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I get so resentful and mad which I need to let go of. But why am I the only one doing everything???? No one EVER EVER asks if I need help. It is just assumed and ignorant to think things just take care of themselves. I am getting married and moving out within a month (finger's crossed!) and I am already cooking up anxiety ridden senario's about getting phone calls regarding my parent. My fiance said I should expect a call saying they need help but when is enough enough for one person? Any advice would be much appreciated.

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Carla, excellent observation: ALMOST NOBODY IS REALLY CUT OUT TO BE A CAREGIVER.

It comes our way and ya do what ya gotta do. I'm a very reluctant caregiver and I know I'm not alone. You don't think of this stuff then all of a sudden your parents are mid 80s, have made a big mess of things, you're in your 60s, thought it you were going to coast through your golden years and BAM!

I Sometimes lecture my younger friends about getting prepared for their parents decline. They're like, yeah sure. Get right on that POA. They usually do nothing till the ..... Hits the fan.
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I believe the reason one adult child ends up doing it all is this: Most people in their heart of hearts believe that if a parent needs help and lacks other resources, the adult children have to step up and offer the help. However, there's a catch. If one adult child steps up to help, the parent is no longer in the position of lacking resources, so the other adult children are able to step back. The obligation people feel is more of a general societal obligation not to leave elderly parents out there fending for themselves, not an obligation to actually take care of the elderly parent or to divide the responsibilities up in any equitable way. If the parent is not out there fending for themselves (because you have shown up to help) then everyone else can go about their separate ways.

Not that this helps you (or me, or any other caregiver). I hope your family members do pick up the slack and you are able to start your new marriage without letting yourself get dragged into all your parent's problems. Good luck!
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I don't think it's the case that one sibling HAS to be responsible, rather it's usually only one that IS responsible. And that can be due to a variety of issues, money, location and just being the only adult in the family.

As soon as a sibling,  mother, aunt ANYONE takes over elder care everyone else breathes a sigh of relief and moves on. My sibs have both died but even when they were living I saw where this was going. It was gonna be me doing the heavy lifting with my folks.
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It is enough when you decide it is enough. You are not under contract or a sentence. You are doing this presumably because you decided to; you can make a different decision any time you feel it is appropriate.

Everyone knows that you are moving out. You have, in effect, given your notice. I like JoAnn's suggestions about lists. One list of all the things your father needs help with. Keep this list at least several days -- it is easy to forget things you do automatically.

Then from that list, decide which you want to continue doing, if any. Make another list, or mark them on the big list. These are things your family needs to know. Now they get to make their own decisions. How will these other tasks get done?
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I think different people have different caring capacity and ability to roll up their sleeves and step in and help. In any given family, that could be the case.

And there are also issues that often linger well after childhood and into adulthood - friction between parent and siblings, between the siblings, career commitments that siblings don't want to interrupt, and more and more issues.

Some people also just do not have the capacity or personality to care for others. Caregiving takes a tremendous emotional toll.
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I personally think that too much is made of the argument that not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver. I think the larger truth is that almost nobody is really cut out to be a caregiver, and almost everyone has limiting conditions or situations that could be viewed as excusing them if they want to be excused. On the other hand, I think most people could contribute something, if only moral support and consultation with the person doing the hands-on caregiving. Too often, though, the exemption is treated as absolute, and the caregiver doesn't even hear from the rest of the family. Or the other family members become hostile and defensive if approached for any help, rather than empathizing with the one who's getting stuck with everything. I've experienced that with my own family, and I know others have too. The only sibling I keep in touch with is the sister is who sharing the load as far as taking care of Mom. The rest of them all act like it doesn't have anything to do with them.
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Earlier today I caught an old episode of Lisa Ling's "Our America". It was called "The Secret Lives of Seniors." One person profiled was an 88-year old woman who had had a stroke 2-3 years earlier and was confined to a wheelchair and paralyzed on one side. The segment opens with her daughter, age 57, getting her mother out of bed and into her wheelchair, helping her in the bathroom, helping brush her teeth, then breakfast. The mother says she hates interfering in her daughter's life and being a burden, but you hear her every few minutes with a new request: "You need to make my toast, Mary." "Can I go to the bathroom now, Mary?" etc. etc. Mary is interviewed saying she thought once the kids were grown she'd be free to travel with her husband and enjoy her leisure, etc. She said she was the youngest of 3 daughters and she elected because she was healthiest of the 3, and had a house with her husband suitable for housing their mother. The sisters aren't mentioned as participating at all (it's not clear that they lived nearby) - rather, Mary was getting down time each day by taking her mother (who was still mentally there enough to play cards, etc.) to a senior center like an adult day care.

If I were Mary I'd want to kill myself. And my mother. And my sisters. I did think it was interesting, though, how she described getting chosen for this job.
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I've been thinking about Carla's and Windy's comments about people not being "cut out to be a caregiver." I don't disagree, but I think there's another, broader issue beyond obligations/responsibility for family.

It's that some people don't have commitments to other people, to animals, or even to nature or wildlife. Although I haven't seen much about this lately (as it seems that people step up to support their particular causes), over the years there have been incidences in which someone was injured, was being abused (and this especially applies to animals), yet no one stepped up to intervene.

Sometimes this applies to people who are careless in forests, or who deliberately deface monuments or buildings. There's an essential lack of connection with others and with nature.

This seems like a far cry from caregiving, but is there a common attitude here?

I think there's a subclass of people who just don't want to get involved, period, whether it's with family, with and on behalf of animals, or even politics (they don't even vote). Is it ambivalence? Irresponsibility? I don't know, but they do exist.
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I see your point, GardenArtist. I have one of those in my own family. A chronic alcoholic and addict who claims to be sober, but has never emerged from her illness far enough to notice that the rest of the world exists, apart from how it can be used to satisfy her immediate needs. As a caregiver she would be useless, basically a high-maintenance guest rather than a helper. She was never even on the list of people I might have expected help from. She continues in her 60s to be a person utterly without resources of the types that could be sharable with anybody else. So yes, there are those, sadly.
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So, you have been taking care of a parent because you live there? How oldvis the parent and what r their needs. How many are close by that will need to step in.

I suggest starting to make lists of ur parents needs and what they can do for themselves. Is your parent mentally capable? If so, check your counties office of aging and see what services they provide. Ours provides bussing to doctors and shopping. Make a list of what you will be able to do. Remember, you will now be married and I assume working. Then have a meeting with all concerned. Explain a usual day. Meds parent takes and when. Pharmacy or mailorder they deal with. List of doctors, addresses and phone#. I have papers with all this info and dates of when my Mom was in the hospital and why.
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