Follow
Share

I thought this was a website to help caregivers find answers to questions about caring for someone. When I joined this many years ago, I wanted to read about the logistics of getting proper care for my mother. I thought I would get hints to make her life easier and to make my life easier as well. Instead most of what I read is the belly aching and griping of people who are evidently burned out and have no compassion for their parent or the elderly. I am not sure where this should be posted but for goodness sakes folks, your kids are watching you and learning from you and you will be the elderly one day. Do you want the same treatment that you are giving to your parent? Keeping a home too cold is the same as elder abuse. Their blood does not circulate as well as yours. Walk around in your bathing suit if need be but keep them warm.



After your parent(s) are dead, will you regret the complaints you make and appreciate sacrifices that you make to keep them comfortable in their last years? My guess is yes because I have been there and done that. Read about hypothermia in the elderly, read about the depression of the elderly, read about the loneliness of the elderly and read about the loss of taste, smell, appetite, etc., and the loss of independence. Do you think they really want to live with you? NO. They would prefer to be able to take care of themselves in their own homes. Now grow up and deal with your issues like the adults and caregiver that you are supposed to be. Most likely they made concessions to take care of you when you were young but even if they were not perfect parents, that does not excuse you for basically mistreating them. Apologize to your parent for not being more understanding. Try to accommodate them for this ending of their lives. As I get older, rarely a day passes, that I don't whisper, "Mom, I am sorry, I did not understand" for some stupid comment that I made when she was alive. Again, I have been there and done that.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
If I had a child, I hope they would care about me as much as I cared for my dad and mum. I go back to the phrase about how we are all imperfect caregivers. Its true. I do have guilt and regrets about the last year of my dad's life, but I really tried. I tried to put him first. I tried to do what I thought was going to make him happy. If he said change the light bulb, I changed the light bulb. If wanted coffee from his favorite shop, I got it for him. I did have my moments of impatience and anger. I do regret those deeply. But in the end, for as long as I can remember, I tried to be a helper to my mom and dad my whole life. It wasn't easy, but I tried. I hope if I had kids, they would try too.
(3)
Report

Back to the original question, Yes. I definitely would want to be treated just as my sisters and I treated our mother. We made some mistakes along the way, and I would expect that to happen in any situation. But I have absolutely no regrets about how we treated her. I sure hope my kids were indeed watching!
(8)
Report

countrymouse, I took note of gmafaye's rue and regret over her treatment of her mother. My point is that she should have stuck to judging herself and not turned her scathing judgment on all the rest of us based solely on the fact that we "gripe and bellyache" here on this board.
(1)
Report

She says: "As I get older, rarely a day passes, that I don't whisper, "Mom, I am sorry, I did not understand" for some stupid comment that I made when she was alive. Again, I have been there and done that."

I don't think she's judging anyone more harshly than she's judging herself, and I feel very sorry for her.
(3)
Report

We don't know much about the OP other than what she has about her brother's death when she joined. She hasn't come back to this thread yet, so she may have had her say, then left. I agree with Carla that she was a bit harsh with the group, since most of us give so much and get back little. Our wells can run dry. I don't know what the OP's relationship was like with her mother in the final days. I read her message again and realized that it doesn't apply to many of us, since we talk on the group about our feelings, but treat our parents well. I think that is totally okay, since this is a caregiver support group.
(3)
Report

CM, I love ya' but I gotta agree with Carla. Very judgmental and a lot of finger wagging in the original post.
(5)
Report

I'm sorry, countrymouse, but the use of pejorative terms like "bellyaching and griping" and unfounded accusations of having for "no compassion for the elderly or parents" along with warnings like "for goodness sakes folks, your kids are watching you" and "you will be the elderly one day" all strike me as extremely judgmental. If you want people to learn from your experience, you share your experience, without assumptions or judgements about others. I think you're being far too charitable here.
(3)
Report

I don't think that's quite fair, Carla. GmaF is dealing with a lot of regret about how things went for her, that's all, and she was speaking generally. She's right to warn others that if they don't watch themselves now they might be sorry later, and she didn't have in mind the sort of family histories where arguably it isn't even reasonable for the children to have to be caregivers for their terrible parents. She's saying "don't do what I did or you'll be sorry," not "I was wonderful and you should all copy me."
(1)
Report

Another thing these forums help with was to slow me that a sense of humor can go a long ways in dealing with things we couldn't understand or couldn't control.

Example, my Dad would complain he needed a hair cut, and I would look at him and say "yep, you have a Dagwood going on there", and that got Dad laughing.   I was lucky, Dad [95] enjoyed humor and was quick on the puns.

Dad's two caregivers also had a sense of humor so they would be joking about things that use to worry me... then that helped loosen the stress a bit :)
(2)
Report

with all due respect to gershun, gmafaye stared this thread for the sole purpose of wagging a finger at other caregivers who don't approach caregiving with the sacrificial attitude gmafaye apparently believes appropriate. It's no surprise that she received a lot of negative feedback. Caregivers deal with enough carp without having to deal with sanctimonious lecturing from our own camp.
(7)
Report

I just noticed that the last part of the message was copied and pasted from her post 9 days ago. gmfaye evidently considered it very important that we understand how important it is for older people to feel warm. There are many solutions mentioned on AC, such as closing vents and opening windows in our rooms so we can keep the heat going in their rooms. Asking elders to wear warmer clothes often doesn't work well. It is easier to turn up the thermostat -- I understand that. And when incontinence is a problem, extra clothes are a problem.

gmafaye, I'm sorry you read only the bad things and missed the good advice. I would say most of the parents on the group are keeping warm and their caregiver is doing whatever they can to keep cool. We usually find in the words of people what we're looking for. If you look for the positive, you will find it.
(2)
Report

I joined because this is a safe place to air feelings. No one is a saint, and what we know intellectually is often different than feelings and emotion - which have to get out somehow.  Feelings are feelings - frustration, sadness, anger, fear etc just don't go away, they just get buried and manifest into physical and mental health issues unless addressed.    How we behave and treat our parent is what is important.
Mom is gone now, and I am sad and I miss her, who she was.  I was so close to her, loved her dearly.  But the last 20 years of her life she was very very different and difficult and I can't pretend it wasn't stressful and very hard.  It didn't stop me from doing everything I could for her, from loving her to being kind to her and trying every day to keep her safe and happy.  Fortunately, she was able to live in IL, then a nice AL, and finally a NH where they gave her excellent loving care.  My sister and I, being seniors ourselves, could not have handled her physical needs that last five months, but we were there for her, and constantly visiting and picking up the slack, especially when she was in IL and AL.  She did not make it easy for us emotionally.

This is the place for caregivers to whine and complain if they need to.  And yes, I whined and complained to let off steam and share problems with others.  It helped a lot, just writing my feelings down.  I'm sure my children will feel the same if (God forbid) I become a difficult person in old age.   As long as they are kind and caring to me, if it helps them to let off steam somewhere, that's ok.
(4)
Report

windytown, you made a good point. The OP rarely has posted on this site and the only other message is to say that everyone is whiny. gmafaye, you may not realize it, but what you did was abusive. It is okay to disagree respectfully, but to call people who are in emotional pain "whiny" is kind of mean, wouldn't you say?
(6)
Report

Yes, I hope that my children are watching.

I watched as my mother took care of a succession of ill, elderly relatives while we were young. Cleaning my grandmother's apartment on weekends when she lived independently. Moving grandmother in with us when she could no longer live alone. Watching dad try to hold his temper when he came home on 100 degree August days and finding that the AC wasn't on. Watching my mother trying not to snap when her mother made snide comments about what we were wearing/how we behaved/the fact that we didn't attend Catholic School. Listening to Grandma complain about how lonely it was living with us.

My mom is in a Nursing Home among folks of her own age, going to activities when she wants, having her health looked after by trained people, not an idiot like me. Getting in-house medical care, wound care, foot care, eye care, dental care, hair care without having to put on a coat and get into a car.

Yes, I sure hope my kids are watching. And if they aren't, I've told them explicitly to help me find good IL/AL/NH care when the time comes.
(6)
Report

LOL JessieBelle - I'm not wearing no bathing suit either. The old one sits in a chair all day being waited on. She can put on a sweater, sweat pants, warm socks, booties. She can wrap up in a blanket, or a pile of them. I'm running around cleaning, cooking, hauling groceries into the house, and I'm working up a sweat. I'm NOT wearing a dang bathing suit. Turn down the dang thermostat already so I can do my (thankless, unpaid) job!
(4)
Report

"Getting all high and mighty and dismissing someone else's past helps no one".
Amen! Well said, Evermore99!

And for the record - I have no regrets.
(1)
Report

You know what gmafaye. I have gone on various threads and said pretty much what you said in your post. Whoa, did I ever get an earful afterward. Things like, oh, it must be nice to have had such a perfect Mom. Like I've done something wrong by applauding my Mom and loving her so much.

It almost felt sometimes like unless you are complaining and whining and lamenting how horrible your childhood was and how much it sucks to take care of your parent then piss off.

But, I might add I've never said a bad word about my Mom on here and I never would and I don't have children but if I did I think I would be blessed to be taken care of the way I took care of my Mom cause I did it out of love and as hard as it was I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Oh, and by the way today would have been Mom's 94th birthday so Happy Birthday Mom, I love you and miss you.
(4)
Report

If you joined this site many years ago, why did you wait this long to express your concerns? Your posting history reveals you have made 3 comments in "many years". That just strikes me as a bit odd.
(2)
Report

gmafaye, who are you talking to? Most of the people on here make so many concessions to accommodate the needs and wants of their parents. Many of us wear shorts in winter so they can stay warm. Sometimes we give up our entire lives so they don't have to move out of their homes. Really, that makes little sense. What kind of parent would ask so much from a child? I would never want to live the way my parents do, so it would be irrelevant how I would want my child to take care of me. They wouldn't have to. I like being around people, so senior housing is the choice I am making. Independent living, assisted living, then nursing care if I make it that long. No one owes me their whole life. I am surprised to read such a critical post that ignores the needs of the caregiver. Rule No. 1 to me is to take care of ourselves because we are as important as the people we care for. We cannot lose our lives and health doing a service that can go on 10-20 years. When my father died, I had no regrets. When my mother dies, I will have no regrets. I gave a full measure and compromised on everything to keep them comfortable.

But goodness, I'm not going to walk around in a bathing suit. That would show I had zero self worth. It's easier to close my vents and stay in my room if they want it toasty warm. What was written about is being a doormat, which is the most damaging to feelings of self worth that I can think of. Who wants to be a doormat? And who wants to teach their daughters to be a doormat? Better to be helpful while still taking care of your own needs.
(4)
Report

Good point FF. I will take it one step further. When our parents had to carry us everywhere or assist us in walking, we were less than 20 pounds and we were improving. When they were cleaning our diapers or soiled beds, they could easily lift us or roll us... And they knew the end was in sight. When they had to spoon feed us, they knew that soon we would reach for our spoon and learn to feed ourselves.

And we never resented their help not cursed them when they were trying their best
(5)
Report

I have learned until you walk in another person's shoes. never judge or undermine those expressing themselves. This site is for those who have elderly parents and how to manage their needs and still be able to function in their own lives. Gmafaye, I am glad you have a positive experience caring for your parents, many here are not that lucky.
(2)
Report

faye, please note when our parents were taking care of us they were in their 20's and 30's.... huge difference.

We have senior citizens taking care of their own parents. This is a job for much younger people. I know I don't have the same energy at 70 as I did at 40, it's been cut in half due to my own age relate decline. And if I don't get enough sleep, I am down for the count the next day, no bouncing back like when I was 20.
(3)
Report

GmaFaye, The same caregivers you are taking to task may someday be the ones who will volunteer themselves to give you the answers you will need.
(2)
Report

When I first came to this site I saw so many posts about what a 'blessing" it was to care for an elderly parent and that it was an 'honor' to give up all your time to them. I was sitting here thinking "Are they serious?"

Luckily the posts eventually became more realistic with how hard it is to care for the elderly. Many use the excuse that they raised you. There is a HUGE difference in raising a child and caring for the elderly. It makes raising kids look like a walk in the park.

To address the OP's holier than thou post. So many before me made many good point. And I agree with the poster that says she hopes her kids have to do LESS than she does. I don't want my kids to give up their lives so mine can stay the same. I don't want to create obstacles when they are just trying to help me. I don't want to create imagined emergencies so some one will focus all their attention on me. I don't want my adult children to have to take off of work every week to run me to a doctor that I really don't need to see. I don't want to start every conversation with one of my children with the words "i've got a problem...". I don't want to create extra work for them because I refuse to help myself.

I do want that my children won't dread visiting me on occasion or even help me out. I do want to take an interest in their lives and not spend every waking moment talking about myself. And I hope in my advanced years that I realize that the world does not revolve around me and if I start acting like it does that my children will correct me.
(6)
Report

I want to never put my own kids in my position. I know that they would belly up due to the sense of duty..just as I have. But, I will do all in my power to ensure they never have to face the decision at all.

I will probably hit the road for life and break off contact once I begin to fail. I won't wait.

I often said that no one should claim the body. Let the city or town cremate me and shovel the ashes where ever they choose....after all, I won't be there. Spend the insurance money on a party with an open bar....not on funerals and urns!

Well....I believe my parents have received the best from me. Even my dad who was near to impossible to deal with. Mom is a joy to be around...still not going to let this be the fate of my kids.
(4)
Report

gmafaye - I'd give you the same answer as mom2mom did, except that I don't have kids. So when I take care of my mom, I do it with the knowledge that there would be nobody to do the same for me if I needed it. I too expect to navigate my own way through retirement, assisted living, and nursing home if I need it. I hope to keep my physical stamina and my brain functioning as long as possible, and after that, throw myself on the mercy of (paid) strangers.

Which is what I believe everyone should do, whether or not they have children. I don't believe parents should expect grown children to put their lives on hold for years on end to take care of them in their old age. I have done it because my mother's choices left me very bad choices only. It maddens me that she takes no responsibility for that, even when she sees the impact that it has on me. If she could afford assisted living, she'd be in it. If she could afford paid care, she would have it. But she retired at age 58, spent 20 years flitting around enjoying her retirement, then decided to sit in a chair for the rest of her life while her grown children give up their own golden years to take care of her every need.

When I'm with my mother, I make every effort to be kind, compassionate, and accommodating. But I'm only able to do that by keeping my contact with her to a minimum. I take her to dr's appointments. I take care of her when she's sick. I take her on weekly shopping excursions when she's well. But that's it. If I had to deal with her every day I'd kill myself, or her.

I don't want my mother to be grateful. I want her to be sorry. I want her to say at least once "I wish I had done things differently. I'm sorry that I put you in this position. I wish you were able to live the life you want in a location that you choose."

I guess your question caught me on a particularly bad day. It's hot here (in Florida) even though it's February, and I have a deep intolerance for heat. I'm angry at my mother for refusing to live anywhere else (we came from New Jersey, but my real preference is the Finger Lakes or eastern PA) and forcing me to either abandon her altogether or subject myself to the year-round torment of this wretched heat and humidity. I can't imagine asking or expecting a grown child (if I had one) to make this kind of sacrifice for me.
(7)
Report

I just celebrated what I hope is my mthr's last birthday by taking some of the kids over to visit her in her memory care, brought her some flowers and cards and a "nice" visit. They can't stand her. I can't stand her. And I rejoice in knowing that her time on earth is limited.

Instead of reinforcing her self-centered, narcissistic, and pathological behavior, I have taught my kids that I am not to be the object of their future lives, but their families and their children are...To live for the present and the future, not the past.

It is only by the grace of God that I chose to help her out of her horrible living conditions, and I chose to show mercy to this horrible woman who only gave birth to me, and never loved me as a mother. My children hear and see me honestly calling abuse by its name. They also see me showing mercy to someone who completely does not deserve any kind treatment at all. Why? Because I try to live out the mercy shown to me by my Lord and Savior.

If I treat them my kids way I was treated by mthr, they are free to treat me as I deserve to be treated. They are under no compulsion to show mercy. I don't want them to enable my bad behavior. If I start passing out guilt trips every phone call, I expect them to stop talking to me. That is what I am teaching them - healthy behaviors.
(8)
Report

I haven't been on this site as long as many here, but will say this---I've been blessed with great parents, my mom now passed and a dad here in poor health. They weren't perefect by any means, but they loved us and did their best. But one of the first things I learned after coming here to gather info and learn was that not everyone had what I had, many people had parents that were cruel or abusive, yet they were still stepping up and caring for them in their old age. Maybe often through gritted teeth, but doing it and doing their best. I don't know that I could do the same. This road is hard enough with a good parent. The part I can easily relate to that I've also seen a lot here is the endless frustration of useless or undermining siblings. Caregiving when you're dancing around siblings that make matters more complicated makes me more annoyed and grumpy than anything with my dad. So things aren't always as simple as they appear. I've learned not to cast judgment when I see someone griping about their mom, though I couldn't picture me having done that, my situation was different. We all need to walk a bit in others shoes sometimes.
(7)
Report

Midkid, thank you for saying what I also feel. I may vent here, especially as the people here are the only ones I know who understand the difficulties of caring for a narcissistic parent. But I still arrange medical care, take my mom goodies and am as kind as I am able to be with her.

I will not expect my kids to rearrange their lives so that mine doesn't change. I'm not setting a bad example for my kids because I can't make their grandmother happy in her later years. They've seen their aunt and I turning our lives upside down to give her a good quality of life for a few decades. I will not expect them to make me happy or be my constant source of social life. And when my mom is gone, I will not have regrets that I didn't do more in the last few years. Because I know in my heart that we have been exceptionally good daughters.
(9)
Report

I actually posted a reply to this comment and redacted it before I could post it.
Y'all said it pretty well. We have come here to have a safe place to say things that we can't say to others--they'd be horrified at our anger, frustration and sometimes, yes, hate.

Not all of us had unconditionally loving, doting mothers who cared for us and gave us a sense of purpose and well being. Some of our parents told us they wish they'd never had kids, then turn right around and tell us to go do this and that for them...NOW. My mother used the constant threat of suicide to keep us all in line. Who DOES that to a 5 yo? She STILL does it, but I just ask her to please not leave a mess.

Many of us are struggling to deal with angry, sick, narcissistic parents (mostly moms, it seems) who are STILL yanking our chains and keeping us in "bondage". YET--we pull it together and do out jobs. I will work at mothers and cry and scream on the drive home, quite often. BUT, I give her the best care I can. As do we all.
We're just doing the best we can with the hand we've been dealt. Sometimes it's fine (and we don't post about that, for obvious reasons!) MANY times there are great nuggets of information, but most of all....I don't feel so darned alone all the time.
(9)
Report

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.