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I am 21 years old. When I was 19 my grandmother suffered a massive stroke which left my mother my legally disabled brother, and myself to care for her. This year I very reluctantly left home for the first time to join an Americorps program that gives me an opportunity to travel, help others, and help obtain some of my future dreams. After being away for a week I rushed home after hearing news that my mother had also suffered a stroke. now my family cares for both her and my grandmother, and it isn't easy. I feel guilty and angry at the fact that I'm 21 and I hardly have time to take care of my hygiene. I get anxious to leave the house because I feel like it's unfair to do anything fun if my family cannot. my mother is losing everything she worked for her whole life because the assistance she gets only covers her mortgage and health insurance costs (she isn't eligible for medicaid/medicare) we can't afford any type of homecare and we are all suffering. To be honest it's too much for me to deal with and i feel like i'm deteriorating in every way possible. I was offered to go back to americorps for the next ten months, and the 21 year old in me knows this is an opportunity i will lose as I grow older and more busy, and also knows that my mom worked hard to give me opportunities. But i can't even leave the house, let alone travel the country without feeling guilty. I already feel like i'm not doing enough. Eventually I'm going to have to choose between myself and my mother who worked herself sick taking care of me. I'm just looking for some advice on the topic. I'm really in need of support.

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If your mom qualifies for SSDI then she qualifies for Medicare/Medicaid. Also look into HBOT treatments for her. They work to help the brain heal. I know I’ve had them.  Even chronic conditions.  I’ve had multiple brain injuries from various accidents and I’m also the primary caregiver for my elderly parents plus a single mom.  As others have said reach out and obtain resources to help all of you.  I used to be the primary breadwinner too.  
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Can you call a social worker to come over to your house to discuss options? Perhaps there are family caregiver resources available that you are unaware of and they can help guide you to them.

You can also go to the family caregiver website for more resources: http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/fcn_content_node.jsp?nodeid=2083
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She is only 21 and should not be having to concern herself with all those issues.
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Quick question - did Mom get good rehab after her stroke? If not, you'd have an option to get her into an inpatient acute or post-acute rehab, and there is a lot of recovery that could still take place. Being treated as an invalid or "stupid" as you said, by a sister (or by anybody!), is for sure not rehabilitative. Could grandmother possibly recieve skilled nursing or assisted living services? \

I think what I am trying to say is there may be routes to your loved ones getting what they need that don't require and could even be much better for them than you just staying home forever to personally provide all their care. Arranging for them may still be a lot of work and stress, but could leave you knowing and feeling that you did the right things for them, AND for you.

Finally, ask the doctors what the cause of their strokes was, and remember that this is just one case of many where stroke is not just an old people's disease; they should help you assess your own risk of having similar problems youself.
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Dear!! You are too young for such journey. Please seek resources, professional resource or perhaps an Aunt. There has to be somebody who will help you sort through this difficulty. You need to fulfill your dreams and goals. I have 2 daughters & would never expect such choice. I take cars of my 88 year old mother and it really has been the most challenging journey I have ever been on. Please think this through & speak with your Mother if at all possible. Seek God and pray.
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I know this was posted by Care about a month ago and I was just wondering if she had made any decisions about whether she is going to stay and look after her mum or leave and start living her life. 21 is too young to become a caregiver, I think she should have fun!
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It is very honorable your commitment to your family. However we still need to address the feelings of guilt. Should you focus your life on them or yourself? That seems to be the real question. If your final decision is to stay home and be a caregiver understand that your own health is at risk if you do not do an outstanding job of taking excellent care of yourself. It might be helpful to time-frame your commitment on how long you will stay at home being a caregiver. That way you have honored your family bet also have a clear understanding as to when you will be moving on. The alternative as you know is to re-sign up with the Americorps program. Feels of guilt will likely exists no matter what you choose to do. What is important is to get some personal help from a professional that can help you process your feelings so that you can get to a place of peace about your decision. It is important that you get help soon and I would start by call the local mental health association in your area. There are many non-profit organizations that offer low fee or free counseling services.
Please don't wait, you need to take care of yourself too.
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Care .. you hit the nail on the head .. you're grieving on many levels. And take it from an old bird .. nevah say 'never'. Honestly, it just feels that way. Dangit .. I know you're 21, but you're not done growing up yet, even if you've had to take on the role of parent and caregiver. Along with making your own choices, squeeze in YOU time and just be 21.

Keep on doing your best ..
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God bless you and your family, sweetie. I am so sorry for the trials you are enduring. Do call local organizations to see what help might be available - like volunteers. Is your Mom able to walk and talk? Are there extended family members around beside your aunt you mentioned?
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thank you all so much. My friends don't have a clue what it is like to become the parent overnight. and how it feels to grieve the loss of someone still alive. and regardless of how much i'm suffering my family doesn't notice, and they really truly don't care. i've lost so much weight since february my clothes are loose. nobody cares that i don't eat or sleep or that i wish i was dead a lot of the time. I can't tell you how comforting it is to talk to others who understand.
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to be honest "kid" was comforting. I wish i had the privilege of getting to be one. I've seen therapists to deal with anxiety and depression before and honestly it's never helped me. I try to keep my mom out of everything involving my life to avoid stressing her out. This she overheard from my family who treats her like she doesn't understand anything. But I like what you said. No matter what i do it could either suck or not suck. but that's up to me. I had big dreams, and i was working to make them come true and my mom was very proud of me for getting further than she ever did. ( I live in a very small close minded country town ).that's what she wanted for me, was to make sure i could have more than that. And honestly if i don't do something now i wont ever move on from here. It hurts and feels selfish to think that way. But honestly even if it hurts, It feels like leaving is the only thing that will save my mental health. I'm too young to have a mental break down!
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If I were 21 again (I'm not .. I'm 60), and heard "poor kid," I'd probably be pissed. Please don't be!! It *is* a hard thing to do: make a decision based on emotions and balancing them against your potential future. There are so many considerations. You sound smart enough to know what most of those are, so I'll keep my list short:

- There are at least two potential outcomes from either choice:
.. if you go with Americore and something goes terribly wrong, you'll worry yourself sick that it was your fault.
.. - or - it turns out ok, and you'll be grateful you made the choice (and your mom will be happy for you, and feel less guilt)
.. if you stay home with your mom, and you never get to go with Americore, you may end up resentful of your mom and frustrated at your loss
.. - or - you'll be grateful for the time you got to spend with your mom, making life easier and her healthier, with many other years ahead of you.

I know .. it's not fair. Had a therapist once who said, "The Universe isn't fair .. it just is." I got so ticked off at her, but she was right.

Whatever choice you make .. and it comes down to YOU making that choice .. do your BEST with it. It's all any of us can do. You might find a therapist yourself, so that you can juggle your feelings without imposing them on your mom, until you're absolutely ready.

Some of us oldtimers might say, "Life sucks, and then you die. Unless it doesn't .. and you'll still die .. somewhere down the line." Maybe there's another, even better choice for work/career that you haven't found yet.

Whatever you do, I hope you'll let us know and keep on coming back!

Love, Laugh, Learn
LadeeC
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You poor kid. You are way too young for this kind of thing. I will pray for you in the hope that mom qualifies for something to help so that you can live you're life. God Bless you sweetheart.
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I think your decision is made. If I was your Mom I would be very proud of you.. You are a good daughter.. Unfortunately life has handed you lemons and you will make lemonade..
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I also fear that if I were to leave that my aunt would become overwhelmed and might make decisions that I'm not okay with her making. She means well but she's not the brightest crayon in the box and has probably never read a book in her life. She does not understand the first thing about a stroke and treats my mom like she is stupid. My mom is capable of making decisions and thinking for herself, and I have a gut wrenching feeling that if I leave I will have to return either because of her health or because I need to protect her.
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We have applied for just about anything we can, most things we're not eligible for,especially since she's only 47. She gets social security and it would be just enough for her to live on if she didn't have to pay out of pocket for health insurance. we are hoping that we are allowed to tap into her pension, which may have insurance attached. But as I'm sure you know, every little thing requires 5 lbs of paperwork and a couple months of waiting with no answers, sometimes just to be denied! We have some family members who help when they feel like it, but mostly my aunt and I are taking the biggest chunks.

My mom always used to say that too, I'm 21, my brother 25. But now that she needs us leaving feels like abandoning us. I've talked to her about it and she's told me to go, but not in an encouraging way, in a hopeless way that just makes me feel terrible inside. It feels like I'll never be able to do enough and if I ever move on with my life i'll be abandoning my family.
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Have to spoke with your Mom about how you are feeling? Maybe she would want you to go.. I'm a Mom of 2 kids ages 22 and 25 and I know I would want them to live their lives for themselves..If
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It is so unfortunate that you are having to deal with these issues at such a young age! I'm so sorry and will pray for you. You definitely need to contact your local Elder agencies, social services and/or churches (and any other agency that you think might help) to see about getting you and your family some assistance, as well as hopefully guide you to a support group. If they are not the appropriate place for help, they can offer suggestions on where to go. But please at least look into a local support group as I can imagine your stress level is way up there and you could really use some advice/support. ((HUGS))
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