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One thing I never hear about (or read about) is honest conversations between caregivers and care recipients about how the arrangement is working for the caregiver, or how it is affecting their life. At most you hear about setting or negotiating limits, which mainly involves pushing back against excessive or unreasonable demands by the care recipient. I have a sneaking suspicion that many of us would be a lot happier if our care recipient would check in with us occasionally about how this arrangement is working for us and if we're okay with what is being expected of us. But that has yet to happen in my life, and I wonder if it happens to any caregiver. Any thoughts on this?

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To clarify, my mother is not mentally impaired at this point, but I think she's sort of morally impaired. I remember even as a child being put off and somewhat embarrassed by my mother's attitude of always pushing for whatever you could get, regardless of the effect on anyone else. She did say, in the past, that she never wanted to be a burden on her children, but I think what she meant was that she never wanted to have to depend on us, and if she did have to, she hoped we wouldn't consider it a burden. I am the one she was closest to but she has never shown any concern for how her needs have impacted my life - if anything there's always a push for more than whatever limits I've set out. I just think I would feel so much better if she would look at me and acknowledge that she knows I did not want to spend my last best years this way.
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I think the first thing to go is their reasoning and the ability to appreciate. A longtime friend of the family put in a shower in Mom's room. He did a beautiful job. He asked Mom what she thought when he showed it to her. She showed no emotion. She had only been here a month or so and I don't think she understood he did it for her. I felt so bad for him. Me, I never asked questions, really didn't want to hear any negativity.
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My daddy was sweet and grateful for every little thing to the day he died. HOWEVER, he didn't want the same thing for mother, didn't ask us to put our lives on hold for her, so he bought a LTC policy which will never be used. Mother should have been moved from the rehab place to an Assisted living 2 years ago. She wouldn't go, and went back home--where she has been a huge burden on brother and his family. I am sure she's never asked him how having her live with them for the last 18 years has impacted their family. Oddly, enough, she placed her own mother in a NH when she got "too much". She could have aides 7 days a week and won't let anyone in her place.

Sometimes mother is grateful for the help, a lot of the time she is beyond demanding and not very grateful. My MIL is plain old mean to my Hubby, if he goes to see her. She still treats him horribly and since he'd never confront her, the "abuse" just goes on.

My single greatest worry is that I will outlive my "lovability"....

We all need to have that talk with our kids WAY before it becomes an issue.
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My mom has Alzheimer's so discussions such as you describe cannot happen at this stage. I did have discussions with my mom when her disease was in it early stages. I asked her what she would like her care to be. She said she would like to stay home but she did not want to burden any of us. She said if it got to that point, she would want us to put her in a care facility. My husband and I choose to keep her home with us. I won't say that it doesn't put limitations on our life, but they are workable.
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