I'm a 25 Year Old Caregiver of My 81 Year Old Father

by Andrew
(Montana)

My wife and I have two children both under age two and are the primary care givers of my 81 year old father with dementia.


When my parents got married my father was 56, my mother 23 and through the power of modern science I and my two sisters were created. Fast forward 23 years and my father is diagnosed with dementia and my mother decides she's a lesbian, moves her girlfriend in with her and my father and then decides to leave for Canada.

My wife and I move in to take care of him and have tried our hardest for 2 years....now mind you that we are of lower income and his power of attorney was given to my sister who lives in a different state and the ultimatum has become either we live with him or he goes to a home, and there is no way in hell I'm gonna let that happen.

I'm only 25 and I'm not ready for this....he is mid way through the disease and I'm not ready for this, mind you that I'm sure nobody really is. I suffer from major depression and watching the fast downward spiral of my father is killing me. we were never really close when I was young... I think mainly due to the significant age difference, we have finally gotten close and now day by day I see him slipping away.

I feel nobody understands what I'm going through, if anybody can help with any advice please respond to this post

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Your not alone
by: Anonymous

What struck me was your age, it's hard to find other 25 y/o's in this situation. I, myself am taking care of my 80 y/o grandma and it has taken is toll.

I will say this knowing that there are others out there helps. It's normal to feel overwhelmed and somewhat resentful of the situation. Even when we offer to help no one can actually tell you what your about to give up.

Along with the guilt that accompanies that statement, it's the bitter truth.

It's hard watching loved ones go through the decline and honestly it's tough losing that boundary from your preexisting relationship. Suddenly you know to much or even in simpler terms the blinders are taken off. It's a roller coaster of picking your battles and keeping the peace.

At the same time its rewarding but not in the "ooh my life has so much more meaning!" (give me a break) but I can say when you lay your head down at night you can know even if it's a passing thought that your actually contributing to their care. And honestly that's a gift.

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Just Walk Away.
by: Anonymous

Nobody should ever allow themselves to have a toxic elderly parent dumped on them, especially by a family who is too lazy to call and check up on that parent.

And don't let your family lay a guilt trip on you either. I doubt they would want to give up their lives to move back in with Dad or Mum when they are adults.

Bottom line: Ask them bluntly, Why I am I being punished in this manner?

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GOD BLESS YOU
by: Anonymous

Dear Andrew
GOD BLESS YOU. I am in a simliar situation with no assistance from my brother. I too have developed hypertension anxiety and depression and am barely functioning at work. I still have a job.

My parent now has ordered me to send money to my brothers family who has no interest and lives 7 hours away drive. This will never happen. I pay a caregiver to be with her 3 days a week. My parent thinks I am made of money. She talks about my brother and his family of adult children all the time.

Now she states that they come to visit her and they go to McDonald's. My mother is bedridden and total care she can't even turn by herself but insists my brother took her to McDonald's. I want to think about the her when she was mom not this confused person who thinks I am a 10 year old.

It's difficult for me and I am a nurse. I remember the bible verse I man who does not take care of his family is worst than an infidel. write you family members a letter every week and let them know how hateful, self centered and ungodly they are if just to keep your sanity.

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In the Same Boat as You
by: Anonymous

Andrew,

I’m stuck in the same situation as you. I am 33, an only child, and have to live with my difficult 89 year old father in my childhood home. My mother died seven years ago of cancer (she was younger than my father by 20 years) while I was living on my own 100+ miles away with a career and enjoying my independence.

After he put himself in the hospital for two weeks (I suspect deliberately), my family and some of his friends turned on me, demanding that I drop everything and move in with him. It was a big mistake - 4.5 years have gone by and it feels like a prison sentence. Any intentions to move out have led to opposition and emotional outbursts by my father.

My father can actually function and live on his own: he isn’t bedridden and can drive, but is senile, and a control freak - pushy, disrespectful and verbally abusive. He also has bipolar disorder and OCD, plus signs of dementia creep up. He treats me like a slow-witted 12-year old most of the time, and it has lead to depression and heartbreak (it ended a relationship, and the stigma of living with a parent turns off women).

I am under constant stress 24/7, which is wrecking my health - I have high blood pressure, anxiety, and insomnia, all could lead to a nervous breakdown or a massive heart attack.

Please let your extended family know about all the problems you are experiencing, perhaps in a diary as I have, so they will fully understand, and will get the message you need outside assistance to reduce the burden. This is no life for you, your wife and children. - B

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You Need to Look Out for Your Own Family
by: Jane

Andrew, you really need to put your family first. I know this first hand. It is more scary before you place him somewhere than after you do it.

Everyone will get adjusted and you will be able to have your life back as you should. You are way, way too young to have to have this responsibility in your life. I faced the same situation with my own father.

I promised him I would never put him in a facility but after some time I knew this was a promise I could not keep and I was very sad about it. But I did find an assisted living facility in my area that places these folks in homes they purchased and set up as assisted living.

The first time I went to one of these homes I immediately felt the calmness of a home setting - not an institution. The food always smelled good when the cook was cooking. My Dad was free to roam around the house and even go outside and sit. I only hope that this place can keep him till his time on earth is up.

Look into this in your area because it is way better than an institution. Good Luck to you and your family, you really need to focus on them at this time.

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Hear You!
by: Anonymous

Dear Andrew,
My heart goes out to you.
Listen to what you said in your own letter, "...is killing me....major depression".
From what I've learned in my caregiver's support group, many caregivers die before the person they are caring for dies. No shock there really.

Lately a good handful of friends have come to the decision to find placement for their loved ones. Although it really felt like torture for the family and the person being placed was not happy at first all of them have settled in now.

Each of my friends has said that finding a caring place for their family member turned out to be a good thing and that now the family is not as stressed out and can visit and have good visits.
I hope this helps in some small way.
mary

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