My mum first started developing symptoms of Alzheimer's when she was in her late 40s and I was about 20. Unfortunately for my family, we are all too aware of what Alz does to people as my maternal grandmother died from it as well though she developed it a bit later in life. I really don't want to think about the genetic aspect of it as it's just too terrifying. My brother and I are extremely lucky in that our father is a full-time carer for our mum and we can't begin to understand what he's going through. He's also suffered a serious illness and I'm praying that the tests he's having for another serious illness don't prove to be positive. I hope you all forgive the next bit. I know it sounds like a whinge against the world, especially since most of you are carers who have given up so much. What I've realised though at the ripe old age of 33 is that I've allowed my mum's illness to stunt my own life. I'm lucky enough to have a degree and a reasonably well-paid job which takes me away from home. That's what saves my sanity. I come home most weekends to give my dad a break and to see my mother. Despite what she now is, I still love her very much. I just wish I had better memories of her when she was a vibrant, intelligent woman. Those memories have been eroded down the years. Maybe this is nature's way of protecting me - I miss my old mum so much I'm starting to cry as I type this. It's starting to bother me that whilst my friends/peers have partners and houses and babies, I'm single and going home every weekend. In that way, I'm no different to my 17 year old self going to college. I know I've only myself to blame for not getting around to saving up for a deposit years ago. I think I've missed the boat on buying a house because property prices have gotten so high in Ireland that even if I was to get a mortgage, it would take out half my monthly salary. I admit to being a teeney bit jealous of my brother (who never came home every weekend) who now has a steady girlfriend. Sometimes I feel so lonely that I don't have someone special in my life and I think that at 33 it's not going to happen. And yes I know that makes me sound desperate and pathetic and whining but it's much easier to be honest here because none of you know me. I wish I could cut loose from home and not have to come home every weekend and not feel guilty about it. I suppose at this stage, I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I didn't spend my Saturdays and Sundays helping out at home. Don't get me wrong - I am willingly doing it out of love for my parents but I think I'm torn between trying to help them and trying to get on with my life without worrying about what's going to happen to them. Unlike most of my peers, my parents' health is a constant worry. Most other people I know who are worried about their parents' help are 10 or 15 years older than me but that's the card I've been dealt. Despite this whiny post, I do manage to keep a good side up most of the time but I have to admit to looking a bit further down the line and wondering what next?