Wondering about giving up my job at 25 to take care of my sick parents. Any advice?


Both of my parents are only 60 years old. However, my mom recently had a stroke and also fell and broke her hip, while my dad is suffering from severe congestive heart failure. They are basically unable to take care of day to day activities by themselves. I am only 25 years old with just 2 years of work experience out of college. My brother, who is 23, has already taken a year off of school to help take care of our parents. I am taking the summer off to move back to Florida from New Hampshire to help so my brother can finish school, however I am worried that this will turn into a much more long term commitment. I also feel obligated to take care of my parents, because they gave up their lives to take care of their parents. Everyone tells me that it is the right thing to do, but it is scary to think that at only 25 years old, I am giving up my entire life before it seemingly even starts. I do not have my own family to lean on for support, just my brother. I love my parents very much and want the very best for them. I was wondering if anyone out there was in a similar situation and had any advice!

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Your parents are only age 60. There's still At Least another 25 years for them. You will be age 50. I do not foresee your brother hanging by helping you the next 25 years. If he finds a special person in his life, marries her, and have children - I do not see him putting his parents first in his life. That means you will end up caring for both of them by yourself. By the time they pass away, and you have done your daughterly duty, you will be age 50. With No Job experience. What's the likelihood of anyone hiring someone at that age with no work experience? Most likely you would fit in with health care since you would have practical experience. Again - most likely minimum wage. How will you survive Your old age? You won't have any social security or retirement funds to survive on?

If you feel you must be there for them because they did that for their parents, then by all means move back home or an apartment near their home. Find a part-time job because I promise you - this will be Your Sanity from the demands of caregiving. It's very important that their money is theirs and your money is yours. Do Not mix it up. Keep all receipts for when you use their money for bills, grocery or other shopping, etc....

I was age 23 when my mom got diagnosed with dementia. Due to my religious obligation (not the same religion with my family), I reluctantly stayed home to help dad with mom. I literally cried because i did not want to do it. That was 25 years ago. My mom just passed away last year. Dad is bedridden from a Mild stroke but he refused to do therapy to become normal.

In the years that I have stayed here, my father believes that it is My Duty to take care of them. I should Not go out with friends because I have Sick Parents at home. I should Not laugh on the phone with my friends/other family. If I find laughter with visiting relatives, he cruelly gets mad at me and embarrasses me in front of them. You see, because I stayed here all these years, he believes he owns me - a slave to Them. My job was and is my sanity. What my father tries to do is break my spirit. I refuse. My job, the people I meet, who tells me that I'm beautiful, or very pretty or a happy smile - these clients - builds me up where father had tried to tear me down.

So, Skibird, I wish for you to hop around this site. Read what other caregivers are facing daily. Go in with Open Eyes and be aware of what you are going to face. Come back if you have questions, and someone will help you with the answers. {{hugs}}
Helpful Answer (13)

No. If you choose to do this, you will not have any money to retire on, you will not have a life, you will never find a wife, you will never have your own family, etc.

You say that you feel obligated because your parents gave up their lives to care for their parents. Really? They got married, had and raised two sons. One or both of them probably had a job and I guess that they have helped you and your brother pay for college.
Helpful Answer (10)

Your parents' choice to give up their lives to care for their parents doesn't put you under any obligation to care for them. Neither does the opinion of the people who are telling you that it's the right thing to do.
I was your age and recently out of college when my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer so I understand what you are going through. I worked full-time while taking care of her with the help of my father and private nurses and I don't regret it one bit. However, my situation was different from yours in that my mother was terminally ill and my care-giving lasted for eighteen months. Yours may last for decades.
I strongly suggest you and your brother explore all the options available before making a decision. I can't imagine any parents who would insist on their child doing what you're considering doing, just because they did it, or because "people" expect it of you.
Do you really want to be fifty years old, with no employment experience, no savings and all alone (because full-time caregivers don't tend to have much time for a glittering social life?) The people who are telling you now that you owe it to your parents to devote yourself to caring for them will either have died by then or lost interest.
Seriously, I don't think you should do it.
Helpful Answer (10)

Ski; I'm wondering if your parents' poor health has anything to do with their years of caregiving? Do they have the financial resources to hire help, or to go into a care center? Is the fact that they don't have resouces due to their taking care of their parents? This seems like it could be a vicious cycle. Help them get care but maintain bounderies and make a life for yourself.
Helpful Answer (8)

Here's my 2 cents...

I have to children 23 & 26...Both are college graduates. My husband and I are very proud of their accomplishments and raised them to be independent.

There is no way I would want them to take care if us..

Who is "everyone" that tells you it is the right thing to do? It can't be your own piers? I assume it's other older family who don't want to take own the responsibility themselves..

Call your local Elder Affairs, talk with their doctors. You need to find either home care or placement for them. That's the right thing to do. Not give up your life..If you feel you need to be near them then do so, but get a job in FLA. Continue your education whatever, but put your life first. That's what any parent should want for their children..
Helpful Answer (8)

If you give up your life you WILL resent them. Very sad their health is poor, this early in life, you should nt be the one to pay the tab for that at the expense of dedicating your life entire to them. I am not suggesting you walk away. I suggest you look into whatever you can for resources, placement would be best, if they qualify. Live and work closeby, visit often. If in a facility someone else does the custodial part of caregiving, you can drop by often with cheer and love and just be the daughter.
You are young, learn that compromise is crucial in any relationship and in a successful life. Throwing yourself on the sword for this problem will only create 3 people in misery.
I was your age when I chose a major I was not crazy about, because it had high earning and employment potential. My priorities were to be paid well and be able to find a job close to my dad. I hated my first job, but it paid for my masters, I passed up promotions that required transfers, and found other opportunities. I and launched a successful career I have enjoyed and am grateful for. When my dad really needed me later in life, I was able to respond tenfold from a position of love and strength and financial security.

Allow yourself to grow, learn to compromise, always look to strengthen your position in life.

Best of luck to you.

Helpful Answer (8)

Read everything above 2 or 3 times and then make the decision to build your own life. I cannot imagine the parent that would want their young adult children to sacrifice their own future to stay home and be a caregiver. You can live close by, visit, advocate for them but 24/7 give up your life and watch the world pass you by...NO WAY!

Contact their doctor and request in-home services evaluation. There are lots of options out there, it just takes time to get it all together.

You and your brother sound like kiddos to be very proud of under any circumstance. Best of luck to you both!
Helpful Answer (8)

Thank you for all of the thoughts. It is nice to hear others say it is OK for me to go ahead and have my own life. It is definitely my extended family and parent's friends who think I should give it all up to stay in Florida. I work seasonally leading guided trips and education programs in the mountains, and teach alpine skiing in the winter, so I literally would have to find a new career path if I were to move to Florida, which I think is what made me the most sad...because I LOVE my job. Right now I think I will just take this summer off and help my parents explore more options. I really appreciate all of your advice!
Helpful Answer (8)

I have to try to put myself in your parents shoes. I have two sons who are college grads. I would never ask them to put their life on hold to care for me. As a parent, we want to see our child succeed and spread their wings. I never want them to resent me for anything. I admire your brother for doing a year. Call their doctor, look into assisted living, call senior services at their health dept for advice. There is a lot you can do long distance if relocating right now isn't possible. Get going and their advocate, not their 24/7 caregiver
Helpful Answer (7)

Bookluvr gave a wonderful answer - please listen to her! There's nothing wrong with moving near your parents to help them out. But you must keep your own life going and not become a slave to theirs. I'm 63 and can say there's no way I'd want my child to give up everything they had just started to build to take care of me. That's selfish beyond belief in my opinion.

Get your own job and place to live. Be there emotionally for them, help them organize outside help, but don't become the sole provider of assistance. There are ways they can get help from others - private pay if they have money, Medicaid if they don't. You don't have to give up your life in total service to them. It's not fair to you!
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