Sole Caregiver for Verbally Abusive Elderly Mother and Father Diagnosed with Alzheimer's

by S Johnson
(Moultrie, GA)

I am 54 years old. I live with my mother and father, who are 84 and 85 years old. I have no income, no job, no home of my own and no savings.

I also have an older sister who is in a mental facility for bipolar depression and paranoid schizophrenia. She has had mental problems since I was in the 10th grade in high school, and she was in the 12th.

I struggle with depression and feelings of helplessness, so with all of this on me, I get even more depressed and angry. I literally feel like there is nothing left for me to live for and want to end my life.

My mother gets easily upset and hollers at me. Yet, I am the one who hollers. What hypocrisy!! She continues to cook, and treats me as if I cannot handle the responsibilities of preparing a meal.

Oh, but when she needs someone to clean up, I can do that!! She also complains whenever I try to vacuum or clean the bathroom. According to her, I am just an evil, selfish person.

My father sits and falls asleep. His hearing is not that strong, so I have to repeat most everything I say.

He is in the first stages of Alzheimer's, so the other night he was up about 3 a.m. calling 911 because he claimed he heard someone knocking on his bedroom window and when he looked out the window, he said he saw a man wearing a white shirt bobbing as he ran. I knew he was delusional and had dreamed it like so many other times before.

I kept hearing him moving around in his bedroom, so I got up to see what he was doing. When I got to his bedroom, I found him fully dressed holding a loaded shotgun. I told him that the police were not coming, and that he needed to go back to bed.

I have to constantly pick up shredded pieces of toilet tissue my father has strewn on his bathroom floor, his bedroom rugs, and the rug in the den. Every day there is more bits of tissue!! I often find a mess on his toilet where he has coughed up phlegm, and have
to deodorize and wipe the toilet.

My mother and I share a bathroom, so every time I go into the bathroom, I find her unwrapped pads in the wastebasket. The smell is horrendous!!

So, at least twice a day I have to place the bag of pads into a larger trash bag filled with other bags of pads. I also find bits of tissue on her bedroom rugs and floor, not to mention the mess I sometimes find in the bathroom.

She has a bad incontinent problem, but does not wear diapers because she doesn't like them.

Every day it seems my mother is on the phone with my sister's lawyer, calling my sister at the mental facility, or talking to someone at the mental facility about my sister, or to some friend about my sister.

She even insists on going to visit my sister at the mental facility every other Saturday, which is almost a three-hour drive. Of course, I have to drive because I am worried they may have an accident or my mother will get tired. My father cannot drive because of his vision not being that good.

I am dreading the day my sister comes home from the mental facility she is in because that will be just another person to clean up after.

She just sits and stares into space. She doesn't do anything for herself. The bad thing is, my mother still does everything for her, including fixing her plate.

I am very bitter because my life as I know it is made up of picking up after my parents and listening to their ailments, my sister's problems, and their worries about her. It is like I don't even exist!!

I have an older brother, but he doesn't ever call unless it is Christmas, Father's Day, or Mother's Day. He has distanced himself completely from us.

His wife told my mother on the phone that it was my responsibility to step up to the plate to take care of them. So, my brother and her are not going to help at all!!

I feel like I have been born under a curse and I am extremely bitter!! I am bitter towards my parents, my sister, and now my brother and his wife!!!

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Enough is enough
by: Anonymous

You can leave and move out even if you DO love and care for them.
Enough is enough.

Call Adult Protection Services so that they can step in after you leave.

Take the GUN AWAY!!!!
by: Anonymous

First take the gun away before he shoots you, people with Alzheimer's may eventually not recognize you at some point. If you can't take the gun away, hide the ammunition.

I have the same problem with my mother she is verbally abusive and I won't stand for it anymore. I tell her if you can't be nice I'm going to hang up the phone.

If I am with her in person I tell her if she can't be nice then I pick up my belongings and leave. This tactic may help you too. Tell your mother if she can't be nice then you'll have to discontinue the conversation, get up and go to your bedroom.

You have to keep this up until she gets the message you can't be walked on. It worked for ME! after 20+ years of abuse.

My other suggestion is to get out of the house, get a hobby, do something anything at all.

If you must move out, move out. It doesn't seem like you have the means however, you can arrange with the Agency on Aging for services if your parent don't have a lot of wealth and are on SS.

Please contact them, if they can get an aid to come in to clean it would also help you.

Relate to your feelings
by: Anonymous

You say you live with your parent's, but are you their actual caregiver or are you living with your parents more so because of the unemployment issue?

My suggestion is that you move out when your sister comes home, somewhere far away. But that decision would depend on how close and dedicated you really are to the well-being of your parents, in spite of the daily aggravation you say you deal with.

If you love your parents and feel there's no way you'd ever leave them, then leaving is not an option. Of course, you would need to work as well. So it sounds like there's two choices - stay and deal with, or go.

Sorry, there's no easy choice. Your parents won't be around forever. Having been in a similar situation as you, I can relate to the frustration. Killing yourself is not the answer, but it sure provides a fantasy "escape" when feeling low.

Do your best at accepting your parents the way they are because it's not going to change. If you don't do that, you'll drive yourself mad. Whatever you decide to do, I know you will make the right choices. You're stronger than you realize. Hang in there. Life will have it's better moments in time.

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