I'm wondering if anyone had any major changing perceptions of aging parents?

I had some quite profound shifts.

I now think people live way too long beyond their ability to care for themselves. They then become a huge burden on their children and society.

People seek medical treatments so that they can stay alive. I think they need to look beyond that. Staying alive and being able to take care of themselves. Not just alive and demented for years on end and be a dead weight on society.

I never thought about planning for my end of life until I took care of my mother.
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Reply to polarbear
Anyonymous1 Dec 4, 2021
Yep. I absolutely want to get euthanaised if I end up with something like dementia. It is awful now how medical science can prolong the suffering for so long just to keep people existing when it could be used to allow a dignified peaceful departure.
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I'm not sure what kind of shifts you are talking about but over the years I was caregiving I went from feeling that my mother was one of my best friends to wondering if everything I thought I ever knew about her was a lie. It's taken me years of distance to regain equilibrium (she died in 2018).
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Reply to cwillie

Prior to my dad’s stroke, I never thought of him being mentally not there. He was weakening physically, and I had forbidden him from going up any more ladders (he had a habit of falling off them), but mentally, he was 100% there.

Now, he becomes obsessed with the drapes around his hospital bed, or his blankets, playing with the hem for hours. I treat him more like a child than my dad, and it breaks my heart. I don’t know where my dad has gone or if I’ll ever get him back. If he can swallow a spoonful of applesauce without dribbling it, instinctively I say, “Good boy!” and he doesn’t think anything of it.

It’s so unfair.
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Reply to Lizbitty
Isthisrealyreal Dec 5, 2021
Oh Liz, I am so sorry that you have lost the dad you knew.
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Wow…when moms dementia took away her ability to truly engage in meaningful insightful conversations I lost my confidant, my advisor, my friend... She had always advised me and been a great friend. At 70 I am now her protector..her advisor. The grieving for me was profound. I felt my mom had already died. I engaged in counseling so I could joyfully take on my new role. I miss my mom. This new person is a shallow version of my mom. I often feel like her mom figure. She seems more childlike now. Good Luck..
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Reply to Sadinroanokeva
InTheMiddle77 Dec 5, 2021
I can relate to this. My Mom's dementia has a grip on her personality. She and Dad are in AL. I find that I wait for her to talk, to I see if she's thinking clearly or not. When I was taken by surprise by her confusion it really had a negative impact on me emotionally. If she's quiet and listening to me, it doesn't mean she's processing what I'm saying. I have felt that my Mom has died because the Mom that raised me isn't available anymore.
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When a child I used to think my mom was an angel.
Being her care giver now I think she is the devils daughter.
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Reply to Christservant
overwhelmed21 Dec 5, 2021
Ok, honesty here, I'm laughing. Is that wrong??
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I knew zero about aging, as my parents were still walking 2 miles a day when they were in their late 80's, early 90's. Honestly, I never was around elderly folks until my parents started to need help in their mid-90's.

I was totally lost with this new situation.. Now what? I had to have my folks guide me, but they tended to be very hush hush about mobility issues, they didn't want anyone thinking they were old.

Mom had lost most of her eye sight and pretty much all of her hearing, so communication was impossible. I knew she had been falling due to the black/blue marks on her arms. She never said anything, and neither did my Dad about her falls. Dad was open about his tumbles, rarely did he get hurt, he pretty much joked about it.

My folks have since passed, but now my sig-other and I are seeing ourselves aging. We do laugh about things we mis-hear on the TV. I have tripped over the cat, she is like a Roomba vacuum darting out from nowhere. Our eyesight is not user-friendly. And forget about driving at night. Oh, and squatting down to do something at floor level, now a challenge trying to stand up.

I think I might have a conversation with sig-other grown daughter about aging, and what we are experiencing so she isn't surprised by things we really don't want to do like we did in the past.... like having family over for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Entertaining is no longer fun, it's plain exhausting. Especially when the family sits glued to their smart-phones and not helping..... [sigh]
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Reply to freqflyer

Reading all the answers here has me thinking.

The role reversals that come with an aging parent are maybe the natural order of things even if it's very sad. I found it very hard to accept the changes I saw in my mom when she became very old. She didn't seem to care as much, her eyes didn't light up when she saw me. In fact they didn't light up at all any more. When she died I started questioning who my mom had really been cause I didn't have the reassurance of her love anymore. I started to wonder if maybe I had been wrong about her all my life and that the person I saw before me in the nursing home who was quiet and uncooperative and didn't seem kind and loving anymore was really who she was.

It's been over six years since she died and I'm just beginning to realize that she was a wonderful, kind, hard working, wise woman before she got old and just because aging messed with her mind doesn't mean that she wasn't still that just before she died. I know underneath all the ravages that took her away there was still that woman in there.

If I were to start thinking otherwise would seem like a betrayal of sorts. I know everyone's story is different but that's how I would feel.
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Reply to Gershun

Lordy yes, and I haven't even been taking care of my parents yet. Watched my parents take care of my grandmother for years at the great detriment of their own health.

I became guardian and conservator for a relative with dementia and that about ran me into the grave and she was living in a MC and then SNF.

Then I immediately started helping another relative with doctor appointments and keeping her meds straight and 1,000 other daily needs that were never-ending.

I now see that there ARE things worse than death. Living too long with a body and brain that no longer work is not living at all. Being a huge burden on others would be awful as well.
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Reply to XenaJada

I haven’t dealt with dementia, but I still respect the thoughts for those who have. My change in perception was a bit different with my dad. I came to see how much he was dismissed, not heard, or downright ignored. He was mentally intact, but it was often the case that people wouldn’t take a moment to hear his thoughts. He definitely had a lifetime of wisdom to share and it was sad seeing others perceptions of him being too elderly and unimportant to be heard
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Daughterof1930
Murphy24 Dec 6, 2021
This is something I have found with my father. This amazingly kind and brilliant man, has been reduced to people yelling at him ( his hearing is so poor) and asked if he ate his applesauce.
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My Mom has A-fib and it seems to me this impacts the blood flow to her brain. When this happens she doesn't think clearly and her emotional reactions aren't "like her". Skipping ahead several years of this, it's almost like areas of her brain have died. She is on oxygen almost all the time. Her body isn't processing temperature. She thinks it's cold and the AC was set at 78. She misplaces things and accuses people of stealing. She hides things and forgets where she hid them and then that re-ignites the fear there are thieves. She claims she hears and sees things that aren't true: people entering the room from a closet, mice running across the floor, and people outside the window. We just listen because we can't convince her otherwise. On her "good days", Dad insists he can be her caregiver because he doesn't want to spend the extra money to have her in MC. When we get emails that she's almost left the room without any clothes, accusing him of seeing other women, up in the middle of the night and sleeping in the day, and such- we remind him that MC is available. Mom is afraid of MC, they have taken her in there so she sees that it is the same but more protected and quiet. I think at some point it will not be an option. They are each other's POA so we have no input on their decisions.
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Reply to InTheMiddle77
Isthisrealyreal Dec 5, 2021
Inthemiddle, due to poor circulation, your mom is actually cold. Her heart is not efficiently pumping blood to her extremities. Don't turn the heat up but, give her warm clothes and covers.

My dad used to be a penquin, I had to wear sweatshirts to visit when it was 100+° outside because he kept the temp at 63°. Then A-Fib, then he was comfortable when it was 90° inside.

Best of luck, temperature is a difficulty challenge.

Edit: A-Fib does cause vascular dementia. One of those little things the medical profession neglects to mention many times.
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