I am 29 years old, my brother is 26 and our mom was diagnosed with glioblastoma a few months ago. The decline has been shockingly fast, she lost all movement in her left side and needs help with everything from sitting up to eating to using the bathroom. She lives with my dad who before this was the one with a ton of health problems (pre-diabetes, copd, back pain, the list goes on).

There was a period of time where she was in a rehab facility to get physical therapy for her but both places she was at refused to do any therapy because of insurance (Medicaid) and was just neglected the whole time. My dad is weak but was determined to bring her home and be a caregiver. It worked for the first 2 months but recently he’s started to take too many painkillers and has been too high and extremely aggressive. (We as a family dealt with this behavior a lot growing up and it’s a big source of the resentment my brother and I have for our dad).

It’s clear that if he’s going to act like this he’s not fit to be a caregiver but I don’t know who else can be with her 24/7. My brother and I both live about an hour/hour and a half away from them and we both have jobs that need us in the office. We both moved out of our parents house later in our 20s because we don’t have a lot of money. We had to help our parents pay for their rent and other things while working to get on our feet (my dad has made some really bad money choices that has left them with no assets, no house, no savings, nothing)

Looking online for advice it seems like the only real option is for me to quit my job and move home for a year but I don’t want to do that. I’d obviously be the sibling to do it because I’m the daughter and also I make less money. When my mom eventually passes I’ll still have to worry about my dad all the time and I’d rather never live with him again. If I move back home I’d lose all my benefits, health insurance that I need for the therapy I definitely need, and I will probably be in such a bad financial state that i won’t be able to move back to my city and live the life I was just starting to have. I don’t have a partner or anything either so there’s nobody to fall back on if things go bad.

My brother and I also go home every weekend (and then some) to take care of cleaning, cooking, laundry, medicine, and any of the administrative and financial tasks that is too much for my dad to manage himself.

As far as getting home care goes, the hourly rate is more than my own pay rate at work. I’m so young with no financial help from my parents that I don’t have much savings save maybe 3 months of rent if I need it. We can put her in a home again but I’d be getting manic 2am texts every night, where with my dad she complains but it’s less often.

My friends tell me I’m doing enough but none of them know what it’s like outside of seeing their parents help a grandparent while they die. This is a lot different. My aunt sometimes guilts me about not doing more since she was the primary caregiver for her parents but they at least had savings to pay for care and she was already retired, not just starting her career the way me and my brother are.

Am I making the right decision to take care of myself and my future or should I give it all up to take care of her until she passes? I know compared to some people a year is so short, but I dont think I can do this. I don’t want my whole life to be repairing all the damage done from my parent (dad) who has only ever been irresponsible but I also want my mom to feel loved and cared for in her last year of life. I know she wouldn’t want that for me but what we want and what’s the reality are two different things.

I worry when you mentioned you should be the main caretaker because you’re the daughter. Please don’t buy into that!

Read stories here from daughters who were expected to do it all. You don’t want to end up like them! And I say that as an only daughter myself.
Helpful Answer (20)
Reply to LoopyLoo
imout01 Sep 25, 2022
I felt exactly the same! I do realize that that type of thinking is built into some families and cultures, but if my parents were still here and I had brothers, they could forget about skipping out on any duties.

Its hard for you, at your age now. But, one thing to keep in mind for the future, although I know it sounds too much like thinking about $$$, more than your parents right now, is that it is sometimes so that, no matter who the caregiver was, I think if the last parent dies intestate, as an example, the law doesn’t care who did or did not do all of the caregiving. They treat it as if it was your choice to do so and they will still divide assets up 50/50.

Anyone correct me, if I’m wrong. Probably varies by state. But, during these and possible future economic times, it’s never too early to start thinking about your retirement.
Do not quit your job! You are right that this would be absolutely devastating at this point of your life and career. Aunt is way out of line. . .

Support your mom with your love and your time as you are able to, but please do not torpedo your future.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to SnoopyLove

You are going to feel whatever way you're going to feel about the decisions you make, regardless of what a forum of strangers has to tell you, let's face it.

If you want your mother to feel loved and cared for in her last year of life, yet you don't have the financial means to quit your job, what can you do to make her feel loved and cared for WITHOUT quitting your job? What can you do for mom short of moving in with her that would make you feel good about your efforts, and make mom feel loved and cared for at the same time?

THAT is the question to ask yourself, and then how to go about accomplishing that task.

Remove the emotion from the equation and ask, "How do I go about making mom feel loved & cherished in the last days of her life WITHOUT moving back home?" Remove the word 'guilt' from the question entirely. Because your goal is to do whatever you can to NOT feel guilty AND to make mom feel loved during her last days of life. When you rephrase the question removing the possibility of moving back home from the picture, THEN you can set about making a plan. Maybe you call her every day, you go home on the weekends, you send flowers, small gifts, cards, you find photos of the two of you together when you were a kid and have them blown up for her, fill up a helium balloon that says I Love You, things like that. Small gestures that say a lot but don't require you to leave your blood on the floor in the process.

I am very sorry you and mom are facing such a grim prognosis. I pray that God helps you both through this journey with the least amount of pain & anguish possible. Sending you a big hug and a prayer for peace in your heart.
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Reply to lealonnie1

Dont quit your job. Remember...after your parents die.. you still have yourself to take care off.

Just do the best that you can and leave the rest.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to Exveemon

Regina, I am so sorry your family is facing such a difficult diagnosis.

A couple of things, mom can not seek treatment on hospice, palliative care is what you should ask her doctor about.

Don't jump every time she complains. Sometimes we do that and the person is just venting.

Remember, she married and has stayed with your dad, she doesn't want to be rescued. She knows who and what he is, let her complain about him without jumping to action. She is dealing with her own mortality and that creates a roller coaster of emotions, be careful of getting on that ride with her, you have your own to live through .

Most importantly, DO NOT give up your life and independence and move home. Your mom will die and you will be stuck dealing with your dad. He doesn't get to be a monster and get family support 24/7/365. Choices have consequences and you do not want to pay for his. Please DO NOT promise your mom you will take care of dad, this is often a deathbed request that destroys people.

Do you and your brother have the same days off? I was thinking that you guys could work out different days off and that would give mom support more days a week. However, you both have to have time off. So please figure out, at least a weekend a month, that you can go do your own things. A year doesn't seem like a long time but, it is long enough to burn you to a crisp, if you're not careful.

Tell your Auntie that she can be sad and she can be angry about her sisters diagnosis but, she can't dump her crap on you. You are an adult and do not need to be a dumping ground, for Auntie, your dad or anyone else.

Great big warm hug! You will find a balance for this difficult time.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
SnoopyLove Sep 20, 2022
So much wisdom here!
Neither you nor your brother should be supporting your parents financially. You most certainly should not deprive yourself of career, job benefits or home in the vain effort to prop up a living situation which is not sustainable anyway.

I'm very sorry to read of your mother's diagnosis, and sorry for the difficulties your father is facing. But it isn't just that you and brother have no obligation to sacrifice your developing lives to compensate, it's that it won't work and it won't help. You could both of you make the attempt, and ruin your immediate prospects, and it still wouldn't rescue your father or save your mother. You'd just both go down with him.

Working together, you and brother should research what is available to your parents as a unit where they live. Time for your mother is probably short: look into hospice care, and make it clear that you children are not able to provide practical hands-on care (you aren't, not at the level she will need). Looking ahead for your father, you can do the "signposting" research. You don't say how old he is but guessing in his fifties or sixties see what support groups and services might be relevant to what he is going to need once he is on his own.

Guilt in this situation is a useless and destructive emotion which will lead to bad decisions and even more damage for all of you. This is a time for practical thinking and setting strong, clear boundaries. For both you and brother, it's a case of "do not set yourselves on fire to keep your parents warm." Watch each other's back.

And turn your phone off at night. Nothing will happen that a) you can prevent or remedy and b) therefore can't wait 'til morning.
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Reply to Countrymouse
Beatty Sep 20, 2022
I have found giving myself permission to turn my phone off at night & other times has duel benefits - reducing anxiety & increasing common sense.

I cannot prevent all things. I can't really prevent much at all.
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I am so sorry about your Mother's diagnosis. I can't imagine how hard this is.

I had a friend who's Mother had a terminal condition. Three siblings took on the care. They only just made the month out - exhausted mentally & physically, before she passed. Said it only worked because they were all
- local
- all had paid leave/or flexible jobs
- the care needs were still able to be met by just one person at a time, & all 3 were comfortable with personal care

Also what I heard that made this work was;
- they had a plan - Plan A : stay at home.
- they were honest about their limits
- they called in extra help when they needed it.
- they had a Plan B

Factors like one caregiver needing to pull out, needs increasing to 2 x assist or the time increasing past one month would be the trigger for Plan B : hospice inpatient

While of course that is not the only way.. Regina, how your situation compare?

Neither you or your brother are local. Aunt *talks* but would she help? Do you have a big reserve of paid leave or possibility for unpaid leave & to retain your employment?
If your brother did volunteer, would he be willing to share personal care with you?

Another big issue: if you move back, will Dad drop all personal care or even ALL care & you as a female will be expected to do all? I get vibes he will!

I can understand wanting to help, or just even to be there 😥

But living 2+ hours round trip is too far to do daily hands-on care. Therefore Mom & Dad need others in their care team.

Leaving your home to provide care may be reasonable for a SHORT time if you wanted to IF you have paid leave or deep pockets so not to impovish yourself. Longer term has large negative impacts you need to weigh up.

So finally (soz for being wordy)...

Please take away the 'should' from your question & ask yourself 'do I feel guilty?'

No? Good. Just do what you can.

Yes? Can the guilt be redirected eg 'I wish I could move home but it is just not possible'. 'I wish I could do more, but I am not a nurse'.

(((Hugs to you)))
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Reply to Beatty

If your parents are 65 then they have Medicare. If not, they need to sign up for it. If they received SS before 65 then Medicare is automatic.

When it comes to Rehab. If the person is not trying or can't participate Medicare will not pay. Should work that way with Medicaid too. Maybe Mom was too weak to do the excercises.

No, don't give up your new job. Once Mom passes, you will find you can't leave Dad and then you are stuck and can't get out. Better you don't start. What I suggest is calling in APS. Ask them if they can evaluate your parents for help. Maybe coming from a stranger Dad is more likely to listen to them. They can set up Caregivers or recommend Hospice. They can also take Mom out of the home and place her if they think Dad is not capable of caring for her. You just be firm and tell APS that you cannot care for them. You need your job and benefits.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to JoAnn29

Please don’t take on any misplaced guilt in this, you’ve done nothing to feel guilt. Feeling sad that it can’t be different or better is normal, but no to guilt, this isn’t your fault. Listen to no one who tries to give you feelings of guilt. Definitely keep your job! You’re at a crucial age and time of life to establish a career. If your parents were healthy and whole they’d never want you to walk away from your life and job to care for them. Help only as you can, as it fits into your life. Call the local Council on Aging, along with the social worker where mom was in the hospital, and inquire what resources may be available for them. Find out about hospice services, they aren’t round the clock care but a huge help, and not limited to people with the typically thought of “less than six months” Tell every medical professional involved that you cannot provide full time care and need help. Again, this isn’t on you to do, guard your livelihood and health. I’d hope you stop using your money to support your parents, that’s not healthy for either side. I wish you the best during such a tough storm
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Reply to Daughterof1930

“Guilt” NEVER solves problems, pays bills, soothes the weary or troubled, strengthens the weakened, (add more as they occur to you).

Your independence is a credit to you and your brother’s is a credit to him.

In spite of a difficult family life you survived.

Find out exactly what will happen LEGALLY to your parents if you and your brother both withdraw. By attempting to “help” you may be unwittingly jeopardizing benefits that they may be legally entitled to.

In a situation such as yours, don’t look for a “good” solution where there may not be any solutions that are good.

Keep your life, cherish it, savor it.

Learn to turn off your phone to protect yourself from calls placed to you while should be and need to be sleeping.

Answering your question, “YES”. You are totally absolutely right and fair to seek self preservation as your goal.
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Reply to AnnReid

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