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Belladora, you are a great mom and thoughtful grandma.
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I totally get your line 'embracing his role of being the patient". My father no longer happy being is assisted living because it does not generate the attention that he wants. He is happiest in a hospital bed.
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I have now been in the caregiver role for several years. I know I am doing this for the right reasons, yet certain days I have tremendous resentment towards my lazy father. He seems to have really embraced the role of being the patient. He somehow easily forgets I am not his servant. The worst part is we have never had a great father son relationship in the past, and now being stuck in this caregiver prison makes me feel like he once again has me right where he wants me. He took away my adolescence by forcing me to work at a young age, and now he’s taken more years away from me as his caregiver. I have no brothers, sisters, aunts or uncles to help or support me. I am glad to have happened across this site. I’ts nice to know I’m not alone in this difficult time in my life. I really just want my life back... I didn’t sign up for this. It seems to be so unfair that he didn’t plan for his future better. And expects so much from me.
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I am 72 years old lacking mobility.I have 4 children that live in a 20 mile radius. In the beginning of my health problems, I thought they wo uld rally around me. I brought them up to be independent. That, they are. I put in place Home Health Aides for 5 days a week. They do my shopping, laundry and light cleaning. When my adult children come to visit.. it should be just that, a visit. I cook dinner for my oldest once a week, I see my youngest at least 2 x a week. My daughter is very busy so I talk to her on the phone to and from her office. My other son is the wayward one. I have to call him once a month and say "time to visit Mom for an hour." Within the next 2 days I see him. Having 3 boys and an exec for a daughter, I knew I would be on my own. Three years ago, I started off with someone coming in just to do laundry, then increased it to shopping. In total I only have someone 12 hours a week. More than enough if you are capable of cooking. If not, I would have an aide do it.
My kids have no complaints as they help defer the cost of having the help. Every state, no matter income, has Home health aides for the elderly. The grandchildren help out doing the deep cleaning. I pay them. Be creative instead of building resentment. Trust me, I "thought" they would take care of me.
Doctor's appointments, taking me shopping, pick me up at the hairdressers and all the rest. They were getting resentful. I did some research, cut down on my expenses, they divided the remainder of $$ by 4. I do not have dementia (yet). Have given my OK, put me in a nursing home if I am that bad. As I get older things will get tougher but it will be gradual or sudden. Who knows. Thanks for letting me read some of the problems of taking care of us elderly folks. It's a discussion for your 50s not your 70s.
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Your dad has Alzheimer's and mother dementia and they no longer are capable of giving you durable power of attorney. And I do not believe that you owe them becoming their guardian, and certainly not at a financial cost of $12,000 to you. It may actually be financially more advantageous for you to step back and let them become wards of the state and let a nursing home care for them because the state and medical institution have a lot more power to reclaim assets from the university than do you.
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Mterpin - I had the same reaction as CTTN55. You should definitely not pay out of pocket for the "privilege" of taking care of your parents or becoming their guardian. Any costs should come out of their assets. Personally, I would not assume any responsibility without pay for parents who have assets and who plan to leave those assets to a charity. If your parents have assets, you should be paid for any duties you perform. You should definitely not be paying any of their expenses (or expenses incurred in seeking or carrying out the responsibilities of their guardianship) out of pocket. JMI.
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mterpin - "Today I was seriously contemplating buying them tickets to Los Angeles, and calling the University they left all their assets to, and asking them to deal with my parents. Course universities want the money, and not the responsibility. " WOW. So why even consider becoming their legal guardian, if you won't get any of their assets?
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Wow, really glad to found this thread. It's good to be brought back to reality. I have two parents in a retirement home. Dad has Alzheimer's and mom Dementia, both are 90. I have recently learned that my Mom is a full blown narcissist. I always knew she was self centered, but with the dementia she's unable to keep her false self in tact. She was always verbally abusive to me, and as a result I stayed away from her most of my life. I left home when I was 15. I didn't have kids because I didn't like the way my family was, and I didn't want another child coming into this world and being exposed to the dysfunctional unit. I did have a couple of step children in my life though, and my mother used to make a big point of telling me she didn't want them in her home because they weren't blood relatives. On Thankgivings she would say something like "why don't you drop the kid off at a babysitter, and come have dinner with us?"

So here we are, I'm now 60, and am in charge of taking care of my parents. Being an only child, I'm feeling very conflicted, because I feel as if I have a moral obligation to take care of them, though I also don't discount the fact that I don't want to give up what may be the best years of my own life.

Today I was seriously contemplating buying them tickets to Los Angeles, and calling the University they left all their assets to, and asking them to deal with my parents. Course universities want the money, and not the responsibility. But I now have an invisable sibling to deal with. It's the sibling that could potentially hold me financially liable for any financial decisions I make on their behalf. Since I don't hold any power of attorney (my mother doesn't trust me), I cannot take care of things like making sure the minimum withdrawals are made from their Ira's each year. I can't follow up on the money held in a foreign bank account that needs the Fatca reporting, half of which will be forfeited as a penalty. God forbid they have a credit card compromised, I won't be able to get that shut down either.

I was told by the doctors that I needed to become a legal guardian for them. But in order for this to happen, I had to pay an attorney $12,000 to file the petition, and then, to add insult to injury, I would have to travel back to their home (a 14 hour flight) and inventory everything they owned, all for the benefit of the university that will eventually inherit this stuff.

So on top of being an unpaid caretaker for my ungrateful mother, I would get to be an unpaid caretaker for the university's future assets. No way that's happening.

The notion that an elder can stay at home through Alzheimer's and pass away peacefully surrounded by loved ones, can only be likened to a romantic novel. In some cases it may happen like that but it won't be in my family.

If there's one thing that we have learned is that our generation will have no familiar caretakers available, and with what I've seen I would not want to place that burden on anyone. We are solely responsible for planning our futures, and each of us need more than a will or a trust. We need a plan of action, so that our loved ones will not be burdened with our care should we become unable to care for ourselves.
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Sissisu - you put up with this for 2 days or more? I had to swtich to more like 2 hours at a time! Don't give them time to even really get into it! You are not losing your mind, Mom has lost hers, or at least lost any perspective about what really matters. This "no daughter of mine" bit sounds like some kind of automatic thing that just pops out of her mouth though it's got to hurt to hear it so often.
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For all I have said above, in my last post, I dearly want to feel and show love and compassion to my parents, I want to help them to have a genuine hope and belief in God for the future, if it be God's will, I want to do what I can. I want to see them in peace, despite their circumstances and not clinging desperately to this world and what others can do for them.
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Expectations of Elderly Parents - My parents made no secret of the fact that they expected my sister or I to give up our lives to look after them, the comment was made 'It is payback time'. Even before they required care, they were oppressive, demanding and selfish, they have the means to pay for good care, either at home or in a residential facility but they insist on having the minimum of outside paid help and trying to manipulate and control us to spend as much time as possible with them and look after their every need. This has driven me further away from them and indeed caused me to feel resentful, overwhelmed and frustrated towards their situation. I pray about their situation and trust that God will not place upon me a burden that I can not bear, several lovely people have given help and support to my parents, some of them are paid carers, they are like angels to me. To live with elderly parents and care for their every need is an incredible thing for anyone to do, invariably at huge cost, both personal and physical to the carer; I believe there needs to be a very close bond of love and respect for such an arrangement to work well, a trusting and loving relationship that has been forged over many years if not a lifetime. If such an arrangement is undertaken due to money concerns (and for many, retaining an inheritance rather than paying care fees is a significant factor), guilt and emotional 'backmail' then I believe it is a recipe for disaster. My parents never planned in any way for their old age, they retired early, were never burdened by long term care commitments for their own parents and they spent around 20 years going on exotic holidays and cruises and enjoying themselves. They were always included in our lives and we pandered to their superficial pleasures by spending time with them, invariably this involved eating and drinking excessively and going on holiday with them and arranging special occasions for their birthdays and anniversaries. Their situation is not pleasant now, it gives me no pleasure to see them totally devoid of faith and hope for the future but I can not help but believe that they are reaping what they have sown.
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Dorothy5409 - I totally relate to what you said. What seems to have happened over time in Western societies is that the whole idea of the family as being the basic social unit, with members taking care of each other and contributing time and energy and even money for one another's benefit, has evaporated, except for one piece. That one piece is the provision of care to elderly family members by their adult children. There is no longer much if any expectation that grandparents will take an interest in grandchildren or that older adults will help the younger generation along financially, or leave an inheritance. People who have supported themselves since their teen years, paid for their own education, raised their kids without any help from family, and provided for their own later years are suddenly yanked back into the "family" fold and presented with a list of their obligations and responsibilities when the older generation starts needing help.

One of the most distressing aspects of having spent the last 6 years taking care of my mother's needs is that I know there will be nobody to do it for me when my time comes. We don't have a society where siblings automatically taken each other in if they are widowed or impoverished, or nieces and nephews feel responsible for their elders' care. Not that I'd want to be in that society necessarily - I would just like some equality and reciprocity in the way burdens and benefits are allocated. I won't be getting the family farm or business when my mother dies - there is no farm or business. My siblings would never dream of compensating me for the sacrifices I've had to make for our parent. They're just glad it isn't them. Many of us here are sacrificing our retirement years to care for parents who never had to take care of their own parents and who lived 20 or 30 years in their own retirements playing golf and doing what they pleased. It's very aggravating and continues to feel extremely unfair.
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We are retired & in our 60's We have 2 mothers that demand our attention. No fun retirement for us after working 40 years. His mom is 92, wants to stay in her home, wants hubby to keep it up, pay her bills, cater to her every whim, she cares nothing about our lives. She's wealthy enough to live anywhere she wants or hire help but she won't. She calls constantly whining & if she doesn't get her way, crying. Even when she was young, she was hateful & selfish. Then there's mine. She never had anything to do with her grandchildren, then complains that they don't come see her. She never visited me after I was grown, was always into hubby, their lives, when hubby #3 died, I tried to keep her but after 3 months, just couldn't make her happy so put her in assisted living. I go a few times a week & do "her list". Give her a shower & wash her hair because she doesn't want the people who work there to do it, pay her bills, heck, my brother a few years younger than me has never lifted a finger. He up & moved to a different state after her husband passed. He's not seen her in 4 years except once at my house on thanksgiving. My husband & I are prisoners of these selfish women. We thought our retirement would be traveling, spending time together, doing things with our grandchildren. After working 40 years, this is it We are exhausted
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Sissisu, sometimes I think our mothers are clones. I wonder if someone up there is manufacturing Stepford-mothers-from-heck. My mother does exactly the same things as yours. I spend a lot of time getting irritated or rolling my eyes. The only thing I can figure is that no matter how bad things get, they need to have the feeling that they're on top. Sometimes it is a bit funny. I did most of the Thanksgiving feast again this year. The rest of the family also brought some dishes. Mom just sat in her chair as things went on about her. Today I overheard her talking to the neighbor about the meal. She said she didn't know what we would ever do without her. Still laughing about that one.
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So, why do you subject yourself to this treatment? Why don't you step away and allow her to arrange her own care?

She's verbally abusive. She's possibly mentally ill. If you are feeling that you have an obligation to her, then call an agency to do the yardwork, the housekeeping, the errands ON HER DIME. Visit once a year for an hour. Send a card once a month.
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I was just thinking how selfish my mom seems to have gotten as she aged. I then saw this discussion, so I know I'm not going crazy.

At Mom's now, losing my mind. I'm working remotely today. I've been here since Monday, and it's taxing. She's 90, but is in good shape except she's not as mobile as she once was. Her hearing is gone, but she won't be tested - it's just ringing in the ears and that can't be helped or "I've probably got a lot of ear wax built up again". She's also lost some dexterity in her fingers, but will not go to a doctor. Nope. If I feel badly, she tells me to get to a doctor immediately (as in an ORDER). I, of course, don't go.

Anyhow, I live 4 hours away, with a good drive - no construction, weather is good, etc. She wants me here every other weekend. No. One sibling is local and he stays away as much as he can; runs errands and carts her around town. He doesn't stay here long. I get it. But because I'm the "girl", she has me doing all the manual labor. It's November and cold, yet I was out Tuesday doing yardwork (that didn't need to be done). I did everything for Thanksgiving dinner and all other meals - she just sits in her chair and treats me like the maid. I thought Thanksgiving went ok, but no. My brother got a new cell phone. She'd already asked me why I had to have such a fancy one. Well, not your business. I'd tried to get her started with a simple tablet and she didn't like it one bit. She thinks a smartphone would be easier. I told her it's the same. No it's not. No keyboard to type on - well how do people text, send emails on phones. Nope. I give up. I said then go to a cell phone store and get one (silently thinking yeah that won't happen, but I'm NOT buying you one). It'd be like every other gadget she's bought and never used. Well, we had a nice dinner, then she fell asleep in her chair after dinner, sibling left to go home. Watching some stupid Christmas special she chose to watch (then promptly fall asleep). Just as it was getting interesting, she turned the tv off. Dead silence. She grabbed her prayer book and I hear her whispering the prayers (I guess for my hapless soul - I'm just no daughter of hers!). Then she starts crying, got up, goes to her bedroom and slams the door. Later she came out as I was still cleaning up the kitchen, b*tching about how she doesn't want any presents if she can't get what she wants. And I'd said there were cheaper ways of getting online other than a smartphone. She took that to mean I meant she couldn't afford it - I can afford it more than YOU,. Angry and unreasonable. All night she was playing tv in her room LOUD. Now we have radio on LOUD. She knows I'm trying to work, but as I've been told, I don't really work, just "punch keys" which isn't work. I work as a Business Analyst, so I'm not just data entry, but to her - she doesn't know what I do - her friend asked her and she did not know. Her friend was mortified, then asked me to explain it and asked questions. Mom felt no shame; she actually said she wasn't interested, so what? But I am to hang on every word every little tidbit (who put out the garbage can when and where....??).
I'm working up in her loft and haven't said word one to her all day, nor she to me. She's expecting me to put up her Christmas tree and all decorations. If I make one comment, oh I'm just useless, I don't like Christmas. No, I don't like being criticized at every move as I try to do stuff for you. Oh, you're so perfect you can't take any criticism. I can, but it's endless, and it's over minute things that do not matter. She even said I couldn't cook after I made the entire meal yesterday, and all her other meals. I will never come back here for this long of a stay again. I think I'm at a 2 day maximum.
If I even ask or say something, I get well this is MY house. Sure it is. But a good host (hah) would be just a little accommodating. Just a little. It's gotten to the point, I don't know how to make a bed, I don't know how to put up her hair in rollers correctly, I don't know how to park the car in her garage correctly, basically I can't do squat correctly. I'm just being too sensitive. I'm being "funny". We eat what she wants. We got sandwiches this week (carry out) and I decided I didn't want any sauce/condiments on mine. Whyyyyy? Since when???? Why did you get packets of sauce? I got them for you. Why don't you want it? Why? What's wrong with you? You're just being "funny". You're no daughter of mine. What will we do with the leftovers? I put them in a bag and said I'll distribute in the office (probably trash bound). I bought 6 donuts for her as she always complains she never gets any. Why did you bring those? Back into my car they went - also trash bound. Anything I do is wrong. Thanks for letting me vent.
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Kuzac, Good, so it's NOT YOU in the story you posted! Whew!
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Thanks staceyb - your advice is just what I was thinking but don't say. Glad your feathers were ruffled; now I know I am not the only one thinking that way. :)
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KuzakAged, I'm so sorry, upon rereading your post, I realized that this may not be YOU, that you are referring to in your story, and I am sorry if I misunderstood the question you asked, but obviously it did ruffle my feathers! Lol!
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KuzakAged, well if I were you, I most definitely would NOT sign my home over to your Deadbeat Son and DIL, that's for sure! And Why doesn't She think your own Daughter shouldn't receive equal share in an inheritance after you are gone? If I were you, I would give your Son and his wife a 3 month notice to vacate, with the intent that you have plans to renovate/remodel your home, complete your garage conversion with the intention of renting it out to someone who in fact Pays Rent, so that you can supplement your retirement. It's high time they moved out and on with their own lives, and You aren't doing them any favors by allowing them to live there rent free, and it sounds like they aren't even helping you maintain your home in any way either, such as yard work, shopping, cooking or cleaning, and she EXPECTS You to give Them Your house, that you worked your entire life, single handedly for? Just Who does she think she is, expecting this of you? No Way, No How! Talk about selfish and entitled! Please don't continue being a doormat for kids who show no appreciation! You are still young, and have the best years of your life ahead of you. You've done your job raising your kids, but somewhere along the way you obviously spoiled them, which is OK, I spoiled mine too, just not to that extent. But they have lost respect for you, and the only way to get that back, is to make them get out of there and work at creating their own lives, and see how hard it really is, and maybe then they might come to appreciate all you've done for them thus far!

If you are old enough to get married, then you are old enough to work and provide for your spouse! Perhaps if they move on in their life, you might become more open and available to having a nice new relationship with someone new and exciting? Theres a whole new world out there just waiting for you to enjoy it, but it won't happen if you've got selfish 30 year olds living at home!

And if your Daughter stays on, and that is what you like and want, then tell your DIL to shove it whete the sun don't shine! Whoever told your kids that you OWE them a home to live in for the rest of their lives? I sure hope you did not! It's time for your well educated Birdies to Fly Away, and make a nest for themselves, away from yours!
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The mother will need to write her own will and leave any possible assets to who she wants. The children and their spouses cannot write the will. The mother can leave everything to a charity if she chooses.
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Phew, I read all the comments and stories and must comment on them. I do agree that it is not fair to demand care from a family member, be it child or parents. How does the following story sound to you.
Single mother, no maintenance for 2 children, scraped and begged and lent money to finance their university education. Child 29 moved out (got married) when single mother moved to another state to earn more money and to pay off house debt and other debt. Daughter had no job, paid nothing towards board and lodging. Then son moved in, promised to pay rent instead of single mother having to rent out house that needed repairs. Son got married, now 6 years later no rent has been paid, single mother pays all utilities, repairs and managed to pay off house. Single mother is retired, gets small pension and building a little unit on top of the garage. Now daughter in law demands that single mother cede the house into son's name as "he" is afraid that daughter of single mother will demand 50% of house value on single mother's death. How do you reconcile this???? If son dies, or defaults single mother can be kicked out - so then where does she go??? Neither son nor daughter do anything for her.
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great discussion.
How about in Laws that come to your house and stay for 3 months and expect all attention on them for 3 months, live like its their house, dont respect ur rules and then leave complaining that not enough was done for them?
selfish!!!!
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I do think the elderly have unrealistic demands on their children.
I've already told my children what I expect from them when my time comes. I want their love and respect but, not their lives. When the time comes where I need help, I want them to put me into assisted living or in some situation where I am cared for but, not living with them. I've been trying to " keep a record" of everything I go through with my mother in my head so I won't do the same to them. But, I think something happens to your brain when you get older and you can't help that behavior. So, I am figuring out now what we will do with me in similar situations to come so they won't feel guilt when those desisions have to be made.
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fedup, I was not concerned at all if you helped in the care. You live too far away. The thing that bothered me was how you talked about your siblings. They are doing a job no one really wants to do. You made them sound like real losers in life. Maybe you should take a fresh look at them and get a new picture.
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NYDIL, I plan on using some , no wait, ALL OF THESE SAYINGS, on my FIL, and I thank you for sharing them!
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Some old sayings that I've come to love:

1. Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

2. 'No' is a complete sentence.

3. I was not put on this earth to be your servant.

4. I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.

5. It is not how much you do but how much love you put into the doing.
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i apologize to the other readers.. i am sorry for getting off on a tangent.. i did not come here to argue.. i came here to find out what I can do, and to assuage the hard situation this is... in spite of what people might think, i am not the heartless child I have been accused of being. I hate seeing my mother continuing to waste away, when she could really be moving, and socializing more. she is depressed , addicted to television, inactive and atrophying, when she could be stimulated, encouraged and given the therapy she needs.
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oh, and JessieBelle, just a quick aside.... I do not intend to disonnect from my mom.. I still call her, and I have never even MENTIONED one word of this situation to her. She is too old, and i'm sure if they are saying things to her, they have to deal with that themselves... I can tell, when my mother asks very pointed questions on my calls, but I have been away long enough to stay out of the drama.. sometimes the ":outsider" knows and understands more than the primary caretakers...my sisters really need to see the flip side of their accusations that I don't know what I'm talking about because i'm NOT THERE, or that I have no right to give any input, and all I want to do is "throw mom in an old-folks home and forget about her." Yes, those are the words they use when I suggested getting occupational therapy, taking mom outside away from the depressing 24/7 news television addiction she has, and getting her involved in a senior day program/ respite care with activities so they can have days off. Instead of ignoring my (and my family practice physician daughter's suggestions,phone numbers, and links to what she gives her patients, instead of accusing me of some nefarious intentions.. '
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Kimber166, does your bil and sil's extended family ever offer to help? If not, why not?

And regarding the Lutheran pastor who was so critical...well, why doesn't he enlist some of his flock to visit your father? I often read the suggestion to find a church whose members visit or do eldercare as part of their ministry (although I often wonder just how realistic this is; these are usually elder volunteers, and they aren't usually very effective at this kind of hands-on care).

The nerve of some people!
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