My parents are in their 80s and have been married (unhappily) for 56 years. They never had much in common and would have divorced if they hadn't had children, but that's the way it is. Throughout my childhood, my family life was characterized by their squabbles, which was not ideal.
My parents both have medical issues. Dad suffers from dementia and is an alcoholic. He also has difficulty walking. Mum can walk well, but she is terribly lethargic, and she has given up on life in the last 5 years. I've been doing all of their home shopping and making sure their bills are paid for the past two years.Money is one issue they don't have to deal with, which makes me happy.
Dad's alcoholism used to be a major issue; he drank a bottle of whisky every day, which aggravated his other issues. He had bathroom accidents on occasion, and we had to take his mobility scooter away from him a few months ago because he couldn't drive it home owing to being intoxicated and passing out on it in the pub car park. When they summoned an ambulance and the cops got involved, I knew the buggy had to go. I'd wanted to take it away from him for a long time, but my Dad is obstinate and independent, so I needed a lever to persuade him. The mention of the cops emphasized the point.
Anyway, I've been able to wean him off whisky and onto beer since then (4 cans a day). This has greatly reduced his anxiety, and he has not had any toilet accidents since the start of this new phase.Meanwhile, my mother sits in the corner, doing nothing to assist him or herself. She rarely eats and prefers to sleep in her chair rather than go to bed. She stopped taking baths a long time ago, and I'm not even sure she washes properly anymore. She will wash her hair if I force her (which I do when it becomes dirty, but I don't like nagging her about hygiene issues all the time). She hardly ever changes her clothes, and I doubt she even combs her hair between washes. She is now subsisting on milkshakes, tea, sweets, and chocolate. When I try to convince her to eat something else, she usually ends up in the bathroom, sick. She will sometimes declare that the mere sight of food makes her sick, and her favorite saying these days is: "Don't bring me any food - I'll be SICK!"
I sometimes drive away feeling quite sad for both of my parents and the difficult time they are having in their old age. At times, I just feel terrible for myself because I've started to feel like their underpaid slave, and I can't help but detest it. I also feel guilty the most of the time.
On the good side, we've hired a nice lady as a cleaner/caregiver, but she's semi-retired and only comes in three times a week. I'd like to extend her hours/visits if I could, but she has her own family commitments, so that's not going to happen.