New here and I’m hoping for ideas on balancing needs of aging parents (dad with a progressive neuro degenerative disease & mom with a variety of chronic conditions now complicated from a near fatal C-19 illness), a challenging professional work schedule as well as taking care of the home front with our family business, kids and being a good mom and spouse.

I’m blessed with a great support system at home. But I have strained family dynamics with my older sibling who seems to feel like they are in charge and nothing I do is ever right, which they don’t mind telling me either! ;-)

I don’t mean to whine, but all the medical appointments in the middle of my work day, runs to my parents house (1/2 hour away) to help with meds or whatever crisis arises at the time and the worsening attitude of my mom has me about burned out. She takes an antidepressant but it’s exhausting even talking to her on the phone.

I was hopeful that with the home health services we started for mom after leaving the hosptial for C-19 would help, but the needs have not lessened.

It hurts me to write all this. I love them so much, but how do you all do this? I don’t want this to be my memory of my parents, I don’t want to let them down and I keep telling myself I need to “suck it up.”

I know I’m blessed to still have my parents as many of my friends do not. Sigh....I’m just exhausted.

I appreciate any tips and advice.

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Newtothis, you wrote:

" with a progressive neuro degenerative disease & mom with a variety of chronic conditions..."
"...worsening attitude of my mom has me about burned out."
"I know I’m blessed to still have my parents..."

Are you really? How many years of this blessing do you want? 5, 10 or until you die from the stress of the blessing?

My mother who has Alzheimer's needs 5 people in order to support her around the clock. The first 2 years, I was doing it all by myself. That meant I was destroying my health, destroying the peace and harmony in my home, neglecting my children, putting my marriage at risk. I had to move my mom out before she destroyed me and my family.

You ask for tips and advice. My recommendation is to bring in as much help as your parents can afford and qualify for. Your parents, not you, should pay for the help. When COVID threat passes, and when you can't handle them at home anymore, then you should find an appropriate facility to move them to.

As for you siblings, tell them if they can do better then they should take over the responsibility. Tell them to step up or shut up.
Helpful Answer (23)
NeedHelpWithMom Jan 2021
Fantastic response!
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Priority Order should be

1. Minor Kids
2. Self (everyone forgets this one...)
3. Spouse
5. Work
6. Adult kids
7. Aging parents
Helpful Answer (17)
Newtothis411 Jan 2021
Thank you - a very helpful reminder!
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Who has POA for health and finances?

Have you and sibling had a chat with mom and dad about what their wishes are as they age? Do you have a handle on what they can afford?

Consider having them take a cab to doc appointments and call in to attend remotely.

Consider getting them to a geriatrician and eliminating most of the " specialists". That was a life changing move for us.

Consider an Independent or Assisted Living facility with medical care on site so that you can go back to being a loving daughter and not "life manager".

Remember that your obligations are to minor children and your marriage. Your parents have had a lifetime to plan for old age.

Read Atul Gawande's On Being Mortal.
Helpful Answer (15)
Newtothis411 Jan 2021
I will definitely look into On Being Mortal. We both are the POAs for each... which as you can imagine makes it challenging!
Sorry but this is long.

Ok, first of all, and this is just my opinion, you are your sibling don't agree and that is going to make dual POA impossible. Your parents need to be told that it is either one or the other. If your older sibling is POA, you are not the love slave. You literally will have to tell her to make arrangements for your parents. What will you do when they need to go to a facility due to some medical crisis, or a fall and broken hip? Who will decide what happens to them? You and your sister together? You don't agree now. Trust me when I tell you it is not going to get better.

2, your parents don't get to do "hard no" on facility. They are not functionally independently. They might pretend that but you are making this all possible. So, I would tell them that this is just all becoming too much for you and ask them what their plan is to manage all the things they cannot manage without your intervention. Don't get trapped into any sort of guilting from them or your sibling. This is not your job to take care of everything for your parents. You have a life and. you get to live it. They need to understand first, that you are not making their care. your life's work. Then they need to figure out how to manage.

Tough love? Absolutely. Being Mortal is an excellent book; actually I listened to it on Audible since finding time to read is an issue. But it is not a book with a check list of how to manage. Instead, it helped me begin a dialogue with my father in law who was living in their home with MIL but not really managing that well. Instead of telling him that he needed to move or get help, instead, I asked him how he envisioned the next year or so and what did he think might happen? Turns out he did not know and he admitted that. He did finally agree to move; she had dementia and was not bathing or caring for herself and he, at 93, was past managing her and him and the house. They did not expect us to do it and thank god they had money for their care. He said he could not move and again, instead of having a fit, I asked why and turns out he could not figure out what to do to make a move happen. They had been in their house since 1957 and he literally could not figure out the first step. I of course helped with that. My husband was their only child who lived locally and also POA.

They moved to independent living and within 6 months, they were both in memory care. My sisters in law who lived across county, told me that moving would kill them and that instead we needed home care. I told them fine, go ahead and make those arrangements and be prepared to manage when the agency fails or people don't show up because I am not doing it. They stopped with that recommendation. Moving did not kill them but the process and then the facility demonstrated their decline. He had vascular dementia so he looked like he was keeping it together but he really was not.

I share this because I know you feel trapped and frantic about all you have to do. I did also and my kids are grown. And I am a nurse and I knew what was coming. You have to figure out what YOU want and make them understand they are responsible for what will happen. You cannot do this all and seriously, do you want to make your parents happy at the expense of your husband, kids and your own life. You are not the little girl any more trying to please. And you don't have to take crap from your sibling. It is going to be a tough conversation but you either have to have it or go on as you are.
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"I don’t mean to whine..."

No worry, this is a safe place to whine. So, whine all you want. There is even a separate thread just for whining.

We all need to vent or else we will explode.

Here's the link to it. Please feel free to join in.
Helpful Answer (8)
Newtothis411 Jan 2021
I appreciate it and will check out the link!
How far away are siblings from mom and dad's home?
Perhaps you can ask their doctors for palliative care, where the medical team or nurse goes to them. Hire an agency part time? Ask the siblings to pitch in once a week or month.
Get the video appointments with the doctors instead of driving them to the doctor.
COVID puts a sticker in everything too.

baby steps, breathe... one day at a time.
Helpful Answer (7)
Newtothis411 Jan 2021
Great advice - thank you!
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This isn’t about questioning or proving your love for your parents. Of course you love them.

You don’t have to suck it up. You are allowed to vent. Everyone else has! Some of us have crappy siblings with all the drama attached.

We have all been there at one point in time or going through caregiving now.

Have your parents considered going into a facility?

Very sorry that your family has been effected with Covid. It’s terribly frustrating and frightening. I hope things improve soon.

It is completely exhausting to care for our parents and take care of our own needs too.
Helpful Answer (6)
Newtothis411 Jan 2021
Thank you! So far a hard no from them on any facility.
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A “hard no” to a facility you say? Amazing how even as we age, we still take no for an answer from our parents. Of course they say no and continue to say no so long as you are prepared to sacrifice your marriage, your children and yourself. Chances are we wouldn’t take no for an answer from a stranger. Instead of thinking with your heart, start using your head. Make a list of their needs. With a shared POA, Decide what you and your brother are willing to do and can realistically do while still maintaining your own lives. Decide who will take the lead. Then look for options. Contact an elder attorney, send a letter to your parents’ doctor outlining your concerns about them living independently, talk to your area council on aging for local resources. Tour some of the assisted living facilities and find one or two you like, then take your folks to lunch there and observe how the staff treats residents. Then, if your parents are still aware, sit down with them and outline their options, Along with what you and your brother are willing to do. Sometimes we have to let people fail on their own. It doesn’t mean we don’t care. So we maintain a close watch and prepare.
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Their needs are only going to increase and your life will be thrown completely out of balance. Time to have a frank conversation with your older sibling about "their future". Fail to plan or plan to fail.

Do not wait for another emergency to talk to your older sibling about what *you* are and are not willing to do for your parents; however, first you need to have a discussion with your spouse - your marriage is your priority - about what you will and will not do for your parents.

You do not need to explain yourself to your older sibling beyond "I have discussed it with my spouse and this is what works for my family". You and your older sibling need to put up a united front. If older sibling refuses, I would consider stepping back because you will not get far in being able to advocate for your parents. Without your support, your older sibling in all likelihood will soon see the value of your assistance.

Your parents do not get to dictate to you. You are an adult and must do what is best for all of you.
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Caring for aging, ill parents can lead to a downward spiral. You need to step up now and make some hard decisions.

1. Talk with honestly your sibling and decide what he/she wants from you. Sit down and work out a specific list of responsibilities. One to do appointments, one groceries, one to do meds, one to do maintenance, one to oversee aids.

2. Can you devote a specific day of the week or month to run errands or help with appointments? Would your employer grant you time off for this? That would give you some leverage and ability to say no.

3. Get a handle on meds. One of you should take charge of medications, ordering, set up automatic reorders or reminders, etc. to prevent emergency calls. This will also help you keep an eye on if they are being taken as ordered. BTW one of the best things about AL is having them take over administering meds.

4. start researching care facilities and educate yourself on what each type offers and what level of care they offer. Don’t wait until a crisis to look for options. You want to find one that will be a good fit for your parents. Your parents and sibling may say no but no one can foresee the future.

5. Make your own plans now and make sure your family knows what you want. My mother had told me for years that she did not want to have to live with one of her children. She had seen the toll it took on my aunt to have Grandma living with her. So when the time came we toured her options together and she selected the AL she felt most comfortable in.

My parents lived to be 89 and 93. Yes, I was blessed to have them such a long time but honestly the last few years of each was a non-stop whirl of dr visits, runs to ER, panic calls in the middle of the night, falls, and pleas for help.
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