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Grandma was admitted into the hospital from an assisted living facility, her main condition was listed as failure to thrive. Now I am questioning the decision I made over a year ago to move my grandmother into my home. At the time, I knew it was huge and I wondered if I could truly handle it. I decided I could, and unfortunately I failed to take into consideration the impact it would have on my children. Grandma adores my son but only tolerates my daughter. My daughter has been subjected to unfair favoritism and she is fully aware of it. I am very angry right now. That is such an understatement at best.

I know all the sacrifices I have made and I did it willingly at the time, but things have changed. I look at the state of my life and the quality of my children's lives, and I question my decision. I want to 'undo' our living arrangement and get back on the track of being the best mom I can be, which I've recently redefined. There was a time that I thought as a role model that meant taking care of my grandma in my home with my children helping along the way. It seemed like the only right thing to do, but now I'm not so sure. Today it seems more like we are all hostages because grandma didn't want to acknowledge her abilities declining and she wanted to stay in her home as long as she could. The truth is, she stayed too long and refused to plan for the time when she couldn't.

Now, I can't help but ask myself why I continue to take responsibility for the choices she made, rather refused to make year after year. The truth is, the children and I have done a remarkable job with making her comfortable and happy in a life she would NEVER have chosen for herself. The catch is that now I've noticed that the three of us are no longer thriving, but she is. Is it worth it? I find myself in a quagmire of family values; priorities vs. loyalties. Honestly, I do not know what I am going to do to change the current situation. But, because of my experience I have become very proactive and set up long term care plans for myself so I never put my children through a dilemma of this sort. However, I'm not sure that means very much to them at this point.

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YOU GUYS!!!!!!! You are making my 'fix it' fairy wings try to flex and fly!!! I wish I knew what to say or better yet, DO! But all I think the best I can do is pray for you and your dad. I wish I had some answers!
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Yep! What are you doing up so late? LOL
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It's a tough place to be, isn't it?
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No stings Anne, I now have leather skin thanks to dad, LOL. See, I think he is in a stage somewhere between nursing home and assisted living. Is that possible? He can still shower himself, change his own depends, shave half-assed, and well, wiping and other hygeine is another issue.
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Praying here, too. He doesn't qualify for greater care? With all those conditions, why not a Nursing Home. Oops, hope that didn't sting...
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Thanks Anne! Dad has dementia, neuropathy, osteoporosis, and arthritis in his back, with disc problems. He is 74, and walks like a 100yr old man, has balance problems, and falls. Lets see, what else? Top it off with poor eye sight, and poor hearing, or should I say, selective hearing. Trying to get him taken care of first, as always. His house cannot wait much longer, because he won't be able to make a $1,300/mo house payment, along with a $4,000/mo minimum on assisted living. I'm waiting for direction from the Lord on this, but to no avail. Maybe I'm not praying hard enough.
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Jamie, you're cute! Thanks, I have a condition that cannot be cured, only treated. I know, I have chosen to put others first because that is in my nature. I think I got it from my mom, she always did the same exact thing, call it a curse I guess LOL. Thanks for the much needed uplift. Now, how about a vacation? LOL
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Dear Nauseated,

I feel compelled to say a few words here...If you fail to take care of yourself first, how can you possibly offer care to others? Ever been on an airplane? The friendly and well trained flight attendant always instructs the passengers, should the event occur, to first secure your own oxygen mask - then assist your child. Do you know why they say that? Because we all (well most of us anyway) need reminders to take care of our needs first - so we are able to offer assistance to others.

Have you ever observed a lifeguard assisting a distressed swimmer? The first thing they'll do is to dunk the person in need of assistance under water, assuming the swimmer is still conscious. The reason they do it is because they are trained to do it. It doesn't come naturally. But if you think about the distressed swimmer- very afraid- he is trying to grasp and cling to the rescuer -quite desperately, for it is a matter of his life or death. If the lifeguard doesn't sufficiently control the panic, then he is at risk too and no one will be rescued.

If you are just now putting your health and safety first, I think you have just reached the 'trained professional' status. Congratulations!!! What part of that permits guilt? Not a bit of it, really.

Lots of love to you!!!
And you're doing great!
Jamie
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Wow, we have faced similar. God will guide you. He did us, and prayer paved the way. My husband gives God all the praise. His Dad was defrauded out of his house, and we had only a car in the end. But God... So fast forward to today. What type of place are you looking at for your Dad? Is he in fairly good health? The house can wait, while you take care of your Dad (#1 priority), family and yourself. Right? (Not that you need to come last.) Please do take care of you.
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That is so nice, that both Dads are together and so close. I'm looking at a place, which is only 10min from me. I received a package of papers from them, and they told me I can make an appointment to show Dad around, or if I am out and about I can just drop in anytime to tour the place. I'm not sure at what point he would not be a good fit for the facility. That is a good question to ask them. I'm still learning more everytime I go to do something. I just don't want my ignorance to make any bad choices or mistakes. This is still a learning process for me, and I don't want to make any errors. He has lost enough in the past years. I'm still checking out options for his house. I talked to a realtor friend in his state, and they tell me that the next few years will be harder and harder on the real estate market, and I may have to do a short sale. Not sure yet, they are going to let me know what it is worth. Probably less than his loan that he was fraudulently talked into.
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God bless you and give you wisdom, Naus. Such a wide variety of options. Does your Dad qualify for any services? My husband's Dad got kicked out of his Assisted Living Facility when his needs outlived their services. We scrambled, and were told to take him to ER, and say we "couldn't handle him anymore..." This was true, because he wandered, etc. He was a danger to himself and fell... Anyway, they had to admit him, then place him. But he was wandering, hallucinating, etc. So he went to a Nursing Facility. We never neglected him, just got him placed. It was a good placement, and now he's in an even better one. He is safe, and well cared for. It was a Godsend to us, and he's even thanked us for it. Life is calmer with both Dads there, only 4 minutes away.
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Wise words Anne! I too am going to make some choices here pretty soon. I'm sorry if I offend anyone, but I need to get off of this roller coaster ride I have been on. I need to place Dad when I get the funds. That is a choice I am going to make. I cannot do this anymore. I am going to choose to spend more time with my husband and children instead. I'm considering home schooling my daughter. I am also choosing to take better care of me, since I don't know how long I can take a medication I am taking to keep me from dropping dead. This all has taken a toll on my health, and I feel if I continue in this way, my Dad will outlive me. So I am choosing me. I know it is selfish, but I have sacraficed a lot of my own self and health by putting others before myself. I want to be around to see all of my daughters graduated from college, and married one day.
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We only have so many minutes in a day. We can choose how we will spend them. I have chosen to help my parents, and not abandon them. They made choices that have the consequences they are left with today, except the ultimate Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia. They can't help that. I choose to help, and show compassion, forgetting the past and walking in forgiveness. It's a choice that has consequences, as well. I give up family time to care for my elders. I give up play time to care for them. I choose to do so, and be their servant, rather than neglect them. Some day, I will be glad for that choice. But I think it's also important to take care of myself, and not forces my bad choices on others (resulting in poor health). It is all about choices. Choose wisely!
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Amen to JAMIE AND CAROL My husband tried to hand me a load of crap-he should know by now I look into things he told me he stopped his psych meds because they make him itch-I called the nurses station and asked them which meds he was allergic to that made him itchSURPRISE -none HE WAS JUST REFUSING them I know why- they calm him down and he likes a racing mind because he can drive me crazy -my son told me if he is not taking his meds he will not visit him or expose his kids ti what he had to endure growing up-he will come up to help me with work but now see him-well he is not going to see much of me either I will be the b---- he always calls me I have always been so supportive of him now I have had it up ti my ears,I am going to be true to my self or as Dr.PHIL SAYS GET REAL.
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Yes, that quote is from Hamlet, and it's true. Shakespeare was a wise man. "To thine own self be true." There is a point when choices have to be made and they are hard. But we are responsible for our own children.

It's one thing when the ideal situation happens and kids and parents grow together with the grandparents. Three generations in a home happened a lot decades ago. But people didn't live on to be severely demented and create an abusive atmosphere for grandchildren (let alone the adult child - or in the case of Jamiea - adult grandchild and great-grandchildren). They died of some disease before that happened.

Getting out of that hole after once trying the live-in arrangement can be very difficult. But, detaching with love, taking steps to get the elder into another living arrangement, and then visiting or doing what you can - well, it can be done. Stay strong. Do what is right for your WHOLE family.

You are wise, brave people. Be true to the spirit of what you know is right.

Carol
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...darn computers!!! ...even when it wasn't the 'right' thing for ME to do; you know a good girl doesn't rock the boat. I am very proud to say that I have made progress on not being such a good girl. Don't get me wrong, I'm still good - but today I keep my focus on being good to ME!

I spent a lot of time defining my beliefs, values and principles. It is hard work but so worth it, because you then know when someone is feeding you a line of crap (aka: trying to take advantage of your good nature or WORSE trying to tell you you're not capable!) Do not try to live on crap, it cannot sustain you. I can't say that it is easy to always honor your truth - actually it is very hard, but it is so worth it because you can always feel good about who you are. (and I make that statement from the place of truly believing I am good, kind and caring- even though I'm prone to the many mistakes humans make. I must always guard myself 1st because I often offer my goodness to others too freely and wrongfully deny myself.)

First you have to believe in yourself, then you have to trust yourself to do what is right - even if/when everyone else has doubts. "To thine own self be true..." Wasn't that from Shakespeare?

Austin - you take care (of you!)
Jamie
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Thank you Austin!! I am glad my experience could help you feel better.
PS: My sister thought I'd go to gram's house collect a few belongings, get the utilities connected, and not much more than that. Can you imagine how shocked she was with all that was accomplished on my trip? Here's another bit from my trip...the man from the gas company came and reconnected service. He lit pilots on the stove and water heater, but he wouldn't light the boiler furnace because he thought it should be checked/serviced. Once he left I sat at the kitchen table and contemplated who to call for the job, phone book in front of me. *sigh* I reached over to the phone (circa 1940 something...rotary dial, tethered to the wall and all) I picked it up and looked underneath. There, I found receipts from the HVAC Co. dating back to 1987 - so much for wondering who to call...

I'd like to share a little more just because this was a tough one for me to learn/accept. We have NO feeble words so long as we speak/live what is true in our hearts. Feeble happens only when one lives in a way to please others and meet their demands instead of listening to the calling of the soul. When you feel something from the core of your being, that is the truth and it is never wrong. I call it intuition, others may call it a hunch, again some others may feel it in the gut.

I have amazing intuition, but I had to re-learn to listen to it and ACT ON IT. In the past I have discounted and ignored it because I was trained to do so, I was trained to be a good girl and 'do the right thing' even when it wasn't the 'right' thing for ME to do
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What a great story I am so glad you shared it with us I had tried to tell PEACE2 about faith but your experience really said it all in a much better way than my feeble words could ever do and I was very wheepy today thinking of my problems I have to face with the husband being put out of another nursing home rehab before he was ready and you made me feel much better by your experience about the house how great was that what a blessing things are really in his hands and we should not worry but pray as it says somewhere in the Bible.
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There's a major blessing!!! Thanks for sharing it with us, Jamiea!
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Jamiea, I am so glad to read this wonderful news! I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. God Winks all the time, you were blessed to recognize ALL the signs!!

I am so happy for you

Angela and mia Madre Anna
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UPDATE...what to do with grandma’s house??? This is a true story – I swear. I still can’t believe it really happened like this…but it did.

I drove the 750 miles to grandma’s home town and checked in at the local Super 8. My oh so thorough planning ahead skills fully at work, I had reserved a room for one night only. I checked in just before midnight and promptly passed out. I woke up bright and early the next morning thanks to all of the other guests slamming their doors (every door sounded like it was right next to my head). I decided to forget about needed sleep and instead get an early start on my work. I stumbled out into the lobby since the motel offered a courtesy breakfast bar, and the staff was on the ball because it was up and running. (Side note) I DO NOT function well without morning coffee, and coffee really was my sole mission. But immediately my senses were hit with the smell of something yummy – fresh hot waffles – and I was starving. I couldn’t help it, coffee or not, I HAD TO HAVE A WAFFLE. So in my still mostly asleep state, I attempted to make a waffle and it wasn’t working out so well for me. A very sweet and kind woman bystander began to instruct me through what should have been a relatively simple process; that is, if you are not sleepwalking. Finally, my waffle was cooked and I had my desperately needed cup o’joe. Since I hate to eat alone, I invited myself to join the kind woman who helped me. – By the way, her name is Barb. - We shared breakfast and a little small talk, “Where are you from…what brings you to town?” I about fell out of my chair when Barb said she was in town to help her son find a place to live. Thank God the caffeine had started to kick in or I may have really embarrassed myself! In retrospect, I asked too many pointed questions and probably made her feel a little uncomfortable, but fortunately she answered honestly anyway. Her son had just separated from his wife and needed a place to live, fast; one in which his wife could not object to their children coming to visit…Do you get where this is going? I was wide awake and smiling like an idiot while I told what brought me to town, “Which by the way, did I mention grandma’s house happens to be fully furnished right down to dishes, silverware and linens? You know, maybe we should talk more about this with your son.” I can’t recall anymore exact details, but by the time breakfast was finished we had agreed that Barb and her husband would follow me to see the house. I felt the need to give a disclaimer about the fact that I hadn’t seen its condition in almost 2 years, and honestly I had no idea what we may walk into.

I was quite surprised to find the door unlocked and in the middle of the living room floor was a fake Christmas tree along with many bags of household items, none of which belonged to my grandmother, her basement was full of cushions for patio furniture and also empty luggage. As it turns out, the neighbors who were ‘watching it’ for safe keeping had turned grandma’s house into their own personal storage facility. Okay, things could have been much worse like the local homeless using it as a shelter facility. Right? Barb and her husband looked past all of the neighbor’s belongings and checked the house out thoroughly. Barb sat down on the living room sofa and decided grandma’s house was just precious, perfect in fact, and she hoped her son would think so too. He came to see it later the same day and he took no time to express his desire for a lease agreement on a furnished rental. He didn’t feel any need to check for other/better options as long as I felt we could work something out. My 1st day in town was far more productive than I ever imagined. Grandma’s house was a done deal, almost.

It took me a full two weeks to get all the household systems up and running properly and also deal with grandma’s personal items. I must say that all in all, the timing and success of my trip had to be orchestrated by God’s grace. All I did was show up with a quasi-willing heart and He took care of the rest. I’m not saying it was easy, because it definitely was not. But I am here to say that every need I had was already filled – all I had to do was look around to notice, and find it LITERALLY waiting for me. There is some much more I could write but this post is crazy long already. I just wanted to share this awesome experience.
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Hi Angela, You can call or go your VA social worker and ask about it.
veteranaid.org is a good place to begin before you call the VA. Jerome.
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Thank you so much Carol.

Angela and Mia Madre Anna
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It's confusing to start a new topic and they are working on that along with other tech upgrades. Anyway, go to community and on the left you'll find topics. Click on the plus next to a topic of choice and you'll see it open up. You'll find a place to click in the middle (toward the top) of the page to start your topic.

Carol
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Jerome: what VA benefits are you referring to? Aid and Attendance? Mia Madre (Mom) is currently getting death benefits from the VA from my father's service, but I really think that she would qualify for Aid and Attendance.

I don't know how to start a new topic on this venue, so I hope you don't mind me asking my question here. Anyone know how to start a new topic?

Angela and Mia Madre Anna
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195Austin, Thanks, I am reaching out to other resources to supplement my efforts.

Believe it or not, the VA is fufilling it's promises to mom as a veteran. She served in WWII. Once the VA, SS benefits are in place I should be able to have more time for myself.
BTW If your parent served in the military from 1943-1957 in Chapter 9 of the SS online handbook, question 954 addresses additional compensation a vet may qualify for up to 160 a month for each month served.
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Jerome-- There comes a time that you just can not do it all by yourself-I reached and was surprised that others supported me- I went to a therapist for a long time and she said to me I was waiting for someone to rescue me and at first I was angery with her and I was waiting for someone to tell me that I needed help and could not understand why no one was stepping up and saying you can not do it alone not that I said it others are helping and he was told he could not go home from rehab unless I got lots of help.
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Hi Anne, naus, I don't have any training in the mental arena. I realized I was stuck and needed help to make some change any change since there was no one else to take up the slack. So I decided I needed help, and found a psychological therapist who worked for an outfit that allowed a sliding scale payment options. So far it is working,
I vent and she makes suggestions for action.
My mom and I took care of my dad after his stroke for 7 years, then he fell- hit his head- and died 14 hours later. That same year mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Its been 12yrs so far and now her care is a little easier. There was definitely some rough patches. I am the kind of person who doesn't like to ask for help, so it took some doing for God to put me in a place where I was ready to ask for help.
A while back I called the Alzheimer's National Association, and asked for an Elderlaw attorney they would recommend in my area, and he has helped with the legal side of things.
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Shelly, you have given up a lot. You did it legally, are getting paid something(though nothing will be enough to pay you for what you are doing). What even the courts don't realize is that we give up Social Security benefits for the caregiving years, besides income we'd be making at another job. Our system needs to change.

Caregiving is often lonely and isolatiing. Please keep checking in.
Carol
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Hi all,

This is my first post and I have enjoyed reading (but also saddened by) your events of the past month and a half.
I have been caring for my father in my home for almost 4 years now but just became conservator/guardian last May due to his 2nd stage dementia. When my youngest went off to college, I had moved from southern California to northern Idaho so that I could live in the country, raise chickens, grow veggies, and live out my "country girl" dream. My father joined me 2 months later and so has curtailed a lot of what I thought I would be living. I didn't know the extent of his disability because he had been living with my sister who "was clueless". When he couldn't figure out how to make coffee and ate NOTHING unless I set it in front of him, I began to worry.
For the first couple of years I continued to work as a registered nurse but as we work 12 hour shifts, leaving him home stressed me a great deal. Once, when I was working, he bought a truck and had it delivered to the house. When he called 911 to alert them that the astronauts were in trouble in space, I knew I couldn't leave him home alone anymore.
Because he does not like strangers of any sort in the house, and because I don't want them in my house either, I opted to become his paid care giver this year. It is by far, less expensive than assisted living or a nursing home and because I AM a nurse, I feel qualified to provide good care for him. My mother (who is still married to him but chooses not to live with him) is angry at me for accepting money from his estate. But I won't apologize for it. I'm not rich; I need an income and I am providing a service that is a better alternative (at this moment). In addition, my life has been put on hold for 4 years now. I used to dance, enjoyed wine tastings, gardening, etc. but rarely get out. It has only been since the court made me legal guardian that I began to consider myself a care giver and have adopted a new paradigm, one that involves taking care of myself as well.
I have taken a lot of classes on aging and dementia, started a blog and a newsletter, have signed up for respite care so that I can get a break once a week, at least.
It's still VERY tiring, oft-times lonely and I'm not sure how long I'll be able to do this. But.....as you have all said, we all have to make choices that are best for all concerned, and we cannot feel guilty about those choices we do make, because we are making them with a loving heart.

Shelley
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