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This “promise” should never be requested, never anticipated, never listened to, and never honored.
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May I just say that I tried to fulfill that promise and it just about killed me, emotionally and physically. Nearly 15 years of my life that I can’t ever get back. Regrets? Yeah, and more than a few.

Please learn from my ignorance. I truly did not realize what I was signing up for. Everyone has different circumstances so it truly isn’t fair to compare each other. Emotions can get the best of us if we lead with our hearts.

We can’t see the future. No one can. There are no guarantees in life. The only constant is change. The changes became overwhelming for me.

It effects the caregiver the most but spills over to husbands and children too. Of course, the elder is effected as well.

For what it’s worth, I would not ever be a primary caregiver again. It destroyed the mother/daughter relationship and now I grieve for what could have been.

You may want to consider not putting yourself in the same situation as I did.

It’s a very isolated life. You will no longer be free to socialize with friends. You will miss privacy with your spouse and children.

I tried. I failed. I’d like to think that I succeeded in some areas. I think if all involved were to be completely honest they would have to say that I wasn’t a complete failure even though they did their best to make me believe that I was. It’s horrible how those of us who have done the most, sacrificed everything, set ourselves up for the worst betrayal.

I have cried a river. It’s okay. I had to release the pain. I have much to be thankful for in spite of everything. I have to remind myself of that because otherwise I could allow myself to go into a very dark place. As it is I suffer from bouts of depression.
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I very much appreciate the response you provided. I just printed out this entire thread for my wife to read. She, too, made the promise to her dad 9 years ago before he passed away that she would never put her mom in NH/AL. But I'm sure her dad also never expected her to have stage 4 Parkinson's either. She moved in with us a year ago last Saturday. OH, how I wish I would have been on this forum before agreeing to that!!!! This past year has taken a definite toll on our marriage. We went from complete privacy and independence to none overnight. And I've seen a big increase in my wife's frustration level in the past few months. It's past time to start looking into an alternative living arrangement.
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You let them know just how selfish that is, to ask you to make such a promise. And then you refuse to make such a promise. If you make any promise, it should be that you will make sure your loved one's needs are met.
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Emotional blackmail is not a good thing. We all tend to make promises during good times...........it's easy to say Sure Mom, I Will NEVER Put You in Assisted Living, No Problem! Then when the poop hits the fan, all promises fly right out the window in favor of doing The Right Thing. Not to mention, the vast majority of them wind up LIKING Assisted Living just fine. They get to sit around complaining all day with other people their own age, kvetching about the horrrrrible food, the small portions, etc. They get to gossip all day long, too, about things that are none of their business, like Did You See Mildred Going Into Bob's ROOM Last Night? OMG That Little Hussy!!! They get to watch Boring Movies together, like Westerns that Nobody Wants to Watch Except the Men. They get to indulge in Happy Hour every Friday and all get tipsy. They get to ride the mini bus on outings to restaurants, events, plays, all sorts of things they'll find boring and irritating, which gives them even MORE fodder for the complaining mill later on at dinner! Yay!

Go tour some local Assisted Living Facilities yourself. Speak with the RESIDENTS and the STAFF. Ask them how THEY like living and working there. That will determine which place is best for your parent. I also suggest you select a privately owned AL rather than a Corporate owned one..........the privately owned places are MUCH better and easier to deal with the management/billing/nursing, etc. Corporate owned facilities have one thing in mind: the bottom line numbers.

Best of luck!
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Nailed it! Great response!
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I would not promise to never put them in a facility. You don't know what the future holds.

My dad used to try and manipulate me into promising to take care of him when he got old. I said ,"I promise to find a good home for you."

I don't do manipulation from my family. It is hateful in my opinion and it is never okay to obligate someone to do the unknown at any and all expenses to them, that is not what a loving parent does.

Statistically 40% of caregivers die before the person they are caring for, who asks someone to put their life at that kind of risk so they don't have to do anything they don't want?
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WOW 40% really? That's crazy but, I believe it.
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By recognizing that they are asking you out of fear, obligation and guilt that, in different amounts, are nonetheless the primary ingredients for all unreasonable requests.

Fear: drill down to what the actual fear is. "Assisted living" is not a real fear. It's a catch-all for something else such as having to leave their home. What you can do is, instead of giving into the fear by making a promise over which you have zero control over keeping, help your parent figure out what renovations can be made in their home to help them age in place. A raised toilet, grab bars, a shower chair help reduce accidents in the bathroom, which remains the #1 room in the house where accidents happen.

Obligation: whether your parent admits it or not, they expect a commitment from you in their old age. And some parents have high expectations! Be clear with your parent that you cannot make any promises - you are not marrying them - and that you will help them however you can including figuring out what's best and helping them make reasonable decisions. As soon as their expectations become unreasonable, all bets are off and you must do what keeps them safe whether they like it or not.

Guilt: guilt is for when you do something wrong but parents often lay guilt trips on their children when they want to control the child. It's a tool of manipulation. Rather than be honest with themselves and their children that aging is not for the faint of heart, they resort to guilt, which is lazy and dishonest but nonetheless can be very effective in getting them what they want which is CONTROL. And in old age, one loses control over many things.

Help your parent by being forthright and honest. Tell your parent what you can and cannot do and how you can and cannot help. If you are married, that discussion happens first with your spouse before ever reaching your parent's ears.

Always be vigilant about establishing and enforcing healthy boundaries.

Finally, in my opinion no one should take on the monumental task of caregiving for anyone without having the authority to do so i.e. durable power of attorney both medical and financial. That may involve a family meeting about who gets what powers and why.
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Davenport Nov 2019
Thank you for your very wise words, NYDIL!! VERY helpful to me : )
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I promised my father that I would become President of the USA..didn't happen...oh well.

That is pure manipulation on their part don't fall for it, forget about the promises, do what is best for all..not just them.
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Thank you DollyMe! I needed that chuckle!
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" Why do you ask that, Dad?"

I think you need to get at the root of his fear.

"I promise I wont abandon you".
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My husband made this promise to his mother and I have told him that it is not one he can keep.  If there comes a time when their needs outweigh your capabilities and resources, there is not a choice.
Another answer stated exactly what I would say, "I promise not to abandon you".  That is the best answer you can give and an honest one.
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After seeing how dementia took over my husbands mother then eventually his father, my husband understood how hard it was on the kids. Meanwhile I was taking over the care of my mom because she refused help from anyone other than myself and her granddaughter. Being on call 24/7 started to get to us and her constantly falling didn't help. Her PC said one more fall or one more threat of suicide and you will be admitted to a NH or skilled nursing facility. A few days latter, I got the usual call, she was in the floor and had crawled from outside to the inside, cleaned up, fell again and I needed to come get her to take to the ER. She had a dislocated shoulder and fractured wrist on the other hand. They set the shoulder, splinted the hand and she pulled the shoulder out again two more times in about 3 hours. They were going to send her home with me but, I told them NO WAY!! I didn't have a bed available for her and she would take off walking the 6 miles back to her house. I insisted the contact her PC and they finally did. She admitted her to the hospital until after Christmas and helped us find a nursing facility to take her. She lived there for 3 years, The last year was in a memory unity where she refused to participate in anything and constantly asked to go home. She managed to climb out a window and over a 10' wrought iron fence and 4 adults had to fight her back in. She fell in July, 2018 and had a head trama injury. Never recovered from it. She passed in Dec. 2018.

Having 3 parents go thru so much pain and being on call constantly even after she was admitted to the NH, left us drained and wary of our own mortality so, we preplanned our final arrangements and paid for them and instructed our 2 children that they were NOT to try to care for us if/when the time came but, they were to put us in a NH or AL. Which ever one the dr suggested. This released them from any responsibility and left them able to live their lives, not ours.

Unfortunately for me, my husband was diagnosed last December with severe stress, anxiety, depression and dementia that was leading to Alzheimers. So now, I have that to look forward to. I didn't get any rest between moms passing and my husbands illness starting.
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My word! You have been through so much. You’re a survivor, lady! Don’t ever forget that. You are stronger than you think you are.

I hope one day, your future will be filled with nothing but peace and joy.

Yes, there will still be unpleasant memories. I deal with those everyday.

I suffer with depression because of the memories. I hope to find peace in my heart, mind and soul.

The intense pain turns into a dull ache. Time heals in some ways. Other times, the lingering over what could have been hurts so much.

There are some days that are better than others and I am grateful. Other days, I want to bury my head under the covers and not do anything.

I learn from people like you who have been through the mill and still show enormous strength. Your story is amazing to me. May you be richly blessed in your remaining days on this earth and beyond. Hugs!
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