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Our culture has completely changed. Years ago, a senior parent living alone would be living with one of the children and be part of the family. Now they are expected to live alone or in some Senior adult home or assisted living, which now costs a FORTUNE. People think "The Waltons" was fiction, but it was not. When a Senior parent loses their spouse or is left by their spouse for a younger woman, it is difficult to "start over" at that age. Most of their friends have passed away or moved. Family used to be everything. These days even a phone call is too much. How things have changed, and not for the better.

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member = remember. I have a headache tonight -- sounds like a good excuse.
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I think you're right, cmag. Probably most people's families were like Married with Children, but the parent member it like Leave it to Beaver. (I picked the Beaver, because only the kids caused the trouble in that show.)
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I don't think the Waltons, Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, etc. reflect the reality of anyone's home life 100% anymore that the Norman Rockwell's painting of Thanksgiving.

We tend to think the past was the good old days. However, the history books tend to remind us that there were very bad things back then too.
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JessieBelle - I agree with your last comment (not to imply I disagree with any prior comments). In my family, it was never "one for all and all for one." It was always "Each man for himself." My mother was the first to leave - she sold the house as soon as the youngest kid graduated high school (seriously, my youngest sibs had no place to return to when they came "home" on college breaks) and then moved to Florida while the rest of the family was still in the northeast. She really didn't involve herself with her grown kids or her grandchildren. Then, when she started needing help, she expected us to band together to pull her through. But there was no banding together for us and most of them aren't the least bit interested in pulling her through. Nobody feels that kind of commitment to her, or one another. It burns me, really, that people expect to cared for by family when they have not bothered to be part of that family. It burns me that society expects virtually limitless sacrifice on behalf of people we wouldn't even have in our lives if we weren't related to them.
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Kimber, Soo true! In a perfect world, we would all have perfect families to take care of us like on tv. Hope for the best and plan for the worst, have a plan B, and stay positive. Few of us get the exact script we wanted. Happiness is a choice!
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I thought this morning about why most families in the US are not like the Waltons. It is because families are not raised that way. Really, you have to have families that pull together from the very start. Parents have to love their own parents and pull their own children in close. Notice that the Waltons does not have have unresolved sibling rivalry and all children are treated with age-appropriate love and respect. In ordinary families, parents are less than perfect, people often dread their own parents and in-laws, and the children are often left to their own devices.

In a nearby county there are families where the children are home schooled and the families are God-centered. Families do everything together and attend a lot of church events. It seems rather dysfunctional to the outside world, but the families do tend to stay closer.

I guess what I am saying is if families wanted to be like the Waltons, the family would have to be built from an early age. After the kids are grown and on their own, it is too late to try to build a Walton family.
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My dad uses the Walton's example also when he presses to live with us (the answer is NO!!!) Only his idea of the situation is that he would sit in the middle of the room, tell me what he wants for breakfast, lunch, dinner, (obviously I would quit my job) and that he would be the head of the house, even though it is our house. not contribute but rule the roost as the elder. The last discussion ended in my laughing and saying something about pigs flying
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The wonderful actor who played Grandpa on the Waltons, late Will Geer, started a theater group Los Angeles. It's outdoors in a beautiful canyon, still there. I saw summer Shakespeare there a couple of years ago.
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Rovana: What makes you think we haven't reached out? That isn't the problem. But when you're in the late 70's, your close friends have either moved or passed away. The new ones are more like acquaintances. It isn't a question of looking in the wrong places either. The problem with giving advice is assuming you know the whole picture, and of course, you don't. This was merely a discussion of culture change. Everyone is different. Some feel that they'd rather spend their final years with close, loving family. What you want may be different.
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Hereforyou, Your original question certainly sparked some lively debate. It got me thinking. I'm too busy taking care of both parents, their home, and running their business affairs, to dwell on it. I'm trying to arrange my life so I won't be a burden to my son.
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rovana, for those of us not so good in thinking in the abstract, could you provide some examples for your metaphors? This could give some good ideas.
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Also, the nature of work has changed so much. People have to go where the jobs are - and increasingly they are not down on the farm. This means that elders to stay with family would be tearing up their own social bonds.
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Hereforyou and Jessie Belle - good comment on family as polite strangers. People you are lonely may be looking for human connection (which all of us need) in the wrong places or have preconceived ideas about how to "fix" this problem. Instead of saying you want others to reach out to you, how about reaching out to others? If you want a friend, then be a friend. And "family" is the people who actually are family to you - not necessarily related by blood at all. It's a new world in so many ways, but that is not all bad, not by a long chalk. All to often the "good old days" were anything but. I think limiting your thinking is a poor idea - like insisting on going through a gate which is locked, when if you just walked a hundred feet you find that the fence is down and you can walk right in!
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Hereforyou, after getting to know you a little better, I know exactly where you are coming from. I grew up in a dysfunctional family. I've always wished I had a close family, something like we see on the Waltons. Even if it isn't complete truth, the feel of the show is what we long for in a family. As it is now, my family is a group of polite strangers. I wish it were different.

What you wrote started me to thinking about how I feel about getting older. Taking care of aging parents makes us more aware than most people are about how things are going to go. I don't have any children and am now divorced, so I am alone in the world at 63. I realize that my health may hold up another 10 or so years. I don't admit it often, but I am frightened at what awaits me when it does start to fail. I feel the US is so youth oriented that it tends to feel the older people are inconveniences. And alas, the services available often see the elders as cash cows. When I was growing up, I remember that there were such things as estates and property passing down to heirs. That seems to be a thing of the past now, with all estates being paid for elder care. Sad thing to think that the wealthiest people in the US are the ones who are getting the estates, but with long life and healthcare costs being like they are, it is what is happening.

My own little life savings seems meager when looking at the cost of growing old in the USA. It is frightening to grow old in the country. In the old days there did seem to be greater security and comfort with family. Now everyone is so fragmented.

I think of how frightening it probably was for my mother. I was all that she and my father had to help them through their final years. What I hope for myself when this is older is that I can get together with friends and forge a family to help take care of each other. The Golden Girls is a wonderful model for us. Some older people get set in their ways and couldn't do it. I hope to find a few people who think it's a good idea. Money would last longer that way and we would be there for each other. I hope it works out that way, since I am like you in not wanting to be alone and lonely.
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My original question was unfortunate. I never meant to judge. I was speaking to the person who commented that her mom was bothering her by asking her to call often. I certainly was not referring to adult children who are caregivers of an infirm parent. I can only imagine what a burden that is. I was referring to senior parents living alone, in good health. I never meant to put so many on a guilt trip!! I was just thinking of the single, senior parent who can't afford a 55+resort-type community and has to live alone and lonely. My 91yr old mother was fortunate that she died one week after a stroke. I'm sure you are all doing the very best you can.
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by the way I am getting old and have no one to care for me nor would I want them to. It drives me nuts when I hear people say they want kids so they will have someone to take care of them when they get old....WRONG reason to have kids!!!!
They should have a joyful life and their own families. As generations before did they just passed away earlier and not in such a prolonged matter.
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hereforyou-things have changed for the worse I agree, but life expectancy was in the 50's or 60 year old range back then!My mom's dad died of a heart attack at 52 and she had her first stroke at 50 she is now in her 80's...a relative just died at over 100 years old with 30 years of care... first by family and then when deaf , blind , disabled and dementia by 3 RN's FT around the clock nurses in a facility going through several million dollars! Every families situation is different so please don't judge....everyone here does the best they can with what they have, some have no families...some one single child/sister/brother or maybe their own child who is disabled ... or a single parent that can't give up their and their child's income/ life to do it without help. Unless you are a multi millionaire it is a struggle doing the balancing act! At what point and for how many years do you give up work/income for YOUR life /retirement to care for another 24/7?10 years, 20,30 years??? Then you have no SS or income to care for yourself! What if you have cancer but are the only caregiver available?Others may have large extended families that can care for a family member as long as medically possible but when it comes down to certain care it must be done by a nurse or doctor on a daily basis!How long could you carry your parent around say weighing 150lbs if they refuse to walk or use a wheelchair are you trained in all areas of PT,OT and speech therapy?Do you know how to deal with sun downers? Dementia?.....it is a tough road we have and everyone is different.I would NEVER put my child through this if I was lucky enough to be able to have them......the physical, mental and financial toll is too great, hence why so many caregivers die before their patient...as my dad did...I have done my best for 8 years but know I need help at this point so thank god it is available and there but at a very high cost.I would give ANYTHING to have my mom back as she WAS and there would be no problem helping her/caring for her.but as we age some of us don't fair so well and need a "team" for care around the clock.I miss my REAL mom not this woman ravaged by Alzheimers who doesn't know who I am...it breaks my heart daily!
We need to work on getting great aging in place communities like other countries do.We need compassionate caregivers, medically trained people and mandatory long term care insurance just like Medicare/SS.Then the patient /family has some choice in the matter.It's great to live forever if you have a happy, healthy body and mind but that is not usually the case by a certain age it is one or both that go! I will never go through this......I will jump the bridge before being a burden on someone 20-30 years! Trust me all of us do the best we can!
Please be open to others choices until you have walked in their shoes.
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JessieBelle: I am a 78 yr. old senior. I am not a caregiver. I live alone (in my condo townhome) but am well and independent. I would not live with my daughter because like many, I am of today's culture. But sometimes I wish I were living 100 yrs. ago with my children and grandchildren. No matter how busy you are with clubs, volunteer work etc., without a spouse, it can get very lonely. My Mom died in 2005 after a stroke, after just one week in hospital. She lived in her apt. until 91yrs old, but I spent 3-4 days a week driving her here and there and visiting with her. I wrote my comment, not as a caregiver, but just as an observation of how the times have changed over the last 70yrs or more. I was thinking of my grandmother and how close her sons and daughter were-- my grandmother lived with them. My cousins today took in their Mom several years ago -- she loved living with them, and they loved having her. She was not infirm. I was talking about seniors who are well, but alone and lonely. Most just don't live with their adult children today. Families and grandparents are not as cohesive in general today as they were many years ago. Everyone is so Independent.(Just as I am, but it is lonely). Senior parents do live today with adult children, but not very many. I just think we've lost something there. Of course, if they become very ill, then they must go to hospital or hospice. Our Family culture has changed; some like it that way, but many Seniors feel very lonely and wish it were different.
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Hereforyou, tell us a little about yourself. Do you care for one of your relatives? We don't have any idea of your life, since you haven't written anything about yourself yet. The only things I know about the Waltons is what is on TV and the little I've read. I'm a biologist, so sometimes when I watch the show I have to cover my eyes. It's hard to imagine the CA mountains to be the Apalachians, but I try. I know that during that time it was easier to film in CA than in a remote part of the eastern US.
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Jessie Bell: I not only did research on Earl Hamner and his Family, but my spouse and I actually went to Hamner's town in Virginia (Schuyler) and the original house is still there. It is similar to the one on the Tv show, but not an exact replica. There is a "Walton" Museum in the town housing the history of the Hamner family along with their photographs. also, I watched a documentary where Hamner himself spoke and apparently his grandparents did live with them at some point. He said he tried to stay as close as possible to the facts. When we were in Schuyler a town resident told us that James Hamner (Jim bob) still lived in the Hamner house alone. The town was very small, in the foothills of the blue Ridge, but was not on a mountain. So there you are -- some stories are really true!
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Sometimes, putting the shoe on the other foot is so painful, I have to wear my thongs (beachwalks, zorries, slip-on sandals). But don't worry about me, I am not that old, the 'File of Life' on my refrigerator states "I WANT TO LIVE". I have considered taking up woodwork so that I might start to fashion my wooden bowl. (reference to the old story "The Wooden Bowl".)
However, my siblings and I have outlived our parents DNA, even though we are all under 70.
Night, JimBob.
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Hard truths.
One, there is not enough money to fund current programs for special interest groups.
Two, elder care and caregivers are a special interest group.
Three, as long as Medicaid is seen as Taking Away Assets instead of covering what is left after a person's assets are used up or the balance that impoverished person cannot cover, programs for assistance will continue to be overwhelmed. People desperately try to game the system to inherit assets.
Four, Medicare and Medicaid only came into existence post 1960. So the Waltons did not have elders on Medicare. They paid their own doctor bills. They didn't take 10 prescriptions costing hundreds of dollars. They farmed on a mountain. A family member might die of polio. Don't over romanticize the past.
Five, unless you vote, don't be so angry that you don't get support. The elders are not voting caregiver help. Caregivers are not voting. Special interests rule.
Six, I'm scared too. My parents are both dead after sudden medical crises. But my IN LAWS both narcissists with serious health issues are 50 miles away and my husband still FOGs out. my diabetic best friend and her 88 year old heart patient mom are a mile away. I believe in helping family. The people who cared for me and helped me with autistic son will get my attention. The narc in laws who moved near us to get husband's help after giving none to grandparents or us for 20 years get back what they reaped.
If we can't reduce personal debt and increase savings and tell ourselves and children no then nothing will change.
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CWillie: Had to laugh at my own post regarding educating the kids in high school. What was I thinking! Maybe just hoping. It is a shame that the high school kids aren't more prepared for survival in the real world. It's a loss for all of us.
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I recall an elderly lady across the street that couldn't get along with her only daughter and insisted on living alone, with neighbors who kept on eye on her. After she passed, the daughter turned out to be a very nice person, who remodeled the house and lived there with her husband, and kept an eye on my dad when I was in college. I came home for the next year, and dad passed just before I was married.
Somehow we coped. Most of the elderly people I knew back then had families or friends that helped, but I do recall other live-in old moms who made life difficult for their kids,l probably not as bad as some of the stories we get in this group, but yes, people did not live as long in poor health. I recall my mom commenting that the development of antibiotics for pneumonia was not necessarily a good thing for frail and dependent elderly people--she said it had been called "the old people's friend."
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Drive-by is my assessment as well. I imagine she didn't have the benefit of spending some time to read sample posts to determine how much this topic is of concern to those of us in the trenches. There was also a slightly academic approach to her original post, as if it was a topic for an academic presentation or paper.

At any rate, there are a lot of good ideas being shared; I'd like to see this post continued one way or the other.

CWillie, I love your characterization about the lack of real life preparation for high school grads.
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I read this post as another salvo from the 'don't put you folks in the nursing home' group. I imagine hereforyou was scared off when we jumped all over their theory.

As for educating high school aged young adults, hahaha. We don't even teach them how to survive after school (find a job, plan a budget, negotiate a mortgage etc) let alone into old age. Besides, every 17 year old is immortal in their own mind.
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I think hereforyou was just a drive-by poster. Seems to have already left town, but good discussion, anyway.

I do like people who feel they have some fresh, important insight. This person didn't realize they were preaching at the seminary and needed instead to be talking to people in the outside world.
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Here ... the thing is, this site is specifically about the ill/infirm and mostly elderly. Without being judgmental of the folks who come here for support ... what's your point?
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CarlaCB: Well said. I'd like to see us begin to educate those in high school regarding this issue. It is a life issue that they will have to deal with eventually. I'd also like to see more older people better prepared for growing old. To take the responsibility of evaluating their own lives and making better, more informed health care decisions. Medicine has done alot to extend life but has done very little to be sure it is a quality extension. Until that happens I think it is going to be up to us as individuals to have the courage to say "NO" to medical care we do not feel will improve the quality of our lives. We need to be thinking more quality of life rather than quantity of life.
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Cwillie reminded me of something a friend suggested years ago. Her sister was nonparticipatory; we discussed our situations (my sister had just died) and how we might get help when we needed it, eventually. We agreed that we might have to cultivate new relationships of others with whom we could reciprocate when they needed assistance.

Blannie I recall has a "meetup" group that she's either started or joined.
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