How do I work, maintain 2 households, and caregive for someone that doesn't want to lose their independence?

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Hi Susan,
Hi Susan,
The uncooperative thing is the hardest. Most of our parents want to maintain their independence, even when their safety is compromised. So they can make it very hard for us to help them.

But you can't do it all for two households. In-home care agencies may be of some help, if your senior can afford it, but even then they often won't cooperate and let them in the house.. Is there a good friend of your elder's who could talk a little sense? Assisted living, if it's a good center, can afford a lot of independence, but have help available. Again, that is expensive.

One small thing that can help is a personal alarm. You can get them as bracelets or necklaces and the person has a monitor in the home and just presses a button if they need help. Lifeline is one company, but there are many others. There are other electronic ways of monitoring, as well, but some of it is pretty intrusive.

I'd start small and see if an elderly friend can start the ball rolling. Then, you could try Senior Companions (through RSVP) if you have that in your area. They are seniors that just come to visit. In-home care may work if you introduce it gradually. Meals On Wheels works for some.

I hope you can find something to ease your worries and make your days less hectic.

Take care,
mrjess5 I work 3 hours a day @ the local High School in the cafateria making lunches for the students and the teachers then I come home and wait until the daycare bring my mother home then I'm her caregiver from 3pm until 8:45 the next morning and then the daycare picks her up and I go into work @ 10 am anain till 1:oo and this goes on 5 days a week. and my mother is doing much better anshe seems happier when she comes home. Since I brought her home from that terrible nursing home she seems to be putting on a little weight. She was 120 pounds when she went into the nursing home and when I brought her home February 24th she weighed in @ 102 she lost 18 pounds in a mounth and a half. They would put her tray in front of her then just walk away. She stopped eating unless my neice or I would go to visit her and we would feed her. I took cases of ensure to her and we would have to ask for it or she wouldn"t even get that. The Nursing home lost several of her items and now I have to go and replace everything for her again.
Sit down and have a conversation about what it means to "lose one's independence." My guess is that she already feels her "self" slipping away and is terrified of the consequences. Make an "appointment" to sit down and discuss choices. Try to have a "third party" (one of her friends, a spiritual advisor, someone she respects) present to keep the discussion from becoming a lament about how "nobody understands me."

The bottom line is that things cannot remain the same. Then present her with choices:

1. She can wait for a crisis. If she does, she will have to take the best that's on offer at that very moment (not the best available with a little planning).

2. Accepting (in home) help now can put off the day when she has to move into a care facility. Not accepting help means she is waiting for the crisis.

3. Moving into an independent living facility will mean that she keeps her independence. She will be able to make choices; not just live by the institution's schedule and regulations.

4. Accepting help with housework is not surrendering any independence. It is rewarding one's self for doing these thankless tasks for 50 or more years. There are reputable companies that provide this help. We've all heard horror stories about people being ripped off. Making the choice now means that she can guarrantee that the help chosen is bonded (that is insurred not to be a thief) and if something happens, the goods can be recovered.

This is all overwhelming. Allow some time to pass before pressing for a decision. And don't be upset if you have to go over some of it a second or a third time. And if she won't decide, you may have to make a decision for her. The advantage to having had the talks is that you will have some idea of what she would have decided if she could.

Blessings on your efforts and good luck be with you.
Maybe have that person assest so then while you work he/she can have homecare. This way if you are not there a homecarer can go in a few times a day checking up on things. This way you may feel more confident in leaving them and he/she is getting regular safety checks and keeping there own independance. It is hard when they will not co operate with you but we have to respect there choice. I would have them assest so regular carers can come in and maybe have them going to a day centre a couple of times a week. therefor he/she is socialising too. I have been a carer for 7 years and this is what i would normally suggest to people. Its just a thought tho xx
Not sure if this is related or not, but I am going to check into a GPS tracking device called "Project Lifesaver", for my Dad. We live in a rural area, and it is being offered through our Sheriff's Dept. He will be going to ALF, so he will still be able to come and go as he pleases, so I'm checking on it. This will enable the Sheriff to find him quickly if he decides to wander. Good luck to you all.
I have no help and am so tired after work then spend time cooking and cleaning and giving my 86 year old mom a bath I feel like I do nothing with my husband .And I feel guilty if I don't help my mom.l don't know what to do I had someone that said they would come a few hours a week but she won't let them.
This is not about what she wants. It's about what you need. You won't be any good to her or your husband if you allow her to drive you to depression or into physical incapability. YOU ARE A PERSON, TOO.

Repeat that. Say, "I am a person, too."

I know the line about "honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the earth." It's also true that what seems to honor your father or mother can drive you to an early grave where you will be of no use to them.

Appeal to your state's Office on Aging for help. They can provide lisenced, bonded caregivers who can fill in for you. Some of them do patient care and some of them do light housekeeping. Even if they just sit in the living room and read a magazine while you are gone, they will still be present if an ememergency occurs.

Is there someone your mom respects enough to listen to in this case? It would help if that person could come and explain things to your mom. If not, Just announce how things are going to be now and acto on your announcement.

It is not cruel to save yourself. Another Biblical reference says: Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? (1 Cor.6:19). No where do I read that you are supposed to destroy your own body (or mind) to take care of another person's body -- not even a parent's.
It is difficult to make decisions with a senior once they reach that stage of stubborness. They will decline your advice, have mood swings and snap constantly especially when you are trying to lovingly give them help. It is heartbreaking and I never thought I would experience this. To anyone whose parent has not reached this stage, I would strongly advise to make arrangements with your parents as to how they would like for you to proceed when they reach this stage. Get it in writing such as a living will and stick with the plan, otherwise you will allow them to drive you insane and burnout.
I'm in the same boat with my mother, who expects everyone else around her to put her first and act like she is the only thing they have to worry about...she is unable to do most things and is legally blind, however, she maintains that she has a right to be in her home, demanding that everyone be there 24/7 to cater to her....tomorrow I am in total dread, its my day off work and she has announced she wants to go to the bank for her bank book...she lost the last one but insists I never gave it back to her..there are mental changes in her and memory issues cropping up now and with it is coming out a belligerence and volatile nature...a trip to the bank will encompass most of my day with me holding my breath because last time we went to a McDonalds she proceeded to have an outburst loudly announcing she likes Harveys better that McDonalds is slop and crap...then the table was uneven and that present with another outburst...its like handling a 2 year old in public, and if I wasn't sick I probably wouldn't mind as much except I am and the anxiety of having to deal with her exacerbates my dizzy spells and sick feeling like I can barely navigate....she wants her independence while relying on everyone else for everyday tasks while making their life a miserable hell while they are dealing with her...god if I end up like her please do my kids a favour and shoot me out of my misery
Caregiver1963, it sounds to me like Mother is experiencing more than normal age-related decline. Or has she always been this demanding and belligerent?

I think that two things would help you.
1. Set firmer boundaries
2. Grow thicker skin.

YOU decide what you are willing to do for Mother. "Mom, I won't be going to the bank with you this weekend. You are quite independent and I know you'll be able to handle that on your own just fine. If you schedule it ahead of time a cab can come right when you want it." Followed by "No, Mom, I really can't do it this weekend," as many times as you want. When you were nine, Mommy could control you. Now you need to take control yourself. I certainly don't mean you should never do things for her ... just that what you do is your choice, and she can figure out how she'll get the other services she needs.

Try very, very hard not to feel responsible for her behavior. She is not your two-year-old and people won't be judging what kind of job you are doing raising this wild child. This is an adult, responsible (or not) for her own behavior. Whether she could behave better if she tried or this is beyond her control, it is not YOUR behavior. If she gives the bank teller a bad time, stand aside and roll your eyes so the teller gets it that you are not in agreement with Mother's rude behavior. She loudly calls MacDonalds slop and crap while eating there with you? That is not exactly a hanging offense and it is certainly not your problem. Her lack of inhibitions may be a symptom of her deteriorating mental capacity, but it is no reason for you to stress out. Laugh. "Oh Mom, so sorry. Next time you can pick where we have a snack. But I like MacDonalds, so let's just finish our food in peace and leave." Or "Mother, please keep your voice down. I can hear you just fine." Or even, "Mother, the scene you are making makes me uncomfortable, so I'll finish my food in the car. Join me there when you are ready." Having a meltdown yourself is just not called for. Stop holding your breath. If she behaves rudely that is Not Your Problem.

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