Do you want the same treatment that you are giving to your parent?

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I thought this was a website to help caregivers find answers to questions about caring for someone. When I joined this many years ago, I wanted to read about the logistics of getting proper care for my mother. I thought I would get hints to make her life easier and to make my life easier as well. Instead most of what I read is the belly aching and griping of people who are evidently burned out and have no compassion for their parent or the elderly. I am not sure where this should be posted but for goodness sakes folks, your kids are watching you and learning from you and you will be the elderly one day. Do you want the same treatment that you are giving to your parent? Keeping a home too cold is the same as elder abuse. Their blood does not circulate as well as yours. Walk around in your bathing suit if need be but keep them warm.



After your parent(s) are dead, will you regret the complaints you make and appreciate sacrifices that you make to keep them comfortable in their last years? My guess is yes because I have been there and done that. Read about hypothermia in the elderly, read about the depression of the elderly, read about the loneliness of the elderly and read about the loss of taste, smell, appetite, etc., and the loss of independence. Do you think they really want to live with you? NO. They would prefer to be able to take care of themselves in their own homes. Now grow up and deal with your issues like the adults and caregiver that you are supposed to be. Most likely they made concessions to take care of you when you were young but even if they were not perfect parents, that does not excuse you for basically mistreating them. Apologize to your parent for not being more understanding. Try to accommodate them for this ending of their lives. As I get older, rarely a day passes, that I don't whisper, "Mom, I am sorry, I did not understand" for some stupid comment that I made when she was alive. Again, I have been there and done that.

41 Comments

Bellyaching and griping here helped me do a lot less of it in front of my mother. But you're right about the regrets, I know. I sympathise with that.
I hear you. I think you make some valid points. I suspect that we see comments about family members, because the caregiver is frustrated, overwhelmed and exhausted. I try to remind myself that they need a place to vent and a place they can get support from others who understand what they are going through. We aren't perfect and hopefully, we can read and learn.

What I do find sad is when there doesn't seem to be compassion or even validation of the seniors disability. Still, as long as they are sharing, reading and getting other perspectives and information, maybe, some good things will be picked up. All we can do is hope and have faith that education, love, care and patience will occur. I hope that one day blame on the senior can be replaced with understanding and empathy.
I think many of us use this site as our safe space to vent. I love my parents, my father, of course I do. He was also an absentee, deadbeat dad who abused me and caused the deepest, most primal pain in my heart that will never leave me. And yet... I managed to help get him through 5 surgeries and another 5 or so hospitalizations/ER visits... not too mention the COUNTLESS weekly doc visits for awhile there.

I brought my frustration here. I couldn't be "nicey nice" to my father. I just am not that level of saint. But I did help him, I did care for him, and I do still.

You never know someone's situation just from reading a few comments. This is the safe space to vent... so we do... and then we go back to providing quality care, no matter how one sided the situations are. Just some thoughts. I appreciate your input, gmafaye, but I think it's not a full picture of many AC users' situations. :)
Dear gmafaye,

I hear you. Everything you are saying is so true. But I would also like to acknowledge that being a caregiver is one of the toughest jobs in the world. And we are only human beings. And there are going to be days that overwhelm us. I'm glad this site is available to all us to vent but also get information as well. We all need to know we are not alone in our feelings and struggles.

I come from a culture where you don't argue with your parents. You show respect at all times. And for me, I never left my parents. I cared for my mom through her breast cancer. I cared for my dad after his stroke till his passing. I gave my time, my money and all my effort and love to them. But I also had anger and resentment building up because my siblings did not support me.

And you are right. Since my dad's passing, all I can think is "I'm sorry dad, I didn't understand." I really didn't. I tried. But I didn't. I hope I don't make that mistake with my mom.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Its a perspective we can all learn from.
What I'm trying to say is that for some of us, the care we give has to be enough -- we can't also be expected to have loving attitudes, because our situations are extremely one-sided, draining, taking, and the caregiving is being done for a combative or unappreciative person, someone who treats us poorly (and has done so our entire lives) and yet we still keep caring for them.

The things I ranted about on here were not things that were said to others. I had no one else to talk to about caregiving life, how draining it is, how much it took out of me daily, and so I talked about it to other caregivers who could sympathize.

Everyone's situation is unique. I envy those caregivers who can do it with love for their parent, and who miss their parent after they've passed. I had the experience of caregiving to my grandmother for a time before the care for my dad started, and I experienced 2 very different types of caregiving. Grandma required a higher level of care, constant care... but I enjoyed my time with her. My dad is opposite. It's not due to the work involved -- it's him. It's would be the preferred way to give loving care, but some of us have to grit our teeth and get the work done because of our selfish parents. That's the other side of the story here and I hope you don't mind that I wanted to tell it. I think it's important to remember that we are not saints, but only flawed human beings put in difficult situations. Some of our situations are nothing short of living h*ll, and cause PTSD, anxiety, depression, physical and mental breakdown, failing health for us.
gmafaye, I noticed you posted just two questions [one being this one we are on, and one from the past].   I had posted probably hundreds of questions here during my journey with two very elderly parents, and got a ton of excellent advice.   I did this for 4 years, and wished I would have known about this website years earlier.

Plus I read just about every article written on Aging Care by the regular authors, again a lot of excellent advice.  These articles are on the Home Page.

Yes, I also did my fair share of complaining because I had no one else would listen.   Friends who never did caregiving had zero clue what I was going through.   I had cousins I could call, but they were going through the same thing I was, and their free time was quite limited.

This website has been a life saver, and also helped me understand both sides of what was going on, so I could decide for myself.
"I thought this was a website to help caregivers find answers to questions about caring for someone."
If you joined years ago you must have spent all your time focusing only on the threads that interested you, the whining, dysfunction, narcissist type threads are among the oldest and most commented on. "Grossed Out? Need to Vent? Just caught Mom using my toothbrush to comb her hair!" is one of the first things that caught my eye on AgingCare and it showed me that we can laugh through the tears (and whine and scream and curse too when we need to).
No one knows till they try it for themselves. I will be for ever be thankful that I was not the caregiver for either of my parents. My father left when I was ten and that job fell to his second much younger wife and she did an excellent job but I know there was unexpressed frustration.
My mother was another story and I could not bear to touch her when she was alive and well, so heaven only knows how I would have coped as a caregiver , but I was spared that as she passed very quickly and quietly at home. My grieving was for the love I never had. Who lets a two year old out to play alone who runs home screaming chased by geese. Why the same mother who said when we were walking past an orphanage that if I didn't behave she would put me there.
All that being said I know I am an excellent caregiver. It is just that I could never have done it for my own mother.
Computers and this site were not available when my mother died so I would not have been able to vent here. I would have just been consumed with hate and repulsion. At least we can be honest here.
In reading the posts on this site - I see a lot of people who are taking care of ungrateful and demanding and demented parents and doing the best they can to show patience and make sure the parents are cared for. There are few joys in the work itself and much that is frustrating and demeaning. I'm glad they come here and vent so that they don't blow up with the elder. This is a SAFE place. I feel that this site is sort of like the relationship my step mom and I had with my very demanding, hostile, difficult dad who was a tyrant when he was at home after a stroke for 5 years - she called me to vent, to cuss, to yell and scream because she didn't want to do it to him. I understood and supported her and listened and eventually would get her to laugh. Then she could go back and face the next round with him. Ditto when I finished my weekends with him - I could vent to her because she and I understood what we were dealing with. It is a place to let off steam, safely, and the elder is not the one bearing the brunt of the emotion.
Some people on this board have survived abuse and in some cases, horrific and unspeakable kinds of abuse growing up. Even with therapy, those wounds remain and will always remain. Getting all high and mighty and dismissing someone else's past helps no one.

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