Follow
Share

My parents in their 80's are probably in the category of the 'greatest generation'. Their lives seem to have fallen in line with similar paths of others. Dad proudly served this country in the navy, met mom when he returned and they both worked day jobs to put themselves through college. Nobody gave them a dime, but they made their money through hard work and seemed to take satisfaction in that. Dad didn't retire until he was 72 years old. Even then, they were active and volunteered at the local hospital, church and community. They traveled, but remain living in the area they grew up so many people know them wherever they go. Two years ago mom became ill with a broken hip and has declined rapidly with various issues since then. Dad is her primary caretaker, exhausted and tired. They rarely leave the house. Mom says she wants to die. Dad says he has no quality of life. I do what I can to support, help with doctor appointments and help around their home.
What breaks my heart is they way I see the essence of what they are disappearing. Dad even told me "I'm too old for this world". I think what they value ... things like honor your word, live the example, treat others as you wish to be treated, respect of country, always take time for kids/grandkids are things that nobody seems to have any regard for. People seem to have no patience with them, don't take any time for them.
Is it just me? Does this happen to every generation as they age?
My parents always had me and my sister's family at their house for Christmas, but this year let my sister host the dinner. At the last minute mom felt ill, and couldn't make it. My sister's 25 year old son said "Oh great, do we have to just mope around all day because they're not here?" I cringed. My sister kept telling me that it's not all about mom & dad and she wanted her kids to have a good holiday. So, she never mentioned our parents at all during the dinner. Nobody did. I stayed briefly and left. I've never been close to my sister and will likely never return to any "holiday" celebration with her again.
Is this odd? Do I have a self-absorbed sibling raising similarly-focused children?
I find it heartbreaking. Does it always come down to this?
Thanks.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
I, too, wish I had hugged my mom more as she was slipping away. I was there but I was also juggling work and other commitments, so I let Dad do most of the care-giving. I should have gotten them some assistance (or taken a leave of absence) but she didn't want a stranger around and Dad was task-driven, trying to keep up the house. I'm not sure he could have handled it any other way. But I am sure she felt alone. I wish I knew her as a person besides being my mom. Now I have to figure out what Dad needs at this stage of his life, waiting to die.
(2)
Report

I think the old "do unto others" from the bible fits. If everyone could just take the time to try to look at things from another's perspective whomever that person might be and treat them how you yourself would like to be treated, that would go a long way. I don't care if it's your grandmother, your teacher, the guy begging for change..............whoever.

I think the problem today is nobody wants to feel uncomfortable for even a couple of hours. It's so much easier to leave grandma across the room and ignore her than to sit and hold her hand. Who cares if she isn't making sense or she is a crabby old bat, do it anyway.

Of course, I'm not speaking to those of you who always had estranged relations with parents who abused you are something equally as horrible. But if the worst thing your parent, your sibling, grandparent...........,did to you was grow old, then take the time to be nice. You'll feel better afterward too.
(5)
Report

SueC1957: I am so very sorry to hear about your son. The drug epidemic is at an all time record in the state of Maryland. Our Gov. Larry Hogan has really stepped up the programs that will try to eliminate the problem. Needless to say, he has his hands full. Big hugs ((( ))) to you.
(2)
Report

I totally understand the feeling of a parent's essence slowly vanishing. My 2 adult sons and I are the primary caretakers of my soon to be 89 year old mom (Alzheimer's). She lives with us and has lots of bad days. She has stated she wants to die now for years. She has also been incontinent for years, and now can barely walk. She regularly refuses to eat but when we put food in front of her and go through the motions of sitting down with her to eat, she always starts eating too. We've learned to ignore so much and simply trudge forward with life. I've made playlists of her favorite music (from the 40's and 50's) and have lots of CD's as well as DVD's of her favorite shows. During her bad days, it's always so hard to reach her, but when she does have a good day, she'll tell me how much she loves me; I love her good days.

My 2 older brothers are vacant from her life even though they live close. I've had a terrible time coming to terms with this, but I try to focus on the wonderful things I can provide my mom. I am beyond grateful that my sons can juggle their lives around and be there for my mom which gives me a break. They also have friends (in their 20's) who treat my mom with respect, and so much love! I don't think it's an "age" thing. It is definitely a "values" thing. How can family members who grew up around my beautiful mom not be there for her? I get it, it's not easy to see someone you love in such decline, but the knowing you weren't there when they're gone will be far worse.
(9)
Report

Dear Ginger May:
I looked after my parents for 20 years. My mom died of stomach cancer in 2003 and my dad died of coal miners lungs disease in 2014. I agreed to move in with them with my family for the sole purpose of caring for them. My sisters were very much against me staying to watch my father. They told me "daddy doesn't need anyone to care for him". My father begged me to stay and so I did. My father's decline was long and painful for him. Hospital visits were more frequent and longer. The last 2 years were terrible. Constant oxygen machine and still he had shortness of breath. My father spent the last 2 years on the love-seat in the living room. I made dinner every night (always his Italian favourites) and instead of sitting at the dinner table, my four children and I sat around him and kept him company and chatted. We always made him feel needed and appreciated. One night at the hospital after his surgery to insert a drainage tube in his lung, he started bleeding profusely from his lung. I thought he might die that night. I called both my sisters. My younger sister told me to call him if he died. My older sister said "what can I do if I come? I'm at the cottage and they are having 3 days of Christmas activities. I've taken my grand daughter every year and I don't want to disappoint her". Call me if he dies and we'll deal with it." I said nothing. My father was there for his 3 daughters always and sacrificed so much to give us a good life. Why can't you sit your children and grandchildren down and explain that life isn't always about good times. Nonno needs us. He is probably terrified and wants to say goodbye before he goes to heaven. My father did not die that night. He lived on another year. I invited them over for Family Day (Canadian Holiday) and they declined. My father passed away on Oct 14/2014. That was one day after Canadian Thanksgiving. I cooked turkey dinner and my four children and I ate dinner with him at the hospital. He was so happy and grateful and so were my kids. The next morning the nurses woke me (I slept at the hospital on a camping bed with him) to tell me that it was his time. He died in my arms while I thanked him for being such a great father to me and my four kids (their father left them 10 years prior). My children learned to sacrifice for my parents at a very young age and believe me that lesson has moulded the wonderful young adults they are today. We will ALL get old and die. We will be treated in the same way we have taught our children to treat our dying parents. What goes around, comes around. My sisters have been fighting me for my special inheritance for over 3 years now. They are rich so I am sure to lose the last 20 years of my life to them. They can take the money I deserve, but they can't ever steal the relationships that I built with my mom and dad. Shame on them and all the greedy siblings on earth. If it had been me, I would have had Christmas at your mom and dad's. Your sister will live on to enjoy many more celebrations, but your parents won't. We should teach our children and grandchildren that life is not always a party and maybe if Christmas had been celebrated at your mom and dad's, your nephew might have reflected on that day when your sister will get old and very sick. He may have decided that she will deserve to be surrounded by family and love. That ship has most likely sailed. Our elders should be "treasured" not discarded or be thought of as a burden in the last years of their life. I will end here because I could write a million pages of what I learned in the past 20 years. Good luck Ginger May
(8)
Report

I taught my son all the "correct" behaviors. He went to Sunday school. He knew to be polite to adults. He knew to interact with grandparents even though they could be "boring" at times. He knew about writing thank you notes and to say Please and Thank You.
I showed him how to be responsible by taking care of my dad, his grandpa. "Mom, why do you do all that stuff for grandpa?" "Because I'm his only kid and he needs help. Sometimes I don't want to but it's the right thing to do."

During his teenage years, I thought he wasn't as polite (maybe to me) but I heard good things from his friend's moms. Then came heroin. That wiped out everything I taught him. The drug stole my son and all the values he had. He conned me out of thousands of dollars and virtually ignored me and his grandparents except for what we could give him.
My son and I don't get along due to his addiction and I know there will be nobody to do anything for me when I get older. I've come to grips with that.

It took me a long time to admit that my son, who was a GATE kid in school with a higher IQ than me, could turn into someone that I don't know. I did my best to instill the proper morals and responsibilities but narcotics have taken all that away.

He admits that I did all the right stuff as a parent and that his addiction is his fault. Somehow that is no consolation. You can do your best but your kids' choices are the end result.
(4)
Report

I wished I realized the my mom was very slowly disappearing from the material world and I have come to think that it is just part of the process of dying. Although, I did everything for my mom now that she is gone I wished I did more or differently. A friend had told me that anything my mom might do or say that is hurtful to ignore. Best advice every. I was sole caretaker, sibling lived out of state/town. That was OK with me I knew I was giving her the best. I just wished I had asked more questions and hugged her even more. She wanted to be independent and I let her have as much as she wanted. Unbeknownst to me, 2 weeks before she died I took a series of pictures her. She loved all the extra attention and fuss I made over her. Now it's the best memory I have of her lasts days. I remember telling myself that I must always smile and be cheery with her even when things seemed tough. The tough times only lasted briefly and I just let it go. I miss my mom so much. She died in June. My dad had died in a car accident when we were both young I was 27 he was 51. I know I had a though time with that too as he died instantly in a car accident. But I always remember his last hug and the feel of his T-shirt. I was a daddy's girl. I was lucky to have a fabulous mom and dad.
(8)
Report

I do understand your concern for your parents, who you dearly love. I'm sending hugs to you. ((( )))
(4)
Report

My husband and I were just talking about the Millennial generation and about the social skills they are not learning. It gets to the point when one of 20 year old nieces or nephews cannot pick up a phone or write a thank you note at best for a gift we have given them that we just don't want to do it anymore because of the rudeness they exhibit. What is happening with the social skills of the college age generation? They're non existent! Part of it may be that their parents are often working multiple jobs. I just don't get it! I was brought up in a society where one says "thank you" and "you're welcome" and honors our elders by treating them with dignity and respect.
(2)
Report

I apologize, I was trying to message from my cell phone and didn't do it correctly.

We are disappearing from this world. I am 83 hubby 86, most of our friends and family of our generation are gone. One problem we have is all our repair people are either retired or dead. We have to get all new electricians, plumbers, pest control. Who do you trust? All the guys that would come over and help us move heavy stuff for a 6 pack are either dead or too ill. We are disappearing, and that is a fact. Just think when we get to the other side, they will all be there and tease us by asking what took us so long.

My 2 girls call me, both live too far away to be of any help. Grandchildren too. Everyone is trying to get by in this life. I call them. I Facebook. All of the grown ones connect to us that way. I call my 91 year old aunt in Texas, she is in AL. Most of the time I get "Honey, can I call you back? I am (choose one) playing cards, playing Bingo, listening to music". I volunteer, I know my days are numbered with that because my husband is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's.

I am trying to plan my life so I won't be a burden to my family. My mother used to say, you pay for your raising by raising your own. The bible says, That is why a man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife and the two will become one. To me that means that the younger generation should go off on their own. My two oldest granddaughters, live in the Seattle area, I live in So. Cal. Once a year, I pay for them to come and see me for a couple of days. While they are here they see all the family and friends if they have time. They work, they have to live where work is. We make choices, some people want to stay where they are even though it means giving up a social life. I know it hurts to see your parents ignored by the kids, but they aren't as attached as we are.
(4)
Report

After reading a few of the comments in regards to your heartbreaking but very similar to my situation post, it sadly makes me realize my situation isn't so unique. So much despicable, disgusting behavior before my dad passed this last September. A few of the more memorable moments: oldest and youngest brother (I only have 2) and youngest sister (I have 6) ordered the largest dumpster the city will deliver and proceeded to dump most of my parents possession of over 60 years all while my father lay dying in HIS and my mothers home. My mom is in the advance stages of Alzheimers and was also at home with her 24hr caregiver. They did this despite my parents request that NOTHING be removed from their home until BOTH of them had passed. Than the day my father died my despicable so called sister decided to "TEXT" a message of my fathers passing. Forgot to mention the oldest brother tried to do a reverse mortgage on my parents home but was unsuccessful. All while my mother lay living and breathing in her room. Oldest brother is holding in his possession $100,000.00 worth of US bonds he claims my father purchased but won't give them up. We've uncovered other evidence he's been stealing money from my parents but claims they're "reimbursements" My parents like yours were and are in their late 80's. Dad was a career Air Force man and loved God, his wife and family, and country. He flew the American flag every day of his life until his end. He was good man. My parents were the best parents they could be. Never in a million years did I ever expect the kind of despicable, disgusting behavior I've witnessed. Obviously this will end up in court to recover whatever my a-hole brother took. We still need those funds to take care of my mom...24hr care isn't cheap!
(4)
Report

I actually think the great-grandkids are better with my father than my siblings, their parents. I have one brother that chose to be away in another state for many years and then was upset when our mother died before he came home. She fought a terminal disease for 6 years so it wasn't like he didn't have the opportunity to visit. He made the funeral. Now he lives 40 minutes away from our father and never visits him. He and my other brother are "too busy" even though children are grown and neither are employed. They both seem to spend a good deal of time on their own health. I can't control them and don't expect to see them when Dad is gone. Just wish I could find Dad some friends his own age.
(1)
Report

Oh, wow. You sound like you could be my clone in many ways, GingerMay. We only have our 95 (next month) year old mother still with us, but neither of my two siblings wants to take any responsibility for spending time with or caring for her except for my husband and our two local daughters. We do have one niece who lives in the Boston area (we are in southern NJ) who both calls and visits on periodic trips down south to visit family but that's about it. My brother lives in Kansas and my sister, who lives about 1 1/2 hours from our mother's AL, will MAYBE make the trip to see her 2 - 3 times A YEAR. She calls sporadically and actually has the gall to complain when I have asked for any help whatsoever, including a visit. Mom has pretty advanced dementia and can be exhausting, but it's just so terribly sad how patience and time is totally a thing of the past for many. So, you have both my empathy, and sympathy. Hugs to you for being so caring and compassionate - they are rarities in today's world.
(3)
Report

I just got home from my parents...wiped..today I was cleaning out my moms closet for the needy. Wow, have you been listening in our conversations over the last several years. My dad, 91 next month has been the primary caregiver to mom who stroked 2013 affecting her cognition and memory. NOT Alzheimer’s but mimics it. He has declined rapidly, 18 months ago he agreed to a caregiver who now (after months of arguing) comes 4 days a week...2 afternoons mom goes to a day care which SHE loves. That took me lying to him (PT) with help of the doctor. He’s done! He told me on Christmas Eve he’s thought of raking the 38 caliber road home. Mom has no clue who she is, where she is or who lying next to her each morning; oh very compliant, THANK GOD, but LOST. She cries at night when I put her in bed that she wants to go.
All their friends are dead. My 3 siblings chose this time to blame my parents for their raising...even tho we had done family counseling 20 years ago and all was put to rest then. Brother called and told my parents they were white trash and liars. Mom and dad spent more time, money and effort on him always.
My parents too worked for everything they have, no handouts or gimmes. They did well and saved, I’m amazed at how people can turn their backs on the two people who brought you into the world and fed, clothed and card for you. Sure they made mistakes but, I’m a parent and I make mistakes too, we ALL do. They will be the ones in the end who will regret their choices and if they don’t - we’ll very cold hearted. Not people I want in my life, they also abandoned me which took a few years to come to terms with, but I have.
As I read you post - I completely identified with the heartbreak of watching these two people who came so far from NOTHING, were so active and happy, travelled all over together (72 years together, 70th anniversary next month), raised four kids and made a life with each other...withering away. It’s barbaric to see, it just shouldn’t be this way. My heart goes out to you...I can’t answer your questions, but I completely relate to your situation. Bless you for being the daughter you are to them.
(8)
Report

I am younger than most of you here, but I am an old soul. I have been a caregiver to my father-in-law since his first stroke 11 years ago and my home. I am shocked and amazed how horrible some people in hospitals and doctors office treat him and at the same time his children. We are now a self-absorbed Society full of entitlement. These things aren't taught to our children anymore. Everytime my grandchildren come in my home I make them say hello to their great-grandfather. The five-year-old now says he doesn't want to, but I tell him he has to if he's in my home bcuz he wouldnt like it if no one said hi to him. Do to others, my sweet grandson as you would like done to you.
I feel it is my duty and responsibility to teach this by doing, by example and not making it optional. It is our responsibility to take care of the elderly, the disabled, the less fortunate, even if they are not related to us, then just as human beings to take care of the weaker Among Us. I fear for this next Generation when they get old. They will have no one. I hope I'm not around to see it. I began my journey with my father-in-law at age 37 and I'm 48 now. I have seen things that make me cringe. My grandfather died 3 days ago. He was a 97. The last few years his six children all took shifts to take care of him and supplemented the other time with a home health aide. Everyone did their responsibility. Some could do more than others, there were disagreements, but in the end they all did as much as they could for several years to keep him as comfortable as possible until he left this world. I cannot say the same thing about my father-in-law's family. I have since found out in the last 11 years that my family was unusual nowadays. It would have been considered normal many many many years ago, but I have had doctors tell me over and over and over again that there's usually just one person that handles everything and the rest of the family disappears. Respect of Elders and responsibility toward Elders has been replaced with selfies. May God help me to continue to teach my grandchildren to respect their elders and care for the elderly whether they want to or not. Fake it till you make it. Again. I always say to find balance. We shouldn't give them our whole lives because then we'll become resentful, but we must give them to care and respect they deserve because in the end what goes around comes around. May God help the caregivers to keep going!!!
(9)
Report

my mom and grandmother both colored their hair; my grandmother's hairdresser even did hers, I thought, after she passed away, but I could be wrong, might have been before, just so it would be sure to be done, just know mom didn't have, apparently, quite that same kind of relationship with anyone, though I did find somebody willing to come out and do hers after she had hip surgery, but when she passed away somewhat unexpectedly some months later and although up until not too long before I'd been with them almost constantly, I hadn't seen her then for quite a while and was somewhat surprised to find that it hadn't been colored and how, not just gray, but white, it had gotten but in a way what made things even more so was that when I tried to have hers colored after she passed away the told me it couldn't be done, still not really sure if we had a misunderstanding, but, anyway, it wasn't done, then, besides that, again, just don't know if she just didn't have a right relationship with someone doing her hair but the assigned person evidently didn't realize how she normally had it done - although could be my fault, maybe should have been more diligent to have taken a picture, but just never thought of that and I think had to do with it being white, not sure would have done it otherwise - and put it up in one of those updo bun kinda things, a way she'd never worn her hair, she didn't even look like herself, nobody'd ever seen her that way, so although many people came, it was somewhat of a shock - however, had any of those people bothered to have come seen before, might not have been....she, too, went through that, especially after she lost her best friend
(1)
Report

I don't know if my comment was posted or not. If not here goes.

Life is passing us but. I am 83 hubby 86. Most of our f
(0)
Report

This is a very interesting series of comments, covering so many issues. It’s hard for kids taken to see a relative. They sit on a chair with nothing much to contribute. Mum says ‘why don’t you tell grandma about xyz’, which makes them totally self conscious. Perhaps asking them to prepare something to say, and then leaving the room while they talk, would work a bit better.

I am 70, and I can see the ‘disappearance’ happening to me. One daughter picked my brains big-time while she was doing a mature-age Masters degree, which interested me a lot, but only talks about trivia now that it’s over. I can see that I don’t contribute in the same way to her current concerns, but it’s hard to be relegated to darning clothes (even though I enjoy it). The other daughter must have forgotten the way I was when earning their living as a single mother, as a consultant undertaking very confrontive investigations and reviews. She is horrified when I say anything difficult in public, and rushes to control me - she prefers the darning grandmother. The ‘real me’ is fading into bland.

I came across something about doing an ‘oral history’ discussion for a daughter to record, and perhaps will see if there is any interest in the idea. Bringing the past histories of me and my second husband into the present for them as adults might lead to a little more interest in our extensive experience. Living it as children seems not to have provided an adult awareness for them now. Or I too might get a coloured wig – I loved that idea!

Best wishes and sympathy to all.
(2)
Report

I feel that happening with my mother. My father died of cancer years ago, and although he was old, he was mentally sharp and active. I make a distinction between just being old (I know a man who is 92 and still active and working) and being elderly (which can happen at, I don't know, as early as 40 for some), when their minds start to go and so do their bodies. My mother is pretty much wheelchair bound, has arthritis and vascular dementia, and hard of hearing, and she gets depressed. I'm the only child and sole caregiver, except for the help I hire, and I get so depressed that I can barely get the bills paid. The house is a wreck.

I see her slipping away, more difficulty finding words (she has good and bad days), and the physical and emotional labor is draining for me. She says she wishes she could die. A nurse said that people are living longer but have no quality of life. Their worlds get smaller and smaller, and there is nothing we can do. I feel guilty for not taking better care of the house but right now just don't have it in me.

I think the elderly feel the world is passing them by and in a sense they are right. I struggle to keep up with the technology, and they just can't. They feel irrelevant.

Often I wish that we had different social structures. Too much is put on families. No one keeps up with extended families with this mobile society, but I think a clan or tribe as the primary social unit would be so much better, for then the caregiving of both children and the elderly and disabled would be spread among many, rather than relegated to a few exhausted family caregivers.
(6)
Report

We don't have to tell THEM what to think, but share own views on the value of our elders.
It IS our job to teach the next generation, either by words or examples, to not miss the great opportunity to learn history first-hand from those older generations.
At some point in the future, they might remember that "Aunt Nellie always enjoyed talking to the old people; now I know why."

One reason old people might feel they are "ready" to leave is precisely BECAUSE they are ignored by new generations. My 95-year old uncle always tells me people either ignore him or talk down to him now. He was a highly successful chemist who traveled ALL over the world and can talk for hours about his experiences, and yet some ignorant whippersnappers treat him as if he is worthless.
Every human on earth needs affirmation and to be relevant.

I personally always gravitate to the older because without a doubt they have had more interesting experiences than most 20-year olds. In fact, after spending time with the elderly, younger folks seem a bit boring. Younger people can share their humor, their energy, their opinions, their hopes, their dreams of their own futures, but most have few real experiences to share.

When I am on a bus, or at the airport, I look around and am aware of my first impressions of people - I am also aware of my ASSUMPTIONS about them, about their income, their education, their lives. But then I remember how many times in the past, how, after speaking with someone, that person changed before my very eyes - after I listened to their fascinating experiences. With old people, you don't even have to agree with them on politics, religion or anything - but just to get a rounder picture of HISTORY, try to learn how they formed their opinions and why. And you certainly do not need to try to get them to change at this time in their lives. Ask their opinions of THEIR parents. We can reach back and get first-hand looks at history from hundreds of years ago. My mother told me stories HER mother had told her about HER mother..... amazing.

One of the gifts I received by spending time with my mom was that I was privileged to witness how MANY kind & patient people there were in the world.

One day I was taking my white-haired uncle to a clinic and as we left, a family was entering. A darling little boy chastised his sister, telling her to get out of the path, "Mary! Watch out. He is our ELDER!"
(10)
Report

When I mean "Their needs came before ours" I meant social needs. Many a time my Mom went without a new coat because one of her 4 kids needed one. We were fed, clothed, warm, and loved. But, if they wanted to visit a friend or relative we all had to go with them. We couldn't say I was going to play with so and so, or I want to stay home. We went as a family. We had one TV so we all sat in the same room and watched it. Dads programs overrode ours. My siblings were so happy when I bought a small portable TV when I started working. We got to watch what we wanted.
(8)
Report

Too many posts to read them all but thought I'd put my 2 cents in.
No, people don't have patience anymore. The world is changing too fast for our elderly to keep up. Technology changes everyday. I see a selfish generation in a lot of kids we call the "Millineums" Parents holding down two jobs and putting kids in extra curricular activities so they don't need to deal with them. I have been saying for years that parents are making children the center of their marriages. This didn't happen in my parents house. My Dad was the bread winner. Mom and him would discuss things but the final decision was his. He worked shifts and Mom didn't drive so it was a bike or walk. Their needs came above ours. Plus, I think social media has taken away the personal side of interacting with people. We all are in a hurry to get nowhere. When your nephew said what he did your sister should have reprimanded him. How can he have empathy for his aging Grand parents when ur sister doesn't seem to have any. It's a shame we r living so long. My husband feels that is why the increase in Dementia and other ailments you don't see till your 80s because our bodies weren't made to live past 80 years. It's Seniors taking care of Seniors.
(6)
Report

Thankfully, none in our close and extended family have said anything like that. Or at least that I heard of! We are lucky in that the grandchildren & great grandchildren all go out of their way to have a relationship with their elders. This extends to cousins as well.

My mom passed away in November at 97, weeks after we had a party for her at the NH -- a party that the grandchildren & local cousins made a point of attending. 5 weeks later my FIL passed away unexpectedly at 80. Only 1 son & his family had no memories to laugh & cry over with the rest of us -- his choice, and one he is regretting. They are now joining the rest of us to rally around the devastated widow.

So sad to hear of so many of our elders not having a loving & caring family to help them thru their final years.
(3)
Report

This certainly breaks my heart. My parents are both 92, soon to turn 93 and will have been married 70 years this year! Things have not always been perfect (is there really such a thing as the perfect family?) but I do my best to overlook those difficult times (especially with my dad) and focus on giving my parents the time and attention I can. They are still living independently and I call them every week and visit them every month, as I live the closest and have the most free time out of my siblings. But yes, it’s so hard to see them “disappearing from the world”. I know each visit and phonecall means so much to them, especially my mom. It means someone cares enough to stay in touch, ask how their day was, ask if there’s anything they need. I cherish the time I have left with them and sometimes wonder if my siblings may regret the times they “could have” made more time to call or see them. I don’t blame my siblings, as each of us have different challenges, but I, for one, am glad I’m spending the time with them that I am while I still have them.
(6)
Report

I am going through the same thing but just a tad different. My parents are just slightly younger and were 60s free-thinkers. Sorta the "hope I die before I get old" line from The Who. They were in perfect health, but at age 70 declared they would rather be dead. So, they holed up in the house and gave up. Cabin fever set in and their marriage deteriorated along with their health and metal wellness. Now less than a decade later they have aged beyond their years and have no where to go but down. My mom (only 75) exclaims that she can't believe how much the world has changed and she just doesn't understand the world. I do find it ironic because she was a 60s-70s hipster who was ALL ABOUT change and abandoning the old fashioned ways. It's a really odd way to see my parents. Dad has been moved to an ALF and mom is dangerously close to not being able to live on her own.
(6)
Report

This is all too similar with many of us. A sibling doesn’t want to “deal” with the situation and the kids are not interested. It is so very sad.
I have/ had to reinforce with my own kids that someday grandpa and grandma won’t be here and by spending time with them now not only makes them happy it is something you won’t look back on and regret.
Now, after my dad has passed I feel like I have to be the greatest showman/girl for my mom. My brother and his family don’t / won’t visit, call, send letters NADA. It’s as if she’s non existent.
So, I walk in that door now with the mindset that my mom is some celebrity. We talk about the things I know that brighten her mood or day.
This attitude is new for me as I used to dread visiting because of her dementia. But it works! She lights up like never before.
I know the Greatest Generation has been through more than we have and it breaks my heart to think they are sad. They are tired, no doubt. But the change of mindset and changing the conversation to positive has really helped me and mom’s visits. Also, I bought her one of those Hasbro Joy For All Companion Cats. Now all the other residents have bought their own, both cats and dogs. Lol It’s something fun and helps take her mind off of trying to understand this world. She’s 94.
Your parents, too, being from the Greatest Generation, need to feel the respect and attention that they deserve and relate too from their era. Sometimes, local American Legion or Recuiting centers will have gentlemen come out to visit with your dad to chat about things they can relate to. Also, check with your Area on Aging (city or county) for help in suggestions in your situation. Prayers for you and your family!
(6)
Report

MomCareFL and pgskatepg -- your posts are wonderful!! My mother will be eighty-eight in May. In April 2016, while living with her grandson and great-grandson (my nephew and great-nephew), she fainted and fell fracturing her neck. She was rushed to the ER and then placed in ICU - had surgery and survived. Went through several months in the ICU, a specialty hospital and a rehab facility eventually having home health to get her back to performing activities of daily living and learning to walk with a walker. She already had severe arthritis in her knees which caused her to use a cane before the fall. She lived in Ohio and I am in California. I caught the next flight after my nephew called and stayed with her, sleeping in chairs in the ICU, the specialty hospital and rehab facility - with a little respite from nephews, their wives and children, as they all have jobs and children to care for. I am the oldest of three, but both of my brothers who had Hemophilia, passed away - one at thirty and the youngest three years before mom's accident, leaving me as the sole care-giver. I accepted this with joy as my mother is more than special to me. She does not remember the accident or many of the things she experienced in her near past. She does know who everyone is - all family members. Most of her memories are from her youth. I promised her years and years ago that I would never put her in a nursing home, and I won't, no matter what I have to do and my adult son feels the same for her and me. I brought her home with me to California. Yes, it is almost a 24/7 job, and I am exhausted most of the time, but I would not have done anything any differently. I am thoroughly confused by the actions of some children and grandchildren as to how they ignore or treat their parents or grandparents with disdain. It truly blows my mind! I know that some parents were not good to their children or abused them verbally, etc, etc. But when parents have been loving and giving all their lives -- why does this happen?
(4)
Report

My parents are, 92 and 85, dad had a stroke 2 yrs ago, up till then he was very active, the stroke affected his eye sight and his memory, so now he basically sits an does nothing, except what mom tells him to do. Mom has always been overweight and has never gotten around good. And now does very little, dad always took care of everything, and now mom is lost, my sister died in 1999, and my brother is quadriplegic, and an alcoholic, i have no help grandkids all live far away, i do as much as i can, they live next door, its very frustrating, i love them, they were good parents, but i get very frustrated with them and then feel very guilty, i dont want thier last years to be sad and horrible, and you are right it seems that once you are no use to anyone they cast you aside, no one calls them even on thier birthdays i have to txt all the grankids and say please call them they are so lonely, all of thier friends have passed on, they used to get together with friends and play cards and dominos, they were always at church events, and now, thiers no one but me, and i lose patience with them. Ive been taking care of both for 2.5 yrs now, sometimes i think i have to just leave get out of here, but i could never leave them alone. It makes me so very sad, and pray that i dont live that long.
(5)
Report

Your post made me cry. My father passed away last year at 92. He had a horrible neurological disease where he couldn't eat, had a feeding tube, talk, incontinent, walk, yet his mind was sharp. He communicated by blinking. He was like this for 2 years. My family all pitched in to keep him from going into a nursing home, he wouldn't have lasted there. We were able to get him home care aids. My 87 year old mother was lovingly by his side. They lived in senior housing.
My father was the best father in the world. A veteran of WWII, was in Normandy on D Day, He was a loving husband to my mother always, he was sweet, gentle and kind to all. Everyone always expressed how much they loved him. He was generous to all. When he was in WWII, in the ditches and trenches of France, he would write to  his parents every day.
His grandchildren, two of them my boys, all around 28 to 30 years old, came to see him whenever they could. My nephew and niece came practically every week. My boys lived out of state but would come at least every other month, spent hours with him when they did. My father couldn't talk, but the hugged and kissed him and told him how much they loved him. My 28 year old nephew said my father was his biggest hero. I live out of state but would visit every month, stay with him as long as I could, we all told him how much we loved him. We never ignored him even though he just laid there in the hospital bed. He was alert. We read to him, played him music from his generation. Some cousins came every weekend, so did my sister, her husband and her kids, gladly
This is what my father deserved after leading an honest, simple yet loving life. When he passed, I felt good that we were all there for him until the day he died.
Even if someone is a miserable parent (except abuse), adult children and grandchildren should honor their parents. They will be that age soon enough.
(11)
Report

Thanks all for your replies. The insight here is fantastic.
My parents have always been engaged with the grandkids, attending games & plays, bringing them to sporting events or going for a spa day and were always generous with gifts. I guess I assumed because they weren't "remote grandparents" that the grandkids would have more of a baseline of compassion and affection toward them. The way they dropped my parents during the holidays leaves me cold.... Oh yes I forgot to mention during Christmas that my brother-in-law joked about how many times my dad called my sister.  So, I know she's complained openly about our parents in her house.  My brother in law is self-centered and treats my sister terribly.  I can only assume the household they created lacks the gentler aspects of life.    
However, the way others respond to them during their very obvious decline should not be anything that consumes my thoughts. I get that. i will chose to focus on my actions. It does however cause a divide in relationships. I wonder if those who don't have the ability to be self-reflective, never see how they impact others, and of course dynamics then rarely improve. Blessings to you all on this thread.
(8)
Report

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.