letter from a caregiver wanting to give up

The letter below is from a caregiver ready to give up.

I am 67 years old, sleeping once again in the house I was raised in. I have given 6 years so far, caring for my 92-year old mother who has Alzheimer’s. My husband, children and grandchild live in another state, without me. People say this is the responsible thing to do.

I attended support groups for years and have read every printed book on Alzheimer’s and caregiving. It seems nothing helps anymore. I am just “stuck”. So I carry on each day, cooking, cleaning and handling the perpetual emergencies. One step at a time; one more day, and the days turn into years. This is my life’s sentence and one I had not planned.

I just want this to end and it seems hopeless. I am giving up. I no longer respect life in the end. The cost is too much for everyone. Do I give another 6 years? I have missed all these years without my grandchild. I’ll never have those years back again. I’m giving up.

Nobody said it was fair. Nobody said it would be easy. And it’s not fair and it’s not easy. Frustration builds, anger builds, resentment builds, aloneness, emptiness, hopelessness … it builds and builds and builds until you want to scream.

So go ahead.


The lady – I’m going to call her Anne –  who wrote the letter emailed me afterward that she felt better.

She’s not alone. How many caregivers need, every now and then, to do what Anne did – let it out? And how many of you think you’re in this on your own?

Do what Anne did. Go to www.oldfriendsendlesslove.com, find this blog and, in the Comment section at the end of it … let it out. Let Anne know she is not alone in her occasional thoughts of giving up. If enough of you do it, you’ll find you’re not alone and you’ll find yourself in good company.

But you won’t give up.

That’s not who Anne is.

That’s not who you are.

You are a spark of something greater than you. A spark that pulls you, like the moon pulls the tide, toward Alzheimer’s, cancer, Parkinson’s, toward all that threatens life. You are not superman or Wonder Woman. In the big picture – no – in the biggest picture, the truth is you are Love and, after all the venting is done, you simply cannot be something you are not.





So go ahead – walk away for a day, vent, let all the frustrations out. You’ve earned the right to do that and you’ll feel better.

But you won’t quit. It’s not who you are.

A rock is a rock.

Love is love.

You are you.

Written by William McDonald
William McDonald is an Emmy Award winning writer and published author who, for more than 30 years, specialized in emotional communication in the broadcast industry. For several more years, he was a caregiver in assisted-living homes, memory-care homes and private homes, and it was there that he met many of the old friends who inspired these stories. He writes full time from his home in Colorado.

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  1. One solution for Anne is to place her mom in memory care near her home, so that she can return to her family. Anne will be part of her family again…part of her grandchild’s life…..happier and more able to care for her mother. Believe me, having a loved one in care outside the home is not giving up. You are still needed to advocate for her, you will get late night calls for small emergencies, or trips to the ER and you WILL help in her care. You will be able to get her up and eating, when all the caregivers efforts fail. YOU will bring a light to her eyes when you visit. Although I do wish I could care for my mom here at home…I know her better than anyone now, and can even anticipate her needs, I could not keep her safe in our home. Too many falls and refusals to take medications….because I’m still just the KID, you know and Mom always knows best. Go home, Anne and enjoy all your family.

  2. I know exactly how you feel.i am caregiver to my husband for the last 9 years .we have been married for 50 years.He has so many health issues including 2 strokes and now dementia. My health is not good either as I have RA. I have to do everything for him,feed bathe,dress and lift him from bed to his wheelchair.He can no longer even sit by hisself. I really wonder how long I can keep doing all this.

  3. I can relate to this story all too well. I’m am on the brink of placing my mom is a care facility. Is this giving up? Is this quitting?

    • Is it no longer safe for you or her? Then you are not giving up. You – we have to maintain our mental and emotional health and well being as important and our physical because if one breaks, we are no longer safe. I hate that any of us patient or caregiver are having to go through these things. HATE IT WITH SLL THAT I HAVE!!!!


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