Greetings all. I’ve found this site by simply Googling - “my elderly mother is driving me crazy”! I’ve also found some of the forum messages hugely relieving knowing how I feel is not uncommon.
I suppose that the feelings we have at caring for recalcitrant older parent(s) is a shared thing, although common, not common to us as individuals.
Here in Australia, and where I care for my mum, we have similar set ups for aged care. Residential villages (where my mum lives), and later assisted living - or nursing homes, although this latter term is being less used because of its connotations.
I don’t like my mother - I love her as a mother, what she’s done for me over the years (my dad died in 1997) and bailed me out of trouble. But as a person, she is the type I’d prefer not to mix with.
I have no siblings, but I have an understanding wife. Thank God. I’ve had to organise in home care - that was a struggle as our Government has turned aged care and support into an industry. Is that the same in the USA?
Do I resent doing this - well, that’s a yes and no actually.
The smallest things upset mum - the home carer turning up late (due to traffic), or not showing up at all (despite an attempted phone call to mum from the provider of the service). All these things confound her. And of course, as only son/carer, I get the full brunt of all her complaints.
But what I am writing here is no new news to you, the reader.
But it is like therapy to hear similar tales, and perhaps even more extreme parental behaviour, to know I’m not alone.
And that, is a relief.

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Welcome, and thanks for sharing so much information on how elder care operates in Australia.   Geaton has asked and provided some good information.    

Your post definitely encourages discussion, in which I'd like to engage, but for now I only want to address the industry of caregiving.

I'm not so sure the US government (generally, not this specific iteration) has encouraged anything, except by omission.   As you probably know, what happens in D.C. is strongly affected by lobbyists who have their client's interests in their pockets, and to my knowledge there is no strong lobby for Elder Care.   

That needs to change, but a lot will depend on whether or not the US is able to get back on a positive, forward path.

Industry is in some senses predatory by nature, except for those very conscientious and socially oriented to do good works.   Otherwise, money is a dominant factor, and it's a challenge to balance that with good help and good care.

There are some fields for which few viable options occur.   And as Geaton wrote, the family has to be the management focus and step in when government or private sector don't offer reasonable or affordable solutions.   Family really isn't the fallback option though; it's a primary, first responder type situation, with family having to search out solutions which may be provided through government or localized apparently self governing agencies. 

It's not a good situation.

Thanks Geaton777 for your question.
By industry, I hope the following helps explain how our system works, by how it applies to my mum. I’d be interested in how it is similar/different in the US.
Mum is 91, and ordinarily would be entitled to an aged pension.
Mum is means tested. That is, her assets and income are scrutinised by Centrelink, the Government welfare department.
As she has too much money remaining from the sale of her family home and purchasing a villa in a retirement village, she is deemed to be able to provide for herself without welfare.
And that’s a reasonable enough scenario, although that excludes subsidies for medicines which are costly.
She is further assessed for the level of care - there are 4 levels, 1 being least needy, 4 being most needy.
Like many Government departments, this assessment can take up to 9 months to be finalised, and in many cases, many elderly have died waiting.
This of course costs - in mum’s case as a Level 3, she is set a budget she has to use annually. As an example, this costs $445 AUD per month.
When I speak of carers I’m talking about paid, trained people, who provide this service.
Weekly, she receives 3 x 1 hour visits (by carers) for showering, 1 x 2 hours for shopping and 1 x 2 hours cleaning. That fits within her allocated budget.
If she was on a Government pension (welfare), then part of her pension would provide the service.
This is a convoluted way to get to my point about this being an industry.
The Government will only do the assessment through MyAgedCare (a Government run department).
They do not allocate a provider for the service that cleans, does the personal showering, or the shopping. That search is up to the family, and this where we find a myriad of suppliers, at a variety of costs.
I guess you’d call them agents.
Mum pays the agent for her services. Then the Government pays the agent for providing the service - double dipping I think you’d call it.
Of course, the agents make a decent profit between mum’s contribution, and the Government subsidy.
Carers earn very little as an hourly rate ($20AUD/hour) compared to other workers.
The Government used to have carers, providers etc - but it is all privatised nowadays.
The same goes for assisted care facilities - all run privately, as a business. I’ve read elsewhere on this website it’s similar in the US.
Put simply, the Government do not own facilities, or caring staff for the elderly.
“You pays your money and yous take your choice” - and you get what you pay for.

Thanks for your Australian insight into caregiving. It's universal in so many ways, good and bad. When you say, "...Government has turned aged care and support into an industry..." I'm not sure what you mean? Or what the option is? In the US there is both private care and govt subsidized care. I'm interested to understand what you mean by "industry"? In the past and still in the present, countless women (mostly) provide this care for free and willingly at the cost of their own lives and futures... and sometimes pressured by family to provide it. Now that people need to actually pay for this care, they are starting to understand just how labor-intensive and grueling it can be.

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