Where do you draw the line on the kind of help you want from your kids? I understand we want our kids to visit, call, and step in as POA when needed. However, what about the day to day stuff?
I am doing things for my parents that I never would want my kids to do for me, and I believe my parents would never have wanted me to do for them. But I see them struggling and when I step in they don't stop me. I call almost every day and visit, but I also do things like drop off dinners, clean their house, have ordered lawn service, and have checked to make sure their bills are getting paid. I also have facilitated doctor appointments and interpreted test results for them. And last but not least I have done very personal assistance such as taking my mom to the bathroom, shaved her legs, polished her nails, held a urine cup for a test sample, supplied her with depends when my dad forgot, sent notes to doctors to make sure her symptoms are addressed during appointments, and applied her favorite perfumed body lotion to her arms and legs during a recent hospital stay.
My mom is ill, my dad just has limits on how much caregiving he can do. I step in where I see things aren't getting done. My parents don't ask, but seem willing to accept whatever I offer which has to make them feel very bad.
Even if your kids are willing and able, how much help do you really want from them?

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I should also add that the medical profession shares responsibility for laying this burden on adult children's doorsteps. I have always drawn the line at bathroom duties, for example, but I've been unable to hold that line because whenever my mother is in the hospital (on one occasion with heart failure and on powerful diuretics), the staff expects the family members who are there to take the patient to the bathroom, or put them on the potty, as well as to help them get undressed and dressed. They assume that if the patient needs that level of help, the family are there to provide it. They don't really take over the personal care and let you be there as just a support for the parent; you become the personal care attendant because they don't do it.
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This is something I've been thinking about lately. I don't have kids of my own, at the moment I AM the kid.

My mom is only 75 but my dad was put in a memory care ALF 8 months ago and mom is pretty much "losing it" alone. I am shocked. She was super feminist woman until she turned 70 and then decided she was "too old" to do much of anything. Now at 75 she is starting to imply that I'm not doing enough for her, calling multiple times per day and seems irked if I am doing anything outside of work or household chores (I feel guilty if do anything remotely fun).

I manage my dad's care at the ALF and my husband and I help mom with yard work, and I help with some logistics (like insurance, taxes, etc.) and bill paying. Now she's implying she needs help cleaning her house. I told her (when she refused to move from their large home) that I can barely keep my own home maintained, and my husband and I can't take on hers as well. 

BTW - the reason I manage dad's ALF care is that my mom refuses to do so.  She says it's too much of a burden for her.

I am just shocked, shocked that she went from "I am woman, hear me roar" to this, at only 75. She and my dad always promised me they would never become a burden and never ask me to give up my own life for theirs. Now they have become my hobby and "what I do in my spare time". If I did have children, I would not do this to them.
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I don't think we can make any assumptions about how our parents feel based on how we think we'd feel in their place. Many parents feel an enormous sense of entitlement to receive services from their kids when they get older, even when it comes to things they could do themselves. If they hate having you do things for them, I think that would come out in their behavior somewhere. For many parents, it's just the opposite.

My own mother urged and pressured me to move from Pennsylvania to Florida when she started needing help. Lots of parents urge their kids to quit their jobs and even leave their families behind to come provide care. My sister and I take my mother to all her doctors appointments as well as shopping, errands, etc. She breaks down in tears at the mere mention of assisted living (not that she could afford it anyway).

I would feel the way you feel, GingerMay, except that I have no children. My mother feels the opposite way. She feels entitled to expect her kids to provide whatever she needs. In her retirement community, there are many elderly whose adult kids have moved in to take care of them, leaving their own lives behind to do so. It's so common that nobody feels bad or thinks it should be otherwise. I hate seeing that, honestly. I hate thinking that every time one of us steps up to fill a need with our elderly parents, there are more people seeing that as the expected thing and the way it ought to be, rather than a problem and a situation that needs to be addressed by society providing more services to dependent elderly.
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My mom gave up driving in daughter and I took turns taking her grocery shopping, doctor, lab work. Her neighbor would bring newspaper & mail up everyday or every other day, and put her trash out on trash night. I’d this had been anyone else my mom would have thought that person was terrible. I guess she didn’t see herself in that way. My mom lived in the country so her neighbor either had to drive or ride her bike to my mom’s house. Then I started doing mom’s grocery shopping on Monday nights after work. My husband had his guitar lesson then so I had free time. However, my job is somewhat stressful, I work for my husband and dealing with the public can wear a person out. My mom lived 30 minuetes away with 25-35 speed limit. Taking her to the doctor was half of my trip to her house. Then she can’t find her cell phone etc etc. I told my kids I will never put them through this. If I am unable to drive they will not be my taxi.
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This is a question I ask myself a LOT. I know that my grandmothers were lucid and independent to just a couple of months before they passed, and they didn't rely on their kids for much. So, I thought "old age" was going to be just like them!! I have found they are a bit unusual in their aging process.

My mother has been almost completely dependent on my brother, with whom she lives, for the last 10 years, and since she plans to live to be 100, that's 12 more years. I know he regrets taking her and daddy in. Daddy passed after living there 7 years.

I know that I have great hopes that I will NEVER have to live with any of my kids. We've financially prepared for independent living for the rest of our lives, but honestly, who knows? All my kids have said I could live with them--well I am only 61 and still going pretty strong. They think I'd be the babysitter/housecleaner/errand runner that I am now, not a sick old lady who needs her depends changed.

I think a certain amount of "service" to your parents is fine. I don't know when the line gets crossed and the roles reverse to a child being the parent. It happens so slowly. My brother takes my mother to all her dr appts and is her "voice". She acts as if he is her guardian and jailer at the same time. For them, the roles reversed a long time ago.

Your parents are able to make decisions, they live independently, right? At least your dad is. Sounds like it's your mom who takes most of your efforts. You can control how much time you spend with's a fine line between "service" and "servitude".

Despite my best intentions, I know that the day will come when the kids get together and say "what are we going to do about Mom?" and wow, I hope they put me in the nicest ALF they can find.

I guess the answer is: how much do they NEED and how much can you DO before there begins to be resentment or anger? If you are OK with what you're doing, it's really not "right" or "wrong" just is what it is.

I just want my kids to love me and I do not want to outlive the love they have for me.
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