Where do we draw the line?


How much must a son/daughter sacrifice when giving care to their elderly parent? Where is the line drawn? When is it okay to say....enough is enough? Is caregiving a "right of passage" that we all must endure? What happen's when it adversely affects us? Is it okay and proper to actually quit a job to enter a state of servitude to your parent? Is it okay to put your life and health at risk for your parent? Is it expected for you to literally put your own life on hold while you enter into a 24/7 guardianship......a constant companionship. When is okay to say....NO? Is it mean to put your parent into a "home"? Does this put us all into a spiraling guilt trip? As I have said before, I do not wish this caregiving onto my worst enemy. To be in literal servitude and to see the daily decline of my mother is torture enough for me. This whole thing of getting old is devastation in every sense of the word. Again, when is enough.....enough? Caring for an elderly parent can wreck a life.....mentally, physically and financially. The devastating affects.....could last years after your parent is gone. When is enough....enough?

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I have been where your are. I decided to change the situation. I feel sad but am moving my parents into assisted living. They are very upset with me and my father has called me everything but a child of God. I don't see this as a panacea for all of the problems - there are still doctor's appointments and I am sure they will call me every hour of the day for some emergency. But I hope to be able to sleep at night and start having some life for myself. I have been exhausted for the last two years and have not left my house overnight for 3 years. I have read posts for the last year and realized that this can go on for over 10 years like StandingAlone. After 3 years, I have determined I am not a Saint nor am I a terrible Sinner, I am just a person doing the best I can, and I can't do my best anymore.

It's my personal opinion that nobody has an absolute right to every single bit of you, whether they be your blood, or not. If your entire self is being given to someone else, to the detriment of your own health, sanity, and well being, imo, you're giving way, way, too much. And there is such a thing as too much.

I'm sitting here after the last 10 years dealing with my mom's ALZ a physical wreck. My health and sanity have suffered so much that I wonder if I'll ever get over it.

Do I personally believe that people should just give and give and give and give for anyone, until they're reduced to a husk? Hell no.

If you don't take care of yourself, if you don't find some way to find ME time, you won't be taking care of anybody for long. And your charge may well outlive YOU. No thanks.

Grab some freaking life for yourself, and piss on the guilt. It's not a luxury to do that, in my opinion, it's a damn NECESSITY.

Dear Roscoe, Having read your story above and various comments you have contributed on may other's posts, I can hear the desperation and resentment you are feeling that you have been stripped of any semblance of a normal life. You've more than paid your dues with your Mom. Somebody said elsewhere in this forum that just because our parents raised us, does not mean we owe them our entire life when they get old (or words to that effect). In other words, we didn't ask to be here. I'm not saying I agree 100%, but I do not think we are obligated to give up 100% of our lives either. Parents generally don't, because eventually the child grows up and takes care of themselves, so it's not a lifelong obligation.for a parent. I believe you have long since reached the point where caregiving has negatively affected your wellbeing. You have done everything humanly possible to take care of your Mom and I think you should start taking careof yourself. Only when you make the move to put Mom in a facility, will you be able to start reclaiming your life. You honestly have nothing to feel guilty for. Once Mom is in a NH, your job will change to mainly an administrative role, and believe me that is plenty of work in itself, but at least you will be able to sleep at night knowing she is safe and cared for 24/7. In an administrative capacity you will basically be overseeing that Mom is properly cared for, handle laundry/ironing on a weekly or semi-weeky basis, confer with nurses/doctors as needed, and visit/.take her out to eat/shop/hairdresser once in awhile if she is able. I am an only child, and I was so physically, mentally and emotionally burned out by time my Mom went to a NH, that it took me over 6 months to even begin feeling normal again - and I did not even live with her! I deliberately placed her in a facility about 40 minutes away for 2 reasons: First, it was the best facility recommended to me, and secondly, I did not want to be tempted to visit her more than once a week or I would be running myself ragged on a daily basis the same as before. So I did it that way for my own mental health. I don't regret doing it, and I don't feel guilty either. I regret having needed to do it, but that's life. I just don't have the financial resources to hire people to live-in or provide respite care for Mom in order to effect 24/7 home care. Most of us in this country are in that situation too, and you know you are not alone in that regard. So I think it's time for you to make the transition with Mom and start reclaiming your life and your sanity. You deserve to be happy and have a normal life - we all do. It's a matter of recognizing when we have reached the point where the caregiving consumes us and starts negatively affecting our own health. I know it is heart-wrenching to separate ourselves from our loved ones, but it reaches a point where it must be done in their best interests, as well as our own. God bless you Roscoe, He knows you have done your utmost for your Mom and He will guide you and heal you. I'm praying for you too!

Roscoe, many of us said not to quit your job and thought it good to arrange for your mother's care when you first posted. Is it possible to go back to your job? All those options for your mother's care mentioned in your first post are still available. Bless you, Roscoe. You can take care of both her and yourself without torturing yourself.

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