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Let me say this... I think ALL caregivers deserve a gold medal, a year of respite that includes a free trip around the world, and the freedom to just live for themselves. However, as what I would consider a younger caregiver, I am interested in the struggles that accompany caregiving at such a young age. I would also like to hear from those that may not have significant others. Caregiving has definitely ruined my chances of having a child. The stress level alone would probably kill an unborn child. Not to mention that I would actually need to DATE in order to get pregnant (the odds of me getting married are also pretty low now), and let's just say that caregiving is NOT sexy. I don't even bother to fix myself up anymore. Why bother? ... and what about working? I thought these would be my earning years. I thought I would work hard and play hard, but my dreams of girls trips to exotic places are shattered. It's amazing how your friends disappear quickly when you can't go out anymore or spend half the evening out dealing with caregiving stuff... So... anyone else in my shoes?

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Tinyblu, I am in your shoes even though I am 20 years older, same issue with not bothering to fix myself up.... I use to be quite professional looking but during the time I was helping logistically my parents I looked like I slept in a camping tent and went to work from there. I made sure there were no twigs in my hair. But I was glad to be at work, it did keep me somewhat sane !!

Same issue with friends disappearing. When they did call, I use to complain, complain, and complain even more. Eventually my name got dropped from their cellphone... [sigh].

Oh, don't fret about not having a sig other to help you out.... mine wasn't much help, and when he did help all I heard was constant whining. It was like I had a teen-ager in the house, so in retrospect I had a so called child but he was my age. Like come on, couldn't he miss one sport game to help me. Seriously, was every single game THE most important game of the season?

My bucket list is now in the bucket, I just don't have the energy or emotional happiness to do anything that was on that list. My parents have been gone over a year, and I still haven't recovered. My days are going to work, and falling asleep in front of the TV after dinner. Ah, the golden years. Oh fun, NOT.
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Under 50 caregiver here...and like all caregivers regardless of age, I'm struggling. Especially since I live in Ohio and I am caregiver to family in California and Florida. I'm home 2.5 weeks a month, while flying in a triangle to manage everyone in the opposite ends of the country.

I was POA/caregiver for my father's partner through his death from cancer. My father was useless (and still is, quite frankly - that's another story). At the same time, my MIL had serious health issues and what we thought was merely mild cognitive impairment. My father's partner passed away last year, but all that meant is that I got to handle the probate (I'm a legal professional) and try to get my father squared away, while continuing to manage my mother-in-law's affairs. She in turn had a big decline and now is on hospice at home from a GI bleed, as well as being formally diagnosed with Alzeheimer's Disease.

My father now is losing his vision, and big decisions will have to be made now, and he's not very good at decisions, money management or reality. So, the triangle flight pattern will continue for the foreseable future.

Meanwhile, I'm still working a full-time job. Luckily, my company and manager have allowed me to work remotely as needed for the last two years, and changed my position to a formal work-from-home arrangement last month.

My sister, despite her advanced RN status, has been all but useless in my opinion. She's provided very little help with my father's partner and father while I'm running myself ragged.

My husband has also been relatively unhelpful (again, in my opinion) with his own mother. I've done everything while he's taken a back seat. I've managed everything about her situation, right down to moving her to assisted living and selling her house and taking on the trustee duties since her MDs have certified she's no longer able to manage her affairs. This is not a complete list - I think we'd all take all day to have to describe what we do every single day.

I don't have children, and that won't happen now. I don't have much of a life. I'm pretty sure I'm clinically depressed. I've put on 25 lbs in the last two years. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to carve out time for myself. I'm at the very edge of just going off on both my spouse and my sister.

At the same time, I know I have it much better than others. At least I'm younger - I cry sometimes when I read others' posts about having to do this at a much older age - it is different and harsher for others. At least my mother-in-law has funds for her care. At least my father is starting to get it that he has some problems that will result in major changes in the next 3 months (such as not driving any longer, and possibly not working any longer due to his declining vision). At least I was able to tell my sister that we are in for a rough 2018 and will need to hold a family visit w/my dad soon to make decisions. And I've flown so much over the last two years that I have Platinum Elite status on Delta, and I actually know some of the gate crew at Columbus by name, as well as some of the flight attendants - enough that I gave them Christmas presents on my November flight. I can find the humor in that my friends are mostly related to the airline industry now!

Sorry for the ramble...I think the point is that yes, there are some of us under the age of 50 doing the caregiving gig, and have lost our friends, given up dreams and haven't put on makeup in months.

Thank you for starting this thread, and for the bit of humor provided (whether you intended it or not) about dating, love lives, etc. I normally only post on POA/Guardianship questions, since that's a large part of my job and it's "legal", which means detached for me. This is a different place for me to post from - to do a bit of whining and commiserating with my fellow posters.

Best wishes...
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Mthr was one of those professional types that are more common now - Dad wanted a kid, and she eventually gave in to his nagging. I think the abuse she dished out stemmed from not wanting a kid. In the 6 mos it took us to go through guardianship proceedings and get her colon cancer squared away, I gained 15 or 20 lbs, while homeschooling a handful of kiddos and getting one into college. This, after not having spoken for 8 years.

If I were single, instead of pouring myself out for my elders, I would sign up as a foster parent for a teen. Those are the kids who need love most of all and present the most challenges. Having a different outlet other than mthr gave me a way to set boundaries with her care. These teens who have been removed from unfit homes, unlovable as some might be, would be easier to deal with than mthr.
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So.....when I turned 40? I felt FANTASTIC. I was happy, I was energetic, I was positive, I was fit and healthy, I was sexually ready to take on an entire naval fleet. Ok maybe that last one is a TINY exaggeration. But looking back from where I am now, having just turned 49, it sure SEEMS that way, in retrospect.

I'm sure some of it is the onset of menopause. Some of it is definitely from a work injury I sustained. Most of it is from losing my stepmother and letting that loss push me into deciding I could and should look after my mother in her last years of life.

The thing I'm MOST upset about....I was never going to have kids, I even got my tubes done just before my 40th birthday. But....here's the deal. I was too shy to sing in public until I was nearly 40. Once I got over it, I went into 40 determined to put the best band in town together and get the really good-paying gigs. It was work.  I worked hard to prove myself, to earn the respect of other musicians and win them over to my team.  And finally, it was all perfect, I had the bandmates right in my hand. I DO have them. God bless them, they haven't given up on me yet. But once I moved mom up here, everything changed somehow.

The biggest thing is I just don't feel like singing anymore. I mean, I was the kind of eccentric weirdo who sang out loud and proud on the way home from work. I sang on my bicycle.  I sang at work.  I sang while I was sweeping the floors.  You couldn't shut me up. Now I can't seem to prod myself into doing the one thing that brings me joy in life.

And this past spring....I really thought mom was dying. So I cancelled almost every gig I had over the summer. I started staying with her. Now....my voice is out of shape, my mom is actually a little better, and I'm not even looking forward to the one upcoming gig we have - New Year's Eve.

This seems like selfish talk in a way. Ok, I'm in my 40s and I'm in a band. What is that in comparison to your mother, right?  The problem for me is WHY DON'T I FEEL LIKE SINGING ANYMORE? Singing is an expression of life, an expression of joy, and expression of soul....all the feelings, anger, sorrow, fear....it's like I'm numb.

One of the last things my stepmom said to me was to never give up my music. I'm not giving up, but I feel like everything - my one true passion in life - is in limbo and I don't know how to get it back. And I feel like the person who claimed to be so proud of me, who told me all my life to follow my dream, doesn't even give a s*** as long as she is taken care of.
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And you know what is the most awful? How much I resent and sometimes even hate my mother now. I've given up SOOOO much just to fulfill HER desire to spend her last months or years sitting around on the couch, being waited on, watching mindless television, pawing through gossip rags, and smoking cigarettes that make her choke.

Someone posted on a different thread the other day about how she'd like to see some of us just express some thankfulness for our loved one once in awhile.

No. I'm not thankful. Everything I loved, everything I am, is slipping through my fingers like water.  All to fulfill her selfish, BRAINLESS desires. 
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Diana, your daughter needs to run away. Do it sooner. Not later.

I started when I was 40. Now I'm 50. Back then it was just for grandma and now it's for both my parents too. Grandma is still around so it's 3 of them. They are killing me. I haven't gotten more than 2-3 hours of sleep in the last 3 nights in a row. First 2 nights grandma fell, of course it had to be in the middle of the night. Last night dad had to have a fit because he couldn't find my brother's holiday card. Of course this had to happen at bedtime. Then I was awaken to grandma and dad arguing a couple hours after I think I fell asleep. After dealing with them, I couldn't get back to sleep.Before all this, I was a world traveller with a great career that let me be in Bangkok one week and in Prague the next. Now.... I'm grounded. If grandma is any indicator, I got about 20 years left for my parents.

Get your daughter out before she's destroyed.
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Diana - the only thing that saved me from your daughter's scenario....well 2 things. One, there's only my mom. Two, I convinced her to move close to me instead of the other way around. This was an epic, year-long "discussion" in which she didn't comprehend the things I would have to give up if she didn't make the move. When her brain was still fully functioning, she would never have wanted me to give up the life and people I love to care for her. Now that dementia and illness are at play, that part of her is gone, and it's been replaced by a selfish toddler who does not think she is doing me any wrong. The important point here is I got her to move.

So my first point is - if that scenario is not on for your family, then absolutely not, she must not even consider doing this. I think I would have died inside if I'd had to do this without my people, my home, and everything else I need and love around me. It's quite possible I would be one of those stats where the caregiver dies before their loved one, whether from stroke, heart attack, or possibly suicide.

My second point is....demanding someone put down their animals in order to care for them is abuse. Demanding someone give up the love of their life in order to care for them is abuse. Demanding someone give up their career and their future earning prospects in order to care for them is abuse. Demanding someone to give up their home, their friends, their way of life in order to care for them is abuse.

When my mom and I had this year long discussion, she was not even demanding those things of me. Even though I could see the future written on the wall, she could not imagine it would ever come to me having to move to where she was. She was certain she could live at home, on her own, until it was time for hospice. And....even in her current dementia state, I don't think she would make those kind of demands on me.

If your daughter follows your father's wishes, she will be telling your father it's perfectly okay to exert power and control over every aspect of her life. She will be sacrificing all the things that make her independent, in order to live in a situation of dependency. When someone chooses to be dependent in a situation like this, they are choosing the potential of even greater abuse. Your father will have successfully isolated your daughter and will have ALL the power, and your daughter will have lost the financial independence, the daily access to friends, her fiance - all the things she might otherwise have been able to rely on if she needed to flee a situation like that.

Abuse is not just physical violence. It is emotional and psychological manipulation and intimidation. It is verbal abuse. It is financial control. All of these things are abuse.

Your daughter is already emotionally wrecked from doing this for a short period of time. What do you think she'll be like after a few months or years?

"No" is a complete sentence, as they say. You don't have to defend her position. The answer, on repeat, must be simply, "No, she's not going to do that."
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The think the law of averages and statistics generally put care givers who are looking after their own parents in the 50-70 age bracket - typically.

Remember- I am talking the average and the typical.

Parent starts having trouble with “age related decline” in their late 60’s to early 70’s.

This same parent typically had their children in their 20’s to 30’s. Thus - these same children are now in their late 40’s to 60’s.

Of course there are the exceptions. The very young mother and the considerably older father is how it usually goes.
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Thank you everyone for the advice. I do realize my father is abusive (I grew up in the house with him) and I swore I would break the cycle. I never saw this situation coming. I could tell my father NO because I’ve done it since I was a teen but my daughter is tender hearted. But honestly, over my dead body will that man take my daughter’s joy away from her!

He is a psychological abuser!!!
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This definitely resonates with me. I am 42 and didn't get married until I was 40. My mom has always needed my help, but around 39 it really stepped up. l've had 2 miscarriages and although I am married, I feel like we are growing apart. I don't have the energy to deal with half of the regular life stuff and after the miscarriages, it is a million times worse. Both times I had to go to the doctor for myself for follow ups and appointments, all the while making sure my mother was still taken care of. I see a counselor once a week and it helps me not lose my mind completely, but it doesn't really motivate me to want to live. Caregiving is very difficult, especially when it is for someone who has lived their life in a way where it was inevitable that someone would be "stuck" caring for them. Hang in there and know that you are not alone. :*(
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