Silly Sister

by Cheryl
(Vancouver, Canada)

I may not have the right to complain and always feel as if I am in the wrong. I am so tired. I can't stop feeling the need to oversee and ensure that my elderly stepfather is okay.

My younger brother and his wife have really stepped up lately, but I still can't find any peace of mind. We aren't really a close family and lean slightly toward introversion, but my stepfather and my sister - in - law are much more outgoing.

I am retired and have been trying to pursue an interest in art. My relatives travel and are away all winter, so I am left alone organizing and helping my stepfather who is frail and almost immobile.

I can't afford to travel and live the closest to him. I know he doesn't want to be a burden and I feel guilty for never really wanting to keep him company. The situation just sucks the life out of me.

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Take care of yourself first!
by: Ellie

Hi, Cheryl!

I hope you're feeling a lot better than when you first posted this.

If I'm understanding this correctly, you live closest to your step-father, so it has pretty much fallen into your lap to take care of him most of the time, with some help here and there.

Being a caregiver is a full-time job as I'm sure you already know. It gets really hard sometimes. That's why you NEED to have outlets for stuff you're passionate about or at the very least enjoy.

Whether that's your art, going to the movies, watching a new show on Netflix at bedtime or maybe getting a pet so you can have somebody to help get you through this. My dog got me through really tough days. Cuddling him at night and venting to him helped me tremendously.

It's difficult to be on he sidelines as a caregiver watching siblings enjoy their life as you wake up everyday to the same thing, wondering how different things would be if you weren't caregiving.

You might contact an assisted living center to see if they have any CNAS who do at home sitters for a fee as a part time gig or insurance to see if you can get some help at home.

If you feel like this is taking a nasty toll on you, mentally and physically. Talk to your siblings about all your options. You could have someone come in to his home and help or he could do assisted living, either way, you can't destroy yourself to help someone else. That's not good for anyone.

I don't think you should feel guilty at all. It's a tough and most of the time, thankless job. You are giving it your all, doing your absolute best and that's what matters. No matter what happens you need to keep that in mind "I'm doing my best. That's all that matters."

Hugs to you, Cheryl, you're in my thoughts.

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