Father with dementia, mom needs help, brothers want me to move home soon!

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I am the only one without obligations, but I have lived independently for many years with cats, but no husband. My brothers want me to move back in with my parents to assist them, but Mom says no cats,which pains me greatly as they are my family too, not to mention the abrupt loss of freedom and feeling as if I were instantly back in high school. It is a small town with little job opportunities so they are planning on giving me an allowance! Wouldn't it be easier on all of us if I transitioned into this role less abruptly by getting an apt. nearby and spending the time needed, and then later moving in or convincing them to go to assisted living?

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Just be careful they do not pull you into doing this slowly. First the train rides back and forth...then, because you are so tired from that..an over night stay a couple times a week, then move days. Till finally they pull you completely in

Beware.

As for you pr dad. The early stages of dementia come with a fair amount of paranoia. My Dad routinely accuses me of bringing in strangers to mess up the house at night. He has claimed I have locked him it....even though the locks were on his side of the door...and it was I that couldn't get in..not him that couldn't get out. Just a few examples of the nutty stuff you can expect. Plus the serious memory loss. Your Mom is burned out for a good reason. Beware. Don't let yourself get pulled in deep.
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I have moved in with my parents. I am the only sibling that could do it.

My situation is really different from yours....but...I also add my voice to the majority here...

Do not do this

You have brothers near by, they can handle this. They do nt want it? Sure, I get that. It is a huge burden. BUT..if they pass this burden to you it will weight hundreds of times harder on you then it would by them sharing this together.

From the sound of this...they want to basically dump and run. I advise you to not put yourself in this position.
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My mother, .at age 69, (Wow! that's my age now!) left her home and husband to help one sister care for a second sister with terminal cancer. I imagine getting away from my father was kind of a relief, but she became "trapped" there. She didn't come home until I discovered that I needed surgery. I think that was her "get out of jail" card. They didn't really know what they were doing, and I guess the dying sister eventually went to a nursing home where younger stronger people took care of her.

I would tell your brothers that you can handle this for the summer, but starting in September you would need to be paid by the brothers or by your parents. Look into how expensive home care aids are. It's shocking. They don't get paid enough to live on, and yet they are too expensive for most middle class people to afford.

Unless you have a nice retirement account from your previous jobs, you can't afford to do this long-term. Before you start, make a list of rules, regulations and requests about how you are to be treated. Make the list twice as long so you can "give up" some demands without giving away anything important. Mom and Dad should make up a similar list. Don't forget, they drive you crazy, but you drive them crazy too! And don't give up your cats!!!!

This experience can be so rewarding, if you don't get trapped forever. You will discover strengths you didn't know you had. You will get to know your parents on a different level. It is satisfying to care for those who cared for you. And you can give them a month's notice and QUIT if it's too awful.
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Elaine, I'd suggest that you have the serious discussion about assisted living during the summer so you are ready to transition in the fall. Sometimes these transitions come upon us suddenly, due to a change in the situation. It's very stressful to all to have to locate a facility on very short notice. What can also happen is that changes happen incrementally - 3 days a week turns to 4, with perhaps an overnight added..... we try to "bandaid" the situation, rather than making a big change.
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Ack! It sounds like you're going to be one tired puppy on "a few days out of the week." How many days would that be, since a week only has a few days. :) Sorry, I couldn't resist joking. Are you going to work mornings, then catch a train to your parents, then come home later in the evening, and go to bed? We can say it in a few seconds, but it sounds like 16 hours of work. I would be exhausted in no time. I'm glad your brother is at least buying the tickets. Well, at least I think I am, but not sure. It depends on how it turns out.
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Elaine here again! After talking with both brothers and Mom, we have decided on a temporary solution that involves me riding the train down(20 min ride) and staying till evening just a few days out of the week. The train doesn't depart here til after lunch so my early hrs work schedule will not be disrupted and I can get Dad off Moms back for a while, and help her with some household things as well. She sounds happy to give that a try until Fall, when the more serious discussion about assisted living will have to take place. My brothers will be buying the train tickets.
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Elaine, study everything you can get your hands on regarding dementia. In fact, go to the blue bar near the top of this page and click on SENIOR LIVING.... and click on ALZHEIMER'S CARE... scroll down to the articles. Alzheimer's and dementia are similar so all the articles will help you.

Your Mom is burning out for a reason, ask her what her day is like with your Dad from morning through the night. And have her be honest with you. And she should be able to tell you what your Dad likes to do to keep busy, if anything.

My Dad is just starting to have issues with memory, and with eyesight... he's happy just sitting in front of the TV watching 24 hour news. I am lucky, my Dad wanted to move to Independent/Assisted living as he knew his house was too much for him. Whew, what a relief.
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Elaine again, one more bit of info! Dad has macular degeneration in both eyes, so some things, like puzzles, aren't so helpful. Seeing small details is difficult. Suggestions?
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Elaine here, and I am having trouble not crying after reading all your comments and advice. I agree that I cannot uproot my life to help my Mom, no matter the love I have for my parents. It would just be too much on me and I believe I would be resentful in the long run. I'm angry at my brothers for trying to put this on me, and yet I do feel that I should do something, since I have more free time than they. Toying with the idea of traveling by train a few days a week to spend time, without disrupting my schedule, at my brothers' expense. At least for the summer till we can convince Dad that moving to assisted care is ok. Thank you all so much! I don't have any experience with dementia, and haven't been able to spend that much time with Dad, so any help and direction in activities, etc. would be welcome! He is in a moderate stage now.
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Listen to Lassie
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