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When raising my kids, I had a beautiful poster that had a lovely picture of Noah’s Ark in my home.


I love art, so I was attracted to the lovely image of the huge ark with all of the animals. I also love nature and was attracted to the beautiful depiction of the animals but what made me buy the poster was the message of the inscription on it which was, “We’re all in the same boat...So, let’s keep it afloat!” How true, right? I framed the poster and I loved it.


The message resonated with me deeply. I used it as a visual image to relay to my children that we were a team.


I raised my children to know that parents and children need to work together.


It’s also how I am desperately trying to make this current group of people who are caring for my elderly mom succeed as a team which consists of myself with doctors, nurses, rehab facilities, home health, social workers, family members, whoever is involved in caring for her as a team.


I am finally accepting that I simply cannot do everything alone for mom and relaying that to her as lovingly and best as I can.


Parents rely on us just as our children did and while it’s very similar in one way, it’s vastly different in other ways.


It takes awhile for some of us to catch onto this message. Many of you tried to explain this to me!


Sometimes we miss things due to being overwhelmed, afraid to feel we failed after trying so hard, maybe even some pride, whatever the case may be...who knows?


It’s trial and error. It’s individual and has to be tailored to our own needs. There isn’t always a simple solution to things. There are so many variables.


Kids and elderly parents are sometimes impatient, can be demanding, stressful and exhausting.


I sometimes feel that aging parents actually expect more than our young kids did. Seems like we are able to explain things more easily to children than aging parents. Some parents have extremely difficult challenges, special needs. Some caregivers have the same with ALZ.


We needed breaks from our kids which made us better parents in the long run in order to be refreshed and refueled. The same is true for caregivers of the elderly. One huge difference for me is that we ourselves are getting older and have our own concerns with health, finances, etc.


What are your thoughts on this? I’m curious to know how others feel. Where am I on point and where am I off base?


All answers are welcome, not just deep thinkers like me, be sarcastic if you wish. I have those days where I feel like I don’t give a rat’s a**! Be funny if you like, some things elderly people do make me crack up, even if it’s sad. Some caregivers are extremely funny. A sense of humor is important. Be sweet and melt my heart.


Answer any which way you like. In other words, just be yourself. Be sincere.


Also, how do others feel about outside support, professionals who care for the elderly? Do you feel it’s a calling for some?


Or do you feel it has become more of a ‘money making’ business? Let’s face it, aging care, just like child care for working parents has become a huge ‘profitable’ business for most. From what I have seen there aren’t near as many ‘non profit’ companies.


I know that I have tons of questions. Just chime in where you feel you would like to contribute to the discussion. Thanks!

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Mainly, my children brought me joy and my mother brings me dread, fear, pain and chronic anxiety. On his worst day with colic my son was better than my mother on her best day. The fruits of all my labor with my children put forth a loving and caring RN who's planning her wedding and a CFO of a company who's celebrating his 4th anniversary and planning to give me a grandchild soon. The fruits of all my labor with my mother put forth a woman who constantly complains, is never satisfied no matter HOW much is done for her, puts down others, giving nothing back but sucking everyone bone dry. What I have to look forward to with my children is something joyful but what I have to look forward to with my mother is more pain, more worry, more trips to the hospital and eventual death that will be torturous to witness, I'm sure, based on past experience with EVERYTHING, providing she doesn't outlive me. I'd rather have another 10 children than 1 elderly parent to take care of. Sad but true.
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Tiger55 Jul 25, 2019
Right on lealonnie1🌈
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I will readily admit that many of the tasks involved in elder care like prepping meals, dealing with incontinence and challenging behaviours are similar to child care, and I think my time raising kids was a good prep course for elder care. But to many of us making that comparison is asking for a fight, because the differences are jarring and elder care is so different both physically and emotionally.

Children learn and their horizons expand - elders diminish and their horizons are shrinking

When little Sally trips and falls you pick her up and kiss her booboo. When an elder falls getting them off the floor is a major event, and they may be severely injured

Changing an adult diaper is nothing like changing a child.

With your little ones you can look forward to the day they are finally potty trained

Little kids are easily portable, if you need to go out you just pop them in their car seat. Planning and executing trips outside the home with a frail elder is difficult, if not impossible

Most babies are sleeping through the night before their first birthday

You (almost) never have to make the agonizing choice to have your child live in a residential facility

Our elders have their own life history that includes being a competent person in control of their own fate, few give up that control willingly

When your toddler has a tantrum sure it's distressing, but when an elder has a tantrum you may need to call 911 because they have the size and strength to do harm

Sorry for the rant, but you get the idea.
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againx100 Jul 28, 2019
Too true!!
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Children bring joy, they are happy, positive, energetic. I'm not experiencing that in dealing with elders for the most part, just sayin'. It's a very negative experience! When I was a child, my parents told me what to do and when - they were in control and I knew it. Me, trying to oversee their care, has been a giant sh*tshow and a train wreck, affecting my life in ways I could never have prepared for.

At least when you have children, you have a general timeline of what to expect as they grow through different stages. The terrible twos, etc. Not so much with elders, it changes from day to day and sometimes it's life or death stuff. Not fun.
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AlvaDeer Jul 25, 2019
Boy, you are right on there, Upstream. When we are dealing with kids we are dealing with the BEGINNING and when with elders we are looking at the end. Great observations.
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I can see some big differences.  First, legal issues - elders have the right to do stupid things, until and unless they are declared legally incompetent.   Guess who generally has to clean up the mess? You really don't have the legal control you have with minor children.

And, generally, kids know they aren't adults, with adult control of money, life choices, etc... So often, elders have to gradually give up various things they have been doing for years, as competencies decline.  Denial, big time, of the new reality.
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NeedHelpWithMom Jul 26, 2019
Wonderful points!
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I've never had kids, but my brother is currently raising two young ones. When he sees what I have to do to care for the elders, he says "It's 1000 times worse." than caring for the kids.
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NeedHelpWithMom Jul 25, 2019
Yep!
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There are certainly parallels between the two......short attention spans, prone to tantrums, wearing us out with demands, mealtime fussiness and not always sleeping through the night.....just to name a few. Not to be negative, but we all know how this impacts our lives and well being. That said.....with children, the downside rarely overshadows the upside. They are capable of switching gears at a moments notice, as they grow older they show more patience and become more reasonable and each year that passes is a new beginning. Children bring a joy and sweetness to our lives as nothing else can and as grandparents we are forever grateful for the opportunity to cherish the do over that was gifted to us.

Sadly, because of the mental impairments our elderly parents endure and the physical limitations of disease can oftentimes wear us down to a frazzle as we deal with finances, sibling disagreements, our complicated medical system, meds, caregivers, stubbornness and the heartache that comes with our LO's decline. Even with those "off days" with the kids, you know tomorrow will be better. With our elders hope diminishes and eventually fades away.
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NeedHelpWithMom Jul 25, 2019
So true.
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Kids can learn, elders don't.

Kids become independent, elders rely on us more and more.

Etc etc
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NeedHelpWithMom Jul 28, 2019
So true!
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I think it is somewhat similar, but one of the major issues, to me, is dealing with the anticipatory grief. Knowing that things are going to keep getting worse, dealing with the parent slipping away more every day. At least with kids they grow up and end up being there for you, hopefully. Not so with elder caregiving. It's truly the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, emotionally and physically.
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Pstracy Jul 29, 2019
I totally agree. Some tasks may seem similar to tasks or experiences raising a child, but there is that constant underlying grief knowing your parent is reaching the end of their life and that you will be losing them. This on top of just the decline. Children are starting their life and you are helping them to grow.

I never had children myself, but I can't imagine this anticipatory grief raising a child.
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Alas, my 6 year old has more consideration for others than my elderly Dad :-(
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HorsewithNoName Jul 26, 2019
true, Paul! And we can't correct or reprimand them because strangers will act appalled that we aren't respecting our elders or showing respect to veterans.
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No I don’t agree it’s the same..just the opposite. Children grow up & become independent..hopefully, unless it’s a disabled child that has to be in a wheelchair...elderly dementia patients get violent & combative. Changing adult diaper vs little babies...turning & using bed chucks for adults...if elderly dementia patients can’t walk, using Hoya or stand assist lift , but children who don’t walk yet...carry them; they are portable & light. Elderly dementia parents cognitive decline & children can grow up as young adults & go on to college. Raising children joyous...caring for elderly dementia parent pure hell.
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NeedHelpWithMom Jul 26, 2019
Very true, I do acknowledge some things are vastly different. I can’t help but feel there is a role reversal where we are parenting our parents. It’s very difficult. Yes, the point you make about special needs children is so true.
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