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I was wondering if there are any other caretakers out there that are only children like myself. Everybody always tells you to ask for help, what if there is no one else to help?? I have no relatives that live by my mom and me and when i vent to them i receive no sympathy. no one whom i have talked to is in the same situation. Anyone know of any books out there for "only's"?

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I have 3 siblings so am not an only child..but I might as well be as much help and support they have given me in the last 5 years I have been the sole family caretaker of my parents. In some ways..sometimes I even think it would be easier to be an only child and to know there are no siblings to help.. as opposed to having siblings and to know they just don't care enough for me or my parents to even call regularly... much less help in any substantial way.

Seems to be a common occurrence though here on this forum..siblings that disappear when the going gets rough and one poor person gets stuck with the whole mess.

It is a very big weight on one person to be 100% responsible for someone's care.. No..its not healthy and no one should have to give there own life up for another.
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I'm the only child of a mom with Alzheimer's. For the first time in 60 years I feel isolated and regret not having siblings. I also have mixed feelings about caring for her. We have never gotten along and she hasn't been there for me in my times of trouble; in fact when I had breast cancer she never visited me, but I had friends to help. She has no one but me. Sometimes I feel angry that I have to be available to her and then I feel guilty for being angry. Not a healthy cycle! Anyone else experiencing this?
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Too true!
When mom's health began to decline, my ONLY sister split. I 💗mom so much, I moved her from our country to the USA - no matter, it hurt mom deeply, but bottom line, unbeknownst to sibling, made it all easier.
No fighting, arguing, disagreeing. She was no help even though she lived at mom's house.
Good bye and good riddance!
M88
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My Mom took care of herself all her life and still when she got into her late eighties, early nineties she became sick and needed 24 hour care. I think its a very rare case for an elderly person to just fade into old age gracefully with no health concerns no matter how well they took care of themselves.

I have six siblings but I may as well of been an only child for all the help I received. In fact, it may of been easier if I had been an only child because then I would not of had to deal with all the resentment I felt towards my unhelpful siblings.

My mom is gone now but I still get wound up over all my memories of those times. My one sister has managed to rewrite history in her mind. Well, I'll always remember how it really went down.

I'm sorry for those of you who are only children but don't kid yourself. You may still of been on your own when it comes down to taking care of an elderly parent.
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I was an only too, and Mom had a neighbor who helped and a few friends who visited.
My mom also did not take care of herself, and I can identify with the anger about that. You are not leaving your mom inappropriately at all since the cousin is there and she has good care in any event. You probably should go anyways, even if it is not as much relaxation for you due to anxiety - at least then you will not have to feel you shortchanged your family and be mad at mom even more for that. Do the kids ever visit Mom and does that ever cheer her up? My mom used to just love those grandkid visits, especially form my son, and some good memories were made. And I TOTALLY get the torn in pieces part - work, family, mom, all of those needing or at least wanting more time and energy, and no matter which you are attending to you feel guilty about not attending to the others...let alone a minute for you somewhere. Some things get better, some things get worse as the condition sadly progresses. The emotions are totally normal, and yet it might not be bad to get some help with them to try to sort out how you could reduce the stress and anxiety level - the truth is you are doing the best you can juggling everything and deserve to feel at least a little bit good about that. These are not the easiest years in anyone's life, to say the least.
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I'm an only child caregiver. My mom is in AL and has early dementia. She has daily issues of not knowing what time it is, incontinence issues that she can barely manage, barely able to get around with her walker and constantly complaining about the "old people" she eats with and how bad the food is (it's not). My family has vacation plans in a few days. Even though she is cared for at her AL place, I have so much anxiety that something will happen while I'm gone. I am regretting even making vacation plans because I'm pretty sure I won't be able to relax. Most days, I can't communicate with mom on the telephone because she can't hear me. Forget the cell phone. So, I won't be able to contact her. I do have a cousin that lives out of town who is planning to stay at my house for some of the days I am gone and will be with mom much of the time. Even still I cannot quiet the anxiety. I know that I cannot have my life on hold and my kids deserve a vacation. It is too much stress for an only child to manage a parent in this condition, hold down a job and manage my own family. Guess what suffers? My own family. My kids have had a crappy summer because I'm either running over to mom's AL place to take care of an issue or working. I'm irritable and mostly want to be left alone. There is no solution to this and I feel it is going to get worse before it gets better as mom continues to slip and stop being able to care for herself. Next stop will be a nursing home. Some days I feel she is about a month from that. My emotions are all over the place. I'm angry with my mom for not taking better care of herself. Nearly all of her health issues are from obesity. My dad passed two years ago. The man was a saint. Would do anything for my mom. Now she is stuck with me, a stressed out anxiety ridden only child. I just want a break.
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Hi there. I'm not an only child, but I am in the sense of caring for my mother. I do have someone who comes in 5 days a week during the day to care for her mom until I get home. The other 16 hours and weekends are all mine. The kicker is my brother and his wife live within walking distance and we rarely even see them. I got tired of hearing my brothers excuses for not being able to stay with our mother. He's retired. I'm just tired...lol. Like many, I'm pretty reserved to the fact that this is my life for a while. I try to make the best of it and as of now am still able to get mom out to Broadway shows, lunches, movies or dinners. Maybe a trip to the mall at times. Of course, she doesn't remember 5 minutes later. The day is coming, sooner than later those memories made will be precious to me. I make memory books of things we do together for her to look through which she loves.
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Yes, yes, yes! I am also an only child caregiver. I thought I was the only one. Dying of burnout.
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Jlynnfox:

Well there are only children adult caregivers, I was one. It is difficult to face the problems of caregiving alone. I had relatives in the area, but aunts, uncles and cousins may live nearby, may mean well but they want to "visit" the elder if you are lucky. They are too afraid to help with the caregiving chores most times.

I enjoyed being an only child growing up with 2 parents who loved me as their daughter. However, I think the bill for that gets paid when you are alone facing the rigors of being the sole caregiver for an elder.

Being an only child caregiver, does have its value, you do what you think (along with the elder) is best for them. No one can call you out or judge the decisions being made. This site has endless stories of siblings fighting over what is best for mom or dad in their declining years. Only children do not have this problem to deal with. We can save our arguing skills for dealing with hospitals and Medicare issues.:)

However, I know the self doubt can be hard to deal with. Just realize if you are doing the best you can for your mother, that is all she can expect and all you can do. You can not restore her to the health of her youth, you are helping her live out her days as best she can given whatever health challenges you are dealing with. I used to joke with my father that I was trying to keep his "pieces together" and he saw the humor in it. Because in old age, one problem gets handled but another one is surely on the way. It is one thing after another, so I learned to handle and organize what I could but expected the unexpected.

If finances allow to care for your mother great. However, as an only child you need to have time to yourself or to work outside the home --both will require hiring home health care workers. If the finances aren't available and you have no long term care policies to help with the cost--generally the elder needs to be placed in a nursing home paid for by Medicaid. Admittedly not the best but you do what you can with the hand of cards you are holding.

Hang in there, deep down our parents recognize that we are doing our best.
Remember there are thousands of only children caring for their adult parents
and many more adult children dealing with siblings who could help but chose to set by and offer nothing in the way of help. Frankly I would rather be an only child than watch a sibling do nothing to help.

Take care.
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I reached out to my cousins for help. They were lifesavers. Hope you can do the same.
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I am an only child- my siblings both died as infants and while I always wished they had survived, I was very happy and well-adjusted. Never lonely. Always very close to my parents and the three of us had many happy times.
It is now- as my father's altzheimers progresses and my mom struggles more each day as she tries to care for him while dealing with grief of her husband seemingly dissapears more each day- it is now that I feel lost and lonely as an only child.
I spend a lot of time with my father and help with the caregiving. I stayed with him a great deal when my mom had to travel out of town regularly to finish work that helped many people. I am greatful that she was able to do that and that I spent so much time with my dad I otherwise would not have. He has progressed a lot since then - he recognizes and communicates with my mom and myself and counts on her for so much. My mom getting depressed - my dad can't be alone and so reliant on her. I feel guilty - should be there more and can't figure out how to get my mom to a dr so she will take care of herself. I worry about them constantly and I wish I had a sibling even to talk to. I feel so much guilt as so much on my mom's shoulders - and the laughter that used to get us through the hard times is not there anymore when the three of us together.
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Hi, I take care of my elderly mother solo too who has Dementia and a number of other debilitating diseases. I don't know of any books off the top of my head, but I am sure if you google it you will find some that will deal with this situation. Also, try Amazon. God bless you on this very lonely, challenging journey...but you are not alone on this website as you will see once you become familiar with others plights....you will feel right at home here.
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I'm an only child caregiver. I found that doing everything plus trying to take care of my mom who rapidly descended into 4-5th stage of Alzheimer's was just too much. I got hospice through my mother's GP. I think that's how you go about getting it. It has been such a great thing for us and is such a relief to have someone on-call "just in case". I also hired a 24/7 caregiver and we share mother's needs, although I'm mostly the financial manager and person with the "last word" while the caregiver is there always for mother. I can say she is an absolute angel. It took about 6 mos to come out of the stress that had a lock on my life but I think I'm OK again, at least I don't yell at every opportunity like I did before. It's still hard, but with someone to share the burden, it's do-able.
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Not that long ago my Dad hinted around that I should retire from work so I can drive him and Mom around to go shopping, etc. I asked Dad if he had resign from his career to care for his parents or my mother's parents, and of course I knew what his answer was, it was "no".

I had to explain to Dad that since I was female, I didn't get the same salaries as men, therefore I need to work many more years to try to make up that difference. He looked at me like my hair was on fire. He had no idea that women my age went thought that.... yep, college grad in accounting but when I went for my first job, HR [they were called Personnel Office back then] asked me how fast could I type.... [sigh].
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I'm an only child as well- caring for a 97 year old mother with dementia. I've been doing this now for 6 years since the onset of the disease. Our family is very small/fragmented so there are no relatives to depend on. Many friends have pulled away as they find it difficult to deal with illness or bad news of any kind. Good luck to them- they just haven't faced enough hardship in their lives yet to appreciate what I go through. My remaining friends always offer to "help", but given that they don't have a clue as to what it's like to care for a person with advanced dementia, there is little they can really do. I tested the waters once by asking a close friend who had been hounding me to let her "help", and when I asked her to commit to a once a week for about a half an hour to help me transition my mom from her daycare back to our house, she came up with a million excuses. I am grateful for people who lend an ear to let me vent, but I have no false expectations that others will share any of the real physical or emotional burdens. I recently left my career full time to care for my mom, although I do have respite care a few days a week to give me some balance. It was a very tough decision to leave work, but I couldn't do both, and while jobs come and go, we only get one mother, and I wanted to do the right thing. When I get down about being an only, I remind myself of the upside- no family infighting on how to take care of mom- the decisions on what to do are MINE (based on mom's directives from when she was lucid enough to put them in place). I have seen many families fall apart over some family members not bearing their share of responsibility. At least I don't have that stress.
My prayers are with all of the "onlys" on this site- it can be a tough, lonely road.
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Only child here, too. I always wondered if our parent(s) goal for us was to abandon our career and become Caregivers. I bet if we asked them that very same question years ago, they would have said no, of course not, are you crazy? Go for that promotion.

Thus, why do so many of us quit our work to become their Caregivers? Our parent(s) wouldn't want us to not be able to provide for ourselves when we get to their age. Being an only child, we really need to keep working because there isn't anyone to pass the baton onto.
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I, also, am an only child and new to this website. I have been living with my father for nearly two years and I am at wit's end. I can go on-and-on about the issues I face on a daily basis, however that seems to me to be very selfish on my part. I guess the biggest problem is that I have had to put aside a 35 year career to maintain this lifestyle. There has been countless opportunities in other parts of the U.S. that would be the position of a lifetime, but relocating my father would be near to impossible. Meanwhile, I continue to fall into some depression and using the tool of my trade (food) as my escape. The outcome of this behavior is leading me down pathways that I should not enter. Hopefully with some resources, including this site, that I have found, that I can make a clearer understanding of everything and get back on track with a more positive outlook for the future.
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foodforthought, is it possible she believes some of the things she is telling you? i.e. some degree of dementia, and so that fear of being with unfamiliar people could be somewhat realistic as she will not know how to interact or to know when things are safe and when they aren't? Or, maybe depression/anxiety setting in? It could be time to move to a higher level of care, or to get more of a mental health and cognitive assessment or both.
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I'm an only. I've been caring for my 87-year-old mom for about a year. The only family I have is a cousin -- fortunately for me, she's like a sister. I'm sorry you're not keeping in closer touch with your mom. I can't imagine that myself. I'm all she has in this world. Sounds like your mom would say the same thing about you.
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I àm an only child. My situation is different. My parent is in her 80's, but health is pretty good. She has problem with loneliness. She lives in an independent living apartment, but will not do anything outside the apartment without me. She has starting not telling me the truth about things that occur at her place so she can spend the night with me and my husband. I don't know how to deal with this. It is wearing me down both mentally and physically tired. Any suggestions?
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Hi jlynn - another "only" here also w/a 47 yr age difference. My mother is 91 and I am 44. It's frustrating & I totally get the "lack of help" you speak about...I rely on my friends and respite care services through the Home Health Agency. Tonight my mother really plucked my nerves...she is on this thing of telling me when to go tobed ...yes u read right.. she fusses that by me staying up late yeah you are STill reading right.. that I am "making people think that it's me (her) that is wearing me out" ...well newsflash...singlehanded caregiving IS wearing me out - I work about a 10 hr day & then come straigt home- I dont have time to go out w/friends becuase I dont have eve care & then after I preapre dinner , give meds, go to the Nursing home to see my Aunt, do addl work on my PC a home form waht I did not finish at work - its9:30pm - thne my mother gets on this "you need to go to bed" thing...it's a argument just about every night - it gets on my NERVESSSSSS so bad. Reality - im tired, im a caregiver, & being on the PC is my get-away & sleeping doesnt change the fact that I am on duty every single day as a caregiver. SCREAMMMMM I am going to use some more respite soon - THANK GOD the aide we have now seems to be really caring & she can work some weekned hours. I have to be careful becuase the respite hours through Medicaid are limited & have to stretch them....Im so tired right now.
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Caring for thr elderly is hard. And I have to agree with only1tocare4mom, even if you have relatives they always have a reason they can't do it and having an elderly you care for is WAY harder than caring for a baby because they usually are very moble, very set in their ways and mad because in my mil's words they are a POW you are holding hostage. My husband, son and I only take one "vacation" a year, we take a hunting trip during Thanksgiving and bring home meat to help us get thru the next year. Last year my 54 yr old mom took care of 71 yr old mil. This year she can't so I called mil youngest sister (in her mid 60's but in very good health). Auntie finally gets back to me and says she doesn't think she can cook dinner and have mil there.............so you think we can take her camping and hunting???? I love Auntie but I was floored that 1)she didn't think we deserved a break 2)that she wouldn't want to have her sister there for at at least one visit a year. Thankfully I do have a wonderful friend who is going to come and stay with her. Auntie thens calls to see if I can drive mil over for a "lunch" visit. Are you kidding me.......she lives 4 hours from us and wanted me to drive her over and back home to our house the same day. I told her that mil can not ride for 8 hrs, the 4 over there is pushing it but definitely not 8. It is like she has no idea, no idea how fragile her sister is. Keep in mind Auntie is the sweetest person ever but just not in touch with how mil is health wise. And yes, my husband is an only child. I guess luckly for him and mil I don't work outside the home (if you don't count taking care of the cows,, the chickens, the horses,the cats, the dogs and the rabbit LOL!!!!) but even on the days I just want to drive myself into a bridge because I don't want to:see another piece of poop in the bathroom floor, or tell her to put ALL of her teeth in, or tell her to shower, or any of the many daily needs that we all do without being told to, I still know that when I told the nursing rehab center that they weren't going to send her to a nursing home because I was taking her home with me that I made the best decision. She is my husband's mother, bad or good, she is my son's grandmother and utimately everyone deserves to feel loved and wanted and she gets that here.........even if she is a POW. Seriously though, jlynn & only1tocare4mom, start calling local home health agencies, they can direct you to help. I know we have respite care here that will pay for people to come in and help you. Sometimes they even pay for adult day centers, etc.. And keep in mind this is temporary, sometimes that temporary may be years as in my case but still they will be gone at some point. Most important try to take xare of yourself, don't miss your doctor appts even if you have to take them with you make sure you keep your health in mind. Love and blessings to all who are walking this sometimes lonely, long, stressful path.
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JLYNN: I FEEL YOUR PAIN. I'M AN ONLY CHILD MYSELF, MIDDLE AGED WITH A 9 YEAR OLD GIRL AND A MOM WITH ALZHEIMER'S/DEMENTIA. I WISH THERE WAS A BOOK WE COULD READ TO GIVE US SOME KIND OF DIRECTION. I'M SURE YOU AND I COULD SHARE OUR STORIES! I FEEL LIKE I COULD WRITE A BOOK!!!! SHE HAS BEEN LIVING WITH US SINCE APRIL OF 2010. I HAVEN'T HAD A BREAK OTHER THAN PUTTING HER TO BED FOR A NAP AND SHE DOESN'T STAY ASLEEP FOR LONG THEN SHE'S UP AGAIN IN NO TIME FLAT.

MOM'S FAMILY THAT COULD HELP CONSISTS OF A BROTHER WHO IS 64, A BROTHER WHO IS 70 AND A SISTER WHO IS 68 AND NONE HAVE OFFERED TO EVEN COME AND RELIEVE ME ONCE IN A WHILE AND THEY ONLY CALL TO TELL YOU WHEN A FAMILY REUNION IS COMING UP IN NOVEMBER FOR THANKSGIVING. THAT'S ALL THEY CARE ABOUT! THEY DON'T KNOW OR DON'T CARE HOW HARD IT IS TO COOK SOMETHING PUT IT IN THE CAR, UNLOAD IT UPON ARRIVAL AND PUT BACK IN THE CAR AND TAKE IT BACK OUTSIDE WHEN YOU GET HOME (FOOD) AND THEN I'M HAVING TO GET MOM READY (PEOPLE SAY IT'S JUST LIKE BABYSITTING CHILDREN, I'M SORRY BUT IT'S NOT) I THINK TAKING CARE OF A BABY IS EASIER THAN THIS. YOU CAN PUT A BABY IN A PLAY PEN AND GET A BREAK BUT THERE'S NO BREAK WITH THIS UNLESS YOU HIRE HELP?

JLYNN HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU SOON! GOD BLESS YOU FOR HELPING YOUR MOM! HAVE A GREAT EVENING! VENTING IS A GOOD THING!
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i'M AN ONLY CHILD MYSELF, I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW. YOUR RIGHT THERE IS NOBODY TO HELP! PEOPLE SAY HIRE SOMEBODY TO HELP YOU, DO THEY THINK YOU ARE MADE OF MONEY (ROLLED IN GOLD)
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Yes I too am only child, almost two generations younger than my aging dad. Mother has passed, no siblings, no husband, but darn it all I have the most amazing, angel of a cat!! I love animals, they speak in ways humans can't:) Hang in there. There are many professionals, agencies and resources, some of which were mentioned that will talk to you and guide you. It's not easy, I've had to fight like hell but I've learned alot. Live 2 Tell, I feel your pain, you are Loved, you are beautiful. May your scars heal and be the lights that guide others. J Lynn, good luck. Love this site! Left a question myself (which is too long I know!!) so will stop here. Blessings to all.
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Jlynn:
No you are not alone, I am an only child and single. I was a caregiver for both of my parents. I understand your need for help and sad to say but without siblings, you are basically it.

My advice is to do the best you can caring for your mother. See if you can get any help for your mother via medicare( home health aides, PT, OT). Your mother's doctors should be able to help set these things up. Get whatever medical equipment (walkers, wheelchairs, hospital beds) that make it possible to help her. See if your church has people who visit the elderly.Phone and get a directory of programs in your county through the Office of the Aging. Sometimes their are programs which are inexpensive and would watch your mom for a morning or afternoon giving you time to relax and more importantly sleep.

Try to get as much done for your mother at the house so it is easier on you and her. Perhaps a primary doctor who visits patients at home. When blood work is due, see if they will sent a lab tech to the house, when her hair needs done get a hairdresser or barber to come to the home. My father loved the barber I had come to give him his haircut each month. I would fuss over him telling him how handsome he looked and it did boost his spirits. He and the barber had time for some "man" talk about his Phillies and that was helpful emotionally for him.

Basically don't expect any help from distant relatives, they mean well but they don't know what to do and most are frightened about caring for the elderly. Perhaps their parents are healthy or died quickly and they really never dealt with the aging process.

Use income of your parents or your own to get enough help in the house so it works for you and your mom. See if you can find a kind dependable home health aide or companion. This way you can work some outside the home if needed, have a bit of a life of your own or as I did pay for an overnight aide so I could get a full night's sleep once in a while. You deserve it. Another secret, take a nap when she naps. Don't worry that the house isn't "house beautiful" just do the best you can. Job 1 is you're a caregiver and your health. The rest will fall in line somewhere else.

Just remember, you were their one and only child. They are your one and only Mom or Dad. They love you and know you are doing your best even when it doesn't work out. When my dad got demanding(mostly out of boredom), I tried to deflect it with humor. I told him the complaint dept was closed, he generally got it and laughed. I found giving him a big hug and kiss worked wonders too. :)

You're doing God's work---be proud. Hang in there! Take it one day or one hour at a time.

Elizabeth
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Yes it is difficult. If you are in a rural area things will be even worse. We hear of all the wonderful programs, but they may not be abailable in your area. Depending on your needs. you could get meals on wheels, or some places offer frozen dinners, and most do fix limited diet needs. As far as getting around there should be something available, but most likly will require digging. For help with every day needs you can have home health aids come in, depending on your situation medicade may pay or in some limited programs, medicare. If you are a member of a church, maybe someone there could help........or at least I will say they SHOULD..... (no letters please !)......I know it's hard.....at times you just have to put your head down, and just keep taking one step at a time. I hope that knowing others have been in simular situations.
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Live2Tell, stick to your boundaries. Enabling their abuse by putting up with it is not what you nor they need. I wish you the best in getting professionals to take over.
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I am an only child who was abused as a child and the abuse has continued unabated throughout my adult life. I offered reconciliation, which failed, and thereafter offered professional assistance, during which encounter she continued to abuse me. This is what no one wants, but it is, and I have a right to safety and freedom from abuse. It is time to turn the reins over to professionals. I would like nothing more than to be able to provide some companionship and care. If doing so can happen only if I agree to submit to abuse, it is not appropriate.
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There should be a book for only children and lone caretakers. Although I have numerous siblings, they live far away, do not help, and create more problems through their desire to tell me the right way to do things. In regards to help for you right now, I agree with the idea of hospice. My father passed away recently and our hospice center seemed to be looking after me almost as much as my father. Hospice care is free under Medicare, I think. It was for us, anyway. Please lean on all of us. Also, if someone can come into the house while you rest at home, for example, you would be amazed at how much better you will feel. Try the hospice center for names of people to help you. The help is out there but you may need to make a few phone calls.
My mother and I are making it okay, right now, but I would ask for help from our hospice center if I needed to do so. You will remain in my prayers. RLP
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