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I am the only one without obligations, but I have lived independently for many years with cats, but no husband. My brothers want me to move back in with my parents to assist them, but Mom says no cats,which pains me greatly as they are my family too, not to mention the abrupt loss of freedom and feeling as if I were instantly back in high school. It is a small town with little job opportunities so they are planning on giving me an allowance! Wouldn't it be easier on all of us if I transitioned into this role less abruptly by getting an apt. nearby and spending the time needed, and then later moving in or convincing them to go to assisted living?

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Just be careful they do not pull you into doing this slowly. First the train rides back and forth...then, because you are so tired from that..an over night stay a couple times a week, then move days. Till finally they pull you completely in

Beware.

As for you pr dad. The early stages of dementia come with a fair amount of paranoia. My Dad routinely accuses me of bringing in strangers to mess up the house at night. He has claimed I have locked him it....even though the locks were on his side of the door...and it was I that couldn't get in..not him that couldn't get out. Just a few examples of the nutty stuff you can expect. Plus the serious memory loss. Your Mom is burned out for a good reason. Beware. Don't let yourself get pulled in deep.
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I have moved in with my parents. I am the only sibling that could do it.

My situation is really different from yours....but...I also add my voice to the majority here...

Do not do this

You have brothers near by, they can handle this. They do nt want it? Sure, I get that. It is a huge burden. BUT..if they pass this burden to you it will weight hundreds of times harder on you then it would by them sharing this together.

From the sound of this...they want to basically dump and run. I advise you to not put yourself in this position.
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My mother, .at age 69, (Wow! that's my age now!) left her home and husband to help one sister care for a second sister with terminal cancer. I imagine getting away from my father was kind of a relief, but she became "trapped" there. She didn't come home until I discovered that I needed surgery. I think that was her "get out of jail" card. They didn't really know what they were doing, and I guess the dying sister eventually went to a nursing home where younger stronger people took care of her.

I would tell your brothers that you can handle this for the summer, but starting in September you would need to be paid by the brothers or by your parents. Look into how expensive home care aids are. It's shocking. They don't get paid enough to live on, and yet they are too expensive for most middle class people to afford.

Unless you have a nice retirement account from your previous jobs, you can't afford to do this long-term. Before you start, make a list of rules, regulations and requests about how you are to be treated. Make the list twice as long so you can "give up" some demands without giving away anything important. Mom and Dad should make up a similar list. Don't forget, they drive you crazy, but you drive them crazy too! And don't give up your cats!!!!

This experience can be so rewarding, if you don't get trapped forever. You will discover strengths you didn't know you had. You will get to know your parents on a different level. It is satisfying to care for those who cared for you. And you can give them a month's notice and QUIT if it's too awful.
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Elaine, I'd suggest that you have the serious discussion about assisted living during the summer so you are ready to transition in the fall. Sometimes these transitions come upon us suddenly, due to a change in the situation. It's very stressful to all to have to locate a facility on very short notice. What can also happen is that changes happen incrementally - 3 days a week turns to 4, with perhaps an overnight added..... we try to "bandaid" the situation, rather than making a big change.
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Ack! It sounds like you're going to be one tired puppy on "a few days out of the week." How many days would that be, since a week only has a few days. :) Sorry, I couldn't resist joking. Are you going to work mornings, then catch a train to your parents, then come home later in the evening, and go to bed? We can say it in a few seconds, but it sounds like 16 hours of work. I would be exhausted in no time. I'm glad your brother is at least buying the tickets. Well, at least I think I am, but not sure. It depends on how it turns out.
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Elaine here again! After talking with both brothers and Mom, we have decided on a temporary solution that involves me riding the train down(20 min ride) and staying till evening just a few days out of the week. The train doesn't depart here til after lunch so my early hrs work schedule will not be disrupted and I can get Dad off Moms back for a while, and help her with some household things as well. She sounds happy to give that a try until Fall, when the more serious discussion about assisted living will have to take place. My brothers will be buying the train tickets.
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Elaine, study everything you can get your hands on regarding dementia. In fact, go to the blue bar near the top of this page and click on SENIOR LIVING.... and click on ALZHEIMER'S CARE... scroll down to the articles. Alzheimer's and dementia are similar so all the articles will help you.

Your Mom is burning out for a reason, ask her what her day is like with your Dad from morning through the night. And have her be honest with you. And she should be able to tell you what your Dad likes to do to keep busy, if anything.

My Dad is just starting to have issues with memory, and with eyesight... he's happy just sitting in front of the TV watching 24 hour news. I am lucky, my Dad wanted to move to Independent/Assisted living as he knew his house was too much for him. Whew, what a relief.
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Elaine again, one more bit of info! Dad has macular degeneration in both eyes, so some things, like puzzles, aren't so helpful. Seeing small details is difficult. Suggestions?
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Elaine here, and I am having trouble not crying after reading all your comments and advice. I agree that I cannot uproot my life to help my Mom, no matter the love I have for my parents. It would just be too much on me and I believe I would be resentful in the long run. I'm angry at my brothers for trying to put this on me, and yet I do feel that I should do something, since I have more free time than they. Toying with the idea of traveling by train a few days a week to spend time, without disrupting my schedule, at my brothers' expense. At least for the summer till we can convince Dad that moving to assisted care is ok. Thank you all so much! I don't have any experience with dementia, and haven't been able to spend that much time with Dad, so any help and direction in activities, etc. would be welcome! He is in a moderate stage now.
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Listen to Lassie
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I agree with all. Do not put yourself in a situation where you endup can not pull yourself out. regardless of what type of your job...remember your health, your life is important. Helping parents is okay but not 24/7. taking care of an elder is not like taking care of a child. As I said before to work for your parents you need to have contract with your parents and not with your siblings. and work for certain hours. remember you need to state you will have days off. if you do not do that you will drain yourself and no one of your family will listen to your cry.
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I agree with everyone else, that's a big fat NO, do not move. And don't ever think again about giving up your pets, they are your immediate family.

I want to reach through the computer screen to strangle whomever suggests that if a daughter is single she should give up her job to take care of the parents. Or if a daughter has a husband, but no children, then the same request. Your time is just as valuable as that of your brothers. And your jobs are just as important as their jobs.

Yes, the family dynamic would change back to adult/child if you did move in. You would be once again 16. I wouldn't even move into an apartment nearby as you would find yourself eventually at your parent's place 24 hours a day. Forget the allowance, it would never pay the income you are now receiving. Nor would it be enough to put into Social Security/Medicare. And erase the idea of taking the train back to your old location to clean offices, you wouldn't have the energy.

Your Mom is smart, she knows she can no longer take care of a home AND take care of your Dad. If your parents can afford Assisted Living, let Mom move there first. She deserves a much needed rest. Your Dad may or may not follow her there, but that would be his choice. Just don't enable him so that he still stays in the house.
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Your cats are your babies. Don't you dare give them up! (I have seen poor animals just dumped off at the shelter when they became inconvenient.) And for heavens sakes, listen to the advice and Do Not Go There. You are not the savior of your parents, working cheap, because you got nothin' going on. The family will have to pull together and bring in sitters and hired help.....See, you start out on this kind of thing with good intentions, and a heart full of loving kindness. 'how hard could it be? a little housekeeping, a little cooking, putting the pills in the box, an occasional doctor appointment. And I'll have a HHA come in once a week, or hire a sitter so I can have a little break once in a while." HA! You will end up a crying, stressed to the max frazzled wreck with the weight of the whole world on your shoulders, 24/7, and NO HELP FROM THE FAMILY. NONE. I guarantee it.
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Elaine again! I forgot, Dad is 85 and in a moderate stage of his dementia. Mom is 83 and is suffering from some back issues, along with stress and tiredness from Dad's bad sleeping habits, and having to deal with her dwindling quality of life.
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Elaine here!! My, what support! I had.no. Idea! Thank you all so much for your comments! It has been an eye opener! My situation is this currently: I work receiving for a retail company that can't figure out how to schedule us, other than to change it to suit their whims. The pay is poor, and the hours are few.maybe 16 per week if lucky. I also clean a business office and adjoining apt nearby which pays pretty good. As I said, I have 2 cats. One for more than 10 yrs! Gave up another cat I'd had that long once before and felt like I was abandoning my child! Cried for days! I live in Springfield, Il, where there is public transportation and other things that are helpful to me, considering my low income and no driver's license. Moving to Carlinville, my hometown would be nice, except for the drawbacks it presents. Rent is still about the same, though I do get housing assistance that could transfer if a place is available. I could train up to Springfield and still clean the office if I wanted to. Train ride daily to Carlinville could also be an option. I could take a temp leave from work for the summer to help until Mom decides to move to assisted living. Dad doesn't want that, and I understand that change gets him pretty messed up, but Mom is ready to give up the house they can't take care of. One brother lives up here and the other south near St. Louis. Both have very good serious jobs and can't give that up. There aren't many resources in Carlinville to help her, and there aren't jobs to help me if I did make the move. My son lives in Carlinville also, but drives to Springfield to work long hours as Asst Mgr at a Wal-Mart. At least I would get to see my grandson and grandaughter more often. That's about the gist if it, and I need to figure out what's going to work best. Thanks, and keep the comments coming! I truly value help from those who have experienced this!
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Hope, give them notice that you are leaving in two weeks. Then leave.
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Dear Elaine Please do not fall in the same mistake I had done. I am a caregiver for my mother for 9 years and I have no out. my family thinks our mother is my responsibility since I am unmarried. I gave my professional job for mom and took care of mom and still. This is a very exhausted work and you will drain yourself mentally and physically and emotionally. Once you try to withdraw your family will jump at you and be very mean to you just because they don nto want to do this type of care. taking care of elder will suck your life and you end up hate yourself and feel you wish to die every day. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS. if you have to then have a contract with your parents to pay you and make sure you will have time off and work for them certain hours and not 24/7. I am taking care of my mom 24/7. and my family has no mercy to me.
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No one has the right to dictate the terms when asking for help. I would tell them to take a flying leap.
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I don't know if Elaine is still here. There is so much we don't know. How old is her mother? How advanced is the father's dementia? What are the circumstances that makes Elaine the right choice? What are the parents' finances like? All these things are important.
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Emphatically NO.
My siblings assumed I would sacrifice my life for my parents for the same reasons- "You are single and had no children"
Well I did, and I will never be the same strong woman I was.
How presumptuous and selfish of your brothers- they can hire someone
because you are not available to sacrifice yourself.
yes, that takes big courage to say and i wish I had.
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Don't do it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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In what century do your brothers reside? Or are you perhaps a member of an ethnic group in which the unattached daughter is assumed to be the one who will sacrifice her life to caregiving?

It sounds as though your family is unaware of the resources that exist for the care of the elderly. Help your mom contact the local area agency on aging, the alzheimers society, adult day care, etc. Perhaps accompny her and your dad to his next doctor's appointment and explain that your mom has no local support, what do they suggest in terms of level of care neded and how to access that.

When your brothers tell you that you "must" do something, laugh gently and say " oh, i couldn't possibly do that". Why? "Because I don't want to...why don't you?".
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ElaineA57, my sympathies really are with your mother. Been there, done that, needed help! I cared for my husband in our home through his ten-year journey with Lewy Body Dementia. I don't know your mother's age or her health or your father's symptoms, so our situations may not be that similar, but I'd like to take a shot at giving some advice:

Dear Elaine's Mom:

My heart goes out to you. Your life partner, your soulmate, your equal other half has now become your dependent. Emotionally this is devastating. On top of that you now have to do all the household things you used to do, all the things he used to do, and all the new things that taking care of him entails! This triple-whammy on top of the emotional distress is almost overwhelming. And it literally cannot be done without help.

What kind of help do you need? I suggest that you sit down with your children and discuss this in detail. Perhaps they can provide some of that help themselves and also help you figure out how to arrange the rest of it. Here are the kinds of help I needed:

1) Medication management. Both my husband and I took lots of pills. I tried lots of ways to lessen this burden on me. In the long run one of our daughters took over that task. She came every two weeks and filled two one-week pills boxes for each of us. She made the drug store order for refills. This was about an hour to two hours of her time about twice a month, and it was a huge relief to me.

2) Cleaning help. Nearly anyone can clean a house. I felt no one could care for my husband as well as I could. It made sense to pay someone else for the routine household task and free myself up to focus on him. I didn't want to use my children to take on this chore -- they were more valuable in direct contact with their Dad. (They did help out with the more heavy cleaning once in a while -- "Spring Cleaning" stuff.) I also simply lowered my standards a bit.

3) Meals. I'm an awesome cook and I like it, but I took a lot of shortcuts during those 10 years. There are fairly good frozen meals now. Take-out from nearby restaurants helped. Family contributions of hot dishes, casseroles, soups, etc. can be a godsend. Do you have family nearby who could help in this way? Even a child who visits once a month can bring several frozen meals and help out for much longer!

4) Yard work, home maintenance, things like cleaning the gutters, shoveling, filling the water softener tank were taken on by one son. For the year he was working out of the country I hired a handyman and lawn service. If you husband can still do some of these things I encourage you to let him, with some supervision, but lots of tasks will be beyond him. If you have a child who can come twice a month and do a list of chores for you, awesome! Otherwise, hire them done. And, again, lower you standards!

5) Respite: No caregiver can do the job 24/7/365 without breaks and also retain their sanity. Can't be done. I found a volunteer service that came in for a few hours at a time, so I could go out to lunch or have my nails done, etc.

The best thing in this regard was enrolling my husband in an adult-day-health program for a few days a week. I understand you are in a small community, but even if you have to look elsewhere in the county, this can be a fabulous option. It gave me a little free time and also gave my husband other adults to interact with and other activities for stimulation.

6) Direct care: As my husband declined, even though I was still the best person to care for him, I really needed more direct help with that. I had a PCA come in four days a week. She helped him bathe and dress, fixed him breakfast and lunch, watched television with him and talked about what they were watching, supervised him doing his exercises, did jigsaws with him, etc. She also helped me take him on some outings, such as to the county fair.

7) Social interaction: Here is where family can really shine! Take Dad to lunch. Take him for a haircut. Bring an iPad loaded with vacation pictures to show him. Just sit with him, while you take a nap or run errands. One of our daughters lived in a different state. She couldn't visit regularly but she came for a couple of weeks at a time and provided lovely respite. The local kids arranged to drop in often, and the semi-local ones came less often. Their Dad was always glad to see them.

I wish you every success in keeping your dear husband home with you as long as you can. You will absolutely need help to do this. I hope your children can work with you to find the resources you need to provide this help.
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DON'T DO IT!

This is like watching an old horror movie while the heroine decides to go into the dark basement to investigate a noise. And everyone in the audience is screaming in their minds, "Don't do it!"

Please don't be the foolish heroine and do it anyway. We see this scenario played out again and again on these discussion boards. Please, please, take our cautions to heart! Please, at the very least watch a few horror movies (that is, other posts on this site) before writing your script.

First of all, your parents have raised their children, worked, paid their taxes, faced life's obstacles. They deserve a cat-free old age if that is what they want. That simply means they need to make arrangements for help that do not involve cats. That lets you off the list. End of that discussion.

There are dog people and cat people and pet people and no-pet people. We each have out own preferences, which should certainly be respected. Where ever in the world is it written that your parents preference for no-cats is more important in the scheme of things than your preference for cats? Really? Who made up that rule? Because I just rescinded it for you. I'm sure I have as much authority in the matter as whoever made it up in the first place.

Whatever you do to help your parents, do it without giving up your cats. (I myself am in the no-pets camp, but I certainly respect other peoples rights and needs in this regard.)

Next, they are offering you an "allowance." The very way this is phrased is demeaning. The fact that they don't seem to realize this is scarier than the offer itself. They can use this allowance money to bring in household help such as a cleaning service, laundry help, meals on wheels or other food service, lawn and house maintenance, etc. This will free Mom up to focus on Dad better. And it certainly does not have to be done by family. (This is the kind of help I needed first to be able to care for my husband with dementia.)

Perhaps, if it also meets your own needs, moving back to their town, in your own apartment or house and continuing your career (with your cats, of course) would be suitable. You'd be close enough to visit often, maybe daily, give Mom breaks, perhaps stay with Dad some weekends, etc. (The kinds of things your brothers could and should also do.)

Your are the only family member "without obligations." I'm going to assume this is because you choose to live your life this way. That is a perfectly valid choice. It is every bit as valid as lifestyle choices your brothers made. So why it it your lifestyle that is going to be disrupted, and not theirs? Give this some serious thought. I suspect the answer is "because you're the girl and your life choices aren't as important as the boys'" Are you OK with that?

DON'T DO IT! Don't go down into that dark basement!!
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Could you afford an apartment without a full time paying job?

In some instances you can collect social security for caring for your parents but they must qualify for assistance which they not

Most likely your parents will need to utilize all their assets including equity in their home to pay for care - some folks can lovingly quit their job and care for a parent but this is a personal choice

I cared for my mother for more than 8 years while working 50+ hours a week without even a weekend off while my brother and sister both retired did next to nothing- while she left me her home in her will , it is quite likely it will have to be used for her care in ALF which is private pay
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Another thought....tell your brothers you want an escrow account set up in your name for your wages, and you expect to be compensated enough that deductions can be taken just as if you were working for a professional employer. Emphasize the escrow account - that'll let them know you're serious.

You asked about getting paid - this is how; your brothers or your mother pay you.
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I can hardly see to type b/c of all the red flags that have arisen while reading your post.

First, why would you be subject to the direction and mandates of your brothers? What authorizes them to tell you what to do, especially to make sacrifices to be a full time caregiver? And what are they doing?

Second, you're getting an "allowance"? Like a child? Why not a salary and enough to compensate for benefits you'd lose from a real paying job?

Third, what guaranty do you have they'll actually pay you?

Fourth, you should have a caregiver contract, with penalties for their failure to pay you, take deductions, etc. It should be drafted by an attorney, not your brothers.

Fifth, don't give up your cats. Demanding this kind of sacrifice is the biggest red flag of all. You'd be moving into a Cinderella type situation.

Sixth, you're not even on site and already you're being told what you have to sacrifice. What will happen if you do go there? You'll essentially be at the mercy of your mother and brothers. What else will they order you to do?

Don't do it.
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The only way under normal circumstances is if parents pay you. That would require a care agreement and your parents would become your employer. They would have to pay into social security, medicare, state and federal taxes, workmen's comp, the entire gamut. The value of having a live in caregiver? An agency would charge about $12,000 a month. Wouod you ever give your folks a gift of that value? And what would brotgers gain in terms of parents not having to pay for care making assets increase or at least stay stable to be split three ways upon their deaths. I am sure your bros would love to have you provide free care.
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I should have written a bit more. Your mother saying no cats told me that life with your parents would not be simple for you. It told me that she will rule the roost and will expect you to live under her rules. It will be like you're instantly back in high school, just as your wrote. Leave your cats?? No way.
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Do you have a job right now? I wondered why your brothers thought that you are the one that can give up everything to take care of parents. Tell us a bit more.

One thing I am thinking is that you would be doing your parents and family a tremendous favor, and the first thing they say is you'll have to give up something you love. Your response should be that your cats come with you. Period.

Really I think that you should consider other options before you do this. If you work you cannot afford to give up a paycheck and your retirement for a simple "allowance." You still do have to take care of yourself.
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