I'm 21 years old, "full time" caregiver for my father (turned 60 december 3rd) who was diagnosed at around 56 with dementia. Mid June we took him to the hospital after he woke up one morning thinking people were out to get him and then later that same day getting stuck outside, lost in our backyard by himself until a neighbour found him. Since the end of June I have been staying at home with him all day taking care of him. If I had to classify what stage of dementia he is in I would say stage 6 with some parts of stage 7. We have caregivers coming in Monday-Friday from 10am-12pm that give me some respite, however I'm not always in the mood to leave the house and he usually doesn't get along with the caregivers that well.
My question really comes down to the people around me besides immediate family not quite understanding what it's like to be a caregiver for a parent.
I'm not working, and I decided that I would not go to school this year so I could take care of him at home, otherwise he would have been going into an assisted living home. My closest friends work long work hour jobs that have good pay (for a job with no university education required). All they care about is making money, gaming and going out to eat and gamble at casinos. For the most part, I don't take interest in any of these things, nor do I have the time to participate. I spend a decent amount of time gaming when I get the chance but since I decided I would stay at home to take care of my dad I feel like I've lost touch with my friends and we have different interests.
My friends don't understand what it's like to be a caregiver, and I don't blame them for that. But I'm stuck at a point where they don't understand how I'm changing, or how I'm busy and not able to go out and do normal things that teenagers my age are doing.
I'm starting to feel isolated from both my friends and the outside world. My friends really aren't there to talk to because they don't understand me and the things that used to keep us together have since disappeared.