My parents want me to quit my job to care for them but I can't afford to. What should I do?

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I don't know where to begin. My mom and dad live next door. My mom, 73, cares for my dad, 70. My dad has Parkinsons in advanced stages as well as dementia. My mom has diabetes that she does not care for and now has severe neuropathy and decreased kidney function. I took her to the hospital yesterday after she fell into the shower while trying to use the toilet when she lost her footing. Now she has a hematoma and elevated K levels. I work from home for my company and when I am home I have to work, not take care of my parents and I am suppose to travel 60-70% of the time. Things are getting bad fast, and I can't afford to quit my job. I have bills, retirement to save for myself, a husband and son to care for, college to save for, etc. and I don't know what I can do. My parents have a small nest egg, but not enough to cover in home care and that is all they want. Ultimately they want me to quit to take care of them. That is what my mom did, that is what my aunt did, but I can't afford that. What do I do????

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Times have changed. Many people can't afford - I mean really can't afford - to quit a job to take care of their elders, no matter how much they'd like to. You have other responsibilities, too.

Your parents nest egg will likely need to fund their care for as long as it lasts and then they will go on Medicaid. You can start by going to your state's Web site and looking under aging services. There you will find contact information. Every state has some version of the Family Caregiver Support Program. This program gets federal funding, but is run by the states, so they are not all the same. You should get local help and support in this way. Eventually, their money will be "spent down" and their assets drained, and then they will need to go on Medicaid. It's sad to watch, but it's where life leads many people these days. You definitely can't do this alone.
Take care of yourself, too,
Carol
This is what happened to me over 10 years ago. I left a career I loved and now am tied down at home and suffering from caregiver burnout. Don't do it. I feel like my life is over, I have lost several friends because I can't leave the house. THey all go on vacation and out and I can't. I have aged and become very depressed. Save yourself and your family. Don't do it.
It's difficult to still "have a life" while being a responsible caregiver. I have found that maintaining my career helps give me balance and is good for me emotionally. I love my aging parent with all of my heart. However, having been a devoted daughter all of my life, I try to remember that I too deserve the best life I can have while caring for my parent. If I were to give up my career to become a full-time caregiver, I would become so depressed and eventually resentful. This would not make me be the best caregiver I can be. Rather, I would lose myself and sink into a meaningless life. So I try to stay focused on keeping the balance in my own life while being there as much as I can for my parent. As my counselor told me recently, caring for "me" does not mean caring less for my parent.
Please don't feel guilty about this. You have to work and your parents need to accept that.I realize that may never happen, but remind them and yourself that your are there for them and are willing to help as much as you can. Your child deserves to be a priority. Help them discover the least expensive ways to deal with their health needs even though it means using their nest egg. Use the programs that are mentioned in the previous answer. Is your father a vet? That may open the door for some services. You and your family deserve to have what you need as you try to help your parents, but it also sounds like you really want to help your parents. Frequently, there isn't a perfect situation or solution. I have found that caring and loving matters more than anything and perhaps your parents need to be reminded about that. Do you have siblings? Please stay in touch.Best wishes!
Thanks to everyone for the comments. Things have gotten much worse now. My mother passed away in January 2011 and now my father is living with me, but he can't even go to the bathroom by himself. He needs constant care and someone to bathe him, feed him, dress him and be near him so he doesn't fall again. He has fallen about 5 times since January, and we are just a few feet away when he does. It has taken so long to find help, and much of the help is second rate. I've lost friends myself because of this and can't devote the necessary time to my family. I actually don't even want to be home. We get away once in a while for the weekend, and I dread going back, and I dread going back to my own beautiful home that my husband and I built ourselves. I've hired people through some agencies and have just about 24 hour care 7 days a week, and I still have to do too much because I can't find good help that isn't lazy. Some help is better than no help so I put up with it so far. I feel for all of you out there in the same position and now I know why there are nursing homes, it is just too disruptive. If my dad could take care of himself and I just had to cook and do light things for him, that would not be a problem at all, but this is like having a child that instead of growing up, will just deteriorate more and more. I am going to end up putting him in a home soon, but that breaks my heart also, but I am the only one taking care of him like many of you out there, and it is just too much for one person. Keep praying for guidance!!
I am sorry to hear about your mother. I am in a simular case the only difference is my father has 3 other children who are not willing to sacrifice their life to help him. I know that it was our parents choice to have us but they stopped their lives to raise us, so why when they need us most do we turn our backs on them and say im not giving up my life for them? They took care of us while we were incapable to do it now is the time to show how much you appreciate your parents and take care of them when they cant do it themselves. I am a single mom who had my son at a young age and I gave up my youth to raise my son right, it would kill me if he didnt do the same thing for me when im old and cant take care of myself. My advise is before you do anything think of how you would feel if your child just put you away in a nursing home. I know all situations are diferent and it all depends on that situation on what you should do, so at the end of the day it all depends on what you choose is best for you and your father. Im sorry to say the "friends" you lost because of this weren't true friends cause I know most of my friends are by my side helping me out with my father. I have been taking care of my dad for almost 9 years and not one of my friends have left my side because i couldnt hang with them or go out. Instead they would come with me to take care of my dad or take care of him on days I couldn't. You dont need to do this alone I am sure you have good friends that will help if not you could always talk to me.
Just say no
If they are truly unable to care for themselves it is time for them to go to an assisted living place where they can still live together but have care. Do not give up your job. You can't afford it ...mentally, physically or emotionally. We let Dad move in with us when he no longer could live in a assisted living as his dementia became so bad he didn't know where he was and became scared. It was a nursing home or here. The nursing home was 7000 a month or free if they have Medicaid. If he becomes to the point where we are unable to care for him he will go to VA nursing home which is 5000 a month or based on your income.
Wow, this is today's issue, boiled down to a nutshell. Angiema, I love your post if my mother gave up her life to raise me as a child, why would I not do it for her, when she no longer can?

I find we have too often focused on the wrong side of moral dilemmas in our modern world. Yes, things have changed, we live in a mobile society - in fact, all the technological "improvements' brought by modern ingenuity, have been mostly directed by men, who believed in improving access to work or war, and in a corollary belief that women should be protected, by them. Ideology from Europe maybe, passed on not directly, but through the kinds of expectations of both genders - I'm exaggerating some, but life has its real dilemmas.

Most of us would interrupt our day if we saw a dog walking out into a street, about to get hit. But with modern medicine, mobility, choices of places to warehouse elders... we now have the option to look away. We often do it while feeling guilty and worrying, but the options are there and we choose.

But I've learned a great deal on this subject, in the years where I alone raised my youngest brother, born with disabilities, but lost when it came time to leave home and fit in safely and positively in an adult world.

For when I stayed close and sought peers or teachers, helpers, almost nobody in the adult world around him had the ideology of helping him. Many paid helpers, but one learns with time, that they are not supervised in a way to expect them to note his efforts, nor to follow through on issues they see.

I like the article which started this discussion, for it shows me the conditions under which a family member could be paid to give the care. It is not complete however, for it does not have a retirement fund planned - it only suggests that a family member can be paid at the level of other direct workers - who have no job security or retirement plans.

I think we need MUCH more realistic conversation, problem solving around real issues of each family member, backed up by the attitude that caring for the caregiver WELL is worthy and a cheaper way to address real obligations to the aging parent or sibling. Respect the efforts and the sense of duty.

Being a Family Caregiver, should not be treated as lowly as a part time caregiver for a company: family need to care both for the elder, and for the member who lives close or feels the most able or strongest need to step up. Other contributions from siblings, or family planning, should be directed to make sure she is not taken for granted and ignored, as becomes a family, not a for profit corporation.

It is very hard to learn to ask others for help, but I find that when I'm in a culture where this is normal, I feel cared for - I'm now 73 and getting vulnerable myself. I have learned to be clever, and my work with elders and with my brother, has taught me how to set up my home for changes in agility - as I would suggest to the Harrison family whose father falls so often. Even just to have father over to visit - it is still worth adapting the home.

It is amazing how tiny bits of help, go a very long way, so people can help in multiple ways, at very brief times. Yes, we have to be real with parents, because nobody CAN do it all alone, nor should they be expected to. I just broke my ankle, and I'm learning to ask for help for me - it's actually mostly a bureaucratic task, which is easily overwhelming, but resting when tired, then making small choices, a plan emerges.

We should not think the only "solutions" are "all" of this, or "all" of that. If it's a nursing home, we should find one nearby, and make visits regular.

But we should, in my view of a decent world, make time to try to come up with some plan that involves us in a cheerful way - make time to do the numbers and explain our positions and our needs to family. It may take a few years to build up, but it's worth it.
Your parents are manipulating you; sad to say. My mother is more and more manipulating to my sister and I. We need to set boundaries on what I/you "can" do quitting your life is not an option. If @ all possible slowly bring a person in their home to help with shopping Dr.apts, etc..and tell them you will be their to help also. Weve done this she's not happy, but she needs to know we love them ....Like a child needs rules in affect.
My dad died in 2009 from ALZ. mom has Primary Progressive aphasia,with signs of dementia. It of course sucks. But we can't do anything more than we can do for mom/dad,I have 2 adult children @ home,they are my priority 1, mom is 2 I guess I find you and I at the bottom. You and I have to be assertive.

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