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My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 3 years ago when she was 67 but the symptoms started before she even retired at 65. When I talked with her doctors that this seemed to be really young they kind of just blew me off. I'm still living with them while I search for my own house which has turned into a years long endeavor in my area. My mother is determined to stay at home and my father supports that idea, my being at home seems to be enabling this idea as they force more and more on me even as I try to stay working full time. I now do their bills, laundry, cleaning, cooking, shopping, lawn mowing and driving to appointments. All while continuing my own work and home search. The emotional burnout I'm suffering is extreme, they give me no personal time (or space) and being that I'm 37 I was not expecting to have to dedicate this much time at my age when I want to focus on my career and my own family. They wont even give me time to date!! I can't go anywhere as they feel all days I'm not working should be exclusive care of them! I even had to give up working 5 days a week so I can get caught up on their stuff and they feel it's my duty to do it. Mom is getting so bad she can't dress or shower correctly but just yells at me when I try helping....When I talk with people about it, it's always you can do more...more, but I'm already at my breaking point. I mean really you think I can take all their bills with me to work and do their budget on my 15min work break!! (If I even get that break and skip eating) Really!! (the Alzheimer's associate told me to do that) and do the grocery shopping after my 9.5 hour day to go home and clean up my moms kitchen nightmares, to cook and clean up again (2 loads in the dishwasher to clean up after mom) for a 13 hour day, then deal with her sun downers and waking me up several times a night?! People tell me I can still do more?! Oh and the family says you can do all the mowing on the weekend since you dont want to do it after work. I'm stressed, burned out and exhausted. I honestly can't understand why family members would do this to a child. Is there a way I can break free from this burnout and move on with my life without them guilt tripping me that I'm a horrible child? Am I selfish for wanting a date at least once a year and some personal space? I'm trying to get mom on Medicaid but that could take months still.

Someone asked if she was enabling her Mom by doing everything for her. And a member replied she wasn't enabling she was disabling. Maybe you are doing both. Enabling Mom to remain home when she needs more help than Dad can give. And disabling because you are doing things Dad can do. My husband is 73 and still mowes his own lawn. He knows how to wash his own clothes, he pays the bills and he has washed dishes. Maybe if Dad had to clean up after Mom, he would think twice about keeping her home.

You may want to call APS in just to see what resources are out there. If parents have no money, maybe you can get in home care thru Medicaid.

This will be hard to break away. You have done a lot for them and its going to take a while to have them do for themselves.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Robinhsb, you have come to the right place for support. You are NOT being selfish or unrealistic. You are at a juncture where you need to make a radical change and also understand your parents are not going to like it, but the change MUST happen. God bless you for doing so much to this point.

Unintentionally, you and your parents have "slid" into an "assumed" caregiving arrangement. You are inadvertently propping up the pretense that they are "independent" and affirming that you are a willing caregiver. Many on this forum have been there, done that. Many elderly are "guilty" of doing/expecting what your parents are right now. I'm an only child, live next door to my mom -- I get the pressure. I also have a 30-yr old son and grandson living in my home 50% of the time. Do I "lean" on him to help us? Yep, but then I have to check myself to stop doing it.

Where to begin? Is your dad actively involved in educating himself on ALZ? If not, you need to have a sit-down with him and gently help him to understand the trajectory of your mom's condition, that it won't stabilize, only intensify. Be honest with him that you are overwhelmed and can't provide what they need/want. Let him know that you are going to seek other solutions. He won't like this, may be resistant, even very angry. Don't take it personally, just stay calm. Give him reassurances that you will be helping with this process. Hopefully you are not paying for any of their expenses. Not now, not in the future, no matter what. Hopefully your dad has sufficient financial resources. Maybe start by discussing an in-home aid for 6 to 8 hrs every day (including weekends). Or, when the virus quarantines are eased for facilities, take him to tour some nice adult day care centers for your mom. The immediate, short-term solution needs to be about you off-loading what you want/need to be relieved of. You moving out and your mom's care issues being covered in some other way is the immovable goal. He will need time to undo the assumed arrangement in his mind that is now in place. Today, start looking for monthly lease apartments, anything to physically remove yourself while you help them transition into other care arrangements. I hope this helps -- I wish you peace in your heart (and in your dad's) about moving forward for the benefit of all your family. Blessings!
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Robinhsb May 28, 2020
I'm sad to report I financially supported them for years under the belief that when they said they would pay me back it was truthful. Now the money I should have saved for a house is gone and I'm start back at square one with the knowledge that giving them more money strangles my own happiness. I even bought them a car!! Stupid me! and paid 5 years full insurance on it!! Stupider me!
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This seems to be to be a situation where you need to save your self first (put on your oxygen mask first before helping others). Move out - a roomate or a small place - and establish yourself.

Decide WHAT you want to do for your parents - not what you are guilted into doing.

Tell them what you will do. HELP THEM find resources for the rest that you cannot do. Area Association on Aging might be able to find help for your mom bathing etc. They might have to pay for the resources - but this is your parents responsibility.

you are not abandoning them by moving out and getting a life. You will help them and help them find help. But you cannot be a slave sinking deeper and deeper into the mire - what would happen to them if you were incapacitated?

Take care of yourself - this is going to be a hard change to make - but you need to do this.
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Robinhsb May 28, 2020
Thank you for the encouragement! I really uplifted my heart to keep working for some happiness. Thank you
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I think it's time to start living for yourself rather than existing for your parents. They have shown as long as you keep doing, they will keep expecting. You're not unfeeling, unloving, selfish or bad because, at 37, you SHOULD be focused on yourself, your family (spouse/kids) and your career. In my opinion, it's your parents (especially dad!) who are being the selfish ones...why on Earth can't dad do some of this stuff? Cooking, cleaning, laundry can, contrary to some people's beliefs, be performed my the male member of the species!

Whoever is telling you "you can do more" is in no way being helpful. It's always people on the outside looking in that judge how YOU should be spending YOUR time. Shut them up, shut them off or shut them out. They are not helpful.

One last thing to keep in mind... I have found in my life that the people who claim that you're selfish usually say that when you won't do something for THEM.SO who is the selfish one?

Look for a house and move out. It's hard to stand up to your parents, believe me, I know...but find out where your line in the sand is, draw it and stand by it!

Good luck!
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Robinhsb May 28, 2020
I completely agree! The men can help! Or they should, my dad on the other hand won't even warm up food while I'm at work (gonna try meals on wheels!) Unfortunately he is firmly set in his thinking of "that's woman work" to even make his own coffee and if I'm not there he tries getting mom to do it even though she's unable to do those things now. I've firmly talked with him that requesting her to cook/clean is putting her in danger and himself. She's already caught a microwave on fire! And caught food on fire multiple times (when I'm at work) because he's asked her to cook him food. I think he's in denial of her alzheimers.
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