Stressed to the Max over Demands of Family Members

by jackie

Out of 6 siblings, 3 of us take an active role in caring for my elderly parents.

My father is terminally ill, and he requires some kind of care due to his many health issues about every 2 hours. My mother isn't really physically or emotionally able to help him much, so we take turns living with them.

Bear in mind, there is very little sleep for whoever is on "shift". What is frustrating for me, is that my mother who does little to help and mostly complains, and one of the siblings who helps are obsessed with the idea that he can get better, he just can't "give up". This results in us basically keeping him alive. He would die within days if we stopped. He has said to me on several occasions he has had enough, but I think he feels that he will disappoint mom if he gives up.

It makes the situation even worse for me personally that I have a pretty un-supportive spouse. He is angry with me for being away from home for days at a time, other than me running home briefly to help keep up with household chores, and spend a little time with my kids. I miss my husband and children terribly, and I'm finding it horrible, this obsession with curing my 87 year old father.

I love my father dearly, but this seems like torture to me. I can't imagine being so sick and wanting to go on but you hold back because there are those that are too selfish to let you go. Nothing is
good enough for my mother, and we have become her maids when we are there.

I am on the verge of walking away. I asked the unrealistic sibling how long he was going to continue this 24/7 fight to keep a terminally ill person alive, and he said "Years, if I must".

That is just not healthy. I don't think he or my mother would care if I ended up divorced, I think they would actually be relieved because I could devote all of my life to them if that happened.

So basically, I feel like I have the support of no one. Friends that haven't been there just don't understand, far away siblings have been far away for so long that to them we are just doing what we are supposed to do because we live close, mom finds fault with everything, siblings want to extend this 24/7 care that is going to miraculously cure him whether dad likes it or not, and I have a husband that makes sure that I know what a neglectful wife and mother I am.

I don't think I can hold out much longer, something has got to give, and my future is with my husband and kids, not with what I'm doing now. I reminded my mother when she was on one of her tirades that she had no right to complain, her and dad lived far enough away from home they didn't ever have to do anything really to help their parents. But we have to dedicate the rest of our lives to them? Sorry, I'm just venting!

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The Sandwich Caregivers
by: Anonymous

Dear stressed...please know that you are not alone. We dealt with two parents with Alzheimer' the same time if you can believe this situation. I also have a disabled husband.

There are six of us "kids" but only four in the area. Please get yourself some help so you can get a need it so you can be able to carry on. The siblings that can't help should be either helping financially or at the very least providing relief for those who are doing the day to day nursing, etc.

And remember..what comes around...goes around...those who are not supportive will get their own justice in the end.Its hard to understand the lack of compassion but please take care of yourself..ask for the help you need wherever you can obtain it!

by: Anonymous

Jackie, I feel your pain.

Since your Dad is able to make his own decisions about his care, including the withholding of life-sustaining treatment, is he not doing so because of the pressure from other family members to stay in the fight?

If so, while he is still able to do so, you may want to approach him about signing an Advance Directive wherein he indicates his wishes about life-sustaining/resuscitation should he become unable to verbalize his wishes. This would resolve the family feud.

In the meantime, do the best you can with what you have weighing all your options. I agree with the responder about your own family being a priority. Maybe you should back away briefly and let Mother and this brother deal with your Dad for a while and you spend some time with your family. Hang in there.

Get Help
by: Janet

I was in a situation similar to yours . . . never had the time for my husband that I wanted because I was always running to my Dad's to help him. I came home from Dad's one morning to find my husband passed away.

So my advice is get some in home health care for your parents before it's too late for you. I never minded taking care of my Dad but it is especially hard now since my husband passed away.

He should not have died - had a lot of life left to live but God thought different. Run, and run as fast as you can for in home help.

She can Get Over It
by: Doug

On one hand I would say you are very lucky to have 2 other siblings to help with the care of your parents. On the other, I would say the one needs to get a grip about your dad and let him pass on or take up your shift for you.

Do not allow this to destroy your family at home, because when your parents are gone, your husband and kids are all you got.

I care for my mom all alone in the woods. She has been nasty and uncaring about me since I arrived. I finally, after a year of putting up with her ugliness told here clearly that she was being mean and rude and that I would not put up with it any more. And listed what I gave up to live with her in the middle of no where. She did not speak to me for a couple of days but seems to be coming around and now knows that I am not to be walked over.

My mom should consider herself lucky that I still love her and willing to "do" for her. The one thing I have learned is that I will never do what mom has done to me to another person. Not all old people act this way. Mom walked out on us in our teen years to have her last mid life crisis. I am the person I am today because of the love and support I found with my friends. I do this for mom because it is the right thing to do.

But now I refuse to let her drag me down into her world of anger and retirement. I am going back to school and continue to work no matter what. She can get over it.

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