I have learned so much on this journey... some good, some bad. I'm in a really crabby mood today and can 't focus at work, so it's my hope that typing all this will help me feel better.
1) PREPARE! PREPARE! PREPARE!!
As much as I disagree with it, modern medicine has made it possible for people to live WAY past what should be deemed as a quality life expectancy. Facilities and doctors' pockets are now lined with money made from increased medical bills and care-related costs of aging.
My Dad most likely didn't expect to ever get to his age and made poor financial decisions as a result. I'm sure he never expected the money that he squandered all of his life in a savings account (I cringe as I type that) to dwindle so quickly because his basic care expenses exceed $5K a month.
I am now exploring Long Term Care Insurance options and thinking of how I want to spend my latter years and what I can do now to make sure I have the money to cover it.
I am also (JUST FOR ME) looking into places where I could go if I decided I didn't WANT to burden someone with even worrying about my Long Term Care in the event that I got to a point where I was merely existing in a sick shell, medicating myself daily until a truly miserable end.
2) NO KIDS!
I had been on the fence about this one for some time and once caregiving put such a dent in my dating life and as I get closer to 40, it's not an option for me. Why?
Because I know what it feels like to have an older parent. At 39 with an 87-year-old father, I wouldn't wish my plight on anyone. I wouldn't want my kids to experience the emotions I have towards me (resentment, guilt, anger, fear) just by being essentially forced into caregiving at such a young age.
Also, because Dad has been legally blind all of his life. I've literally cared for him and his many women (most of which he beat up) all my life. I don't want the burden of having to worry about anyone else other than myself at some point in my life. Care giving has given me a glimpse into what a parent endures, and I just don't think I can take it.
3) NO DATING ... until
It's just too hard. With two jobs and trying to see Dad a few times a week and trying to squeeze in something like rest, it's just too much. Besides, it's not fair to ask a suitor to take on that extra baggage. I've yet to meet anyone who has truly been able to understand my plight. They usually tire of my less-than-pleasant demeanor and just being too tired to go out and do things, so I'll stick to four-legged companions.
Typing this makes me angry and sad. A comparison of epitaphs...
Here lies DAD: Lived a full live until a debilitating illness in his 80's.
Here lies Tinyblu: Devoted, angry spinster with lots of cats that died from stress related illness before 50...
Who's looks better? I'm NOT having a good day...