Not only dealing with aging parent(s), neglecting my own health, but also that of my pets who are aging.

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For the past 7 years I had been busy with my parents [90's] who had refused to moved to an elder friendly environment, thus giving up my free time to help them with errands, groceries, doctor appointments, income taxes, etc.while I continued with my career. I knew I had been neglecting my own health as I just didn't have the energy to sit yet in another waiting room for my own doctor appointments.

My Mom had recently passed, and Dad is now in Independent Living which is such a relief for me. Now I am in the process of clearing out their house and putting it on the market for sale. My parents should have done this themselves years ago.

It wasn't until the past couple of weeks I realized my felines hadn't had a physical or their required shots in the past 5 years. Oops. Time just got away from me. Took in one of my cats for his "senior wellness exam" and found a lot of senior issues with him which I could have been helping him with if my parents hadn't swallowed up so much of my time.

Now all that resentment is coming back, as I don't know if this cat will live through the next several months, we are trying everything to get him better. As those who have fur babies know, these pets are part of the family.

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FF, everybody is right, don't beat yourself up! Resenting the time we've lost is my biggest issue too, 12 years of our lives, wishing I had them back! Why do we do this to ourselves? Because wecare the only ones willing to be the better person, loving and caring about our parents, that's why, but still, it would be nice if his other kids cared, even a little! They walked away a long time ago, and never looked back, what jerks! Leave it all for one to do it all! Thankfully, my own siblings didn't do this, but my husband's family are complete losers, so they wouldn't have taken care of him anyway. Cut your losses, and think about yourself now, and how you can improve your situation. Don't be hard on yourself! We all make mistakes along this journey. I know we have!
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Freqflyer - I think if I were to boil it down, it would come down to a resentment of a loss of time. Time spent with my own family, time spent doing the things I want to do. It's just a plain, nasty fact that we aren't getting any younger and things I might have been able to do even five years ago are pretty unrealistic aspirations now. Not much can be done about the past but we can try to learn from our experiences and make the most of what is left. Frankly, being resentful is just a further drain on our finite time. I say that being ever so resentful myself - but actively trying to get past it and working towards forgiveness. And the "mistake" we made - giving up so much, putting ourselves and our own significant others second or third, well - at least it was done for reasons of love, duty, responsibility, honor. So for my movie quote of the day I'll quote Jack Dawson in Titanic "I figure life's a gift and I don't intend on wasting it. You don't know what hand you're gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you... to make each day count".
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FF don't beat yourself up. Caregiving sucks any normal life away. I totally neglected myself for years, although my pets never wanted for anything. After taking six months to recover from the stress I'm doing some stuff for me - new prescription glasses, dental work and getting carpal tunnel fixed so I can use my hands properly again. Make a list in priority and check things off as you go.

I know just how much our animals mean to us. I prefer mine to most humans. I lost my eldest cat a year ago at 16. The current mouse squad are 2, 8, 8 and 9, dogs 7 and 10. We always think the worst but I'm sure he'll be ok. I adopted one many years ago aged 10 and he lived to be 20.
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I'm so sorry about your cat. I know; it's not fair. Not only did your parents take time away from you, but they took time away from your beloved pets. But you may find that your cat makes a much better recovery than you expect. One of my cats came back from what appeared to be a very rapid decline (caused by a bad reaction to an immunization) and lived till she was nearly twenty years old.
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FF, don't allow yourself to fall into the trap of blaming yourself for what perhaps should have been done. These caregiving journeys are learning experiences, ones with a mixture of flat and steep learning curves, often occurring after we're well past the time when changes could have been implemented.

I doubt there is one person here who can claim to have foreseen all the wide ramifications that occurred during a caregiving journey. If we had, we could have made changes.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Did you deliberately decide not to get physicals or shots for your cats?

2. Did you try to get your parents to change their habits, to get help long before your mother fell, to declutter, to help you navigate the often treacherous turns and twists of caregiving?

3. Did you know that any of the events that have happened would in fact occur, and did you deliberately neglect to deal with them?

Knowing you, the answer to these questions respectively are no, yes and no/no. Then you had no knowledge of how these issues would play out; you had no knowledge of how the situation would end up as it has, and it's still not over.

Since you didn't know that one cat would become an elder cat with his/her own problems, how can you blame yourself? Remember, you weren't alone in this scenario for the last several years. And you had little control over its evolution, over the twist, turns, rapids and literal sinkholes which would appear along the caregiving journey.

Monday morning quarterbacking is easy to do; predicting, making changes and accommodating to entirely new situations is not so easy.

When I finally crawled out of the pink collar ghetto and got into professional positions, I saw men handling their responsibilities so much more easily then the other professional women with whom I worked. They didn't wring their hands and beat themselves up over mistakes they made.

They analyzed the situations, thought of solutions that could have been implemented, and moved forward.... mid-course corrections and lessons learned.

We women tend to allow these kinds of "should have done that" situations to plague us, often for years, beating ourselves up emotionally and psychologically b/c we didn't foresee something we couldn't possibly have conceived of at the time.

Think like a business person and make your mid-course corrections. Get your cats as much help as you can. You don't, after all, know for sure that feline old age might not have brought these problems independent of the fact that you weren't able to focus on their care.

Don't beat yourself up; use the experience as a guideline and move forward to provide the best care you can for your cats, as well as yourself.
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