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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.

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