Feel Like I am in This Alone

I am 44 years old, a Social Worker by trade in a very demanding administrative position at work. I am a wife and a mother to a 10 year old son. I am also a daughter to two, 81 year old parents.

My mother had a stoke 5 years ago and has had a steady cognitive decline - she is diagnosed with dementia/Alzheimer's type and other age related heath issues. My father while very cognitively sound is blind in one eye and has about 70% vision loss in the other.

I am the youngest of 3 children and the only one that lives in our home town where our parents live. My brother is 55 and is in the medical field - he lives 3 hours away and my sister is 58 and does not work - she lives about 3 and 1/2 hours away. They each have 4 adult children who are on their own and have their own families. My sister does not drive on interstates or highways.

I am overwhelmed with the whole of my responsibilities. Luckily, my husband retired this past year - he is 61 and has a lot of responsibilities with his parents who are 89 and 90.

When my mother is ill - I am the one who must take off from work and spend the night away from my family to help care for her. My father relies on me solely for help. I manage their medications, read mail and assist with helping them manage everything.

My sister calls my parents daily but never calls me to see how they are or what I am having to manage - but she will get angry with me if I don't call her immediately to tell her if something is going on with mother's health - I know I don't call her "immediately" out of resentment because I know she will require emotional support that I am too exhausted to provide to her and I also know she will not be able to assist me in anyway. I am busy at that point rearranging my life to take care of my
parents needs.

My siblings truly have no idea of the day to day responsibilities I have with OUR parents. Just today - my husband spent the morning taking them to the grocery store and the pharmacy. I spoke with them several times by phone from work. I worked late and offered to bring them supper which I do almost nightly but they already had something to eat. I spoke with them throughout the evening, also. At 11:30pm I was awakened by a phone call from my father - my mother was crying with her stomach hurting, she felt faint and her BP was elevated. I jumped up, got dressed and drove to their home. She had an upset stomach and was having diarrhea - the sheets needed changing and washing as did her gown and after she finished having the upset stomach - I assisted her to shower and get back to bed. I cleaned up the bathroom and helped my father settle down.

Situations like this one are common and unpredictable. I am the first and only call for help. I am the immediate support and the back-up - my husband and my son help as they can but why is it assumed by my siblings that I will rearrange my home and work responsibilities to manage my mother and father's care every time.

They don't visit regularly - my brother has been here 2x in the past year and he was really passing thru - not a visit just to see or spend time with my parents. My sister, because she cannot (does not) drive on interstates or highways can only come when someone brings her which is sporadic. When she is here her feelings are easily hurt by my father and I end up counseling her most of the time - she is emotionally draining to me.

I don't know how to continue to manage this situation - it is overwhelming at times and then other times not so much. I do love my siblings but I do not see the support from them changing in any way and I am tired of feeling resentful.

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