DEAR ABBY: I'm 23 years old and caring for my two grandparents. My dad, their only son, lives with them, but avoids them at all costs, no matter how much I beg him to help. He causes more problems than he solves. I graduated from college last year, but because of all the doctor appointments, nurse visits and the attention they need, there's no way I can work. My life is completely absorbed in caring for them.
I'm going crazy! They don't want to leave their home and won't pay me or anyone else to care for them, but they need round-the-clock care. I'm not asking for help with them, I'm asking for help with balance. How can I be a young adult and full-time caregiver? -- IN DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES
DEAR I.D.C.: You can't. The longer you allow this to continue, the more trapped you will become. Contact senior services and inform them about what's going on with your dad and your grandparents. Then find a job. I am sure there are many available openings right now. You may have to continue living with your grandparents for a while, but as soon as you can manage it, you should live independently.
As to your father, tell him that if he doesn't accept at least some of the responsibility for his parents' care, you will report him to adult protective services for neglect. It may not make you popular, but if you don't assume control of your future, you will become increasingly isolated.