It's SO hard to care for both of my parents...I need some help finding help!

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My Dad had a stroke 2 years ago that left him unable to speak or to walk. Now, my Mom has fell and broken her knee after she passed out from a blood/sugar level over 500. Her diabetes is out of control - but, she refuses to follow the diet to keep it in control. She also has lung and heart problems that have left her unable to care for herself either. I want to care for them and have been for 2 years but now my husband and I have 2 very small children and we are just unable to keep going at this rate - we are completely wore out! Our house is not big enough to move them in too - and, my Dad has "fits" sometimes that really scare the kids (that he can't help). They are too young / make too much money to be approved for Medicaid - even though it's not enough money to hire a caregiver or to put them in the Nursing Home...what in the world can I do???


Care57 - I'm sorry to hear of your situation; it is difficult. First, i'll say - you're a good daughter to help them, especially with kids; it's a huge load. Second, recognize that you can only do so much and you should not sacrifice the emotional and financial security of your immediate family - kids and husband - to care for your parents. Let yourself off the hook and realize that you must be an advocate for them NOT their immediate care giver. Your concerns now must be for their physical safety first, then their emotional well being. It's a hard shift to make but once you get used to it.

For the immediate situation - helping your Mom heal from this knee problem: if she's still hospitalized, RUSH to the social services office and tell them, the doctors and nurses that she can't return home with out some rehabilitation and therapy. Tell ALL of these people, don't tell one and expect the message to get through. If they insist on discharging her REFUSE to take her home. If she's over 65, medicare will pay for up to 120 days at a nursing home - with the intent that she get care and rehab to return home. If they determine she must stay, that's another story but don't worry about that now, it will fall into place later. Start with social servics first since they'll coordinate activities with Drs. Ask if she could go to a nursing home/rehab center for some physical therapy and vocational therapy to build up her strength and get her on a regular routine of her medications. They will control her diet there, give her meds, monitor blood sugar etc. If she begins to feel good, perhaps she'll take her own health more seriously. If not then she might stay there - would that be so bad?

As for your father, that's another process all together. If he has fits and can't care for himself, perhaps it's time that he too move. Is it possible to move them both to the same nursing home in a shared room? Or, rooms across the hall? If you need help understanding the process to move them, finances, etc. go to a nursing home and talk with the person responsible for intake of new patients and the business office. They can help you understand rates, payment options and state assistance if that's necessary.

Your local Area Agency on Aging can also help you understand how to begin this process of moving your parents. They have lists of resources that are available in your county and surrounding areas. Best of luck to you and to your parents. This might seem like a difficult time so be sure to do some things to lighten your own mood. To help them you must remain balanced and centered yourself. Spend some time doing what you enjoy, don't be afraid to ask your friend to watch your kids now and then and be sure to thank your spouse for his help and support. Tell yourself that you're a good daughter and that, even though decisions are hard, you love your parents enough to do what's safest for them.

Let us know how it goes and don't forget to look here for help/advice. Lots of us have been through this more than once so we know exactly where you are and what to expect.
Care57 - Sorry, I just rre-ead about your folks being too young for Medicaide - that's not necessarily true - they may be too young for Medicare, the federal insurance program for people 65+ but Medicaide is generally available to people who are considered indigent and/or disabled. You don't say how they're paying for medical care now - they have to be on SOMETHING and there may be some benefits there.

If your mom has recently been released from the hospital with her knee, you may still be able to admit her to a nursing home. Call the social services at the hospital where she was treated to find out.
Lynn: helpful information as usual! It is difficult to offer suggestions without knowing more about someone's circumstances.

Care57: you say your parents are too young (no idea of their age) and make too much money, yet I am unsure of how your father could be earning 'too much' after having a stroke that left him unable to speak or walk. Of course you do not have to disclose this here, but you may want to have your parents talk to an elder lawyer that handles such monetary planning for their care.

With regards to your mothers care and dietary planning, perhaps there is a support group (online or local) that your Mom can join to help her understand how important diet is in handling diabetes. The American Diabetic Association offers help in many ways, including free information regarding food and preparation.

Perhaps you can offer to help Mom, by shopping with her, and planning her meals AND your meals at the same time. I have a family member that has diabetes and neglected their diet too until I offered to shop with her and get the proper items. Then we got rubbermaid containers and ziploc bags and packaged up her foods in proper portions. I also got her a poster that showed her how much protein, carbs, etc are allowed.

Also.. you didn't mention any other family, but perhaps even their FRIENDS could be of help? Or Church members?

The best thing you can do is sit down with your parents and ask how best you can help with the amount of time you are willing/prepared to offer.

I know how stressful and how draining life can be. But you are doing a very good thing by offering to help your parents.
Thanks so much for ALL your advice...I just appreciate your response and taking the time to read this. I am going to try my best to talk to EVERYONE before they try to release my Mom from the hospital. I don't want to put them in Nursing Home Care...but, I mean, they're both going to be in wheelchairs and I just can't stay with them all the time and have other family keeping my children. My kids dont' mind...but, I really miss my own family when I have to constantly be away... :-(! My parents are both only 59 - they just are in very poor health to be so young. My Dad is still getting disability pay from his work - but, it's just enough to cover both of their insurance payments and bills with only a small amount left each month for everything else.

I'll let you know how today goes....thanks again.
Care57 - if that is their financial state then they'll probably qualify for medicaide. If they have insurance there may be a rehab clause in their plan that will pay for a certain # of days in a nursing home for your mom once she's released from the hospital. Contact the local health and welfare office or google the name of your state and medicaide to find more details. Some assisted living centers DO accept medicaide you just have to call and ask their business office. It might be the best thing for them at this point - someone to help them both, monitor blood sugar levels and hand out meds (your mom might be willing to take them from someone else) plus fix at least two meals a day. There are all kinds of activities for them to do and someone else to coordinate and take them to/from doctor visits.

I just re-read my first post and I hope I don't sound like a harda__ when I say "refuse to take her home", but often it's the only way they'll take you seriously and help you.
Lynn: I don't think your comment was misconstrued (refuse to take her home). And I completely agree!! When we refused to Mom home after her last 'episode' and she ended up in the hospital, the social worker helped us find a skilled nursing facility that was very highly rated local to our area. I was still VERY much involved with her care at this facility, so they knew that Mom was not being dropped off!!

In this case, I would be very concerned about "Dad" who would still be left at home unable to speak or get around! Not sure what happens in that case, but I would be interested to know what happens.

I felt better that Mom was in a skilled nursing facility and since she had little financial resources left (LONG story) medicate covered her first couple of months, and then medicaid took over.

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