My highly educated parents are 80-years-old and live independently. I don't know where to turn or what to do. Can you please give me some solid advice?

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Mom is dad's caregiver. He is in and out of dementia, she is milder in hers. They call me all the time about each other. They drive me crazy. I'm not in good health myself and can't drop everything to run over each time they call. I stay on pin and needles. I can't convince them to sell and go to an upscale Assistant Living. They say they've put too much into the home and yard to leave it. They can't take care of either, not each other. I have two other sisters that live hrs. away. They've abandon me to take care of things. I don't know where to turn or what to do. Can you please give me some solid advice? I've been been trapped in their arguments for about 10 yrs. now. I can't take it much longer. My BP runs high, even with medicine. I've had one stroke because of them already. It is taking it's toll on me.Please Can you offer me some help?

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Is there are continuous care community in your area? Someplace they can live independently now, then move into assisted living, and then one or both of them into skilled nursing unit? I wonder if that would be more acceptable to them than going directly to AL?

As Jessie says, it may take a crisis to bring things to a head, but you know it is coming so use your energy to be prepared, not emeshed in the emotional turmoil.

Best wishes to all of you.

Dementia is a progressive condition. It will get worse, for each of them. There is no way to know the rate at which it will progress, but it definitely will progress. So if they are barely hanging on independently now, they certainly won't stay that way forever.

Usually the choices are
in-home care
Living with a son or daughter or other relative
living in a long term care facility of some kind.

From what you say of your sisters and your own health, it doesn't sound like living with a relative is an option.

If they have sufficient funds, they can hire household maintenance and yard work out. They can bring in whatever level/amount of care they need. Or they can use those funds to live in very fine, comfortable surroundings designed with their needs in mind. Even if their funds are quite modest, their are options for long term care facilities.

Cattails said it very well. Love them, and ask them to love you. Extricate yourself from the middle of their arguments. Ten years is way too long to feel trapped in that.

Tell them you will help them bring in outside services, or you will help them research "retirement communities." But if they don't want that kind of help and feel they can live independently you will leave them to get on with it. You will call them once in the evening every day. If they need emergency help they should call 911 first and then call you. That is the only daytime call you will expect. If they call you for something else, be friendly but firm.
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I'm with NA. It's time to save yourself. Your well educated parents, in their 80's, do not realize what they are doing to you. So they have lost the ability to empathize with the difficulties they cause you. Consequently, it is foolish to look to them for reason or insight. Since they are opposed to assisted living, they may not be willing to go look at AL places with you. If not, go look on your own. Tell them that you are doing it and why. Do it in the kindest and firmest way you can. Let them know that your health is on the line and you can't continue under the current circumstances anymore. Pick the ones you feel are best, give them the brochures and then don't answer their calls. Let them know that you are serious. If they can call you several times a day, they can call 911 in an emergency. Let them know you love them, but ask them to love you too. Take care of yourself.
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Deb, it's time just to plain out tell your folks that you're NOT going to do this anymore. Look them in the eye and make sure they understand that from now on they either have to hire help or go into asst living, but you're done. Then stick by your guns. Maybe it would be a good idea though to get a few asst living places lined up so you can take the folks to visit them when you drop the bomb. Time to take back control of this runaway train that's eventually going to crash and burn. If they dig their heels in and say no, then leave them alone for awhile and let them have a taste of what it will be like when you actually follow through. Good luck. I don't see any other option.
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This may be a situation that will become worse before something has to be done. I went through the thing of frequent phone calls from my mother. She would always want me to come home for all the various and terrible things that were going on. This was not so easy, because I had my own life 850 miles away. Ultimately, however, my parents did need care.

When the parents get to that point, there has to be a plan -- assisted living or a caregiver. You can hire people to come into the house, but this option can be expensive. I would look around and see what resources are available for your parents. They may be willing to go to a daycare center, then have a caregiver stay with them at night. They may be willing to go into assisted living or a skilled nursing facility if needed.There are many options out there. You just have to choose something based on what they need and what they will accept. It can be crazy-making at times, because often they will not accept what they need.

Is there a way that you can pull yourself out of their emotional upset? It can be easier to deal with things if you don't allow yourself to be pulled into it. This can be very hard to do at times, but if you can, the toll on your own health will be much less. You can only help with the problems that they will let you help. If they close the door on your suggested solutions, there is not much else you can do until a crisis is reached. Good luck to you. Most people in the group will understand what you are going through.
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