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I have been living with my parents {Dad: 87, getting slow and forgetful... mild confusion that comes and goes, very stubborn, difficult at times, etc... Mom: 81, Severe Dementia, (don't know who I am 99% of the time, or my dad, lives in a fictional world, and not always a happy one!) O2, incontinent, diabetes, severe scoliosis, ambulation problems, swallowing problems, thickened liquids, needs to be watched closely at meals or she will stuff 1/2 the plate of food in her mouth at once... diverticulitis, sun downers and the list goes on....} for 1 1/2 years now.

Background: I worked as a geriatric nurse for over a decade, but the hours didn't work for my kids, so I started a in home dog grooming business...For years I have brought and cooked supper for my parents every Sunday and did all their grocery shopping, errands, etc, while my 4 siblings (I am the youngest of 5) have had almost nothing to do with them. I knew SOME of their problems from the weekly or more visits. With the economy, I ended up loosing my house and business. I stayed with my parents for a "few days" until I could find a rental. Well, after getting into the house, I realized just how bad off they were (the things you don't see from the outside) and knew then that I couldn't leave them. my mom no longer knows who I am most of the time. Typical dementia, some days better than others. needs constant supervision. My dad can't tolerate her for more that a little while at a time. I worked at the nursing homes here and know that ISN'T an option.

My one brother will come over and help my dad with "projects" fixing things and such but my other 2 sisters only come for short "visits" enough to clear their conscience. Barely. Definitely not long enough to see the whole picture. They refuse to help toileting (I guess they are way to good for that.) or any cares while they are here.

Tonight my brother informed me that my 2 sisters have been talking, and they think MY MOM??? wants my herself and dad to move to the city where my oldest sister lives and get an apartment where they can LIVE ALONE and she could "check in on them once a week or so" ??? (She couldn't even put together a complete thought like that...)

My other sister put a nasty note on my face book about "Just goes to show you some people will run home to "mommy and daddy" no matter how old they are!

They think that I am just "Sponging" off my parents and that they would be better off without me. ??? Seriously? I have given up my life, my freedom, my sanity, to take care of our parents. I know for a fact that if I hadn't moved in when I did, they would both be gone now. They were both at wits end, but hiding it the best they could. Neither sleeping. My mom a danger to herself and my dad. Started fires in the kitchen 2 times in a matter of days. Falls.

I don't get any money doing this. I am going BACKWARDS. I am not getting any younger, and I am giving up my productive years to do this. I am broken hearted. I am burned out, but they won't even stay for 1/2 hour for me to get away. Nobody understands what I do. The sacrifice. then to think I am taking advantage of them?? I don't know how to handle this. I know hiring someone would cost a great deal more than ME living here.

Silly me, i would like some acknowledgement for my efforts, but instead I get only judgement on EVERYTHING I do. I know this isn't uncommon, but I needed to vent to someone who would have a clue of what I am talking about and dealing with. I am not expecting "answers" but hopefully some understanding and support. I don't think I could take any more right now. :(

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Honeys, you tried to do what is right. More so since your mom did not raise you. More so since your sisters and your mom lived in the same place and you did not. You tried but your family saw what it was doing to you and out of love for you, they intervened. Your are soooo fortunate to have them in your life! You did the right thing and shouldn't feel bad since at least you TRIED to give the care you thought your mom should deserve. It is time to reclaim your life. Take care!
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Thanks to everyone for your input. I am so glad that you agree that I am doing the right thing. This makes me feel so much more comfortable about it. God Bless all of you
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Darcey,
I feel for you. My mom and dad live alone for now. They are 91 and 88 both with
dementia. My brother expects my dad to still drive, take care of the yard and buy their own groceries. He expects my mom to cook. She has serious dementia and early alzheimers and only knows how to warm up food. Some times when I leave prepared food for her in the fridge she can't even locate it when I call her.
My brother however, controls their checking account so I cannot have funds to provide food or a caregiver to come in and service them. I know it will be only a matter of time before one becomes incapacitated to the point where they cannot
take care of themselves any more. My brother does not speak to me. Both my brother and I work though I am closer to retirement. I feel it is difficult for me to take care of them should I rush my retirement under conditions where my brother is handling all the purse strings and legal and financial power.(especially when he is narcarsistic, arrogant and controlling). I sing Karaoke at a lot of really nice
assisted living facilities that take good care of seniors. The seniors love our bi monthly visits where we entertain them. They have activities like bingo and crafts and ots of socialization opportunities. My dad is very socialable and he'd love it there. Their clients are clean, well groomed and they have a beautiful dining room with nutritious foods. They also have medical personal for emergency and doctor visits. I am sure that parents would love to go there and their children can visit them on the weekends. However, the siblings have to be willing to dish out the monies (5-6K) per /per/mon.
Many are stingy about this and would rather have one sibling be the care taker
to save the inheritance for themselves rather than waste it away in some extended care facility. I myself would rather have my family member live in
comfort and safety. That is what they worked all their lives for.
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First of all...Honeys, you said a mouth full!!!
There are a lot of loving family members on here caregiving their life away....we appear to all be feeling about the same negative feed back from family/parents.

Second...Darcy, bless you for your love to your parents!!!!! PLEASE know that you are NOT in this alone. There are a lot of caregivers here in your shoes. These are good answers, I too am going to have tocheck into Area on Aging for whatever assistance I can get for me and my parents.

Keep taking care of you...for your health and peace of mind...hugs to you!!!!!! Keep in touch.....newtothis.
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Darcy, you have it harder than I do because my husband helps me and the only problem I have is that I am 68yrs. old, my husband is 70yrs.old and my mother is 84yrs. old. I have 3 sisters that don't even talk to me and I have no reason "why". My husband and I lived in the state of Texas and My mom & sisters live in the state of Ohio. I got a call from my sisters,May 2011and said that my mom was going to have open-heart surgery and I should come home. But my mother refused the surgery and the doctors were going to have her put in a nursing home. I am a retired nurse and I couldn't stand to see my mom put in one when I knew that my sisters and I could care for her at home. What I didn't know, was my sisters, who all live within 10 min. of my mom wanted her put in a nursing home. When my mom was discharged to my care, all of my sisters quit coming to see her and speaking to me. I have now been her for over a year without a day out of the house because my mom is on so many blood thinners that the least cut could cause her to bleed to death but she has a home and a small amount of money in her savings account, she does not qualify for medicaid. For the last 3 months, I have been ill, too and I have just kept on going but Thankfully, I have a husband that loves me very much and 4 grown children, & 7 grown grandchildren and they have finally convinced me that my mother can go to a beautiful assisted living facility in this little town that she loves so well and they are moving me out of here( for my own sake). I have went several times to the assisted living facility several times and at different times and they give the residents very good care. My mother doesn't understand why she has to spend her money to live there when I (being the eldest) should be the one to take care of her for free and my sisters can go on living the lives they have. My grandmother raised me! She was never a mother to me. I have prayed hard about the situation that I am in and I am letting my husband take me home where I can enjoy my children, grandchildren & great grandchild. My mother probably won't outlive her savings account, but if she does, she has her home paid for and a classic automobile that can be sold to finish taking care of her. Feel, that I have given her all I have physically to give. I feel I have lived a good Godly life and it is time for me to quit killing myself so I have made all the arrangements that I can make to see that she gets good care. My youngest sister is her executor and she or the other two sisters are going to have to take over. I am going home!
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Darcy, I don't know if this has been suggested but have you checked on hospice. My mom isn't terminal with anything but because of debility she is on hospice. I wonder if your mom would qualify. Could you talk to the doctor about it? I get help with mom as a result of this and supplies that relate to her diagnosis. My mom has dementia and is at about the stage as your mom. I get so much support with her care and if I have a concern I can call any time of night. All covered by medicare.
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Im in the same boat as you are with family members. Total of 5 children and I'm the only one like you taking care of my 92 year old mother that had a stroke last year. What I have learned from this is to find others resources to help you rather than family because I would walk around so angry all of the time and it made me so sick just thinking about how cold and unloving they r towards me when I needed the help. So what I did was find help through the office of aging and they gave me free help in my area for 3 days a week for 2 hours per day just so I can get to the store for 13 weeks. I also found a good agency and reasonable rates to hire an aide for my mom for 2 times per week for 8 hours just so I can get a day
or 2 off. I hate to say this to you but you won't get any help from family so just use your energy to find other resources. That helped me. Your doing a great job and you will be blessed from the man up above. Also there is nothing wrong with you living there and just ignore what they say. If their not part of the solution then they are part of the problem. You can also get paid for what you are doing through your parents income too. Just document everything.
God bless you for what you are doing
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Darcy123,

I am sorry if it sounded like as though you planned to abandon them
--that was NOT intended!
Others mentioned doing things that could be constrewed as that, and some caregivers get desperate enough to do those kinds of things.

Even for a day's break away.
Which could give other family members who are less than understanding, an edge to get nasty.

Words of support and advice are given both for the one who posts in need, and for those who "lurk" and never post, so sometimes answers cover more than necessary, for those.

Your ability to keep doing full time care-giving is very hard work; it needs and deserves to be supported and rewarded!
Anyone doing that needs all the advice and support they can get, to help cope, to keep from buckling under pressure.
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I feel for you. I am in the same situation. I am a nurse who has been living with my Mother for almost a year. There were all types of promises made by my siblings that I would have plenty of respite time. Well it has been a year now and I have had a total of 2 nights of respite help. I don't even expect it anymore. The real tragedy is that I am soooo angry with my siblings! Not only are they not getting to spend some time with their elderly mother in her last years they are totally screwing me financially. I don't even think that they realize. I have tried to sit down and tell them but there is so much denial. I am grateful for my training as a nurse because I watched this with so many families. Just did not think it would happen to mine. So venting is good, knowing that you are not alone is also good. My thought are with you.
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Chimonger, I have no intention of abandoning them?? I plan to be here as long as I can. If the day comes where I just can't do it anymore, I will make sure they are in an adequate situation. I am doing this because I love them... Abandonment was never an option or even mentioned, so I don't know where that came from, but rest assured... they will be cared for.
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First time responding and I must agree this is just venting. I have a similar situation but it is only my brother and I . Although I have always been the one to help out with my parents (my dad is 97 and my mom is 87). I asked my brother for help ,really told him, after I had been living at my parents home for a month while my mom was recovering from a broken back. It was the holidays and I wanted to spend some time at my home with my family. We live three blocks from my parents. My brother agreed and before long he was here often and. I started to feel very grateful for his help. Within two months without my knowledge he got POA from my dad. Prior to that I had POA for both parents as well as health care proxies. Within 6 months he had spent 300000.00 of my parents money and when I questiones him about it it got ugly. Ultimately we wound up in court and now I have been appointed their legal guardian. I have been living with my parents now for over a year and my family comes to visit me here. My husband has been great but like you I feel like my life at times is passing me by. My brother has been back to court to state that I interfere with his visits and the court has made it so I am constantly on the defensive. We deal through a court appointed mediator. He complained to the court that his kids haven't seen their grandparents in a year. They can come anytime but have made no effort. I guess I am frustrated that he was able to so easily manipulate my parents and I am giving my all and their seems to be little recognition. I have recently hired some help at night and I am happy to say I was able to go game and sleep in my bed one night this week. I guess to get back on topic I feel that you know as do I that we are doing what is right by our parents. Do not let them bully you and see an attorney ASAP before things get out of hand as they did with me. Be strong
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Martydotcom has GREAT list of suggestions!
But CAUTION against just leaving them alone at any time, or in a way that might be seen as neglect or abandonment.
You are a nurse. You didn't say what level of nurse.
If you are a Licensed LVN or RN, you know about laws re: patient abandonment.
You took on their care voluntarily. Therefore you took them as patients for which you are responsible.
HOWEVER,
You can get help and advice, usually free, from your local Area Agency on Aging.
All kinds of helps are available through them [or your area's group that does that]--but I think they are National in the USA.

1. there needs to be a POA, as soon as possible, while at least one parent has ability to sign it legally.
There are various kinds of POA's, to handle "everything" and handle "medical only", etc.
Your local Area Agency on Aging should be able to help with that, if you need free legal. I know WA State has whats called "NW Justice Project", to help those who are low income to get legal help.

2. Have a Social Worker come to the house [that is free], to evaluate the situation for real, and write up a case,
and perhaps give you an estimate of what it would cost someone to hire helpers to come in 24/7 to do all the tasks needed for their care, and the household, that you have been doing.

3. From that estimate, do the math for the hours
[document them on a calendar, for instance],
to show what it would cost your family to pay for your professional services for all the time you have been there caring for them.
Document everything!!!

By documenting everything you have been doing, and putting a realistic dollar value on it, it helps YOUR self-esteem, and, provides a legal paper trail to protect you, AND conveys to siblings what it will cost them no matter where the folks live. You might also provide estimates on what a nursing home costs to care for them, or an assisted living.

It is so sad when siblings behave like that. They certainly have their perspectives--but those opinions are based on lack of information.

AT this point, it will be tough to tell them "how things really are"
--they will just get worse attitudes, because they will defend their opinions to the death, because they formed those thoughts, and therefore refuse to hear what you say as real.
UNLESS AND UNTIL you can show them documents made by officials describing the circumstances, and telling them what their care will actually cost them, they will not believe it.
That is a common fact of life for caregivers, all too often.

We went thru that at our home; the dysfunctional siblings are entrenched in their opinions so deeply, they refused to hear anything, and it was all wrapped up in their personal feelings of entitlement to vindictive retaliation for real or imagined insults decades past, as well as on our Mom's mental illness-driven imaginings....it has resulted in our no longer voluntarily communicating with them, to protect ourselves.
It resulted in my mourning the loss of not just what was left of Mom, but loss of family as well, for several years, because there seemed nothing I could do to stop them doing as they did.

I pray you have better results, by taking good advice and getting all the helps you can find, such as above, and, getting medical and counseling helps for yourself, to help renew your spirits. You are a survivor, and have managed to make it this far.

As one nurse to another, the time to be proactive is NOW, for yourself, and for your parents!
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Getting the sisters to stay with mom and dad is a good idea, but I get the feeling that they just may leave them alone, thinking the way they do about how they could "check in on them once a week". I don't know if you can trust them to stay and do a diligent job. Looking into the area council on aging is a start. If you apply for the medicaid help, the process involves an evaluation of your mother, including all the daily activities that she needs help with. Even if in the end, she doesn't qualify, you have that written evaluation to prove to your sisters that mom really needs a lot of care. Also, what help can you get from her doctor? Anything to state a diagnosis? Do not let them rattle you. You know what you do...they don't. Start keeping a log of everything you do. Meals, meds, baths, outbursts, shopping, cleaning....everything...(you probably already do that, being a nurse type person). If you do leave mom and dad with one of the sisters, show them that list so they know what needs to be done while you are gone. How old are your children? Are they able to help in any way? I know it is hard to get kids to help and, as I feel, it is not their fault all this is happening and we tend to feel guilty making them do any work since they are having a hard enough time as it is. But maybe they could help lift the burden somehow and earn their keep, so to speak...you are already earning your keep. I guess if your dad won't hire anyone to help, you, in the end may have to give some tough love and get a job and force him to get outside help. This is going to be a long story, I can tell. We are all here waiting to give you our two cents worth of opinion and suggestions. Hugs and strength sent your way today.
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Darcy, go to an elder care attorney and get them qualified for medicaid and full time nursing care at a medicaid nursing home. He or she will have all of the details. You can then be relieved of the burden but visit as much or often as you like.
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the comment about asking your sister to cover for a half hour.....etc. ...
why should u ask? u know she makes excuses not to-- so why not just say,
I am going out - ill be back soon- no need to explain- have your bag,keys,whatever u want to take with u ready before u tell her-
so my suggestion is tell her u r going out- dont ask--u dont need to explain- just go!
its just a thought-i have found thru my own problems with my brother-if i ask,it only gives him an out- if i dont ask but announce -
what can he do-besides complain but that happens anyway-so whats why not?
would your sisters just leave your parents alone?
siblings are so strange--
keep venting- i love this site-and the people are so real-they have been there-they know the deal-
so i will send u hugs and some good energy-
love k
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You can also ask Area Aging for Respite Care, where they have qualified people come out to the house so that you can have a couple hours to yourself. Also, is your dad a Veteran of the Armed Forces? He can qualify for the Aid and Attendant Care Benefit, which pays a monthly amount of about $2000, to help with medications, and in home care..etc... I used it for my dad, and it was a life saver..
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1. You're depressed, as well you should be by the situation, seek medical help.
2. Insist in a trial run for the evil sisters. Insist they care for Mom & Dad for a week while you disappear on respite break. .Let them change diapers, shower Mom when she has feces all over. Give them a reality check have them hand feed Mom. while keeping dad occupied etc
3.Make sure they know who pays for what and leave them the allocation whatever share your parents kick in. Make them shop for the week with Mom & Dad in tow
4.Ccomprehend the fact that they want Mom & Dad closer to them to ensure you're not stealing thei inheritance while providing 24x7 care for noyhing.
Who has tue POA. if you don't have one get one while Dad is still functional. offer a full accounting of parental assets. Get a letter from a case worker dealing the care Mom must receive and her incapability of independent living
I love to see their reaction if you were to say. " fine I'm out of here and leave the two piglet sisters saying " I should have been more careful in what I asked for. If they then want your help, quote them a daily rate.
Maybe a reality check will get them to realize the role of caregiver calls for the sacrifice of SELF and they'll smarten up
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Does anyone have POA? If you had durable POA then they have no say into moving them. Get your dad to sign one. Make sure it includes medical.
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Hun, Im so sorry you are going through this. Im a caregiver for my MIL and she is just evil. But it sounds like you have it way harder than I do. I feel for you. And yes, check into every resource you can. A lot of programs are out there that people dont even know exist. Vent all you want dear!!! If you dont and keep it all bottled up, you'll end up sick and with a host of other problems. So, VENT AWAY!!!!! We will listen lol Have a great day and God Bless You!!!
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Darcy: I'm thinking you should talk to your local Area on Aging and also Social Services in your County. If your mom could qualify for Medicaid, it's likely that you could get paid to care for her in the home. That would give you an income.

I went to our local Area on Aging once and met with the employee who was in charge of helping caregivers. I just wanted to know about a caregivers support groups, but when I had left, she had arranged for me to have 30 hours of in home help with my dad at only $1.20 per hour cost to me.

You need some help and you are not going to get it from your sisters. Accept this as the truth. It doesn't matter if it's fair or not, it's just a fact. So let it go because to keep reaching for their help will only add to your frustration.

I'm glad your dad reassured you and expressed some appreciation for all you've done for the past year and a half. Still, he can't just leave everything on your shoulders.

Please check into other resources for assistance. Stay in touch.

Cattails
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Who has POA for your parents?
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What kind of an income does your mom have, separate from your dad? I have a reason for asking.
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Oh, one of the last times my sister came to "visit" I asked her if she could stay long enough for me to run to walmart... I said I could be back in 1/2 an hour. She said she would have to call her daughter, as they rode to town together and see what time SHE had to leave to get back.... she called, I was right beside her, she didn't realize I could clearly hear BOTH sides of the conversation!! He daughter said she didn't have to leave until 9. (It was currently 8) My sister got off the phone and said, "Sorry, Alissa can't stay that long...couldn't you make it shorter??" Are you kidding??? 1/2 an hour?? I said, no, that by the time I drive across town to walmart, find what I needed (running) and get back it would take the full 1/2 hour... That is asking to much. Sorry. I do get it. I know they are in denial. If there is no problem then they don't have to feel guilty, and can have such a wonderful time talking about how much they hate me for being a taker/sponger. Makes them feel better about themselves.
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Sorry for the typos... I am re-reading this and wow, I made a lot!!
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Thanks. My dad is glad for the help, but he is constantly worrying about money. He knows he can't handle my mom. He does everything to avoid being around her most of the day. Like this am, he said he was going out to the garage and would be back in a few minutes.... 2 hours later i had to call him in for lunch, he ate and then back out to the garage to tinker. Then in only in time for his nap... then over to "check on" the neighbor... He doesn't think twice about spending money on something he "thinks" he needs... and donates more money than we spend... but he stresses about the extra money it costs to have us there. Yes, I have a son and daughter living here too. We live on the basement level of the house. My parents upstairs. I spend all day up with them.

No, I don't think he would willingly pay someone to help.

My sisters and I have a love/hate relationship. We can be close, and then they are against me. Back and forth. It is complicated. I am the youngest and
tend to get along better with the 2 of them than they do each other though. I am the submissive one who hates conflict and confrontation. They seem to thrive on it. This is one of the few times when they are on the same team though. A while back one of them told my dad that he should really be more appreciative of me though, as I put my life on hold to care for them... now this??? They both seem to see things through tainted lenses, but now they are feeding into each other apparently.

I am family is also leary of having a non family member here as they hired help for my grandparents... come to find out she loaded up her car everyday before she went home~ with their belongings!! My grandfather had a stroke, and she left him in a chair for a full day, in his own urine while she grabbed as much as she could take and then bailed. They had a lot of valuables in that house. Never heard from again. (Sadly I don't even know if they notified the police... my parents are weird about things like that.)

I asked my dad about it today... said that Todd (brother) gave me a heads up, and I thought I should do the same for him. He said "No way! We don't want that." And I told him that they thought my parents would be better off without me, he said " We couldn't do it without you." pretty much. That helped.
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Darcy: How do your parents feel about you living with them? I don't imagine your mom is really the one to ask, but how about your dad? How would they respond to an in-home caregiver coming in a few times a week for a few hours to give you a break. Would they be willing to pay for that? Maybe even get in home help for free or greatly discounted.

You can also check with your local Area on Aging and see what support is available for your parents. They might be able to help more than you think.

I'm wondering what your relationship was like with your sisters before you moved in with your folks. Was it touchy then or has that just happened in the last 18 months? Are your children living with you and your folks?

What you are doing is very stressful and exhausting. I hope you can get additional help.

Hugs, Cattails
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Hi Darcy, like jeanne said, your situation is far from rare. For years I've been helping my dad care with my mom with Alzheimer..going on 23years of My life. Like you, we really didn't have much help from most of my siblings (total of 7.)
Last year, my dad had a stroke and is now bedridden. I thought, with now 2 bedridden parents, that I would have help with the family. Nope! I asked and begged, threatened to walk out and suicide,etc..Still nope. All it did was get me so much angrier, more bitter, more resentful, more depress and suicidal. Like you, I wanted them to help me with the parents. It’s very difficult.

Your situation is so much worse than mine. Not only do you have to contend with the parents, but also with your sisters! Obviously, they haven't spent a whole day with the parents. Any possibility that the next time sis visits you, you can make an excuse to go out and leave sibling with parents for several hours? Maybe sis will learn the hard way the truth about the parents!

You're doing good so far with all that's happening. Vent all you want. It will help relieve all that anger and frustration so that you can start thinking of ways to protect the parents from moving away. Take care!
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We understand, Darcy.

My heart goes out to you. You are not alone and your situation is far from uncommon, but that does not make it hurt any less.

Hang in there!
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