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VENT: My dad has suddenly decided he wants to go to the beach. He is weak, we've been through a heckuva year. Actually it's been five years - some good, but this one really stretching me - so much, it's the first time I've quit a job in less than a year, in part because it meshed so poorly with the amped care my father needs. The thought of taking him - when he increasingly snarls at me and the kids, when I need to transport toilet seats, and hope there's no problem with dialysis (he's been to the center before and it's been fine) is making me sick. Mostly, to be honest, because he's not very nice. He's starting to have cognitive problems. The condo we go to is a favor from a friend. I'm so tempted to tell him that the elevator isn't working - which would kill his ability to go (my husband stays at home - and Dad lives with us) But how crappy would that be to 1) lie to my Dad 2) deny him the beach trip when this has started to feel like his Holy Grail. On the other hand, thinking about hauling all of the stuff, taking care of him, dealing with his snarky comments, makes me sick to my stomach. Plus I have normal mom stuff with two teens and a 23-year-old and his girlfriend. I want to cry. Actually i want to go to the beach without any of them. Help me. I'm seriously thinking about lying.

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Dear tiredonlychild,
Have a great time and don't waste a second on guilty feelings if possible. A person can only take so much. Having taken my mom on beach vacations several times, well -it's not much of a vacation. No wonder you were dreading it. Have a great time and when you get back you will have more energy for the challenges ahead.
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Tryingmybest: "The big push right now is to keep them in their homes and put the burden of care on the children (daughters usually)."

And of course the elders want to stay in their homes. The medical personnel most times (?) just want what makes it easiest for THEM. Someone in the family will take care of the elder? Oh, that's great -- removes the medical folks from any kind of responsibility!

It just sickens me the way all the care is usually dumped in someone's lap (usually just one child, usually the daughter). I am so glad that more and more people are beginning to realize that it's very UNhealthy for it to be dumped on one person. And glad that more of these adult children are simply saying, "NO WAY."
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Hey everyone - just wanted to fill you in. At the beach. Dad bailed at the last moment. He didn't want to pay the money for the hotel. I'm happy. And guilty. But to be honest, I'm going to get over it because I'm SO EXCITED TO BE HERE WITH MY KIDS HAVING FUN. (I pray he is fine at home with my hubby.)
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Just to clarify. I didn't mean we should sacrifice our well being to be caregivers I just feel we are under pressure by society to do all we can, even at our own expense. It's up to us, to decide for ourselves how much we do and give.
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Years ago, we went to Las Vegas with friends and our kids, and yes, my mom. Recently, a friend was waxing nostalgic about how much fun it was and how much fun it was having my mom there. Not quite so much fun for me, however, as I was a daughter primarily, not a wife or mother. I can't imagine expecting my kids to schlep me around like that. Our generation ready got blindsided on this caregiving thing .... I should add that I did learn from this-when we had another chance to vacation with our kids, my mom stayed with my sister as I knew that logistically, it'd be an even more difficult trip for me.
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You are so right Tired! There is no empathy for our generation of caregivers. There is TONS of of advice out there about how we should DO the caregiving but the expectation is that we do it even if we sacrifice our own health and financial security in the process.

Our parents are living much longer than the former generations and they often develop debilitating conditions that require years of care. Paid care, assisted living and nursing home care is far more expensive than a lot of elders can afford. The big push right now is to keep them in their homes and put the burden of care on the children (daughters usually). In the end I think this is unsustainable.

I certainly don't want my own children to ever be in this position. My husband and I have already started talking to our kids about it.
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Tired, I had to chuckle. I had this thought one time of my mother telling me she'd wait for me in heaven. All I could think is Nooooooooooooooo! I would know I hadn't been forgiven. :(
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SueGeo --- I am SO sorry for you. Again, I still can't wrap my head how mean these parents are - last night I screamed at my husband, I don't WANT to see my parents in heaven - that if it's MY heaven, then they'll EMAIL ONLY. (Trying to find some humor in the worst of situations.) I can't imagine all of that - the berating, the irritation, the lack of awareness of others' lives - their precious daughter's life - no one - NO ONE - would give a damn if not for mostly daughters. It's SO frustrating. BTW, for anyone who cares- I found this amazing site called daughterhood.org .... and this blog post called to me -- especially this graph. "The job of taking care of aging parents can be a total life destroyer. It takes your money, your time, your ability to work, your friends, your relationships, your ability to do the things that you love, or to take a rest." Personally, as a former journalist, I think the Great Untold Story is how caregiving destroys women's careers - right at a time they need to be packing as much away as possible - because I'm pretty sure that the world is going to be turned upside down and I don't see MY children doing all of this for me. Anyway, for a great pick-me-up read - seriously...check this out... https://www.daughterhood.org/the-burden-of-self-care/
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Sue; you might want to point this on a new thread but.....

1. You mother is NOT your responsiblity. If she wants to live unsafely, it's on her, not on you.

2. You can call the local area agency on aging and ask for a needs assessment. It would probably be great if you were there for it, because she will "showtime" like crazy and tell them that she's just fine.

3. You can go with her to her next doc's appointment and tell the doctor what you're observing and that you'd like to hear doc's assessment of what level of care Mom needs.

4. If your mother wants you to quit your job to take care of her she either a) is a gold plated narcissist, b) has dementia or c) both. We have careers. We need to save for OUR retirement. No mother in her right mind wants to clip her child's wings like that.

5. You might ask if she's going to replace your current salary and benefits.

Start your own thread!
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I'm not sure if this is the right place for this conversation but I need to vent and perhaps solicit some suggestions for my mother - 87 years old and she's very angry and frustrated with me that I don't quit my job of 37 years - which I dearly love - and need for my own sanity (financially and otherwise). I've tried many times to hire caregivers for her and she fires them or refuses to allow them to come into her apartment (she refused to stay in Assisted Living facility - so we gave in and moved her into her own small apartment with the condition that she would get 'home help' when the time came). The time has come and gone...helpers are 1)Lucky to get in at all 2)Get fired soon thereafter. Yesterday was the last straw; I took her to the grocery store - before she could even get out of the car she wanted to tell me that she'd been thinking the night before and had come up with a solution - she'd figured something out - the something she'd figured out was that the new caregiver, T. who my husband had met exactly one time - and passed her info on to me (she works for a local elder care organization and was looking for new clients - yeah!) was and I quote 'having the hots for my husband!) She's always suspicious and says that this one 'has eyes for me' or that one is asking questions about her or my husband, etc. etc. That there is always a 'sexual' intent to sneak around and have a relationship (nothing could be further from the truth as my husband and I have a very happy/solid marriage, besides we're 71 and 64 years old - so shopping around for a 'good time' are just not on our agendas!!) It is a ridiculous conversation to have and I refused to engage in that discussion with her. She accused me of 'not wanting to hear the truth'!! Really?

Well, I got her into the store and I stopped in next door for an appointment that lasted only 1/2 hour - back to the grocery store I found her and she exclaimed that's she'd barely gotten started - I said I've really got to be getting back to work - I thought she was picking up only a few things - well obviously a misunderstanding her as she'd come to buy up lots of stuff to 'stock up' - however the caregiver was supposed to come over and clean out the (stuffed, filthy refrigerator) and packed freezer - and she's buying pork roasts, sausages, 5 quarts of creamer, milk, etc. I asked her to wait until after caregiver gets fridge cleaned out - that was the second time on this trip that she started yelling at me - making snide remarks about 'why don't you just do what I'm asking you to do for me!!! Refused to let me help her to the car; refused to let me help her put her credit card in the machine at the check-out. Made a real scene. I finally got the car loaded in the pouring rain (at her insistence that we not wait any longer for the rain to pass - since I'd rushed her to wrap up the shopping - because I had to get back to work).

It was a lunchtime mid-day outing - but she forgets that only the day before I'd taken 4 hours off work to help her order some flooring/window treatments for her apartment - two days in a row of being unavailable at work is pushing it. My boss is very understanding, but will only tolerate so much of my absence.

At any rate she was so angry on the way home (10 minutes) she spewed so much hatred at me - incredible, disappointing and saddening. She brought up everything she could think of in those ten minutes to tell me how awful I was, how I should get in to see a psychiatrist because I must have schizophrenia (my sister does) and other insults hurled at me until she was out of the car and headed back inside her apartment...basically told me not to come back and she'd never go shopping with me again...ugh...she fired the caregiver who was scheduled to come in today to clean out the fridge; called and cancelled all the improvements we'd ordered. I have no idea what to do about her now. She lives 3 miles away....I have a full time job, a home, pets, husband, etc to take care of, so life goes on - but not sure what to do about her and her anger issues...

I think her mental state is declining and I've called her doctor and left messages but he will never call me back. Instead he asks her about me - and then she tells me ' I think my doctor is 'sweet on you'. He's never met me! I'm at a total loss today as to what to do, if anything. I'm burned out and exhausted after the last two days of dealing with mom...I guess I'll go bury myself in work, etc and wait to see what her next move will be - maybe she'll get someone to come in and help her. I could have someone contact her (from local caregiver organizations, but I'm completely out of ideas)...
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NYDIL - I'm stunned and amazed. This is why I have already fallen in love with this site. I agree - there's a great deal of bitter laughter (I hope) behind all of those. But you've also reminded me of how badly this could go. My dad started sliding down the car seat toward the pavement at an IHOP before his last hospitalization, and I was shouting for help from the five thousand people standing in line on a Sunday morning. It was not fun. I cannot find my sense of humor about it yet. For others: The trip is in a week and a half. I have just quit my job at the CDC which was killing me - I've gained 15 pounds since the beginning of the year, and I was already overweight - and going back to senior consulting so I can work from home AND take care of things...I am planning to do as little as possible before I go full press in August. Your encouragement is a Godsend. I'll report back. LOL. Everyone remember....the elevator is BROKEN. :) But I'm not yet. Thank you thank you thank you.
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NYDaughterinlaw...OMG!! The classic thing is you and your husband are probably the only ones who remembered each crisis! I'm sure the parents in law had the older person's etch a sketch mind....where they just forget the disasters by that evening. Wow...your story made me wonder how any of us do this!
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What I would do is go through with it, and then do something completely by yourself shortly afterwards. It's easy to say "Just don't do it" but like you say we need to live with these decisions for a lifetime and after your dad passes I suspect you'll feel glad you did this ocean trip for him. And if it's a disaster that sets the stage for saying it's just not safe and possible the next time travel comes up. Sometimes I switch frames and think of my parents as clients in these situations. Then I have no expectations of having my own needs met and I remain civil (or kind...it all depends on my stress!). But I have to schedule solitary time afterward! Good luck and keep in touch with us as you go!
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NYDIL, I am so sorry but I had to chuckle all the way the misadventures. I know it was horrible. Amazing that you lived to tell the story. That was a rough vacation.
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Reading this thread is giving me flashbacks to vacationing with my inlaws. I'll never forget the firsts: the first time MIL fell on the beach, fell in the hotel room, collapsed at a hotel restaurant, flooded the hotel bathroom, peed herself in the hotel van, had a poop explosion at hotel reception, needed an ambulance to get her out of the hotel room, had an ambulance take her from an airport to a hospital. After every first, except the last one listed, we tried to make the next vacation better. Gluttons for punishment were we.

And would you believe that even after an ambulance took her from an airport to a hospital that the inlaws still thought they would get to go on the next vacation? Well it's true. And that was when my husband and I told them we couldn't possibly do that because they were in no condition to travel. The more you give, the more your father will accept and expect.
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Well, he must be a member of the AMA for a start! But you shouldn't have to go that far.

Of course I don't know exactly how the system works where you are; but in general most healthcare systems have formal complaints procedures, so it would be a matter of going online and digging about to find out what applies in your neck of the woods. It might well be that you should simply write to the practice manager. First of all draft your letter, saying what happened and what the circumstances were. You also need to decide beforehand what you would like done about it. He apologised, okay, but what for? Are you satisfied he was apologising for the right thing?

What concerned me most about what you described is that he seemed to be making all kinds of unfounded assumptions about how your father's care is being managed, and what authority and responsibilities you have. I mean, what did he mean by "if you'd been doing what you're supposed to." Who says you're "supposed" to be doing anything? And what was that "get your father back here in two weeks" order he barked at you? Does he have any reason to believe that you have the authority, even, to tell your father what to do?

So I'd suggest that one thing you might want to aim for is a meeting where you outline more precisely what your father's support structure is, so that the doctor gets a better understanding of the practical realities; and the doctor can explain more satisfactorily what his thinking is, and listen to your understanding of your father's history with proper attention; and you can both agree what to expect of one another in future. But ordering you about as if you were some kind of half-witted menial-cum-chauffeuse is not only not acceptable but also deeply unhelpful - to your father, the patient, as well as to you.
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@CTTN55, yes he is arrogant. But not only that, I feel like he has some strange compulsion to verbally attack women when no one else is around. I have the sense that he would not have done that had I been sitting there with a group of people, or even just a brother or husband. I don't know... I've been with him when others were around, and he didn't behave this way. @Countrymouse, I agree. No, I didn't make a complaint. Honestly, it hadn't even occurred to me. For future reference, who would you suggest I complain to? The hospital? He's in a small group of doctors at his office - I kind of doubt they would listen, but the hospital might.
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SuzeeQ, that doctor needs his ears boxed. Did you make a complaint?
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Thanks for replying, suzeeQ. " He commented that had I been doing what I was supposed to be doing, my dad wouldn't be in this position " Wow. How arrogant.
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Tiredonlychild, when you're there, lean on those lovely Methodists for all you're worth. God bless them and prosper them, they'll take good care of him and take him out of himself while you get some real downtime PLUS no guilt! It does sound as if your little white lie came good this time :)

And next year, God willing, drop him off there while you and the kids go to a beach resort a bit further away!

When is this trip?
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@CTTN55 after my dads 1st surgery, the dr came out to give me a report. When I mentioned this was the 2nd time my dad had gangrene, he said something like 'that's impossible. Is he missing a limb? No, he's not, so your dad didn't have gangrene.' Well, I had heard the story about his first bout with gangrene, for about 50 years and was certain of it, but when I respectfully disputed what he said, he became very condescending. The last time I saw the dr was after my dads 2nd surgery. He commented that had I been doing what I was supposed to be doing, my dad wouldn't be in this position (more details than I care to write). When I respectfully disputed that statement he got up and said 'look, im not going to argue with you, just have your dad back in my office in 2 weeks.' And then he turned around and left. He was wrong about the details he provided and I knew it. I went straight to his office to get my dads medical records before he had a chance to change them. I was about to get out of my car when the dr called me and apologized, saying he was wrong. I was stunned. I'm glad he apologized but I think he did it only because he knew the record would have proven him wrong. I dont trust the guy but my dad hasn't seen this behavior first hand, and wants to stay with him. This is not completely relevant, but on both occasions I was by myself because my kids weren't available, and not one of my siblings, nieces or nephews showed up for support. Dealing with all of that on my own was really tough.
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My suggestion would have been to hire someone to care for him while you're all there. If he didn't care to pay for that care, then you could say well, you know your current health condition makes it very difficult for me, and I would like to enjoy the time away from home, too. Who would take care of him if he didn't go with you?
I cared for my parents (and my in-laws, sister, 2 best friends), for 22 years. My mom passed 8 months ago. Now I'm working on my step-brother's issues - he's in CA, with Alzheimer's. A white lie that helps you, and doesn't hurt anyone else, is acceptable. You have a lot on your plate. Try to find moments that you enjoy about it. I realized my dad (Alzheimer's) was angry and aggressive because he was afraid. Once I learned to tell him "everything's okay. I've taken care of everything," he was so much more relaxed. Good luck to you.
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suzeeQ: "his dr makes rude comments to me every time I see him." Just curious....what kinds of rude comments?
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If it were me, I would have probably got a local place to respite care and then go on vacation. Traveling with the elderly is no picnic. There comes a point that you can't reason with a person who has dementia and they will eventually need a higher level of care. Is it worth a shot to see if he can maybe go to a group homw?
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This is a marathon. I think you do what makes all of this insanity work for you, because you are an angel for doing this. I just lied to my dad this morning too. I told him I couldn't take him to a dr appt because I had an appt of my own. I didn't. But I said that because a) between that appt and taking him to & from dialysis, it would've been at least 4 hours out of my day, and time I wouldn't spend with my son, and b) his dr makes rude comments to me every time I see him. So I asked my brothers to take him. No response. I then hired a care taker to take him. I do feel a little guilty, especially since he did & said everything possible to get me or my son to take him, but I knew he'd be in good hands with this woman. This is a marathon, and I need to occasionally do things like this to keep up my momentum, and minimize the resentment toward my negligent siblings. 3/4 of the cost of the care taker expense is their inheritance. And I feel more mentally sound than I would otherwise. This is how I justify it.
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Tired, I hear a lot of stories about people passing when family is not there. When my FIL was in the process of dying all his family had stepped out of the room except my husband and myself. They had all been chatting quietly and the room became silent when they went out. He passed within minutes of them leaving. It felt like he was fighting it until then, maybe their voices were keeping him from going. I don't know.

Passing through to the "other side" is something we have to do alone. We will need to let go of this earthly place and our loved ones. Maybe it is easier for some people to go without distraction. Until it is our time we won't know for sure.

You sent your Mom off with love and she knew that. The quilt, her family...perhaps those things would have made it harder for her to go? My FIL loved his family, I think he was trying to hang on for them. I don't know but it felt that way.

I hope my thoughts are not an intrusion, I hope, in time, peace takes the place of your sadness.
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I agree, it's not fun going on vacation where you have to take care of people. This even with small children. I aw a couple the other day with a 2yr old and an infant with the car packed to the hilt with all they needed for the kids. Sorry, not a vacation to me. Parents need to realize that children need time away.
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I took my inlaws on many vacations and know how hard it is to make all the arrangements, concessions, compromises, etc. It's exhausting and not a vacation at all. The last time they wanted to come on vacation I told my husband "No" because I was the one who tended to them most of the time. Awkward to tell them that they were not going but it was the first time in a long time that we had a real vacation.
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tired, you probably got a lot right with your mom. She knew you loved her - the important thing that was wrapped around her wasn't a volunteer quilt....it was your love. And sometimes people pass when the loved ones aren't there - I think perhaps it's to spare them the pain of seeing them slip away. Be kind to yourself. Enjoy the kids - make some new good memories. And don't sweat the broken elevator...kids roll with things pretty well.
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Patticake I feel you. I'm really struggling to find the "winning" path. If I'm not raging from frustration and fatigue, I'm racked with guilt because I feel like I'm harsh, or I'm not as giving as I should be, or not as understanding as I should be. And the worst part is the only way out of this is death. Which is not exactly a happy ending - and is filled with its own horrors and regrets. Everything with my mom's last days went pretty well - except....when she died - she had a volunteer quilt wrapped around her. I literally have DOZENS of quilts - and yet, I was so preoccupied with the hospital drama, my father, my mother screaming for water - I never brought in a quilt. Then I went home to take a shower, came back and she was dead. In a volunteer quilt. They gave me quilt. I wanted to throw up. I wanted to throw it out. My aunt told me to wait a year. I did. and then I gave it to Goodwill. And every time I throw a quilt around my children, I get a twinge of such sadness that my own mother didn't have anything. Ugggghh. I did everything - everything - I could - and still didn't get it right. She died alone (with a social worker) with a quilt that wasn't mine. I don't want my dad to feel like a burden either - but on the other hand, I wish I would get some acknowledgment that his presence is work - which he refuses to do in any way. AND as I've pointed out earlier, he snarls. Which I think some moms don't do because they understand the stress their daughters are under. I feel men of this last generation still kind of see it as perfectly natural that their daughters run and fetch and be present and essentially fill in for wives who have passed. I keep watching One True Thing - especially the scene where the daughter thinks she's going to have some "meaningful" time with her dad, and he calls her into his office to hand her his dry cleaning. That's the crux of it. I totally understand you crying all day. I raged for two solid hours, and it didn't come down until I took meds - which makes me more angry - and then I went to bed. I wanted to have fun with my kids in the car, I wanted to sing rock songs with them. It just isn't going to happen. But at least, we'll have our own space. Of course, THEY are now in the lie - because remember? the elevator is BROKEN. ahem. Uggghh. The ugly truth of real life. Hang in there. Your mom knows you are there for her.
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