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My parents aged 90 and 83 will not bathe and take keep themselves clean. Mom now has HH coming and they offered to send someone to help her bathe, she refused of course. Mom is pretending to be so sick and weak she can't pour herself a cup of coffee, She was evaluated by OT and they said she didn't need it. Yet I am taking care of them doing all the cleaning and cooking as well as furnishing all the food. I am disabled and only get 1290 per month. They get nearly $7000 per month. I can't afford to keep feeding them. It has nearly doubled my grocery bill.They only pay me a sum that amounts to about 25 cents an hour. Mom has nothing wrong with her except she wants to sit and have someone waiting on her. She doesn't want me to go anywhere or do anything but to be at her beck and call. I am ready to lose it big time. Can anyone tell me what to do??? I have a very bad back and have had surgery once and am needing it again. I fear I am going to get myself injured and have to go into the hosptia myself. She does not care that I am unable to hold up to do this from now on. She is just being a real bitch.

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I have the same problem with my mom. She is in the NH and they can't get her to bathe, change clothes, eat, or put on a nightgown. She sleeps in her clothes. She won't let them in her room to clean or change the bedding. She will barely eat. When she does go to the dining room, she won't eat in the same room as the other people. They have put her in an isolated room to eat. I wish they would go into her room when she is in the dining room and at least change the bedding. Then when they bring her clean clothes back she yells at them and "get the hell out of here." This from a sweet lady who never raised her voice and never ever said hell. There is no yelling or lecturing to her, b/c the BOSS would hear about it and then yell at me. My hands are tied in this matter. So I know what other people are going through.
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Sometimes the local hospitals/nursing homes etc. will advertise Family Help seminars. You can ask questions of professionals. Also they have guidance to help you go through this hard time. Stand up for yourself...you can do it! I can tell you have already started to change! :)
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unfortunately i all well know ur plight , if we continue to be berated and pushed around by our parents any of us could loose it , plz seek at least a coffee date with a friend, that way you get a break , you don't have to tell them your plight, just have some self nurturing time away from them . be healthy.get them a a movie and take that time for your self .
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From this point on when you are going to the grocery store, I would announce it to them and request either cash or a credit card. If they don't want to go along with that then tell them you are not buying anything for them.
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Took mom back to her 2 MD appointments. Had her primary to put her on antidepressants. I made sure he knew about the encephalopathy. Went to the surgeon who told her she had a rare type of cancer that required no treatment. It only occurs in 1-2% of all cases. She will have to have a tumor marker done every 6 months and her primary can do it. She made sure she knew there was no cancer inside her of any kind. I made her walk to his office and down the hall. I also made her walk into a restaurant to get a meal. It was a long trip and we were hungry. She was whining wheel chair but she didn't get a wheel chair. I cleaned the house for her today but I did not touch the dishes. I am not doing them anymore. She has this week and she better start thinking about getting up and cooking something because I am giving notice. I could be making $30 an hour because I am an RN. I am sure some of the rich elderly folks in my area would be more than willing to have someone like me come and and do for them and they would not balk at paying. Thanks for letting me vent. I really needed it. If an illness comes up again there is going to be big changes.
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Maggie I am trying to send you some strength of mind and body, even if only in spirit. My mother (75 yrs. old) was the same way. Until I told her that she may not feel like bathing but that I should not have to smell her body odor! I buy her pretty smelling soaps, perfume and miracles of miracles I got her to start using deodorant!! She is chronically ill so she would get in these phases of not wanting to do anything. I've been caring for her for over 17 years. Of course I am tired of dealing with it because my siblings lives' are way too important for them to help me.

But back to your situation....if your parents receive so much money a month then they definitely can afford to pay someone to come in and help with their hygiene. I threatened my mom that if she didn't bathe then I would bring someone in to do it. By the way, I am her home health provider too. I agree with the other responders in that you must get POA and that you need to find a way to step away in some way in order for you to get some kind of rest. I do not live with my mother and I would never bring her to live with me either. I finally arrived at some type of peace with myself in truly understanding that I am doing the best that I can for her and knowing that someday it will not be enough. But yes I still get exhausted and some days I do not even want to go to her place. Now she is having symptoms of age onset dementia so I know that it may get worse.

But yes, you have to do some tough love and let them know your true feelings instead of bottling up like I used to do at first. Once I let my mom know how I truly felt things got a little bit better. But you need to take care of yourself. I truly wish you the best in this situation and pray that God gives you the strength of mind and body that you need.
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Maggie, hugs to you. I wish I knew the answer about bathing and clean clothes. My mother is 98, mobile, capable of doing things, but due to some dementia and laziness, doesn't! She won't shower either. For the past year she has been "bathing" in the sink (which is now constantly stopped up!) She claims she is afraid of falling, but that isn't the case - there is a shower seat. I wish there was a way to get her to shower, but short of physically forcing her, I can't think of it, until such time as she becomes more incompetent and we can move her to assisted living. All I can say is she fights us and lies constantly. She certainly won't listen to anyone! She doesn't wash her clothes, wears stained, pilled, dirty things day after day. She used to love to shop, now won't. She won't wear the new things we buy. Its so frustrating. I bring clothes home to wash (just realized the blue blouse isn't here, which means when I made a pile to bring home, she sneaked it back into the closet (hasn't been washed since X-mas!) Mostly, I sneak dirty clothes into the grocery bags I bring with her food shopping. Maybe that will work for you? I hate to be sneaky, but she doesn't appreciate anything any more nor cooperate. Don't pay for your folks food, you need to take care of yourself! Parents at this age often become so self absorbed they no longer care about anyone else's needs, so you must care for yourself first. Use their credit card if you can. Maybe some day you can talk them into letting you handle their finances, which I now do for Mom. We convinced her by giving her a checkbook and funding small amounts into it for personal expenses. It was a good move because now she is completely irresponsible about money.
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Not much to add just support for the tough love. Just as you can't force them to do any thing they also can't force you.
Try buying cheap food they don't like. maybe hot dogs seven days a week will let them come loose with money.
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With an income of $7000/mth your parents can hire a live-in. The longer you continue to buy their groceries and wait on them hand and foot, the longer they will abuse you. Tell them you will no longer foot their bills as your funds are limited and you can no longer care for them as you have back problems. Then follow-through! You see how fast they can manage to buy their own food and take care of themselves. (All of this is assuming their mental faculties are intact). With that income they can go to an assisted living place with meals and housekeeping included. Take care of yourself!
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PLEASE, let us all know the outcome. We will be thinking of you.
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MaggieSuzanne, I have found the best way to get impossible things done with others is to be direct, confident, and final.
"Here are the clothes you will wear tomorrow. It is time to take a bath/shower.
I am taking these clothes (dirty, smelly) to have them cleaned and will bring you the bill. Here is your deodorant; please use it." Don't argue with them, don't negotiate. Leave after you make these statements. Who cares if they are pissed of?. Better clean and pissed off than smelly and complacent. Heehee:)
You are a smart, savvy woman. Just bounce it off of us. We support you. You don't need permission to do what you want. Don't lose any part of yourself over this. I always say there are all kinds of strange people on the planet and sometimes we are related to them. Doesn't mean we are like them. At All!
Take care of yourself, Precious One:) xo
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You go, MaggieSuzanne! I am so glad you got things in motion, both for you and for them.
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I am sure about the meals on wheels. I know the only people who qualify for it here are the low income and food stamp receipents. They wouldn't eat it if they got it. Tomorrow we have a MD appointment with her primary MD. I am asking for antianxiety and antidepressants. I am telling him in front of her if he doesn't oblige I will be leaving and now one is going to know where I am. My brother is on board with this. They know I can't go on like this. On Tues. we have an appointment with the surgeon that did her surgery. I am letting them know that she is not lifting one finger to help herself. She is acting like a 2 year old. Her family were so mentally unstable it isn't funny. After they all passed away it was just like she lost focus of life. She was treated the same way by her family. I don't know why she is singled me out for all the abuse but she has ran her race. I just got off the phone with my brother. We had a lengthy conversation. He did not know she was not doing anything. The home health people are coming this week also. They are going to tell her if she thinks she can't do anything for herself she should consider going into a facility. She is acting like a 2 year old and has my dad so confused and upset that he is just about bonkers himself. I will post an update on Tues.
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Are you sure about "Meals on Wheels?" They may have to pay something. OK, now the next thing I'm about to say may get some negatitivy about it. BUT this is what I did. My friend came to the door, dressed professionally with a clipboard. We did not falsely represent anyone, just introduced her as...Mrs. So & SO. We discussed hygiene and finances. I was asked questions about my finances and expenses. Mrs. So &So told my mother that I could not pay for her groceries anymore as I was not financially able. etc etc. It seemed that a "professional" telling her what would be expected of her was a BIG help. I had friends that told their parents that the yard work was done free because they were seniors and the Dad was a veteran, otherwise they would fire any one who came to the house. I'm all for "whatever works" especially when you are desperate.
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Obviously a couple with a $7,000 monthly income should not avail themselves of programs meant for the needy. Being miserly is not a disability. I live in Philadelphia where senior housing costs are pretty high and they could easily afford to live in some of the nicest senior communities in this area. They can also afford home health and other personal services.
So, the trick is to get them to stop abusing you with the least amount of ugliness all around. That's not easy. Of course you could just flat out refuse to continue to care for them under the current arrangement, but given how close you live to them, it would be hard to back off entirely.
Their behaviors sound very dementia-like, so their finances may be a complete shambles. Have you seen their bank and credit card statements? The favored niece may have been lavished with even more support than you know about. Even with their very sizable income, they could have debt or they may have signed over their house. If possible, persuade them to let you look at their finances (or have a professional look at them). You might be able to do it by offering to pay their bills for them since they enjoy being taken care or. If you are going to continue to provide cooking and cleaning services for them, you really should negotiate a monthly salary for yourself. Track your time for a week or so and calculate at a rate of $20 or so (that's about what they'd pay an agency around here for those services).
Make sure your brother is on board with all of this so he's not undermining your efforts.
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Well we sure do go through some hell don't we. First of all, what are they doing for you to make you want to buy their food and worry about their hygeine if they are so reprehensible and you have your own place and pay your own bills? Helping out someone is great, but being a personal pull toy is not as someone else on this site said,I forget who said it , but it is a truism. Unless they have alzheimers to the point of not being aware of anything, they will know that they are hungry and they will know that they must clean themselves. I do know that you teach others how to treat you, if you reward bad treatment you will get obliged with more. If they want help set some ground rules, help them pay their bills on line if you wish, get a DPOA if they want more involvement. It is up to you to define how much you will or will not take. If they want your help fine then cooperation and a game plan is in order. Meals on Wheels kind of programs will deliver to anyone and there is a cost, there are services for the homebound that can be paid for when their are funds available and when their are not. The point is that you really have to ask yourself what are your motivations.
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I agree that it sounds as if you're being taken advantage of. No way should you be paying for their groceries but if they can't get out to get them and won't give you money to buy groceries for them what can you do? It might come down to really tough love where you just refuse to pay for their food and their pantry grows more and more empty until one of you blinks first.

My dad had Meals on Wheels and he wasn't low income but he had to be 'homebound' and he was. The only criteria for him was that he not be able to leave the house except for medical appointments, church, and/or a barbershop. As long as followed those rules Meals on Wheels came by every week.

Also, my dad would not take showers for days and days on end. I still don't know if was laziness or fear. I tried to talk to him about it but he had no answers. So after a brief hospital stay (I was mortified that he lived with me and smelled so bad. I was afraid someone would report me.) I arranged for a bath attendant to come by twice a week and that worked for.....one week. Finally I just bought 2 different kinds of wipes: baby wipes for his perineal area and fresh-smelling Lever 2000 wipes for everything else. I plopped these in his bathroom and encouraged him to use them and he did. I would also encourage him to use them on days when I thought he needed to bathe and after BM's. I'd clean his bathroom (in a Hazmat suit) and put everything out he'd need, arranged attractively. Clean, fluffy towels. An empty trash can for the wipes. I'd set out his toothbrush and mouthwash. It looked like a spa. And it spared me from having to continually express to him that he smelled, which was an awkward conversation for both of us.

People who aren't caregivers often say, "Just MAKE him do it!" Well, you can't physically wrestle a grownup into the shower. Or you can't force medication down someone's throat. You can't throw someone over your shoulder like a sack of potatoes, push them into the car to go and see a Dr. Like the old saying goes, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink."

No more buying food and lots of luck with the hygeine issue. :-)
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I am so sorry for you Maggie. I know they are old but whatever anyone says there is absoulutely NO EXCUSE for the way they treat you. Old age dosn't excuse this. You sound as though someone should be taking care of you, and I think you really have to stop doing so much. Let someone else in the family do their share, if you are not there to be used as a lackey they are going to have to step up. Please don't feel guilty, you can only do what you can and you have done more than your share as well as everyone elses. PLease start taking care of yourself or you will be ill again. Enough is enough, it's timr for you to live now Maggie. Take care.
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Maggie, that's the way people seem to get when they get old. Both of my parents are like that and both of my in-laws. I would tell my mother-in-law that she needed a shower and she would always say she didn't no matter how long it had been. I would tell her I had the heater on in the bathroom and to go in and I would help her. I would sometimes have to tell her several times but she would get up and go in the bathroom and get the shower and clean clothes on. My father-in-law does not take a shower until my husband tells him he needs one and will help him. Both of them wear the same clothes all day and all night until they have an accident in them or spill lots of food on them. My parents are the same way. Because of mental and physical problems they can no longer do anything around the house. Years ago my father requested that we not put them in a nursing home if at all possible. A nursing home for both of them would be $14,000 a month. My sister did research on the internet and found that a live in caretaker that would care for both of them 24 hours a day and 5 days a week would cost a little over $3,000 a month. So my oldest sister hired a live in caretaker to help my sister who still lives with my parents. It is definitely not a one person job. I agree with 3pinkroses. Speak to a social worker first and explain the situation. People who work with the elderly usually know how to deal with them better than us. Parents don't like their children telling them what to do. They would probably be willing to take advise from someone else.
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Call an elder attorney and check your local and state government websites for council on aging or agency on aging or something similar. They have resources to help you. If the financial situation is as you say, there are ways to get your folks to help themselves and not use you like a slave. That is wrong. I know they are old, but that is no excuse. Good luck and God bless.
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I do not live with them. I live across the street. I have my own expenses plus I have picked up feeding them. They will not even give me any money when they know I am grocery shopping. They have poured money into my niece who does nothing to help. God only knows how much they have given her. I have a suspicion that they are paying her rent. She is in her 30's and has never bought a car or anything else. They buy it all for her. I have helped my dad get a car given to him thru the VA and $1300 per month more on his disability pension. That was to help hire someone to help out. He sat and slept thru the interview and didn't even know what was said.All their meds are paid for thru his insurance and they never owe a hosptial bill. They pay no property tax because dad is 100% DAV. If they give me $1 they think I am supposed to do $100 worth of work for that dollar. Mom came back home with a diagnosis of resolving encephalopathy. they didn't pull that diagnosis out of the air. She had surgery 5 weeks ago to remove a tumor. The surgeon said the tumor was confined to the ovary which they removed and he did not see any signs of cancer anywhere. They had to send the tumor tissue to the Mayo Clinic to identify it since they could not here. She is convinced she has cancer everywhere and she should just lie down and quit and wait to die. She is definitely mental big time. We have MD appoinments this week and we will see. I am going to tell them she thinks she is so weak she can't pour a cup of coffee and has to take a pill to eat. I told her this is not normal. If she has all this she needs to go back to the hospital to determine what is causing her to be nauseated other than anxiety. She signed herself out of rehab but she was not sick there not one day. She has been sick for the past 30 years to hear her tell it. But she was always able to cook for my brother and his daughter. I have not eaten in her house in years. She told me many, many years ago she was not cooking for me. Now she wants me to cook for her on a daily basis. On holidays I was expected to buy and cook the meals for the whole family.I put a royal stop to that. She tried to get smart with me today. I will be glad to walk out anytime and not look back. I was very ill in the hosptial last year. I did not see her for 3 months. She did not come to the hospital while I was there and she did not come to see me when I came home. I nearly died. For 3 days I was comatose. My hair fell out worse than if I had chemo. I do feel she is evil and hates me and I am not far from the truth. My brother is coming from NYC next weekend I hope he will be able to see and he does what is going on. He had told me to get her some Prozac and put in her meds. It just helps to vent. I am thinking about seeking legal advise. If they had to hire someone to do all we do and furnish food it would be well into the thousands per month. Thanks for all the input.
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It is very hard over there to get any support, I relly feel for you all. In UK they have a social worker and with a report from them it can help the elderly to get government funding for sheltered housing or nursing home care - IF social worker agrees it's needed. For those on low income help is provided by the local authority. Everything is means tested though & acsess to the best of care isn't really there unless you have money to pay for it.
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I'm pretty sure they see you as still the "child". So they feel fine calling the shots. If they are still OK mentally, you need to let them know they will have to participate monetarily and physically in their own care. Work out a plan where all of you pay into a fund for household expenses.
Let them know you can't afford to pay for all food.
If they are paying all other bills (utilities,etc.) maybe they consider the food bill "your part of expenses".Or the cleaning & cooking done in payment of your share of household bills.
Add all expenses up and divide by 3.
If they are not OK mentally - you need to get POA -
If they are still OK mentally -perhaps a caregiver contract to spell out what you are expected to do. If you don't wish to perform these duties, they can hire someone and you can get a job elsewhere.
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Sounds like most of us here! I have a similar problem with my Mom. However we can't afford to have someone come in and help, neither would she permit it. Here the county does not provide elderly help of any kind. ( not in their budget ) So it doesn't really matter.

I was taking care of both my folks on less than you make, so I'm sure you can do it. I couldn't imagine anyone making what your folks make! If you're not up to it, do you have any siblings who could help out. I am an only child, so have no other choice.
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Maggiesuzanne are you living with them because of your own financial situation? If so, it seems they are making you pay and work for putting a roof over your head. Their expectations are too extreme for you. You should not have to be treated like a doormat or servant. Is there someway you could live on your own?
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I forgot to say I had this problem over personal hygene with my mum & it was really getting me down. She lives in sheltered housing and has carers visit three times a day but adamently refused to let them help her wash. One day I told her she smelled very bad and it wasn't like her to be this way. Well she got quite angry with me!! But next day allowed caref to help her wash & has done every day since. Also changed to clean clothes .. at long last. Only in the mornings but at least it's something & still wont bathe or shower but a wash is a huge step foreward for her. Try being totally blunt, and tell em in a firm way..... I hope that will help you.
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Do you have power of attorney? Also you you have any siblings and are you on good terms with them? If so, what is their impression of this situation?I agree with Jessiebelle that tough love is in order, especially if you are on your own here. Senior services may still be able to help you figure out what do, even though your parents don't qualify for services. You may need to assume legal guardianship. And while your parents need care and I applaud you for not
abandoning them, you are NOT their servant. I don't know what it is with the folks that were raised in the Depression. My MIL is the same. She won't spend a penny, and thinks we should pay for everything. My husband has set up an electronic pay system to get her bills paid. A bill comes in, and he pays it with her account online. And tells her later.
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Maggie I feel so sorry for you. I live in the U K but it sounds very similar in that you can only claim things when you have a low income, which is so in my 93yr old mothers case I thought she was demanding, but is an angel in comparison. And she really is much worse physically as well as mentally. I think you have to be much tougher with them, they really are using you, the least they can do is pay for their own food and should be helping you also, being as you are so good to them & havn't much money. You need to be a bit more selfish now love, you are not well yourself and will only get worse if you allow this to go on. Then where will they be? I think you should tell them you are having a break as you feel so exhausted. And have one. We can only do so much, then you have got to draw the line. If they have the money to pay for some help then they have to realise they need to use it. You are not their servant & they must be made to understand that. I hope this will work, then maybe they will appreciate what a great daughter they have got. My heart goes out to you, just you take care of yourself, it's not being selfish, we all have to recharge our batteries. And please don't feel guilty. They are very fortunate to have you. I wish you all the best Maggie and hope this helps.
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I realize that I didn't address your main question about how to encourage them to keep themselves clean. My father was bad about not wanting a real shower and not changing his clothes. We had to give him no choice. Everything was prepared for him and he took his shower. I don't know what you can do in a situation where it is two (them) against one (you). You have to, in some way, give them no option. Not bathing for your mother is risking urinary tract infection, and your father may also start to suffer with skin problems on his private areas. It is important that they get completely clean at least once or twice a week. It will keep their skin healthier. Do they tell you why they don't want to bathe? Are they afraid of falling? There are many shower/bath safety devices that are available that will make them feel safer. People usually feel better after their showers, so it is well worth doing. Good luck! Bathing can be a tough one.
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MaggieSuzanne, it sounds like you may have to do some tough love. If they are making $7K a month, they can afford to pay for their own food and home services. I wish I were making that much! The actions of many older people always baffles me. Many are reluctant to spend their own money because they are afraid that they are going to need it later. They don't stop to think that this is later. Others want to save their money to leave it as an inheritance to their children. The solution can be to drain the resources of one child, the caregiver, in order to leave it to all the children. There is a way of thinking here that they want to impress the non-caring children with their generosity after they die. Dysfunctional family dynamics don't make sense.

It sounds like you need to have access to your parents' credit card. You can charge their food on the card, then let them pay it. That way you wouldn't have to have POA or have your name added to their accounts, which they probably wouldn't like. Do not spend your own money. Period. Doing that gives them permission to keep exploiting your good will. They have their own money.

Your mother sounds like mine. She talks like she was once industrious, but the truth is she has always been lazy. I've known her for 61 years, so she doesn't fool me. I've learned there is little that can be done with chronic lazy except not to be so available to do things for them. If your mother is like mine, she'll say things like, "When I was your age, I climbed tall mountains and fought angry lions." Of course, I know the only thing she did was go on walks while the house and yard went to pot. Talking about all she used to do is just her way of trying to manipulate me, and is particularly hateful.

Seriously, someone ought to do a book on the psychology of older folks.
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