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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 65...so 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?

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I wish my parents had had more money.
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When I think of children of politicians, I think of the song made famous by Creedence Clearwater Revival: Fortunate Son.
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I wonder what the children of popular politicians [yes, The Donald included] would say "if only my parent had......".
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Gosh I worry about that man on a whole lot of issues that are political and so I won't mention them but if my Dad had had hair like that I would have taken him straight to the hairdressers and got it cut properly. BUT you will be pleased to know I have found out its not a wig it was allegedly Trump who started the handbag dog phase but since he didn't have a handbag he put it on his head instead
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I too wish your Mum could meet up with him and ask about his hair, everyone wants to know.
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I wish my Mum had the opportunity to meet Donald Trump - apart from the name Trump which means fart in UK colloquialism, she would be very blunt about his hair. Every time she sees him on TV and bearing in mind this is not remotely political she says why does he have to wear that wig he is stupid. I suggested it might not be a wig to which she replied well I would sack his barber he looks ridiculous, silly man. So toady she saw Hilary Clinton and I quite expected her to like her. not a bit of it. She's that woman who had an affair with that nice man isn't she? Who Bill Clinton says I trying to be helpful. No no he was horrid she had an affair with that black American...confused I said who do you mean Mum? Answer Paul Robeson! I think the wires might be a little crossed today!
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Windy, that's a 4 star response! I can't stop laughing!
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Some realistic life goals and practices:

NEVER EAT ANYTHING YOU CANT LIFT

DONT END UP AS THE STAR OF MY 600 POUND LIFE

LIKEWISE FOR THE SHOW, INTERVENTION

HAVE SEX ONLY WITH PEOPLE YOU KNOW

DONT DRINK ALONE UNLESS YOU HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE

CUT DONE ON YOUR SMOKING PRIOR TO HIP REPLACEMENT SURGERY


I try to set goals that are attainable
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Dustien, your post reminded me of another issue that affects aging and adaptive living: housing adaptations. I haven't followed the campy House Hunters to see what the latest (sometimes impractical) trends are, but I doubt that mainstream builders are even considering modifications to houses so that they can be adaptable as homeowners age, w/o major retrofitting.

Wider hallways and doors, sinks with roll-under capacity for wheelchairs, landline connections in every room (including the bathroom), heated towel bars (as I believe they have in the UK and Europe), roll-in showers, outdoor access for wheelchairs w/o adding ramps....all these would help people age in place more safely.

I could foresee a wise, thoughtful and proactive builder creating a subdivision of adaptable homes such as these, but I think the majority of builders are still pandering to tv supported consumer goods and desires for hot tubs, pools, stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops, man caves, etc. as opposed to practical, adaptable homes that where families could age in place.
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Oops, that was supposed to say "living beyond where PAST generations lived". So how come we can edit our posts in Facebook but not in here??
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As GardenArtist mentioned, we are most living beyond where future generations lived, well into our 80s and 90s. If we do not plan now, before we reach the age where we no longer see beyond our immediate wants and desires and become serious burdens on our children, then no matter how much we might say today I will never do that to my children, that could be exactly the case.

So sign those POA's and living wills now, get life insurance if you're young enough for it not to be a big financial burden, start saving money, size down, eat well, try your hardest to quit smoking/excessive drinking and gambling...and everything else everyone in here is wishing their parents had done. It will be good for you if you don't lose your wits, and good for both you and your children if you do...

I know...on some of these it's easier said then done, believe me. I'm 50 pounds overweight (quit smoking in 2005 and started eating instead). I'm working on trying to get it off but it's soooooo hard! I thought quitting smoking after 35 years was the hardest thing I'd ever done, but quitting eating is worse. I know, however, it will be better for my health now and well into the future so I keep on trying.
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I'm 78 and my daughter has been encouraging me to downsize, which I am doing. What do I wish about my parents? That my father hadn't relied so much on alcohol, and with mother, who is still alive at 103, had sought treatment for her BPD and depression. More practically I wish she had not moved so much in the past 6 years - 4 times - and one of the times bought a new set of furniture to replace what she had "given " me (used me as storage) so I have had 2 apartment's worth to deal with. It is getting whittled down and much of it will be gone soon, thankfully. I intend to move to a smaller place within the next few years and then to assisted living when I need it. My kids will not be saddled with what I have had to deal with if I can help it.

amygrace - the same with mother - she has had very good health and enough money to keep herself well but has one gripe after another and made my life and the lives of others h*ll at times - way too many times.
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If only my father had gone to the doctor when he first felt pain, and if only he had stopped smoking.
If only my mother had accepted she was getting older and made some effort to accept the help offered, and the walker recommended. If only my mother had tried to enjoy life and hadn't spent the last 30 years complaining, giving her daughters a hard time, and finding the glass half empty, when, in fact, she was so much healthier and more fortunate than 80% of others her age.
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I wish we'd known sooner about the possibility of dementia in Gulf War I/Desert Storm veterans. Then I could have helped make sure they kept Life Insurance policies while both were healthy.

Dad apparently either had a policy only through work, &/or allowed his outside policy to lapse - either way, within 3 months of Alz dx & over a year since being laid-off (we now suspect he was fired), when cleaning out some papers, mom discovered that they had no LI policy on either. "luckily" due to dad's anti-social disorder, he has no friends, & no surviving family to come to a service. So his VA benefits to be interned @ Arlington Cemetery is fine; but my 64 yo post-heart attk mom had to find a policy to pay for a small service.

I have already looked into non-employer provided policy pricing, and have those companies on a list if needed if I should not have that benefit through my work.
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I don't know Cwillie, I don't think I want to live into my eighties if I become incapable of taking care of myself. I'd rather have fun now, than to be a burden to my family. My husband and I intend to downsize out of this home into a much smaller apartment or condi, and start living, once my FIL moves onto wherever he moves on to, whether that's a nursing home or the big blue yonder!
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Staceyb, sometimes I think we should eat, drink and be merry rather than taking care of our health. The problem with that is I know when my unhealthy lifestyle would catch up with me I would probably be begging the docs to do their best rather than pulling the plug!
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So true GA, my FIL never expected to live to 86, especially after being a heavy smoker, though he quit at age 70. He has even lived through stage 4 Lymphoma, and to think that he could go on several more years! At this point, with his extremely limited mobility I doubt it, as a bad fall will likely break a hip or other large bone, ultimately killing him, or ending him in a Nursing home. If anything else, I suppose it's time to start taking better care of ourselves!
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I think there's another issue in this whole discussion, and that's that our parents probably did not expect to live this long. Their parents probably didn't live into the 90s or 100s; the medical technology wasn't available then, but it is now.

Some of them didn't even have indoor plumbing or central heating; they suffered through the Depression and WWII. Pneumonia was a killer; it's been controlled for years. Who could have guessed that he/she would really live so long?

But we can gain from their experiences. And I think there is in fact a lot to be gained from evaluating what they could have done and do it for ourselves, NOW, so our own families aren't faced with what many of us have encountered.

I hope that doesn't seem condescending to other posters; it's not meant to be. It's rather an attempt to gain from experience, just as history could teach us so many lessons if we're willing to learn.
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My own parents did everything right, but unfortunately their poor health took them too soon, my Dad with a rare Autoimmune disease called PSP, and my Mom with Uterine Cancer. But my husband's parents, while they too downsized, and had all of their legal paperwork in order, and once my MIL passed away, my FIL EXPECTED to come to live with us. The other two siblings have been completely out of the picture, and were never close to their folks, leaving the burden on us. My FIL had never been alone in his life, and to some degree, I understand that he was scared to live alone, but he hasn't ever considered our feelings in all of this, now 12 years. I wish that he had moved into a senior apartment near us, and if necessary, later moved in with us. 12 years is a long time to have someone in your home. We won't do this to our own kids.
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Trying, I think that last paragraph really sums it up. Great points made.
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It would take a book to detail all the things I wish my parents had taken care of. Their lack of responsibility has been disastrous for our family. I tried years ago to help them make important changes and offered to help. I was told to mind my own business. I tried to tell them it would become my business when they were no longer able to support the business and life they had. Mom basically agreed but she said that my siblings and I would just have to be there for them when the time came. I was flabbergasted and said it was unlikely that I would be in a position to devote the time and energy to rescuing them. That was nearly 10 years ago, both my parents were in their 70s. I stopped trying to force them and let it go.

Dad became incapacitated two years ago and the proverbial "train wreck" has happened. I can't dwell on "would'a - should'a" it makes me sick when I do. Instead I have set my boundaries and only help as I am willing and able for my own health and sanity. Of course it's never going to be enough in my parents eyes but I have learned not to care about that.

Do I wish my parents had done things differently? Of course, but they didn't and I can't change that. I can only choose how I face today. Today I will do what I can but not at the expense of my own well being. I will do it with love and not allow guilt to push me into taking on more than is good for me. When I am able to do this I don't resent the poor choices my parents made, I don't even think about them.
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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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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.
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freqflyer - I had to clean out two houses..so 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)...my 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)
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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 yours...you earned them! No doubt you're stronger then me.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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...
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