My husband and I cared for my MIL in our home for two years. She was on 17 pills a day as well as on oxygen, insulin shots, and dialysis three times a week. She would have died years earlier without the medical interventions that she had. On the up side, she was mentally sharp until the end.

After watching her wither and become isolated, I feel like I would rather pass away more quickly than live longer with a lower quality of life.

Have others had thoughts about how they look at their own aging process?

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Never gave it much thought until mom with dementia gets more demanding and difficult with each passing week. I come home every Saturday in a foul mood and need a drink to steady myself and to take a breathe. Those that do this full time.....I can’t even imagine how you get through this with a sound mind and resilient spirit. Every week I start with a positive attitude and after 30 minutes I start feeling claustrophobic and bite my tongue for the next four hours. I swear I will NEVER do this to my children. If my body starts to outlive my mind, I want no part of it. There is no reasoning, no compromise, just a constant barrage of demands, whining, arguing and the very worse attitudes imaginable. If I can’t be happy and enjoy my loved ones along with finding joy with every small thing.....I don’t want to be here. Life is precious, to be appreciated, not to be a drudgery to ourselves and others. Not for me.
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lablover64 Jun 2019
Exactly how I feel. Your description of "constant barrage of demands, whining, etc." fits my mom to a tee - but then, it did before dementia.
I avoid doctors and carefully research medications before taking.

I wash my hands for a longer period of time and try to politely slide away when I hear someone coughing,

i eat better, work out more and try to engage in mentally stimulating activities to keep my mind sharp.

I see greater beauty in flowers, a good slice of cake, sunsets, laughter and spending time with people I love.

I feel now now that my time is shorter (than I used to feel) and I want to spend it happier.

I avoid spending time time with people obsessed with money or things. There is too much greed and selfishness in our world.

I donate my time and money generously and take the time to meet (and help) people when I can.

I revised my will. I vow to get better organized.

I would prefer a quick death (while sharp), but want a natural death and realize m, accordingly, that I don’t get to choose.

Getting old takes a lot of courage.
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Abby2018 Jun 2019
Great answer. Enjoy what we can while we can. Hopefully we can maneuver through this journey with grace.
I’m living each day knowing they are numbered. No tolerance for anything other than genuine good people. Family or not. Not including my 81 year old mother with dementia as one of those people. She couldn’t help getting dementia. I’m referring to x friends that drained me, or family that are alcoholics, I have my hands full with a mother living with me with moderate dementia. No time for any more drama
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Good for you. Conserve your energy and direct it toward self care. Be selective in who you have in your life. Take care of yourself
It definitely has made me a different person. I never used to fear growing old and now I am terrified. With Alzheimer's/Dementia on both sides of my family, I feel like I'm doomed to suffer from it too. Every time I forget something or can't come up with a word I want to say, I'm worried that it is starting. My grandfather had it and I know his maternal grandfather did. His mother died in her 50s of heart disease, so we'll never know if she would have had it. My mother now has it. My dad's sister and brother had it and I suspect Dad may have been starting with it when he died from kidney cancer.

I've told my kids that I flatly refuse to be a burden to them. I will not have them groaning at the 4th visit to the ER in a month, helping clean me up after an "accident," looking for things I misplaced and insist were stolen, trying to persuade me that I have not been kidnapped or transported to another planet, etc.

My stepfather died at age 66. He had a massive heart attack while chopping wood and died instantly. I was always comforted by the fact that he went while doing what he loved, where he was happy, and never had to be confined to bed or hooked up to tubes and machines. God willing, when it is my time, I would much rather go like that.
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ybd311 Jun 2019
I feel the same way!!
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Yeah, I don't tolerate mental abuse from my siblings anymore. I was so wrapped up in my mom for so long that I let all that slide. Not anymore. I call them on it. I'm sure they wonder what happened to their little sis but I don't really care. I used to worry so much that if I said anything I'd be perceived as a bitch. I truly don't care anymore. Life is too short to allow people to make you feel bad about yourself. We teach people how to treat us. They better start learning cause I would rather cut them out of my life entirely than tolerate their abuse.

Plus, I don't blindly listen to any Doctor I visit anymore. They throw pills at every problem and I use to take them without considering the alternative. No longer.
For instance, just last week my doc prescribed Lyrica to treat withdrawal from a antidepressant I was taking. I had a very scary experience with it and thought I was having a stroke. I have since read that there are interactions with it and Effexor which I am weaning myself off of. I still have Effexor in my system obviously so the doc and pharmacist should have caught that. I took the Lyrica back to the pharmacist and told them they could keep it. I should have said they should shove it but the lady working there didn't deserve my wrath so I let it go.

I agree Frequent Flyer. I would rather die on my terms.
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I applaud your position. Your doctor should not have prescribed an SNRI when you were already on an SNRI. You should have been weaned off the one , and then when your system was cleared of it you could have been put on Lyrica but I don't see the point of that because if your weaning off of an SNRI, then you don't add another to the mix for withdrawal. There are plenty of other medications as well as a slow weaning process that would have facilitated that.
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Well... After going through the Hell of the final two years of my Mom's "Golden Years" - rehab centers, hospitals/surgeries, nursing homes - I am frankly terrified... I will be 70 in a few months... All I can say is that is there is any possible way for me to prevent it - and I mean this seriously, and don't want to hear about "religious convictions" - I will not end up in a nursing home, memory or not, being diapered, toileted/butt wiped, eating horrid food, and at the mercy of CNA's who might - or might not - care or be good at their job. (Don't get me wrong - I could never do their job, and bless them for being able to, but if I can help it I don't plan to be in a position to avail myself of their skills...). I'm not terrified of dying - I'm terrified of being forced to live beyond what really living means to me...
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debbye Jun 2019
Ditto. That's exactly the issue.
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It has certainly made Hubby & I discuss it. We have discussed letting our kids have their own lives. Not expecting our kids to move in with us, or to demand we move in with them, not to ask for cash to support our lifestyle & to take the necessary steps if we lose our insight & can't live safely on our own.

I DO NOT want to be like my Mum who keeps trying to cancel the respite care that gives Dad 3 hrs break (from his 24/7 caregiving). She also suggests I quit my job to care for her & my sister. (Do you want your Grandkids to starve? Is my usual answer).

And NOT like my stster, who lives 'independantly' ie alone but requires 20+ hours of care for ADLs, transport, shopping, outings + medication, appointment & financial management etc from family.

They need what they need, I just don't agree with their expectations that 1-2 family members can provide it all.

I want to be like my Auntie, Moved herself to a lovely village. L1 independant, L2 assisted, L3 nursing care, L4 memory care. She's L1 but says she'll just move up as needed. Practical.
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superstring Jun 2019
I plan to move myself to a lovely village too, when this is over and if I have enough money left. Right now my hands are full but i need to identify those with all four levels based on what I've seen with hubby. Guess I could manage without independent living but kind of looking forward to having pretty much no responsibilities! Almost 72. Hubs 87. Doubt it's doable while he's still with us--he's happy at home with caregivers & me too. Need to make sure my documents are in order in case I lose my mind. But in answer to the original poster's question: Yes, it has changed me in that I don't think before this I really thought any of it would apply to me--I guess I just thought I'd go on indefinitely if I thought about it at all. Hubs was strong & smart and active & got dementia anyway.
Being a caregiver, I see death almost every day. Some client's beg to die, others fight to the end. I know that one day, I will die -and I pray I have the dignity to do that gracefully. Being a caregiver, I'm sometimes the only one with them. Watching that is painful, but it's made me realize I'm not here forever, no matter how much time you think you have. At bedtime, my client & I pray, I kiss her cheek, & I tell her; "play with the moonbeams, dance with the stars, safe journey." I've learned that GOD does not give us our loved one's, - he LOANS them to us. But when he calls that loan due, he will gather our treasure that's only on LOAN, and he will take us home. Death is one reality none of us can avoid.
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DARtree Jun 2019
So eloquently and thoughtfully written!
I am not a caregiver, but I did get trained and certified so I could help my parents out. My mom broke her hip in 2016 and did not receive even average care at the SNF. Once home she lived 15 months and spent 6 weeks on home hospice. After the poor care my mom received in two facilities, my dad, myself and a most beautifully intuitive, experienced, kind and patient caregiver did our best to get my mom up in her wheelchair, to the commode, the dining room for meals, outside for sun, in the den for nighttime TV, all up until 4 days before she passed.
The caregiver my mom had while on home care was answered prayer. The glue that bound us together through the mess of recovery and sadly, death.
Thank you for what you do, for your dedication to not just the patient but to the family dynamics!
My dad and I still make plans and visit with my mom’s caregiver,
though my mom has passed almost a year.
Good nights and I live yous were always in the equation at the end of the night.
When my mom was sent home from hospital with fast growing tumor that metastasized to her brain... the caregiver made her schedule more available to my mom’s needs. Four days before my mom passed she needed to be cleaned up a little and cool cloths placed on her. By this time my mom was in some pain and didn’t want to be touched. I couldn’t do it alone and my dad is too old at this point. The caregiver stopped by after her overnight job to help me clean up my mom each morning until my dear mom passed.
I know caregivers do not get paid their worth and that is truly tragic!
God bless you and keep you.
Even though I am only 60 now, after being a caregiver to my husband for 4 years as he slowly wasted away from Pancreatic Cancer and died at home in hospice care. I am now a firm believer in Euthanasia (medically assisted suicide) which I believe will be legal in every state within 20 years. Some insurance policies will even cover you for that after you have had the policy 2 years so that way it can pay something to your heirs or even just for your cremation/burial.
You can also borrow against a Universal life policy to help pay for end of life care. So besides having a medical POA, Durable POA and end of life directives and cremation paid for in advance. I plan on Euthanasia after I sign my DNR. They use the same drugs as hospice just in a more concentrated form. After watching hospice - to me it looked like a painfully slow form of assisted suicide. Join the organization Death with Dignity if you want to have the choice of Euthanasia someday in your state.
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I purchased Long Term Care Insurance.
Paying the bill once a year hurts a bit but knowing I can age into my house and stay here until the end is a relief.
I also don't do "stupid" stuff. If I have to change the battery in the smoke detector..or do anything involving a ladder I wait until a friend comes over so if I fall there is someone to call 911 (and prevent the dogs from eating my face while I lie on the floor for 3 days before someone decides to check on me){{insert laughter here}}
I stay active (other than ladders)
I stay involved
I volunteer
I hope I stay healthy but I do plan to do a medically assisted suicide IF I am ever diagnosed with dementia. I am not going to put anyone through what I went through caring for my Husband.
I do look forward to each day and am thankful for what I have. And I greet each day with optimism
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