The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female company employee in my 30s. I’m virtually the sole caregiver for my grandfather on my father’s side, who is in his 90s and lives with us. Given that my father and uncle are both fine, I’m increasingly feeling discontent, wondering why I have to care for him.
A year ago, my mother began visiting her mother — my grandmother — to provide nursing care, so I started doing household chores and taking care of my grandfather. My grandfather’s condition is getting worse, and I care for him every day before going to work and after coming home, while also seeking ways to deal with his worsening condition.
However, although he lives with us, my father pretends that the situation doesn’t even exist, showing a rather offensive attitude to me by saying such things as, “You’re not doing it right.” If I argue back, saying, “Then you should do it yourself,” he shouts at me, “You just get on with it!”
My uncle, who lives two hours away by car, ignores the situation and just tries not to get involved.
Seeing people around me prepare for futures such as marriage, I feel annoyed with my father and uncle, who don’t show consideration for me, even though I spend every day caring for my grandfather. Since I don’t want to regret anything, I try to do my best to provide good nursing care for my grandfather. However, I can’t help but feel discontented, which makes me annoyed.
E, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Dear Ms. E:
You’ve been supporting your mother who cares for her own mother, while feeling discontent with your father and uncle who apparently think, “A man doesn’t need to provide nursing care.” The expression of “discontent” is quite precise and expresses your feelings realistically.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that the situation will improve anytime soon. However, you need to tell your father about the discontent you are feeling. Regardless of sex, children have a responsibility to be involved in nursing care for their parents. So you should put your feelings into words and tell them to your father.
Then you need to exercise wisdom so that your life won’t be dominated by looking after your grandfather. Your parents are probably struggling with their own issues and can’t afford to pay attention to their daughter. In such a situation, you shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the circumstances. You need to always think about how to create your own life.
To this end, it is important for you to face the issue of your grandfather’s nursing care while being aware that this experience will not be a waste. You are wise, as you are always thinking about how to deal with your grandfather. Depending on how you handle it, hardship can be excellent teaching material for your life. I wish you good luck and success.
Megumi Hisada, writer