Scary thoughts.

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Scary thoughts, we all have them... What if the one we take care of falls down the stairs? What if thy forget they left the burner on? What if they forget to eat or take their pills? Or forget they took their pills and take them again??

My doctor says I stress too much and if I joined a community online, and voice my scary thoughts, and heard others scary thoughts, I might not stress out so much. So here is a little back ground, then, my thought that I am most afraid of. Please share yours.

I love my parents, and I take care of them well I think. They don't live with me, but three blocks away.
I take them to all of their appointments, even the ones out of town, I cook, buy their groceries, and make sure their bills are paid, keep their checkbook, clean their house, pick up prescriptions, keep their yard looking nice, the list goes on. I also have 4 children, have been married for 16 years to a very loving, understanding guy, and work 2 jobs. My parents realize everything I do for them, and how busy my life is most of the time. Sometimes they don't think I spend enough time with them. They are both victims of early dementia, since they are only in their 60's. As well, my Dad has had cancer, and he has macular degeneration, and hearing problems. Besides the dementia my Mom had a H. Pylori stricture and lost a tons of weight, had a stent and feeding tube.

My fear is this. Is this going to happen to me? I know it sounds selfish, and I do worry about all the things mentioned before, but I often think "Is this going to be me in 30 years?" I am only 35 and doing all this for my parents that are in their 60's. 20-30 years ago, I saw them do the same thing for my Dad's parents.
My scary thought is: Will my children have to go through this for me?? I don't want them to have to do this for me. Is it just the cycle? We take care of our children when they are young, nurture them and help them grow, then when we get older they do the same for us?
My doctor says it is normal to think this, but I feel so selfish. I take of them yes, and I love them yes, but I think of myself often. Am I too selfish?


When we see our parents decline it is only natural to look ahead and hope the same does not happen to us and not wanting to take our children's futures from them. The key is in us planning for our futures whether that be in the form of long term care policies, advance directives, DNR's, Powers of attorney and so on. It would be a terrible disservice to our children to not have these documents in place. These are what will tell them our wishes.
Gladimhere, Thanks! I don't know why I didn't think of that before! Of course, I'm only 35 but I think that on Monday, I will go to the family lawyer and talk to him about all this! Just that little paragraph made everything better, you are a genius!! Thanks!
It is not selfish to be concerned about yourself as well as your parents. Instead of churning stressful thoughts, take some actions based on your legitimate fears. Even without having parents with early-onset dementia, all of us have concerns about our own old age based on what we see around us.

What can you do?
1) Get regular exercise. It sounds like your life is crammed full and I don't know how you'll fit in exercise, but I know it is important. Walking is great. Figure out how to do it regularly.
2) Eat well. Don't skip meals. Don't overdo the treats. Eat fruits and veggies! Limit highly processed foods.
3) See your health care provider regularly. Do have the various tests (like a mammogram) at the appropriate age.
4) Assume that you are going to have this body a long time. Take care of it.
5) Manage your financial affairs to avoid being destitute in your old age. Look in to long-term-care insurance.
6) Don't put off pleasures you can have today. Enjoy your children. Take trips with your husband. Yes, take care of your parents, but don't let that stop you from living your life now.
7) One way to get some time for the things that are important in your life now is to cut back on the impersonal care for your parents. Anyone can maintain their yard. It doesn't really matter who cleans their toilets. Meals on Wheels could provide one hot meal a day for them. Only you can treat them as a loving daughter, but many chores can be hired done.

There is no guarantee for any of us that we won't have dementia in our old age (or even younger.) There are a few things we can do to be in a healthier, sounder position to deal with whatever comes our way. Beyond that we can't let fear of the future rob us of our present.

I think your doctor was right about joining a community where people are dealing with similar fears. Welcome to AgingCare!
jeannegibbs, Thanks :) I have talked to Dad before about hiring a housekeeper. I think I might talk to him again about it. They can afford it, but he is a little embarrassed by it. Not sure why.
gypsy, divert your attention by answering questions her on agingcare. It will keep you busy 24/7.
All good advice. I can't really relate because I have already outlived my parents by five years. however all the legal paperwork is in place and although I do have various ailments I do try and follow a healthy lifestyle.
Do you feel you are becoming depressed and overwhelmed by all you have to do.
maybe a little help with your own housework would help too. When we are young we tend to run ourselves ragged and tell ourselves we can do it all. Well we can but in order to do it all we give up a lot of personal pleasures which is not good for our mental health.
Pam is right aging care is a great time consumer but my guessi s you have plenty to occupy yourself with. Concentrate on the things you can change and don't worry about the rest.
If this is a cycle that has been going on with your family, then I can't blame you for feeling that way, I don't see you are over reacting, it is good that you are planning and preparing for your future at such a young age. There might be a chance that you are going to develop dementia like your parents, however, no one can really predict the future but you can plan your way through it. You can set up an advance directives so your children and family members will know exactly how do you want things done when you can no longer decide for your self. Consider getting long-term care insurance so you have secured financing future long-term care expenses, and you will not be a burden to your children. You may also check
on how to set up advance directives and learn about topics on health, aging and long-term care.
Hugs :)
You have 4 children, a husband and 2 jobs AND take care of 2 aging parents! Of course, you are stressed, worried and overloaded. Something has to give and unfortunately, it will probably be you within a couple of years. You won't have to worry about your kids taking care of you; but, who will take care of them when you are completely physically and emotionally exhausted.

The time has come to look at assisted living or in home help. Do you have siblings that can help out? If so a family meeting to discuss your parents' future is in order. You can be a loving caregiver without so much physical involvement. Check with your local senior services for what assistance your parents' might qualify.

Your children and husband are your primary responsibility. I think back to 35 and all the activities my children and family were involved in; there was no room for caregiving. Our lives were full of the things young families should be doing. Fortunately, my parents were healthy and able to participate in our lives.

I know it is tough but you need a little reality check as to what should be going on and how best to care for your family while seeing that your parents are comfortable. Best of luck!
Thanks all. I did recently meet with my lawyer and my husband and I are getting everything squared away for our futures. As for my caregiving life.
My family is really not a "young family", my husband and I got married at 18 and 20, so we have been married 16 happy years. My children aren't little. My youngest is 10. Much of the time, my children help me with my parents, and my husband is supportive. As far as siblings, I have one, who does nothing to help me. My father is more there then my mom most of the time. If I explain to him that I cant come over that day to sweep the kitchen, he understands. If I tell my mom, then she whines that I don't spend enough time with them. LOl. Thanks all, I guess we all have that day when nothing seems to work... That was my day.
Stress causes the brain to over-think. When we feel out of control, our brains sabotage our peace of mind and get us thinking of allll of the "what-ifs" in life. There are plenty. Ha! Yours centers on your own health. Another's might center on the health of one of their children. Being robbed. Any number of things that keeps our brains busy.

So, no. Absolutely not. You are not selfish. You are exceedingly normal, as a matter of fact. ;)

I've taken care of mom in my home for a year. She has late stage congestive heart failure, kidney damage, dementia. She can only walk with my assistance with a gait belt on her walker. I don't worry about a thing. (I did all my worrying when I had PMS as a young woman. Swear!)

I'm a complete realist. Mom is 87 years old. She's led a wonderful life. She is going to die some day, and there's not one darned thing I can do about it. I'm careful. I do my best. But if I fail (as I did when she fell and broke her hip in March), then I am only human.

And my wonderful mom? In her right mind? Would be the first to tell me that.

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