My mother has Alzheimer's and my father is her primary caregiver. I live with them and he expects me to fill in for him. Do I have the right to say enough and move on? - AgingCare.com

My mother has Alzheimer's and my father is her primary caregiver. I live with them and he expects me to fill in for him. Do I have the right to say enough and move on?

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I live with my parents. My mother has alzheimer's and my father is the primary care giver. He expects me to fill in twice a day so he can leave the house. The thing is he's been abusive to me all my life and isn't that great to me now. Plus I'm at a dead-end low-paying job where I'm treated badly there as well. I'm at my wits end and feel dead inside. I want my life back and feel like I have the right to take care of myself and pursue a better career, etc. I don't want to be a scapegoat for anyone anymore? Do I have the right to say enough and move on?

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Yes, you do. However, if your dad is abusive, you may have to move out to get away from your dad. If you leave and you don't feel he's taking care of your mother, you should call social services to have them check on her welfare. Please get some help for yourself and your mom.
Carol
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Wow! Judge and jury here... What happened to "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all..."? I think we should try to be supportive. We don't have all the facts, and we aren't here to judge one another. Give the poor girl a break. She came here for support, not condemnation. Find some compassion, please. We ALL need compassion, and no one has a corner on what's right, except God. I'd like to see a little less bashing here, please. Josephine, your post has caused quit a stir of activity! Praying things work out well for you and your loved ones!
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Ok, so the situation on how he treats YOU is not good, but what about care of your mother. When this ? was posted without your explanation that YOU are being abused, I thought "good grief, you can't manage a few hours here and there to spell your father?" You will find many on this board, me included, who left their home, abandoned careers, have no income and no social saving net, no dental care or medical...to care for a parent 24/7 for years on end. Like me for 8 years! (I get $10 day plus room and board.) Also you don't say how old you are.

Anyway, think about your mother's welfare and the logistics of caring for your mother. If you move out, you could still spell your father on YOUR schedule, say promise four days of 3-4 hours each. You could also do shopping errands on the way, offer to do yardwork outside while your father is with your mother.

Since he's leaving to do errands, etc, you won't have much contact with him and could probably be more a helpful visitor, a ray of light for your mother. Not someone always put upon and abused.

This threshold of I want "MY LIFE back!" is something every caregiver faces. And having the right to a happy fulfilling life? sure why not? But that's what all deadbeat siblings are saying while the single sibling caregiver is stuck with 24/7. (Guess which one develops "character"?)

Your father, abusive as you say he is, is nevertheless standing with his wife as primary caregiver. You've posted your original message days ago, so assume you didn't click the "notify me when others respond" button. Are you even reading these? Hello?
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Of course I could be wrong but judging from what you have written, josephine, it appears to me that your brother and your father are the patriarchal type that don't give much importance to girls in the family. My German school chum was always "put down" by her father and her brother and continued to be until they died. Now that they are gone, she still is affected by how she was treated. I would not want this for you, Josephine, so now that you have explained your situation in more detail, and now that I know your father, in caring for your mother, is "doing a pretty good job with her" and "is very patient and loving with her" I definitely would urge you to get on with your life just as your brother (who lives far away) is obviously getting on with his life. You mentioned you had gathered information etc. and given it to your father so now it's up to your father (and brother) to make use of the info if they want to. If your father and brother won't discuss important matters with you, and your brother is telling you not to worry, then perhaps you should just tell these two men in your life that since they seem to feel confident they can handle things on their own without including you in their discussions, you are happy to let them do so. But if your voice concerning matters isn't needed or wanted, then you can't be expected to just do their bidding. You are not a slave. You can help out where and when it seems reasonable to YOU to do so but I think you need to move out and become as independent as your brother has become. Perhaps when you do this, your father will see you in a different light and will show you more respect. On the other hand, perhaps not, but by then it won't really matter because you will have more respect for yourself. Go for it, Josephine. And please keep us posted as to what you do.
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Josephine, for your own sake, please try to tell us more about your situation. I have to disagree with Ed in assuming that if you were paying your share of expenses and if you had lived on your own before, NOW you would have enough self-respect to not "take" any more abuse. I don't believe that the effects of abuse are that easily overcome. But that's just my opinion.
Ed wants to get to the truth of the matter (as I guess we all do so that we can be fair to all concerned) so, Josephine, how about trying to give us some more facts. How long did you live on your own? Why did you move back home? Was there some sort of an agreement drawn up when you moved back home? As I asked before, did your parents want you back home because they didn't like to have you living on your own because you were female? Does your culture have something to do with you living at home? Etc. etc. We really do need to know as much as possible before we can give you well-considered answers to your question as to whether or not we think (but of course do not KNOW for sure) if you have the right to say "enough and move on" as you suggested. I think if you do not or cannot tell us more so that we have a clearer picture of the situation, there is not much use in this thread continuing. I am sure we all wish the best for your whole family.
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Hear Hear! This online support group is no place for any judgment at all. Each of us is in a unique situation, with unique levels of energy reserves, etc. Each of us is doing the best we can, or else we wouldn't even be here! (-: As Tiny Tim said: "God bless us, everyone."
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I think that it is hard to judge someone who has been abused, and then asked to care for that parent. I was abused early on, and have been a parttime caregiver to my blind mother for years. She has been living with me the last 6 months but this morning I asked her to consider a retirement community nearby and even though she is making me feel horrible and like a bad daughter, she visited the place and filled out an application to get on a waiting list. I refuse to feel guilty about this, although she is doing her level best to make this all my fault. I have been her care-taker since I was 10 - I'mm 55 now. When do I get to stop and let someone else take over. She is 81 and getting frail. I will be a better daughter when I am not 'in charge'. Baggage from the past plays a big part. Don't judge someone who has been abused before you know what that is like.
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I'm sure many will be glad to know you have checked your email and have read the responses to your question. I think many of us are concerned about the abuse that you mentioned. Was it physical and/or psychological and has it ended? How are feeling about things now that you have read everyone's responses? Are you planning on making some changes? I hope you can achieve more happiness for yourself while still helping out your parents in some way. I think most caregivers long for a balance.
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JOSEPHINE:

From your post, I understand the need to get away from an abusive situation and pursue a fulfilling life. Still, I'm puzzled. If you're abused at home and abused at work, what makes you think you'll be harm-free if you just pack your things -- as some here have suggested -- and move out? How long do you think you'll last on $10 an hour when apparently you've never been on your own? Do you really think you're ready to throw caution to the wind?

It's your parent's house, and you have to abide by their rules -- especially if you don't pay rent and are still somewhat dependent. In a nutshell, if you are in fact an able-bodied adult they're not obligated to house and care for you. That being the case try working out a schedule with your father, who's clearly under a lot of stress from watching the love of his life unravel before his eyes. Perhaps if you both agree on a specific time to substitute for him he won't be so prone to take it out on you. If he still continues to be abusive after having reached a compromise as to how best care for your mom, tell him he's going to have to make other arrangements if he wants to take a break and/or run errands. You might be risking him telling you to move out, but I doubt it because he needs you. Actually, you need each other. So work it out and refuse to be abused. At least you'll have a roof over your head while making sincere and realistic plans to leave the nest and land on your feet no matter where you go. Wish you the best.

-- ED
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Josephine, if you want, move out. Don't agonize about, just do what is best for you. Your father probably vents now because he is watching the woman he fell in love with and married , slowly slip away. I do not know the history and frankly I don't think it's relevant. I haven't heard that your father does a poor job taking care of his wife. Your father made a request and you have every right to say no. If you can't /won't improve the situation move. Move out take care of yourself and maybe later you can help. Your father is taking care of his wife, your mom the best he can. If the burden to help is to much, move. Your living under there roof, there is no reason not to move. Don't feel guilty, do what your gut tells you. This forum is for people that are caregiving. You are not. That doesn't make you bad it just means you don't/can't help right now. Move. Don't whine. Don't pout. Move. When your in a better place maybe you can help caring for your mother and father who should be the focus of this discussion. Sorry to be so blunt...but the focus should be on the AD sufferer and the the loved one caregiving not on someone who can't/won't help.
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