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Scary thoughts, we all have them... What if the one we take care of falls down the stairs? What if thy forget they left the burner on? What if they forget to eat or take their pills? Or forget they took their pills and take them again??

My doctor says I stress too much and if I joined a community online, and voice my scary thoughts, and heard others scary thoughts, I might not stress out so much. So here is a little back ground, then, my thought that I am most afraid of. Please share yours.

I love my parents, and I take care of them well I think. They don't live with me, but three blocks away.
I take them to all of their appointments, even the ones out of town, I cook, buy their groceries, and make sure their bills are paid, keep their checkbook, clean their house, pick up prescriptions, keep their yard looking nice, the list goes on. I also have 4 children, have been married for 16 years to a very loving, understanding guy, and work 2 jobs. My parents realize everything I do for them, and how busy my life is most of the time. Sometimes they don't think I spend enough time with them. They are both victims of early dementia, since they are only in their 60's. As well, my Dad has had cancer, and he has macular degeneration, and hearing problems. Besides the dementia my Mom had a H. Pylori stricture and lost a tons of weight, had a stent and feeding tube.

My fear is this. Is this going to happen to me? I know it sounds selfish, and I do worry about all the things mentioned before, but I often think "Is this going to be me in 30 years?" I am only 35 and doing all this for my parents that are in their 60's. 20-30 years ago, I saw them do the same thing for my Dad's parents.
My scary thought is: Will my children have to go through this for me?? I don't want them to have to do this for me. Is it just the cycle? We take care of our children when they are young, nurture them and help them grow, then when we get older they do the same for us?
My doctor says it is normal to think this, but I feel so selfish. I take of them yes, and I love them yes, but I think of myself often. Am I too selfish?

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Gypsy, you're anything BUT selfish. You take care of so many things, arrange everything and actually provide for two families and organize two separate households. You're a superhero! The fact that you worry about your children doesn't make you selfish. You say that you think about yourself but that's not exactly the case. You said it yourself that you worry about your children's future if you get ill. That's NOT selfish! That's yet another way of caring. Here are few things you may read when you ave free thirty seconds ;) http://www.infolongtermcare.org/long-term-care-insurance-information/ although I am not sure if someone hasn't posted it before.scienceclarified/A-Al/Aging-and-Death.html for some scientific approach :) Good luck and remember: Superhero!
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Glad's glad too!
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SA glad to see you here.. Hope things are good.. Hugs..
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No, you're not in the least bit selfish. If YOU don't look out for you, who will? I understand 'scary thoughts' totally. The last few years of my mom's life I lived in fear every single day. I still do. Some people around here have balls of platinum. They can face old age and all of the god awful things that come with it dead on, again and again, year after year, and come out of it standing like a champ. These people inspire me, that kind of strength is almost super human. Unfortunately, I don't have that kind of strength.

I was in my mid 30's when I started to care for my mom. I didn't want to care for her. Our relationship was rocky and the last thing I wanted was for her to take up anymore of my time of life. When she dropped the bomb that she had alz the bars slammed shut.

Honestly, what 30-something year old wants to watch their parents decline? What young person really wants to be surrounded by that much harsh reality? And when you're in a care giver position, there is no looking away from it. Most of the time in life if you have a painful spot inside your soul you have the ability to shove it aside, look away from it. You can't do that with old age, especially when it's up close and personal. Up close and personal by itself is fine, it's good to be close to your family and to be there for the people you love...but when you're dealing with the real heavies like alz, dementia, that Lewey body disease, it can become brutal. Asking yourself and sweating over whether that's going to be you some day is perfectly normal...but it's hard as hell to deal with. I don't have words good enough or strong enough to describe how hard that really is.

And you are trapped. Every care taker is. That's just another part of the harsh reality care givers deal with every day.

The bottom line? This is war. That's what it comes down to. Every single day your senses will be under assault when you deal with elderly parents and patients that are afflicted with some of life's ugliest, cruelest diseases. Modern medicine is striving hard as hell to keep bodies alive, seemingly not giving a lot of thought to keeping the mind alive as well. People are living a whole lot longer. Sticking around until we're in our mid 90's is pretty common in this world, and 60 is the new 30. No thanks. If I have to live without my mind intact, I don't want to live. I learned that the hard way.

Morbid as it sounds, people that are care givers to the elderly are surrounded every day by the specter of death looming in the background and there's no shaking that bastard. He just doesn't go away and whispers constantly about how this is going to be you someday.... *shudder*

People need away from that crap. I'm sorry if it sounds selfish. I don't care. That's really the bottom line, imo. People in the care giver role MUST find help, must set up a support system where other people can step in and step up to help you get the breaks you need. There were so many freaking times I wished, prayed, that I could get away from the ugliness of alz for just a couple days. H*ll, one day. A few hours helps, and you need a few hours off through the week, too, but care givers need to take a couple days to themselves to get completely away from death sometimes. That's a whole lot easier said than done, as most of us know.

The care giving role is a life changer for some of us. You go in one person, you come out another.

My mom's been gone a few months now. I'm still dealing with alz though. All I want to do is forget. After 13 years as a care taker and all the constant, in your face harsh realities that entails, I've been ground to dust.

Get breaks. Come h*ll or high water, get away now and again. If I had it to do all over again I would have done things much differently, and somehow, someway, found a way to leave every single weekend for the whole weekend. And all things considered, that's not in the least bit selfish, that's saving your own life and sanity and to me, that's a good thing. Imo, time away is not a luxury it's a necessity. Anybody staring the Reaper in the face every day needs AWAY. Period.
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Thia, I understand. I often feel like I am trapped. Like I cant make plans. I often have to cancel plans. It is hard. This website has helped tremendously. Some days I feel like there is no escape, plus, with my parents being relatively young, will there ever be?? But then I jump on this website and I remember I am not the only one, and I learn from you guys, and hope you learn from me.
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look up carols old article about doing your best . it changed my life . i cant change multiple organ diseases , cant stop impending decline and death in its tracks . i do my best with a situation i have minimal control over and the elder is still going to die .
i usedta think that doing your best was a copout but with declining elders doing your best is a heroic , selfeless effort and the end result remains unchanged . docs , NH , hospice all do their best .the elder still declines and dies..
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This is my first time on this site. I realized how overwhelmed I am right now and decided to see what other people where going through. It is hard to find balance in this situation. I have to live away from my husband and our business and am doing this for the most part alone. I make myself get up and walk daily for at least a hour. That is helping me mentally. I just feel so bad on the days when I walk through the door and hear the same story over and over again. I feel short and angry doing everything. I have a brother in another state but he is of very little help. I also have a son who goes to school full time and works full time so his help is limited. I also wonder if this is my future. We were caregivers to my husbands parents but that was 15 years ago and I am so tired and wonder how much longer I can keep this up and what will be left to give my family after my mom passes. She gets hospice care which is wonderful but I feel as if my whole life is on hold.
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Stress causes the brain to over-think. When we feel out of control, our brains sabotage our peace of mind and get us thinking of allll of the "what-ifs" in life. There are plenty. Ha! Yours centers on your own health. Another's might center on the health of one of their children. Being robbed. Any number of things that keeps our brains busy.

So, no. Absolutely not. You are not selfish. You are exceedingly normal, as a matter of fact. ;)

I've taken care of mom in my home for a year. She has late stage congestive heart failure, kidney damage, dementia. She can only walk with my assistance with a gait belt on her walker. I don't worry about a thing. (I did all my worrying when I had PMS as a young woman. Swear!)

I'm a complete realist. Mom is 87 years old. She's led a wonderful life. She is going to die some day, and there's not one darned thing I can do about it. I'm careful. I do my best. But if I fail (as I did when she fell and broke her hip in March), then I am only human.

And my wonderful mom? In her right mind? Would be the first to tell me that.
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Thanks all. I did recently meet with my lawyer and my husband and I are getting everything squared away for our futures. As for my caregiving life.
My family is really not a "young family", my husband and I got married at 18 and 20, so we have been married 16 happy years. My children aren't little. My youngest is 10. Much of the time, my children help me with my parents, and my husband is supportive. As far as siblings, I have one, who does nothing to help me. My father is more there then my mom most of the time. If I explain to him that I cant come over that day to sweep the kitchen, he understands. If I tell my mom, then she whines that I don't spend enough time with them. LOl. Thanks all, I guess we all have that day when nothing seems to work... That was my day.
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You have 4 children, a husband and 2 jobs AND take care of 2 aging parents! Of course, you are stressed, worried and overloaded. Something has to give and unfortunately, it will probably be you within a couple of years. You won't have to worry about your kids taking care of you; but, who will take care of them when you are completely physically and emotionally exhausted.

The time has come to look at assisted living or in home help. Do you have siblings that can help out? If so a family meeting to discuss your parents' future is in order. You can be a loving caregiver without so much physical involvement. Check with your local senior services for what assistance your parents' might qualify.

Your children and husband are your primary responsibility. I think back to 35 and all the activities my children and family were involved in; there was no room for caregiving. Our lives were full of the things young families should be doing. Fortunately, my parents were healthy and able to participate in our lives.

I know it is tough but you need a little reality check as to what should be going on and how best to care for your family while seeing that your parents are comfortable. Best of luck!
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If this is a cycle that has been going on with your family, then I can't blame you for feeling that way, I don't see you are over reacting, it is good that you are planning and preparing for your future at such a young age. There might be a chance that you are going to develop dementia like your parents, however, no one can really predict the future but you can plan your way through it. You can set up an advance directives so your children and family members will know exactly how do you want things done when you can no longer decide for your self. Consider getting long-term care insurance so you have secured financing future long-term care expenses, and you will not be a burden to your children. You may also check http://www.infolongtermcare.org/long-term-care-insurance-information/
on how to set up advance directives and learn about topics on health, aging and long-term care.
Hugs :)
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All good advice. I can't really relate because I have already outlived my parents by five years. however all the legal paperwork is in place and although I do have various ailments I do try and follow a healthy lifestyle.
Do you feel you are becoming depressed and overwhelmed by all you have to do.
maybe a little help with your own housework would help too. When we are young we tend to run ourselves ragged and tell ourselves we can do it all. Well we can but in order to do it all we give up a lot of personal pleasures which is not good for our mental health.
Pam is right aging care is a great time consumer but my guessi s you have plenty to occupy yourself with. Concentrate on the things you can change and don't worry about the rest.
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gypsy, divert your attention by answering questions her on agingcare. It will keep you busy 24/7.
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jeannegibbs, Thanks :) I have talked to Dad before about hiring a housekeeper. I think I might talk to him again about it. They can afford it, but he is a little embarrassed by it. Not sure why.
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It is not selfish to be concerned about yourself as well as your parents. Instead of churning stressful thoughts, take some actions based on your legitimate fears. Even without having parents with early-onset dementia, all of us have concerns about our own old age based on what we see around us.

What can you do?
1) Get regular exercise. It sounds like your life is crammed full and I don't know how you'll fit in exercise, but I know it is important. Walking is great. Figure out how to do it regularly.
2) Eat well. Don't skip meals. Don't overdo the treats. Eat fruits and veggies! Limit highly processed foods.
3) See your health care provider regularly. Do have the various tests (like a mammogram) at the appropriate age.
4) Assume that you are going to have this body a long time. Take care of it.
5) Manage your financial affairs to avoid being destitute in your old age. Look in to long-term-care insurance.
6) Don't put off pleasures you can have today. Enjoy your children. Take trips with your husband. Yes, take care of your parents, but don't let that stop you from living your life now.
7) One way to get some time for the things that are important in your life now is to cut back on the impersonal care for your parents. Anyone can maintain their yard. It doesn't really matter who cleans their toilets. Meals on Wheels could provide one hot meal a day for them. Only you can treat them as a loving daughter, but many chores can be hired done.

There is no guarantee for any of us that we won't have dementia in our old age (or even younger.) There are a few things we can do to be in a healthier, sounder position to deal with whatever comes our way. Beyond that we can't let fear of the future rob us of our present.

I think your doctor was right about joining a community where people are dealing with similar fears. Welcome to AgingCare!
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Gladimhere, Thanks! I don't know why I didn't think of that before! Of course, I'm only 35 but I think that on Monday, I will go to the family lawyer and talk to him about all this! Just that little paragraph made everything better, you are a genius!! Thanks!
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When we see our parents decline it is only natural to look ahead and hope the same does not happen to us and not wanting to take our children's futures from them. The key is in us planning for our futures whether that be in the form of long term care policies, advance directives, DNR's, Powers of attorney and so on. It would be a terrible disservice to our children to not have these documents in place. These are what will tell them our wishes.
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