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Greetings. I've been care-giving for a friend/roommate going on 4 years, he's going on 81, and for now he has the typical issues: forgetfulness, short term memory problems, incontinence, and mobility challenges. Luckily no major illness, yet, therefore it's manageable, it's not easy by any stretch, but I've adapted to what I currently have on my plate centering around the usual care-giving tasks: cooking, cleaning, housework, shopping, doctor appointments, companionship, and errands.


He has a retired ex-wife and two sons (50ish) that no longer work because of their own medical/emotional issues and now I'm finding myself getting pulled in to help them and I want to be a nice guy here but it's already wearing me out because I have to work full time on top of looking after their Dad, which they are not only physically incapable of doing, but don't seem to want to, I can count on one hand the number of times they've even called to check on him, and we stopped asking for the rare "day off" for me by having one of them sit with their Dad even for just an occasional Saturday.


Yet here they are with their hands out for my time because they know their Dad can't do it. The one son is a hoarder and his mother "volunteered" me for the task of assisting with cleaning up his unit while she's out of town, the other son has more neuroses than I can count, most of which center around paranoia and agoraphobia and therefore can't be called upon for anything, but has no issue with gallivanting across the country with his wife for various reasons.


I'm growing more angry and resentful by the day and facing burnout: I'm being treated for anxiety and see a therapist weekly. I suffer from severe anxiety and I'm on Buspirone and Lorazepam due to painful panic attacks/hyperventilation; I'm not depressed yet, but it's gaining ground and I can't afford to end up unable to work because unlike these people I have nobody to take care of me.


The whole situation has my friend very upset, his BP is up, and I'm one phone call away from telling his selfish children to grow up even though I'd gain nothing but more aggravation. None of them work, they all have incomes via retirement or public assistance. My friend's ex-wife comes from a prominent family and while she's up there in age too, her resources are plentiful, yet I don't see her hiring a housekeeper to help clean up her son's hoarding.


I just want to lay down and cry most days because at 48 I feel like I should be in my prime enjoying life while I still can. I have early stage kidney disease and I might not always have the stamina to do what I currently enjoy doing. I also feel trapped, I know I can walk away at any time, there isn't a ball/chain attached, but I couldn't live with myself, I am the only person my friend has.


Besides just having the chance to vent, has anyone else encountered this with the families of the people they're caring for? How do you graciously say no? Something that I suspect is difficult for many in the care-giving community.

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Why do you want to be nice and gracious to a rude selfish thoughtless bunch of people? They think of you as a doormat at their beck and call. They are not afraid to step on your feelings but you are afraid they might get mad at you? The ex-wife must think so little of you as to 'volunteer' you to clean up her son's trash.

Stand up for yourself woman. I guarantee you this, once you stand up to them, they will look at you with respect. They might not like you, but they sure will respect you.
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And yes, the family is trying as hard as they can to take advantage of you.
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As I understand it, you do want to continue caring for your friend, but you do not want to extend that to his other family members. Is that correct?

I think the answer is quite different if you want to stop being a caregiver altogether and just remain friends, or if you want to be the caregiver but only to your friend.

Could you clarify for us what outcome you desire? What do you want to achieve?
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Please learn to say, "no" much earlier in life than I did. Then you'll have less resentment to work thru later.
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Get that family together for a meeting. Tell them that you are not going to take care of him anymore and by this date, you are not taking care of him. Your health doesn't permit you to do it anymore. Is the place you live his or yours?
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Answer: Yes
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Are you being paid for his round the clock care?

Evict him.
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And I don't think you need to be gracious about it.
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Just say "no."
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