Follow
Share

I've been looking online for organizations or support groups to advise on how I am supposed to be caring for my parents. I don't have siblings, never married, no children, no local family and I have been caring for my parents for years. As health issues and general care/safety incidents increase and escalate, I am getting very anxious and I know that there are things that I should be doing... I don't know where to start and my parents are stubborn and fight me. It's two against one, I feel like I am fighting a losing battle. Are there reputable organizations that can advise me on what I should be doing? Are there local support groups? Are there non-profit organizations that can help me figure out what I am supposed to be doing to plan for what lies ahead? I found a list of documents that I should have about my parents, but how do I ask for that information? My mom refuses to deal with anything. Any advice would be appreciated, but I am on my own, so please don't overwhelm me more.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
@freqflyer Thank you so much for for your post. I don't know anyone going through anything remotely similar. It was encouraging that I'm not completely unique and alone in dealing with such a heavy burden.

I am feeling very emotional, as I am writing posts and actually seeing a list of issues that my parents are in denial about and that I have been trying to manage by myself. I feel inadequate and guilty for not being better at taking care of them. I'm also realizing that I've been in denial to some degree too, my parents are a danger to themselves and I can't manage it.

To be able to adequately care for them, I would need some cooperation from them. And they seem to be literally incapable of seeing anything beyond their own world.

Your comparison of dealing with a three year old is accurate, but I don't understand it and or think I could have boundaries without feeling like I was abandoning them.

Your honest and unapologetic responses to your dad's unreasonable requests made me wonder about my parents. I offered to drive my parents to and from appointments because it's such an ordeal for them to drive. We are from San Francisco, where I never had a car, my stepfather was a cabdriver and my mom barely ever drove. She's a terrible driver and with her limited mobility, oxygen, etc, she can barely get to the car. They don't ask for unreasonable things, I just keep doing what they clearly need help with. Then they take me for granted and just don't cooperate with me.

I honestly don't know anymore, if they are being extremely self-centered or if it's part aging or a symptom of their health problems... My mom is very overweight, depressed and waiting to die, her health is really bad and I know that I don't have much time left with her.

They're not just being cheap either. I had to leave them alone in San Francisco when I lost my business and had to move to Florida. My stepfather was a cabdriver and lost his vision just as I was leaving and had to retire early. I tried to discuss assisted living with them then. They acted like I was out of my mind, but ended up leaving everything behind and moving to Florida two years later because they really couldn't manage. My mom also put most of her retirement into his cab company's stock and the cab company went bankrupt. They are struggling. They are also renting their condo from my stepfather's brother and I have suggested that they move to a home where I could stay with them and of course, "absolutely not!"

I can't refuse to help them and even when I've tried explaining things to them reasonably and pleaded for my stepfather to not put ice cream containers and food in the sink, he says "ok" and will do it again within hours.

Or every time I am trying to put away their groceries (with my own spoiling in the car), while cleaning whatever broke or spilled, while I was shopping, my mom repeatedly asks me to bring her candy and other dumb things. I ALWAYS say "Can you just wait until I get the groceries away?" Then, EVERY time, my blind stepfather comes into the tiny kitchen that has bags and obstacles on floor, cabinets open and I have to stop and do whatever she wanted and repeatedly tell my stepfather to just please sit down... EVERY TIME!!!

I just don't have the time or energy to try to reason with them anymore. I just do my slave work and take my small pittance of groceries and go. God forbid I eat their food! My mom watches me like a hawk, while I am there and tells me not to eat my stepfather's food or some random item she is coveting. She also knows that I have no food at times. She can't stop herself.

It's so blatantly rude, self-centered and unreasonable that I can't fathom that they are just being brats. It's got to be medical.

I have repeatedly explained that they can't call me the day that they want me to grocery shop for them, I have asked my mom to call me before or while scheduling appointments that she makes and I just don't understand why they can't do something so simple. Even if I rearrange my schedule to accommodate something for them, they don't seem to be able to do something as basic as getting my mom's oxygen ready before I pick her up or writing a list before I get there for the store. I used to get angry at how demanding and inconsiderate they were, but eventually I just accepted it because what choice do I have? I don't have the energy or time to be mad or keep repeating my requests for cooperation and take care of them and take care of my own stuff.

Now that they are getting worse and worse, there are too many things to do. I've barely slept in three days, but haven't been able to concentrate to do my past due reports. It's 5am and I have a video interview in the morning and now I'm trying to figure out if I can get out of my delivery job today, because I could barely see to drive yesterday with no sleep and allergies and crying.

I apologize for the long replies, I just haven't been able to tell anyone or even see/hear what my life actually looks like right now. I don't know what is normal or if my parents' behavior is indicative of other health issues 😐
(0)
Report

Sunset
They don't need dementia to qualify for services
They are an emergency waiting to happen - many of us are not able to reason with elders until that emergency happens - and that is not a good place to be - in hospital while the Medicare clock ticks and you're left scrambling trying to find a suitable place for discharge

Hope you can get a needs assessment soon
(2)
Report

@ BarbBrooklyn I've been looking for local resources and plan to make some calls this week. My concern is that the resources I've found are few and far between and seem to be spread quite thin with the enormous number of seniors in need in Florida. They are unreasonable, but don't have alzheimers or diagnosed dementia, so they may not qualify for the majority of resources that I was able to find so far.

It's already very difficult dealing with the two of them, validating each other's minimization/denial of problems, when I attempt to talk to them or make suggestions. If I get an agency assessment, it will certainly escalate tensions between us.
Even if I could anonymously request assessment, they would probably tell the agency that they are managing with my help.

My parents want to live "independently", having me do their shopping, cleaning, errands, etc. My mom also wants me there when the exterminator, plumbers, growing list of repairmen come, etc. come to fix all of the appliances, etc that my stepfather constantly breaks, because they won't even discuss making their home accessible.

They just want to watch tv and have me jump in as their health and household crises increase in severity and frequency.

A couple of weeks ago, my mom hadn't eaten in several days because an antibiotic made her sick. She waited three days to call the doctor or tell me. She was waiting all day for a call back from her doctor, going another day without eating and barely drinking anything. She refused to go to ER, so I went to to get her some Ensure and the Depends that she now needed. Thank heavens I had taken her to her doctors appointment, filled out her forms the week before and added myself to her confidentiality disclosure list! The doctor's office called her back while I was gone and told her to just keep taking it! She was too sick to argue and just said ok.

I had to argue with the doctor's office, demand that they issue a different prescription and explain that my mom didn't just have an upset stomach but was weak, dehydrated and unable to eat for days.

Each week it seems to be more and more... In the last two months, we've had three or four plumbers, we are going on third dishwasher in two years, after my stepfather broke the door off of one, tripping over it and then breaking brand new one, we've replaced sink faucets in bathroom and kitchen that he's broken, he broke a tooth (pretty sure that he fell). Twice this month my stepfather put pillows in the dryer, so I had to get all of the cotton stuffing out from under the vent in dryer...
Since my mom is not mobile and barely moves from chair to couch to bathroom, she isn't showering enough and getting infections under her breasts, requiring multiple doctors visits. My blind stepfather is stumbling over her oxygen cord. He's preparing food for both of them, leaving food/dishes in lately non-working sink, in addition to the food he drops everywhere, being blind, which has now attracted roaches, which I have to clean when I go to buy their groceries, get prescriptions and try to clean the rest of their condo, etc.

This is just the last few months and a partial list of the endless cycle of calamities and crises that continue to escalate.

My stepfather's brother owns the condo that they rent and visited recently (lives out of state). He is apparently going to help them get an accessible shower. I'm thinking that I need to talk to him, but my parents won't want me to, so I am trying to get his phone number, without alerting them. It's awkward because I'm not related to him and don't really know him and if he doesn't agree with me about their care, it could complicate and make my situation with my parents worse.

I think I'm burning out? I'm sitting here writing a book when I should be catching up on my reports for work that are already late 😞🙁😣
(0)
Report

Sunset3339, been there, done that. Also an only child, etc. Watching my parents age was an eye-opener because my parents and I had lived too far to visit their own parents so I never saw their parents age.

I see your parents still live under their own roof, and that you are under your own 20 miles away. Same with my parents. I was not cut out to be a caregiver but was good logistically. Since I never had children, I never got to learn how to reason with a 3 year old, to use that same formula to reason with a 93 year old.

Thank goodness for this Aging Care forum. How I wished I would have found it years prior as it became difficult to start placing boundaries after all this time.

I remember when my Dad asked me to give up my career to give me more time to drive them all over hill and dale. I asked Dad if he gave up his long standing career to take care of his own parents or my Mom's parents.... the answer was no, and he never asked me again.

Working full-time, then trying to take time off from work was a major issue, lot of stress. My parents refused to use a taxi service. Lot of doctor appointments with two elders. I tried to get back to back appointments if they were seeing the same doctor.

Yep, parents will challenge you all the time. That has to do with the adult/child dynamics. In their eyes, we are still just the "kid" and what do we know. My folks still viewed me as being 30 something instead of being a senior myself :P

Very overwhelming, twice I crashed and burned from the physical and emotional exhaustion. I tried to explain to my Dad that his own Mom had a village of relatives to take care of her, same with my Mom's parents. And here, it is just me.

Ok, what to do. If you parents can afford to budget for Independent Living or to paying to have a caregiver helping them during the day, then they need to blow the dust off their wallet to do so. My gosh, what if something happened to you, then what? We need to stop enabling our parents so that they can keep up their lifestyle by us needing to change our own. Nope, not easy. Take tiny steps.
(4)
Report

Hi Sunset, I know what you're going through. I had responsibility for both my parents - mom for 15 years and dad for 9. So both of them for 9 years together. It's enough to drive you nuts! I'm also single, never married, no kids. I do have a brother, but he never did anything and lives in another state. A couple of things I learned over time:

1.) This is a marathon and not a sprint, so you have to pace yourself. You can't do it all and you can't do it perfectly, so cut yourself some slack. Only do what you can reasonably do. No more.

2.) You don't control the universe and you don't control your parents. I tried several times to change longstanding patterns in my parents' behavior and I finally realized they had their own relationship that was older than me. I wasn't going to change it, so I quit trying. That took a huge burden off of my shoulders.

3.) You can only do what you can do. If they don't let you do things, that's fine. You'll just have to step back until there's an emergency and then maybe you can make some changes.

Getting a needs assessment is a great start. Then decide what you can do to help (that they'll allow) and let the rest go. Your health and happiness are just as important as your parents'. Don't run yourself into the ground trying to make them happy. Do what you can and let the rest go. And come back here often - we've all been there and done that and can empathize with what you're going through. {{{Hugs}}}
(4)
Report

Sunset, welcome!

Every county has an Area Agency on Aging. Look at your county's website and find the Office on Aging, or Elder Affairs. Call them up and ask for a " needs assessment" for your parents. It's a good place to start.

Do you live with your parents? Do you work?

More information will help us give you better advice.
(3)
Report

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.