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Sandwich generation

(10 Posts)
Notagranyet1234 Mon 02-Jan-23 14:34:24

I have posted before about the challenges of losing my lovely mum last March after a long illness, but 9 months later I have settled into my new life which is exhausting but necessary. I know that I am not alone in having adult children still at home needing a degree of support (due to disability) an elderly frail parent who really doesn't want to live any longer without his late wife (probably because she did absolutely everything for him and I don't, encouraging him to be as independent as he is capable of) and still having 7 years to work before state pension is payable.

I thought this thread could provide a safe space for us to let off steam without judgement if anyone wants to. I will start, a very minor issue but typical. Yesterday on leaving my home, after my son had fetched dad so he could spend some hours chatting with visiting extended family, I gave my father his weekly medication cassette filled by me (GP won't dispense a pre-filled one much to my chagrin) into his hand and reminded him to put it in his coat pocket as my son was dropping dad back home. Late last night I found said medication in the entrance hall discarded on an empty cardboard box.
The result being emails from dad this morning asking why I hadn't given him any medication.
My son and I have spent a fair amount of the Christmas period, taken as annual leave from work, doing jobs for dad, including jobs around his house, laundry and shopping and now my poor son has had to turn out on the last day before returning to work, to deliver the "forgotten" medication.
I understand Dad is lonely and really wants us to visit him daily. But, he won't have carers go into him or go to any local social events for the elderly, because he is "not like them, he was a professional" so it seems really convenient that he forgets things at times. We are all back in work tomorrow, my new job is really accommodating of my carer role, but I know that they pay me to work not run around after my dad who could have years of life left yet. He just doesn't get that both my son and I work long hours and have responsibilities of our own. simply cannot be at his beck and call all day every day

Hithere Mon 02-Jan-23 14:43:11

I heard this sandwich dilemma from my relatives many times.

A person needs to realize there are limits and nobody has the power to fulfill several roles at the same time
The day only has 24 hours and you are only one person.

The key here is boundaries and measure how much you should do

There is also a cultural component that needs to be addressed and overcome in
some cases
There is also different points of view depending which generation you ask.

It is difficult in the case of eldery people who may or not fake helplessness
I am big on the idea that adults need to take care of themselves and emotional and energy vampires cannot be tolerated

eazybee Mon 02-Jan-23 14:51:58

I do sympathise. My father was exactly the same, refused all offers of support: 'I can manage' which he patently could not. He ended up in a care home because he refused to follow all advice. Your father probably is doing things deliberately because your mother did everything for him and he expects you to do the same. Venting on here is a good idea; you have a job, family and your own life to lead and you are doing your very best to help your father, which is exhausting. Because of you he is safe, cared for and supported by caring family.

Remember that, when you know he is frustrating your efforts; you can only do as much as he allows you and you cannot make him act responsibly as you would with a child. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. You are a good daughter.

Carenza123 Mon 02-Jan-23 15:06:45

You cannot be everything to everybody and are only human. Unfortunately your father has been cared for but it is too late I feel for him to learn new ways. I myself acknowledge that my husband (mid seventies) has been spoilt as a child by his much older sister. Now he has mobility issues he plays on the fact that it hurts him to move about. My daughter says I have made a rod for my own back and she is probably right. What happens if/when I cannot cope? He says he wouldn’t mind going into a home to be ‘cared for’. 😡. I just feel that some days I would love someone to care about ME. He has no empathy and is oblivious to my needs. I must say I feel resentful that he does not make SOME effort to help himself. All about him - so selfish.

Hithere Mon 02-Jan-23 15:10:48

Nobody is ever too late or old to learn

They need to be put in the position that nobody will enable them and if they really want something, they need to do it themselves

Notagranyet1234 Mon 02-Jan-23 15:18:03

@Hi There - thank you for your support I know that I am being played and I have boundaries in place, I try not to feel guilty as my belief is that I do as much as I can whilst people are here, so no need for guilt. My mum was the typical wife of the 50s with the exception of management of the family finances which she managed.

@easy bee - thanks to you too, My dad is a really good guy and I have been blessed with both my parents. But, he is not used to having to do for himself and I must admit he won't make any attempt to help himself, to the point he won't even make a shopping list preferring I go down and inventory his cupboards hmm I have quickly explained that I shop once a week and if he doesn't make me a list it won't get bought smile

Glorianny Mon 02-Jan-23 15:28:41

Your dad is taking advantage of you. If you can't get him to change and do things for himself could you change some of the things you have to do? For example his medication? there are a number of pharmacies which offer a free delivery service and which will dispense in dated and timed packs. Could you order his shopping on-line? And what about one of the meal delivery services? Your dad will probably refuse at first but you could claim to be ill and unable to visit so sending the meals to cover. He might find he likes them.
Do look after yourself. Try to make sure you have some time to yourself, and maybe have a holiday.

Notagranyet1234 Mon 02-Jan-23 15:29:14

@06Carenza123 - we do what we feel is best in our relationships and can do no more. I got divorced almost 17 years ago and have remained single ever since because I no longer want to compromise my beliefs and values.
I'm sure your husband is lovely and you are free to live your life as you wish. All your daughter can do is deal with the situation as it is at the time just as I have after the death of my mum. I try to bear in mind that saying "The greatest of these is love"

Hithere Mon 02-Jan-23 15:35:48


You are enabling your father

The medication box example and your son rushing last minute because your father claims you didn't give it to him is an example.

What if he decides he won't take his medication unless somebody gives it to him in person?

Sago Mon 02-Jan-23 17:28:13

A close friend had the same problem, her father refused help but would happily pick up the phone whenever he needed help, this was daily.
Eventually my friend explained she couldn’t continue and was dreading the phone ringing, she told her father he would have a greater chance of remaining in his own home until death if he accepted support.
It worked.