As a caregiver how would you answer this question "If only my parents/mom/dad had..."

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None of us want to become a burden to our kids like so many of the parents we read about here have. But I'll bet you that not a single one of these parents wanted to either and yet, here they are.

Surely there's something they could have done before they reached this stage that might have eased some of these burdens we're reading about.

In my case, I wish my parents had realized they would need the help of at least one of their three kids as they got older and moved closer to one of us. When mom got sick lived states away from any of us and it was hard on dad. We all had to stop our lives and take turns helping her "die" with dignity.

So when my husband retired, the first thing we did was move close to our daughter. We also have bought a lot nearby and have a 5 year plan to pay off our current home and to build a new smaller one level home on that lot. We plan on making this home as senior friendly as possible. In 5 years my husband will be in his 70s and I'll be hopefully we'll be doing this soon enough.

Hopefully some of us will take this discussion to heart and make an effort to take steps while we can to help ease our future caregiver's burdens.

So what do you wish your parents would have done in the past that might have made it easier for you to help them today?


My parents are very responsible and already have plans in place but I will answer in regards to my boyfriends parents. They should have realized their limitations and remodeled a portion of the downstairs or built an elevator or ramp to accomodate their health problems instead of blowing all their money at the casino. Also, when services or equipment was offered, they could have taken it such as a wheelchair or liftchair. Everything was a fight and we paid for everything.
Tacy, that is so sad. My dad has a casino problem but at 86 he doesn't see it. He sits around and pouts when my daughter in law doesn't take him to the casino, so she ends up taking him. It's very sad...
I really wish my parents had moved into a smaller house at least 10 years ago and had given up a house that now has become a depressing dungeon. It is the home I grew up in and thought it was too big even as a child. My mom never wanted it but went along with dad.

Now that house is an electrical fire hazard and the power keeps cutting off. Looking back now, I'm sure we enabled them to stay too long there because we essentially do everything, but now they're slowly accepting moving closer to us at a really nice ALF. I just hope and pray we pull it off.

A few other things I wish had or hadn't happened. I wished they hadn't gotten a reverse mortgage because when it sells the proceeds will go to the company and not their care, I wish my dad hadn't accumulated ridiculous debt to the point where he can't possibly ever pay it back and I wish they gotten long term care and saved their money. Mom was always good with money, but his pride never allowed him to turn it over for help.

Sometimes they look so dejected and depressed and I'm certain seeing their house and life crumble around them doesn't help. I hope that will change for the better once we get them out that H hole.

My parents did a lot of things right and could have done better on a couple of others,,,,but the biggie was the Living Will. They never signed one and when I presented one to both with them and asked them to fill them out....Mom was in the beginning stages of dementia and refused to sign. Consequently, when I was in the middle of driving from Maine to TN because she had been hospitalized (I was in MA at that moment), I received a call from Mom's doctor. He wanted me to give him the DNR orders because my father could not understand him. Doctor had a heavy accent and Papa is nearly deaf with his 2 hearing aids - Pop told the doctor to call me (his youngest daughter). So, from the side of the freeway somewhere in Mass, I gave a doctor DNR orders for my mother.

Probably the worst moment of my life.

I've helped my folks for many years with too many things to name....but this was not the "help" I wanted to be responsible for.

Then I had to drive another 20 hours straight trying to keep my emotions at bay so I could get to her hospital beside & hold my father up through it.

I would never put one of my children in a position like that. My husband and I already have our Living Wills signed and on file with our attorney and our kids.

If only my parents had not spent their whole life drinking their paychecks away and being totally irresponsible with their finances.....because that lead to my narcissistic mother living in my attic where she makes our life hell on a daily basis.
If only my parents/mom/dad had moved from that large house into Independent Living. Good heavens, my folks were in their mid-to-late 90's. That house was too big for Mom to take care of and she refused outside help, thus that house probably killed her out of exhaustion [serious fall].

The stress of my parents living there has aged me terribly and caused me numerous health issues. I am to blame, too, as I also enabled them to continue their lives there..... [sigh]

Now I am dealing with clearing out "stuff" so I can get that house on the market to sell, but all of this takes a lot of time. And my parents did very little updating in the past 30 years. Thankfully my Dad moved to Independent Living right after my Mom had passed.
I wish my mom had quit smoking earlier in her life. Perhaps she wouldn't have gotten cancer and would be around today to take care of my father. He's just so lonely. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, but I quit smoking so my daughter will not have to watch me die of cancer or another smoke related illness. Hopefully I quit soon enough...

My husband and I both have living wills and last wills and testiments.. we did them ourselves and had our bank notary sign them and put them into the banks safety deposit bank, which our daughter has a key to.

Golflady...that is so sad. I'm afraid if your mom were mine, rather then having her make our lives hell because she drank and wasted her money away, I'd have to get her on medicaid and put her into a nursing home if approved ... Life's too short as it is...why go through hell during the years that should be earned them! No doubt you're stronger then me.
freqflyer - I had to clean out two my heart goes out to you! That's one of the reason's I'm determined to build our new home, small (1300 sq. ft), all on one level, and with only 1/4 of what we own now. When we move, we've both committed to taking only 1 out of every 4 things we want to take. For instance...I've a collection of plated my Grandmother had china painted. I'll take 1 out of every four, and give the rest to family and friends. I'll take only 1/4 of the cloths I have now and give the rest to the good will (to accommodate less closet space) husband get's to take 1/4 of his tools, I get to take 1/4 of my kitchen stuff...things like that. And we WILL stick to it! I'm determined! (Just glad we're not moving for 4-5 years from now)
Dustien, sounds like you got this under control. I have lots of friends my age, 60s who are struggling and complaining, like me, with careing for parents. But lots of these folks are a chip of the old block, hoarding, big stupid Muti level homes, no legal papers, and going into debt for stupid crap.

My folks didn't plan anything until both my siblings died suddenly within the last 6 years. I was then able to get the wills updated and a very broad durable POA which has saved my ass, as Dads dementia has increased. I would be so screwed now without that POA as I'm knee deep in the demented-stubborn-we don't need no help-elder care waltz.
I kinda strayed of topic there.......

Like most of us I wish my folks had paid more attention to their health. We are now paying the price for their lifetimes of horrible diet, no exercise etc. my mom has too many medical issues to list. I love my Mom but I think she took a short walk in 1968 and maybe ate a vegetable in 1972 but I could be mistaken.......

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