I have to leave my 91 year old dad and 86 year old mother home to do errands. I am 60 years old and have lived with my parents for the past 8 years. They asked me to stop working because they had so many health issues and doctor's appointments. So I did. They are both hard of hearing, my dad has mild dementia and mom has Alzheimer's. I rarely leave the house. When I do they always ask when I will be back, etc., and I always have to say longer because I don't have a crystal ball. I recently started calling them to let them know I fine and give a timeframe when I will be home and that makes them feel better. I love them both with all of my heart. They worry so much, understandably, because if something were to happen to me they would be completely lost. I cook, clean, cut their hair, toe nails, I have the groceries delivered which is a great help and most of their meds are sent to us through the mail. Of course there are the doctors and a few hospital visits along the way, but there is the occasional CVS visit. I have an opportunity to visit with a friend in NYC for an overnight stay. My mom is worried something will happen to me and doesn't want me to go. In October I spent 2 nights in the city and it was great. I never get time off. I hate feeling like I'm trapped and they aren't ready to accept any health care "sitters". Any suggestions? I'm feeling a little lost.

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Even live in caregivers are entitled to time off. Yes, get a regular sitter and make sure you have one day EVERY week for time off. Two would be even better for you.
Helpful Answer (2)

Jersey, if your parents can afford sitters/paid caregivers, then they need to start using them, otherwise you will crash and burn, and then what?

You really need to get back into the workforce, unless you are super wealthy, because over the past 8 years you have lost tons of money.... lost health care insurance from work... social security/medicare payroll deductions... 401(k)... profit share, if offered... life insurance... etc. By the way, what are you doing about health insurance because you still have 5 more years until Medicare?

Curious, why you started to be your folks caregiver 8 years ago? I had to start helping my late parents around 7 years ago when they both stopped driving. My Dad wanted me to quit work so I could drive them more places.... I asked my Dad if he had quit work to care for his own parents or for my Mom's parents and he said no... he finally understood. I needed to save up for my own retirement and have money available for Independent Living facility or Assisted Living for myself.

You and your parents need to start planning ahead, hopefully all the legal documents are current, such as Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Wills while both parents can still understand what these documents are all about.

And plan ahead to when the Alzheimer's/Dementia becomes too much for you to handle. And it will. Are your folks acceptable to moving into a senior facility? My Dad loved where he had moved, in fact he said he wished he would have moved years earlier if he had known the place was so nice.
Helpful Answer (5)

I'm not sure what level of dementia they are in, but, except for the early stages, it's not wise to leave a person with dementia alone for any amount of time. It's just too risky.

I'd try to figure out how you can arrange to have some one come in to be with them when you have to go out. I'm not sure what they can afford, but, if they don't have funds, I'd explore what services are available. This would be non-negotiable.

There are also respite services so that you can take off a weekend, a day or even a week, to get rest for yourself. That's vital. One person working around the clock for two people who have health issues and dementia is just not feasible. I'd explore getting help. You are probably more exhausted than you know. Also, what happens if you get sick and got into the hospital? I'd figure out a backup plan.

Due to your parent's dementia, they may not realize how much care they need and regardless of their resistance to outside help, it's necessary. There are ways to help bring them on board, but if not, they still need the care. I hope they come around, but regardless, you need help.
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