Taking care of our elderly.

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My 3 sisters and I are helping take care of our elderly parents. They both have health issues (mom more than dad). They have drove us nuts and continue to at times and we've done things for them they I never ever thought I'd have to...changing depends, cleaning up puke etc. As much as I don't want to do certain things I think back to when we were babies/kids and all they did and sacrificed for us. I know there are times when we need outside help (believe me we've used agencies that provided help for things we can't do). I just wonder why so many don't want to return the favor and help their parent(s) out more?! I KNOW things can be very stressful but I always remind myself to take a breath, step away if need be and remember all that my parents did for me when they probably didn't want too/and or was at their wits end.


I wonder that same question, I take care of my mom all the time and I have two brothers that don't do anything, one wants her dead already and the other is "TOO BUSY" to ever help out cause he has his own family he says. I can't even think about not being here for my mom, she did so much for us, and I know for sure she wouldn't treat them like that, she traveled for 14 hrs one time just to see my brother for 15 minutes, and he now lives 10 mins away and can't come see her but once a week for 5 mins?!?! I don't wish this on my worst enemy but he will live with the guilt when she is gone, not I.
1) Not all parents were kind, loving, nurturing people. Most were (I hope). Mine were. But some were selfish, self-centered, demanding, demeaning, neglectful, and provided a toxic environment. Many of the people on this site were raised in dysfunctional homes. Do you believe in karma? Do you believe that often people reap what they sew? Well, not all parents planted good seeds in how they treated their children.
2) Not all people are cut out to be caregivers (or parents). Such people do well to see that someone else provides excellent care, and to advocate for their parents. A friend was exasperated that her family expected her to do most of the hands-on caregiving because she didn't have children and would have the most time. "Why do they think we don't have children?! We know we are not nurturing people!"

3) Often by the time our parents need help we are into old age ourselves and have started some physical decline. When my mother cleaned up my puke and diapered me she was in her twenties. When she began to decline I was in my 60s. That does make a HUGE difference. "Repaying" our parents for what they did for us is simply not comparing apples to apples.

4) Some people are just plain selfish and can't be bothered caring for an elder. Not everyone has a valid excuse/reason for not helping out. But please don't assume that everyone who isn't doing what you are doing falls into this category. It simply is not true.
I know that all parents were not nurturing. And I'm not assuming that everyone who isn't doing what I'm doing falls into this category that I am speaking of. I didn't "know" that most people on this site was raised in dysfunctional families. And obviously this comment wouldn't pertain to them. Yes, I understand that many who are trying to take care of their parents now are older than what their parents were when the roles were reversed, but not all are. I'm actually younger than what my mom was when I was born. I agree that some people can recognize that someone else can take better care of their parents than they can. Kudos to them. But just as people who've had not so great parents come here to vent and get support, there are people here who have/had loving/nurturing parents that come for the same. They have thoughts/questions. And by no means oblivious to how there are other situations that aren't ideal.
3rdPup, wow, if you are now younger than your mother was when you were born, you are in a waaaay different situation than most of the posters here. We do also have active posters who are young -- sometimes grandchildren. And all are very welcome! Just be aware that doing caregiving at 30 is HUGELY different from doing it at 60.

I didn't say that "most" people here come from dysfunctional families. I said "many" and that is very apparent from the hundreds of posts I've read in the years I've been a member. It stands to reason that a support site is going to appeal more to people from a troubling background. Many from nurturing environments don't even look for this kind of site. (Some do, obviously. Like me and you.)

I hope you don't think that anything I said implied that your shouldn't ask questions and express opinions from your perspective! I was just answering your question from mine.
Answering about generic huge groups is too hard.

My general observation is that there is zero financial support for career caregivers. They are typically family members over age 50 who earn no wages from this work, put away no savings, and can't contribute to social security or their own well being.

The elder can get some care benefits, but there are very few benefits specifically for the caregiver.

The fact that the caregiving job can last for years is a big factor. 5 or more. 10-15-20 for a dementia patient. This is a serious chunk of life to give up. And if it happens when you're 50, you're not going to be done until you're 65 or 70 or older.
Quite bluntly, it takes a whole lot longer to die than it used to, when the caregiving job might be 1-2 years or less.

A lot of workplaces aren't flexible about this either. Especially for non-exempt/hourly staff who may not get sick leave at all. If you're not on the clock, you aren't getting paid. The rules aren't the same for everyone.

There are more obstacles to being able to caregive than supports. Some people just can't take it on.
3rdPup -I think the fact that you are working as a team with 3 others makes a huge difference. The sacrifice is not as great when it's shared. Probably none of you has had to give up a job, relationship, or home to help your parents. I have a sister who helps my Mom frequently - takes her to doctors, shopping, oversees her finances, etc. My sister is okay with her role. She's not doing more than she wants to do or giving more than she wants to give.

I, on the other hand, am giving more than I want to give, and it's been that way for 4+ years. For one thing, I moved to a state where I hate the climate, and have not even had a vacation since I moved here. I have sacrificed too much already and with no end in sight, for someone I really don't even like or have a close relationship with. Yes my mother cleaned up my puke when I was a kid. She chose to be a mother. I didn't choose to be her mother, or anyone's. My mother had 20+ years of carefree retirement where she flitted around the country, partied with her friends, and worried about nobody but herself. I have been tethered to the side of a doddering old woman since my retirement and before. Jeannegibbs said it very well, and sandwich42 said the rest. I was willing to do this for a couple of years, but it goes on and on with no end in sight. My mother is grateful (sometimes) for all I do for her, but no amount of gratitude can compensate me for all the time I've given up not being able to live my own life.

The minute my mother is disabled enough to qualify for Medicaid, she's going to a nursing home. You may think that's cruel, but people reap what they sow. She's not a companion or a friend to me or anyone I want in my life. I can't be done with this period of my life soon enough.
I haven't been a member for a long time on here. My comment was a very broad topic and it wasn't geared towards people who've had bad experiences with their parents growing up etc. If I had a different experience growing up (not good) I probably wouldn't help take care of my parents. If they treated me bad, I wouldn't be around them. I wouldn't subject myself to it. I am very aware that caregiving entails different things when you're in your 30's as to when you're in your 60's. And, yes, we've had to give up things. I almost lost my job from taking off so much to help take care of mom and I ended an engagement. My sisters have given up things too. It seems that some have made assumptions (and seem to get a tad defensive) based on my comment/discussion that I only see one side and think everyone had happy childhoods and never had to struggle. That's not the case. I respect that everyone has their own opinions and experiences.
Wow, 3rdPup, I'm glad you didn't lose your job, and I certainly hope you had reasons for ending your engagement other than caregiving. I hope this doesn't come across as judgmental, but I don't think anyone should give up a job or relationship for caregiving. Our parents have had their lives; we have to allowed to have our too. There's something very wrong when one generation doesn't get to have their lives due to the needs of the generation before them.
3rdPup. many of us aren't hands-on care because we are senior citizens ourselves. But we can still help with logistics, which is far better for my parents then me being under the same roof with them.

How many hospitals, assisted living and nursing homes do you see employees who are RN's, Aides, etc. who are 55+ years old? Very far and few between... there is a good reason.... we don't have the energy or the physical ability to help those who are older then us.... we have our OWN age decline issues.

I am only 53 but already feel some arthritis (esp. knees) and am doing more and more for my mom who is in her 90's. Yes I am a caboose baby. I had a very difficult upbringing emotionally since the family was already "done " and then came me. The 4 older sibs are all out of state, enjoying their careers and families. I chose to stay in same state, closer to family since I wanted my 3 kids to really know their grandparents. Family values. I helped my mom immensely with her mom, when I was in hs/college. Mom could not even handle gramdma's funeral plans--I distinctly recall sitting in the funeral dir's office, propelling my mom along with all the details. I even sang at gma's funeral. At the other g'parents funerals I also sang, and served as pall Bearer since there weren't enough boys. My high heels (silly me....) sunk into the wet turf, but I didn't mind, I was being Strong Woman. Fast forward to Today, and my kids KNOW their g'parents on both sides, even tho my dad is now gone. Mom needs tons of help--WHO Is there for her? Little ol' caboose baby, who has always been there, oddly enough. It is difficult for me to maintain my own "career." I have a caregiving contract with my mom, and she does pay me $15/hr (half the going rate) for SOME not all of the hours I do. One sister (lives 4 hrs away but last visited 2 yrs ago.....for 45 MINUTES), she discovered the caregiving contract and tried to raise holy h3ll. Mom to her credit listened to her tirade and hung up on her. Currently mom is seeming more confused, and I'm considering talking with her about moving to AL. I do not know what the OP question was but please know, there are many many people here who have an incredible variety of family backgrounds. My family sort of kept me physically OK but emotional abuse was considered normal. Now, 45 yrs later when we are all Adults, there is still emotional crap going on. If it gets too difficult,.I will walk away, because ultimately only I have to live my own life. If sibs complicate things, to where I cannot provide help for mom, then, they are welcome to take over caregiving.

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