My husband and I have been caregivers for his mother for 18 years. She had a major stroke at age 50 and lives in a care facility close to our home. With his siblings all living out of state, we have performed all the caregiving roles alone over the years while raising two daughters. Our youngest is now about to graduate from high school, and although our caregiving duties remain, we have been looking forward to this next chapter in our lives which we hoped would provide just a little more freedom.
My parents, however, are now in declining health and are insisting I begin to provide care for them. My mother is a chronic pain sufferer and my dad is physically well but lonely and demanding. They both expect weekly visits, help with household chores, and accompaniment to doctor appointments. My brother thinks we can share the responsibilities -- he lives in the same town as them and I live 30 minutes away. Of course I must continue to care for my mother-in-law (she calls 10 times a day, requires several visits a week, has multiple doctor's visits a month, etc.)
When I think about what is being asked of me, I don't think I can handle it. I also am slightly resentful. My dad was abusive to me growing up. In addition, my mother never helped me with my kids at all even though I was often overwhelmed throughout my 20s and 30s with caregiving. I can count on one hand the number of times she took care of my kids for a few hours the entire time they were growing up.
I now feel trapped by the prospect of caring for my parents.... I love them but I don't think I can do this again. What would you do?