Didn't Even Draw Straws

by Mary
(Salina, KS)

The Forum here suggests that being "chosen" is something that happens in a family with siblings when someone takes charge of the care of an elder parent.

It's like there is a moment in time when all gather and say "okay, who wants to take care of Mom as she is beginning to have failing health and is now unable to take care of herself".

For me, it was sort if like a creeping responsibility...as if the three of us were standing in a line and slowly my other sister and brother just kind of quietly stepped back in unison and I was left standing there as the volunteer.

We all live fairly close together and as well close to mom as none of us has moved away because of jobs or other family issues or such. It has been amazing to look back these last several years and realize that I "became the chosen one" not because I am the most responsible or have the best relationship to mother but that issues arise and things have to get done and apparently I am the one to do it.

I, like most of the people here on this forum have a job, my own family and a house to take care of, bills to pay, etc. and it seems that what I need to get done for my family gets put off more and more and more....very frustrating.

I worry that by taking more and more responsibility for the care of my mother all else is being put on the back burner as if it does not matter....I was late to my daughter's play two weeks ago and could not make a dinner for my husband's job last month.

My brother is useless and my sister has every excuse in the book even when I call them way in advance to see if they can make dinner and spend time with mother from 6-10PM for ONE NIGHT!

I am not coming to the end of my rope but it seems very unfair and I am worried that I will look back and feel guilty for either not caring for our mother or not being there for my family...very worrisome.

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Mary, I Have the Same Story
by: Anonymous

Wow! The way you were "chosen" sounds just how it happened for me. You are not the only one. I think there are many of us. (((HUGS)))

I have been a caregiver for 27 years! 27 years is a long time. My youngest son was born manic depressive - he is still home and still needs care. He is 27. I started caring for my mother and stepfather- did that for a couple of years before he passed. Now, I am my mother's main caregiver. My siblings help - a little, but I do all the grunt work.

Mom was diagnosed with vascular dementia three years ago. It started out just short visits to make her food and make sure her medications were taken, etc.

I now spend an average 2 1/2 hours everyday Monday - Friday, plus her laundry, shopping, library, doctors. We do exercises, haircuts, I wash her and blow dry her hair, clip her nails, take out her garbage - you name it!! As she progresses the time will become more and she will eventually need around the clock care.

My siblings truly thought I would have Mom live with us. I have BTDT with my son and I cannot do it again. I am not medically, emotionally, physically, or financially able to care for mom on a 24/7 basis.

I asked for a little more help, but all I got was anger and accusations. And major resistance. I told them that I was burning out. Mom is not an easy person to deal with, and she doesn't believe there is anything wrong with her.

I don't know what happened that my brother decided to hear me, but he contacted the visiting nurses association to help. They start next week. I do not feel guilty. I feel relieved that she will have a bit more supervision, and I will have more time for my son and my home.

Her safety has to be our first consideration. A long term care home is the best option, but my siblings won't consider that yet. So, we will see how these nurses work out. Dementia is a whole different ballgame than simply aging.

Some people are cut out to care for their elderly parents in their home, some are not. And we should not be made to feel guilty because we know we cannot.

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