My relationship with my teenage son is suffering terribly due to both of our caregiving roles for my 87-year-old father with dementia. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

My relationship with my teenage son is suffering terribly due to both of our caregiving roles for my 87-year-old father with dementia. Any advice?

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Your situation is sad, but all too common. We who have elders and are raising children at the same time often have to make many hard choices.

Please remember that your son has needs. Coping with a parent who has Alzheimer's is so draining, that it's sometimes it may be hard to see that this is stressful for your son, as well. He is watching his grandfather deteriorate, plus he is getting less attention from his parent. Both are hard. He's also in a very self-centered stage of life, which makes it even harder for everyone.

I'd suggest some counseling for you both - preferably joint counseling. I know that sounds impossible - it would to me. However, even a spiritual leader's advice, or a few hours of paid therapy just to clear the air could help.

I feel there is little that is more painful for us than to have to choose between the needs of a parent who is going through life with dementia, and our children's needs. Do try to remember that your son's future could be affected greatly by this, so if you need more help with your dad through paid services so you can spend more time with your son, then please try to do it.

Our hearts are with you. keep in touch when you can,
Carol
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Well, I eventually had to place my father in a nursing home, and miraculously all has worked out well. I was so "anti-nursing home," but I spent a great deal of time researching them, asking around, and visiting several. I finally found one that is in a rural area, and they have taken excellent care of my father, and he is actually doing better than when I had him at home. The down side is that it is a 1 1/2 hour drive to and from the nursing home I chose, and I try to see him twice a week, but always once a week no matter what. I also call frequently to check on him. The up-side of having him in that particular facility is that I don't have to worry about him constantly. He is always clean, smiling, and never gets upset when I leave. I finally came to the conclusion that even though my son learned valuble lessons about caring for my dad, and what showing love thru actions/compassion is all about, it was just too stressful on us both. He and I both were getting more frustrated than we should over an illness my poor father has no control over. Fatigue and stress takes its toll, and after years of caring for "an adult infant," we were close to our breaking point. Another thing that I would like to add is that I went into the nursing home experience with the understanding that NOTHING is permanent. Had he not done well or if I felt they weren't caring for him as they should, I could always bring him back home or transfer to another facility. Realizing that placement does not have to be permanent helped me a lot to at least try and see if I could lessen everyone's stress levels, and get my Dad the good care he deserved. I learned that it is not being uncaring to put a loved one in a nursing home...as long as they are cared for well, there is no hint of neglect nor abuse, and they seem to be thriving. The socialization has been good for him, and many people are now doing the job that just my son and I had been doing. It is not a weakness to be stressed, frustrated, and just plain worn out. It's reality. I hope you both can find a solution that is good for all involved. I know it is heartwrenching.
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When my mom was caring for my aunt who had cancer-her sister-I had just turned 13-she was so involved with grief and caregiving my own mother forgot my birthday-I felt very unimportant-I even wished it was me who was sick,so she would pay attention to me.Even though I loved my aunt-I needed quality time with my mother-she and I grew apart after that-we never rebounded,some say I rebeled and acted out-all I know is nothing was ever the same.While I was caring for my mate and my dad who were dying,I was also taking care of a young daughter ,I thought of my mother and her prediciment often-I explained to my daughter all of this and asked her opinion-even though her life was far from normal,I bent over backwards to try to create memerable moments so she would not feel slighted or less than or unimportant-Even though it is of great honor in what you are doing-young people need to know they are valued-do something awesome together-just the two of you-don't let him or her forget how important they are-they grow up to quick.
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To be blunt, your son is going to be around longer than your dad, so look after your relationship with your son, and don't take it for granted or make him wait until his grandfather is dead to feel like he's a priority with you. If you do that he won't see it as a great example of love; he's going to experience it as being unloved himself. The great opportunity here is to practice thinking together: "how can WE.... etc??" You're taking a great step just by asking your question. Try asking him, too!
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Tennesse, your advice is great, too, it wasn't up when I commented on the wonderful advice prior to mine.
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Your tenn-aged son should not be involved in a caregiving role for your 87 year-old father who has dementia.

The only thing that your son should be doing for him is reading to him, walking with him and perhaps an occasional meal-giving procedure, such as spoon feeding. No diaper changing, no lifting, no med applications, no bathing, no dressing.
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I would suggest getting some extra help from an out side sourc if it is affordable oftn times its a strain on loved ones who care for family members with dementia but if you are willing t have some extra hands in this process please feel free to let me know
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Parobbie: I am so glad that everything worked out for you. No one should be forced past his or her breaking point. I think we have an internal mechanism that tells us it is time for a change.
Your point about knowing your limitations is great. I started to see that, no matter how much I worked or wanted to care for Mom in her home, that I was limited in my medical abilities and, also, Mom needed more social contacts. She was isolating herself her and I could not get her to go on outings anymore...just to the doctor. At her new apt. they make sure that residents have daily contact with others. Mom still wants to stay put but they are able to get her to do things that I couldn't. It is the difference between taking direction from your "kids" vs. a professional. Somehow they listen to others.
I still do so much of her caregiving and, at times, it is still stressful. But I know that her new home gives her a feeling of independence which I hope continues for as long as possible.
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I have 4 sons. One of my boys Grandpa sits for me on Saturday night so I can get out and be with friends, or a movie. You need to get out. My Dad has dementia. My son and my Dad watch war movies or play cards. It gives my son a chance to see how I care for his grandpa and hopefully it will teach him compassion and empathy as I grow older. I know your son feels left out but try to find something they can do together.
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well my friend you just half to spend some time with him i thought i was having issues with my son when he was 13 yrs old i was scare that i wasnt giving him enough attention but when i sat down and talk to my son finally, he told me he was alright that he understood what i was doing and was willing to help, he excuse me from ftball games and some other school activities cause he knew what i was going through with my family not helping.he did good with my father it took him awhile to learn what was gong on with my father but he understood..You just half to find time with him you will be surpise at the outcome you get
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