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Old 06-12-10, 06:53 PM   #1
trackhub
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Off topic question: Any of you dealing with an elderly parent?

Sorry to post off-topic, but I figure this is safe, with the age demographic here. I'm just curious
as to whether anyone here is in my situation: Dealing with a frail, elderly parent who can no longer
live by herself. It's not a good situation. Stressful at times. I'm going to do well to get some riding time in this year I think.

Anyone have any advice, input, comments?
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Old 06-12-10, 07:01 PM   #2
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My wife's father died last August, and his final year was hell on everyone, particularly since he had previously been a fiercely independent, self-reliant sort, which is one reason we always got along so well. My mother died relatively young (age 66 in a family tree of nonagenarians) and spent her final 6 years in a very good board-and-care assisted living facility, as her MS gradually worsened.

My best advice to any caregiver is to avoid burnout. Everything you need to know you can learn from an airline flight attendant: "When traveling with a child [or elderly parent], put your own oxygen mask on first, before helping him/her with his/hers." If your own oxygen mask is not securely fastened, you are no good to anyone else.
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Old 06-12-10, 07:12 PM   #3
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If you live in Boston, there are some great resources to help you get through what is most of the challenging things our generation has to face. We have no "map" of how this is to go. Parents living this long is a relatively new thing. I'd strongly encourage you to get in touch with some of the many support group. They really can be a valuable resource. Maybe start here: http://www.dailystrength.org/c/Carin.../support-group
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Old 06-12-10, 08:04 PM   #4
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I heard on the TV about an "elderly man on a bicycle" who was hit by a bus downtown. He was 72, so I guess my wife and I are "elderly parents!"

To the point, my mom just died at age 96. Her last 3 years were hard on her and especially my sister who took prime responsibility - she lives in CA near where my mom lived. From a retirement community, where my sister practically lived with her, and, finally, after much convincing, to an assisted living facility. Those babies ARE expensive. My sister still supported her there, but it did give her some relief.

She never quite got the care she needed, so my sister supplemented. But she was able to get nights away. They formed a sort of strange co-dependency that I would have never tolerated, but, heck, it wasn't my call.

My mom had the funds to provide for her own care, which was great.

I had to continually encourage my sis to get away and take some time off. We could do little physically, as we need to be available for Andy, and we and he were having some serious medical problems here in CO.

Don't know if that helps??
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Old 06-12-10, 08:21 PM   #5
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If not assisted care, then make arrangements to have someone(s) come over to the home a few hrs a day to help out either with the parent (bathing, PT, exercise, picking up around the house, laundry, you know, stuff) or you/spousal unit so burnout and short fuses are somewhat mitigated. For as long as people are living nowadays it just might be worth it to skip any potential inheritance in lieu of everyone's peace of mind.
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Old 06-12-10, 09:35 PM   #6
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Do you have access to any of the Heritage groups facilities? Here, in Batavia IL, we have Heritage Woods, and assisted living center.

My mother in law is currently there, and absolutely loves it. It's a great place, with great care, and great people. Everything is included. It's mmore like a luxury hotel, than anything.

80% of their residents are medicare/medicaid patients - so pay their SS minus about 90 dollars in spending money.

I'd recommend it to anyone, without hesitation.
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Old 06-12-10, 10:08 PM   #7
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Depends on the parent i guess. My mother was like having a small kid,we had a heck of a time getting her to move to assisted care and she never let me or my brother forget what "we did to her". We both live along way from her and she would not live with either of us.
It was quite unpleasant at times,just a warning. One has to do and know they are doing the best they can and not feel guilty about it i think. Its tough for the ederly as they got to get rid of a lot of stuff cause the rooms arent very big etc. And they lose there independence some. She didnt want to hang with what she called old people so no friends.
She'd forget to take her pills so nurse would come around and make her take them in front of her,when nurse would leave mom would spit them out cause she didnt want people telling her what to do. She got so she could fake us and nurses out,quite the actor. She then would forget to take them on her own, she eventually died a year after moving her there at 87 years old.
I sure hope if i make it that long that i dont do that with or to my kids. It can be very stressful and one can become quite guilt ridden if you let it.
Hopefully your experience is more pleasant, some people do not grow old gracefully. Sad but true.
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Old 06-12-10, 10:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by trackhub View Post
Sorry to post off-topic, but I figure this is safe, with the age demographic here. I'm just curious
as to whether anyone here is in my situation: Dealing with a frail, elderly parent who can no longer
live by herself. It's not a good situation. Stressful at times. I'm going to do well to get some riding time in this year I think.

Anyone have any advice, input, comments?
Very similar situation here. My elderly father (age 89) has been living with us since my mother passed away 2 1/2 years ago. Our daughter-in--law is able to come for a few days once in a while so we can get away, but it's still stressful. It's easy to get somewhat resentful about seeing our "good" retirement years slipping away. However, that said, it still feels like the right thing to do at this time.

Jim

PS: This issue is going to become bigger and bigger. My primary care physician told me a while back that a child today has about a 50% chance of living to age 100.
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Old 06-12-10, 10:45 PM   #9
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Very similar situation here. My elderly father (age 89) has been living with us since my mother passed away 2 1/2 years ago. Our daughter-in--law is able to come for a few days once in a while so we can get away, but it's still stressful. It's easy to get somewhat resentful about seeing our "good" retirement years slipping away. However, that said, it still feels like the right thing to do at this time.

Jim

PS: This issue is going to become bigger and bigger. My primary care physician told me a while back that a child today has about a 50% chance of living to age 100.


??? Sorry, don't buy that at all. Would love to know what he based that on.....think about it, how many people now live to be 100?.....no where near 50%. Unless there is a cure for cancer, heart disease and people become less accident-prone in the very near future, it's not even in the realm of possibility. Wonder what else you doc is telling you....<G>
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Old 06-12-10, 11:53 PM   #10
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can't add much to what's already been posted--my dad died seven years ago after a mercifully brief bout with cancer, but my mom dragged the whole family down for more than a decade before she passed in 1993. My father lived every day until he simply couldn't go on, but my mom pretty much sat down to die and made everybody miserable until she finally did. It's a sad way to go for everybody involved, and I hope I learned something from it.
One piece of advice somebody else has already posted is worth repeating: Make time for, and take care of, yourself and your spouse and kids, if any. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY if you have to get away for a day, or even for an hour. This sounds brutal, but your significant other, children, job, life, house and everything else will be there after the parent is gone, and you need to maintain some semblance of normalcy. In the end, I'm convinced I could take better care of my dad in his last few weeks because my stepmother and I traded off. Occasionally one or the other of us would just call the other and say, "Got to get out of here for awhile--can you take over?" Even going to a movie or out for a cup of coffee is a break.
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Old 06-13-10, 05:35 AM   #11
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We are dealing with it with DW's father right now. He has Alzheimer's and is in an independent living facility but is at the point where he needs to move to assisted. We know he won't be happy with that (at least initially) and are not looking forward to the move. I have no advice on how to deal with these issues other than they are hard.
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Old 06-13-10, 07:03 AM   #12
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This is very much a cultural thing as well. I would like to know how other cultures, in other parts of the world handle this. I know we are a consumer driven society and the U.S. is unique. Most of us have some kind of debt we are servicing. The kids are in college, and there are two income earners in the household.

For those who fear burnout, maybe its because others are not stepping up to the plate. Maybe its because we all have decided to have less children in the family. And the children that we have are the generation with somewhat different values.
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Old 06-13-10, 08:35 AM   #13
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[/B]

??? Sorry, don't buy that at all. Would love to know what he based that on.....think about it, how many people now live to be 100?.....no where near 50%. Unless there is a cure for cancer, heart disease and people become less accident-prone in the very near future, it's not even in the realm of possibility. Wonder what else you doc is telling you....<G>
I suppose the folks who study such things are looking at life expectancy today. Then looking at the rate of medical advancements. Then looking at the fact that a 10 year old today will have 90 more years of medical advancements before he would reach the age of 100 (think about the medical advancements in the last 90 years). Also, I think kids today are living healthier lives from the get go than folks our age did. Example: less smoking, less asbestos, less lead paint, more health protection in the work place, etc.
Of course, that said, this is assuming that mankind doesn't do something major to screw the whole thing up, which is a whole 'nother' discussion for a different time and place than this forum.

Jim
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Old 06-13-10, 09:25 AM   #14
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... Also, I think kids today are living healthier lives from the get go than folks our age did. Example: less smoking, less asbestos, less lead paint, more health protection in the work place, etc.
True that, but then you read about growing obesity in the young, etc, which is likely to reverse any trend better medicine will present. There's no real simple solution to this, is there? It'd be plausible to see newborns nowadays making it to 100 if they lived an active lifestyle throughout their lives, but.... Does anyone stop to think that it's possible to live too long?

trackhub, I think you have to determine what's right for you and your family and commit. Don't play the coulda, shoulda, woulda game.
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Old 06-13-10, 10:13 AM   #15
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My mother died last year at age 89, having been a widow for 37 years and having lived alone until about two years before she died.

If I could offer any advice it would be to try and remember that your parent is a changed person from their younger days and, like us, we don't like to admit that things change.

And remember that we all have our time.
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Old 06-13-10, 05:12 PM   #16
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My mom was very opposed to moving to an assisted living situation "because I can't take the cat" and having someone come in was also a problem. She would have to get up and clean the house before anyone came in. When we had a maid when I was a kid she cleaned before the maid came.

When she started collapsing and was unable to get up by herself I realized I had to do something. I found a good nursing home (she needed one at this point) with assisted care attached "for when you get better" and was ready for the money argument.

My mother was very thrifty. Some would say tight.

I showed her she could actually net about $15 a day between her Medicare, Medicaid, and her supplemental insurance taking into account the meals and lower utilities the move would produce.

Once she got in place it was a great relief to her (it was a very caring, well run facility and she liked the food) and to my sister who, living in town with her, shouldered most of the burden of caring for her as she failed. The cat never missed her.

As Jeeves the great fictional British butler would say "It's about the psychology of the individual."

Best of luck with your mom.
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Old 06-14-10, 03:49 PM   #17
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Wow, that is really sobering reading. Not sure why I started reading this thread, but it really gives me some new perspective on these things.

Both of my parents passed away before they needed special health-care (my mother at 29, my father at 83), so I'm not in the situation of most of the posters above. Hopefully I'll pass away without putting a burden on my kids!

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Old 06-14-10, 04:23 PM   #18
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Wow, that is really sobering reading. Not sure why I started reading this thread, but it really gives me some new perspective on these things.

Both of my parents passed away before they needed special health-care (my mother at 29, my father at 83), so I'm not in the situation of most of the posters above. Hopefully I'll pass away without putting a burden on my kids!

Rick / OCRR
Rick, get your revenge.

Seriously though, the care I was able to give my mom as she was fading was precious stuff. She gave me so much that I took for granted as a child it was somehow comforting to do what I could as she became more needy, like a child.
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Old 06-14-10, 05:06 PM   #19
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We're nearing that with my wife's mom. Since my wfe's dad passed away 5 years ago, my wife's 88 year old mom has needed increasing levels of help. My wife spends 4 or 5 hours a day with her helping with cooking, housework, shopping, doctor appointments, hair appointments, etc. She definately couldn't stay in her house without this type of assistance but we know it won't get better or easier. My wife's brothers also live nearby and help out around the house as well as taking over when we're out of town.

Fortunately, her mom is pretty easy going. We even take her on one of our vacations each summer to a lake house. We can still get her into a boat and she loves tooling around the lake and watching her grandkids tube, ski and wakeboard. She also loves the evening BBQs on the deck overlooking the lake. We always go with my high school buddy and his family and he takes over entertaining my m-i-l so I can man the grill. Works out great for all of us but I know she won't be able to do this too many more years.

We had my parents to deal with in 2001. My mom had Alzheimers and my dad's health started slipping from the strain (he was determined that he would be the one to take care of her). My dad ended up in the hospital (and spent 5 months there before passing away) and my wife and I took over care of my mom. We did the tag-team thing as my mom could not be let alone at all. It was even tougher because our sons were 9 and 11 at the time needed to be dealt with as well. After a few weeks it was clear we were not equipped to deal with her and moved her to a care facility. My dad passed away the day before their 59th wedding anniversary and my mom went a couple of months later. They were high school sweethearts and we always knew they couldn't live without each other for very long.

It isn't easy but you have to balance what is best for all and not make decisions out of guilt. Sometimes a parent needs more care than you are capable of giving. No matter where they are, make sure you spend a lot of time with them. That's the way you show your love.
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Old 06-14-10, 06:44 PM   #20
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Sometimes a parent needs more care than you are capable of giving. No matter where they are, make sure you spend a lot of time with them. That's the way you show your love.
That is so true. But to Rick's point if your life is such that you can't without endangering the well-being of their grandchildren don't feel guilty either.

Guilt can be corrosive.
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Old 06-14-10, 07:19 PM   #21
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We just moved my mother in-law to assisted living. She has Alzheimers, but healthy otherwise,and still thinks she can live on her own. We need to treat her like a child many times, which is really hard on my wife. Luckily she has plenty of money and we were able to put her in a top shelf memory care facility with a fantastic staff...also, lean on the staff when you have to, that is if you get to that point, they know how to deal with things that we are just learning about.
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Old 06-15-10, 12:12 AM   #22
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I lost my dad about 19 years ago to a brain tumor. My mom is 83 and lives in a house she bought right next door to us. She moved here from out-of-state five years ago and we have never (well almost never) regretted that. Aside from asthma, she is in decent health and still drives to her doctors and to get groceries, etc. She cooks for me every evening (or I bring home takeout) and is sharp as a tack mentally, but slowing down a lot physically. Caring for me and her cat seems to give her continuity and a sense of purpose in life. For the moment, my most serious challenge is giving sufficient attention to both spouse and mother.

When mom slows down more seriously, we should be pretty well situated to take care of most of her needs. That is the hope anyway... but there are things we cannot control of course.
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Old 06-16-10, 09:04 AM   #23
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Thanks to all. I appreciate all the input and advice. This is definitely not an easy time.

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.. what is one most of the challenging things our generation has to face.
I agree with this completely.
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