Parents who refuse to pay for outside help.

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My parents (86 and 89) have lived with me for the last two and half years. They left their home about 2,000 miles away to move in with me.They were to move to a retirement community but a number of health issues occured so they are still with me. I own a business with my son but now am unable to fill my responsibilities as I am always at labs, doctor's offices or at hospitals. My parents are children of the depression who have a lot of resources but refuse to spend any money for outside help since they have a daughter (the only child) who should be happy to "take care" of them. I love my parents but I am totally worn out and if I suggest hiring some outside help - they are upset and feel like I should be able to handle all of their needs without "paying for their care". They took care of their parents and this should be my turn. I spend 40 -50 hours a week taking care of them (cooking, cleaning, Doctors, etc) and 60 hours a week at our business. Last year, there were 80 doctor appointments, labs and tests. This does not include the rehab months, emergency rooms and hospital stays. I was hanging in there until this month and now I have
10 appointments scheduled in the first 3 weeks of January. At this rate, I now see a total of 120 labs, appointments, etc. If my parents didn't have resources or were younger, I could see how they were concerned that they might outlive their money - but this really can't happen. I have given up time with my grandchildren, my friends, and all outside organizations and now sleep It appears that I might have to give up my share of the business with my son. How can I make my parents understand that the money they saved for "when they were old is money" is the money should be spending now? I am totally worn out.

4 Comments

My Mother is the same way. She wants to leave the family something and we should just take care of her as we see fit. She pays her few bills and for meds and that is it. Everything else is given as gifts or provided by my husband and I.

Wish I had an answer. My mantra is your first responsibility is to yourself and your family. The hardest part of taking care of our elders is realizing we have to be the adult/parent and make the tough decisions for them. Find a companion/helper through your local home health provider (doctors can give you suggestions) or full time nurse whatever you need. Have the discussion with your parents that this is how it has to be. It is not only for their wellbeing but for your health.

Possibly an assisted living facility would work if it had area for advanced care. You might select a couple and let them make the choice as to which one. I know it sounds harsh but it is what it is. You do not have to do this alone irregardless of what your parents think.

Maybe their doctor, minister or the social worker from home health care could be there for the discussion. The social workers at home health care providers are skilled at talking to elders and could help you evaluate just what services they need.

I wish you well!
burnedout, I feel your pain and frustration. Often our parents don't realize how much of our time they are taking. You are trying to be a good daughter, but you can't sacrifice your security so they can hold on to their nest egg. Often what looks like a sizable nest egg melts to nothing in the later years if parents have to go to a nursing facility. This happens quite often, so we can't depend on things passing down anymore. I think it is important that you continue working. I wondered how your son felt about this.

It would be easy to tell you that you should sit down with your parents and tell them you need some help, because it is too much for you to do everything that needs to be done while working. But I know how those conversations can go. For some reason, the wants of the elders end up trumping the needs of the caregiver. I think that is how we caregivers are made.

Still, I think the conversation is what you need to do so your life won't be totally derailed.You are as important as they are. Why should you have to give up your life and business so that they will not have the inconvenience and expense of bringing in help? That doesn't seem fair at all.

It is a tough thing to do, and likely your parents will be upset. But their demands on you are great, so you need help. I hope you can phrase it to them so that they will get on board with your decision. Maybe you can find a good part-time caregiver that they will actually like.
I appreciate the comments. My parents get very upset when I discuss getting some
help or assisted living so I think getting other people's input would be helpful. My mom is getting PT at home after being in rehab for a broken arm, I know that they have social services offered so I will start with having them come in and talk about resources that could help. I have kept my son out of our conversations but since he is an only grandson whom they are very close to, he might be able to talk to them without getting the same emotional reactions from them. JessieBelle got it right - somehow the wants of the elders always trump all other issues. I'm so surprised at this - my father has always been very self-centered but my mother was never that way. She is as adamant or even more so about not bringing in or paying for help. She is very forgetful and confused since her stay in rehab - so I am convinced having someone in during day is the right thing to do. I will let you know how it goes. I'm sure it won't be pretty.
Hi burnedout 13, I can empathize completely. My Dad had Parkinsons and my Mom refused to get help. We finally convinced her to take a vacation and He stayed with me. I had no idea the amount of attention he needed.
I am now with an organization called Comfort Keepers and we offer a variety of services the philosophy being Interactive Care, helping people engage in their own lives. We've seen how enabling people to feel and have some freedom of their choosing improves their own self worth and their relationships with their loved ones.
An aspect that frequently goes unaddressed is what we call Respite Care. Family Caregivers need time to breathe too. Without a break tensions can rise to a fever pitch creating an overwhelming cloud of angst which is detrimental to all involved both physically and mentally. We are a nationwide organization so I'm sure there are Comfort Keepers in your area and we do free in home visits to assess needs and introduce ourselves.
In any case here some cues to identify a real problem:
Has there been a recent emotional or medical crisis?
Does the individual bathe less often, or not at all?
Are pills left over or running out too soon?
Does the individual need help walking?
Is he/she verbally or physically abusive?
Is he/she becoming more forgetful?
Have there been recent falls?
s your loved one having problems sleeping?
Has there been recent weight loss?
Hashe/she lost interest in eating?
Is his/her hearing or vision affecting the ability
to function?
If he/she smokes, are there burnmarks?
Is your loved one able to do errands alone?
Is clothing being changed daily?
Is your loved one content to just sit in a chair?
Is there less participation in conversations?
Are there scorchmarks on the potholders or
dish towels?
Are there signs of burnt pans on the stove?
Is routine house cleaning not being done?
Have socia lactivities stopped or diminished?
If you checked even one of these questions, perhaps it is time to consider in-home care. You can find us on the web, don't want to overstep, it's up to you, but you probably should be looking into it. Take care

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