1. Tressa

    Tressa Registered User

    May 18, 2004
    N. Ireland
    My mum is 77 and has Alzheimers for nearly 9 years. I am her main carer and have 5 sisters and 1 brother all older than me. I am 34, work full time and try to have some sort of a normal life but it isnt always easy. My family have left me to care for my mum even though all but one of them leaves in the same town and two are unemployed and two work part-time. I have been looking after mum in different ways since I was a teenager, she was clinically depressed and was a binge drinker before Alzheimers took her. I lived at home until I was 30 when I finally had to make a decision, my sanity or staying at home and I chose sanity, I moved out, got a place of my own and continued to look after mum. I had relationships in the past that all failed due to the fact that my partner had to take on my mum and me and they could never cope with being second best. I get no help or support from my family, my mum is constantly difficult and as much as I love her it gets me down. She depends on me and is constantly demanding my attention, when I am away from her she calls me constantly wanting to know where i am and when i will be back. I have now met a wonderful man who is everything a loving, understanding partner should be and he understands my situation. He lives in another country and is prepared to move and give up his life to live in my world. I hate my world so how can I ask someone to share it!!!

    I want a life of my own with a wonderful partner, get married and do all the things normal couples do but feel I will never have this and my family are quite prepared to see me give up my life to look after our mother and even before my mum had Alzheimers she was quite prepared to let me give up my life to be with her. I feel so guilty that I want this and sometimes just want to run away and never come back but it would kill my mum and I left feeling resentful against my mum and angry at my family and dont know what to do.

    Has anyone else been in a similar position or is there any way of striking a balance? Would appreciate any advice or comments.
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hello Tressa

    Grief! This is becoming such a familiar story.

    There is such a weird alignment that seems to mean that if the world lauds a person as 'fantastic', amazing', 'wonderful', etc because of the caring that they do for a relative, at the same time it also seems to say "right-ho, we can now leave the ****** to get on with it".

    I'm no mathematician, but there is something that doesn't quite compute here!

    Your Mum is 77 and has had dementia for at least 9 years.

    You are 34 and have cared for her for many years.

    There are six other siblings who are supposed to look after the welfare of their youngest sister.

    34 is a good age.

    I don't mean it is an advanced age - it is a GOOD age, by which I mean that you still have most of your life left and you deserve to enjoy it.

    Critically, you have found someone who wants to share that life with you and is willing to put up with all sorts of baggage [no, I'm not including your Mum in that, though she is part of the package as well].

    I found someone last year [more complex for me as it is my wife who has dementia] and I have to say to you - just go for it! There is too much that is sad in the world today and love is far too often talked of, and too little done. A person with dementia has an indeterminate life span left. My wife could pass away as I write this, or she could still be around in 10 years time. Same with your Mum.

    Have a go at evaluating your options for your Mum's care - including dropping your sisters and brothers a note saying "over to you as of... now - I'm off".

    Key thing is to factor in your man as a first priority for your own happiness and future.

    There will be nothing to feel guilty about. Doing this does not mean you love your Mum less, and the fact is that there will probably be a solution [not an ideal one, but good enough] that will enable you to live, and to ensure your Mum is cared for.

    Do communicate more using the forum and if you want, use private messages. This is too important not to!

    Best wishes, and welcome.
  3. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Tressa,

    My reaction to reading your post is to say 'GO FOR IT'. All the time you stay in your current position, you will be forever victimised and guilt motivated by your family. Isn't it about time they shared some of the burden? If they are too lazy to do so, then why should you? You have a chance now to enrich your life. GRAB IT.

    You've already made one really positive move, which was to live separately from your mother. Get a bit more distance from the problem and you will find even more perspective and the courage to break free.

    Sorry to be brutal, but if your mother chose to drink herself into oblivion, then that's hardly YOUR fault is it? We all have choices in life and we all have to suffer the consequences thereafter by ourselves. We can't expect somebody else to give up their entire lives for our own mistakes.

    Okay, I'm not saying that you must abandon her entirely, when you so clearly don't want to do that and it would cause you even more guilt and pain to do so. BUT - you do need to get a bit of distance from the immediate drama to allow yourself to be more objective.

    Why don't you read some of the other recent posts here, for some inspiration and sympathy too. There are several others struggling with similar problems of being an only carer in a very indifferent family and of the same age.

    Please don't sacrifice your whole life now, when you have such a wonderful chance to change it all. Courage..........

  4. Mjaqmac

    Mjaqmac Registered User

    Mar 13, 2004
    #4 Mjaqmac, Aug 3, 2004
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2004
    Dear Tressa

    I am 38 and have been caring for my mother for 17 years. I too have now got someone in my life whom I love. The funny thing is, he was my first love and I didn't marry him the first time around all those years ago, because of family pressure. After many years apart we are back together and I don't want to lose him again. We are now engaged, there was no fun filled celebration. I was engaged on Xmas day and spent the day having Xmas dinner in an EMI unit with a mother drugged up to her eyeballs. My brother came in (his first visit to my mother in 4 months since she'd been there) and went ballastic when he saw my ring. I was in tears before the day was out. I will never forget the day I got engaged.
    I was soon to take mum out of the EMI unit in an ambulance to hospital and then I took her home.
    I too am the youngest, of 4, all are married and have children, some are on 2nd marriages and have grandchildren. But I am the sole carer for my mother whom is 76 and whom I love dearly. It has always been this way.
    It seems to me there is no way around this loving a partner and being a carer dilemma. At least, not if the story didn't start off that way with your partner in your life before the AD/Dementia onset.
    My siblings say I could get married ok if I continue to live here in the house with my elderly parents. That is probably what I will have to do. It is the only way I am going to get married and not worry myself to death if my father has eaten or having to put my mum away again.
    My family visit sometimes but there is no "help" whatsoever. I used to think I had a wonderful family, now I know differently.
    I don't know what to say to you Tressa as I cannot sort my own problems out either. But I would like you to know there is someone in a scenario very similiar to you. It's bloody tough. But you will find a way through eventually. Look at all you've coped with already. That is why your man loves you, because you are strong and special and those are 2 traits you will never lose.
    My fiance too is giving up his job in another country to come home and be with me. I am sick to the stomach about it, as he has no idea what he might be letting himself in for. How do you juggle a love life and full time care? So far I have managed as he's only been home at weekends, but this weekend he leaves his job and comes home for good.
    Oh God!!!!

    Good luck.
  5. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi Magic

    What a load of horrors your siblings are! Good of them to give you permission to marry as long as you take your Mum off their hands, don't you think?

    May I suggest you invite them all to go forth and multiply?

    Meanwhile, it is REALLY good news that you are engaged. I have attached a belated card. [apologies that I had only one of my Christmas portraits available to use...]

    [Tressa: let me know when you need a card too!]

    Attached Files:

  6. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Magic -

    Put yourself FIRST for once. Everything else will fall into place behind that. Right now all that matters is your happiness.

    You need to remind yourself that you DESERVE to be happy. Stand in front of the mirror and say that to yourself 100 times a day! I, Magic Woman, DESERVE to be Happy. Got it? Good.

    Jude xxx
  7. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    there comes a time in almost every ones life when a decision has to be made,you know in your heart what you want to do.
    I f you don't take the path that you really want you will regret it for the rest of your life,wondering what might have been.
    My advice, sod the lot of them, go for it and then some else will have to pull their weight,but they never will whilst you are carrying the load
    Good Luck
    :( Norman
  8. Mjaqmac

    Mjaqmac Registered User

    Mar 13, 2004
    Thanks Braveheart

    Thanks Braveheart. Absolutely loved the card. Just think of the craic we'd all have if we got together. Add in some rescue remedy, alcohol and some of Jude's Dr Schuessler's Salts, we could rule the world!
    And you're right, the siblings are beginning to prove we are not exactly The Waltons!
  9. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Bruce,

    You're a bloody lunatic!!! Thank God for that...! What a great card.

    So Magic, you see what happens when you stand in front of the mirror and say I ........... can do this, 100 times..! Bruce has unfortunately done it once to often, but we can always send him some medication to help him...

    It's so wonderful to laugh.

    Jude xxx
  10. Tressa

    Tressa Registered User

    May 18, 2004
    N. Ireland
    Thank you

    Thank you for all the kind words. To be honest in the middle of my speel I nearly stopped and erased it because I thought I would never hear the answer I wanted to hear so what was the point, but was amazed to find that I did get the answer that I wanted. But that doesnt always solve the problem as I have found out since reading all your lovely replies. I have just left my mum for a couple of hours and in the time I was with her she cried because she is afraid I will leave the country to be with my lovely man. Even though she has had Alzheimers for 9 years, she hasn't had a huge deterioration and is still quite cute at times in her way of thinking. She is the best at emotional blackmail!! I have become quite hardened to it I am ashamed to say but at the end of the day I love her to bits and can understand that she doesnt want to be on her own. Nothing has changed for my family, Alzheimers hasn't changed hardly anything for them apart from the odd annoying phone call from me but my life has had to adapt in so many ways. I really dont see myself as some saint or martyr because deep inside I dont want to be doing this. I feel sometimes is that all I was put on this earth for?? If I do leave what if my family dont get off their backsides and look after our mum properly and something happens to her, could I live with myself. Would she pine for me that much that it would just be too much for her to cope with and her illness deteriorate?? It is like role reversal with me and my mum, she is now the child and I am now the mum, she doesnt want them she wants me all the time, what if I cant break that dependancy??

    My god!! This started as a thank you and has ended up as another winge and more questions, I will stop now before everyone falls asleep with boredom!! hehe

    Thank you again for all you kind words and Bruce I do hope that one day I will be receiving one of those lovely cards. Jude I like your spirit and Mac I so feel for you, we both need a kick up the rear to go and sort our families out and Norman thank you so much for your kind words.
  11. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Tressa,

    Sit down right now, take a deep breath and relax. Get rid of all the 'should do's' and 'ought to do's' and concentrate only on what you NEED. Ditch the guilt and selfish feelings that you think you have. You know really deep down what you need to make your life better and happy.

    Next thing is to write two lists. Head one up as WHAT I DON'T WANT IN MY LIFE and the other as WHAT I DO WANT IN MY LIFE. Complete the Don'ts list first - it's easier - we all are pretty certain of what we DON'T want. It also gets rid of all the rubbish and clears your head to complete the DO list. Write down the 10 or more most important things for you under each heading. Be TOTALLY HONEST with yourself. Nobody will see those lists and you can chuck them away later if you want to. Don't think about anyone else except YOURSELF.

    Once you've completed the lists you will have a blueprint for the rest of your life. Then implement the list as fast or as slowly as you can manage. If the task seems enormous, just remember that you can eat an elephant in small bites.....

    Go for it.... you deserve it.


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