Raising a child and taking care of an ill parent is NOT what I thought I would be doing in my 20's, 30's and beyond. But that is what I am doing, along with tons of others that are in this 'sandwich' generation, as I have heard it been described before.

I am 34, and I have been taking care of my father since 1997. He had a massive stroke in 1994 that left his right side 99% useless. A couple of years after his stroke, his mental illness surfaced. His mom(whom he was living with after the stroke) passed away in '97 and I ended up taking him into my home. After a year of battling his mental illness, which turned out to be parnoid schizophrenia, I finally got him on the right medications to be able to handle him. He was 52 when he had his stroke.

In 1999 I had my daughter. How I didn't know how hard it would be to have a baby and take care of dad too. It wasn't too bad, as dad was stable on his meds, but his physical health declined. He was using a cane to walk, but kept on falling, so I eventually got him a electric wheelchair.

Taking care of dad meant that I had little to no social life. I can't leave him alone for long periods of time. He can't do much for himself.

It has been almost 10 years now that I have lived this life I have chosen. Do I regret it? No, not regret. But sometimes think what my life would be like without the responsibilty of dad. Last year he went off his meds and had a schizophrenic episode and I put him in the nursing home. Hardest thing I ever had to do. He got back on his meds and I made the decision to bring him back home with me. Can't really explain why. But I did. What does the next 10 years have in store for me? Not sure, but I know that I wouldn't trade the last 10 for anything.

My daughter is 6, going on 7 now, and dad enjoys her to death!! I am glad that he is given this chance to have her in his life. He was not a very good father to me or my 2 brothers. He was a abusive drunk when we were growing up. Many may ask how in the world could I care for a father like that??? Well....he is still my dad. I am just a softy I guess.

I wonder how many other children are facing the same situation of taking care of a parent and raising kids there are out there? I have looked for support groups but haven't found any.

I guess I will end it here. I am not a good writer, I have skipped around alot in this post, but that is just me.


11 Responses to "Caring for a Parent"

  1. Kat Says:

    you are a beautiful person kristy and I am honoured to call you a friend

  2. ChaCha Says:

    You are a good writer, you got me addicted to blogging remember? lol

    I think what you are doing for your dad is immeasurable. I don't think I could have the patience or the strenth to look after my parents. You are such a forgiving, loving woman, your dad and your daughter are very fortunate to have you in their lives. I know you will do whatever you can to make their worlds alot better to live in. I commend you. I admire you. When the world feels like it is closing in on you and you are lonely, remember that God and the rest of your friends are right there to lend you a shoulder and help you carry on. You are my friend and I am here for you no matter what! You have my support forever

  3. Silver Feather Says:

    Kristy not much more that I can say. Cha Cha pretty much said it all. And I too am a friend, who admires everything that you have done and continue to do. You are an awesome parent and daughter. I know times get trying for you, but you know you are doing right by your dad. I love you and am glad that you are my friend.

  4. Kristy Says:

    thank you ladies!! I so appriecate your support. You girls are all so great!!!!

  5. Overwhelmed! Says:

    Kristy- I found you on the All Blog Stars blog and wanted to commment.

    I'm not caring for my father, in my home, but as a 37 year old daughter, I've witnessed the failing health of my own father and it's painful. I blogged about this on May 11th (http://overwhelmedwithjoy.blogspot.com/2006/05/kids-shouldnt-have-to-see-their.html) and the more later that month.

    I wish I could lead you in the direction of support groups, but I can't. Have you thought of trying to start one on your own? Maybe through your church or posting ads in the library. I'm sure there are more adult children out there that could use the support!

  6. Some Girl Says:

    Found you through All Blog Stars...

    I am a child of older parents and while they haven't had any serious medical issues, I am still faced with caring for them. I'm 33 and all my life had the responsibility to help my parents. The fact that they immigrated from Italy doesn't help either.

    I empathize with you wholeheartedly. Stay strong, and one day you will be rewarded for your sacrifices.

  7. Cricket Says:

    I found you on ABS, too. It is wonderful that you paused in your busy day to share your story. I admire your strength in taking care of your father who wasn't such a good father. I honestly don't know if I could be that big of a person. You certainly have a big heart.

  8. CyberCelt Says:

    If you will search for "Parenting Your Parents" on Google, you will have some success.

    My mother moved up to live with me when I found myself pregnant. She helped me buy a house and enjoyed her grandson for about 3 years before her health started failing.

    She was in and out of health care facilities, hospitals, rehab, etc. Between being a single parent, working, and caring for her, I almost lost my mind.

    Finally, my sisters moved her back to Houston where they could help take care of her. She died soon after. For awhile, I had this incredible guilt that if I had of kept her with me, she would not have died as quickly. But, we only can do so much.

    Remember that you have options, like home health care, meals on wheels, senior center activities (usually 1x a week) and daytime adult daycare. As he fails, you may want to trade rent for some live-in help if there is not money to pay for part-time help.

    When it is just too much, get him in a decent nursing home (easier said than done). To that end, you need to get power of attorney and health care power of attorney. Get any assets he has OUT of his name and INTO yours ASAP. Just do it. When the money is gone, you have no leverage about your father's care. Believe me on this one.

    Make sure you have a health care directive that states your father's wishes in the case he is uncapable of making these decisions. This will make it easier for you at the end.

    God love you and keep you. Email me if I can answer any other questions (blogger at cooladz.com).

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I think that you have massive amounts of good karma coming to you! :)

  10. mar Says:

    coming from the All Blog Stars to read the entire post. You are awsome, you are doing a beautiful job!

  11. Me Says:

    What a wonderful daughter you are! Your father is very blessed to have you!

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