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constant questions, constant errands.

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Meow, my heart truly goes out to you. I live in Monroe, Wisconsin, and I cannot tell you how often my husband and I have complained about ALL the elderly people in this town. My mother is also 93, and I'm 60, so I know it won't be long before I'm one of those elderly people!!!

But I think I just discovered why this is "old people mecca." We have amazing resources for our elderly. I just got my parents into assisted living, but right before that they were getting Meals on Wheels and I was just getting ready to talk to social services about some in-home help.

Right now I'm feeling worn out because earlier this week my dad fell and went into the ER, then was admitted to the hospital for a couple of days. He's been fighting shingles for over 10 weeks now so I think lack of sleep and some medication caused the fall. Meanwhile my mother has dementia and forgive me for saying it, but she's one big pain in the butt. She's incontinent and has been hiding her used pads all over the place. I'm just discovering that as I'm trying to clean out their condo! Yesterday, when my husband and I dropped off some items (including a covered receptacle for my mom's pads), we noticed that my mom smelled bad. Getting her to change her pad was a major chore!! She didn't want to put on the Depends I got for her; she wanted her pads!! She finally found one and instead of putting in the receptacle, I found that she had wrapped it up in a clean Depends and stuffed it in the package of new ones.

THEN, I walked her down to the dining room (my husband had already taken my father) and she got upset when I put the bib they provided on her. Okay, I get that wearing a bib isn't all that great. But, I don't know why it's preferable to walk around with a food stained shirt.

While we were very fortunate to have a room ready for my parents on Friday last week, it's been kind of overwhelming for me. Suddenly my dad doesn't have his car so I'm running errands for them. My mom got hold of his wallet when he was taken to the ER and we've been looking for it for over a week. Suddenly it turned up on the table in their new apartment! WHERE did she hide it?!

I'm told that things will get better and to give things time. I'm sure being in a new place is difficult, although neither of my parents have complained about it. I've been doing a lot of running because of the things they still need in their apartment, but honestly, pretty much everything else is taken care of. My mom will get her hair done tomorrow in the assisted living facility. They have coffee and sweet rolls in the lobby in the morning, but there is a small refrigerator/freezer, a microwave and sink and lots of cupboards in each room. They can have hot or cold cereal and I also got them some orange juice. I'll also bring a toaster over and their own coffee pot (probably tomorrow). They get lunch and dinner, there is a church service on Sunday. There is a podiatrist who comes weekly or monthly (not sure yet). And a bus will pick my mom up twice a week to go to adult daycare.

So, my husband and I are no longer complaining about the elderly. There services here are amazing and I'm grateful that we have them. We are also fortunate to have a hospital and clinic right across the street from assisted living.

And even with all this (I'm sure it will get better), I feel exhausted! I cannot imagine how you keep up with everything and it's truly nice that you are willing to do so much to keep her "independent," but what about you? Isn't there anything in your area that will help you get a break? I think sometimes we get ourselves into a rut thinking we have no choices. I love my parents and want to do whatever I can to help them, but there are limits. There have to be.

Unfortunately, you are the only one who can do that for you. I know I'm lucky that we have so many options and I'm not sure what I would do in your situation, but I know I wouldn't give up my entire life just so my parent who is only independent because I'm doing EVERYTHING for him/her. You are doing such a good job, she could last another 5-10 years. How old will you be then?

I pray that you get some relief and have a chance to live your own life soon. Good luck.
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What I love about this site, is that every time I begin to feel overwhelmed, and I come read what others are going through, I find the strength to carry on another day. I'm 8 years into caring for my mother. She is in her house, but I have to go everyday and do all of her errands, house and yard upkeep. She walks with a walker and can't get out of the house without me, but she likes her 'independence'...so, I guess it's the best that I can hope for. She reads, works puzzles and watches tv. I, on the other hand, do everything else. I spend every afternoon there..also cook and carry the food over every Sunday (and a few weekdays, too) Yesterday, my Saturday was spent cleaning up hurricane damage on her 4.5 acres and cutting the grass. Today, I cooked and attempted to fix a broken light switch (nothing comes easy, and I think that the one I bought today was also defective) The alternative is hiring an electrician, who won't even drive out for less than $80. Tomorrow is her grocery day...Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...everyday...is hers. Yes, I am tired...she's 93, so you can figure that I've getting up there, too. Actually, when I read about the resources in other areas, I am mystified....we lack a lot down here! I am lucky to have 'home health' come in once every other week, for approximately 30 minutes to check her vitals and take blood for the doctor. Being an only child doesn't help much, either...at least I don't have to argue with anyone else about them not doing their share. It's all my share. Would I change it? Only if I could give her back her health...I want her here..I want her happy. But, wish there was some time left for me.
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TheirDaughter speaks volumes of truth! I know it's easier said than done, but it's like "you putting on the air mask in a crashing plane," you must help yourself before you can help others.
Your mother may not like it, but it sounds like ADL's (Activities of daily living) would permit her to be placed in a nursing facility. The 5 ADL's are, dressing, feeding, toileting, transferring (from one place to another) and bathing by themselves. She may qualify under dementia or Alzheimer's alone.
You are correct that Medicare will NOT pay for a daily caregiver and if you submit and receive any reimbursement from the Alzheimer's Assoc., it's only $100 a month in reimbursement. I know it doesn't sound like much, but think of how many people are diagnosed with this disease!
Just bear in mind that all facilities are not the same and visit them. Ask questions such as, when was the last time you were accredited, by who and what was your score? Ask about their turnover rate, ask other family members how they feel about their loved ones being there. My husband and I took two days and went from home to home visiting and asking these questions before placing my father in one --------and that was just for medical rehabilitation. It's worth the time and effort.
More than anything, you will gain peace of mind that your mother is placed in nice facility. Because you live in the home, make certain that it is going to you so that you have a place to live before she accepted.
You're mother might not like it much when it happens, but within a few weeks, she'll be playing bingo and gossiping with the other little old ladies!
My father enjoyed it so much, he asked to stay an extra week, but they had to show he was making some type of progress; they went from a walker to a cane in one week. He's home with us now and he's doing fine. He's dying slow death, but when it comes time, we'll call in hospice. In the meantime we have in-home health care coming out 4 days a week to check on him.
Bottom line is you must take care of yourself, in order to properly take care of your mother.
I have seen entirely too many of my own relatives go through this very situation.
I don't proclaim to have all the answers, just suggestions and only you and your mothers doctors can say it's time.
Cyber hugs (as I wait yet another day to see if my father wakes up and what kind of day it will be:)
Suzanne
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It can be overwhelming, but you need to keep looking for help. Ask a lot of questions. Talk to your parents' physician. Talk to your pastor. It can take some effort and I think we can all get in a rut where we feel like we don't have options, but this is also YOUR life. You have some choices, but it can take time, effort and courage. In some cases, you might even want to talk to a mental health professional for yourself! I had to do that at one point because my father was driving me crazy. It helped to talk about what was going on and what was reasonable for my own wellbeing.

It might sound cold, but while you love your parents and you want to do the right things, they are coming to a time when things are winding down. You still have time left and you deserve to experience that in a positive, fulfilling way. I'm not saying there aren't difficult times, but don't make it harder than it has to be. Be creative and stop feeling as though your parent(s) won't manage unless you are there to take care of everything.

Finally, have you ever thought about how you are going to treat your own children when you need help? Do you want them to secretly resent you and feel like they can hardly manage? I think you want them to be happy and you want the time they spend with you to be meaningful, not exhausting.
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What do you do when you have two parents that need help, they won't go to assisted living, and refuse a nurse? One of them has dementia, and my father is not equipped to handle her. Also, we were told even if we get a nurse, medicare will not pay for it. What can we do?
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There is hope and help. You just need to make a couple of phone calls and speak with the Counsel on Aging and her doctor. The doctor may have to complete some paperwork, but at least it will be better than what you have right now.
I went through your same situation when I was still working. I do understand.
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I feel u. I need a personal assistant to manage my life while I do my Moms!
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If your mother is as old as you say she is, I would inquire with her primary care physician about in-home care services that may be provided via medicare if she qualifies.
Do yourself and your mother a favor and look into it. I am retired and caring for my father full time and my distant mother part time, but I still receive some in home services for my father. He will also be starting a senior activity program where they pick him up and bring him home 5 days a week. This will give me some much needed respite as well.
Contact your local agency on aging and see what is available in your area.
Cyber hugs,
Suzanne
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I am taking care of my mother which is full time, I have no support or help from anyone. I don't know how long I can do this, my husband gives me no support at all and makes me feel guilty, what do you do???
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Wait, there are services that will help. At least where I live, in Southern Wisconsin, we have supportive home care. Here are some of the things they'll do:

Assistance with activities of daily living such as meal prep, laundry, grocery shopping and other errands
Respite care, companionship and supervision
Assistance with medication reminders
Personal care like grooming, bathing, toileting and dressing
Routine household upkeep, including general housekeeping chores, lawn mowing or snow removal
Overnight, weekend and 24-hour care
Transportation for appointments and errands

These services are not covered by Medicare, but you can pick what you want help with for your mother. I was looking into this for my parents, but they've decided to go into assisted living.

I think it's important to help our parents, but it's not okay to allow them to take over our lives to the point where we're overwhelmed, exhausted and resentful. My husband found this information thru our county Health Department. Hope you have something similar.
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Can you set some boundaries, such as a schedule for errands? Say, a few days of the week that are convenient for you? I do for my Mom any day of the week, but the only thing I do is take care of her at this point. She is almost 96. So, I feel she needs me most right now. If you are tired, let her know you are tired. If you don't have the answer, maybe tell her she can write down the questions and you will look them up online when you get to it and print her off the answers. Does she have something she is working on that requires a deadline? I have found through this site and others that we have to take care of ourselves or we will not be able to take care of them. It is not selfish, it is necessary. I have had to value myself a little more, not more than others. Just more than I valued myself before. After all, they value themselves.
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Hey, I need a personal assistant, but, sigh, no one has seen fit to provide me with one. :-D

I see on your profile that your mother is at home. Do you live with her, or see her often? Are her demands getting to you?
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