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Yes, I know it happens. But I don't know where there is a safe place to be able to talk about it. And I know there are others who are facing worse than me, so that just adds to my guilt. But here goes my situation. I'm retired a little over a year. Retired because I could and so I could help with the care of my folks (early 90 and late 80). That was working OK, yeah, we had our moments, but mostly OK. Did I mention I moved house and moved in with them, supposedly to save some money to eventually get my own house. It's a smallish house, but we all had our own spaces where we could retreat when necessary. Late in the year, my sister joined the household with her young adult son, partly so that she could help with the caregiving. But that meant I was the one who gave up the room I was in so they could have the bigger room. And I feel so petty for feeling put out or put upon when I know they needed to be here. But I got the small extra room (with no real privacy). Now, there is a new health crisis, and I am now taking care of most of the shopping, meals, cleaning,etc. But still feeling guilty. Well, everyone is still capable of taking care of their own personal needs. But the old dynamic of the older and younger siblings still pops up (for me anyway), and some times inadvertently my dad will say something that sets me off and I have to remember I am an adult. Sometimes being an adult is hard, though. I guess I really didn't quite envision my retirement like this. I know we will get through this, and I wouldn't give up being able to take care of the folks I care most about, but sometimes it sure feels overwhelming. How does one go about coping when the day to day sometimes gets you down? Is there a caregivers anonymous :-)? Well, it does help just to write it out. I am on my phone,so I can't read this over, so I guess I will submit this as is.

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Guilt is the caregivers worst enemy. We feel guilt if we lose our tempers....tell me someone who has never lost their temper....we feel guilt if we are so tired we fall asleep on the chair...we feel guilt for feeling resentment and even guilty for feeling guilty for heavens sake.

When you considered and made a decision to care for your parents you did so on your terms...ie you had your own space etc. YOU NEED THAT It is absolutely essential that you are looking after yourself. Now things have changed and I dont suppose for one moment anyone said are you OK with the changes and even if they did you avoided additional guilt by saying reluctantly yes that's OK.

You need to have a family discussion and someone has to move and I dont mean move out necessarily. BUT if you keep doing what you are doing you will keep getting what you are getting and keep feeling the way you feel. Change is needed and needed NOW. You have to say I need my space, you have a right to voice that and IF noone can see your point of view tell them you can no longer care in the way you have unless you have real breaks....total breaks so you can reenergise.

Strikes me the sibling and nephew are getting a free ride and that simply isn't on. You either need to rent nearby (or your sister does) or to build on or convert existing space. Something that is your space ....something that noone can invade and where if you want to you can walk around naked, not close the bathrrom door, snore to your hearts content, break wind, eat cold baked beans anything you like to do. Maybe you want to sit in silence, paint....it doesn't matter what you want it for ...the point is you NEED it and you MUST have it. So go forth and spread the news to parent and sibling (wear the helmet and raincoat - it save that sh^& that hits the fan going all over you) but stand firm. You only have to do it once remember. Good luck we are all rooting for you xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Hi, Shelli60. In many regards, this IS Caregivers Anonymous. Welcome! I first discovered and posted on this site exactly a year ago today with similar concerns. (Well-intentioned yet overwhelmed with stress, frustration and guilt.) As you will come learn from both posting and reading - there are many commonalities and many differences we all experience as caregivers. I for starters am 34 (more years ahead to retirement than I've been alive practically!) but have too moved my parents in with me (mom is 62, dad is soon to be 89). My girlfriend of 7 years also lives with us. Its a hodgepodge of people, generations apart, brought together by equally unpredictable circumstance. You see, I would not have thought but even 2 years ago that I would find myself living with either, much less both (they are divorced) parents under the same roof again. I imagine from your original post the feeling is similar to one you had when your sister and nephew moved in. It's a delicate balance between care-giving and managing all other expectations among all others in the home. There is no real mastery to be had - so first and foremost, you have to accept and be okay with the fact that you will feel guilt, guilt is normal, and more importantly guilt is OK. You are only human and you must not discount the negative emotions completely or you will, if you aren't already, burnt out.

To piggy back on jeannegibbs unsolicited suggestions - I'm inclined to agree that you need to really re-evaluate the living situation. I'm not sure what part of the country you live, or whether you have any other options for rearranging room assignments within the house - but one outside the box suggestion if you have a garage or something, would be to enlist your nephew in helping convert that space into a living/bedroom space. There is nothing more suffocating/draining than spending your days (well intentioned as you may be) managing all the errands/cooking/cleaning on your own - then NOT having a 'personal' space where you can go recharge, relax, and have YOU time.

For myself personally, I don't often recognize I'm reaching my fill of things until its nearly too late. Feelings of guilt should perhaps be better interpreted as warning signs that you need a break. Don't ignore this. You can only take as good care of others as you do yourself. It's common, as you will see in these forums, that caretakers often suffer disproportionally than others in terms of their own physical and mental health and well-being being neglected. I always try and remind myself when guilt or frustration creep in, that (1) I need to take some time to recharge and do 'me' - whatever that means for YOU, and (2) if i don't take care to care for myself, i won't be able to care for anyone else.

Hang in there Shelli60 and pat yourself on the back every now and then. Not everyone chooses this road (and many don't, won't) for a variety of reasons. There is no one size fits all and no need to compare who or what has it worse off than you and further compounding your guilt. I wish you well!
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Wait ... your sister and her adult son are sharing the larger bedroom? How about this: The son takes the small room you have, you go back to renting nearby, and Sis picks up the slack in the caregiving? You come into the house for certain hours or certain tasks.

Oh, you didn't ask about that. I withdraw my suggestion.

You can vent here all you want. Some of us will not be able to restrain ourselves from making "helpful" comments, but you can ignore us and soak up our good intentions.

Finding a local support group can be almost literally a life-saver. A sanity-saver for sure. Also find some other non-caregiving-related fun groups to join in your retirement. A knitting club, a hiking group, a book club, a ceramics class, bird-watchers, a cooking club or cooking classes or both. What did you envision your retirement to be like? What little pieces of that can you achieve right now?

You really want to help your parents. And you really know that Sis needs this. You sound like a generous, caring person. By all means, don't stop that! But now that you have a co-caregiver living there, take some time for yourself, too.

You care. You feel overwhelmed with the caring and with the household situation. Then you feel guilty for feeling overwhelmed. Sigh. That is a pretty common vicious cycle. Vent away. We get it!

(You typed this on your phone? Holy cow! You have an amazing skill. If I typed this much on that tiny keyboard half of it would be unreadable!)
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