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I Am Running Out of Steam with Caregiving


"I assumed 24-hour care for my father. He lives with me and has some form of dementia. He is often up at night and is confused about many things. I do get paid from his assets to provide this care for him, but I am running out of steam. Frankly, I think that I may need help. How do I change the setup at this point? Is it okay to do that? What will my siblings think?" - READER



The answer is in your question. Your father needs 24-hour care and you need rest. Caring for a mobile elderly person who cannot be left alone and whose sleep cycle is disrupted is more difficult than a newborn you can place in a crib, knowing they are safe. It is frankly too much for one person, seven days per week. It sounds like you are very close to the point of exhaustion and some respite is needed here.

I do realize that money makes everything more difficult. You have committed to a situation that is now extremely difficult to manage. You are tired, need a break and feel a bit guilty for feeling that way. You are also reluctant to approach your siblings to renegotiate.

What happened here is that everyone underestimated what it is like to work seven days a week at any and all hours of the day or night. Since it is unlikely you have been in this situation before, it is understandable that you did not anticipate the need for a break or additional coverage regarding your father’s care.

As awkward as it will feel, it is essential that you face your siblings and renegotiate the deal. Have a conversation about possible solutions, such as one of the siblings stepping in to help, hiring extra support, utilizing adult daycare for a certain amount of time each week, or seeking respite care for Dad. It is okay to seek alternatives. You are not in a unique situation here. At this point in time, your father needs more than just one person caring for him. Have you ever wondered why long-term care is so expensive? You are now living the reason. It is difficult work, and it may take several people to manage the care.

Please give yourself a pass on the guilt. It sounds like you are doing the absolute best you can to care for him. He needs more than what one person can provide.

I wish you well on this journey with Dad. 


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