What do you do when the family is in disagreement about the care of an elderly loved one?

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what do you do when the family is in disagreement with the care of the loved one. thanksgiving and christmas is here and we are not speaking and the loneliness has set in

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Lilli, you have hit on something important. I think it helps most of us if we think of something we can be grateful for. Some people actually make columns on paper - good and not good - and realize the rotten as some things are, there still are things to be grateful for. You are a smart lady.
Carol
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I have observed older members of my family (all women) who have cared for their aging parents. There are always a multitude of "voices" telling you what not to do, not to put your parent in a "home," etc. My response to them is, "sounds good, why don't you come and get Mom and let her stay with you for a few months." Really!! where do people get off telling you what to do when you are the only person who will take on the responsibility?

The saddest thing about caregiving (and is still a shock to me) is that people "scatter." Friends cannot handle news of the "daily grind" and relatives pick fights so they can have an excuse to stay away. It does, however, reveal a person's "true colors."

It seems that on every holiday Mom has a medical emergency. Last Thanksgiving Mom was in the hospital...I had dinner at Boston Market! Her timing is impeccable.

Imw: I agree...I keep promising myself to get more involved in something other than caregiving...just to recharge myself. Some days I do not recognize myself...I have become so sad and boring :o(

Here's one suggestion...and don't laugh... I take a little advice from the movie "Pollyanna"...where she talks about the "happy game." Everyday I try to think of one small thing that I am looking forward to. It may be taking time to read some silly magazine, calling a friend, or making a new dish...whatever...some days it is all that I've got.
take care
lilli
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When Mom needed a place to live years ago, I took her in. A single parent back then, her presence helped me and my sons fill the void left by the passing of my wife. None of my 13 sisters wanted to care for her, and essentially passed the buck to me. I never asked why. Shortly thereafter, however, I'd get telephone messages from them full of caregiving tips from women whose idea of a kid's breakfast is a fifty cent soda and a bag of chips. From "Mom called me crying and said blah, blah, blah" to "You should do this and do that." When I asked Mom about it, she'd accuse my sisters of of taking things out of context and being a bunch of bochincheras (gossips) who can't help stir the pot everywhere they go.

One day, to her surprise and dismay, I invited all 13 of them to go over all the disagreement about the so-called horrible way I was treating our mother. From making her own bed and washing her own laundry to fixing whatever she wanted to eat and watching those sappy Puerto Rican novelas on TV laden with damsels in distress hoping for a hunk on a white horse to come and rescue them from their overprivileged yet boring existence. And just like them, my mother pretended to be the long-suffering victim just to get some attention; even at the risk of watching the family unravel.

For two hours, I moderated the conversation. Then I became the target as Mom, clearly afraid of my sisters' wrath, tearfully called me a slave driver and treating her like a child. All of a sudden I was the evil one. But as a psychologist in training, I flipped the script on them by asking (by a show of hands) how many were willing to take her in. You could hear a pin drop. Mom asked "Are you throwing me out? ... I have no place to go." I said "Since you all care so much about her well-being, how about taking turns a week here and a week there and cater to her every whim?" To Ivette's "But she's so happy here" I responded "Then why are we all having this back and forth about what's best for her? The door is right there and she can move out whenever she feels like it. ... Mom? Don't forget to leave the keys."

The next morning I was awakened by the smell of fresh-brewed Bustelo coffee, the house was immaculate, there were no messages in my voice-mail, the boys were watching Sonic the Hedgehog, and Mom had left a message on the kitchen table. It read "At church across the street, then to Western Beef on 174th. Back in a couple of hours. Love, Mom."
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What is it about the holidays that makes us think that somehow the season will elicit harmony in our families?

I have good childhood memories of our extended family getting together to eat ourselves to death. But, without fail, someone always ended up getting their feelings hurt, having a squabble, or ruining the day for everyone. Relatives are the people you get...your friends are the ones you choose. It is unrealisitic to think everyone will be on their best behavior just because 'tis the season.

Nevertheless, I LOVE the holidays and I refuse to let them be spoiled by any bahhumbuggers. The day after Thanksgiving I drag out all my Christmas and holiday CDs and play them all day while I work. I watch all the holiday movies on TV (have you seen "The Family Stone?") It's one of my new favorites.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all...I will keep everyone here in my thoughts and prayers.

(Going to "sacrifice" another turkey this year...still can't get it right...comes out all dry...this year I was told to use bacon grease on a piece of brown paper then "tent" it over the turkey...sounds silly, but I am desperate!)
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When my father died, my mother moved in with my husband and me. There were no other family members (three brothers and one sister) who offered to caretake. I have hopes that they will step in when we need to take a vacation.

One year later and I have no regrets about caretaking. Others have scrutinezed how I am caring for mother. I make my decisions from a love for my mother and her well being rather than how my siblings will judge me.

I suspect that when all is said and done (mother dying) that I will have lost some connections with my siblings. But there is one connection that I haven't lost, living with my conscience and liking what I see. Also prayer plays an important part of my life....
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Try not to think of the holidays as the Norman Rockwell image of what it should be. That is like comparing yourself to a famous model after Photoshop. Remember, the whole commercialization of holidays is designed to benefit retailers. I try to focus on the blessings experienced throughout the year and make a point to show my heartfelt thanks to those kind souls who helped make those moments so memorable. It could have been a kind and gentle therapist, it could be the neighbor who brings the trash cans back in fir you etc. Many family members disappoint, and can hurt you with thoughtless words around this time of year. Focus on who is deserving and you will soon realize that you have friends who are kind and good hearted. Sometimes it is just a matter of noticing them and cultivating them.
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I, too, live in Canada, 1913. A few months back my sisters and I decided my mom, at the age of 95, could no longer continue to live in her condo alone, even with all the help she was receiving, so we took her for an interview at the neighbourhood senior's lodge. She is now in the Lodge and working at adjusting.

HOWEVER, we are sure that, from all the hints she dropped for several years before, that she believed my single sister would look after her when the need arose. BUT this arrangement would ONLY have been good for my mother and not good at all for my sister (for many reasons) so we stood firm and placed Mom in the Lodge. Now I drive over one hundred miles one way every second week and spend two to three days visiting my mom and my single sister, who has two hundred miles to drive one way, does the same on the week I am not visiting. The third sister, who lives 600 miles away comes as often as she can. In the meantime, I look after my husband who has many health problems, my single sister deals with all her problems (which our parents ignored all their lives), and my far away married sister has plenty of family issues to cause her worry. None of us are getting any younger and we were all devoted kids to our parents and did whatever we could to make them happy for decades and decades, regardless of how hard this was to do some times. Right or wrong, my sisters and I have decided that Mom is as well off in the Lodge as she would be in any of our homes. With our constant visits we know how well she is being cared for and how she is doing. This is all I will ever ask of my kids when it is MY time to go to a Lodge.

I don't know, carolsmom, what the disagreement with the rest of your family is all about. My mom has a personal directive that names all three of us sisters as her personal care directors. Because we three have worked together all our lives in doing things for our parents, I guess it is easier for us than some now, to continue to do this. If there is a difference of opinion even after a discussion, two out of three agreeing is what determines the decision. I am Mom's POA for money matters but of course I discuss big decisions with my sisters and then decide what to do based on our discussions.

Any of us COULD have given up our own lives to take Mom into our homes but each sister knew each other and Mom well enough to know that that was not the best decision for EVERYONE. Having come to that conclusion we do our level best to continue to be with Mom as often as possible (we know we visit her much more than any other offspring visit their parents in the Lodge) and we support each other in dealing with some of the doubts that we have now and then. It is not easy to protect oneself, especially when one has been raised to put oneself last but I definitely would advise others not to take on the entire responsibility of caring for a parent. If you ARE the only one who cares, then get some outside advice as to what are your options.

Do you really believe you were put on Earth to give up your life, as many of you feel you are doing, to care for an aging parent? If so, then I would think you would feel good that you are fulfilling your purpose. If not, then do what you can to see that your parent is cared for in the best way possible but get on with your own life too. You are a unique individual - there is no one else in the whole world like you, there never has been, and there never will be again so do some soul-searching and become what you were put on this earth to become. This doesn't mean you become selfish - it means you will give to the world the uniqueness that is within you.

Since our American friends will be celebrating Thanksgiving soon, I would like to suggest that we be thankful for the uniqueness of each other, that we honour it, and that we love each other for it. May God, Allah, the Great Spirit Etc. bless us all with understanding so that we can all care for each other, regardless of age, or relationship to each other.
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I feel really bad for all of you. Thank God, I don't have brothers or sisters. It's a shame that siblings can't get along during such times. They should be there to lean on one another. Say your prayers. God can take care of any problem, large or small.
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I agree! Caregiving can show one's true colors. And yes, family members do "scatter" if not scamper away just to have an excuse. Finger pointing on who's right & who's wrong happens a lot too. I get fed up with my relatives that I seldom speak to them. It's hard to just internalize all my problems of being an only child, a single parent and the main family breadwinner all rolled into one. It leaves me empty and exhausted... I pray i will have sanity and be able to smile after all these 18 yrs of being a sandwich generation. I hope and pray it won't be long as 18 yrs is too much. I lost much of my vitality and sanity. I pray for God's decision on my predicament. He can only put a period/finality to my particular circumstance.
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I can sympathize with you. Had to move my mom into a nursing home last month after taking care of her for five years and mom and my sister are not speaking to each other, and no invitation from my sister to have mom over for Thanksgiving or Christmas. When I do go visit her at the nursing home all I get are guilt trips and trying to get me to let her out of the nursing home and try to get me to take sides. Maybe what would help would be to get out and do some volunteering, get more involved with church activities. I haven't had much of a social life for the past five years and pick up some of the hobbies that I have let go.
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