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Parents have been married 71 years and my mother has taken care of my father all these years. Now he is almost blind MD and she is tired. He can’t drive so she does that too. They are getting on each other’s nerves and don’t think the other cares. My father refused to go to the doctor when we told him he was going to give him a memory assessment. My brother and I don’t know how to help them. No financial resources just Medicare and what we give them.

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Wow. I didn't think anyone else experiences this.
My parents moved up by me about five years ago. They were married 65 years and I didn't realize the show they put up for us when we were around and it was completely different when they were alone.
Mom wanted to retire from cooking, cleaning, and laundry; being a housewife. Dad was blind and needed help with food and cooking. Bad combo. My Dad walked out the front door after my mom was in a rage and throwing pots and pans about the apartment kitchen after being asked by Dad to kindly make him something to eat; he never went back!
Blind man, walking around a new town and not knowing it at all. Interesting....found out that he had taken a taxi to a local hotel and had no intention of going back to live with my Mom.
It's a very, very long story and my wife wants me to write a book about my experience with the parentals. In the end, my Dad ended up moving down by my sister. He unfortunately fell and and hit is head which caused a hematoma complicated by Cumadin blood thinner and he passed.
It's my belief that we are just living too long. We are prolonging life with medications and therapies and I don't think the human mind can keep up.
I completely understand the situation that you and your parents are in. I don't have a solution other than to possibly separate them with different activities so they aren't around each other 24/7.
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Arleeda Apr 2019
You are so right! We are definitely outliving our usefulness. I wish it were legal for anyone over 75 to ask for assisted suicide. I am 81 now and still lucid and active, but if I were unable to do anything but eat and watch TV, needed to have diapers, etc. I don't believe I would want to live. There just weren't this many old crazy people around when I was a child. My great-grandmother had dementia, but there was no Medicare or Medicaid, and so when she quit eating, that was it. No doctor was called, nada.
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Maybe it’s not so much that they dislike each other, but their lives. I have an active and intense dislike of my life; disabled husband, no money, crappy house, etc. etc. I can get nasty with my husband, but it’s not his fault really..

Can you get them separated, even for a short time? One person to take care of Dad and another to take Mom out for a few hours? No big extravaganza. Maybe breakfast at Bob Evans. I know I sure would appreciate that.
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My parents aren’t quite in that situation....but sustain a love/hate relationship after 71 yrs. of marriage. When mom was in rehab my dad missed her and would visit once, sometimes twice a day. Now that she’s home she drives him crazy. But then again, she always did since she has a high anxiety, controlling, demanding personality.
My advice would be to have the assessment done under the guise that the doc is checking to make sure his meds aren’t affecting his mental capability. This was the only way we were able to get my mom to go. Now she will be seen by a geriatric neurologist next month.....as adviced by her PC.
Hope this helps, but ultimately I think looking into long term care would be the best thing for all concerned. We are still working on that with my parents. Good luck to you.
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As my Mom said after my Dad pushed her buttons again, which he was very good at and enjoyed..

"They don't tell you when you take those Vows that when he gets old, you get old too and you don't feel like putting up with his sh*t any longer."

We are living too long. As my daughter puts it "past our expiration date".
People are not meant to live together 24/7. Spouses work, children go to school. What do two 90 yr olds do when their minds and bodies can't do anymore. How do they get away from each other.
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shad250 Apr 2019
So to 70 and call it quits?
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Yes, my parents were really sick of each other Mom made no secret of it. When he was talking she would turn her hearing aide off ... “he never says anything I want to hear anyway”. He was nearly dead too, but would not admit it and get an aide. He would say the nastiest things about her to people whenever they were in public. She refused to go with him. She would deliberately put things well out of his reach, knowing he could not climb a step stool. Just plain spite. She had the habit of taking things and putting them away while he was still using them!

she was sick of having to cleanup after him and verify everything for fear he would burn the place down. He was sick of her hen-pecking.

I almost suggested nerf bats for them! It was brutal to be there trying to help them both. No point trying to talk civility into them....they couldn’t hear me anyway. Aaaarrrrggggghhhhh!

I just tried to referee, and prevent any actual harm.
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jacobsonbob Apr 2019
What were they like when they were younger? Were they like this for many years or most of their marriage, or did it develop only within the least few years or so?
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Hi CeCe

There is something so precious about very old couples. . I hope they also find some times to laugh together. When my dad died my mom remarked that she had known him 75 years. So many things only he would know or remember. He called her the girl of his dreams. But my mom was so tired of being his caregiver at one point that she looked at a hospital procedure as a welcomed get away. I didn’t live near them and was surprised at how worn out she was.

Here are a couple of links that might help you and brother find services for your family.
The Area Agency on Aging for Birmingham can help assess your parents for the level of care they need. Give them a call and see what services they can help you with.
https://www.uwaaa.org/

Here is a link that discusses the Medicaid Waiver Programs available in Alabama that can help with getting help in the home or an ALF.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.payingforseniorcare.com/medicaid-waivers/al-elderly-and-disabled.html%3ftmpl=amp

As I understand it, NHs aren’t available through Medicaid for custodial care. Medicaid requires two thresholds to be met. Financial and medical.
Also know that if dad has sufficient medical need to require 24/7 care that mom, as a community spouse wouid not be left impoverished.
It’s sometimes hard for us to imagine our very elderly parents anywhere but with each other. But do consider that at this time their needs might be better met independent of one another.

Another thing you can do proactively is familiarize yourself with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Sometimes just seeing where they are either helps you know things aren’t so bad or that they really need more help now. Remember that even a little help can make a
big difference.

I’ve been thinking about you and your parents all morning.
Come back and let us know how things are going. You’ll find a lot of support here.
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Me! My parents had an almost perfect marriage for decades and I had a wonderful childhood. Somewhere around the age of 70, they began to hermit inside of their house (which unfortunately is down the street from me). After a couple years of that they totally got cabin-fever and started spending their days bickering and drinking. I am an only child and my parents have no other family around here. They stopped communicating with all friends. I constantly begged them to be nice to each other! After several years of living that way, dad started to develop signs of dementia. My mom became verbally abusive toward him and basically said he was "not her responsibility" (after 50 years of marriage!). I ended up having to move him to memory care for his own well being (he is now 80). When it came time to move him, mom said she "didn't care where he went and would never go to visit him", leaving all of the moving logistics 100% on my shoulders. After a while, she did end up visiting occasionally but sometimes continues her verbal abuse to the point where staff has called me about her behavior. Common things she shouts at him: "F-you", "shut up", and "I can't wait until you are dead". This has pretty much negated my wonderful childhood and I take out my frustrations by running family photos, greeting cards, etc. through my shredder. Friends suggest I start seeing a therapist. It's very ugly and I've had to absorb it like a big sponge :(
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jacobsonbob Apr 2019
Upstream--You probably shouldn't destroy all the "evidence" if you had a good, happy childhood. Yes, your parents have changed, but that doesn't negate what they were like when they were younger. In addition, it appears it's only your mother who has become this way (if not dementia or a psychiatric issue, then it's at least an emotional or psychological one), so you shouldn't destroy memories of your father.
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Thank you all for such good advice. I am going to try and get my mom to come home with me for a while. My brother lives in the same town with them and he can see after our dad. When I have offered before she said no so here’s hoping she will come now. It is nice to know that others have gone through the same thing.
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If mom is still capable, why not find alternative living arrangements for dad and let her remain in the home?

Certainly you can start with your plan to separate them, which will stop the bickering and restore some peace. However sometimes that can backfire (would her negativity then be directed at you and/or your family members?) If dad will need long term care, better to let her remain home and find arrangements for him. Any move (such as to your home or brother's) can be explained with a need to have a break from mom!

As for getting dad assessed - NEVER tell them what the appointment is really for. Disguise it as a checkup. Almost guaranteed that most are going to refuse! DO get this done! If he has started down the dementia path, definitely keep them apart for now, but start the process of preparing POA, medical directives (if not done yet and still possible), seeking financial aid (be sure to see Elder Care Attorney to protect any existing assets, such as the home), looking for a place for him (unless one of you feels you can take on the task.) I can relate to having the other underfoot all the time, which happens after the kids move on and becomes increasingly the case when ability to get out and about diminishes - even though we were young then, when the ex lost his job and I was working off-shift, he most certainly got in the way! I would tell him to go get another job!!!
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I get your situation - My Mom is 77, my Dad is 81; she has some arthritis and “heart palpitations” (her words) and hates house cleaning, laundry & cooking. My Dad has a disabling lung condition plus COPD, & limited mobility, he hurls little barbs and insults at her all day long. He also is extremely controlling of their finances. She mostly doesn’t bother to get dressed and sits a lot watching tv and reading. He doesn’t get dressed and sits a lot complaining and being rude. I help them with some things but have to keep my visits short. It is very depressing.
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It sounds like your mom is exhausted, overworked, and unhappy. And your dad probably feels both helpless and bored. Thus, they fight. I would say they need more activities, and more chances to get away from each other. I love my husband dearly but just becoming empty nesters has been a challenge--we don't seem to be sliding into it totally smoothly--we don't seem to know what to do with all our time together, now that the kids (and his mom) are all out of the house!

I doubt very much they hate each other, but I can totally see why they are crabby. This aging thing is not for the faint of heart!

I would talk about both home care and assisted living options. Sounds like both of them need a "change of scenery". How lucky that they are able to perhaps do that together! I would try talking to them/brainstorming about it separately though, to avoid any triangular discussions, and so that each feels heard. Once you know how they each feel, separately, perhaps there can be some fruitful group discussions. They would probably both like some one-on-one time with you, to vent, anyway.
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Cece55 Apr 2019
Since they do not have money for home care how about senior day care let the dad go and mom have respite for those hours
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