Giving it All

by Nara
(Rochester NY USA)

I'm an only child caring for a sweet father in his 90s. He has dementia and a host of other difficulties that make it impossible for him to make decisions for himself, to drive, cook, clean, or pay bills. He can watch t.v., and hold a good conversation, but, a few minutes later he may not remember anything about it.

I have an in-home business, but have had to give up most of it because keeping my dad on schedule, taking care of all the housework, bills, doctor appointments, and his medications keeps me too busy to focus on my own career. I get upset over this, because I'm not paying into Social Security what I should be, and I'm approaching retirement age myself.

There are no siblings, family members to help, and I am not married, and have no children myself. Most of my close friends are in another state. We have a woman who comes in 3 hours a week so I can run errands, but, that's usually all the help I get.

For me, my stress is that I'm alone with all this. I see the deterioration and have no one except the doctors to talk to. When I do get a few hours to myself, I have no one to spend it with.

I miss working. I miss my life. My dad, however, is a stellar individual, and we have a great relationship. But, I feel guilty missing my life. He has given so much to me over the years, I'm happy to give to him, but, it is so hard to do it alone.

I do try to walk regularly, and I meditate every day. I try to talk to friends on the phone and Facebook is a Godsend. I read and try to do things for myself, but, I'm usually interrupted.

Things that would take just an hour or 2 before now can take a few days - since everything I do is interrupted and I have to wait. Waiting takes up most of my day it seems.

Thanks for listening. I sure needed to talk!

All the best to everyone out there --

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I Feel your Pain
by: Kathy

I feel your pain since I, too, am an unmarried, child free only child trying to deal with my father's health concerns. Like you, I'm overwhelmed and feel so alone.

My mother died in Decmeber after a 10 year long battle with Alzheimer's. A week after her funeral my father fell physically and crashed emotionally and has been in a rehabilitation facility for the last five weeks.

He is frail and has mild dementia. He will be released in a week. He cannot live on his own so I am going to leave him in this facility. I saw the toll my mother's deterioration took on him and me and have determined assisted living is the best option for both of us.

Do I feel guilty? No, but I do feel sad that his life is not what it used to be. That being said, in his "previous life" he would not have wanted me to forfeit my life and future on his behalf.

Perhaps asking yourself what your father would want for you will help you to know the next step you should take.

Good luck. My thoughts are with you.

by: Wendy

Hi Nara, what a lovely note. You obviously have tremendous love and respect for your father. I am sensing that you feel isolated.

I am not here to offer advice, but to let you know that I have listened and to send you a hug.

Wendy x


Call the Catholic Hospice and Palliative Program. It is NOT for dying people only. They will come out and access your Dad and see if they can help you. Here is their number 305-822-2380. Hope they can help.

I feel your Mom is 89 with dementia, a broken arm and a new knee replacement. Social Services placed her in a nursing home because I, like you am an only child and I work outside the home and was leaving her home alone. They told me I couldn't do that...I would get reported for elder endangerment.

Take care...good luck and you have to breathe...take a day to just do you. How about adult day care. Easter Seals has a program for people with dementia.

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