xojane logo

At 56 years of age, I returned home to care for my parents. Both of them have dementia. I​ lived in ​their ​unfinished basement with spiders and centipedes. That was four years ago.

Now, I have ​less money and fewer prospects.​ My siblings are not interested. My father hates my mother. My mother hates my father. Life is a dark comedy.

Dementia runs in the family. My father has an official diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. My mother is an interesting cocktail of narcissism and mixed dementia.

This combination provides her with the attention span of a toddler and the empathy of an earthworm. She refuses to seek help because she believes the problem is stress. The source of stress? My father.

Together, they are a heady mixture. At 60 years old, I live in their basement, acting as caregiver, household manager and (according to them) family inconvenience.

For over 50 years, this independent couple hardly knew my name. But, now they check on my every move. Not just outside of the home. They go through my mail and papers on my desk. This is done in a very obvious way. Not subtly.

So they dwell in the space between oblivious and panic. Between a tenement and the moon. Through the door, beyond the mirror and into the land of the Mad Hatter. And here I am, through it all, often listening to their discussions on how I stack up in comparison with the other family members.

Without fail, I come up short.

The author details dealing with a family that denies her father’s illness, even as it progresses to a point that seems undeniable, and refuses to help.

Read more on xoJane.

This is an external article from our library

Everyone is talking about caregiving, but it can still be difficult to find meaningful information and real stories that go deep. We read (and listen to and watch and look at) the best content about caregiving and bring you a curated selection.

Have a great story about care work? Use our contact form to submit it to us so we can share it with the community!

Related Articles

manic pixie dream world

manic pixie dream world

Rayne: Eliza, do you consider yourself mentally ill? Eliza: Rayne, at one time, I would have said I am extremely mentally ill. I no longer say that....

Popular categories

Finances
Burnout
After Caregiving
Housing
Relationships
Finding Meaning
Planning
Dying
Finding Support
Work
Grief

Don't see what you're looking for? Search the library

Share your thoughts

0 Comments

Share your thoughts and experiences

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join our communities

Whenever you want to talk, there’s always someone up in one of our Facebook communities.

These private Facebook groups are a space for support and encouragement — or getting it off your chest.

Join our newsletter

Thoughts on care work from Cori, our director, that hit your inbox each Monday morning (more-or-less).

There are no grand solutions, but there are countless little ways to make our lives better.

Share your insights

Caregivers have wisdom and experience to share. Researchers, product developers, and members of the media are eager to understand the nature of care work and make a difference.

We have a group specifically to connect you so we can bring about change.