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I'm watching and listening to caregivers in their 60s complaining about their aging parents as if they are bad children. I sometimes feel like they don't know their parents are real people and not just "mom" or "dad" and are being bad or difficult. I'm not there yet but this scares me - it's almost as if when one's kids hit their 60s they somehow think they know more than their aging parent and it's not very nice.

I think the responses already given are wonderful and articulate but I do want to address this comment you made. You said: “complaining about their parents as if they are bad children”. I’m in agreement with NYdaughterinlaw that it sounds like you’ve never been a child caregiver.

Parents complain about their children. Even the nicest, most patient, best parents complain. Guarantee you. It doesn’t mean they don’t love their kids. It doesn’t mean they have had kids.

As our parents age and become elders in need of someone to take care of them, in many ways they revert back to children. And the parent-child roles reversed and the child becomes the parent and the parent the child. Of course the children are going to complain about their parents! It’s human nature.

Being a caregiver is HARD WORK. Let the caregivers complain here all they want. They need an outlet. They need a safe place to vent and let out their frustrations.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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worriedinCali Apr 8, 2019
Sorry that should say “that doesn’t mean they have BAD kids”
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There are all kinds of families, some (like mine) visit often and their relationship has evolved into one of equal adults, others rarely visit or communicate in any way and have never moved beyond the parent/child dynamic. I imagine that it must be really difficult to accept that the image of your parents you have held onto since your teens - good, bad or indifferent - is no longer relevant (and that goes both ways).
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Reply to cwillie
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Jennett, sometimes I think that some grown children who are caregivers to their elderly parents are not familiar with the ills of the parents.

I was very unfamiliar with dementia as I was never around anyone who had it. Thus when my parents were showing abnormal signs of memory loss, I was loss, too. Thank goodness I found this website AgingCare to help me along this adventure, and to learn what is going on.

Now that I am in my 70's, I can now understand the physical aspect of growing older. The aches and pains that my late parents were experiencing. How just taking a shower feels like a gym workout :P How I find myself dozing off watching the news, or even being on my computer doing repetitive research.

Oh how I wish during those 6 to 7 years of helping my parents that I would have put myself into their shoes to understand what they were going through.

And yes, there are times when we think we know more than our parents, but when it comes to caregiving and safety, we are more apt to see the forest for the trees. Parents can be down right stubborn when we feel it is time to for them to hire some caregivers, etc. especially when they had saved for those "rainy days" and it is now storming !!

Parents tend to view us as young adults, not senior citizens ourselves, and that climbing ladder days are over for us. So many times my parents wanted this fixed or that which would require a ladder.... nope, can't do it anymore.... and parents look confused.
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Reply to freqflyer
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I see from your profile that you are "approaching ages when care might be needed in a few years and" you want to learn as much as you can before that happens. A few questions will probably help you understand the business of caregiving better.

What do you think about when you say "aging"?

Do you yourself have children?

That you use the word "complaining" is telling. It suggests to me that you may never have been a caregiver especially not a long term one. Is that accurate?

What about your own parents? Are they still alive?

What kind of family do you come from? Did you live in an extended family household as a child?

What challenges did you face as a child that may impact upon how view caregiving?

There are so many layers to caregiving that one post cannot possibly begin to peel away the layers of the onion that is caregiving. And caregiving is like an onion. It has superficial and deep layers. It can be a sweet onion or sharp. It can make you cry. It comes in a variety of flavors and complexity. Some people love onions others don't. Some eat onions raw others only cooked or in a relish.

What I'm hoping you will see is that in order for us to help you unpack your feelings, fears and preconceived notions about caregiving we need to know more about you.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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If you mean the folks on this message board, most of the folks posting here have difficult parents who are demanding, narcissistic and/or mentally ill. Even for those of us with relatively " nice" parents, dementia ( aka broken brain) leads to elders thinking in unreasonable and illogical ways. Which leads them to demand things of their children which are undoable ( I want to go home--you ARE home; I want xyz food-- the doctor says that will kill you; I want to drive--you no longer have a license or insurance and you ran over a cat last week. Do you want it to be a child next time?).

Does that make sense?
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