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Well, over the last month; I have taken 4 days off from work to visit mom. Mom is 91, lives independently in her own home and lives about 6 hrs away. Mom appreciates my visits and I spend quality time with her, usually a full 12 hrs a day where I go for a walk with her, drive her around town, eat meals out, run errands together and just generally visit before I head back to a hotel (no; I don't stay overnight with her). Its not unpleasant, but wearying because we go over the same "ground" over and over.

Mom is very lonely. I have done everything I can think of including accompanying her to senior center to introduce "this concept" and she always says she'll go but then never takes the initiative. SHe has no friends; all prior friends or neighbors have given up on her as she cuts them off on the phone (if she answers) and refuses any social invitations.

I have offered many options, including moving to my hometown or even AL in her town; or merely getting some help or companions for her -- all refused. SHe understands I work full time, have a family and have no intention of moving back or retiring; but sadly, it is hard for her to accept and she says little things to guilt me about not visiting more or staying extended periods. My brother has nothing to do with her and rarely even calls her. He lives on the west coast and has no intention of visiting.

This week, I visited again (as I had business meetings nearby). I took her out all day and again, we visited senior center in which she saw a friend (I thought HURRAH!). The woman encouraged mom to come and they exchanged phone numbers. Then mom asked me to drive by another old friend's house and she wondered if the woman still lived there. I drove up and encouraged her to knock on the door. She did and the woman was welcoming and we went into her home and I sat as they visited. The woman (who is mom's age) was glad to see her and told mom they missed seeing her and encouraged her to come back to church, go to senior center, etc. and even said she was looking at senior apts in the area.

Then I took mom to dinner with a friend of mine who joined us and we all had a good time. Mom spoke all evening about how she enjoyed seeing her friends again. I encouraged her to go to senior center the next day and go back to church (they even offered to pick her up).

I left and she was crying and asking me to come back after my meetings this week, but I told her that I couldn't and was returning home; but would try to get back next month.

SHe has called me 2 times today weepy. I asked if she had gone to the senior center this week and she said that she hadn't and made her usual excuses about rain, etc.

I'm fed up. Its starting to affect my ability to concentrate at work and I feel guilty. She interrupted me with calls today twice while I was in meetings. We go thru this same scenario at every visit. I realize she is lonely and I tell her only she can change that. These friends are also elderly widows and "living life"; mom refuses to do so and tells me "well they have their children here". I'M ABSOLUTELY SICK OF HEARING THAT MANTRA" -- she hasn't had children nearby in 20 years.

When we do go out or about town, she hangs on me; physically hangs on me. I know I'm her only contact but it gets to me. She won't even order off a menu by herself. If she makes a selection and I choose something else, she changes her order to get exactly what I'm having. I can't even go to the bathroom myself that she doesn't follow me (one of the reasons I stay in a hotel at night, so I get a break).

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burnedout13, you are right about the elderly no longer have the energy, health or cognitive ability to join activities or meet and remember new friends.

My parents should have moved to a retirement community 10 years ago.... too late now. Mom's eye sight and hearing are all most gone, so learning her way around a new complex and a new large apartment would be extremely difficult. Dad would be ready to move tomorrow if he could get Mom to agree [she won't] as he liked the idea of a indoor swimming pool and woodworking shop :)
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You are sooo right burnedout. Ten years ago or so when my mom was eighty she had asked me to look into A L places for her. At the time she was still doing well. Her cognitive functions were all intact and the mere thought of her being in "one of those places" scared me and I didn 't pursue it.

Fast forward ten years later and it was get her into a nursing home cause she is declining fast and I can't do this on my own anymore.

In my defense she hid her health issues from me really well. I had no idea that the groceries I was picking up for her were not being eaten, that the prescriptions I picked up for her were not being taken properly, that the "Yes I am fine dear" was not true at all. By the time I caught on to the fact that she was far from fine she nearly died.

Now as you said burnedout, she is to the point where she doesn't have the strength, energy or cognitive ability to join activities, get to know the other residents at the nursing home etc. I only wish I had listened 10 years ago and maybe she would at least be in a better place physically where she could possibly be enjoying the companionship of other people and not just sitting in her room by herself all day.
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Someone told me or I read somewhere that if you wait too long - it is harder to get an elderly person to agree to go to a retirement/assisted living community.
It does make some sense. We finally make the decision when the person demands more care than one person can provide. Unfortunately at this stage the elderly parent does not have the energy, health or cognitive ability to join activities or meet and remember new friends. If I had moved my parents into a facility a few years earlier, they would have been able to find activities that they enjoyed, leave the facility on some trips and have meaningful interaction with others residents. I think that freqflyer has a good point. I am going to write up my plan, get it notarized and give it my son. That way if I "forget", he will have proof!
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One thing we can all learn from this is what not to do for ourselves as we get older. Plan ahead, big time. Save like crazy so that we can move ourselves into that retirement community before we forget that was our master plan.
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Countrymouse, you make an excellent point with regard to the decision-making process. I have tried to explain to my cousins that the time has come to stop asking their parents what they want to do & just decide for them. Aunt & uncle do not know what they want...when they make a decision they change their minds back & forth repeatedly. Makes things even more difficult for me than they already are. Their children do not want to arm themselves with info on disease, take any necessary action...expect me to wave a magic wand & take care of everything. Driving me nuts.
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Yeah freqflyer If I made a list of all the things I've worried about that never happened......e gad!!!

The actor Michael J. Fox said once when asked about his great attitude about his Parkinsons. "When you worry about something and it doesn't happen you've worried for nothing and if it does happen you've kind of lived through it twice"
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Gershun, I am mentally exhausted by worrying about things that may never happen, too. I go through the what ifs on a daily basis :P

I am worried that my Dad might pass on before my Mom, and Mom won't want to be by herself, and she would refuse to move to a senior care facility. She refuses to let strangers in the house, so any thought of paid help wouldn't work. And that she would want me to move in with her, into a house that is like a sauna year round, and how on earth do I say no to her, yada, yada, yada. Dad on the other hand would be ok with moving. Lot of sleepless nights for me :(
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ba8alou I'm sure you are right. Worrying about things that will probably never happen can become a full time job with me sometimes. There are enough real things to worry about I guess.
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Gershun, I'm sure that there are those isolated cases of terrible things that happen to seniors. the same way that the occasional toddler gets hit by a runaway care in the care of her mother; or the teenager dies during football practise. Not the norm. Not anymore.
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I heard on the news (I live in Canada by the way) that a dementia patient had gone into another dementia patients room and beat him to death. When I hear stories like that it puts fear in my heart for my Mom. She has her own room and most of the time the staff lock it when they leave but not always. When I visit my mom quite often other residents come wandering in.

I hope and pray that my mom will remain safe in her nursing home.
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With people living longer lives, we have 90+ year olds being cared for by 60+ year olds.... and those who are 100+ being cared for by 80 year olds. Something is terribly wrong with this picture.

I know my energy level has been cut by 50%... takes me twice as long to do household chores.... in fact, many of those chores go by the way side and rarely get done. Yet my parents still think I am in my 40's [I am pushing 70] and can still do everything.... NOT.
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Most of our parents "can't imagine" going to a care facility, because what is in their imagination is not the "cruise ship" AL/IL that exists today. Even when you take them there for a tour, they imagine that there is a dark side. If we are to save our sanity, we need to get them either the outside caregivers or the Al that can meet their needs.
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After 3 years of my parents living with me and having some help from caregivers, I could no longer take care of everything. Their medical needs and constant care made me question my own sanity. I looked for months for an assisted living facility and found one that I thought would work for all of us. My dad absolutely refused to go. I finally told him that if he wasn't going to move to assisted living, that I was going to move out. I guess he believed me. He was completely surprised when he saw the facility. He imagined something very different. In fact, he has adjusted much more than my mother has. With her vascular dementia, she has a difficult time of remembering and socializing with people. Assisted living did save my sanity - because I am not the one doing all the cooking, cleaning, medicines, doctors, etc. So I appreciate that my life did improve. I actually slept a little better instead of getting up 2-3 times a night to make sure no one had fallen. With that written, I still have numerous lists of things that my parents' need to have done. Banking, cleaners, barbershop (he hates the beauty shop there) specialist appointments and numerous trips to the emergency rooms after falls. I am glad that I fought the fight for the assisted living move - but there are still constant demands and numerous trips to the facility each week. I also feel guilty about venting - I read so much on here that makes me certainly appreciate that I am no longer the 24/7 caregiver. I am always amazed about how much people do for their parents with very little support or appreciation. So, I recommend finding a good assisted living place close to your home. Fight the good fight! It won't solve all of the problems, but it will certainly lighten your heavy load. You will be able to spend more time as a daughter and less time as the problem fixer/go to person for everything.
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Hard to leave behind when your mom an dad say they took care of their parents! It's not the same as their wants an needs are far demanding of my grandparents. My mom had her sister to help. I have just me! It's never enough!
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Sunflo, you have no reason to haul around the guilt. Imagine yourself just leaving it behind somewhere. Hard to do, but a good habit to form.
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I love you all even tho I don't any of you. I mean this sincerely, because we all ARE in the same boat...or about to board the same boat. I hate this, and didn't predict it could be like this. I think she looks in the mirror and sees someone 70 or even turning the clock back 6 yrs when dad was still in the picture and they managed their own household affairs.

I have hardened my heart some and am putting myself first, self preservation. I still have the guilt but not the tears over this thanks to all of you.
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SunFlo and everyone else being run ragged with their "Independent Living" parent; when my mom was in independent living, we had her keep a list of things she needed done. I would visit once a week and we'd do errands; dry cleaners, hairdresser, battery watch change. We discovered that the dry cleaners delivered! She had a similar list for my brother. To most of that, we told her "call the staff".. Leaks, stove not working, light bulbs We don't have to be soccer moms to our parents. To go back a step, when my mom was living at home (not cooking very much, having panic attacks, needing to go to the doctor all the time) I sat down with her and said, "Mom, this is not working out for me. I'm going to lose my job. And my brother is going to have a heart attack, racing to get here for you emergencies. Is that what you want?"

Sunflo, sad to say, if your mother will not see YOUR point of view and meet you halfway on YOUR needs, if that's going to make her call her lawyer and write you out of the will or whatever, then she's going to have to step up to the plate and hire herself some help. Because as we all point out to each other here, 1/3 of all caregivers die before their charges do. It's the most obvious way in which this caregiving shtick is SO very different from parenting.

And believe me, the stress doesn't go away once their in a facility. It's mostly that you get a better night's sleep, most of the time.
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Sunflo, what you posted convinces me that the time has come - or is fast approaching, anyway - when you need to - I was going to say, talk turkey but that would turn into a terrible pun. Get down to hard tacks, then.

Picture it. Instead of looking forward to the holidays, which after all are supposed to be a time of warmth, love and time with one's family, you're dreading it. Whereas, with your mother in one of those excellent facilities you've already checked out, you could be doing your thing and actually *scheduling in* a one or two hour break where you go and have a cup of coffee and a nice piece of cake with your lovely mother, whom you're not running yourself ragged looking after because other people of making a good job of that, and enjoy making a fuss of her. Then you go home and get back to work making the holiday. Imagine that: visiting your mother becoming a pleasure instead of a back-breaking chore. Plus the children could perhaps even visit their grandmother independently? - she'd be the envy of the ALF if that might happen.

I should start balls rolling, if I were you. It'd take so much stress off everyone concerned.

Don't pick a fight with her. Just down tools, and every time she comes up with a demand you assert the better option. She needs to see more of you? Well, there's the answer! She can't manage well on her own? Same answer. She's bored, lonely and unhappy? Guess what.

I suppose it's a matter of standing still and waiting patiently for her to come to the same conclusion as you have. I agree, push it on her and she'll push back - until she's in such a poor condition that she can't, in which case she'll have a much harder time adjusting to the move, so that's not what you want. But meanwhile harden your heart: do less, answer the phone less, and feel *entitled* to take more time for yourself and your family. You're mother isn't being reasonable about her own best interests, but you don't have to accommodate her.
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I feel exactly how u do and one minute I'm realizing how much time I deal with her and careing for my mum who acts helpless with out me. And then I feel so sorry for her. I know she is lonely. I just want a life of my own. My whole life revolves around my mothers every need.My brothers do not help do anything. I'm trying to get her to go to senior recreation center during the day. Like other elderly neighbors but so far she has refused.
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I'm always the bad guy for losing my patience. My mom says nothing an my dad forgets. It's like my feelings don't count. Not what info I tell them as they need my brother to tell them. He lives 22 hrs away! My mom had my diabetic dad to put up with that she's the care giver to him. I am married to someone that needs a lot of attention an connection. Mummmmm,,,, guess I married my parents. I am losing my mind!
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Inky, I think Independent Living should be re-named Semi-Independent Living or Almost Independent Living :P

My folks live alone in their own home, so they are considered living Independently. But wait, they no longer drive. Oops, how will they get their groceries, go to the doctors, get a hair cut, go to Target or Home Depot, or the dentist, the bank, get their car inspected [they keep the car so I can drive it, aren't I lucky, that cruise ship on wheels makes me car sick], and who is going to pick up their mail at the post office [here's a novel idea, have your mail delivered to the nice mailbox at the end of your driveway].... [sigh]
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Ps. My mom just shuts down an says nothing when I tell her how I feel. That's never been her strong suit! She tells me she did it for her mom! Until they were 93 an 97! Her parents wants an needs were the 911 stuff not all this walmart, steinmart, urgent care on Saturday, closing out debits cars. U get the idea! It just doesn't stop!
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Am I being to sensitive about all I am doing for my "independent living folks" of 85? I have a brother that lives in oahoma city. He does come out an watch over my parents when I am on vacation!
This is the email I sent to my brother:
Dad had requested for me to go buy an apple an rose for their 63rd anniversary. Also took them to K AN W after we shut down debit cards. Had trouble getting money out first time at ATM THEREFORE had to call dad to get pin. That's what got mom going on Closing them down.
Then dad wants to give the guy that carried his tray 2 bucks at k an w, an mom was worried about running out of money. Same ol same ol!!!

Yet I am running around getting the apple from a special place an roses,
Not to mention:
Oct 4- urgent care
Oct 5- rite aid to get dad cough drops an Popsicles as he had sore throat!
Oct 10 - costco with mom needed supplies
Oct 12- closing down their debit cards an taking them to dinner
Oct 16- get dads shirts altered
Oct 16- go to bbt to sign up for visa credit card
That's just the stuff I remember. Not including gazing up car, trip to get tires fled up, walmart etc etc ETV! They don't see how much they require an wAnt. Praising everyone for there help when I'm doin the most!
I really KNOW ITS NOT GOING TO CHANGE but am so hurt as they really think they r that fun to be around. Like I have all this time to do all this stuff! Richard is still home sick. He requires a lot too! So going from one household to the other.
Not really taking care of me. I have lab tomorrow, BLOOD PRESSURE APPT -back injection appts an can barely fit in time for me as its clothes, alterations, new credit cards, dad going to urgent care when his X-ray was clear ! My vote never counts. Mom never listens to my info I give her on debit cards etc. She plays coy but this is all not me!
I am glad you were available to tell her today but it just cuts the wound deeper as then she makes it about dad doesn't want to get rid of the debit card as he wants to use it at the ATM. SHE SAYS she can go get the Visa cards but if they go alone they won't ask the right ? About yearly fees, total amount I have to spend, on line banking acess, then I just have to go back later an fix it! It's too much!
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Sunflo I don't think you should ever feel like you are feeling sorry for yourself. I have felt after reading so many stories on this site that I have no room to complain about my situation either. But trying to do whats right for your parent is never easy whether you are a full-time caregiver or not. Especially if you don't have any support or their cooperation.

Having to transition my mom to a nursing home was I can honestly say the worst time of my life. She has never been just my mom but also my best friend.
Getting the doctor to intervene felt like a betrayal on my part but if he had not my mom for sure would probably not be with us anymore.

Never feel like you are not worthy of sympathy.
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Country mouse, thank you. I do have a plan for mom when I get the opportunity. Legally, I don't have POA and she is still deemed competent or would be I believe by a drs evaluation. When that changes, for example if she is hospitalized or picked up by police, etc; then I would demand the dr, etc to provide written report deeming her incaple to make decisions and then get a care team to help convince her she has to move. I will move her near me. I've already researched and visited some nearby AL and memory care facilities that would be perfect and nearby such that we can visit and take her out often where she can live out her days. This isn't what she wants, but best for me, and I know she will act out, but deep down enjoy the company. I just have to grin and bear it until that time comes. This is a hard season for me, I hate the next 2 months because of holidays and having to work in visits yet still make holidays pleasant for my husband and children without the burden of mom.

I know many of you are thinking, well why doesn't she just have Xmas or thanksgiving with mom....it's because she won't stay by herself in a hotel and we have to put kids and their spouses in hotel if mom stayed here...also, she hangs on me and follows me around or is up at night so bottom line...it would make the holiday miserable and tense for me. So we just make it a point of visiting her before or after the holiday. Funny, I wish she lived nearby so I could just have her with family for a few hrs and then return her home so everyone gets the break they need.

I feel for all of you full time caregivers, so my situation seems minor and I don't want everyone thinking I'm in a pity party..believe me, I count my blessings and realize how fortunate I am.

For the life of me, I wish these seniors would just make plans and not be so stubborn. Believe me, if I could take charge and make her do something, I would. But I'm certain she would call the police on me or call her lawyer and although I might win the battle I would lose the war. And it would be a long drawn out legal drama with dr evaluations, court appearances, etc. Hell, APS came 4wks ago and didn't even see her, just talked to her on the phone and followed up with a form letter "case closed, client refuses services".
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With regards to medication. The baby may have been thrown out with the bathwater. My guess is that a good geripsychiatrist, starting with one medication at a time, could alleviate her depression. Something to think about for the future.
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Tough going, Sunflo, this is really hard on you. I feel irritation just reading about how your mother is expecting you to wave a magic wand and make everything ok for her.

I wonder, maybe the time has come to stop consulting her about what she wants to do and make the decisions for her. It's almost as though that's actually what she would like: someone to look after her and be in charge. So, hypothetically at least, what arrangement do *you* think would be the most practical for you and best for her combined?
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When my mom was still living at home she used to attend church regularly. Once she stopped driving going to church stopped as well. For the last year before the nursing home she slowly stopped everything: eating, bathing, reading, even getting up to get newspaper that was dropped outside her door daily.

I had hoped that once she was settled into the nursing home she would participate with the activities there, but alas no. When I visit her she is usually sitting alone in her room with the t.v. off. I asked her today what she thinks about all day cause I think thats all she does.

Today when I visited we placed a bet on how long it would take before a leaf dangling outside her window would last before it hit the dirt with all the other leaves. So I guess these are the things that amuse her now.

I wish she would mingle but I think I wish it more for myself cause it would make me happy to imagine her having interaction but she seems content to sit and stare out her window all day so cest la vie I guess.
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I just watched the Teepa Snow video about the 10 early signs of dementia. One thing I recognized in my mom is that they lack initiative. My mom is very much that way. She'll say, "Oh I'll get dressed later and go down and check my mail." Only I KNOW she won't do it.

After watching Teepa's video, I understand that's just a part of my mom's mental decline now and she can't help it. While she still has some good cognitive function (she does her daily crossword and reads novels and does word finds), she can't get herself started to do most anything. So understanding this, I have to adjust my expectations about her mental state. Lucky for me, my mom is still very independent and isn't stuck to me like your mom is.
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Sunflo, your Mom sounds a lot like my parents.... my parents still live independently on their own in a house.... they grumble about how bored they are. I tried to get them interested in a really grand resort type retirement community just down the road, but they weren't interested. They want me to be Julie McCoy, their own personal cruise director :P

My therapist told me that my parents made their choice to continue to live in their own home, thus they have to live with the responsibility that comes with that choice. But the guilt my parent throw at me every now and then. I got to remember "their choice" and say it over and over again in my mind.

Sometimes I think it is my parents generation [they are in their 90's] and how their parents had lived when older.... both my grand-parents stayed in their own homes that once were working farms. It wasn't until a very serious illness that they finally went into a nursing home. My parents siblings also stayed in their own homes until the final days. Therefore, my parents can't break tradition.

I plan to break tradition. Those resort style retirement communities look very inviting :)
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