I am an adult only child caring for elderly parent. Any advice??

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She is in her late 70's and I am her primary caregiver. It is not easy. Could you please share your experiences???

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i am also an only child caring for a very difficult elderly father who is also suffering from the beginning of dementia. it is very, very difficult and is taking a huge toll on me. i really don't have much advice to give but i remind myself to take things day by day, try to brush off as much as the negativity and complaints as possible and think of my friends who have siblings to help that don't. many people with siblings complain that they are incredibly hurt and angry at siblings who refuse to help or ones that criticize every decision along the way. either way it is a terrible situation. hang in there and i will try to do the same.
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Reply to sgulbin
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Continue reading things like Aging Care. Try your very best to take care of yourself---including physically, emotionally, spiritually, This could be for big or little things, breaks, properly resting, a moment or two for pampering now and then, cultivating and maintaining your friendships as well as your future supporters, taking time for intellectual, entertainment, or spiritual enrichment, eating well, sleeping well, making time for mental and physical exercise, keeping up with check-ups, medications, vitamins, etc., etc.. Be open to accepting help from others starting now, whether it's to aid you, your other family members, or your mom---directly and/or indirectly. While you're checking out things at your senior center/community center, be open to finding things which might benefit her AND/OR you. Our center offered oodles of things including lectures, activities, outings, daily meals, entertainment, health screenings, info, free tax and legal advice, a huge variety of cultural groups, exercise programs and an equipment room, and support groups like one for caregivers (of LO with all kinds of dementia). I strongly recommend you join one like this last group as I found it soooo helpful in providing info---usually relayed by other caregivers who'd had or were having experiences similar to those you have experienced or might experience in the near future. Plus, I found attending very helpful in showing me I wasn't alone as well as in providing a place for me to "just?" vent from time to time. Best wishes.
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Reply to 4LANEY
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Hi Onelove,
I am an only child as well and having aging parents and all that comes with it has been one of the times I have missed having siblings the most...for support, to bounce things off of, etc. I do understand that not all siblings are helpful as well.
My parents live about 2 hours away and just moved out of their home of 50 years into a senior living complex. Now they are in an independent living apartment but are very close to my mom needing assisted living or skilled nursing. Dad is her main caregiver and I thought it would be better once they were out of their house, but I'm not sure. They moved in September and are still adjusting,but seem sad about their move. About a year ago they were going to move to my town and a nice comparable place here, but mom went to the hospital and they decided to postpone. They decided to stay close to where they have lived to be near friends and familiar places. I am a little torn about this decision as it makes it harder for me to get there and do things for them, where before they would have been one mile from our home. But, they are able to make their own decisions and I am grateful for that. I know I am rambling, but maybe us onlies need to look here for support from each other. These are difficult times. Hang in there.
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Reply to iowaoly
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This is to Johnnieb. I am not trying to be cruel, but when your health is declining it may be time to put him into a nursing home where he will get 24/7 care. I know you love him, but you need a life too. With all the problems he has, he is probably not thinking clearly, and does not realize the burden he is placing on you. Call the department of aging in your state and get help. If he was not so sick do you think that he would want you to be living like this. Do you know that 50% of caregivers die before the person they are caring for. Why...they neglect themselves. Please, I know you love and adore him, but he really needs more care than any one person can give. I am sure he loves you and does not realize what a hard time you are having.
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Reply to reindeermama
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Count your blessings!! I often wish (more often than not) that I either didn't have siblings or that they would butt out when dealing with my mom and dad. They do NOTHING to help, only complain and criticize. :( I don't think my plight is very uncommon either. I hear this a lot.... so with that said, having siblings is NOT always a good thing!! Mine only add to my stress.
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Reply to Darcy123
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I am an only child also. It is difficult. Try to get someone who can give you relief if you need it. Look into a provider through medicaid. Call your department of aging, they can help see if she is qualified for a medicaid provider. They will come in and help prepare meals and help with baths, etc. Do she qualify for Meals on Wheels that will ensure she receives a hot meal 5 days a week. Call a social worker they can help you out with resources. Is there a senior center in your community? If so they often provide activities and can help you locate resources to help you out. See if the doctor can order home health care or if their condition is bad enough, hospice.
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Reply to reindeermama
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First- JohnnieB. Get your father to a doctor!
OneLove. I am also pretty new but the thing I am learning is patience. I never had an overabundance of it to begin with. I never had any children to teach me. I am learning slowly.
I am learning that even though my mother might do things that are embarassing to me in public, like tell people off when things aren't the way she wanted them, I can not stop this and it is not my job too. My job is to make sure she gets where she needs to go and make sure nothing happens to her, or that I am there if something does. I can not be her behavior monitor.
I was crabby when I realized that my time was now her time but I have learned to get over that and just learn to adjust to my new life. She knocked herself out for the beginning years of my life to take care of me.
I find that the more accepting of things that I become, the smoother things go. There is no sense in being stressed out about things being the way they are since they are going to be how they are. We just have to learn to accept it, take it all in, and deal with the now.
(And I take one day a week off for a totally "This is me doing nothing!" day, barring any emergency. I sometimes just spend it napping and I don't feel guilty if I don't do anything that day.)
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Reply to suzyque
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Taking care of your parents does not mean they have to live with you and put your health in danger. It is not payback time for all they did for us.

I certainly do not expect my children to feel obligated to change their lifestyle and ruin their own health because I am unable to take care of myself. In home agencies provide a wonderful service and there are many fine assisted living facilities and/or nursing homes available. You will be their advocate, see that they are well cared for, safe and comfortable.
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Reply to littletonway
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I just keep trying to remember that this is the person I love that I ran to when I knocked in my front teeth, scraped my knees and elbows, and slammed my fingers in doors and windows. (Combo tomboy klutz!)

The person that had to walk around for a week, after working all day, trying to hand out the girl scout cookies I sold, and worry about me when I was wandering around somewhere after dark when I was 4, etc., etc., etc.
We won't even mention the teen years!
I don't know if she could ever be enough trouble to get even for all the worry and stress I put her through.
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Reply to suzyque
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Keep laughing.
Get outside.
Thank some deep breaths now and again.
Get enough sleep.
Take good care of yourself.
Get some exercise when you can.
Keep good records of everything - finances, medications, doctor's visits.
Try to have some fun now and again (as often as possible).
Express gratitude and love when possible - try to create some good moments.
Forgive yourself and your loved ones -- there will be mistakes and recriminations just make it all worse.
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