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Show ALL Forums  > Over 45  > Caring for our parents......      Home login  
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 Just JJ
Joined: 2/20/2007
Msg: 1
Caring for our parents......Page 1 of 5    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
As a woman who is now becoming the sole decision maker for her ailing parents.. ( dad =81 mom= 78), I find myself in quandry about the decisions or lack of decisions I'm making.

Mom is pretty bad off at this point.... nearly blind, wheel chair bound and severe diabetic and totally immobile.

Dad who would be pretty ok, with exception to small TIA's ( small mini strokes) in the AM... and now recently had to have a pace maker put in.

My concern is this.... mom is dragging dad down mentally and physically and she really needs 24/7 nursing care... (ie:) nursing home. HOWEVER.. they both REFUSE to allow this to happen. Dad says as long as he has a breath left in him he will take care of mom. ( Im afraid this is going to kill him in the mean time.)

Thankfully they have plenty of money to have someone come and be a live in but they dont want to spend their money on that and they dont want a stranger in their home..... ( UGH)

I have young children and a full time position so its not feasible for me to move to Sotu NJ, and they cant move here as I have many steps in my home.

SOOO....... HELP ME.... what does a loving daughter do? Sit back and watch her dad literally kill himself trying to lift her, maneuver her and deal with her wheel chair OR insist that its time for other arrangements!!!

I have terrible guilt and really dont know what to do..... is there anyone out there with the same issues?

Ty

JJ
 Artz
Joined: 6/1/2007
Msg: 2
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Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 7:07:38 AM
Thanks for starting this thread.
m This has got to be one of the hardest things we will face. how to deal with aging parents. I live over 2000 miles from my now 81 year old mother. She has been after me to move closer and I'm very torn. i love my life here but do feel a obligation to my Mother. She may only havea few more years. Right now she is in very good health so my decision is not emanate.
 taxidancer11
Joined: 9/8/2006
Msg: 3
Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 7:09:50 AM
I know is not an easy situation, as I am dealing with similar issues taking care of my mom.
As long as he's fit and rational, your dad has the right to make his own choices. Maybe his/her doctors could help to plead the case? Like many people, your dad is determined to keep going until somthing stops him.
As a start to getting him some help, Is there the possibility they would agree to someone coming in part time to help take care of the house work ? Then maybe if your dad can see that helps he might go the next step? Maybe if you or someone else they trust could be there the first few times that "a stranger" is in the house, that might help?
My mother is getting to be a challenge. She is mobile enough yetshe doesnt need a nursing home , but she doesnt want strangers in the house. She says she understands that i'm maxed out in trying to take care of her and a handicapped brother, yet she throws up small roadblocks with her stubborness.
More than that, i wish you luck with the situation.
 Just JJ
Joined: 2/20/2007
Msg: 4
Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 7:22:12 AM
Artz.. is it an option to move mom closer to you????

Taxi... I have done that. It's so hard. We found a very nice woman to come in and after the 4th week.. mom calls me and says that "marabell" had gone out and left her alone for 4 hours at a time. ( 3 days in a row) while dad was in the hospital and I was there with him being his advocate....

I wont do this to my kids.. I swear!!

off to work.. will check back tonight.

jj
 Andy Cardiff
Joined: 9/30/2007
Msg: 5
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Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 7:39:46 AM
Hi, JJ !

Such a difficult predicament for you to be in, you have my sympathies.
All you can do is to respect your parent's wishes. If they are still capable of making reasoned, rational decisions, as far as I'm aware, there's little you can do anyway.

My suggestion is that, if you haven't already, discuss your concerns with them in detail. Then, whatever they decide, you offer your whole-hearted support, and mean it!

With my Dad, I accepted he was not going to live forever given his condition. So when he decided 'no more hospitals' I agreed. I talked with him first, and understood that he wanted to 'let go', and he wanted to do it in the warmth of Family and familiar surroundings. I have to say that not all agreed with his decision, and after his passing a week later, they made it known very loudly. But after a few days, even the objectors saw it was for the best.

For my part, I wish he was still here now - but it was never going to be. And although, by helping him with his decision I probably shortened his life by a few days, I'd do it again if the clocks were put back.

I wish you and your Family well, and hope things work out for you.
 almost_elvis
Joined: 7/25/2007
Msg: 6
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Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 7:52:46 AM
SOOO....... HELP ME.... what does a loving daughter do? Sit back and watch her dad literally kill himself trying to lift her, maneuver her and deal with her wheel chair OR insist that its time for other arrangements!!!


This happened to my parents 10 years ago when a major stroke confined my 80 year old mother permanently to her bed. My father (83 at the time) wanted to keep her at home indefinitely in order to maintain her quality of life. He engaged enough outside help so that at least 16 hours a day, there was someone to help her get back and forth to the bathroom every 20 minutes. He covered the other 8 hour shift himself. She quickly gained weight and the task became harder on him.

After 9 years of doing this he was finally able to get her into a long term care facility. He now pays to bring in his own round the clock help (4 workers) to maintain the same level of support, because the care facility only has about 1 worker per 15 patients, and that would be far from the level of service that my mother was used to.

Paying for this (it costs over $70K a year) was an issue at first as my parents were both extremely frugal and wanted to save their money for the kids. Last year I said screw the inheritance and told them to spare no cost if that could possibly make their load any easier.

Looking back, the biggest mistake my father made in my opinion was to put himself in the position of completely running the show. He's a control freak. He also wanted to be able to call on my sister and myself in an emergency in order to temporarily take his place. This approach left my sister and myself in a vulnerable position of having to put our own family needs aside in order to come running to the rescue. That put a strain on my marriage at a crutial time and damaged it irreparably.

My father should have hired an organization like HomeCareAssistance.Com to do all the administration of hiring, paying, and coordinating the round the clock personnel to assist at home or in the institution.

That can cost close to $200 per day with an administrated solution. If your father can afford it, encourage him to do it. It could end up being the biggest gift he can give you, worth more than an inheritance.

There is a debate over at http://eldercare.infopop.cc/eve as to whether your parents should come before your own spouse (kids). The decision you make can ruin your current (future) chances to have a life of your own.

It is ironic that your parents may want you to make their final days as comfortable as possible, but in doing so, you may end up in your own old age childless and without a partner to provide you with the same treatment.

I discovered 10 years ago that even money cannot buy some of the gestures that I was able to provide my mother that any paid person would not have gone to the heroics of doing. Like negotiating repeated 55 minutes per hour of visitation to see my mother in the intensive care unit when the nurses said that the hospital policy was only 5 minutes per hour. My mother doesn't remember the comfort I provided for her those few days, but it was a turning point in my life as I realized, being childless, this would not be repeated for me.

Six years after my mother's stroke, when I remarried for the second time, after a 28 year pause, I chose to put my second wife ahead of my parents. It is a mistake for adult children to allow too much of an interdependency with their elderly parents in these situations. You practically end up being married to your parents and that is not healthy, even if you don't foresee being successful in finding a partner of your own.

If the money is there, have him spend it and live your life as you should. If the money is not, then one's options are limited and there will be a lot of guilt concerning the solution or lack of it.

I have now begun to examine what is called long term health care insurance which costs between one and two thousand dollars a year in premiums so that I would have a fixed envelope of money to pay for daily care should I become disabled at some point in my old age.

I recommend that any adult (childless or not) examine this preventative solution. It's better than having your adult kids feel guilty because the burden of taking care of you would fall on them unless you personally save for that rainy day.

Good luck.
 Celticmist
Joined: 2/1/2005
Msg: 7
Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 7:52:49 AM
Well as I person who gave up 20 + years to look after my ailing parents in every free moment I had from work, my answer is DON'T.

You don't have the medical knowhow, nor the emotional distance to personally see to your parents care. Where I live we have something called Community Care Access - they will inform a family of all the options available, and they will send someone in to talk to an elderly person(s) regarding their care requirements and help setup what is required.

Realize also - that your parents,although in poor health, if they are of sound mind
are responsible for their own decisions. You cannot force them to be reasonable, nor to accept help. You can only show them what's available and let them decide. The social worker just told my sister that if the family and/or friends continue to bail my mother out of crises in her own apt, she will never agree to go into a home - where she really needs to be due to medical requirements. It is hard to say no to your parents, but sometimes it is the best thing.

Dealing with elderly parents is one of the hardest things to do, and it is never easy. I wish you all the best of luck and
big 's...............Bonnie
 mamatigress
Joined: 8/5/2007
Msg: 8
Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 7:54:35 AM
Your predicament is a difficult one. I cared for my birth mother for a year prior to her death. If your dad is adamant about caring for her and is of sound mind, legally there is nothing you can do. The best suggestion I can offer is have him consider part-time help. There are services out there that will come in and bathe, clothe and administer meds. to your mom. Also, do some research, a large percentage of care givers neglect their own health and as a result die shortly after their charge. If your dads health is already failing with tia's he may want to consider bringing in someone to assist him. All the best to you, MamaT
 oldsoul
Joined: 3/10/2007
Msg: 9
Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 9:08:19 AM
Hi OP,

My heart goes out to you OP, and to you too Artz, and to everybody who's gone through this or is living it right now...*sigh*...just when we think we have this life all figured out, it seems something else comes along and knocks us off our feet. My parents are 87 and 85 and are living by themselves in an apartment after selling the family home, as it was getting to be too much for them.
My dad is relatively healthy but he's just lost his driver's licences after an accident he had....it's a long story but he didn't protest the decision as he was thinking of giving them up anyway. But my mom is constantly in and out of the hospital with multiple health problems, some serious and some not ....but what is the hardest thing for us to watch is the fact that she's in a lot of pain due to a severe case of osteoperosis (sp?) affecting her back and severely limiting her mobility. My parents are the old-fashioned, proud type of people and we had to fight with them to accept the help they both needed and deserved after all their years of hard work, you know? Fortunately for us, my older sister is a registered nurse and was able to convince them to accept the help they so badly needed and arrange for some homecare and to have some meals delivered to them from the "meals on wheels" program we have available.

And what makes this all the more difficult is that all three of us sisters live a five hour's drive away, which I know isn't the end of the world, but we are not able to help them with their day to day living in any way and just be there for them...*sigh*...

In my case, I'm also raising my grand-daughter who has just hit the teen years and is requiring a lot more attention and 'patience' than I ever remembered, all the while having to constantly deal with her mom (my youngest daughter) who is mentally ill and has a lot of issues of her own and requires every once of energy you have just to be able to deal with most of them...

I often feel stretched to the limit and guilt is my constant companion. I feel like I'm neglecting my oldest daughter because in reality I am, as I don't feel I'm there for her and I don't call her as often as I should because she's doing okay and doesn't require my attention....but still, I'm sure she feels let down by my lack of support and attention even though she denies it....*sigh*.....and I don't feel like I'm there for my parents because I can't affort to go up and visit them often as I have my grand-daughter who needs me here....what is one suppose to do? There are days where the guilt is just too much and I feel like there is no way out ....and then I feel even more guilty for thinking and feeling this way....it's a vicious circle and I'm sorry to sound off like that, but I thank you for allowing me to vent off by starting this thread...if nothing else, it permits us to know that we are not alone ....

I don't know what I could say to you OP to offer any advice as to what to do in your parent's situation....it is very difficult to do anything if they insist on refusing the help they need, and having worked in a hospital for too long, I'm not sure that forcing anyone to receive the help they need is such a good idea anyway, and that is another issue all on it's own anyway.....but I do believe firmly in the freedom of choice for the individual, even if that choice might not be the wisest or the healthiest one for them ...or whether we agree with their decision or not.... and I feel it is their right and privilege to choose exactly how they want to live until they are no longer able to make that decision for themselves...and even then it gets even more complicated....who decides what is best for anyone, and what is best for me is not necessarily best for you, or my mom or your mom....or.....arghhhh!

Good luck to you and I wish you all the best in dealing with all of this....I know it isn't easy and I hope that your parents will be able to come around and accept the help they both need....if not, just remember that it is their decision and that there is only so much any one of us can do.....I feel for you.....

Love and peace...
 moraima
Joined: 6/26/2005
Msg: 10
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Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 9:37:30 AM
Caring for our aging parents will most probably cause stress for the person doing it.

What is the right thing to do?

What do the parents want?

What if what they want and what is the best thing to do are different?

Should I take over their decisions?

Do I have the power to take over their decisions?

I when though all of the above and more, and at times it tore at my heart and my mind.

I decided to go along with their wishes for the most part, until they were no longer capable of know what their wishes were.

Guess work is sometimes required. The whole situation often lefts the caregiver in the wrong. Being in the wrong is often the nature of this situation.

I tried to remember that at some point someone may end up in this situation with me in a couple of decades. I tried to think of how I would feel in their place.

I wish you all luck with this. Remember that just being there is often the best thing you can do.
 gpb1953
Joined: 10/16/2006
Msg: 11
Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 10:11:27 AM
JJ,

I think Andy in Msg 5 made most of the same suggestions I would have made. The only other thing you might consider is during your discussion with your parents ask them to try to work with a win-win conclusion for both of you. In other words a compromise that will enable them to keep their independence but some way that you can be assured that they will have the help & support they need when they need it. perhaps they would be open to having someone assist them during the day but not actually stay with them. I'm relatively certain there are services that would place a RN or other professional at their homes for so many hours a day to provided you with peace of mind and yet enable them to feel as though they still have their independence.

My father is 88 and did agree to be moved to a nursing home. Just last week they asked us to consider hospice care due to his failing health. It was a joint decision of his and ours to agree to have this additional care provided at the nursing home where he is presently located. It was the result of us looking for a win-win result for him and us.

Good Luck,
Gary
 ladyc4
Joined: 2/14/2006
Msg: 12
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Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 10:35:03 AM
Can you get your folks to accept having someone come in part time,even if it's just to make sure they get a couple of decent hot meals a week, and that your Dad gets ome respite? Hopefully as they get used to the idea of accepting help, it would be easier to get them to accept a fulltime helper.
You might sit Dad down and ask him who's gonna take care of Mom if he breaks his own health and dies first?
Yes, as long as they are both mentally competent yoy cannot force them into anything. However, if the situation starts to get out of hand and becomes unsafe, then you may have to step up and get the Probate court involved. I hope it doesn't have to come to that, but sometimes it's necessary to almost be a "bad guy" to protect aging or ill parents from THEMSELVES.
Trust me I know what I'm talking about...years ago I had to take my own Dad to court and have him declared incompetent due to severe alcoholism...
Cindy O
 smartazzjohn
Joined: 8/11/2007
Msg: 13
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Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 2:55:21 PM
jj,
The first thing I want to say is there is nothing you should feel guilty about and you shouldn't beat yourself up because you want whats best for your parents. I hope they are grateful to have such a loving and caring daughter.
While your father is struggling to care for your mother it's what he wants. As hard as it is for you to watch him doing this it might be harder for him to see her in a nursing home. It could in fact hurt his heath as he would feel that he is no longer needed. Prehaps you can find an "assisted living" facility either in your area or close to where they live and make arrangements to visit one. They could still be together and get the help when needed. If at all possible everyone should have their independence, having it taken away can be devistating and break a persons will. You shouldn't look at yourself as the sole decision maker for them if they are still mentally able to do so. The best you can do is help them make decisions, show them what the alternatives are and help them in any way you can which isn't always the way you want to help. I hope that you and your parents can come up with the best way to deal with the problems you are facing.
John
 Just JJ
Joined: 2/20/2007
Msg: 14
Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 3:11:09 PM
WOW....

I cannot tell you ALL how appreciative I am fo all your kind words, your fantastic advice and mostly for all of you stepping forward and sharing your stories with me.

It almost made me cry to see how similar we all are, and at the end of the day... no matter how far we are apart, and how different the lives we live are.. it all boils down to one thing.. and thats how much we ALL love our parents and want the best for them!!!!

It is indeed a very difficult situation for our generation to not only have to deal and handle our own children, but to have to care for and deal with our aging parents. Years ago with out the aid of modern medicine this was not nearly the case at all, with maybe a few lucky ones who had their health and lived long happy lives.

I have gone over and read each and every response and I have either done or will attempt all the ideas that you have provided.

I think what helped the most was KNOWING that total strangers could relate to my feelings and try to make me see that I am trying to do the right thing and at the same time allow my parents the respect to make their own decisions until they are unbable to make their own!!!!!

Here is one HUGE GROUP HUG AND KISS FOR ALL OF US!!!!!!!!

JJ
 swamp thing
Joined: 9/3/2007
Msg: 15
Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 3:46:21 PM
Make up a piece of paper with a line down the middle. On one side of the line, list all the great things they have done for you over the years, over and above what you would classify as normal parental duty. Call this side of your list "Reasons To Help My Parents".

Then on the other side of the line, list every slight, every insult, every missed piano recital, and so on, that you can remember. Call this side of the list "The Ice Floe".

Then whichever side of the list is longer, go with that. If it was me, I would be so pissed off at them for making me feel guilty that I would tell them to fly a kite, in gale force wind. Obviously you care more for your parents than I do for mine, so, I have no idea what to tell you. Babies trap us into caring for them by being cute. Old people trap us into caring for them by making us feel guilty. The only fair solution is to have old people take care of babies, and we stay the hell out of it.
 almost_elvis
Joined: 7/25/2007
Msg: 16
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Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 3:52:28 PM

Then whichever side of the list is longer, go with that.


Whatever abuse I suffered as a child has not kept me from doing the most I could, whenever I could.
 Just JJ
Joined: 2/20/2007
Msg: 17
Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 4:01:51 PM
Thank you swampy....
thankfully I don't need the list because I KNOW that my "reasons to help my parents" list would far surpass the "ice flow" list....

I have been extremely fortunate to have two loving giving selfless parents. With the one exception of them selling their home which was close to me here on the island, and moving away from us..... EVERYTHING they have ever done was for me and my daughters.

I appreciate your imput!! :)

Elvis... muwwa!
 LaughingBlueEyes
Joined: 7/14/2007
Msg: 18
Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 4:05:35 PM
Is respite care an option where you are? Here, the provincially-run long term care facilities reserve one or two beds for respite care. Anywhere from a weekend to a month. This would give your dad a break but at the same time assure him that no one's putting mom into a nursing home 24/7.

Have you also checked out all the tools and aids that are available to seniors to make their lives a little easier?
 Just JJ
Joined: 2/20/2007
Msg: 19
Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 4:19:03 PM
Thank you laughingblueeyes ..
Yes I have! And there are plenty!! ( not the respite thing tho) LORD knows my dad could use that for himself.... BUT yes I have looked into ALL options but Dad is a real italian thick head and thinks he is Superman ( even tho I tell him he is bionic now that he has his pace maker).

He wants to do it ALL as long as he ( he THINKS) can. At 81 yrs old with TIA's and pace maker/defibulator.. I say he CANT!
 mamatigress
Joined: 8/5/2007
Msg: 20
Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 4:44:37 PM
bless you Justjanice,
You can probably take comfort in knowing that when the time comes and your parents need you to be there you will. Until then keep in touch with them and make yourself as available as possible.
MamaT
 Just JJ
Joined: 2/20/2007
Msg: 21
Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 4:49:33 PM
Thank you MAMA!!! We could all use a blessing now and then!!!!

You're our own lil lol
 cojo5
Joined: 10/18/2006
Msg: 22
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Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 5:34:26 PM
I know its diffacult i have a mom i wacth out for. I know one thing family is family there first in life. I feel life is a progesstion and its part of the cycle.
 smartazzjohn
Joined: 8/11/2007
Msg: 23
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Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 6:09:39 PM
jj

I'm an Italian who is Superman, just ask me, and I have to deal with my 81 y/o father who is thick headed and has had 2 strokes, the 1st of which was when my mom was bed ridden and dying........Just make him some Lasagna and talk to him after dinner, I know I'm usually to stuffed to argue when I'm done eating.
 Just JJ
Joined: 2/20/2007
Msg: 24
Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 6:17:47 PM
LMAO!!!!! John...!! !

Hmmmm good plan!! I may even whip up some strufala to seal the deal! You're the best !! Thanks for the laugh I NEEDED it today!!
 smartazzjohn
Joined: 8/11/2007
Msg: 25
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Caring for our parents......
Posted: 10/3/2007 6:31:20 PM
jj

If you need some to taste test the food before serving to your dad let me know...... I'm willing to help you

Seriously though, and don't think this as some come on, you're a great daughter for caring so about your parents, too many people don't give a damn and just want to know what they get when their parents are gone.
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