Iwasniceonce Asked May 2011

Is there such a thing as an elder sitter service?

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We have no life; my 90-year old father-in-law lives with us and I am his primary care giver. He is turning mean, is something of a hypochondriac and is falling down often in and out of the home. He doesn't drive; no exercise, only goes to the doctor when I get out my serious voice and is very negative and demanding; not to mention very distrustful of strangers.

My husband and I have no life; we can't go out to a ballgame, out to dinner let alone on a vacation. We're 54 & 57 and have been in this situation for 6 years. He won't entertain the thought of going into an assisted living center. I guess I'm just complaining; sorry.

He's also healthy as a horse, eats like a lumberjack and takes great pride in keeping a list of all the people he has known who have passed away.

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hi, I also needed that break too. My goal is to keep mom at home for as long as I can( she is 66 with later stage dementia). So I know she can possible have a long road ahead of her. I live in a rural area with no "daycares". But there is a small Personal Care Home nearby that lets me take mom there so I can get a break. They charge me very little and either mom can go for day visits or if they have an open bed she can stay all nite. Mom don't go too often but the stress relief of knowing I have some place to take her so I can get a break is so mentally relaxing. So maybe check around at personal care homes if they would be willing to "sit" your FIL. From what you wrote he would be considered "low maintence" to them and might be willing to look after him while you get a break. My hubby and I are 36 &32, and having been living with mom 2yrs now. No one could have ever prepared me for the mental stress parent caregiving would cause. I know I complain about it but our kids are the ones who suffer the most. We have been noticing more and more in there actions. I look at the kids and think that I don't want them to do this when I become dependent for care.
I hope you find a solution for your situtation. May God be with you!!
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Thanks to all who answered. We're adults we can handle disappointment and it was just frustration talking. I just hope not to be a mean spirited old hag that my son would have to deal with if I get further up the line. We don't have access in our area to short-term or daycare facilities for seniors (although there are tons of them for dogs & cats!); and I know Alzheimer's caregivers have things much worse.

Thanks again for letting me vent--it really does help to get the poison out of your system without hurting the feelings of anyone else.
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Check with your local Office of the Aging or county/state Senior Services departments -- they usually can give you info on any providers of "elder-sitting" services or facilities. My heart goes out to you Iwasniceonce -- I was in the same boat for 8 years with my own mom. We have a wonder "Senior Day Care" center right around the corner for 8-4pm care and another day/week/month short-term senior care facility (they call it Respite Care) for overnights when you have to travel for work or need a vacation ... notice I said "need" not want! I understand your frustration and feelings all too well. Despite these two great resources available to me, and in-home aids as needed, my mom would fight like a child going to the dentist when I needed help from these facilities. It's very draining when it's almost more upsetting to get the help and respite you need than just continuing to shoulder it all on your own. It's easy for others to say just force the elder one to comply, but believe me, I know how difficult it is to actually do it. But if you can get past the initial hurdle of your FIL's resistance, they usually adapt very quickly to a new setting and new people their own age, as long as the facility is well-staffed and managed by qualified geriatric caregivers and administrators.

Also check with you local hospitals -- many of them have senior exercise and activity programs one or two days a month. That can at least buy you an afternoon or morning of being "off-duty." Best wishes and hugs to you.
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toadballet1 May 2011
Your FIL is a guest in your home and HE won't "entertain the thought of going to an ALF." I wouldn't either if I had it as cushy as he does. If he is that healthy, he would do well in an ALF. There would be people closer to his age who he could interact with and who would not put up with his shenanigans. And you could get your life back.
You should not be the primary caregiver to the FIL...and if you have done this for 6 years, you've done your duty.
If it were walking around in your shoes, I would go to several ALFs in the area and gather brochures. Hand them to the hub and have him pick three. Then take dad to them and have him make the final choice.If the hub resists, hand over the full time caregiving duties over to him for a day or two.
As far as the "sitter" service goes...haven't heard of one. You would need to hire in-home care for as long as you need. Not a bad interim idea. Your FIL bunking in with you should not put a halt on your social life.
good luck
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