is probably a matter of personality and temperament, but for what it's worth -- when somebody tries to make me feel guilty, all that happens is I get mad.
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