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My older brother and I have been caring for my mother, who's unable to walk and stand, for almost seven years. Things were OK at first, but now I feel overwhelmed. I fear what will happen to my life if I continue caring for her, not to mention my concerns with the impact this is having on me mentally. I should probably note that I'm 29, single, and without children. This isn't where I thought I would be at this age. Also, I'm far, far below my earning potential, since I'm unable to work. Meanwhile, lots of my peers are doing well for themselves in my field of study. My brother also works, and has fewer caregiving duties. Lately, he has been drinking heavily, though, which is another thing I don't want to be around. l feel like I can't do this much longer, like it's ruining my life. However, I would need to start anew, find a job and home. That's all pretty scary, too. In fact, it's causing me to feel somewhat stuck.

Also, my parents were the best, so it doesn't feel right to place Mom in a nursing facility. If she knew how I was feeling, my mom would definitely say she doesn't want to be a burden on me. I've never expressed these feelings to her out of concern for her will to continue living. Additionally, I wish I had spent more time with my dad, who died suddenly from a stroke in 2003 while I was away at college, and I don't want to have those same regrets about my mother. It's all too much.

Thanks in advance for any insight on this matter, and excuse my grammar as I'm an emotional wreck right now. Again, my question is, how to be sure that you've done all that can for a disabled parent and it's time to focus on your own life?

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I hope you have found answers to your question. I am in the same boat, and it brings me to tears to read these. I am looking into school for myself- (at 42) and i am actually fearful in the decisions that are yet to come. I think since i have been caring for my mother i have honestly lost myself. Of course ive gone through all the scenerios of I CANT betray her, I CANT place her anywhere. I CANT leave her under the care of others- IT HAS TO BE ME! But the reality of the matter is- Im doing her no justice. There has to be a quality of life outside my face and this house. She (when placed) will be with others like her. With activities to keep her brain moving, and yes, she will be cared for. I have two teenage children that I need to focus on now, and YES, i am coming to peace with my decision. Stay strong, keep your head up and no one can love you like you can love you.
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I second 3pinkroses advice, Kelleigh. As I read what you wrote, I thought about the movie "What's Eating Gilbert Grape." If you haven't seen it, you may want to watch it. I'm sure you'll be able to relate to the emotions he was feeling as a young man helping to care for his mother with mobility problems, as well as a mentally challenged brother (autistic?). The movie had a partly tragic end, but the lessons of the movie are good.

You are at an age where you need to be building your life. These are critical years for you if you want a career, a husband, and children. I have a feeling that your mother would be more honored having grandchildren visiting her than having you take care of her 24/7. In your shoes, I would sign up for some classes to refresh my education and start looking to enter the workplace. We all hope that something will work out eventually, but that only happens in stories. We have to decide what we want to do, then make it happen.

I know that you feel torn between wanting to be a good daughter and wanting to fill the needs in your own life. You can do both. 3pinkroses had excellent suggestions on how to do this. Talk to your mother's doctor and see about bringing in social services to see what is available for your mother. It may be that you can find something that your mother enjoys more than what she is doing now. Many good thoughts coming your way.
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My heart goes out to you..... you are young and have been doing so much for your mother at such a young age. You mention that your mom would say she doesn't want to burden you; take those words and start living your life; from what you have said - she would want it. In a perfect world, we would all want to do all we can and carry on a normal life as well outside of caregiving.

You have your life ahead of you and if your mother is in a nursing facility; you can still be her caregiver. She can't walk or stand and therefore requires more care. If you cannot afford care to come into the home; don't disqualify a quality skilled nursing facility. My mother was living in one and adjusted to it nicely. It did take a period of time to adjust; and when you make their room at the facility decorated with all their favorite things, it helps the adjustment tremendously.

There are many functions to take part in; even in a wheel chair - their are others to meet there as well. My mother made some wonderful friends. She could leave her room and go to the lovely lunch room they had or stay in her room and eat; whatever she preferred. There was a recreation room with entertainment, and they even had outings to restaurants and shopping occasionally. I'm just hoping to give you an idea of NH facilities that are a viable alternative to living at home with you.

Who is going to provide for you in your future if you don't get out into the working world? You have sacrificed and been a wonderful daughter, and I know your mother realizes that. You need to take a different course. There are many of us on this forum who will help you with information and guidance in any way we can. Bless you for all you have done and hugs to you across the miles.
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