How has caregiving changed your views of life and aging?

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Well... I was considering having children until I started caring for my father because I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. I was a "late baby" (my brother who committed suicide was even younger... 10 years), so my father was 47 when I was born. I'm absolutely TERRIFIED to reproduce at the age of 38 now for the fear that I will get sick and have kids that resent caring for me.


Then I think I wouldn't be a good mother because I get so frustrated with my father when he doesn't sleep (babies keep you up at night as well), or I snap at him for ...whatever.


Finally, I think about putting a contingency plan together for aging. The short time I had Dad at the Independent Living (IL) facility, I would listen to the elderly parents that put THEMSELVES in the facility so their children could enjoy their freedom--so they wouldn't be a burden to their children. I admit I was a bit jealous. Why can't my Dad do that?


Then I have "angry compassion_ so to speak. Isn't it interesting that if an animal gets to the point where they can't function, they're put down, yet humans can literally suffer for YEARS (patient and caregiver) existing as a fraction of the person they once were.


I get it... it must be horrible to exist without being unable to hear well, see well, move around, remember anything, and be in pain most of the time, but should the caregivers suffer?


NOTE: I'm not advocating euthanizing humans... just making an observation.


...and to top it off, I want to SCREAM the truth at by standers that "commend" me for taking care of Dad. There's nothing commendable about it. I detest it most of the time and feel guilty for feeling that way every day.


....random venting I guess

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My belief that longer isn't necessarily better has strengthened. Living long and well - wonderful. Living long and suffering - not so wonderful. My loved ones know my feelings well and I also have put them in writing.

We often don't have any choices when it comes to how or when we die, but we need to make our end-of-life wishes known to that if there is a turning point, our lives go in the direction that we would have wished.

Take care, my friends,
You are an amazing group of people.
Carol
Caregiving has profoundly changed my views on life and aging. When my parents started going down hill about 3 years ago, and I suddenly realised that I WAS ALL THERE IS, at first I just freaked out, then got pissed, "Why me lord" then got busy getting affairs in order, and haven't stopped since. And yea, the phone calls. I get a knot in my stomach every time the damn phone rings.

I was talking to a friend who's about my age and our Moms are both mid 80s. She was talking about how her Mom still plays 9 holes of golf once a week. HUH! My Mom might get out of bed once a week! Oh, to be so lucky...

And lord yes, the meds......don't get me started. At 60 I'm relatively healthy, no meds, can toilet myself etc, but I sometimes catch myself seriously wondering if I'm going to outlive these guys! How long will this go on?

We talk about life support, getting unplugged and whatnot, but as Freq Flyer said they're on life support now with all the medical procedures and wonder drugs. My Mom has not done anything healthy in 60 years, she's now 84, on buckets full of pills and will probably live to 103. I hoping to make 65.

If any of you guys are still around years from now and see a post from me that Mom is 105 and I need advice on controlling her insulin.............please hunt me down (Your great grandson could trace me on line probably) and arrange to have me humanely put down.

Hey. Great thread for whining eh?
As I had mentioned above about my parents walking 2 miles a day and still driving later in life.... six years later you wouldn't think they were the same people. Seemed like every new birthday was like 10 years of aging :(

Modern science is keeping my parents alive.... without blood pressure pills and whatever else they are taking for their hearts, probably both of my parents would have passed on many years ago.

Then I look at Mom today, modern science has no cure for macular degeneration of her eyes and how she loved to read and watch football.... modern science cannot bring back hearing to the elderly who's ears have aged to a point no hearing aid would work. We see ads for calcium, and my Mom was big time taking calcium... now she walks so hunched over I am surprised she can breath.

See all that makes me not want to take meds.... and before I can't think for myself, I might want to sign some legal document saying do not give me any prescription medicine except for pain. Forget the blood pressure pills, and any of the dozens of pills I see my parents take. For me, in my opinion, it's just not worth it.
Maybe we should start a group demanding that drug research companies start researching ways to not live longer. If the mouse dies we want that drug. I guess we could all just refuse treatment. Let our cholesterol run rampant. Smoke and drink till our lungs and livers just explode. I've got an idea for a new thread. Ways to not live till we are feeble and dependent on others.
Caregiving has opened up my eyes and what I see is not a very pretty outlook. Getting old is not filled with dignity. Getting old is very expensive. And, perhaps the biggest shocker to me is the realization that there can be alot of years between the time a person can no longer live on their own and their death. That time frame is what I need to plan for. For me, when I can no longer live on my own it will be time to be placed in a care facility and all medications except for pain meds be stopped. No flu shots, no pneumonia shots, no meds. My life is not to be prolonged by modern medicine. I absolutely DO NOT want my family to take me into their home and care for me as I have done for my parents.
To sum it up: Getting old sucks and I better have my ducks in a row in preparation for it!!
Taking care of my parents has made me dread growing old. What has occupied my mind recently is that it will only be 10 more years before I reach the age that most of my ancestors died and my parents' health began to fail. Then I think about my mother and father both having dementia and having a lot of dementia on my mother's side of the family. It's like waiting for the time bomb to go off. And I wonder if I am spending my last good years on earth living in such an unhappy circumstance.

I sound a bit like Supertramp's "Logical Song." We ought to rewrite the words for caregivers. There is one good thing if I were to get sick and die in my 70s. At least I won't run out of money. I have a feeling our SS won't grow as fast as the cost of living.

Gee, now I've totally depressed myself. I wonder if we'll see a mass Boomer exodus to Oregon in the next few decades. I wouldn't want to live like my parents have lived for the last 15 years.
My Dad lived to 93 and my Mom lived to 90. Good genes on both sides of the family except for the dementia on Mom's side. My Dad's sister died at 97, she was a widow and lived alone...she had a stroke and died that night....after mowing her yard all day. I have another aunt that soon will be 90....lives alone, takes NO medication, walks daily,,just get confused at times.

I was raised by 2 strong hard working parents. I watched them only eat the right foods, do exactly what the docs said and plenty of exercise. My Mom loved crossword puzzles (the hard ones) and my Dad loved his Braves playing baseball. They chewed gum and blew bubbles all thru each season of baseball. Even wore their Braves hats.

I watched the begin to go downhill.....because when dementia began working on my Mom, it also affected my Dad. As she went down, so did he. These 2 strong people were suddenly very humble and weak. They would freak out if someone called to try and get money, they would freak about something simple coming in the mail. It began a role reversal that I never planned in my future. My Mom would tell people that she used to be the Mom, but now she was the daughter and I was her Mom. That would just burn me a new one! But......later on, it became true. I had to make the decisions for both of them...pay their monthly bills, handle their appointments, handle their medical issues and medication. They both depended on me for everything.

I lived right next door to them, so I could be at their house in a matter of seconds if anything was wrong.....I did this for several years as well as working full time. When Mom got worse & my Dad was following.....I went to part time. It was during this time I was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration. Just another little stress factor to add on to an already growing factor. Then came the day I had to be there full time for both of them.........that lasted for 2 years and then my Dad passed and my Mom followed 5 months later.

Will I ever be the same? NO Have I changed? YES
I wonder how I will change. I saw my parents live right, eat right, get plenty of exercise and love each other to the end.
And I ask myself.....FOR WHAT? FOR WHAT? TO LIVE LONGER???? FOR WHAT? Now if I could be healthy and strong like my Aunts, I wouldn't mind. They lived alone...and didn't depend on anyone.
Now......I sit and wonder, as my eyesight keeps fading, what is going to happen to me? I don't want myself to be a burden to my son or to my husband or to ANYONE!

Enough to where I have told them to lead me to the garage, give me the key and make sure I know how to turn it on....then GOOOOO AWAY...so I can go away on my own terms....Well, neither my husband or my son agrees to this...but I do not want them to go thru this....I never want them to feel these feelings that I have dealt with or the emotional merry go round that you can never exit.

Be the same????? NEVER!
Sorry, kind of skimmed. Today was not a good day. Woke up to a mess in Mom's bathroom all the way out to her chair. Took me from 9 to 12 to clean it up and her too. We had a small area rug we just thru out. I could have cried and I don't think she has an idea what happen.

No, I don't want to do this for the next 10 yrs, Moms 87. I'm 66. I just don't have the energy. I'm glad there are others that feel the same.

Really, don't think our parents felt they were going to live this long. Back in the 60s the life span was 65. We have taken steps to invest our money. I don't expect our daughters should have to quit jobs to care for us.
The gov't has already increased the age when I will be eligible for my (laughable) pension, so I think we are all expected to just keep on working. That might be OK for those doing office work, but for those of us scabbling around doing physical labour there's only so much the body can take. It's one thing to save for a rainy day, but the way things are going we will never be able to save enough no matter what we do. If assistive living costs are $5K to $10K/month now how much more will they be in 10, 20, 30 years? Millions won't be enough!
I think what is so sad is people who have kids so that they can be taken care of when they are elderly. That is not the job of children. What gives any person the right to place that burden on anyone? Sure if the person is sweet, has money is of sound mind, it might not be a burden, but being realistic, it usually is.
I see generations of people who live so much in the moment and spend money and don't save anything so that once they are elderly can't afford to live somewhere that is safe and that can take care of their needs. I guess no one thinks they will get old. But we all know living a long life is often commonplace. We've become so health conscious that we live as my dad says, "too long".
I do not have children and I have a long term care policy. Hopefully it will still be valid if I ever need it. If not, I have planned so I have enough money to take care of my needs.
I am very thankful my dad who only had a high school education and a blue collar job, saved like crazy and can afford to live in IL. I don't know what we'd do if he couldn't.
I also think people should be allowed to end their lives if they choose. Of course you can in, I believe, Oregon.

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