I am an only child. Both of my parents have dementia. I have no extended family or children. Anyone else have a stomach ache and GUILT?


Mom NH 7 yrs. If don't visit often care suffers. Dad home but barely. Even if I did decide to take on such a huge emotional fight Again, I don't have the energy to empty his cluttered house and sell it. I'm 47 and disabled. Parents kind but expect I will always take care of all. Dad has caregiver 5 hrs a day. I live down street. I don't do all the hands on work but am on call 24/7 and never go out of town. NH aren't a blissful answer as many seem to think. You still worry because they are cold (They really are) They are hungry and in pain and workers do their best but too many people to take care of. This has been going on 15 yrs. Does anyone feel like me? overwhelmed. trying to get by on the least possible effort; Other people don't understand. I've gone to groups and gotten counseling. I'm just burned out on the whole subject. But I know I won't have any life when they die. I've given it all up long time ago. No interests now. So far out of the loop.

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You are right that nursing homes aren't always wonderful. There are many that are excellent, some that are terrible, and more than a few that would be much better if only they had more staff and money.
However, you alone can't handle all of this stress. Even though you aren't doing all of the hands-on care, you are still on call 24/7. You don't get a chance to get away from the stress. Many of us have been in you shoes or in situations somewhat similar to yours. I was a primary caregiver to multiple elders in multiple situations for two decades. When you said 15 years, I got tired again just reading your story. Try contact your state's version of the National Family Caregiver Support Program. You'll find them on the state website. These people may be able to help you find some answers that you can live with.
You will have to detach to some degree from the guilt of not being totally available to your parents or you may die before they do. More counseling with the right counselor could help. Sometimes that takes several tries.
Take care of yourself, please. You must have some life of your own in order to survive.
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I'm the only child left too. My Mom is in Assisted Living. Sometimes I just need to get away and put myself first. My Mom has panic attacks when I go away. I pay for leaving and when I get home, but while I'm away it sure is wonderful. My Mom is of sound mind, her body is what's falling apart.

Sorry not to be of much help. Just letting you know you're not the only one.
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