HELP me prepare for breaking a promise!

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WOW, I found this site while searching for info on how to prepare for my 85 yr old mothers arrival. Now I am TERRIFIED! My sisters have cared for mom since dad died 7 yrs ago. She lived in between them in an apartment. They did the Dr. appts. grocery shopping, visits,etc. She is no longer able to live on her own-extrememly forgetful and feeble. So its me or a nursing home; we promised our parents years ago that would not happen. I was almost excited about it, but not now. I'm divorced, 1 kid away at college, and 350 miles from my sisters. HELP

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Hi Judy,
It's said that we all think we are ten years younger than other people our age : )
My mother, when she was in the nursing home, had the idea she wasn't as "old" as the other folks, or as "bad off." That attitude, unfortunately, kept her from joining in on some things she would have enjoyed. But that was her decision. Elders still make decisions that affect their future.

I hope things start looking up for you, but you obviously have many difficult decisions to face. You'll have some days that aren't bad, and some that seem hopeless. Please remember we're here for you through all them.
Carol
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Carol, thank you for knowing the differences that people have to face each day. It is a constant struggle to go on some days.
I think the worst is the conflicts and that my mother won't come to the realization that her health needs closer attention and that what the doctors say is serious. She denies but blames also. She wants attention but chases you away with a negative attitude. I have tried to suggest some ways she can be with people her own age and she says their too old. I wish things could be different and I know that when my Dad is gone that there will be a change, hopefully for her it will be better. Judy
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Hi Decor,
You make the point even stronger that everyone is in different circumstances. Family dynamics make it impossible for some people to do any hands-on caregiving at all. Your love and respect for your dad keeps you going. You may not (probably will not) be able to be hands-on caregiver for someone who abuses you like your mother does. No one should have to live that way. I hope you can find her the kind of help she needs without you being the person to take the verbal abuse. Many people are harder on their family members than outsiders.

Cat is explaining what works for her. You are saying it like it is for you. Both of you are valid in what you say. Please keep telling us how it's going. We can't change it but we can listen. And we can learn.
Carol
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You add so much to this site, Cat. Everyone who writes and/or responds is needed, as that's how we help each other. You are action oriented, and that has worked very well for you. It is good if we can not feel like "victims."

Each person is different, as is each caregiving experience. The dynamics between family members can make a huge difference, also. I really like your reference to the fact that when family and friends can't understand a caregiver, that doesn't make them bad people. They don't understand because they haven't done it.

Compassion fatigue is getting wide recognition for family caregivers. It needs more publicity. Thanks for bring it up.

Carol
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Thank you Carol. I appreciate the chance to chat on this board - it is a daily lift for me to read & relate to everyone who posts. In a way all of us who participate are providing the support that many of us wish that we would get from friends and family but don't always get (and if they haven't been caregivers they may never understand - doesn't make them bad).

There is a syndrome know as compassion fatigue - it is normally attitributed to pd, firefighters, healthcare and disaster workers, but it also affects caregivers. It is a serious issue and if it is not recognized & addressed can affect not only the caregivers health and well being, but also creates a blow-back effect on others. I am thankful to this site as a source to relieve stress and blow off steam - I also rely on it to feel not so alone and learn from others. I feel deeply for anyone who is feeling stressed and abused or put upon. My life is not a bed of roses - I just remind myself to look at it that way.

We all cope differently - the key is to understand what we do to cope and give it a positive spin so that we can stay healthy and somewhat sane (if not completely happy). Short-circuting negative thoughts and replacing them with action has always worked for me.

I coped and short-circuted some of my stress by joining a local community emergency response team (CERT) - I was able to work through alot of the helplessness I felt; learn from paramedics / fd - many of whom know my mom from 911 calls, and learned about how to handle myself in a disaster. Those lessons I learned from those guys I apply to everyday caregiving... and by going through disaster awareness training, understand more about burnout & compassion fatigue. On the plus side - I now know more of my neighbors and what I would do if disaster strikes - something all of us as caregivers are afraid of deep down inside.

I hope that this helps anyone thinking of taking on caregiving - many people may dissuade you from it as "too hard". Take it from me - 5 years ago my mother's doctor thought I was 'crazy' to bring her home - this past year she admitted that she was amazed at how well a frail senior could thrive in a home care environment. I'm not special - I just tend to not believe people who say I can't do something. Be strong, be smart, live well - caregiving can be a win for everyone




I have gone through my own time feeling like an invisible woman -
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Cta , Have you heard hateful thing said to you? Such as you are the reason why I am on medications now, my mother was having a stroke and I was there to call EMS and she blamesme. Do you hear everday vicious words to my father ,her husband on how it is his fault we are in the position we are because he had an accident? And thats just a tiny part of my life. Everyday I walk on eggshells, sometimes not saying a word all day, because there will be some negative comment. Don't forget we are adults too and we are trying to live a life with a husband, children, and personal time which most of the time has to be put asside for the elders.
I don't remember my mother taking care of parents at my age 45. She was dining out with my Dad, playing cards with friends, etc.
I don't resent my father he's 95 soon and he needs me, I do resent my mother 74 who should be caring for her husband but she is verbally abusive and doesn't have the patience to do it. She didn't pay attention to her health.
So me an only child am here and when it gets to the point where I can not handle my father, I will consult my family and do whats best for him and me. I don't believe that he is nursing home material right now, he can still do alot by himself, he can't see but his mind is pretty sharp.
I believe if you come here for advice it shouldn't be sugar coated, and a nurse told me that most woman are bitter and she has been in the business 29 years.
Decor
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You have obviously been observant throughout your life, Cat. You truly never know how a person will react to anything until that person is in the middle of it. That is why caregivers want to hear from other caregivers. If a person hasn't been there - they just don't "really know."

I, too, have seen much healing. I've also seen terrible caregiver burnout. I've seen people I would never have guessed had "caregiving genes" become great caregivers, and some who seemed suited for it simply not able to handle the demands.

I really liked your personal note. I, too, feel it's far better to be in a home with professional caregivers than to be cared for by someone who resents doing so (continually). It's a rare caregiver who won't feel some resentment at times - about their situation, or toward the person at certain moments - but that is different than constant resentment.

That feeling is generally recognized by the caregiver, and he or she should look into at least temporary, and perhaps permanent, relief from full-time duty, for the sake of the caregiver as well as the care receiver.
Carol
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I have been reading this board and wanted to weigh in because I have been caregiving for my mother in my home a long time. I also understand the pros and cons of LTC facilities. So you understand where I am comming from. After I became a caregiver, I was offered the opportunity to take on business management for a snf (which allowed me to have flexiblity of hours and keep my parent at home) I see alot of families struggle and gotten to know many residents over two years. every one is unique - I have watched estranged people become great caregivers - and supposedly loving family members act out their issues to the detriment of the elder. The lesson I have seen over and over again is that you never know how it will go until YOU do it....

I have to say that the comment made earlier, "Most of the caregivers mothers are bitter and hateful." is not helpful to anyone who is looking for help at the start of their journey as a caregiver. Caregivers take on the task for their own reasons - and deserve support and answers to their questions. I was handed a 1/2 bag of diapers and good wishes from a discharge planner....and did a much learning by trial and error on my own. I wish I had known about this site as the info and support is invaluable to me. I applaud ger for having the tenacity, caring and courage to ask for help and advice - it is her journey and she deserves respect, advice and resources - whatever she decides.

Will Rodgers once said, I never met a man I didn't like.....actually that is a good philosophy to embrace as a caregiver. Everything hinges on relationships. Life is too short to be unhappy. I do understand that everyone's experience and relationship with the person they are caring for is different - *but* many times this is your chance to wipe the slate clean and put all of those issues you had behind you. On a personal note: if the person caring for me did not like me or was working on unresolved issues I would probably want to be in a nursing home - when someone is old, frail, set in their ways, they are at the mercy of their caregiver.and that includes the caregiver's mood....and like it or not the caregiver has to be the 'bigger person'. They may be a handful, but how you respond to it is the point.

best of luck to all of us - Ger most of all
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My parents did a certain amount of caregiving, but not as much as I did. I do believe that while now people are living longer, many of them are doing so with diseases that would once have killed them. So, they are disabled and need more care for a longer time. Few of us go into caregiving thinking we'll be doing it for twenty years. But issues can drag on and on, when there is little quality of life - just quantity.

We need to remember that we are still caregivers when we get help - even if the help is a care home. I had three elders in a nursing home toward the end, but I was still visiting nearly every day, and working full time and handling all of the doctor appointments and other issues that go with caregiving.

Most of us want to help. The question is how much is too much? It's never the same for any two people and situations. That's why discussions like these are so valuable. It helps us work through our issues and it breaks the isolation that can make us feel like we are the only one handling these difficult decisions.

This is a terrific group, here on AgingCare. I'm so happy to be part of it.
Carol
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I know our parents have it in mind when they are raising us that we will be there for them when they get old, its expected of us. But most of them didn't have to go through what we are, their parents didn't live long or they were the sibling that wasn't around to help. Certain decisions are hard to make, but I know that some day I will have to go that road with both of them. Decor
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