How Many of You Out There Are Taking Care of BOTH Mom AND DAD

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I've been doing a lot of reading on this site and it is WONDERFUL. But from what I'm reading most of it is about caring for only one parent. How are you coping? What do you do when one is needing care at home and the other is ill in the hospital needing care as well?

I've been in that situation once already and it was not easy. It was a real wake up call for my three siblings though. Even though I've been telling them for the past couple of years that they need to be here more often and that I'd like some help here now and then.

Right now my Dad is relatively healthy again, but my Mom is in steady mental decline and her Narcissistic behavior is not easy to deal with, especially since I've been her target all my life.

Just curious.


I have both parents that I am providing care. If we didn't have private caregivers, I would not be able to take one to the ER while the other one stays at home. Neither one can be left alone safely. My siblings are not involved in the day to day caregiving. So I am more than grateful that there are individuals in the world that are willing to do private caregiving as their career. I don't know what I would do without our wonderful and very dedicated caregivers.
I am not taking care of both parents. But I take care of both my mother and my husband. Both are a real handful.
Last October, my Mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer with brain mets. In less than 2 weeks, we moved her and my father from living 800 miles away with my sister to living with my husband, young adult son, and myself. And our three dogs! Where they lived before was a 3 hour drive to the hospital, which is not realistic when you are having radiation treatments every day for weeks. And the chemo, and tests, ect. In December, my Dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer, stage 0. Thank goodness we caught it early. But he also was diagnosed with high blood pressure, sleep apnea, emphasema, and pre-diabetes. He thought he was healthly, because his previous doctor just kept telling him he was getting old.
How do I cope? The one thing that makes things do-able right now is that Dad still drives. He doesn't like it, and I think would give it up if he could. but for now, it's a life-saver for me. I work full time. I've taken FMLA so I can leave for important doctor appointments, but for routine tests, he drives them. When he was diagnosed, and we weren't sure what would happen, I spoke with the social worker at the hospital and started the applications for van ride service for them. We haven't needed it yet, but it's there if we do. I also made all the arrangments for home health care, even though we aren't using it yet, either. I feel better just knowing that the arrangements are made.
Mom lost 15 pounds before she was diagnosed, and Dad's gained 20 pounds since they got here. I have to push food for one, and try to keep the other on a diet. I keep the master appointment schedule so we don't book everything at once. I do it on Google calander so my sister can see, keep a print out with me always, and write each month on a big white board for them to look at. I have an expandable file folder for each of them, to keep all the paperwork straight. I'm lucky their hospital and doctors use a patient friendly computer system. I can see test results, and email minor questions or med refill requests.
My house wasn't designed for all these people. We moved the furnature so many times the first few months, I couldn't find my way around! Our Christmas tree was in the kitchen. When my sister came for the holidays with her family, I slept on a cot for two weeks.
I cope because I don't have a choice to not cope. I try to stay organized. What will happen when their health gets worse, I don't know. We've started talking about remodeling so we have a larger bathroom for them, and room for a hoyer lift because Dad is a big guy. We might put Mom in hospice when the time comes, I just don't know.
I answered partly because mom is narcissistic, too. I spent the first few months crying, wondering why she was so cruel after all I've done for her. She is awful to Dad. And while this is their home, it's not their house. Although you wouldn't know it from how she demands things.
When Mom was first diagnosed, she couldn't be left alone because of falling. Then Dad got sick. She was too weak to go to his appointments. I pretty much exhausted my neighbor's help watching her. Mom wouldn't have any relatives help. We're over that right now, but I know it will come again. This time, I'll have the home health service ready.
I think we deserve huge kudos for caring for 2. It's like being on two different roller coasters at the same time.
I agree. I have been caring for both my parents for two years. my mom is still independent and she can still drive to church and her local dentist or to see my father in a nursing home. However, she does not fix her own meals. She does not want to work on household cleanup anymore.I am at my wit's end trying to keep up with my father who does not want to exercise anymore because he is so tired from needing to be changed day and night. I do keep a large notebook on him and I am looking for better tips to keep organized and also what to do with my mom because I do not feel that she is able to stay in the home alone.
luvpeople - Is your Mom safe to drive? That may be the first thing to consider. Is she living alone or with you? If you're going over there to cook and clean, for your own sake, it may be time to look at moving her.
My mother has not driven for more than three years due to macular degeneration. We must drive her to every appointment she can think of. She is mentally acute enough to surf the web with the I-Pad my Dad bought her. Last week she said she was going deaf (another ruse for attention) so off to that Doctor. The test was normal for an 82 year old, I already knew that! She is able to do lots of things, she just refuses to do them. One night last month I forgot to put the salt shaker away after dinner. At 11:30 PM, after I went to sleep she barged into my room and forced me to go to the kitchen and put away the salt shaker. This is the kind of thing she does to me all the time.Today it was about flushing the toilet. She never changes the roll, she'll bring the empty (that she just finished off) and throw it at me and scream at me for not changing the roll for her.

I make it a point to always go out first thing after I wake up and say good morning to her. This usually sets the tone for the day. If she picks and bitches, I take my dog out, then retire to my room and stay there. If my father is home, it is safer for me to stay out in the general area of the house he runs interference for me. I don't start anything, I'm just her target and she comes after me all the time. Since they don't cook anymore, I must go out even if he is not home and cook dinner. My mother is not safe around the stove. She's almost set the house on fire twice by throwing a dish towel or paper towel on a hot burner. She does not like the supervision, but I must stay close when she decides to try to make something using the stove. (I'm scared to death of fire because I lost my house to fire in 2003.)

My father loves to drive around. He is still quite capable (except for the C-Diff infection that he is still fighting) of doing what he wants. He does not like to go long distances, a 2 hour drive is too much for him. But I can see a general decline in his health and mental well being. My mother is a constant source of aggravation to him, and it is very draining for him to try to settle her every day. I mostly just make sure she is dressed fed and sitting in her chair watching TV or working on finding something to bitch about on the I-Pad. Then I go about seeing to house work, or designing jewelry that I make, and will sometime try to sell.

I have a Service Dog. My dog can sense problems and will act funny if any of us are in an aggressive mood. She will go after the aggressor in an altercation. She has bitten me more than once. And has gone after my Mom too. I mostly try to keep peace but sometimes it gets out of control. Princess is a distraction that will usually divert attention and stop the argument, at other times she stops it by biting. She is doing what she was trained to do, protect me and help keep me mentally balanced.

My Mom always wants control and tries to demand that what she wants done as soon as she says it. I am never so inclined to jump when she speaks and she does not like that I don't. She will try to take my dog away as a point of control, something that she knows will incite me to take action.

Here's a good one - she at times must stay at home alone with my dog. Princess is trained with an electronic collar. Now, I always take her out before I leave, and she does not need to be walked while I am gone. I make it a point to tell her NOT to take Princess out, but EVERY time when I come home, there she is with the dog, without her control box. Princess is extremely well trained, however she will chase a cat or squirrel because of her breed. She's a Jack Russell. I have become extremely upset with her because she will not do the ONE THING that I ask of her. If I would lose this dog, I don't know what I'll do. She is like another child to me. I believe that if this would happen it would be the end of our relationship, and I've stated as much to her. I would not leave her, but our relationship would be over. I will stay for my father, that's it. If he would happen to go to God first, I would leave and never return. My other three siblings don't want her, she is that hateful and bitter.

Mom is not ill enough to require constant nursing support but she does need someone here with her to make sure she does not do anything to hurt herself or others.

I suppose that when I leave to go somewhere I'll be taking the dog with me, I cannot chance losing her. She is a Service Dog and can go where I do, including into ERs, which I've done twice.

Well, that's the vent for today, sleep is required to deal with tomorrow.

Good Night All - Be Well - Sue
I'm now taking care of both parents. I live with them at their own home. Mom has Alzheimer for years. I was age 23 when she started showing signs. Mom is now unresponsive, bedridden, on stomach tube for feeding, and trache tube for her oxygen machine. She's on the latter stages of Alz. She constantly needs suctioning of the phlegm from her trache or else she turns super red from choking cuz the phlegm is blocking her air waves.

Dad had a stroke last year and is now bedridden. He could have walked but he has given up in life and prefers to just lie on bed and criticize, get mad, and try to order me around. From the beginning, I had no sympathy for him. He could have walked but he chose the bed. When he makes demands, I always remind him that mom comes first - in changing their pampers, in feeding, etc...

I have 7 sisters/brothers. When it was only mom needing help, no siblings helped. It was just me and dad. I stressed, i angered, I left speeding out of the house, I asked for help - they help - one time only. You can try asking for help from your siblings, but you will find yourself sounding like a broken record....repeatedly asking for help...and not getting it. I told my sibs that my health is going downhill fast and that my doctor says that I'm a high risk candidate for heart attack. Response: "Heart attack? Good, you can recover from a heart attack." "All you have is cholesterol? I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc..." Yeah, but their health problems is not due to 24hrs of taking care of bedridden parents. They go to parties, eat at restaurants, travel...I can not.

When mom had to go to the hospital last month, (caregiver accidentally pulled out her stomach tube but caregiver insisted it just "fell out", yeah, right?!), I had to go with mom on the ambulance to the hospital. My oldest sister, who babysits parents from Mon-Friday while I'm at work, stayed and watch dad. But she's only for Mon-Fridays. If a medical situation occurs during the weekend, then I'm sure my brother will step in to watch whichever parent is at home. By the way, I was appointed by everyone to be the parents official caregiver since I'm single, no children and still living at home. Only living at home cuz I was helping dad with mom's care...

I hope your sisters will step up to the plate. May I make a suggestion made by my 1st therapy with a counselor? He asked me how many siblings I have. I have 7. He said that that's 1 person for each day of the week. If they can't do their day, then they can pay for someone to do it. He emphasize that I need some me-time for just myself.

I have no medical authority over either parents. And I absolutely refuse to have power of attorney. One day, when I get really fed up, I want to have the ability to get up and tell my brother with his wife and 3 grown children who by the way live right next door, that I quit and the parents are now HIS responsibility.

Does this help a little bit? Sure helped me getting it off my chest!! :)
Sue, my heart goes out to you! Your Mom sounds as difficult to live with as mine. I haven't been woken up to put away a salt shaker, though. That is awful. I told my husband today that I've been taking off the toliet paper when it's almost done, and putting it in a drawer for me to use later. That way she doesn't have an empty or need to change it herself.
My Dad also runs interference, but I've talked to him again and again about not doing that. He's getting better at it. I feel it makes me powerless when she's mad at me, but won't tell me, but I know because he told me why and he won't let me say anything to her. It's hard, but I'm slowly learning to deal with her and confront her when I have to.
I have a Jack Russell, too. And two German Shepards. They are all 12+ years old, and have bad days. It's more stress wondering when their end will come. And Mom likes the dogs, so she won't be happy when they die. I would start taking your dog with you. She sounds too valuable to leave with your Mom.
Until she got sick, Mom lived with my sis and did all the cooking and helped watch my nieces. Here, I don't want her cooking for us. She's too controlling, and my hubby doesn't like what she cooks anyway. It's too bland. I often include my Dad when I make dinner, but she doesn't eat with us often because she doesn't like what I cook, or she's too full from lunch, or whatever. She has never thanked me, not once in 8 months, for cooking for Dad. I worry when she can no longer cook for herself, because that will be more stress for me.
Bookworm - glad you got to vent. Having that many sibs and no help is terrible. My one sis lives too far away, but she listens well and is supportive.
May tomorrow be better for everyone.
Hey NotlikeMom! Sounds like your Mom and mine could be twins. The interference that my Dad provides is to tell her to stop looking for things to bitch about, not just at me (although it is about me most of the time), but about anything she doesn't like in general. She is an absolute control freak. Always has to have the last word, which I used to care about, but don't anymore. Now when she starts I do what my Psychologist and brother tell me to do,I walk away.This causes another tirade about me "running away", I tell her to bitch at the walls or the TV and keep on walking. I wait a little while, then go back and try again. A bit ago I went out to take Princess out and had a brush in my hand to brush it out while Princess was doing her "thing". My hair is very long and it does shed hair that are at least two feet long, so when I can I brush it outside to keep it from getting tangled in the sweeper, but nothing will stop that, and I get bitched out about that too. She screams at me to cut my hair, something I will never do again. I have only cut my hair twice since I was 18, and have not cut it since my husband died in 2005.

I always make sure that she has taken her meds, eaten, is dressed, and is safe. I check on her constantly to make sure she is OK. I just kind of try to quietly go about doing what needs to be done, and if she becomes to combative, I go to my room. My brother recommended last week that I put a lock on the door, advice I believe I will take. I have a couple of horror stories involving her invading my room and trapping me. Something I do not wish to repeat.

Anyway, I'm in a position here where I can't say anything about anything. If I say something, she immediately is against it Nothing I do is right. I can't go anywhere right now because my son is using my car to go to work (temporary problem while we put a new motor in my truck). The truck is my son's graduation gift, but the motor blew and he must use my car. If i really need it, I can drive my son to work, but I have not yet So it is partly my fault that I am isolated here.

I want to join a congregation called "Saddle Up Ministries". That would give me an outlet. When I lived in AZ a bought a Mustang filly and trained her myself.Animals seem to be drawn to me and I am drawn to them. That makes Mom even more mad because she cannot call Princess away from me. She is doing what a Service Dog is supposed to do, stay with their master.

I don't know if you know what Fibromyalgia is, but there are days when my brain feels like it is working in a fog, and I'm having one of those days. Things just move a little slower, and at times, I won't remember what I did on those days. Also, due to the widespread pain from the Fibro, untreated scholosis, and several bback injuries I am dependent on Narcotics, and Xanax to help me sleep. I currently go to a pain management Doctor that does trigger point injections. I never walk out of his office with less than 14 or 15 injections on one side of my back. He does the other side the next month. They do help. That is why I'm on disability and able to be here for my parents.

I know she will never get better. And I dread what is coming, but I'll be here and my Dad and I will decide when and if she ever needs to enter skilled nursing, something I really don't ever want to happen.

I'll be thinking of you and everyone else here. This site is just wonderful for the soul. It actually gives me strength to keep it up and calmly continue doing what needs to be done.

Be well - Sue
Sue - thinking of you. I had a long day - work, Dad's doctor appointment, made dinner, laundry. Will write more later. We have alot of things in common. Try to get some rest tonight. I know I could use some, too! :)

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