Living An ElderCare Lie

foofaraw & Chiquita (ARF!)
4 min readOct 9, 2023

When Is Caregiving No Longer Strength, But Instead (In One Case) A Form Of Sickness?

Not infrequently, I’ve been told that taking care of my very elderly parents elevates me in some manner (especially as a 100% permanently disabled 65-year old, dealing with my own medical issues), and my choice to provide their care is the result of substantial personal strength. But the truth could scarcely be more the opposite, or any less a “choice”.

Being sole caretaker of my 92-year old mother and almost 95-year old father is an all-consuming, often Herculean task which I undertake based not on love, but based almost entirely on fear combined with a massive inability to place even a sense of value on my own self-worth. I hope writing down these thoughts will provide the clarity that living them has so far failed utterly to do…

I was never wanted, and that reality was (thankfully) never a secret my parents kept from me as a child. Among my earliest memories is of my father beating me endlessly with a leather belt, me screaming in pain and fear. (Mom says she once pulled him off of me when he just would not stop, but even if that’s true, I’m pretty certain it was more from fear he would go to prison for my death than anything else.) Both my mother and older brother learned very quickly how to use my father’s almost god-like worship of my brother, and Dad’s hate for me, to their advantage, and that only conditionally ended, and quite recently. (Eventually my father’s hatred for me turned into a grudging respect, and then to the gratitude that it is now. But never love.)

I was told in my teens by my mother that it would be my responsibility to care for them in their old age, due to my older brother’s “lack of responsibility”. (His job was never to be responsible, but rather to be the firstborn, wanted son. Because I had received corporal punishment daily as a child, a few years ago I asked Dad about his discipline history with my older brother. Dad said the first instance ever was when my brother was caught driving home intoxicated. A pretty big leap from a tiny 3-year old child to one old enough to legally drive…drunk.)

So now I provide care (unassisted) for two of the three people who made my life so miserable for more than half a century. And I do it not from love, which I have never felt from or toward any family member in my life. Instead, solely from the fear that there’s nothing else for me, and there never could be, beyond this responsibility that I have spent my life preparing for to the exclusion of nearly all else.

I could go on for weeks documenting the injustices, but it would serve little purpose. Since my brother’s death two years ago (from drinking, no less) things have changed a bit. Or rather, things changed from the moment Mom found the fraudulent powers-of-attorney for both her and Dad in my brother’s room after his death, legally allowing him to take possession of their home and all their assets immediately upon his decision to do so. His too obvious plan to abandon them to the state would have certainly happened following his retirement less than two years before his death, barring one complication: my refusal to leave them alone in his “care”, despite years of preparation on his part. You see, for his now rather transparant plan to kick in, and to effectively claim that he was unable to provide adequate care, or that our parents were beyond his ability to provide for, there could be no witnesses to the truth. I must leave their home (and abandon my responsibility) for his fiction to become a legal reality, and that effort to eliminate my presence became his laser focus, ever years before he retired.

During the years I began caring for them in their current home, I was living/sleeping on a 4-foot couch in their living room, as his bedroom remained empty on average 29 nights a month because he wanted me miserable enough to give up and leave. (As a commercial freight pilot he traveled nearly all the time. For the record, I’m 24 inches longer than the couch I was relegated to sleeping on, and with severe spine damage. (Me, not the couch.)) Nor was I allowed (by him, thus by my adoring parents) to use the kitchen, bathroom/shower, washer/dryer or have conversations with my father. Older Brother also had sole access to the wifi router. (I’d have not been allowed to get Chiquita from the shelter, but I didn’t ask.) Eventually, when all other efforts to expel me from my parent’s lives had been exhausted, he had them build a room off the back of the house so I would at least never be seen at all. (The reason a room had to be built for me is that the house was built specifically to be given to my brother eventually, so a third bedroom was never a consideration, nor was it realistically a need. Since the house was to be his, they wanted him to be comfortable…but certainly never at the cost to them that he envisioned.)

Even spending a summer in the American south living in the back of a small pickup under a truck top while being subjected to the direct rays of the sun (in daily (measured) 106 degree temperatures) didn’t break my resolve.
Or should I more accurately say: it “didn’t end my sickness”?

And now, aside from (or perhaps because of) all sense of irony, all of my parent’s medical decisions, legal and otherwise, rest in my hands. (No fraudulent documents were needed once my parents realized the truth about each of us that they had mentally and emotionally blocked for far too many decades.)

So now I have little choice but to wonder; “Who will I be be in the near future when the reason for my existence no longer…exists?”

Thank you.



foofaraw & Chiquita (ARF!)

100% UNPAID writer, because I must. Liberal for life (so far!) FYI-If I see only a reply (and don’t know the name), I have to presume it’s from a troll. Sorry..