Caregiver preferences

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I would never hesitate to become a caregiver to my husband or children if they were to become incapacitated. Why do I find it so undesirable to do the same for my elderly parents? The very thought literally turns my stomach. I do not understand why I feel this way except maybe because I chose my husband and children? I have never read anything about this situation. Am I alone in this thought process?


My suspicion is that is lies in your family history. What kind of home did you grow up in? What kind of relationship did you have with your mum, your dad, your siblings? I absolutely could not care for my mother or my sister, due to family history. I don't feel the same way towards my children, my sig other, or even, if the circumstances were right, my ex.
Personally, I think that is the natural pattern of life -- parents take care of each other and their children; those children grow up and take care of their spouses and children; etc. etc. down through the generations.

But, gosh, toward the end of life some adults become helpless to varying degrees and need someone to depend on. It sure isn't going to be their parents! So ... (in my opinion) their adult children have responsibilities to see that they are safe, fed, comfortable, and cared for. That may not mean that they personally do the hands-on caregiving.

The relationships we have with our parents is very different in nature than the relationships we have with our children. It can be very uncomfortable to have the parent/child relationship reversed. But it can be done, and many caregivers manage that very successfully. It just doesn't surprise me that thinking about it is upsetting.
Debralee, I understand your dilemma and, as caregiver for my mother, I feel some of the same feelings as you do. I am not called to the medical field in any form, but here I am performing as a nurse and health care aid, cleaning and clothing my parent and cleaning up whatever mess I find when I walk through the house. My heart wants to be good, but my emotions are not always so good and I feel like mom deserves better. But I do my best and overall, she seems to be very happy and content....I am the one losing my mind!!
Debralee Everyone is different about how they handle any situation. I do not have children myself so I can't answer from that point of view. I can explain how I saw my Mother care for her Mother when she needed care. Much to my surprise my Grandfather put his Wife my Grandma (Mom's - Mom) into a nursing home closer to my mother than himself, I wondered why he did this. When I look back and think about the circumstances I can only come up with one answer... he thought it was the best case scenario of choice. He was not in perfect health himself, he knew he could not do it himself, my Mom was retired and if something should happen to him, his wife was in good hands. I know that what I went through to keep my Mothers care a priority came from this experience. I watched my Mother communicate with a woman her MOM, only she knew how. My Mother took the sadness of her Mother's stoke and tucked it away so she could be her Mother's voice and security, my Grandfather could not do that his emotions we too deeply affected. I know in his heart he hated to do what he had to by putting her in NH care, but that's what love is, he did what was best for his Love. I learned this all, by watching I was 18 years old and at the time I did not know the impact of this selfless act would give me the strength to do what I needed to do for my Mom. So I guess what I am trying to say is if you can't find the strength to care for your parents, just let your children see that you have other options and it's not that you don't care, it's because you do care. P.S. If you didn't care at all you wouldn't be here asking!!!!
Even though I am incest survivor and have a mother who does not believe me, I still care about them. I just cannot bring myself to want to take care of them. My husband and children made my life whole. I could never not want to help them. My parents as much as I care are not as important. They have the financial means to have their care provided for. I only want to concentrate on my husband and ault children.
I had some discomfort with the idea of taking care of my parents. There are certain things, such as bathing them, that I preferred not to do. I am just not comfortable with that. When I first came here I set some limits on things I would and would not do. Bathing was one of those things. When my father started to need help bathing, we brought in a personal care assistant. My mother was not happy to pay someone when I could do it for free, but I stuck to my limits. It was nice to have someone come in to do things.
Makes sense to me Debralee. I am sorry about the abuse you suffered, and also that your mother does not believe you. Thatbis a major betrayal. With your history, I think that caring for your parents first hand would not be a good idea. A psychologist named Pauline Boss, who Jeanne brought to my attention, believes that an abused persson should not, for their own good, directly care for their abuser(s). I agree. My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder, and is narcissistic. I have been, and still am, emotionally abused, for which reason I limit contact and detach. I oversee my mother's care at a distance, I do love her, but I could never care for her hands on. I think it would be wise for you to concentrate n your husband and children, and, if anything, help your parents find a suitable facility, or home care, but only if you feel you can. If not, approach the local Agency in Ageing and/or Social Services and ask them to help your parents find the help/facility they need. You need to, in Pauline Boss's terms "protect yourself from further harm".
((((((((((((Hugs)))))))))))) I am so sorry for what you have gone through.
Ah, Debralee, in addition to the discomfort many of us feel about role reversal (like Jessie's reluctance to bathe her parents) you have very strong personal need to avoid on-hands caregiving. It is perfectly understandable and healthy to not have a hands-on role in your situation. No wonder your stomach turns at the thought. Your "care" of them should be at least one step removed, acting through a social worker or other professional.

You concentrate on your husband and and children. Let your parents pay for the care they need.

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