Burnt out Caregiver of Elderly Parents

by Maryanne
(Glen burnie, MD)

I am a 43 year old well educated single woman who has been a "caregiver" for elderly parents.

Three years ago, my mother had a heart attack. I have spent the last three years helping my mom recover from her heart attack. Taking her to cardiovascular rehabilitation at her local hospital. My father doesn't want to do it. He never wants to take care of my mom.

My career has suffered due to the recession and because my mom's needs are paramount over mine. I haven't had a full time job since late 2007-early 2008. None want to hire me because I am considered a dinosaur and I have elderly parents. My brother who works constantly doesn't want to be involved. He blames my parents for letting their health go. He is right but he needs to pick up the slack from me.

I am in danger of being homeless and my father says that I cannot move back unless he decides to leave the house to me. My mom has recently been diagnosed with Lumbar stenosis due to her diabetes. She can no longer walk with ease. I always have to go down the basement to do everyone's laundry. My brother doesn't seem to help. He believes that it is the daughters duty to help.

My career, social life and my well being has been suffering. I was seeing this man for the past 4 years, and he had decided six months ago that he can no longer be with me because of my mom's health concerns are taking too much of our time together. I am not much on looks and I am not getting any younger so, therefore I am not going to ever have a romantic relationship ever again.

My friends do every call me anymore. I can't blame them for that. My father doesn't like when I have to do job hunting things and have time for myself. He is very belligerent. I told him that he needs to get a brain scan because he exhibits some characteristics of an Alzheimer or dementia patient. I am feeling like I am stretch beyond my capabilities.

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Burnt out
by: Anonymous

You sound like you are deeply depressed. You sound like you are in a crisis state with your care taking of your Mom. You said you cannot find a job, you suffered the loss of an important relationship, your Father is not helpful and your Brother does nothing to help.

I think it's terrible that your Father is not willing to let you stay with them even though you (not he) takes care of your Mom and his wife.

That is horribly selfish and ungrateful of him.
I believe you need to save yourself !!Find a social worker and have them get a care worker for your Mom.

Many states have In Home Support Service programs if your parents don't have much money. You would be better off making sure your Mother is getting the services she needs but let someone else do the care. You are clearly burnt out !!You need to take care of yourself and make sure you don't become homeless.

Perhaps you could go back to school or get job training that is available to middle aged people through a government program. Please put yourself first and stop allowing yourself to be used and unappreciated.

Your Brother should be helping but if he can't then he should be provided something to help maybe $$ since he works too much. He could help coordinate her care and arrange transport to her Doctor visits. He needs to contribute to the solution.

I hope you can get some help via a therapist and a support group. I was in your situation and I became very depressed. You are in your 40s not 80s. You can find another relationship and have a life !!

Get Out!
by: Anonymous

Get out now! Quit and let the other family members experience your pain for a while. You are ruining your own health and then you will be no good to anyone, including, yourself.

So Sorry!
by: Anonymous

It sounds as though things are a mess at the moment, I'm sorry to hear that you have lost your relationship and your career because you have been caring for your parents.

However, I have no insight into your situation but I am concerned that you have allowed this to happen. You are not responsible for your parents and you do not have an obligation to take care of them.

If they were wonderful parents who showed you love, compassion and support as you were growing up,then this may be payback time. However, if this is a guilt trip about what you 'ought' to do, then stop it now! Do they have access to supported living? Is sheltered accommodation an option? Can they receive community support? Pull back a little, I'm not suggesting that you abandon them, just acknowledge the limits of what you can do. good luck!

Be Careful With Dad
by: Christine

Be very careful what you say and suggest to your father, especially if you're not on the best of terms. I invoked the ire of my (otherwise healthy) father when I asked that he get his hearing checked. His hearing has been terrible for years, but when my mother had a stroke three years ago she lost the ability to speak clearly.

Add that to a spouse who is very hard of hearing anyway and you have either a recipe for disaster or the premise for a very bad sitcom. Well, he blew up at me for suggesting that his hearing is less than perfect - and WE get along great. We both do everything necessary for Mom and appreciate all that the other is doing. We definitely don't always agree, but overall, it works okay.

You on the other hand, sounds like you and your Dad are not exactly on the same page - and you're accusing him of some type of dementia. As correct as you may possibly be, those accusations are only going to get you further in the hole. Try bringing your suspicions to his physician, or if he doesn't have one, yours, and take it from there.

Go slow and take care of you, but accusations about mental capacity really aren't going to help you in any way.

Please be well.

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