Specific Situations > Extreme Caregiving

Becoming the caretaker of all.......

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My mother is dying.  It is happening, slowly.  I have been her POA for years, as she moved to my town 10 and half yrs. ago.  I had my husband then, so it was doable.  After he died, I had a mother with dementia growing, and  an 8 yr. old son and full time job. My MIL was here, too, and my husband was an only child, and so I have her only grandchild.

I am tired of being the caretaker.  I do it for a living, my choice.  But to always do it.  I CAN do it, but I have 3 siblings and only one picks up the slack to help, with the farm business my mother owns. 

I didn't take care of my mother for her resources, but I am in a different situation now, and I do struggle with feeling I deserve more than my siblings, especially two brothers that have done NOTHING. AND I feel guilty for thinking that.

My eldest brother is widowed, also, a year after me. He remarried quickly last year and it didn't work and he is divorced.  He is 16 yrs. older and retired recently, and he still doesn't help much.  And when he does, it is more trouble than it is worth.  He is with me now, trying to help with mother, sitting at her bed to give me a break.  But he hasn't offered to pay for any meal, lets me take care of everything, and allowed food to burn on the stove when I went to go pick my kid from a church activity when I told him to monitor it.  High maintenance.

I am dating NG.  I think he appreciates I am a caregiver, but he noted that he thought about my mother passing and then having some free time, but then realizing my single older brother may end up in my care.  OH MY Gosh!  I can't go there.  But my brother didn't have kids and is alone.  What would happen if he needed assistance?  Who?  Oh, the widowed sister, that is who! 

I am in a pity party mood.  I am sad, exhausted with my mother dying, and it has been 3 months. I am just venting as I am sure there are others with something similar going on.


I have silently read your posts about your mom and should have responded. I, too, was/am a caregiver by profession and within my first marriage. I’m now in a supportive role to my mother who is taking care of my 91 year old father.  It is draining, eh?  You have so much going on in your life and I’m not sure I could juggle all of it from the logistical side or the emotional side. Waiting for someone to die is exhausting and it can drain you to your core. I don’t know how alert your mother is and if it is even possible to have meaningful interactions at this point. But sitting with someone you love and knowing that person is dying is an act of love that can’t be truly appreciated by someone who hasn’t been there.

I imagine it will take time to process another loss in your life and to turn your attention back to your relationship with NG. My second husband and I didn’t have children and only had to concern ourselves with blending each other’s lives. Assuming you don’t plan on more children, perhaps you can let your relationship simmer on low for a while and allow yourself to relook at things once you have had some time to grieve your mother. I can’t quite picture your current relationship, but perhaps you can consider letting him support you more in this transition with your mom?  Do you need to do this alone, or are you simply unaccustomed to receiving support from others?  That can be hard for us caretaker types, and I suspect that may be the case with you.

Whatever the reality, my heart is with you as your mom slips away.



Caretaking is hard and watching our parents waste away sucks. I did it with my father until he died and later with my mother until we had to place her in a nursing home for her safety and round the clock care. I at least had support from some of my siblings at times and we gathered and got through the funerals.

Hugs to you.

Vent away, you have every right. My work involves care taking by choice.  I was a caregiver for my Dad through Hospice at home but had my mom, my sister and my DH for support and help.  With DH it was obviously much harder. 

I can understand your resentment of your siblings, for some reason not everyone is capable of or has the desire to do their share.  I swear that certain people are not even able to comprehend what needs to be done or how to help.

I hope that you can get some additional support while going through this.  It's a shame that your siblings don't help more, I'd be really aggravated too.  Can you spell out what's needed?  If they can't provide hands-on support, asking for help with outsourced meals and cleaning isn't unreasonable.  There's only so much that you can and should do - should you be down with a cold/flu or whatever, what happens then?


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