I’m under an immense amount of stress with caregiving for my parents. I’m 33 years old, married and expecting my first child. I work full-time and have severe neck/back issues from an MVA leading me to go to Physio 1-2x per week for the past 3 years. I have 3 siblings: 47 years old, 45 years old, and 43 years old. My parents are in their 70’s and in bad shape. My father is hemiplegic and has aphasia from a stroke 3 years ago (I called it the day all our lives ended). My mother has had chronic pain and health problems most of my life that cause her to be almost immobile. After my dad had his stroke I suggested they move out of their 4 level home into a smaller home or condo and place a caregiver in (I even interviewed people). My parents refused and siblings did not support me. My brother (43 years) stated he would take time off work for a few months to help but then returned to work. He lives there and yells at me constantly that he needs help caring for the House and parents but I have a home of my own and work full time. He is there weekly and gets the weekends off which my sister and I take on. My eldest sister refuses to help and my other sister lives 40 minutes away. She comes home every other weekend and Sundays and is always guilting me to do more for my parents. She calls me constantly to tell me my parents, mainly my mom, is ill and needs help. Right now I scheduled at my parents every Wednesday and every other weekend and then visit in between. I am also responsible for all the paper work and finances for them and the house. I avoid visiting because my brother just yells at me that he’s given up his life and how he can’t handle my mom's constant complaining about the burden of care dealing with my father and the home. I have suffered severe depression and anxiety because of all this combined with my chronic pain. I have no relationship with my siblings, I think they are pathological and even ruined my wedding because they thought I was selfish getting married and moving on with my life while my parents were ill. I constantly send them houses and condos and remind them about hiring care. They all agree but I’m the only one willing to talk to my parents about it. My father refuses to leave the home because he thinks we should continue caring for them and the house and I don’t think he should be allowed to make that decision because he relies on us to do everything for him and my mom and their House. I don’t mind helping my parents but I can’t physically or emotionally deal with my siblings or caring for a second home especially with a baby on the way. How do I get out of this mess and get my parents to move. I’m not even trying to put them in care. I have gotten to the point that I want to cut off my family and will be doing so once my parents have passed. I want no relationship with my siblings.

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You can't change what others do or think.

You can only change your own actions.

For whatever reason, your parents and siblings think that young people should give up their lives to care for their parents. You don't feel that way.

Your parents apparently have the resources to pay for care. They choose not to. They choose to ruin your brother's life by selfishly demanding he care for them full time. What parent wnts to hobble their child's future?

Are you able to say "no more" and discontinue contact with the abuse and selfishness?
Helpful Answer (9)

You have a lot on your plate! Look at it this way. You have tried for many years to convince your parents to move, and they won’t. You have gone above and beyond to try to help them. Are you their POA? Or did you simply take on their paperwork?

Since you keep running into brick walls trying to do the right thing and getting nowhere, it may be time to say “I’m done.” You are beginning a new phase of your life with a baby to care for. How can you handle everybody else? You can still visit your parents. For sure they will want to see their new grandchild. But give up trying to take care of their lives for them. If you bow out, someone else will have to step up. Right now, no one needs to because they know you’ll be there.
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Caregiver4549, ah very stubborn parents. I remember giving my parents brochures on very nice Independent Living and 55+ communities and all I heard was "maybe in a couple of years". HELLO, my parents were in their 90's living in a house with a lot of stairs.

When I first started helping my parents, never moved in, I didn't realize I could set boundaries on what I could or could not do to help them. And it was ok for me to say "sorry, I can't possibly do that", and just ignore the guilt.

The family needs to have a sibling meeting and talk about now not to keep enabling your parents, otherwise they will never move to a home that is safer for them. Heck, why move, everyone is doing things to keep them in that house. And your brother needs to get back to work.

In reality, it takes a whole village to take care of two seniors who refuse to move and refuse to bring in caregivers to help out. At least the caregiver gets to go home after 8 hours and rest up for the next day.

My own Mom refused caregivers, because in her mind she felt my Dad could help her with anything. She was in denial that Dad wasn't that strapping young man, he was 93 for gosh sakes and could no longer do everything on the honey-do list. Neither could I.

Some of us here had to wait for an emergency to happen, where a parent needs 911, goes to the hospital, then to Rehab, then to Assisted Living or a nursing home. That is what I had to do, and the stress caused major damage to my health, and all those sleepless nights.
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So you and your brother who lives with them are the only 2 out of 4 sibs who are doing anything. And 2 of your 3 siblings are trying to guilt you, the youngest, into taking over more of the caregiving. (And the other sibling doesn't do anything.)

Your health during your pregnancy is paramount. And this stress can't be healthy!

"If you bow out, someone else will have to step up." Wise words! What will happen if you don't bow out?

Just because your parents are stubborn and require a great deal of effort (from others) to maintain their current living situation, doesn't mean that everyone has to enable them.

Why does your 43 year-old brother live with them? I bet he's stressed, too. Why doesn't he move out?
Helpful Answer (6)

You already stated you interviewed caregivers but your brother chooses to live there in that toxic environment. Your main concern should be new baby 👶 🍼 !!! A no brainer! Unfortunately in these cases, some emergency like a fall has to happen for anything to change.
Helpful Answer (6)

Caregiver, seems to me you must get your other siblings on board with the idea that parents must pay for help outside of relying on their children. If only 1-2 of siblings doesn't understand or agree with that idea, then they will keep killing themselves (only sort-of a figurative meaning here) to try to help and because of that, those siblings will be so angry and resentful at any other sibling who dares to draw the line and stop helping in equal amounts.

What about hiring a geriatric case manager to give assessment?  That way the ruling that "professional care is needed, here are those options" comes from a 3rd party, not family, instead a professional who is an expert.

Seems to me you must get your siblings on board with this plan:  that all of you, any of you, trying to give care to parents at this stage of things is a bad idea, and that it would be much better to get them into professional care and then you can all go back to being their children and see them regularly without it being under such stressful conditions.
Helpful Answer (5)

I am so glad you came back with more information.

The main stress here seems to be coming from your siblings.

Don’t try to direct their lives. They get to choose what they do with their lives and you get to choose what you do with yours.

Somehow you all seem to think it’s ok to say who should do what except for maybe eldest sister.

Make a decision for yourself as to how much time you will contribute to your parents housekeeping and bill paying. Let it be known.

I vote for bill paying only because you can set that up for them online. With the handicaps they both have, perhaps writing checks is difficult for them? I would encourage you at some point to tell them you are uncomfortable taking care of their finances without being the Finacial POA. Do some research on that and see if it’s something you want to do.
You have such a contiguous relationship with your siblings that you need to be protected against future backlash should they decide you have done something wrong with the finances. Perhaps your parents have all this in order. Medical and Financial DPOA, DNR, Wills etc.

Housekeeper’s are available and can make a huge difference in all of your lives. You don’t need to hear from your sister that mom needs help with the floors if that’s what it is. If the call from sister is that mom needs help with a bath then that’s a different skill set that needs to be resourced. There will be plenty to do managing caretakers or housekeepers. Expenses will increase over time as more help is needed. Necessary changes have to be addressed. If brother wants to keep the homeplace going then that’s between him and your parents.

You are about to embark on the most important caretaking job of your life. It is a 24/7 position where you are always on. For the benefit of your primary relationship, unborn child and your parents you need to let your parents know you are available for a specific time period to train the housekeeper or caretaker and then you will be focused on your own life. The first year with your baby is very time consuming. The second year you are getting a second wind but so is the baby. You can offer more help at some point in the future if you have it. Who knows, you may decide you would like to have four children of your own.

Again, whatever your brother decides to do is between the parents and himself. Ditto your sisters.

I know the emotional issues you have with your siblings will be hard for you to let go of. You may need to get some therapy to help you with that. You might find your physical therapy will go better when you let go of some of the built up baggage of the last three years.

Somehow your family has collectively assumed that when dad had his stroke no one else’s life could go forward until what?
A few months turned into three years and here you are mad enough to never see your siblings again after your parents pass.

Come here to vent and let us know how things are going. The more information you give us the more tailored the advise will be. We make assumptions based on what you tell us and our own experiences. I hope you gain some insight from the forum and can make positive change for your family.
Helpful Answer (5)

Of course your new baby should be the primary consideration!!! I both grew up in
a toxic family and then married into one. I very much regret allowing myself to be
guilt tripped into jumping through hoops to please personality disordered family
members instead to concentrating on caring for my son. Don't make the same

Personality disordered people cause unnecessary drama because they are fighting
to have all the attention squarely on them, all the time, forever. It doesn't ever stop.

It's insane for parents not to downsize and use their own money for care instead
of ruining their kids lives. Normal parents do not do this. They downsize, buy
condos, and then orient themselves to enjoying their grand kids. Yes, it's a formula,
I've seen it time and time again. And if they're ill and can afford in home care, it's really unconscionable for them not to so do. Sorry for my opinionated rant, but I hate to see someone go down that same exhausting thankless road as I did, putting my son in harm's way. Only to be verbally abused, and treated with contempt by in laws, and drained completely by father. Think black hole and how you're going to be able to fill that while taking care of an infant.
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Bettina, you really hit home. I’ve said my whole like that my sister had borderline personality disorder. I’m embarrassed to admit but I’m acutally a Psychotherapist. So much easier to help others than myself.

It’s my weekend and I’m at my parents now. My brother was still here so I baracated myself in my old bedroom until he left. He tried calling out to me but I ignored him. I’ve had a racing heart since our last altercation which led me to a panic attack.

I feel like a battered wife. If this were my husband (my husband is amazing) I’d leave but because of my parents I can’t.

I told my mother I can’t do this anymore. It was one thing for me to have panic attacks when I wasn’t pregnant but now it’s effecting my baby. Every time I have to have contact with my siblings I get heart palpitations and often have a panic attack. I’m keeping my distance and will only be here on my weekends when I KNOW none of my siblings will be here.

A PP said something I felt was true but felt too guilty to admit... why should my life end the day my dad had his stroke? Why should I give up the rest of my life because he feels his life is over.

Another PP said that it’s a choice and you’re right. My brother chooses to stay here or leave, I’m not forcing him to so ultimately he’s trapping himself not me. I can’t be responsible for everyone’s happiness.
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No you can't be responsible for decisions adults make on their own behalf,
whether or not they are healthy ones. You can and must be responsible for
decisions you make on behalf of your baby. And sounds like your health is being
severely compromised by your family's series of poor decisions.

I got pulled under by "family's" poor decisions and abusive maladaptive behaviors.
Blaming myself for not making things better for them, when in reality they were
fighting me on every sane suggestion and offers of help because they wished to
be living at the center of their own delusional universe. And they needed me to help
them with this horrible endeavor. As unpaid servant and then as scapegoat. The
best of times were when they were flying high, often based on my behind the scenes
efforts, and they didn't need me at all. Because they had "better" people to entertain
and flatter their egos. Of course, these were either short lived relationships or user types, so the demands for my time and emotional care taking came rushing back. All
this drama was added onto the already exhausting tasks of real necessary care giving.
Excruciating is the word that comes to mind.

Personality disordered people are truly black holes of need. Without very firm boundaries and very strong self care, you run a very real risk of being pulled under.
Happened to me, and my life crash and burned. Hind sight is of course 20/20. Here's
hoping my failure to set firm boundaries will serve as an example of what not to do.
I can't emphasize enough how family members with personality disorders will put your child in harm's way through their constant selfish demands on your time, your equanimity, your physical strength, your financial resources and your social network.

If they are malicious in any way, such as my own experience with in laws, add to that
deliberately created drama and chaos, in order to cause you harm so that they may
garner greater power and control over your life and by extension that of your child.
Some PD's do this type of thing unintentionally, out of fear and learned helplessness.
Either way, you risk a great deal of ongoing harm to yourself and your child. And some
of this harm, sadly, can never be totally ameliorated, ie parental alienation. loss of career opportunities, loss of health both mental and physical, loss of social life, loss of personal
agency, loss of financial security.

Self care and boundaries drawn around your life that are large enough to ensure
your happiness and well being are critical. Sometimes those boundaries necessitate even cutting contact or at very least only very minimal or superficial contact (ie not letting "family" know anything about your plans, real life, etc). If a family member insisted on visiting your home with gasoline and matches and every third time doused your couch and set it on fire, you'd hopefully decline having them in your home. If only
to save your family's life if not your own. Emotional terrorism, intentional or otherwise,
has similar results. The stress hormones from PTSD will cause cortisol to course through
your body. This alone will harm your unborn baby and compromise your ability to be
the best caregiver to your infant.

Normal care giving is quite stressful enough. Please consider recusing yourself from pathological care giving. Give them normal sane options and offer your help with those. And if they decline, leave them to it. You can only base your decisions on their past (and current) behavior. All of that must be taken into consideration in your decision making. Imho they have forfeited the option of closer more attentive help because their toxic behavior which is clearly putting your health and that of your child at real risk.
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