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    New to the group. My folks are both 85, still living in their home. Mom has worsening dementia and Dad has so many health maladies, he doesn’t do much more for himself than his own bathing and dressing. Neither drive anymore so are dependent on myself, my brother and his wife to get to doctor appointments. Mom has reached point where she can’t prepare even simple meals. My sister in law and myself are bringing them dinner daily to ensure they’re eating. My siblings and myself all agree they have reached the point of needing 24 hour care. There are 5 of us, but only 2 who live locally near our parents. I’ve been shopping weekly for their groceries now for 3.5 years. My dad wants me to quit my job to take care of them. I can’t do that. Financially I can’t afford to, and mentally I am just not up to task to take this on. I am feeling overwhelmed, angry, resentful and inadequate.


    Hi Laura,

    I am Laura too, so I just thought I would respond, as I just joined this site today.  My dad has passed away, and my mom is 85 also, living alone.  She doesn’t have dementia, just very slow thinking and physically very disabled.  I am sorry you are feeling overwhelmed now.  I agree that you should NOT quit your job.  Your dad just can’t problem solve solutions anymore, so YOU are his solution, and he can’t think outside that box.  You are adequate for the tasks that are yours to do….you get overwhelmed when you take on more than you can do.  Burn out, from Parker Palmer’s book Let Your Life Speak, is not giving too much, but trying to give from what you do not HAVE within TO give (or something like that).  Realize you have given what you can, and it isn’t up to you to provide for all the gaps between their need and your ability to provide.  Do they have a church or synagogue community with a leader to talk to about resources within THAT community of people to help by even visiting them or taking them one meal a week?

    I am not sure where you live or what financial resources your folks have or don’t have.  I got my mom to sell her car this spring, after years of fear that she would hit something.  My brother has passed away as well, so it is just me now helping Mom. I grocery shop for her, but she did agree to take Meals on Wheels, a county run program with volunteer drivers.  That has improved her nutrition a LOT and I feel better as it relieved me.  Until you get them into assisted living, see if you can have them HIRE someone to come in a couple days a week.  Does your mom have a dementia doc you work with for meds?  Could they help you find resources in the community.

    What would it take financially to get them into assisted living, and could they swing the cost?  The facilities should have someone who could help guide you through the application process, and you could take tours of places, and that might help.

    I don’t know that I helped at all, but I hope my response lets you know you aren’t alone dealing with this stuff, and that you need to take care of you, know your own boundaries, and get the out of area siblings to kick in financially for some help if you can.



    Totally understand, being overwhelmed.  I have 6sisters and brothers, few who help.  I moved to within an hour of my parents to care for them.  No I don’t work but I have had Rheumotoid Arthritis for 17 years.  Anywho so my sister who lives a mile from their house, only helps when it is convenient for her,  SHE works.  My brother who lives on their property brings then a meal on his day off.  But none want to take any resposibilty for anything.  Siblings can be extremely pain in the butts.  Then the ones that live states away constantly give you advice.  I have a much younger sister in PA and she constantly thinks they should have 24hour care.  But, they, my parents don’t want anyone in there house ,but their children.  Its okay if I can make it every week.  If my illness gets in the way I miss a week,  all hell breaks loose.  I’ve asked Dad to increase the cleaning lady to every week to two hours but he still hasn’t done that.  He only likes to buy stuff he wants.  Its overwhelming, laundry, cooking, ordering medications,  taking to appointments.  My sister and brothers are happy I do everything.  I don’t know how much longer I can keep it up.  There are other people out there that have the same issues.  If you can get them to get extra help, even the cleaning lady helps.  If the medications are not to complicated.  Basicly if the medications don’t change every week.  Most pharmacies, not the big chains, will prefill medboxes and deliver for a fee.  If their diets aren’t to crazy meals on wheels is a great resource.  You can even have meals delivered. Good luck

    Linda Carey

    Laura. I am in similar situation to yours so don’t know what I can do but lend you an ear to listen and a desire to understand and serve as evidence that you are not alone.

    My experience shows that few families have equal help from all the members in helping elderly parents whether they are nearby or not.

    I am retired, so I don’t have the conflict with my job; but it makes it more difficult to create boundaries that allow me to take care of myself as I need to.  That is a very important thing to do. After 7 years I am having a lot of trouble because I haven’t done  enough to refresh myself so that I can do well what I need to do for my parents who are in their 90’s now and have more needs all the time.

    One of my biggest frustrations is that things are advertised to help the elderly, but they never seem to exist as advertised.  My parents lived frugally so they would have money for their retirement, so they don.t qualify for most programs that do exist.  Mother had to pay cash for Dad’s care at a nursing facility until she had spent everything she had saved. Then Dad qualified for a government program in which he was eligible for more care than before. Mother doesn’t qualify for most help because Dad’s retirement pay went to her so that she could survive on her own.

    I have paid  some of their bills so Mom won’t be so scared. I am getting very tired and it gets harder to put on my happy face when I spend time with them.


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