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You moved our parent hours away from the rest of the family to be near you. Now you complain you "are the only one doing anything". Why? You moved our elderly parent hours away from the rest of the family(including the grandchildren) in order that you would have them closer to you. Those of us left behind did everything we could think of to prevent this move, including letting you know we would not be able to visit. You did it anyway and now complain all the time and are furious because you are "doing everything alone". You made this mess and now want to blame it on all your siblings who did not want this situation to take place from the start.

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Mouse, I've went back and read some of your comments. You're more of a hard a** than I am. I have little patience with people who make terrible decisions, end up with a life ruined by caregiving, but come on.... Many people are put in horrible situations through no fault of their own. My sibs died, now I'm it for my folks and I should d*mn well be allowed to whine about it on this forum or otherwise. But it doesn't consume me.

I like this discussion and that fact that you're spicing things up a bit but in all honestly, some of your comments are bordering on arrogance. Just sayin.......
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You come across with a tone of smug superiority, implying that those who vent their frustrations with family members are simply whiners who fail to take responsibility for their own bad decisions. While I agree that may be true in some cases, many others have found themselves caught between the proverbial rock and hard place where there are no perfect answers. Your comment about the "difficult ones" always being your favorites especially got my goat, as you seem to characterize "difficult" elders as those crusty but loveable curmudgeons we see on old sit-coms, and with a little gentle coaxing they will learn to see things your way. In real life some caregivers have had to overcome a family history of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, mental illness, addiction, blended families and a host of other family dysfunction. And they don't get to go home at the end of the day like a paid caregiver, but have to live with the role 24/7. Perhaps not my reality or yours, but I for one feel compassion for their pain, not disdain.
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Mousehunters - I think you have an overly optimistic view of what services are publicly available. Where my mother lives, these services are only made available to people who qualify for Medicaid. We've already checked that out. Oh, and they don't provide transportation, at all.

If you are trying to say that there are always affordable services to take the place of family caregivers, I think you're very sadly mistaken.
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Mouse, I like you spirit, and I don't intend to let caregiving ruin my life, but what is PITA?

Also you comment THEY WILL NOT ALLOW OUTSIDE HELP, THAT IS NOT THEIR DECISION. well at some point it's not but my Dad will just kick them out right now if I send anyone, carpet cleaners, caregivers, meals on wheels etc. when he becomes clearly incompetent yea, I'll make my moves. But for many of us our oldsters are still in control. It will be crisis driven for me. Next ER trip, bad fall, Dad can't remember anything at all, in comes the help or off they go to a facility.
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Mousehunters, You are truly an instigator with an unusually naive faith in a failing system of unfunded helps for seniors. You make a valid point about personal responsibility is [ a ] key to success.
Also key would be, prior to taking on the responsibility of caregiving one would have access to FULL DISCLOSURE about the often unfolding changes, responsibilities, and expectations of caregivers as the recipient of care need's change. Impossible to predict! It would be ignorant to believe there is this: "Will you be the only caregiver?", and the answer is a one-time, lifelong, "Yes". And no one tells the caregiver ahead of time: They will fight you on this, at every turn, both your parents and siblings, spouse, and extended family. That does not make anyone a martyr, imop.
There is a delicate psychological and emotional balance going on here in a good way, with desperate caregivers getting support, venting, having successes, and then helping others.
Your presence here is welcome, as Windy stated. However, if your statements mess with any of the dear people who are well-loved and understood by us all here; if we have to put them back together after you have enjoyed your time here, some of us are gonna come through the screen and give you a virtual SPLATT.


...
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My mom is also on the lower rung of "middle income." If she lived a lot more frugally, she'd probably be able to afford some hired help. But, try being the one who explains that to an 80 year old: "Mom, you have to give up your daily lunches at Panera, your 200 cable channels, your vehicle, and the new carpeting for your home, because that money needs to be put aside for care needs." Try explaining that especially when you are the adult child who lives nearby and the parent expects you to attend to the care needs. It's very easy to say Mom needs to hire help or use sliding scale services when you live 1,000 miles away. When you live 20 miles away, Mom's first question is "But why can't you do it?" Followed by "I'm not ready to give up my car. I need those cable channels. What, I'm not supposed to even enjoy lunch???"

It's a lot easier to blame the caregivers for being "martyrs" than put yourself in their place and understand the pressure they're under from their parents, their parents' friends and neighbors, and the whole rest of society to step up and help the old folks out.
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Mousehunters - I'm sure you have a valid complaint about somebody, but I don't think it's valid to say, as you did, that "Anyone who is "losing their own life and independence" because they became the elderly parent's caregiver - is doing it wrong."

There are many caregivers who don't have the option of bringing in outside help because there is no money to pay the outside help or to enter assisted living. Many elderly are not impaired enough to qualify for Medicaid but still require a lot of help, especially those who can no longer drive but who live in a place where there is no public transportation (or who are not capable of using what public transportation there is). My mother needs help with something nearly every day. Grocery shopping, doctors appointments, housekeeping tasks, changing batteries and light bulbs, taking out garbage, bringing in mail, a whole long list of stuff. It can easily steal an adult child's independence, as it has mine. Many people here are in worse situations. Lots of people can't get away for a few hours, let alone a few days. That steals your life and your independence for sure.
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I'm an only child, like freqflyer, with no other living relatives to care for my mother. I go back and forth in my mind, questioning if I made the right decision; when I see other people living their lives, having a family and/or moving up the career ladder or just plain enjoying their lives, I feel angered and resentful about my situation; when I read horror stories of elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home, I feel relieved and thankful that I have the opportunity to have Mom live with me. It's just overall hard to say for most of us what is best way to handle the care of an aging loved one. My feeling now is that if I really wanted to put my mother in a home, I would've but I guess I'm not at my breaking point just yet; Thank God for the wine in my kitchen! But I'll say, and this only pertains to me, that because of what I went through by caring for both parents simultaneously and now caring for just one, I'm overall a better, wiser, and more compassionate person. I wasn't a bad person before, but, frankly it was all about me. However, I vicariously lived through the suffering of my father (he suffered horrifically from this and that side effect of multiple medical treatments) and as a result I understand what it means to truly enjoy every minute I have with my mother and also with myself. I also made the decision to live out my dreams and work towards my goals as much as I can so I don't have any regrets on my deathbed, and in this respect it's all about me, again, but in a good way. :-)
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Yes, however, my main point remains. One cannot make a decision to take on a responsibility and then blame others when the responsibility is too much for them. Anyone who is "losing their own life and independence" because they became the elderly parent's caregiver - is doing it wrong.

Becoming caregiver does not mean Dad or Mom is entitled to be a great big PITA. They are still our parent, but they are not entitled to dwarf our needs with their demands. For example, they "will not allow outside help" - That is NOT their decision to make.
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Good topic Mousehunter, I think perhaps JessieB was wondering why it was framed as a question rather than a discussion topic.
I have always taken ownership of my decision to care for my mom, but as you said there are many others who are angry at family members for not helping more. I think in a lot of cases people jump in to help in the midst of a crisis and then unfortunately find that the crisis has morphed into a long term commitment for which they didn't plan and aren't equipped to handle.
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