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I finally asked for help but...
ifeelveryalone posted:
Well over the Christmas weekend my oldest sister came home for two days. My sister needs cared for as well as my mother. My sister has spina bifida, can barely walk at all, and is paralyzed from the waste down. She takes tons of medications too. So I was going to be dealing with all this plus taking care of my mom plus dealing with my own illness over the weekend. I told my middle sister and my father I can't do it by myself, somebody will have to stay here (at my house) the whole time and help me. They both told me they would stay and help out. My middle sister even told me she would stay over night. So I was under the impression that finally I would have help. When the weekend came nobody helped me. Both of them backed out on me. I took care of my sister and my mom the whole weekend plus battling my own health problems. So now I realize that my family isn't taking my health problem seriously at all and now I don't think that right out asking for help will do any good either. I don't know what to do now. I'm quite angry over what happened and my father and sister seem to find humor in it. I don't know what my next step is but I'm getting tired of being used and treated like a slave and that's what I feel like. I feel like an unpaid employee in my family not a family member.
cjh1203 responded:
I don't blame you for being angry -- the way they treated you is really awful.

It's hard to know how to get through to insensitive people like that.

I really think that maybe the time has come to tell your family that you have realized that you can't count on them, that you have your own illness to deal with, and you are going to check into alternative care for your mother.

You might want to go to your local Council on Aging or Alzheimer's support group to get some advice on exactly how to approach your family. I think this is a pretty common problem, unfortunately, and I'm sure they've dealt with it before.

I'm really sorry your family let you down like that. It's a very painful thing, I know.
Byroney_WebMD_Staff responded:
Dear Ifeelveryalone,

I agree with Cjh that perhaps it's time to look into alternatives. If your sister with spina bifida is mentally able to handle her affairs, she should talk with her father and your middle sister about how it made her feel that neither one of them showed up to help out.

You may also have to tell your older sister (as well as the rest of the family) that unless they pay for an aid to help with her care when she visits, you're sorry, but your own health problems prevent you from being able to take on someone else in addition to your mother.

I would also encourage you to speak to a case worker about your own health problems and see if you might qualify for some help/programs. Also, a therapist with whom you can talk to about your family dynamics might also be helpful. You may also want to consider pursuing this legally so that if your father isn't willing to act from a moral standpoint, you find out what your legal rights and protections are, and what his legal obligations are.

No one should feel like a slave.

Let us know how you're doing,

ifeelveryalone replied to Byroney_WebMD_Staff's response:
I guess the main reason I don't take action and continue taking care of my mom and occasionally my oldest sister (she is mentally handicapped as well) is due to guilt. I'm not really sure where the guilt comes from either. I know I have absolutely no reason to feel guilty.

Right now I'm not even able to work due to my own illness so my father pays my bills which adds to the guilt. It makes me feel like if he pays my bills then I should take care of my mother. What I really would like is if somebody could make my father see what he's doing and how unfair it is to me but so far nobody has done that. I found out it doesn't do any good to bluntly ask for help either. I was seeing a counselor a few years ago because my situation really got to me. I went to a counselor for over a year and took anti depressants. My dad doesn't even know about it. I've often thought of telling him about my serious bout with depression but I honestly don't think it would make any difference.

I don't think my father takes my illness seriously enough even though he can see how it affects me mentally and physically. When ever I talk with him about mom, he either changes the subject or laughs. I still haven't figured out what to do and continue to struggle with my own illness and my mother's illness. I really don't know what it will take for my family to wake up, especially my father. It really hurt me that despite my own illness I'm still expected to care for my mother. I really honestly don't know why my family does this. However, this web site really helps me, I don't feel so alone anymore and I do my best to take one day at a time.
cjh1203 replied to ifeelveryalone's response:
As you say, you don't have anything at all to feel guilty about. You are endangering your own health by continuing to carry such a heavy burden.

I think it's past the time for asking for help -- obviously, that doesn't work. I would just tell your father that you are not physically or mentally able to care for your mother and sister any more. Tell him he is welcome to talk to your doctor if he doesn't think your illness is serious. Tell him about your depression. Tell him that the time has come to put your mother in a memory-care facility or hire in-home help since nobody else will help with her care. Tell him that you are unable to care for your sister and that if they won't help, they're going to have to come up with another solution for her, too. Tell him that you have done your best, and done it without help, and you just can't do it any more. Tell him how much it hurts you that nobody else in the family cares enough about your mother, sister and you to help, and how alone you feel.

If you could go back to counseling, that could be a good thing for you. Obviously, standing up to your family -- especially your father -- doesn't come easily to you but, until you do, they're going to keep taking advantage of you. Counseling might help you get over your undeserved feelings of guilt and find the strength to stop your family from running over you.

I suspect that part of the reason your family is so unresponsive about this is that they have no idea what a hard and stressful job caregiving is. They may think that you and your mother sit around and watch TV all day, and you fix her meals, and that's about it. Whatever the reason, though, they're obviously not going to suddenly jump in and help you, so it's up to you to insist on a different arrangement.

Good luck to you. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this unhappy situation.

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